Big Island & State Briefs


A former Big Island police sergeant serving a life sentence for the 1992 kidnapping and slaying of his wife testified Wednesday by video conference before the Hawaii Paroling Authority, a deputy state attorney general said.

The parole board is to reconsider the mandatory minimum terms on both convictions for Kenneth Wayne Mathison, but no decision has yet been reached, Deputy Attorney General Vince Kanemoto said Wednesday afternoon.

“The board wanted follow-up memoranda from myself and from defense attorney Richard Gronna. So I have two weeks. I have until Oct. 9 to submit mine to the board. And then, Mr. Gronna has until, I believe, Oct. 23. Then the board will make its final decision within a month of Oct. 23,” Kanemoto said. “We had to do this hearing because Mr. Mathison didn’t have (legal) counsel present at the July 15, 2009, hearing.”

Mathison is incarcerated at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Ariz. He was sentenced in 1996 to life in prison with the possibility of parole for the murder of his wife, Yvonne, with a concurrent 20-year prison term for her kidnapping.

At the 2009 hearing, the parole board set Mathison’s minimum prison terms at 90 years for the murder conviction and the full 20 years for the kidnapping conviction.

Kahului Airport car rental facility clears review

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WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) — A proposed structure to consolidate car rental companies at Kahului Airport has cleared a hurdle.

The state Office of Environmental Quality Control has determined that a proposed car rental facility would cause no significant environmental effect to nearby wetlands or protected species such as the Hawaiian hoary bat, Hawaiian stilt and Blackburn’s sphinx moth.

The Maui News (http://bit.ly/16J3RlX) reports the facility would consolidate rental agencies into one three-level structure.

The structure will provide airport employee parking on its roof, freeing parking in front of the airport.

Its main function would be for rental car pickup and return. Airport officials say the facility will be designed for 1,500 to 2,000 rental cars

The project is scheduled to go to bid Oct. 17. Transportation Department officials hope construction can begin in March.

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Information from: The Maui News, http://www.mauinews.com

EPA to probe molasses spill with state of Hawaii

Associated Press

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HONOLULU (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Health said Wednesday they will jointly investigate a spill of 1,400 tons of molasses in Honolulu Harbor.

Investigators will study whether there were any violations of the Clean Water Act, said EPA spokesman Dean Higuchi.

“They’re going to look at the whole spill incident and try to figure out who played what role and who was responsible for what,” he said.

Keith Kawaoka, with the state Department of Health’s hazard evaluation and emergency response office, said the probe will look at who was responsible.

“We’ll look at that, and based on our regulations and EPA’s regulations, see what violations may have occurred and to what extent,” he said.

The probe is just beginning, Higuchi said, and he doesn’t know when it will be completed.

Up to 233,000 gallons of molasses dripped into the harbor earlier this month from a pipe belonging to shipping company Matson Navigation Co.

Matson said the molasses oozed out from a section of pipe it thought had been sealed off.

That volume is equivalent to what would fill about seven rail cars or about one-third of an Olympic-size swimming pool.

More than 26,000 fish and other marine species suffocated and died as the molasses spread and sank to the ocean floor.

Last week, the state Department of Transportation disclosed state inspectors saw molasses dripping from the same spot on two occasions since last year.

Inspectors first saw the leak while looking for storm water discharge in July 2012. The department followed up by notifying Matson and asking them to repair the leak. Matson said it checked the pipe but didn’t see any molasses dripping from it.

A separate state crew in the harbor noticed molasses dripping in May, but the department didn’t tell Matson about this second incident.

The department says harbor tenants are responsible for inspecting their own pipelines, and it’s not the state’s responsibility to check them.

The spill happened in an industrial area about 5 miles west of Waikiki, the state’s most popular tourist area.

/Federal grant will rehab Makawao Veterans Cemetery

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WAILUKU, Maui (AP) — The federal Department of Veterans Affairs will spend nearly $1.1 million to repair headstones and perform other upgrades at a Maui veterans cemetery.

The Maui News reports the grant will be used to raise, align and clean 1,554 headstones at Makawao Veterans Cemetery. The money also will be used to rehabilitate 132,000 square feet of turf and other infrastructure.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz announced the grant for the 7-acre cemetery.

The cemetery is nearing capacity and state officials hope to expand it by 10 acres.

The addition would allow 14,000 new grave sites and niches.

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Information from: The Maui News, http://www.mauinews.com