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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, June 25, 2001

O'ahu briefs

Advertiser Staff and News Services


Fire flares up, doused again

A Wai'anae brush fire that threatened three houses Saturday near Ma'ili'ili Road flared up yesterday in the same area.

HFD Capt. Richard Soo said the fire started to burn again at about 4 p.m., threatening the same three homes near the Wai'anae Comprehensive Center. Smoldering trees were thought to have flamed up again as the winds picked up.

Firefighters pulled their trucks into the large back lots of the houses and fought the blaze from there, Soo said. About 35 firefighters worked for about an hour to bring the blaze under control and worked until 7:30 p.m. to put out smoldering areas.

The fire in Wai'anae follows a Windward fire Friday that swept over more than 30 acres near the Marine Corps base in Kane'ohe before firefighters brought it under control.

"What concerns us is that on June 30, fireworks go on sale," Soo said. "Its a bad dry spell already and now we are going to put mini-dynamite sticks in people's hands."

Soo said he hoped more people would attend public fireworks displays, and those that do light their own will keep the risk of fire in mind and use them away from wildlands areas.

Beautification group to meet

The volunteer public beautification group Ho'onani Mau will hold its first membership meeting at 7 p.m. tomorrow at the Wai'anae Neighborhood Community Center, 85-670 Farrington Highway.

The nonprofit group, comprising about 25 residents, community and business leaders and Hawaiian cultural practitioners, will elect officers and select its first projects to help beautify areas along the coastline.

A potluck will be held before the meeting at 6:30 p.m. Call 696-6009.


Suit settled for $1.3 million

The city will collect a little more than $1.3 million in settlement of its federal lawsuit against Campbell Estate and other parties over environmental contamination discovered at 'Ewa Villages.

Last year, the city sued Campbell Estate and Oahu Sugar for more than $2.3 million.

City Council Policy Chairman Romy Cachola said he is happy that the legal matter has been resolved and believes it will save the city "a lot of money."

Cachola said, "we don't have to go to trial and we don't have to hire special counsel."

The environmental contamination was another aspect of the city's 'Ewa Villages redevelopment project, which became synonymous with city scandal after a $5.6 million fraud against the city was uncovered. Former city official Michael Kahapea was convicted of the fraud and is serving a maximum 50-year prison term.

The City Council approved a move to accept the settlement of $1,318,558 for the cost of clean-up related to pesticide use, underground storage tanks and a fertilizer mixing station that was once at the site.

Campbell Estate spokesman David Rae said those involved in the case praised the outcome.

"We are pleased with the settlement and we feel that it is fair for all involved," Rae said.

Nature group official named

The Nature Conservancy of Hawai'i has announced appointment of an interim executive director.

Suzanne Case, who has been legal counsel for the conservancy since 1987, fills the post vacated by Rex Johnson earlier this month. She begins July 3 while the conservancy continues to search for a permanent replacement.

Case's work with the conservancy includes assistance with the acquisition of Palmyra Atoll and preserves on all major islands.

She attended Punahou School, graduated from Stanford University and received her law degree from University of California, San Francisco.

Her work with the conservancy extended beyond Hawai'i to regional counsel for California, the Western United States and the Asia-Pacific region. She returned to Hawai'i from San Francisco in the fall.

Part of H-1 Freeway closed

The state Department of Transportation will close the H-1 Freeway westbound Punahou on-ramp and the right lane of the

H-1 Freeway westbound between the Alexander on-ramp and the Lunalilo off-ramp tonight and tomorrow from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. for work on the Punahou Street ramp widening project.

Motorists are advised to allow for extra travel time, to use caution while driving through the work area or to take an alternate route.