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State/In Brief

August 11, 2013
The Associated Press

Emergency training grant $5M

HONOLULU - The University of Hawaii at Manoa is getting a $5 million federal grant to help train first responders to prepare for emergencies.

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa's office announced the grant Friday. The Democrat representing urban Honolulu said in a statement that the grant will help keep residents and visitors safe during natural disasters and other threats.

The grant will fund the university's National Domestic Preparedness Training Center.

The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for members of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium.


Bus driver arrested after crash

LIHUE - A 74-year-old Kapaa school bus driver has been arrested on suspicion of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant after crashing into a parked boat.

Lawrence Koth was driving to Kapaa Middle School on Thursday morning when police received reports the bus was swerving, Kauai police said in a news release. As Koth was pulling over for police, he sideswiped a parked boat and trailer, police said.

Four students on the bus were not injured.

His arrest wasn't related to alcohol, county spokeswoman Sarah Blane said. Koth failed a sobriety test but passed a test of breath that measures blood alcohol, she said. Police were awaiting results of tests for prescription or illegal drugs. He has not been formally charged, Blane said.

Koth, who was released on $250 bail, could not be reached for comment Friday.


Remains belong to Mich. man

HILO - Hawaii Island police have identified human remains found in a remote area of Mauna Kea volcano as belonging to a Michigan man reported missing nearly six years ago.

Police said Thursday that they used dental records to identify Brian Patrick Murphy. His remains were found last week about 12,000 feet above sea level.

The 67-year-old from Plymouth, Mich., went missing Dec. 5. 2007.

He had told a Mauna Kea visitors center employee that he wanted to hike to the summit of the volcano, which rises 13,796 feet.

A few hours later, the National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for the summit. Later than night, a friend reported the father of two and grandfather of five missing.


Humane Society cuts services

HONOLULU - The Hawaiian Humane Society is cutting back on services and will no longer answer calls to pick up loose or injured Honolulu animals.

KHON-TV reports that the society sought an increase to its $2.3 million city contract, and when the request was rejected, made the decision to focus on core services.

That means the Humane Society will answer calls on aggressive loose dogs or animal emergencies between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. but will leave other case work to the Honolulu Police Department.

Complaints of barking dogs or stray cats will be referred to police.

Residents finding lost dogs will be asked to drop them off at the organization's shelter, which is open all hours.


Teacher charged in sex assault

HONOLULU - A teacher and sailing coach at a private, all-girls school in Honolulu is facing charges he sexually assaulted a student.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that 53-year-old William Plourde requested to turn himself in to police Wednesday night for having sexual contact with the 15-year-old girl.

According to court documents, the teen told police the incident took place June 6 in Mililani inside Plourde's car and that Plourde was her former homeroom teacher.

The head of Sacred Hearts Academy said Plourde's employment was terminated Wednesday.


Ruling allows suits to advance

LIHUE - A state appeals court ruling has cleared the way for stalled lawsuits involving a deadly 2006 Kauai dam breach to move forward.

The state Intermediate Court of Appeals on Wednesday sent the case back to circuit court, vacating the lower court's ruling letting 17 insurance companies out of a Ka Loko dam suit, the Garden Island reported.

The 5th Circuit was wrong to rule that insurers had no duty to defend against "continuous, incremental and indivisible" property damage, the ruling states.

Lawsuits were filed after the dam break killed seven people.

The appellate ruling involves three lawsuits and 17 insurers, said Tom Grande, an attorney for the victims.

"We are taking a careful look at the decision to determine what is the next appropriate step," he said.



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