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State / In Brief

May 18, 2013
The Associated Press

Man arrested in 6-week-old baby's death

HONOLULU - The Honolulu Police Department said a Waipahu man has been arrested in connection with the death of a 6-week-old boy.

Hawaii News Now reported that 38-year-old Joel Asuncion was taken into custody Wednesday evening. Police have described the baby's injuries as "nonaccidental."

The baby was reportedly found unresponsive Tuesday and taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.


Concern over risky activity at Kilauea

HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK- U.S. Geological Survey officials are concerned over what they say is risky behavior by visitors to Kilauea Volcano at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

KITV-TV reported that the USGS' Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said the problem is that people continue to get too close to Kilauea's current ocean entry, approaching both by land and sea.

HVO officials said areas of ocean entry are dangerous places. Lava entering the sea builds a platform of new land known as a lava delta, which appears stable but is not. Lava deltas can collapse without warning.

Kayakers visiting the volcano on the Big Island recently paddled just feet from lava streaming into the ocean. They then went ashore and walked across new land built by the ocean entry and scooped molten lava with their paddles.


Count finds Oahu homelessness on rise

HONOLULU - The number of homeless people living on Oahu is growing faster than last year.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that the latest Homeless Point-in-Time Count showed that the number of homeless living on streets instead of shelters rose 11 percent.

The count was conducted during a week in January. It counted 4,556 homeless people on Oahu. That is a rise of 4.7 percent from the previous year. Of those, the count says 3,091 homeless people on Oahu were living in shelters - a 1.8 percent increase from the 2012 count. Of this number, 901 were individuals and 2,190 were part of 523 households with children.


Governor names environmental director

HONOLULU - Gov. Neil Abercrombie has nominated Genevieve Salmonson as interim director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control.

The office is part of the state Department of Health. As interim director, Salmonson will coordinate efforts to maintain the best quality of Hawaii's environment.

Abercrombie said Salmonson will provide strong leadership. He said she will help small businesses follow environmental regulations and rules.

The state Senate still needs to confirm the nomination.

Salmonson served as director previously from 1999 to 2007. Most recently, she worked as a temporary assignment program manager for the Environmental Planning Office.


Big Isle search for swimmer suspended

HONOKAA, Hawaii - Rescuers are no longer searching for a missing swimmer last seen on the northeast coast of the Big Island.

The Coast Guard and the Hawaii County Fire Department suspended the search Thursday night.

Sixty-two-year-old John Spillane was last seen Monday night. He had been swimming at Waipio Valley Beach.

The search covered nearly 4,000 miles.

The Coast Guard did not have any information on where Spillane is from.

The Hawaii County Police Department will continue a missing person investigation.


Airport projects mismanaged - auditor

HONOLULU - Hawaii's state auditor said Transportation Department officials improperly shifted buying power to a contractor managing a $1.7 billion renovation of the Honolulu International Airport as part of a pattern of repeat violations.

Acting State Auditor Jan Yamane said Wednesday that recurring questionable practices from mid-2008 to mid-2010 led to mismanaged contracts, delayed projects and cost overruns for several projects.

Yamane said in a report submitted to the governor and the state Legislature that the Airports Division surrendered key responsibilities to Parsons Transportation Group Inc. Yamane says that led to the state giving the contractor rent-free facilities and reimbursing it $570,000 for renovation expenses and $21,000 in teambuilding exercises.



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