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In Brief | Big Island & State | 1-29-14

January 29, 2014 - 9:27am

Police arrest 19 for suspected DUI

Hawaii Island police arrested 19 drivers for suspected drunken driving between Jan. 20 and Sunday; four were involved in traffic accidents.

Police have made 101 suspected DUI arrests this year compared with 83 during the same period in 2013, according to the Hawaii County Police Department.

Kona officers arrested 13 motorists while Puna officers arrested three, according to police. South Kohala officers arrested two motorists and South Hilo officers one.

There have been 91 major accidents this year compared with 91 during the same period in 2013. To date, there have been three traffic fatalities on Big Island public roadways compared with six at this time in 2013. To date, none of the fatalities have been related to drugs or alcohol, according to police.

Winter storm warning in effect for Big Island summits

A winter storm warning is in effect for the Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea summits, according to the National Weather Service in Honolulu. More than 6 inches of snow is forecast to fall before the warning ends at noon today.

Deep moisture will combine with an upper-level disturbance that will result in heavy snow accumulation for summits above 11,000 feet in elevation, forecasters said.

The service forecast southeast winds of 20 to 25 mph with gusts reaching 35 mph. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid 30s.

The Mauna Kea Access Road remained closed at press time Tuesday.

A winter storm warning means significant snow, sleet or ice accumulations are expected that may impact travel. The service cautioned that visibility is as low as one mile.

Police investigating Waimea robbery

Hawaii Island police are investigating a reported robbery Monday night in Waimea.

Sometime between 8:50 and 9 p.m., a 34-year-old visitor from France was standing by his rental car in the parking lot of Waimea Shopping Center when an unknown man approached him and asked if he had a cigarette or money, according to the Hawaii County Police Department. After being told no, the man shoved the visitor against the car and grabbed a bag of clothing the visitor was carrying. The suspect then fled on foot west on Mamalahoa Highway with the clothing, valued at $50.

The suspect is described as “local,” in his 30s, 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall with a thin build, a pointy nose and a word tattooed on the right side of his neck, according to police. He was wearing shorts and a dark hooded sweatshirt.

Anyone with information about this case should call the department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311.

Those who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 329-8181 in Kona or 961-8300 in Hilo and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Fire damages North Kohala home

Fire officials are investigating the cause of a Monday evening structure fire in North Kohala.

Responding to the 6:23 p.m. report, firefighters found a two-story home at 52-4755 Akoni Pule Highway with black and gray smoke emanating from eaves of a garage, according to the Hawaii County Police Department. Upon opening the garage door, firefighters found a fire burning a 9-square-foot area located near one dozen, 1-gallon paint cans.

Firefighters were able to knock down the blaze within 10 minutes of opening the garage, according to the department. The fire was declared out at 7 p.m.

The department estimated damage to the structure at $5,000. No injuries were reported. The homeowners were not present at the time of the fire, according to the department.

Flash flood watch in effect for Hawaii Island

A flash flood watch is in effect for Hawaii Island through noon today, according to the National Weather Service in Honolulu.

Forecasters said a strong disturbance aloft will combine with deep moisture to bring the threat of heavy rain and thunderstorms to the Big Island. While the bulk of the rainfall will occur over the windward slopes, heavy showers are expected elsewhere, including leeward and interior areas this afternoon.

A flash flood watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding, according to the service, which also noted that it does not have to be raining heavily in an area for flash flooding to occur. Heavy rain on nearby slopes may produce flooding in streams, canyons and other low-lying areas.

High surf advisory issued for north-facing shores

National Weather Service forecasters in Honolulu have issued a high surf advisory for Hawaii Island’s north-facing shores through 6 a.m. Thursday.

The service forecast waves ranging in height from 14 to 18 feet along north-facing shores.

The service categorized the surf’s impact as “moderate” and advises the public to expect strong breaking waves and rip currents that can make swimming dangerous and to heed all advice given by ocean safety officials.

8 Oregon men indicted in prostitution cases

PORTLAND, Ore. — A federal grand jury has indicted eight Portland men accused of transporting women across state lines to engage in prostitution.

One of the men is Mark “Meezilini” Miles, who is accused of taking Ivy Harris to Hawaii last spring. The 29-year-old Harris was killed during the visit and a Marine is awaiting trial on a murder charge.

The indictments unsealed Monday stem from an FBI-led enforcement called “Operation Traffic Stop.” Besides Hawaii, prosecutors say the prostitutes were taken to Alaska, Idaho, Minnesota and Nevada.

Also charged were: Steven “Flawless” Huffman, Jorge “Baby Slim” Ortega, Jermaine “Chocolate” Hankins, Michael “Mackin Mike” Willis, DeShawne “The Don” Howard, Samuel “Sammega” Howard and Camillio “Killa” Carradine.

By local and wire sources

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