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For Friday, March 4, 2011

By Star-Advertiser staff


Celebrate the Portuguese

The Dennis G. Aguiar Portuguese Day-in-the-Park will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at Gilbert Carvalho Park in Hilo. The Hawaii Island Portuguese Chamber of Commerce holds the event each year to celebrate Portuguese history, food and music. Highlights include free servings at noon of Portuguese bean soup and stone-oven bread. Visit www.hipcc.org for more information.

FBI arrests man on extortion count

A man who acted as a go-between in extorting money from a New Mexico woman whose son is incarcerated at Oahu Community Correctional Center tried to extort more money from the woman, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court this week.

The FBI said it arrested Manu Sorensen at McDonald's Laie restaurant Tuesday after undercover agents delivered to him the $350 he demanded from the New Mexico woman.

Sorensen admitted that he received $50 from the woman through MoneyGram Feb. 12 on behalf of a friend at OCCC, the FBI said. Sorensen said the friend told him the $50 was protection money for the woman's son.

The FBI said Sorensen admitted contacting the woman on Monday to demand more protection money because he needed to pay his rent.

When the undercover agents asked Sorensen what would happen if they didn't pay the protection money, the FBI says Sorensen told the agents, "Death and paralysis."


$500 reward is offered in bomb scares

The Kauai Police Department announced a $500 reward yesterday for information leading to the arrest or detainment of the people responsible for recent bomb threats at Kauai High School and King Kaumualii Elementary School.

No bombs were found in any of the incidents, but students were isolated either on or off campus while police conducted searches.

The department said it is seeking leads on the threats that occurred at the high school Feb. 17 and 23, and at King Kaumualii March 2. Depending on whether the incidents are related, more than one reward could be given.

Several business groups and individuals, including the Kauai Business Council, Kauai Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of Kalepa Sunrise and the Kauai Alternative Vacation Accommodation Association have donated to the reward fund.

Operator and charity hit with suit

The state has filed a lawsuit against a Hawaii County man, saying he is illegally seeking donations on the Internet for the care of animals and "other humane purposes."

Attorney General David Louie said an organization called Love the Animals, operated by Anthony M. Marasia of Honomu, is not registered as a state charitable organization, nor is it recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt organization.

All money donated through the Internet was deposited into Marasia's personal bank account, a news release from the Attorney General's office said. Marasia cannot account for expenditures of the money for eligible purposes, the statement said.

The state filed the lawsuit Tuesday, after a five-month investigation.

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