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For Friday, July 1, 2011


Trial set in teacher's hammer incident

A Kailua High School shop teacher who allegedly threw a hammer that injured a student in April pleaded not guilty Thursday in Kaneohe District Court.

David Izumi, who faces one count of misdemeanor assault, waived a jury trial and is scheduled for trial at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 1.

His lawyer, Willie Domingo, said Izumi might be able to reach a plea agreement to avoid a trial.

He said his client was under stress with several deaths and illnesses in the family the day the incident occurred.

"It was just totally out of character," Domingo said.

Some students were misbehaving, but the student who was hurt was not, and Izumi was not trying to direct any action toward him, Domingo said.

The student, Branden Bitanga, had to have four staples to close the gash on the back of his head.

Domingo said Izumi has been teaching for 11 years and ran the robotics program at the school for six years. More than a dozen people, including a former student, showed up yesterday at his hearing to show support, he said. He said Izumi wishes the student and his family well and remains concerned that his actions might reflect poorly on other teachers.

Izumi has been on paid administrative leave since the incident and is awaiting the school's decision on whether he can continue teaching.

"He really has a passion for teaching," Domingo said. "He's well liked over there."

Ride the new cutter

One of the Coast Guard’s newest cutters, the Bertholf, will be open for public tours Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Coast Guard Base Sand Island, 400 Sand Island Parkway. The Bertholf is the first of eight planned Legend-class cutters the Coast Guard plans to build.

Tech issues delay aquarium exhibit

The opening of the Waikiki Aquarium’s first-of-its-kind exhibit of coral and fish from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands is being delayed by about six weeks due to technical problems with aquarium tank support systems.

The exhibit had been scheduled to open Saturday but will instead open on Aug. 18.

The display will feature about 230 fish from some 30 different species. It will also include hundreds of coral fragments representing about 20 species of coral. It includes specimens the aquarium got special permission to remove from the remote islands in the Marine National Monument.

Director Andrew Rossiter said Thursday the aquarium was having problems with the exhibit’s ultraviolet filtration system, which clears tank water of parasites, and with a water-chilling unit.

‘Tree tunnel’ to be closed for cleanup

The Poipu Beach Resort Association is organizing a community cleanup of the “tree tunnel” on Kauai from 7:30 a.m. to noon July 9. During the cleanup, the tunnel formed by overhanging trees along Malu?hia Road will be closed. For more information, call 241-4844.

Asbestos work cues office move

KAILUA-KONA >> Asbestos work has forced a Hawaii County office to move to another building.

West Hawaii Today reported Thursday the corporation counsel office was moving from the Hilo Lagoon Center office to another formerly county-rented facility.

Officials say the move during an abatement process was precautionary and that no employees should have been affected by the asbestos.

Employees have been given asbestos training to keep particles from becoming airborne. Inmates from Hawaii Community Correctional Center helped with the move this week.

Pools shut for holiday, graduation

The Waimea and Kapaa swimming pools will be closed Saturday for swim class graduation.

The pools will also be closed on Monday as usual and on Tuesday in observance of the July 4 holiday.

Both facilities are closed on Mondays and on county holidays. For more information, call 241-4460.

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