In Brief | Big Island & State


Pahoa structure fire under investigation

The Hawaii Fire Department is investigating a fire that destroyed a two-story home early Tuesday morning in Pahoa.

Responding to a 12:27 a.m. alarm, firefighters discovered the structure on Lehua Road engulfed in flames. The fire was extinguished at 2:45 a.m. and an overhaul subsequently completed. The fire’s cause was “undetermined,” according to the department.

The department estimated damage to the 1,800-square-foot home at $90,000. No injuries were reported.

The American Red Cross is assisting the displaced homeowners. The nonprofit humanitarian organization met with the affected residents concerning their immediate emergency needs and provided assistance with essential items, such as temporary housing, clothing, food and household items. Caseworkers will continue to follow up with anyone affected in the coming weeks to provide referrals, guidance or additional assistance as needed to help with the recovery process.

Police re-examining unsolved murder with new technologies

Big Island police are asking for the public’s help in connection with a 40-year-old murder investigation.

On March 29, 1973, 23-year-old Gayle Hook of Napoopoo was reported missing. On April 6, 1973, her body was found in an abandoned church pavilion in Napoopoo with a fatal gunshot wound to the left eye, according to the Hawaii Police Department.

The investigation is one of several cold cases for which detectives are tasked with re-evaluating evidence using new technologies, police said.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Detective Shawn Tingle at 326-4646, ext. 277 or stingle@co.hawaii.hi.us. The public can also call the department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311. Those who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Waimea resident wins Ms. Aloha Nui pageant

Amy Mills, a 36-year-old opera singing farm girl from Waimea, was crowned Ms. Aloha Nui Saturday.

The pageant featured five Big Island women ages 28 to 48, all of whom weighed 200 pounds or more, at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay. Part of the monthlong Hawaii Island Festival, this signature event honors women of great stature while perpetuating Hawaii’s cultural traditions and aloha spirit.

Mills also won the talent portion by singing the Italian aria “Ave Maria,” then switching to the “Kamehameha Waltz.” A performer, Mills holds a bachelor’s degree in music and vocal performance from Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts.

This was Mills’ first pageant. Winning was “surreal” and “a great honor” for her. Mills said it was wonderful spending time with all the ladies, whom she described as “so loving, kind and gracious,” as well as express perfectly how “true beauty comes from within and makes us glow.” She added, “All of the women are gold-hearted women.”

Kailua-Kona resident Dorothy Ulu, 43, was the first runner-up.