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For Tuesday, June 14, 2011

By Star-Advertiser Staff and News Services

LAST UPDATED: 11:07 p.m. HST, Jun 29, 2011

Police, Humane Society look into horse’s death

The Hawaiian Humane Society and police are investigating an accident in which a horse died when its trailer overturned Sunday on the H-1 freeway in Waimalu.

Kristin Herrick, Society spokeswoman, said the horse was in an uncovered trailer, a violation of city ordinance.

The ordinance requires horses and cattle transported on a public street or highway be in enclosed vehicles. The sides may have openings for ventilation.

The accident occurred 11:10 a.m. Sunday on the H-1 near the Waimalu offramp. The trailer overturned, and the horse ran onto the freeway before its handlers were able to bring it back to the shoulder lane.

The horse died of a ruptured spleen, Herrick said.

The driver, Ricardo Villegas, who was taking the horse to polo matches in Mokuleia, could not be reached for comment.

Herrick said he may be cited by police for violation of the ordinance.

State tax collections down in 11 months of fiscal year

State tax collections are down 0.8 percent through the first 11 months of the fiscal year, according to the state Department of Taxation.

The decline is affected by former Gov. Linda Lingle’s delay of state income tax refunds last year to help balance the state budget.

Without the delay, revenue collections would be up 3.8 percent over last fiscal year.

The monthly revenue numbers are coming in better than the state Council on Revenues has projected. The council has predicted a 1.6 percent decline for the fiscal year that ends this month.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and state House and Senate leaders use the council’s forecasts when drafting the budget.

General excise and use taxes are up 7.6 percent. Hotel room taxes are up 28.6 percent. Individual income taxes are down 17.1 percent, a reflection of the delay in refunds. Corporate income taxes, which can be affected by a few big tax cases, are off 50.4 percent.

Vanpool operator delays increase in customer rates

Vanpool Hawaii customers will be spared any rate increase during the month of July although the program will be losing its state subsidy by the end of this month.

VPSI Inc., which runs the program in Hawaii, will absorb the cost of operations for a month.

Vanpool officials have not yet decided on how large a rate increase would be, according to a statement from the company.

On June 6, the state Department of Transportation said it will discontinue funding for the 17-year-old program. Up until last year, the program was aided by federal grant subsidies, but federal authorities decided to stop funding Vanpool Hawaii.

Vanpool Hawaii has about 1,600 customers, most of whom pay about $65 to share a van with other riders for their commutes.

Hawaii dog to help search for missing girls in Saipan

A search and rescue dog from Hawaii will be used to help find two missing Saipan girls in a massive effort that has included a weeklong dig of a landfill.

The dog from the Hawaii State Civil Defense Urban Search and Rescue Canine unit will join the search this week, FBI Special Agent Tom Simon said Monday via phone from Saipan.

Simon is among 10 agents from Hawaii helping with the search for Faloma Luhk, 10, and her sister Maleina Luhk, 9.

The girls were reported missing by their grandparents when they didn’t come home May 25. They were last seen waiting for their school bus but never made it to Kagman Elementary.

Talk rail at town hall

City Councilman Tom Berg will hold a town hall meeting on the rail transit project Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. at Ewa Makai Middle School, 91-6291 Kapolei Parkway. Berg said a student survey of West Oahu residents found that only 65 of 2,338 respondents said they intend to ride the train.


Maui police return to communities

WAILUKU » A community policing program is being restarted in areas of Maui that had been without it for several years.

Four new community policing officers have been working since the beginning of the month in Central Maui and Upcountry areas, the Maui News reported Monday.

Lt. Wayne Ibarra, police spokesman, said the officers are covering broader geographic areas than in the past, doing the work of what nine officers did before.

As officers were promoted or retired, some community policing positions were left vacant.

Issues the new community policing officers are tackling include nighttime noise at neighborhood parks and helping public housing administrators document any problems.

Public invited to meet with police leaders

Hawaii County police are holding a community meeting in Kapaau to allow the public in North Kohala District to meet police chief and commanders to discuss their concerns.

The meeting will be held from noon to 2 p.m. June 21 at the North Kohala Intergenerational Center in Kamehameha Park.

The department requests that participation be limited to residents and business persons in North Kohala to better address their concerns.

Those interested in participating but who cannot attend are asked to either call Capt. Richard Miyamoto at 889-6540, stop by the North Kohala Police Station in Kapaau or email concerns or comments to

CORRECTIONS: The driver cited by Honolulu police for traffic violations in the June 12 trailer crash that killed a horse in Waimalu was a woman, not Ricardo Villegas as reported June 14 in a previous version of Newswatch. HPD would not disclose the woman’s name.

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