Maui County vehicle registrations surge
Maui County saw a 26.1 percent increase in new vehicle registrations last year, the second highest in the state after Hawaii County, according to information provided by the Hawaii Automobile Dealers Association.
Maui County saw 4,628 new registrations in 2012, up from 3,670 the year before, according to the Hawaii Auto Outlook. In 2012, Hawaii County saw a 28.6 percent increase from 3,479 in 2011 to 4,474 in 2012.
Statewide totals of new vehicle registrations grew 20.9 percent from 37,086 in 2011 to 44,830 in 2012.
The top three best-selling vehicles in Maui County were Toyota/Scion, followed by Nissan and Ford.
Bill seeks to name highway after Inouye
Mokulele Highway may be renamed the Daniel K. Inouye Veterans Highway through a bill going through the state Legislature.
Maui Sens. Gil Keith-Agaran and Roz Baker have introduced a bill to rename the highway in honor of the longtime U.S. senator who died Dec. 17 of respiratory complications. Inouye was 88.
Also known as Route 311, the highway runs 6.5 miles from Puunene and to Kihei.
Work to widen the highway from two to four lanes was completed in May 2008. The project cost $87 million and included native plant landscaping and a bike and pedestrian path parallel to the highway.
The bill says that the late Inouye was instrumental in obtaining federal funding for Hawaii, including federal highway funds for Mokulele Highway.
The bill passed first reading Thursday and has been referred to the Senate committees on Transportation and International Affairs and Technology and the Arts.
Building sustains $2,500 in fire damage
A fire caused about $2,500 damage Thursday in a unit of a building being remodeled at Honokeana Cove in Napili, a fire official said.
Napili and Lahaina firefighters responded to the 1:09 p.m. report of a structure fire at 5355 Lower Honoapiilani Road, said Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga. Napili firefighters found a smoldering fire directly above the floor area where a worker had been soldering new pipes.
Crews also checked on whether the fire had spread between the walls, bringing the fire under control at 1:52 p.m. and extinguishing it at 2:30 p.m.
No injuries were reported.
Because of firetrucks on the road, Lower Honoapiilani Road was closed between Malialani Place and Napilihau Street for about 30 minutes, reopening at 2:24 p.m.
Publisher of Maui Time pleads innocent
WAILUKU - Maui Time Weekly publisher Thomas Russo, who was arrested last year during a police traffic operation on Haleakala Highway, pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of failing to obey a police officer and disorderly conduct.
When he was arrested Nov. 20, police said Russo didn't comply with officers' repeated instructions to stay a safe distance away while traffic officers stopped oversized vehicles and ones with illegally tinted windows.
Russo, who used his cellphone to film his interaction with police officers, said at the time that he was doing his job.
A pretrial conference for Russo, 39, of Wailuku was set for 2 p.m. Feb. 21 in Wailuku District Court.
During Russo's arraignment Thursday, Wailuku District Judge Kelsey Kawano granted Russo's request for extended coverage, allowing for photography in the courtroom in his case.