Sunday, January 7, 2001
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Posted on: Sunday, January 7, 2001

Neighbor Island briefs

Advertiser Staff and News Services


Foul play ruled out in woman’s death

HILO, Hawaii — Police have ruled out foul play in the death of a Big Island woman found Dec. 29 at the base of Kehena Beach in Puna.

After a weeklong investigation and an autopsy, Lt. Derek Pacheco said Ute Leinmuller, 41, had died in an accident.

She lived off an unpaved roadway near Waa Waa known as Papaya Road, he said. Police now believe she fell sometime in the morning hours from the 40-foot cliff. Leinmuller also was known as Sunami.

County parks take reservations on Net

HILO, Hawaii — The public may now reserve campsites at the Big Island’s 11 county parks on the Internet.

The program, announced by parks chief Patricia Engelhard, allows anyone with access to the Internet to book a campsite at any of 11 county parks using a credit card.

The new program will not replace walk-in reservations or mailed reservations, said Engelhard. She said no reservation is complete until payment has been made.

The Web site address is:

Campers also may obtain campsite reservations at the Hawaii County Building on Aupuni Street in Hilo and the Kona Community Aquatic center in Kailua-Kona, which operate weekdays from 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sites open less frequently include Waimea Community Center, Hisaoka Gym in North Kohala, Pahala Community Center and Na’alehu Clubhouse in Ka’u and Yano Hall in Captain Cook.

First arrests made in gambling raids

HILO, Hawaii — The first of dozens of suspects in a drug, cockfighting and gambling ring in Puna and Hilo have been arrested by Hawaii County vice squad detectives following a long undercover investigation.

Lt. Henry Tavares said more than 100 separate investigations were conducted last year into gambling; cruelty to animals; distribution of cocaine, heroin, ice (crystal methamphetamine) and marijuana; and prostitution.

Nine arrests have been made. All suspects were released pending further investigation, Tavares said.

Police said there may be as many as 40 suspects.

The arrests began late last month.

Astronaut to speak at science program

HILO, Hawaii — Astronaut Steve Hawley will be the keynote speaker at an interactive science education program at the University of Hawaii-Hilo Jan. 27.

Ellison Onizuka Science Day, for 300 students in grades 5 through 12, is named for the Kona astronaut who died in the shuttle Challenger disaster on Jan. 28, 1986. A museum at Kona airport has been established in his memory, and the mid-level orientation center at Hale P¯haku on Mauna Kea has been named in his honor.

Hawley is a veteran of four space shuttle flights, from his first trip in 1984 on the Discovery to the Hubble project.

Also taking part is aerospace educational specialist Tom Gates, of the NASA Ames Research Center in California, who will discuss living and working in space.

The science day is free and open to the public, co-sponsored by UHH faculty, the state Department of Education and the National Space and Aeronautics Administration.

Hawley will speak 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the UHH Theatre. For information, call the UHH University Relations office at (808) 974-7642.

Rash of burglaries reported in county

HILO, Hawaii — Hawaii County authorities are seeking help on both sides of the island after a slew of December thefts ranging from a large lawn tractor to women’s jewelry.

The latest thefts include:

A University of Hawaii Agricultural Experiment Station red lawn tractor were taken shortly after Christmas, about 2 miles mauka of the Hawaii County zoo.

Earlier in December, four large speakers worth $2,200 used for a winter dance at North Kona’s Kealakehe High were stolen. Two of the boxes were 3 to 4 feet high and contained two 18-inch speakers.

On the same day, a stereo system including a variety of Sony high-tech features was stripped from a Ford Windstar Van parked in the K-Mart parking lot in Kailua-Kona.

In the H¯lualoa area, mauka of Kona, a burglar took 22 pieces of jewelry estimated at $8,350 from a Hualalai Road residence.

Police ask anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 961-8330 in Hilo and 329-8181 in Kona. Caller identification is not used on those lines.

Arrests for DUI down in 2000

HILO, Hawaii — Big Island police report they arrested 1,081 motorists for drunk driving during 2000. That was down from a record 1,207 drunk driving arrests in 1999. There were 1,056 drunk driving arrests on the island in 1998.

Sgt. Randy Apele said that 168 of the drunk drivers arrested last year were taken into custody after being involved in accidents. Apele said 152 of the motorists arrested for drunk driving last year were under Hawaii’s legal drinking age of 21.

Police also reported there were 38 traffic fatalities on the Big Island in 200, compared with 31 in 1999.


Kihei Library hit by vandals again

KIHEI, Maui — The Kihei Public Library, struck by two severe instances of vandalism last month, has been hit again. Library employees arrived for work Dec. 28 to find the parking lot littered with rubbish and a front porch spray-painted with graffiti.

Officials report that the damage was much less costly than the previous incidents, when rocks and BB pellets were used to shatter windows, and beer was dumped into the book drop, ruining hundreds of books.

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