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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, May 4, 2002

Hawai'i briefs

Advertiser Staff

Judge upholds mortuary search

HILO, Hawai'i — A Big Island judge has turned down a request by a Hilo mortuary to invalidate a search warrant used to investigate allegations that several bodies were buried without caskets.

Investigators with the state attorney general used the warrant Feb. 20 to seize 13 boxes of records from Memorial Mortuary.

Mortuary owners Robert and Momi Diego and their daughter, Bobbie-Jean, have denied any wrongdoing and want the records returned.

Judge Greg Nakamura issued his ruling Thursday. Attorney Brenda Carreira, representing the Diegos, said another hearing will be held May 23 on additional claims that the search warrant was improper.

An affidavit used to justify the warrant claims that Robert Diego embalmed bodies without a license and sold pre-need funeral plans without state authorization. The Diegos were arrested in March for investigation of second-degree theft but never charged.

School's problem with water baffling

State officials say they have yet to determine what the milky substance is that has tainted the water at Waipahu Intermediate School.

Gary Gill, state health deputy director for environmental health, said preliminary results of samples taken by state officials proved inconclusive. Final test results are expected on Monday, Gill said.

No illnesses have been reported from the incident.

A teacher late last week reported that water coming from a faucet in her storeroom in classroom building J had a murky, off-color look.

Pipes sending water to two classroom buildings were shut down Monday after water samples were taken. The situation has prompted school officials to bring in bottled water for the campus' 1,250 students and 100 staffers until the tap water is deemed safe to drink.

Waipahu Intermediate Principal Edward Oshiro said the school has brought in 30 five-gallon containers of bottled water each day for faculty and students, costing the school about $1,000 a day.

Parents also have been encouraged to have their children bring their own drinking water to school.

State gets $2M to clean rural sites

The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the state $2 million to clean up blighted urban, rural, agricultural and waterfront sites.

Such sites are referred to as "brownfields." The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism will oversee a revolving loan fund to address brownfield sites in Honolulu and Maui counties.

"The revolving loan fund program offers a great opportunity for local agencies to spur economic development in areas that have high numbers of underused properties," said EPA Regional Administrator Wayne Nastri.

The EPA has awarded $91 million in 143 Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund grants across the nation. The EPA estimates the program has resulted in more than $4 billion being spent in the conversion of such sites.

For more information see www.epa.gov/brownfields.

Box jellyfish likely to hit tomorrow

An influx of box jellyfish is expected to hit south shore beaches including Ala Moana Beach Park's swim channel and Waikiki Beach tomorrow, the city's Ocean Safety Division said.

The influx will likely peak Monday and dissipate by Tuesday, the Ocean Safety Division said. Other areas that may be affected include Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Poka'i Bay and Makaha Surfing Beach.

Lifeguards will monitor beaches for box jellyfish during the alert period. If box jellyfish are discovered, hazard-warning signs will be posted.

People stung by box jellyfish are advised to flush the sting with vinegar or seek medical help. Lifeguard stations are able to provide emergency medical assistance.

UH ads to promote 8 success stories

The University of Hawai'i will unveil a newspaper advertising campaign starting tomorrow that highlights success stories of UH faculty and students from across the 10-campus system.

The ads will be seen on the op-ed pages of the main newspapers on O'ahu, Big Island, Maui and Kaua'i.

An introductory ad will open tomorrow and will be followed by eight ads on consecutive days that feature a UH student or faculty member with a unique background, talent or success story, highlighting the theme that UH is "a world of learning open to everyone." A closing ad will look back on the eight featured people and sum up the campaign.

Paul Costello, UH vice president for external affairs and university relations, said the ad campaign is the beginning of a new UH marketing approach that will "speak to our internal and external audiences about the limitless opportunities available" at the UH system.

Financial support for the campaign has been provided by the University of Hawai'i Professional Assembly and General Growth/Victoria Ward Ltd.