Hawaii News in Brief 03-02-18

Drowning victim identified

HILO ­— Hawaii Island police have confirmed the identity of a body that was found in the Wailuku River Feb. 25, as 28-year-old Kelly Mrowinski, of Chicago.


Mrowinski and a male co-worker were swept into the Wailuku River by an apparent flash flood on Jan. 26. The male was able to swim to shore, however, after an extensive aerial and land search, Mrowinski could not be located.

The medical examiner who performed the autopsy concluded the cause of death of “freshwater drowning” and ruled the death as accidental.

Hygiene for the homeless

HONOLULU — A nonprofit group has started towing a 26-foot trailer around Oahu to provide homeless people a place to get clean.

Annie Valentin, executive director of Project Vision Hawaii, said the hygiene trailer provided hot showers and the use of its toilets to nine people in Wahiawa on Saturday and a dozen more Tuesday morning in Kailua.

Valentin said people were lined up in Kailua before the trailer opened.

The trailer was built for Project Vision Hawaii on the mainland. It’s outfitted with three stalls that have their own showers and toilets. One complies with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and includes a diaper changing table.

Water comes from any hose and is heated with propane.

Death with dignity bill to get vote

HONOLULU — A measure that would allow terminally ill patients to request prescriptions for lethal doses of medication will soon be getting a vote by the state House of Representatives.

The House Health and Human Services Committee and the Judiciary Committee both voted Wednesday in favor of the measure called the “Our Care, Our Choice Act.” HHS Committee Chairman Rep. John Mizuno said the proposal now has the strongest protections of any state.

Medically assisted death is legal in the District of Columbia and five states: California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

The House votes on it next week.

House Judiciary Chair Rep. Scott Nishimoto said the bill balances access with safeguards. He said the two biggest changes to the bill were removing advanced practice registered nurses as eligible to provide a lethal prescription, and requiring mandatory counseling after two physicians confirm a patient’s diagnosis, prognosis and competence.

“We wanted to make it extra safe so we put in mandatory counseling, and no other state has that,” Mizuno said. “You will hear people, even the advocates, say it’s an over-protection. However, at the end of the day, we didn’t want to take a chance.”

Oahu Reps. Andria Tupola and Bob McDermott voted against the measure.

“I’ll be voting no, but I am so grateful that we made this bill better and stronger,” Tupola said.

Hawaii police union president retires

HONOLULU — The president of Hawaii’s police union is retiring.

Sgt. Tenari Maafala told The Associated Press Thursday he’s retiring next month from the Honolulu Police Department. He’ll also step down as president of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO).

Maafala’s retirement after nearly 30 years on the force comes after the department’s new chief reassigned him and other union leaders. Maafala had been in a unit that provides peer support and counseling for officers, their families and civilian staff members experiencing trauma and grief. He was reassigned to patrol Waikiki.

Maafala says his retirement has nothing to do with the reassignment.

The union filed a complaint that says the department can’t arbitrarily reassign a union official without cause.


Maafala has been president of the union for 18 years.

From local and wire sources