In Brief | Big Island


Man pleads not guilty in spear gun attack

A 49-year-old Leilani Estates man accused of shooting his landlord’s son in the chest with a spear gun pleaded not guilty to attempted second-degree murder on Tuesday in Hilo Circuit Court.

Circuit Judge Glenn Hara set Georg Robert Curnutt’s trial for 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 28.

Curnutt alleged shot and wounded 20-year-old William Sullivan on June 25 during an altercation at the Sullivans’ Leilani Avenue property. The spear punctured the pericardium, the membrane that protects the heart.

He is being held at Hawaii Community Correctional Center in lieu of $500,000 bail.

Speed limits set for HPP side roads

Speed limit signs will soon become more than an advisory in Hawaiian Paradise Park.

The Hawaii County Council last week adopted two bills establishing maximum speeds for unpaved and some paved roads in the Puna neighborhood.

Next week, the council’s Committee on Public Works, Parks and Recreation will consider separate speed limits for the subdivision’s main roads.

HPP already had speed limit signs posted but they could not be enforced because the neighborhood’s roads were left out of county’s ordinance regulating traffic speeds, said June Conant, HPP Owners Association treasurer.

Once signed by the mayor, speed limits will be 15 mph for dirt roads and 25 mph for paved roads except for Shower, Kaloli, Paradise and Makuu drives. Those main roads would have 35 mph limits under the bill being considered next week.

While the speed limits are expected to soon become official, the Hawaii Police Department doesn’t plan to increase traffic enforcement in the neighborhood, a police spokeswoman said.

State funding released for E. Hawaii projects

Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced Wednesday releasing $1.8 million in funding for a pair of capital improvement projects on the Big Island.

A total of $1.5 million was released to Friends of Connections in Hilo to fund the planning, design, construction and equipment involved in the first phase of the Kress Building’s renovation to support Connections Public Charter School upgrades and improvements.

Friends of Connections, a nonprofit organization, purchased the 40,000-square-foot building in December 2006.

The governor also released $300,000 to continue work on the Puainako Street extension. The money will fund right-of-way acquisition for the conversion of easements on private properties necessary for the extension of the street from Komohana Street to the intersection of Kaumana Drive and Country Club Road in Upper Kaumana.

The project includes a new 4.8-mile, two-lane road with turning lanes, paved shoulders and swales, and drainage improvements.

Gabbard brings raises $150K during second quarter

HONOLULU — U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard brought in $150,000 in campaign funds during the latest reporting period.

In her Federal Election Commission disclosure, the first-term Democrat reported having about $410,000 on hand at the end of June. Gabbard has said she plans to seek re-election.

Contributions from individuals totaled just over $100,000 between April 1 and June 30, with nearly $48,000 from political action committees. Gabbard had about $800 from things such as refunds and rebates.

The campaign still had $19,000 in debt, from loans Gabbard made to herself for last year’s primary.

$10M settlement filed in Honolulu over Marcos art

HONOLULU — A $10 million settlement has been filed in federal court in Honolulu over valuable artwork that disappeared from Imelda Marcos’ Manhattan townhome during the collapse of her husband’s regime in the Philippines.

A foreign art collector who purchased the piece by Claude Monet agreed to pay $10 million to more than 9,000 Filipinos who successfully sued for human rights abuses under Ferdinand Marcos’ rule, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday.

The settlement was filed last week under seal. Lawyers for the class-action plaintiffs hope final approval of the settlement will be granted in September.

In 1995, a federal judge in Honolulu awarded the plaintiffs nearly $2 billion against Marcos’ estate.

Imelda Marcos’ former secretary was charged in New York with conspiracy to sell the artwork. Prosecutors said she used false paperwork to sell a work from Monet’s “Water Lilies” series for $32 million.

Vilma Bautista, 74, was indicted on charges of conspiracy, tax fraud and offering a false instrument for filing. Two of her nephews also were charged. The indictment said that during the Marcos presidency his wife used state assets to acquire a vast collection of artwork and other valuables. Prosecutors said some of the art ended up in Bautista’s possession after the Marcoses were ousted in a citizen revolt in 1986.

By local and wire sources.