Millerbird population on Laysan island doubles
HONOLULU — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the population of endangered millerbirds on Laysan Island has doubled to over 100 since biologists moved 50 birds there from another remote island.
The agency and private partners moved 26 millerbirds from Nihoa Island to Laysan in 2011. It moved another two dozen last year.
The agency said Monday the birds produced 29 young during their first breeding season last year. The birds have produced least 29 more offspring so far this year. Many nests are still active.
Wildlife officials moved the birds to establish a new population and prevent the extinction of the species.
A related subspecies once lived on Laysan but disappeared in the early 20th century after introduced rabbits destroyed the island’s vegetation.
Charge dropped in Honolulu nightclub NFL brawl
HONOLULU — An assault charge has been dropped against a former Honolulu nightclub owner accused of hitting Washington Redskins tackle Trent Williams on the head with a bottle.
A judge on Monday dismissed the charge against Michael Miske Jr., former part-owner of the M Nightclub. He was accused of assaulting Williams and his brother at the nightclub two days before the Pro Bowl. Williams needed stiches to his head and wasn’t able to play in the game.
The dismissal came after a prosecutor told the judge the brothers wouldn’t be returning to Hawaii for trial.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports Miske’s brother John Stancil is awaiting trial. Williams was a no-show in April, postponing trial to July.
KHON-TV reports Miske’s attorney, Thomas Otake, says club staff members were protecting others from unruly players.
2nd Pan-STARRS telescope to be operational in July
WAILUKU, Maui — The second Panoramic Survey Telescope And Rapid Response System telescope at Maui’s Haleakala volcano is expected to be operational next month.
The device is one of four powerful telescopes the University of Hawaii plans to set up to detect large asteroids and comets heading toward Earth.
The first Pan-STARRS telescope was installed at Haleakala in 2010. A comet spotted by the telescope came close enough to Earth to be visible with binoculars earlier this year.
The Maui News reported general contractor Armstrong Pacific has successfully retrofitted the old University of Tokyo Magnum observatory to accommodate Pan-STARRS-2.
The company raised the foundation, replaced structural steel and upgraded mechanical and electrical systems to support the new telescope.
The working conditions at the site 10,000 feet above sea level presented challenges for the 30 workers on the project.
The altitude affected workers, as did the cold, the rain and the sleet, said Kevin Keller, Armstrong Pacific project manager. They had to work closely and communicate with cultural advisers. And there was a 1 hour 45 minute one-way commute, he said.
Still, workers were able to complete the $2 million project on time and under budget, he said.
Keller said in an interview last week that unlike most jobs there were “zero tolerances.” The anchor bolts and mechanical and electrical work “had to be perfect.” When the crane picked up the telescope, “it fit perfectly in place,” he said.
The addition of the second Pan-STARRS telescope will create “by far the most powerful wide-field imaging system in existence,” said Nick Kaiser, principal investigator of Pan-STARRS at the UH Institute for Astronomy, earlier this year.
The Pan-STARRS design combines relatively small mirrors with very large digital cameras to create a viewing system that can observe the entire sky several times each month.
Man sentenced to 20 years for assaulting girlfriend
WAILUKU, Maui — A 29-year-old Maui man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for injuring his pregnant girlfriend over six hours.
The Maui News reports Isaiah Shim in a plea deal pleaded no contest to counts including sexual assault, kidnapping and terroristic threatening.
Defense attorney James Brumbaugh at sentencing Friday called for a 10-year prison term. He says the 25-year-old victim spent several hours in a hospital but was not seriously injured.
He acknowledged that Shim on April 1, 2012, hit the woman with a pipe, burned her with a cigarette, squeezed her toes with pliers and sexually assaulted her with a beer bottle but said nothing in Shim’s past indicated he was violent.
Deputy Prosecutor Kristin Coccaro says Brumbaugh’s account minimized the victim’s physical, sexual and psychological torture.
Strategic Command, Pacific Fleet leaders appointed
HONOLULU — The Pentagon says President Obama is appointing Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Cecil Haney to lead the U.S. Strategic Command in Nebraska.
The Defense Department said in a statement Monday the president has appointed Vice Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr. to succeed Haney at Pacific Fleet.
Harris is currently assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Both appointments are subject to Senate confirmation.
Haney became the Pacific Fleet’s commander in January 2012.
The Pacific Fleet encompasses nearly 200 surface ships and submarines and nearly 1,100 aircraft from the U.S. West Coast to the Indian Ocean. It includes more than 140,000 sailors and civilians.
The Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska is assigned to deter and detect nuclear attacks.
Sentencing postponed in Waikiki gas station scam
HONOLULU — Sentencing has been postponed again for a co-defendant in a scheme that stole credit card information at Waikiki gas stations.
Akop Changryan was to be sentenced Monday. But because of a scheduling mix-up, it’s been postponed to next week. Prosecutors say he installed skimming devices at four gas stations, while co-defendant Vardan Kagramany served as the lookout. Jurors convicted both men of identity theft after they were extradited to Hawaii from California.
Kagramany was sentenced last week to 20 years in prison. The judge said the two men must pay more than $157,000 in restitution.
A spokesman for the Honolulu prosecutor’s office says they belong to an Armenian organized crime network.
Changryan’s sentencing was postponed last week because his lawyer said he needed time to speak with him.