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For Thursday, May 19, 2011

By Star-Advertiser Staff and News Services

LAST UPDATED: 7:50 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011

Woman pleads not guilty in theft case

A woman pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Kauai Circuit Court to charges of stealing $280,000 from Gay & Robinson Co. from April 2004 to December 2008.

Leilanie Coma Valenciano, who was an accounting clerk for the company, is charged with nine counts of first-degree theft and 228 counts of falsifying business records.

Valenciano is scheduled for trial before Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe on Oct. 3.

First-degree theft is a Class B felony and carries a maximum $25,000 fine and 10 years in prison on each count. Falsifying business records is a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of $2,000 fine and up to one year in prison on each count.

State to join in forest protection pact

The state this week expects to announce a partnership with federal agencies to help landowners and managers protect forests.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and William Aila, director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, plan to sign an agreement at the governor's office today.

Kathleen Dobler, the deputy director of natural resources for the Conservation Service Pacific Islands Area, is expected to participate, as is Wesley Nohara, the president of the Hawaii Association of Conservation Districts. Caitlyn Pollihan, executive director of Western Forestry Leadership Coalition, and John Lindelow of Ahu Lani Sanctuary, are also due to sign the memorandum of understanding.

Akaka bill aimed at foreclosure aid

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka will introduce a bill intended to help homeowners at risk of foreclosure stay in their homes.

The Hawaii Democrat joined 10 other senators in backing the bill that would end the practice of foreclosures proceeding at the same time as homeowners are being considered for non-foreclosure alternatives.

The measure also requires banks and mortgage servicers to create a single point of contact for homeowners to work with.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed into law a similar bill passed by the Legislature this year.

$1M grant to help youths get diplomas

A $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to the city Department of Community Services will support education and job training.

The grant, announced Tuesday, comes from a program called YouthBuild.

The program helps out-of-school youths get their high school diplomas or GEDS while providing occupational training in the construction industry.

Kids, animals mix at camp

Kauai children entering the third to fifth grade this fall are eligible for Critter Camp, a series of weeklong educational summer programs conducted by the Kauai Humane Society.

The program uses classroom activities, individual group projects, arts and crafts, guest speakers and creative projects to teach children about care and their humane responsibilities toward animals.

Participants will interact with Humane Society shelter animals, including daily training of the shelter dogs and socializing the cats.

Critter Camp sessions are weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., June 6-10, June 27-July 1 and July 11-15.

The fee is $130. Full and partial scholarships are available. Register at or call Mele Brewer 632-0610, ext. 103.

Maui seeks solar savings

Maui County is seeking contractors to install more than 1,000 solar panels on rooftops of county buildings to save the government money.

County energy commissioner Doug McLeod told the Maui News photovoltaic panels would be installed on about a dozen buildings on  Maui, Molokai and Lanai.

McLeod said the power generated would be integrated into the power grid and resold to the county for significantly less money than it pays to Maui Electric Co.

The potential savings was unclear.

The 2009-2010 county Cost of Government Commission set a goal of achieving $1.5 million in savings annually from to the county’s electricity spending of about $25 million a year.

Bids for county contracts to install the photovoltaic panels are due June 29.

Walking for charity

Thousands of people will walk from Ala Moana Beach Park, through Waikiki and back to the park in the 33rd annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday. Last year, more than 9,100 people raised more than $964,500 for local charities. For more information, go to or call 923-0407.

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