County/In Brief

Police looking for suspect in robbery

Police are looking for a man who had a firearm when he robbed the Waiehu Pit Stop on Monday morning, leaving with an unknown amount of cash.

The robbery occurred at 11:28 a.m.

The robber is described as light skinned, between 5-foot-1 and 5-foot-3 and weighing about 130 pounds. He wore a black hoodie and blue pants.

Anyone who has information on the robbery is asked to call the police Criminal Investigation Division at 242-6425 or Maui Crime Stoppers at 242-6966.

Callers to Crime Stoppers remain anonymous and are given a code number. Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and indictment of people responsible for felony crimes.


Fire burns 30 acres on Maalaea slope

A brush fire that burned about 30 acres on a slope in Maalaea was called extinguished at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, a fire official said.

Two helicopters were used to control the fire, which was reported at 9:14 a.m. Tuesday on the mountain on the mauka side of Honoapiilani Highway.

The Fire Department’s wildland team and state Department of Forestry and Wildlife workers worked throughout the day Tuesday to contain the fire, which was monitored overnight.

The cause was undetermined.


Park’s restrooms closed for repairs

The restrooms at Launiupoko Beach Park in Lahaina have been closed due to a waterline break, an official with Mayor Alan Arakawa’s office said Wednesday.

The repairs are estimated to take several days to complete; portable toilets are available for use until the waterline has been repaired and the restrooms are reopened, said Lois Whitney, Maui County spokeswoman.

County/In Brief

Napili man dies, found under fallen tree

A 57-year-old Napili man died late Monday afternoon after he was found underneath a large fallen tree, police said.

Joseph Bento had been clearing his property in Honokohau Valley on the west side when he was found by a friend at around 5 p.m., police said.

Bento was unconscious with multiple injuries. Emergency personnel attempted to resuscitate him, but he was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

The cause of death is undetermined pending an autopsy.


Fire crews monitor brush fire in Maalaea

With a 30-acre brush fire in Maalaea contained but not extinguished Tuesday evening, fire crews were monitoring it throughout the night.

Firefighters responded to the scene mauka of Honoapiilani Highway at 9:14 a.m., finding the fire on the slope of a mountain, said Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga.

The area was inaccessible to ground crews, and two helicopters responded, containing about 85 percent of the fire by 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, he said.

Nine members of the Fire Department’s wildland team and nine Department of Forestry and Wildlife workers, along with a helicopter, continued mop-up operations throughout the day Tuesday. By 6 p.m., the fire was considered 100 percent contained, Mainaga said.

The fire’s cause remained undetermined, he said.


Waterline repairs result in a pool closure

The Lahaina Aquatic Center will be closed through Thursday due to emergency repairs needed on a major waterline, the county Department of Parks and Recreation Aquatics Division announced.

The closure began Tuesday.

For more information, call Recreation Specialist Duke Sevilla at 270-6135.


Missed trash route in Kula due to staffing

A Kula trash route was missed Tuesday due to a staffing shortage, the county Solid Waste Division announced.

The missed pickup is expected to be made up today.

Areas affected include Ainakua, Holopuni, Lower Kula, Omaopio, Piliwale and Pulehu roads; Akea Place, Ka, Kimo and Mano drives, Kulamanu Circle and Kulalani Circle and Drive and all surrounding streets.

County/In Brief

Blaze destroys Molokai home; boy hurt

Fire destroyed a home on Molokai late Monday afternoon, displacing a family of seven and causing a minor injury to a boy, Maui fire officials said.

Molokai firefighters responded to a 5:25 p.m. call to a structure fire on Seaside Place, said Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga. When Kaunakakai firefighters arrived on the scene, they found the 1,400-square-foot single-family home fully engulfed in flames.

The fire was brought under control at 6:25 p.m., Mainaga said.

Three adults and four children occupied the home, and a child, a 7-year-old boy, had a minor injury to his hand. He was treated by medics and transported to Molokai General Hospital, Mainaga said.

The three-bedroom, two-bathroom home was destroyed, Mainaga said. Losses were estimated at $200,000. The cause of the fire was undetermined but likely accidental, Mainaga said.

The American Red Cross is assisting the family. Units from Hoolehua and Pukoo also joined in fighting the fire.


Police probe Waiehu Pit Stop robbery

Police are investigating a robbery Monday morning at Waiehu Pit Stop.

A person with a weapon entered the store at about 11:30 a.m. before leaving with an unknown amount of cash, police said.

Detectives remained at the scene Monday afternoon. Additional information wasn’t available Monday.


Fire causes $70K in damage to cottage

A fire in a 600-square-foot Kihei cottage displaced two people and did $70,000 in damage on Sunday, Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga said.

Kihei and Wailea firefighters responded to the blaze reported at 4:13 p.m. at 2138 Waimaka Place. When firefighters arrived at the cottage behind a main residence, they found about a quarter of it in flames, Mainaga said.

It was brought under control at 4:35 p.m. No injuries were reported, he said. Red Cross volunteers were called to assist the displaced residents.

The fire’s cause remained undetermined Sunday evening, but it was believed to be accidental.

Mainaga said that there was $60,000 damage to the building and $10,000 damage to its contents.


Man dies after found floating in ocean

A 59-year-old Kahului man died Sunday after he was found floating facedown in the ocean off Kamaole Beach Park III in Kihei, police said.

He was identified as Stephen King of Kahului.

Emergency workers responded to the 3:16 p.m. call.

King, who was about 25 yards offshore, was brought to shore, where lifeguards and medics attempted to revive him, police said. He was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m.

The cause of death is pending autopsy results, police said.


Woman charged with abuse of boyfriend

A Kihei woman was arrested for felony abuse for using a broom to hit her boyfriend in the face and back early Monday while a child was present in the residence, police said.

Jennifer Difilippo, 39, was charged with felony abuse, second-degree assault, abuse and fourth-degree criminal property damage.

Kihei patrol officers were called to the residence at about 4 a.m., following an argument that began between 11 p.m.

and midnight Sunday, police said. Difilippo’s live-in boy-friend reported that the argument later turned physical and Difilippo grabbed a broom that she used to hit him multiple times in the face and back, police said. He reported suffering pain.

At the time, a child under age 14 was in the home.

Under a state law that took effect June 20, a felony abuse charge can be brought when an abuse occurs in the presence of a family or household member under age 14 and the child hears, observes or is impacted by the abuse.

The criminal property damage charge was for a woodcarving that was damaged at the residence.


Arrest in case of man assaulting another

A Paia man was arrested for an assault on another man in a Paia bar, police said.

Paia Kealoha U’u, 26, was released after posting $1,000 bail on a second-degree assault charge.

The assault was reported at 11:45 p.m. July 18 by security for Charley’s Restaurant and Saloon. A man who was in the bar with friends told police that, without warning, another man approached and punched the victim several times in the face. The victim, who didn’t know his attacker, was stunned as the attacker ran from the bar, police said.

The victim suffered pain to his right eye and mouth, and two of his front teeth were loosened in the assault, police said.

After witnesses identified the assailant as Kealoha U’u, police issued an all-points bulletin for his arrest.

He was arrested Thursday when an officer stopped a vehicle that Kealoha U’u was driving, police said.


Park set to host Hawaiian Flag Day event

Haleakala National Park will hold a Hawaiian Flag Day event beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Headquarters Visitor Center, just past the entrance.

Gov. John Waihee signed a proclamation making July 31 Hawaiian Flag Day in 1990.

There will be short presentations, and Kalani Pea will answer questions about La Hae Hawaii, or Hawaiian Flag Day. A ceremony honoring the Hawaiian flag will be held at noon.

The events are free, but entrance fees apply. Hawaiian Flag Day celebrations also are planned at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park on the Big Island.


First Wind official set to speak at noon

Carolyn Unser, community outreach coordinator for First Wind, will speak to the Kiwanis Club of Kahului at noon today at Cary and Eddie’s Hideaway in Kahului.

First Wind, an independent renewable energy company focused on utility-scale projects, developed Kaheawa Wind above Maalaea.

Unser will discuss the company’s Hawaii projects and its work related to the environment and community out-reach.

The cost for lunch is $12.

For more information, contact John L. Buck III, Kiwanis Club of Kahului president, at 269-6670


Juror questionnaires to be mailed Monday

Beginning Monday, about 55,000 juror questionnaires will be mailed to residents in Maui County, the state Judiciary announced.

The questionnaires will be used to help select potential jurors who may be eligible to serve in 2015.

Those who receive a questionnaire, which is mailed every August to residents who have a Hawaii driver’s license and are registered to vote in Hawaii, have 10 days to complete and return it to the Jury Pool Office. Anyone who fails to respond may be penalized.

To be eligible to serve as a juror, someone must be at least 18 years old, a citizen of the United States, a resident of Hawaii, and able to read and understand English.

County / In Brief

Traffic stop leads to charges for man

Police reported finding black tar heroin in a car driven by a Haiku man who was arrested Tuesday night for driving under the influence of drugs.

Lyon Longstaff, 36, was charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant and refusing to submit to testing. His bail was set at $1,100.

He was arrested after Wailuku Patrol officer Wilfred Ahuna stopped a gold Honda Accord on Waiale Drive at Olomea Street at 11:56 p.m. Tuesday, police said.

The driver, Longstaff, failed field sobriety testing.

After a police K9 dog alerted to the presence of drugs in the car, the vehicle was impounded, police said. In a search, police found a half-gram of black tar heroin and hypodermic needles, police said.

Longstaff wasn’t charged with drug offenses pending further investigation.


Kaunakakai pool to close for work

The Cooke Memorial Pool in Kaunakakai will be closed from Aug. 3 to 5 for general maintenance and cleaning.

The pool will reopen on Aug. 6.

For more information, contact the Molokai recreation office at 553-5141.


Kalana Pakui will close for exercise

The Kalana Pakui Building in Wailuku will be closed to the public from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Monday while an emergency preparedness exercise is held there.

The county Risk Management Division and the Maui Police Department are holding the exercise in the building at 250 S. High St. in Wailuku.

County/In Brief

Walk-in absentee voting to start Monday

Walk-in absentee voting for the primary election, set for Aug. 9, gets underway Monday, the Office of the County Clerk announced.

The walk-in voting will run through Aug. 7. Voters are reminded to bring a picture ID.

The Office of the County Clerk in the county building in Wailuku will be open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday during the period.

On Molokai, the state Department of Accounting and General Services Building No. 1, Meeting Room 104 in Kaunakakai will handle walk-in voting 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed from noon to 1 p.m.) Monday to Friday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.


Ti leaf lei-making demonstrations slated

Hawaiian cultural practitioner Pi’ilani Lua will teach ti leaf lei-making during cultural demonstrations from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday in the Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park, according to an announcement.

The activities are part of Hana No’eau, the park’s cultural demonstration series featuring East Maui residents. The demonstrations are being held on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month through August.

For more information, go to


Plant, rummage sale scheduled Saturday

The Hale Mahaolu Elua Plant & Rummage Sale will be held from 7 to 11 a.m. Saturday.

The event will be at 200 Hina Ave. in Kahului.


Wailuku set to host Kindergarten Camp

Wailuku Elementary School incoming kindergartners and their parents/guardians are invited to Kindergarten Camp, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday on campus.

The camp promotes school readiness and gives students and their families a chance to meet one another. Activities include a bouncing castle, a computer lab and school tours.

Cookies and juice will be served at the end of the event.

From 11 a.m. to noon on the same day, the school is inviting new 1st- to 5th-graders for a student orientation. This event familiarizes new students and their families with the campus and allows them to learn about the school and have any questions answered before the first day of school.

The first day of school at Wailuku for all students in grades 1 to 5 is Aug. 1. Kindergartners have staggered start days and will be notified by mail.

For more information, call the school office at 984-5622.


Asteroid threats topic of talk

A talk on efforts to identify all asteroid threats to human populations will be held at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Maikalani University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy in Pukalani.

Jerry Isdale will speak on “The Asteroid Grand Challenge.” In 2013, NASA announced a “grand challenge” to find all asteroid threats to the Earth and to “know what to do about them” as part of its Asteroid Initiative, an announcement said. The initiative consists of the Asteroid Redirect Mission and the Asteroid Grand Challenge.

Maui Makers through its SpaceGAMBIT program has a Space Act agreement to collaborate with NASA on the Grand Challenge, the announcement said.

There are more than a half-million known asteroids in the solar system. The PanSTARRS telescope atop Haleakala is at the forefront of the hunt, the announcement said.

The center is located at 34 Ohia Ku St. For more information, call 573-9500.

County/In Brief

Woman dies after spinal cord injury

A 42-year-old Arizona woman died Saturday at Maui Memorial Medical Center after firefighters and paramedics pulled her from the ocean fronting the Makena Surf Resort nearly a week earlier, police said.

Wendi Van Briesen of Chandless, Ariz., suffered a spinal cord injury. She had been found floating in the ocean around 9:40 a.m. July 13, according to police.

She was taken to Maui Memorial Medical Center in critical condition. Then, on Saturday, she was pronounced dead, police said.


Woman arrested in threat on another

Bail was set at $5,000 for a woman who was arrested after threatening another woman with a knife Sunday at a Kihei residence, police said.

Dylan Edwards, 19, who gave an Ocean View, Calif., address, was charged with first-degree terroristic threatening.

She was arrested after police were called at 10:20 a.m. to a residence on Mahie Place. The victim told police she had let Edwards stay overnight at the home because she had nowhere to go.

Edwards was trying to walk away with someone else’s backpack when she and the victim got into an argument, police said. When the victim tried to take back the backpack, Edwards took a knife out of a pocket of her purse and used the weapon to threaten the victim, police said.

The victim’s husband took the knife away from Edwards.


Potable water off in Kipahulu District

No potable water will be available for the foreseeable future in the Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park, according to an announcement.

The problem stems from a leak discovered during routine inspections Wednesday in a main waterline in the park’s Kipahulu District. Visitors are advised to bring their own drinking water, and they should expect intermittent restroom closures while crews repair the waterline.

County/In Brief

Chamber of Commerce will host mayor

The Maui Chamber of Commerce will host its Annual Luncheon with the Mayor at the Kahili Golf Course in Waikapu on Friday.

The event will be held from noon to 2 p.m. Registration begins at 11 a.m.

Mayor Alan Arakawa will address business professionals and community leaders on efforts that the administration has made to improve the economy and to support small businesses. Local business owners and friends are encouraged to attend.

For reservations, call 244-0081. Prices are $50 for Chamber members and $60 for nonmembers. Table reservations of 10 are available for $500 per table, which includes reserved privileged seating and a company logo in the program.

The event is sponsored by Alexander & Baldwin Inc.


Crews contain blaze next to Piikea Park

Kihei and Wailea firefighters contained a fire that burned about 2 acres of dry brush and grass next to Piikea Park on Monday, a fire official said.

The fire was reported at 11:27 a.m., with engine companies and two tankers responding to the area off Liloa Drive, said Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga. The fire was contained by 12:30 p.m.

The cause is undetermined.


Grant to fund Early Head Start program

Maui Family Support Services has received a $1.3 million grant to support its Early Head Start program, according to Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard on Monday.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the grant to the private nonprofit, which has served Maui County for 34 years.

The Early Head Start Program provides early, continuous, intensive and comprehensive services to pregnant women, young children and their families, the announcement said. The center’s home-based program offers weekly home visits and twice-monthly group activities.

Also offered at the center are child-development programs, which are available full day and full year to income-eligible families at low or no cost. The program also accepts children with disabilities.

County / In Brief

Kahului man accused of abusing member of his family while children were present

A Kahului man remained in custody Friday after being arrested Monday for physically abusing a family member in front of the family’s children, police said.

Roberto Bishitashon, 47, was charged with felony abuse. His bail was originally set at $5,000.

The incident occurred around 5:30 p.m. when Bishitashon hit a 48-year-old man at the man’s residence in Kahului, police said.

The family’s children, who are under the age of 14, were present during the altercation, which caused the crime to be charged as a felony. The man suffered minor injuries and refused medical assistance, police said.


Council committee will visit two sites offered for a new county service center

Maui County Council’s Budget and Finance Committee on Monday will visit two proposed sites for a new county service center in Central Maui.

The first visit will be at 9 a.m. at the Kehalani Village Center in Wailuku. The gathering will begin at the mauka end of the vacant lot at Waiale Road and Kaupo Street at the driveway entrance nearest to Foodland. RCFC Kehalani is offering 5 acres for $6.6 million and is proposing to donate an additional 14.4 acres near the corner of Kuikahi Drive and Waiale Road.

The second visit will be at 10:30 a.m. at Maui Business Park II in Kahului, gathering at the mauka side of Alaihi Street. Alexander & Baldwin is offering 4 acres for $7.1 million along with a donation of 35.6 acres of property in Paia near Baldwin Beach Park.

The county currently leases space for the center at the Maui Mall. County administration officials have said that its lease will expire Sept. 30, 2015, and will not be renewed.

Committee Chairman Mike White encouraged interested members of the public to provide testimony at the site inspection meeting.

Testimony may be emailed to referencing BF-106.

The meeting agenda is at


Price of gasoline unchanged in Wailuku but nearly a dime less than a year ago

The price of a gallon of unleaded gasoline in Wailuku on Thursday remained at an average of $4.46 cents, the same as last week, the AAA Hawaii Weekend Gas Watch said.

The price, the highest among stations in Hilo and Honolulu, was the same as last month and 9 cents less than last year.

The state average gas price remained the same at $4.34 per gallon during the past week. The current price is 1 cent less than last month and a penny lower than a year ago.

Honolulu’s average price stayed the same as last week at $4.31, which was 3 cents less than a month ago and 7 cents more than a year ago.

In Hilo, the average gas price was $4.15 per gallon, up 2 cents from last week, a penny more than last month and 21 cents less than this time a year ago.

“Oil prices have begun to drop and motorists on the Mainland are starting to see retail pump prices decline,” said AAA Hawaii General Manager Liane Sumida. “Usually, it takes a little longer to see gas price declines in Hawaii once prices elsewhere begin dropping, because of our limited supply sources.”

Prices are derived from fleet vehicle credit card transactions at more than 100,000 stations around the country and are combined averages of last card swipe of previous day.

County/In Brief

MCCC escapee found near Harbor Lights

A man who escaped from Maui Community Correctional Center was arrested Monday morning, while hiding in the back parking lot of the Harbor Lights Condominium complex in Kahului, state Department of Public Safety officials said.

Junior Jorju, 40, had been missing since Saturday night when he was absent for a 9:30 p.m. head count, officials said. He was last accounted for during the jail’s 7 p.m. head count.

He was booked at the Wailuku Police Station on a felony escape charge, which carries a maximum five-year prison sentence, officials said.

It is unknown how Jorju escaped, and the Maui Police Department is investigating the case, officials said.

Jorju was serving a 14-day sentence for driving without a license and criminal contempt of court, both misdemeanor convictions. He was classified as a “community custody” inmate, which is considered the lowest-risk level, officials said.

He had been scheduled to be released Sunday.


Woman found floating in water, later dies

A 67-year-old woman was found floating facedown Monday morning in waters off Kahana, police said.

Patrice Smith of Denton, Texas, was transported to Maui Memorial Medical Center in critical condition. She was pronounced dead at the hospital, police said.

The incident occurred around 9:30 a.m. when police responded to a possible drowning at a beach fronting Mahina Resort. Police and fire officials found Smith unconscious with a bystander conducting CPR on her, police said.

Witnesses told police that Smith was floating about 25 feet from shore before she was pulled out of the water by bystanders, police said.


Man arrested in alleged stabbing of man

A Kihei man was arrested Friday night after allegedly stabbing a man and threatening to kill a group people at a house in Kihei, police said.

Joshua Farmer, 27, was charged with second-degree assault and first-degree terroristic threatening. His bail was set at $10,000.

The incident occurred around 8:30 p.m. when a man called 911, saying he was stabbed with what appeared to be a kitchen knife, police said.

The man told police that Farmer was invited to the residence, where a group of friends were meeting in the living room. Farmer, who was seemingly unprovoked, became upset and yelled, “I’m going to kill all of you,” police said.

Farmer stabbed the man in the left arm, leaving a 2-inch-long cut, and on the left side of his back, causing a 3-inch-long cut.

He also threatened another person in the group and put the knife to the person’s neck, police said.

Farmer was arrested by police, and the victim was taken to Maui Memorial Medical Center in stable condition.


Teen charged in vehicle theft after crash

A Hana teenager fled from police in a stolen bus late Friday night and was later arrested after crashing the vehicle into a utility pole off Hana Highway in Paia, police said.

Otto W.K. Wolfgramm Jr., 19, was charged with unauthorized control of a propelled motor vehicle, driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor, prohibitions involving minors, reckless driving, inattention to driving, leaving the scene of an accident involving damages and driving without a commercial driver’s license.

He posted $3,000 bail Saturday.

The incident occurred around 11:30 p.m. when a witness reported Wolfgramm driving recklessly north on the highway near Baldwin Beach Park, Maui police spokesman Lt. William Juan said. Juan said police tried to conduct a traffic stop, but Wolfgramm fled in the bus.

A short time later, Wolfgramm lost control and struck a utility pole near Kaiholo Place and fled on foot. He was later arrested and taken into custody, Juan said.

The knocked down utility pole and lines briefly closed Hana Highway, Juan said.


Kihei man charged with burglary

A Kihei man was arrested for allegedly forcing his way into a Kihei man’s residence and punching him repeatedly in the face Sunday night, police said.

KT Kin, 29, was charged with first-degree burglary. His bail was set at $1,000.

The incident occurred around 11 p.m. when police responded to a report of a fight at a residence on Namauu Place, police said.

Witnesses told police that the victim was assaulted after yelling to Kin to be quiet. Kin, who knew the man, got into an argument with the man and entered his home, police said.

The victim suffered abrasions around his eye but declined medical treatment, police said.


Work calls for water conservation

Residents in Kahului, Wailuku, Waihee, Paia, Kihei, Wailea and Makena are asked to reduce water use all day today, as contractors for the county Department of Water Supply work to connect the new Wailuku Well to the existing water system.

The shutdown of Shaft 33 and Iao Well begins at 5:30 a.m. and will end at approximately 7:30 p.m.

During the 14-hour shutdown, customers are urged to conserve water by turning off irrigation systems and other nonessential uses of water. Water pressure should not be affected.

Shaft 33 is a primary water source for Central Maui with a daily average production of 4.75 million gallons per day, water officials said in a news release. Iao Well provides about 300,000 gallons per day. This tie-in project is part of a capital improvement project to install the well pump at Wailuku Well to spread out pumping in the Iao aquifer.

The Wailuku Well is expected to be placed in service after construction is completed in 2015.

If a water problem occurs, customers should call 270-7633.


Library adds a language database

The state public library system has added 11 foreign languages to its Mango electronic language-learning software database.

Mango debuted in December with its Hawaiian language resource for library patrons on the state public library website.

The Mango Languages system offers a unique learning environment that allows patrons to take lessons at their own pace. Memory-building exercises are embedded into each unit to ensure that patrons

retain what they learn, said the public libraries website.

The additional languages, all free, are Cantonese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Hindi, Indonesian, Thai, Portuguese (Brazilian), Swahili, Greek (modern), Hebrew (modern) and Arabic (modern standard).

For more information, select the “E-Learning @ Your Library” button on the Hawaii State Public Libraries website. Create a profile by providing an email address and password and follow the instructions to activate the Mango Languages account.


Free seat inspections for children

Free child car seat and booster seat inspections will be done from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of the Maui Marketplace near Pier 1 Dairy Road in Kahului.

Those interested in having child car seats checked to see whether they’re properly installed should show up with the child, car seat or booster seat and car. An inspection takes a minimum of 30 minutes for each seat.

The inspections are done on a first-come, first-served basis.

Under state law, child car seats are required for children under age 4. Children from ages 4 to 7 are required to be restrained in either car seats or booster seats while riding in vehicles.

Information about upcoming child car seat inspections is available on Facebook by looking up Maui County Child Passenger Safety at

County / In Brief

Group of kayakers rescued off Maui

Maui firefighters and U.S. Coast Guard crews rescued nine people kayaking off Olowalu on Friday afternoon.

Three fire units responded to a 2 p.m. call of kayakers in distress, said Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga. When firefighters arrived on the scene, they saw a cluster of kayaks about a half-mile offshore.

Ocean Safety’s rescue watercraft made contact with the kayakers and brought two people to shore at Camp Olowalu, Mainaga said.

Those people told firefighters that there were seven more people in the ocean, leading the crew to go out again, picking up three more kayakers and taking them to the Alii Nui, a catamaran anchored in the area for snorkelers, he said.

The Coast Guard arrived on the scene and picked up the remaining kayakers.

All nine people, members of a tour group – seven customers, a leader and an assistant – were safe; no one needed medical attention, Mainaga said.


County office will close for training

The Department of Public Works, Development Services Administration, will be closed for training from 8:45 to 11:45 a.m. July 28.

The offices are located at 250 S. High St. in the Kalana Pukui building, next to the Kalana O Maui building.

Members of the public with scheduled permitting issues that morning are advised to reschedule meetings with staff and to make other arrangements. For more information, contact administration offices at 270-7373.


MECO to inspect lines with chopper

Maui Electric Co. will be using a helicopter to perform routine power line inspections from Maalaea to Kanaha from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, weather permitting.

The route will include Waiko, Waiale and Waiinu roads; Kaahumanu and Puunene avenues; and Honoapiilani Highway, Wakea Avenue, Hana Highway and Dairy Road.

Date and locations are subject to change due to weather. Routine aerial inspections of Maui Electric’s equipment, including electrical lines, poles and substations are necessary to maintain stable and reliable electrical service for the Maui County community, the MECO news release said.

For questions or concerns, the public may contact Maui Electric at 871-8461 or (877) 871-8461 from Lanai and Molokai, toll free.

County/In Brief

Molokai General set to close in August

Molokai General Store will be closing for good at the end of August, owners announced Wednesday.

The store has been one of only a handful along Main Street in Kaunakakai town since it opened in 2011. Offerings include office supplies, linens, containers, fishing supplies, sporting goods, party supplies, appliances, jewelry, snacks, cleaning supplies, tools, books, clothing and toys.

“Over the past six months, the store has been underperforming, and we have seen month after month of declining sales while the expenses of overhead and maintaining a full inventory have increased,” store owner David Mikami said in a statement.

The last day of business will be Aug. 30.

As part of the clearance sale, prices of all items have been marked down 20 percent or more, with select items offered with higher discounts, owners said. Everything will be sold.

The eight full- and part-time employees who work at the store will be offered positions at the family’s other two stores, Molokai Drugs Inc. and Kamoi Snack-n-Go Inc. Any employees laid off in this process will be offered employment assistance, the announcement said.

The family said it will be announcing future plans for the 4,300-square-foot space in the coming weeks.


Mayoral candidates will appear at event

A Maui County mayoral candidate forum with all six candidates scheduled to appear will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in the dining room of Seabury Hall in Makawao and will be televised live on Akaku Channel 55.

Incumbent Mayor Alan Arakawa and his five challengers, Beau Hawkes, Alana Kay, Tamara Paltin, Ori Kopelman and Nelson Waikiki Jr., are scheduled to appear.

The forum, co-sponsored by the Haiku, Kula, Makawao and Pukalani community associations, will be moderated by Mahina Martin, Dick Mayer and Victor Reyes.

In addition to in-person and televised formats, the debate also may be streamed at Click “Akaku Channel 55 Live” on the right side.

“While some candidates will tout their achievements, others will critique the way things have been done in the past and suggest ways to improve county operations,” said Jen Livingston, Haiku Community Association president. “The forum should be interesting; it certainly will not be dull television.”

For more information, call 283-4376.


Blaze leads to closure of Baldwin Avenue

A portion of Baldwin Avenue was closed for about 20 minutes Monday while firefighters extinguished a fire that burned about 1,200 square feet of light brush and dry grass, a fire official said.

Paia firefighters responded to the fire reported at 11:41 a.m. on the east side of Baldwin Avenue below Holomua Road, said Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga.

The cause of the fire is undetermined.


Canoe launching to shutter Mala Wharf

Mala Wharf will be closed from 2 to 5 p.m. today for the launching of the 63-foot-long Mo’okiha o Pi’ilani voyaging canoe, built by Hui o Wa’a Kaulua.

From 2 to 5 p.m., there will be no parking at Mala Wharf. Hui o Wa’a Kaulua has arranged for public parking at the Lahaina Cannery Mall parking lot, and VIP-only parking at Lahaina Jodo Mission.

For more information, small boaters may contact the Lahaina Small Boat Harbor office at 662-4060. For information on the canoe launch, go to the website or tune in to radio station KPOA 93.5 FM.


Price of gas in Wailuku goes unchanged

Gas prices for regular unleaded in Wailuku on Thursday were unchanged from a week ago at $4.46 a gallon, still the highest of locales tracked in the AAA Hawaii Weekend Gas Watch.

The price was a penny higher than last month and 6 cents less than last year.

The statewide average rose a penny to $4.34 per gallon compared to last week. The current price average is 1 cent less than last month and 4 cents higher than a year ago.

Honolulu’s average price stayed the same as last week at $4.31 a gallon, down 3 cents from a month ago but up 13 cents from a year ago.

In Hilo, the average gas price was the lowest in the tracked areas, $4.13 per gallon, up 2 cents from last week, the same price as a month ago and 18 cents less than this time a year ago.

“Elevated oil prices have meant high pump prices for motorists on the Mainland,” said AAA Hawaii General Manager Liane Sumida. “But we seemed to have escaped that impact, here. Now, oil prices have eased so hopefully Hawaii prices will begin declining soon since we usually get the effect of lower prices some weeks later.”

Prices are derived from fleet vehicle credit card transactions at more than 100,000 stations around the country. Prices shown are the combined averages of the last card swipe of previous day.


United agrees to keep 220 Hawaii jobs

HONOLULU (AP) – United Airlines has agreed with a union to keep about 220 jobs at airports on Kauai, Maui and the Big Island.

United Airlines spokeswoman Christen David said the airline came to an agreement with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, with employees voting on the agreement Thursday.

David says the agreement lets United keep jobs.

Sandy Olmos, assistant general chairwoman of the union, thanked U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz for his support in a statement issued through Schatz’ office.

The airline previously told employees in March it was considering the possibility of outsourcing jobs at 15 airports. It announced Monday that it planned to outsource 600 jobs at 12 airports around the country while adding jobs elsewhere.

David says the airline is also adding 36 customer service jobs in Honolulu.


Paving work will close beach parking lot

The Keawakapu Beach parking lot will be closed due to paving work at the bottom of Kilohana Drive in Kihei from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 21-25.

During this time, traffic will be detoured around the work zone, the county said. Motorists and beachgoers are advised to find alternate routes and beach parking until work is complete.


Mandatory thrillcraft safety course slated

A recreational thrillcraft operator safety education class will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. July 20 at the University of Hawaii Maui College, Hale 218.

The class is being taught by Windward Community College’s Hawaii Ocean Education Academy. The instructor is Sam Pa’e Jr.

It is a required certification course and will cover safety principles, practices and rules for thrillcraft operation in Hawaii. Completion of the Safe Boating in Hawaii or equivalent National Association of State Boating Law Administrators-approved course is a prerequisite.

The cost is $99.

To register, call (808) 235-7433. For more information, go to

County/In Brief

Wailuku man faces three theft counts

A man who was being sought for stealing from a Kahului store last month was arrested Saturday for stealing from a Kihei store, police said.

Bryan Benz, 57, of Wailuku was charged with three counts of second-degree theft. His bail was set at $12,000.

Benz had been stopped at about 4 p.m. June 29 after he entered Costco in Kahului and left without paying for 11 items that he had concealed in bags, police said. When he was confronted outside the store, Benz returned the items – valued at $408 – and fled, police said.

An all-points bulletin had been issued for Benz when he was arrested shortly before 2 p.m. Saturday for shoplifting from Foodland in Kihei, police said.

Benz also was arrested on two contempt-of-court warrants, with bail totaling $1,000.


Man apprehended in assault at eatery

A Lahaina man was arrested after he became disorderly and assaulted a restaurant employee on the Fourth of July, police said.

Andrew Nakihei, 27, was released after posting $1,000 bail on the second-degree assault charge.

He was arrested at 11:06 p.m. after using an object to hit the employee at Longhi’s, police said.


Police: Push turned thefts to robbery

A Wailuku man was arrested for robbery after he pushed a store employee who confronted the suspected shoplifter outside the store Friday afternoon, police said.

Ryan Okamura, 28, was charged with second-degree robbery. His bail was set at $5,000.

Okamura had gone into Kmart in Kahului and was seen removing alcoholic beverages from a shelf and concealing the items in a backpack, police said. Two store loss-prevention agents followed Okamura as he walked past cash registers and out of the store, police said.

When he was stopped by the employees, who identified themselves, Okamura used both hands to push one employee in the chest and tried to flee, police said.

Okamura was subdued by the employees and detained before being arrested by police at about 3:15 p.m.


Home where woman found not her own

A 29-year-old woman was arrested after she was found in a Kihei residence Friday afternoon when police responded to a report of a burglary in progress, police said.

Bail was set at $25,000 for Crystal Soto, who gave no local address. She was charged with first-degree burglary and unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle.

Kihei patrol officers were called to the home on Nohokai Street after 1 p.m. to investigate a report that a female intruder was still in the home and possibly armed with a weapon, police said. Officers found Soto in the bathroom.

Soto had apparently taken a key to a vehicle from the house and had been seen driving the vehicle from the back of the residence before getting out and going back into the home, police said.


Community service sites being sought

The state Judiciary is seeking to expand work site offerings for offenders ordered by the court to provide community service.

The Judiciary’s Community Service Sentencing Program places juvenile and adult offenders with nonprofit or tax-supported community organizations to complete their volunteer work hours.

Organizations that need help with office work, building and outdoor maintenance or other tasks and would like to help offenders repay their debt to society should contact the Judiciary’s Special Services Branch at 244-2729.

County/In Brief

Winners announced for Makawao parade

Organizers have announced the award winners from Saturday’s 2014 Makawao Paniolo Parade.

This year’s theme was “Celebrate the Paniolo.”

The winners are:

* Best Parade Horse – Clayton Hee.

* Best Mounted Rider – Jadelin DeLeon.

* Best Mounted Group – Piiholo Ranch.

* Best Mounted Keiki – Jr. Princess Aryka Diego.

* Most Unusual Entry – Ohana Ranch of Maui.

* Best Musical Entry – Isle of Maui Pipe Band.

* Best Float Entry – Casanova.

* Best Representation of Theme – Rose Freitas.

Winners may pick up their trophies at Miyake Concrete in Makawao.


Fire department reports calls for fires

The Maui Fire Department received 11 calls relating to brush fires and two for structures on the Fourth of July, a fire official said.

The string of fires began at 10:52 a.m. Friday, when a brush fire started by fireworks burned at The Dunes at Maui Lani Golf Course, Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga said. He said that a separate fire broke out about an hour later on Mahaolu and Hoomoku streets. The cause of the second fire is undetermined.

Information was limited Saturday afternoon for the other fires and their causes were undetermined, Mainaga said. He said no injuries were reported in the fires.

One of the calls relating to a structure fire occurred around 7:35 p.m. Friday outside a single-story residence on Makani Road in Makawao, Mainaga said. He said the other was around 8:52 p.m. near a condominium on South Kihei Road.


Paving improvement work closes stadium

War Memorial Stadium remains closed because workers are conducting paving improvements to a portion of the internal roadway in the stadium.

The stadium will reopen July 16, with the construction area closed while work continues. The project is scheduled to end July 30.


State DOT will host airport info meeting

The state Department of Transportation Airports Division will hold a public informational meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Kaunoa Senior Center, 401 Alakapa Place in Spreckelsville, to discuss a runway resurfacing project at Kahului Airport.

The project includes 3 inches of pavement resurfacing over the entire 525,000-square-foot main runway, according to a department news release. The department plans to begin construction July 13, with work scheduled from 12:01 to 7 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays.

Residents are welcome to attend Friday’s meeting to learn about the resurfacing project and to raise questions and concerns.

To request language interpretation or an auxiliary aid or service, such as sign language interpreter, accessible parking or

materials in alternative format, contact Maui District Airports Manager Marvin Moniz by phone at 872-8830 or by email at

Requests must be made at least three days prior to the meeting. TTY (text telephone) users may use TRS to contact the Transportation Department at (808) 587-2210.


Work scheduled for Maui County roads

The state Department of Transportation has announced that work on Maui County roads this week is scheduled in the following areas:

* Lane closures will occur in both directions of North Kihei Road between Honoapiilani and Piilani highways from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 8 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Monday through Friday for road repairs.

* Honoapiilani Highway will experience lane closures in both directions between Kahana Nui Road and Kaanapali Parkway from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Monday through Friday for road repairs.

County / In Brief

Molokai Ranch accepting orders for beef

Molokai Ranch is now taking pre-orders for its 100 percent grass-fed Angus beef, available this fall.

“Molokai Ranch Beef will be served this fall in some of our most popular restaurants in Hawaii,” a news release said. “We are preparing for the launch by meeting with top local chefs and restaurants that share our values of ranch to table.”

Molokai Ranch Chief Executive Officer Clay Rumbaoa said in an earlier interview that the company was revitalizing ranching operations on Molokai to create a sustainable future for the company and the island. The ranch is also in the early stages of breeding top-of-the-line Wagyu beef, which a company spokesperson said will be available for market in two to three years.

While the Angus beef is not yet available in stores, residents may place orders at


Red Cross in J. Walter Cameron Center

The Hawaii Red Cross has relocated its Maui office to the J. Walter Cameron Center.

The office and mailing address is now 95 Mahalani St., Conference Room 3, Wailuku 96793.

The phone number will remain the same, 244-0051.

The Red Cross is a nonprofit humanitarian organization that provides assistance to meet the immediate emergency needs of those affected by disasters.


Pool locker rooms to close for face-lifts

Repair and maintenance work at the Kihei Aquatic Center in preparation for the Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships will lead to the closure of the locker room area from Monday to Aug. 8.

The work includes shower and locker room face-lifts, painting and reinstallation of pool grates in the 50-meter and training pools and painting of the bulkhead, the county news release said.

Showers and locker rooms will be closed, but portable toilets and hand-wash stations will be available. This project will not impact programs such as PALS, junior lifeguard or water aerobics, the county said.

For more information, contact Duke Sevilla at 270-6135.


Early closure slated for Molokai Landfill

The Molokai Landfill will be closing at 1 p.m. instead of 2:30 p.m. Tuesday to Friday due to manpower shortages, the Department of Environmental Management Solid Waste Division said.

The landfill’s regular days and hours are Tuesdays to Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The closure is necessary to meet minimum state Department of Health operating requirements of the county’s solid waste permit, the division said.


Boating safety course July 13 at UH-MC

A “Safe Boating in Hawaiian Waters” course by the University of Hawaii’s Hawaii Ocean Education Academy is being offered from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 13 at the University of Hawaii-Maui College, Hale 218.

The course will provide boaters with the requirements for operating a vessel in state waters. The instructor will be Sam Pa’e Jr. The cost is $99. For more information, go to

County / In Brief

Police find missing man, arrest him

A 30-year-old man who was reported missing last month was located Monday night and arrested on two contempt-of-court warrants, according to police records.

Matthew McCormick had been reported missing June 21 by his mother, after he had been last seen June 12 in Makawao.

Police records show that McCormick was arrested at 9:13 p.m. Monday in the Kehalani area of Wailuku. He was being held Monday morning at the Wailuku Police Station in lieu of $1,000 bail on the two warrants.


DMVL offices will close for training

All Department of Finance Division of Motor Vehicles & Licensing offices countywide will be closed July 11 for staff training.

In addition, all offices in the county Maui Mall Service Center will be closed that day.

For more information, call 270-7363 or visit


Maintenance delays opening of pool

Pools at the Lahaina Aquatic Center will open at noon Thursday due to the installation of a shower heater, the county Department of Parks and Recreation said.

There will be no water at the facility during the installation, which will begin at 7:30 a.m. Thursday. Signs will be posted at the facility to inform swimmers of the delayed opening.

For more information, call the Aquatics Division at 270-6138.


Kula trash pickups to be made up

Trash pickups along a Kula route were missed Tuesday due to a staffing shortage, said the county Department of Environmental Management Solid Waste Division.

The affected areas include Kula Kai, Upper and Lower Kimo drives and Holopuni and Lower Kula roads.

The missed route will be picked up today.


Hearings planned on cable TV merger

The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Cable Television Division will hold two hearings on Maui this month involving the merger of Time Warner Cable and Comcast Corp.

Comcast has submitted a joint application with Oceanic Time Warner Cable’s parent company, TWC, for the transfer of control of Oceanic’s Hawaii cable franchises, at the parent level, from TWC to Comcast.

The hearings on Maui are set for July 15 in the Cameron Center Auditorium in Wailuku and July 17 at the West Maui Senior Center in Lahaina, Classroom 115. Both meetings are set to begin at 4:30 p.m.

For people who cannot attend the meetings, comments may be emailed to, faxed to (808) 586-2625 or mailed to Cable Television Division, Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, P.O. Box 541, Honolulu 96809.

The documents about the proposed transfer are available at the website cable_operators/comcast-time-warner-merger/.


Paratransit council will meet July 14

The Paratransit Advisory Council will hold a meeting from 1 to 3 p.m. July 14 at the Maui Economic Opportunity Family Center, 99 Mahalani St.

The public is invited.

Those unable to attend may email comments to or call 249-2990, ext. 342.

Members of the advisory council are Andrew Valentine, chairman; June Toma-Rose, vice chairwoman; June Davis, secretary/recorder; Elizabeth Medeiros; Marv Paularena; Joseph Frye; Vivian Lindsey; Beverly Saxon; Alice Lennox; Sheldon Rabares; Patricia McGrath; Kevin Souza; and Elsie Santos.

County / In Brief

Police: Man reported missing

Police have opened a missing person investigation involving 30-year-old Matthew McCormick, who was last seen June 12 in Makawao.

He was reported missing June 21 by his mother, who last heard from him via text message on June 11, according to police.

McCormick is described as 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing 125 pounds with black hair, brown eyes and has numerous tattoos, including a full-sleeve tattoo on his right arm.

His mother reported that McCormick has addictions to alcohol and drugs and sometimes suffers seizures from drinking too much, police said.


Applications sought for new police chief

The Maui Police Commission is seeking applications for a new Maui County police chief, with an Aug. 12 deadline for receiving applications.

The new chief will succeed Chief Gary Yabuta, who is retiring July 31 to become director of the federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program in Hawaii.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens and Hawaii residents for at least one year preceding the appointment to the job that pays $135,000 a year.

The commission is seeking candidates with at least 15 years’ experience as a law enforcement officer, including at least five years in an administrative position. The commission also is seeking candidates who have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university or who are graduates of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy.

Application packets are available at the Maui Police Commission, 55 Mahalani St., Wailuku, or by calling the Police Commission secretary at 244-6440. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Applications, including a resume and supporting documents, must be submitted by certified mail and be received by Aug. 12.


New location today for PALS at Lokelani

The summer PALS program at Lokelani Intermediate School will be temporarily relocated today to the Kihei Community Center due to a waterline break at the school Monday, the county Parks and Recreation said.

The morning drop-off today will be in the field below the Kihei Aquatic Center, 303 E. Lipoa St. The afternoon pickup will be at the Kihei Community Center. The program was relocated Monday to the Kihei Community Center.

Signs have been posted at the school, and PALS staff will be at Lokelani today to redirect those dropping off and picking up their children.

For more information, call 270-7404.


Bail set at $10,000 in assault, burglary

Bail is set at $10,000 for a man charged with assaulting another man Sunday night at a Kahului residence, police said.

Mario Corrales, 50, of Kahului is charged with first-degree assault and first-degree burglary.

Corrales and the victim live in separate units on a property on Ani Street, police said. Corrales said he was representing the landlord when he went to tell the victim he had to move out, and they got into an altercation, police said.

Corrales told police he was struck with a two-by-four and used his fists to defend himself. Both Corrales and the other man were injured in the incident, which was reported at about 8:26 p.m, police said.

The victim remained hospitalized Monday, police said.


Civil Defense will test sirens

The Civil Defense monthly test of the statewide outdoor siren warning system, coordinated with the test of the live audio broadcast segment of the Emergency Alert System, is scheduled for 11:45 a.m. today.

The siren test is a steady one-minute tone on all sirens. The steady tone alerts the public to emergencies that may pose a threat to life and property. Besides natural hazards, the Emergency Alert System could be used for terrorist incidents or acts of war.

Contact Maui County Civil Defense to report siren operations issues at 270-7285.

Tests of civil defense sirens and the Emergency Alert System usually are conducted on the first working day of the month.


Trash missed due to shortage

A staffing shortage led to a trash route in Kihei being missed Monday, the county Solid Waste Division announced.

The missed pickup is expected to be picked up today.

The affected areas include Ahaiki, Hale Kai, Hoalike, Huaka, Lauloa, Nanakai, Noe, Oe, Pa, Palanehe, Wainohia and Wikani streets.


Offices to close for July holiday

Federal, state and county offices will be closed Friday in observance of the Independence Day holiday.

All public libraries also will be closed Friday through Sunday.

The Hana and Lanai landfills and Molokai Landfill and Recycling will be closed on Friday. The Central Maul Landfill and ECO Compost Greenwaste will be open from 6 a.m. to noon. Olowalu Recycling will be open from 8 a.m. to noon.

Residential trash pickup will not be affected; all county pools will be open Friday.

The Maui News business offices will be closed Friday.


Baker slated to speak at event

State Sen. Roz Baker, who represents South and West Maui, will be speaking at the Soroptimist International of West Maui dinner July 16 at Paradise Grill in Kaanapali.

Her appearance is part of the group’s speaker series. A former member of West Maui Soroptimists, Baker will discuss issues facing West Maui and the rest of the island.

She is currently running for re-election to her 6th District seat. She has a primary opponent in fellow Democrat Terez M. Amato. Others seeking the seat are Republican Jared P. “Pika” Dubois and Libertarian Bronson Kekahuna Kaahui.

In the state Senate, Baker is chairwoman of the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee and vice chairwoman of the Senate Health and Public Safety, Intergovernmental Relations and Military Affairs committees.

The meeting is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. For reservations, call Ruth McKay at 283-5193.