Briefs 10-11


Puna man facing car theft, assault charges

A 30-year-old Kurtistown man is facing theft and assault charges in connection with a reported car theft in Puna.

Claude Keone Krause was charged Tuesday with unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, resisting arrest and first-degree assault against a law enforcement officer, according to the Hawaii Police Department. His bail was set at $22,000.

The charges stem from an Aug. 17 incident. Police spotted a vehicle that was reported stolen from a Kurtistown home and recovered it. The driver, however, fled before officers arrived.

Krause was subsequently identified as the driver, according to police.

On Monday, officers conducting checks at a Huina Road home in Kurtistown saw Krause. Following a short foot pursuit, officers apprehended him.

However, during the arrest, a 41-year-old Puna patrol officer suffered minor injuries after Krause allegedly assaulted the officer while resisting arrest, according to police. The officer was taken to Hilo Medical Center where he was treated for his injuries and released.

Police search Puna

B&B for child porn

HILO — A search warrant was executed Wednesday afternoon on a Puna bed-and-breakfast owned by a suspect in an alleged child molestation and pornography case.

The FBI and local police combed through the bed and breakfast in Leilani Estates.

The FBI distributed a photo Tuesday of a man they said had distributed Internet images of himself engaged in sex acts with a boy of about 9 years old and a girl of about 4.

On Wednesday, the agency released a written statement saying that public tips have led to the identification of a suspect. The agency did not disclose the suspect’s identity, and no arrests have been made or charges filed, Special Agent Tom Simon of the Honolulu office said on Wednesday.

“If our investigation culminates in criminal charges, we will make an announcement at that time,” Simon said. “As you can imagine, it’s a sensitive situation. What we don’t want to do is hang this guy out to dry until we have enough evidence to bring charges against the guy — whoever the guy is.”

Bones discovered

at Pohakuloa

HILO — Human skeletal remains have been discovered at Pohakuloa Training Area, an Army spokesman said Wednesday.

Public Affairs Officer Bob McElroy said he was told by archaeologist Julie Taomia that the remains, or iwi, were found on Sept. 28 during an archaeological inventory survey in the Kaohe Ahuapuaa, Hamakua district, and appear to be an ancient Hawaiian burial site.

“It is a lava tube cave that has two chambers and there’s iwi in both sections of the cave. Because it’s in fragments, she can’t tell if it’s from one person or two people, but given the number of bone pieces, she believes it can’t be more than two people,” he said.

McElroy said the determination that the remains appear to be Native Hawaiian are based upon their location in a lava tube with traditional archaeological materials, including a hearth and kukui nut shells.

“We don’t know how old it is, but it’s old. It’s just bones,” he said. “There were no clothes, no fabric of any type, no artifacts other than what we mentioned.”

The bones are located in two chambers of a lava tube and were left in place. No funerary objects, sacred objects or objects of cultural patrimony have been recovered, he said, and no construction projects are ongoing in the area.

Interested parties may write Dr. Julie Taomia, Archaeologist, Environmental Division, U.S. Army Garrison, Pohakuloa, P.O. Box 4607, Hilo, HI 96720 or email julie.m.taomia.civ@mail.mil before Nov. 15.

Hawaii hotel rates hit all-time high in August

HONOLULU — Average hotel room prices hit an all-time high in Hawaii in August as tourist spending rose and visits from Japan, Korea, China and other markets spiked, a tourism analysis firm said Wednesday.

Honolulu-based Hospitality Advisors LLC said in its monthly hotel industry report that hotel rooms in Hawaii cost nearly $215 per night in August, up 10.2 percent compared with the same month last year. The rates led to an August record of nearly $308 million in room revenue.

Total revenue for the 163 properties included in the report was just under $455 million, the report said. The hotels represented in the report make up nearly 86 percent of all hotels in Hawaii with at least 20 rooms.

Joseph Toy, chief executive of Hospitality Advisors, said Hawaii’s tourism recovery has been led by Oahu, the state’s most popular island for tourists.

“The revenue records set in August caps a remarkable 2012 summer season for Hawaii’s hotel industry,” Toy said. “Given that we were at the bottom of the market just 30 months ago makes this recovery even more outstanding.”

The Hawaii Tourism Authority said visitor spending was up 14.6 percent for the month.

The number of visitors from Japan climbed nearly 13 percent compared with August 2011, the report said. Other international markets — which are tracked all together but consist primarily of visitors from China, Korea and Australia — had an even larger spike, increasing by nearly 28 percent.

Hotel occupancy statewide rose 4 percentage points to 81.3 percent. Occupancy was 90 percent in Oahu, 75 percent in Maui and nearly 74 percent in Kauai. Nightly rates were highest in Maui at just over $263 per night.

The report said Hawaii set a new summer season record of $880.5 million in room revenue from June through August. Total revenue for the summer was $1.3 billion.

Coffee production down, prices higher

HONOLULU — Hawaii’s coffee farmers saw production go down and prices go up.

According to a government report, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser says bugs and dry weather hurt coffee production, but higher prices offset some of the decline.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service report says coffee farmers statewide produced 7.6 million pounds of beans for sale during the 2011-12 season. That is a 14 percent drop from 8.8 million pounds in the prior season.

However, the report says the average price per pound of coffee paid to farmers rose 9 percent to $4.15 in the recent season from $3.80 in the prior season. The price increase added $2.7 million to total industry sales of $31.5 million.

Sales in the previous season totaled $33.4 million.

7 people rescued

from Oahu surf

HONOLULU — A high surf warning is in effect for many areas of the state.

KGMB-TV reports that seven people had to be rescued Tuesday when they got too close to huge waves on Oahu’s North Shore.

Honolulu firefighters saved three men near Laniakea. Capt. John Hoogsteden of the Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division says the men were recent arrivals to the islands and went for a swim. He says they got stuck in a rip current more than a half-mile from shore.

Hoogsteden says two hours later a 16-year-old boy and his mother nearly drowned at Ke Iki Beach near Pupukea.

The National Weather Service says Hawaii residents on the north and west shores of the state can expect waves of up to 30 feet on Wednesday.

UH athletic staff

spent donations

HONOLULU — A review of records reveals that University of Hawaii athletic director Jim Donovan and his staff spent large amounts of money from private discretionary donations, expenditures that included dinners at pricey restaurants and trips to the mainland.

The Honolulu Star Advertiser reported Wednesday that in the nearly five years Donovan headed the university’s athletic department, he and his staff spent more than $800,000 in private discretionary donations. The Star Advertiser obtained the records through a request and reviewed them Tuesday.

The newspaper reports that records indicate that the money was used on a wide range of goods and services, including taking staff members to the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament and paying for dinners to entertain donors and corporate sponsors.

Donovan and others in his department were reimbursed from three UH Foundation accounts for items that school officials said were approved by UH and foundation officials.

Donovan headed the department from 2008 until about two months ago when he was removed as athletic director. He moved to a new UH marketing job after a bungled Stevie Wonder concert, which was intended as a fundraiser for university athletics. The concert was canceled because it wasn’t authorized by Wonder or his representatives. The university now is trying to recoup $200,000 lost in the debacle. Donovan was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Donovan defended spending donation money. He said the foundation funding helped the athletic department nearly triple its pledged donations to about $11 million between 2008 and the time he left.

“If people want us to generate more revenue, we have to act more like a business” cultivating supporters, attending events, buying tables at charity events and doing things that private businesses typically do, Donovan said.

“There’s no sleight of hand here. If (the foundation) didn’t approve the expenditures, I would pay for it. It’s as simple as that,” he said.

By local and wire sources