Accused teacher on unpaid leave
WAILUKU - A Maui High School teacher, charged in Washington state with taking sexual pictures of a 4-year-old girl, is currently on unpaid leave, according to a state Department of Education complex area superintendent.
Bruce Anderson, who heads the Baldwin-Kekaulike-Maui Complex Area, said the department is investigating the case involving Thomas Takeuchi, 60, a social studies teacher at the school.
"Our goal is always to provide a safe learning environment for our students as best we can," Anderson said earlier this week.
Published reports indicate that Takeuchi has been charged with sexual exploitation of a minor by Whitman County. A woman in Pullman, Wash., told authorities she found sexual pictures of her 4-year-old daughter on her camera. Authorities say the girl told her mother that Takeuchi took the photos in October, the reports say.
Woman, girl on raft are helped to shore
A woman and girl on a raft were helped back to shore Thursday afternoon after brisk trade winds hindered their attempts to return to the beach in Kaanapali, a fire official said.
Lahaina engine and ladder companies, along with a county ocean safety supervisor and personal watercraft, responded to the 4:14 p.m. alarm offshore from Honua Kai Resort, said Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga.
He said a resort beach attendant called 911 after seeing the 20-year-old woman and 12-year-old girl having trouble swimming back in on the raft.
The two were located about 75 yards off the beach and brought back to shore by personal watercraft, Mainaga said.
The Florida visitors did not require medical attention.
Canoe hale arson attempt reported
KAHULUI - Police are investigating a malicious attempt Thursday night to ignite Hawaiian Canoe Club's new authentic canoe hale at Hoaloha Park, officials said.
Witnesses reported seeing a man in his late teens using a cigarette lighter to ignite the roof covering of the hale, which was built using Native Hawaiian plants and timber.
About 100 square feet of the structure was damaged before the fire was brought under control by the activation of a fire sprinkler system, said Battalion Chief Allen Duarte.
Kahului engine and rescue crews responded to the 8:30 p.m. alarm, with the first crew on scene within five minutes. Fire crews found a small smoldering fire on the roof.
The fire was under control at 8:40 p.m. and extinguished at 9 p.m.
Damage to the structure was estimated at $2,000.
A new outrigger canoe that was stored in the hale was partially damaged, with that damage estimated at $1,000.