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In Brief | Big Island & State | 8-21-13

Work underway at Waiakea Villas commercial complex

Renovation work has begun in earnest to attract new tenants to the Waiakea Villas commercial complex in Hilo, Peter Savio said Tuesday.

Savio, a Hilo-born, Honolulu real estate developer, bought the 5.5-acre commercial property on Wailoa Pond for $2 million earlier this year, from California-based Owens Mortgage Investment Fund. Owens had foreclosed on the mortgage of prior owners Waiakea Waterfront LLC and Hoolulu LLC and reclaimed the property in a foreclosure auction.

Dana Kenny, principal broker at Hawaiian Island Homes — part of the Savio group of companies — said much of the 22-space, 80,000-square-foot complex is ready for tenants.

Kenny said the only building on the property not ready to lease is the largest, a former hotel restaurant building which most recently operated as Uncle Mikey’s nightclub.

Savio said he’s still in negotiations to buy the 275-unit residential portion of the Waiakea Villas property, which has separate ownership. He told Stephens Media Hawaii last month that he is willing to spend $25 million to develop a local-style hotel similar to the Pagoda Hotel in Honolulu, which he owns.

Police report missing teens found

Police on Monday reported finding three Hawaii Island teens who had been reported missing.

Reanette Torres, 17, of Hilo was found unharmed in Hilo in May. Tatiana Miller-Tayamen, 13, and Cristilyn Guerpo, 13, both of Waikoloa were found unharmed Aug. 7 in Hilo.

Chinese ships depart for rare drills with US Navy off Hawaii

BEIJING — Ships from China’s navy have departed for rare search and rescue drills with the U.S. as Beijing ramps up its military diplomacy.

The three Chinese ships left the port of Qingdao on Tuesday for waters off Hawaii. During the cruise, they will also travel to Australia and New Zealand for similar exercises.

Deputy navy commander Xu Hongmeng was quoted by newspapers on Wednesday as calling the exercises an “important mission of military diplomacy.”

The ships’ departure came during a visit to the U.S. by Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan, during which he and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke hopefully of building greater trust through expanded military cooperation.

China’s navy will participate for the first time next year in a the Rim of the Pacific international maritime exercise.

Maui sheriff’s deputy charged with abuse of son

WAILUKU, Maui — Maui police arrested a state sheriff’s deputy for allegedly choking his 15-year-old son during a domestic dispute.

The Maui News reported 38-year-old Kevin Vaivai of Lahaina is charged with felony abuse by strangulation and child abuse.

Police said the incident was reported Sunday night after the boy’s mother took him to an emergency room.

Police said the teen’s injuries weren’t life threatening and that the child abuse charge was because the incident took place in front of a younger son.

Vaivai was released after posting $5,200 bail. His defense attorney Ben Lowenthal declined to comment Tuesday.

State Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Toni Schwartz said the department is conducting an internal investigation. Vaivai has been placed on leave.

19-year-old skateboarder dies after Kaneohe crash

HONOLULU — A skateboarder who was hospitalized after he crashed while being towed by a vehicle in Kaneohe has died.

The 19-year-old was taken to a hospital in critical condition early Tuesday morning. KITV reported he later died from his injuries.

Emergency responders said the man was being towed by a car when he lost control and crashed. Police said he was hanging on to the passenger side of a car driven by another 19-year-old man.

He wasn’t wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

By local and wire sources