Thursday, January 25, 2001
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Posted on: Thursday, January 25, 2001

Neighbor Island briefs

Advertiser Staff and News Services


Council selects works director

HILO, Hawaii — Engineer Dennis Lee was approved yesterday as Hawaii County’s public works director.

The County Council voted 9-0 to confirm Lee, a government engineer for three separate agencies since 1971.

Mayor Harry Kim said in December that Lee’s job was the biggest challenge to fill because of the low salaries the county pays its engineers.

Lee, 54, returned to the Public Works Department after working more than 10 years for the independent Department of Water Supply as water quality assurance chief and as chief of operations for the past year.

The council already has confirmed Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida, Managing Director Dixie Kaetsu, Planning Director Chris Yuen, Finance Director William Takaba, and Parks and Recreation Director Patricia Engelhard.

Kim, meanwhile, still has not appointed a fire commission that will choose the next fire chief; an environmental director to manage sewer plants formerly part of the public works agency; a data processing manager and a director of research and development.

Help sought in finding youth

HILO, Hawaii — Police have asked for the public’s help in finding a 16-year-old Hilo boy last seen at his home on Saturday.

Daniel Unrau, of Maikalani Road in the Wainaku neighborhood north of Hilo, was last seen riding a blue 10-speed mountain bike.

The missing boy is described by police as a 5 foot, 130-pound Caucasian with short brown hair, brown eyes and a tan complexion.

On Saturday he was wearing a dark T-shirt, bright-colored long pants and dark blue sandals.

Anyone with information on Unrau’s whereabouts can call police at 935-3311 or the anonymous Crime-Stoppers Hawaii number at 961-8300.

Big Isle chief’s swearing in set

HILO, Hawaii — Jimmy Correa will be sworn in as Big Island police chief at 11 a.m. Feb. 1 on the lanai of the Hilo Public Safety Complex.

Correa, 47, was chosen by the Hawaii County Police Commission on Friday, although Mayor Harry Kim had asked the commission to delay a decision until April or later.

The public is invited to the ceremony. Refreshments will be served.

Correa, who had been acting chief since Oct. 16 when Wayne Carvalho retired, was chosen over another finalist, Maj. Robert Prasser of the Honolulu Police Department on a 6-1 vote. Public hearings were held in Hilo and Kona.

Kau bridges being replaced

HILO, Hawaii — The first of four bridge replacement jobs in Kau will be done by Kiewit Pacific Co. for the state Highways Division for $5.67 million.

The Keaiwa Stream Bridge on the Mamalahoa Highway near Pahala is expected to begin next month. Its completion date has not been announced. Work includes removing the existing flood-damaged bridge, building a concrete bridge and stabilizing the stream banks. A state transportation spokeswoman said shoulder, guard rails and signs also will be replaced.

There are three other bridge replacement projects and a nearby restoration of almost a mile of highway that was destroyed by the storm that dumped more than 30 inches on Kau last Nov. 1-2.


Maui brush fire keeps burning

WAILUKU, Maui — Firefighters last night continued to battle hot spots in a blaze that blackened about 800 acres of brush Monday and Tuesday between Olowalu and Launiupoko.

Maui Assistant Fire Chief Richard Fernandez said that while the fire is contained, it remains "not under control’’ as firefighters work in gullies and steep terrain.

Meanwhile, state Sen. Jan Buen, D-4th Dist. (West Maui, Lanai, Molokai) says she’s going to introduce a bill to obtain money for electronic signs that will warn motorists of closed roads.

The fire on Monday burned to the Honoapiilani Highway, prompting authorities to shut down the primary road that connects West Maui to the rest of the island. Thousands of people were stuck in bumper-to-bumper stalled traffic.

Buen said her bill seeks $150,000 in state money to be matched by $650,000 in federal money. The programmable message signs would be similar to those used to warn motorists of road closures and accidents on Oahu. The signs were one of the short-term recommendations of a task force Buen led last year to look for alternative routes to West Maui.

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