Girl loses sight after beating
WAILUKU — A 2-year-old girl who was the victim of a beating is now breathing on her own but is unable to see because of severe head injuries, said Maui deputy prosecutor John Tam.
It is uncertain whether Shari Rodrigues will suffer permanent blindness or brain damage from a skull fracture, Tam said. The girl also suffered a broken sternum and ribs and internal injuries, and is being treated at Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women and Children in Honolulu.
She was found unconscious March 15 after authorities were summoned to the Na Hale O Waine'e homeless resource center in Lahaina.
Police said her mother's boyfriend, Francisco Ramirez, 25, who told officers he hit the child, was charged with second-degree attempted murder. A preliminary hearing scheduled for today has been canceled, as prosecutors are expected to seek an indictment before a Maui grand jury.
Ramirez is being held at the Maui Community Correctional Center on a parole violation stemming from a 2001 burglary conviction.
PEACE ACTIVIST SHEEHAN TO VISIT
KAHULUI — Peace activist Cindy Sheehan will visit the Valley Isle next month, appearing at an April 23 screening of the award-winning documentary "Sir! No Sir!" at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's Castle Theater.
Sheehan's soldier son, Casey, was killed in Iraq in April 2004. She gained international attention when she went to Crawford, Texas, last summer to confront President Bush about the war. She has written a book called "Not One More Mother's Child," recently published by Maui's Koa Books.
Sheehan's visit is sponsored by the Maui Film Festival, Maui Peace Action, Koa Books, the American Friends Service Committee, the Hawai'i Institute for Human Rights, Maui Community College's Peace Club and Annie and Willie Nelson.
"Sir! No Sir!," winner of the audience award at the Los Angeles Film Festival and an Independent Spirit nominee for best documentary, tells the story of how thousands of American GIs rebelled against the Vietnam War in the 1960s.
The film will be shown at 6:30 p.m., with Sheehan appearing at 8 p.m. Tickets to the movie are $10, although students 18 and under are free. Sheehan's talk is free.
KAHO'OLAWE EXHIBIT RETURNS
WAILUKU — Docents are needed for a return engagement of a photo exhibit on Kaho'olawe celebrating the 30th anniversary of the first access to the former "Target Isle."
The exhibit will be unveiled for public viewing from noon to 6 p.m. April 7 at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua. It will remain open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through April 15.
Docents should attend at least one training session scheduled for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 27, 28 or 29 at the Kaho'olawe Island Reserve Commission, 811 Kolu St. in Wailuku. For more information, contact Kapono'ai Molitau at (808) 243-5888 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
SCENIC REST STOP MORE COMFORTING
HANA — A new comfort station has been built at Kaumahina Wayside on Hana Highway. The facility replaces the restroom destroyed by fire in 1998.
Arisumi Brothers received an $855,240 contract to build a new comfort station, parking area, park entry gate, wastewater system and drainage improvements.
The job included accessibility improvements, such as a new observation deck, picnic tables, pathway and railings.
The Board of Land and Natural Resources last month set park hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The gate is closed overnight to prevent vandalism.
Kaumahina Wayside, a 7.8-acre rest stop featuring exotic plants and scenic viewpoints, is about 28 miles east of Kahului Airport.
$25,000 TO HELP NATURE PRESERVE
KIHEI, Maui — A $25,000 gift from the Monsanto Fund will help protect The Nature Conservancy's Kamakou Preserve on Moloka'i.
The money also is expected to generate an additional $50,000 in matching state funds for watershed protection, according to Ed Misaki, the conservancy's Moloka'i program director.
The 2,700-acre Kamakou Preserve was established in 1983 and contains more than 200 native plant species.
The preserve is part of the larger East Moloka'i watershed that supplies much of the island's agricultural water. Monsanto has a seed farm on Moloka'i.
WORK CONTINUES ABOVE TUNNEL
O'ahu commuters can expect the town-bound lanes of Wilson Tunnel to remain closed again today from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. while state crews continue to work in the area.
State Transportation Department spokesman Scott Ishikawa said the crews are working with a crane to remove debris, vegetation and other potential rockfall risks from the area above the tunnel on Likelike Highway.
Ishikawa said the work may wrap up today, if the weather allows. He advises drivers to expect delays, use caution and allow for extra travel time.
RETROSPECTIVE ART EXHIBITION
From stock car races at the Old Stadium Park to tofu sold door to door in 5-gallon cans, residents will get a glimpse into the life of Mo'ili'ili in a new exhibit and slide show next month at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i, 2454 S. Beretania St.
The free exhibit, "Mo'ili'ili-The Life of a Community," from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday in the center's gallery, pulls material from a book by the same name and showcases personal items and photographs from the book.
The free slide show, "Mo'ili'ili Neighborhood," will be given by exhibit co-curator Laura Ruby at 4 p.m. April 8 at the center's theater.
MAN CRITICALLY HURT IN H-1 CRASH
A man was critically injured in an accident on the H-1 Freeway eastbound at about 11 last night.
City paramedics said one car was rear-ended by another vehicle near the Vineyard offramp, and a 30-year-old man was taken to The Queen's Medical Center in "very critical" condition. No other information was available at press time.