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State/In Brief

August 31, 2013
The Associated Press

Ethics commission fines councilwoman

HONOLULU - The Honolulu Ethics Commission says city Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi has agreed to pay a $500 civil fine for failing to follow an ethics law.

The commission said Friday that Kobayashi admitted she failed to disclose she was a director of six credit union service organizations when she introduced and voted on a bill to change the real property tax exemption for credit unions last year.

The commission says Kobayashi's public and private duties conflicted and ethics laws required her to promptly disclose the conflict to the public.

Kobayashi disclosed the conflict after commission staff brought it to her attention. She also resigned her directorship with the subsidiaries and admitted responsibility for not following ethics laws.

The six credit union organizations are wholly owned subsidiaries of Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union.


Fire shatters door of convenience store

HONOLULU - Honolulu police are investigating an early-morning fire as a possible arson.

KHON-TV reported that a man at about 3:30 a.m. Friday tried to crash a van into Rainbow Mart in Palolo Valley and then set the vehicle on fire.

Firefighters arrived to find two vans on fire.

Heat from the fires shattered the store's glass door.

The fire was brought under control in about 20 minutes.

No one was injured.


Big Island men charged in sex assaults

HILO - Two Big Island men have been indicted on sex assault charges in separate, unrelated cases.

Chance Vince Letreta is charged with sex assault of an under 14-year-old girl between 2008 and 2009. Phil James is charged with kidnapping and sex assault of a woman.

Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported that a Kona grand jury indicted 34-year-old Letreta of Kailua-Kona and 31-year-old James of Ocean View on Aug. 13.

According to court records Letreta has 15 prior convictions including domestic abuse and auto theft. He's being held at Halawa Correctional Facility on Oahu on $50,000 bail.

Court records show that James has seven prior convictions, but none for felonies. He's being held at Hawaii County Correctional Center on $50,000 bail.


Two tons of nuisance material removed

HONOLULU - Honolulu municipal maintenance crews removed more than 2 tons of nuisance material this week from city sidewalks and parks.

Among the nuisances removed were 28 shopping carts.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that the 2.14 tons of material was removed from Chinatown, Aala Park, Waikiki and Thomas Square and other locations.

Crews focused on sidewalks where the city had received complaints.

The city sidewalk ordinance allows removal of items. People can retrieve them for a $200 fee.

The law defines sidewalk nuisances as objects constructed, kept or operated on or over any sidewalk. Nuisances can include stalls, stands, tents, furniture, containers and whatever those containers are holding.

A separate ordinance allows removal of personal items on city property if 24-hour advance notice is given.


Lockdown for school over report of gun

HILO - A Big Island elementary school went into lockdown after reports of a woman pointing a gun at the facility.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported that 49-year-old Lokelani Lenore Harbrecht-Kalua was taken into custody Thursday morning near Keonepoko Elementary School in Pahoa.

No charges were immediately filed.

Harbrecht-Kalua lives near the school. Hilo police Lt. Greg Esteban says no gun was recovered when Harbrecht-Kalua was taken into custody outside her home. She was held on suspicion of terroristic threatening.

Police took a call on the incident at 7:18 a.m.

Keonepoko principal Kathleen Romero says the school immediately locked down as parents and buses dropped children off.

Parents were given the option of leaving children at school or taking them home with an excused absence.

The lockdown lasted 45 minutes.



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