Teachers union, state to go to mediation
Leaders of the Hawaii State Teachers Association have agreed to an offer by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to use a federal mediator to resolve long-standing contractual differences.
The state and HSTA issued a joint statement Monday night after the union’s board of directors approved the proposal.
HSTA President Wil Okabe said, “We would like to announce that our negotiations committee and the HSTA board of directors have agreed to the governor’s recommendation to enter into federal mediation in an attempt to resolve the current contract dispute. We look forward to beginning the mediation process as soon as possible."
Abercrombie made the offer Aug. 14.
“This is a step forward, by both sides, to find a solution that will resolve our differences for the sake of our students and schoolteachers,” he said, noting the invitation “is not about establishing who is right or who is wrong.”
The state’s public school teachers have been involved in a labor dispute since June 2011.
Man pleads not guilty to fondling charge
A 22-year-old man from American Samoa was released from custody Monday after pleading not guilty in federal court to fondling a 42-year-old woman Thursday aboard a Hawaiian Airlines flight from the Philippines.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin S.C. Chang ordered Luavalu Seuvaai released on $25,000 unsecured signature bond and into the custody of his sister in Hawaii pending further prosecution.
The FBI said Seuvaai fondled the woman who was seated next to him after she had fallen asleep.
Small fire gets close to houses in Wailuku
A brush fire near St. Anthony’s School in Wailuku burned to within 40 feet of houses before county firefighters brought it under control.
The fire began at about 8:16 p.m. Sunday on an embankment across Lower Main Street from the school. It moved uphill toward houses on Lunalilo Street, prompting a call for additional fire units.
Firefighters brought the blaze under control about 8:45 p.m., and an engine remained at the scene to deal with hot spots.
The fire burned about 2,000 square feet of brush, and no structures were damaged.
Police seek inmate who left prison facility
Hawaii County police are searching for a 20-year-old inmate who left a reintegration facility in Panaewa on Sunday.
Joshua Kalili of Honaunau left the Hale Nani Correctional Facility between 2:30 and 2:50 p.m., police said. He is wanted for escape.
He is described as 5 feet 9 inches tall, 180 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a white T-shirt and blue shorts.
Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts call Lt. Gregory Esteban at 961-2252 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call CrimeStoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona.