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State briefs for December 13

Hawaii GOP cancels caucus

HONOLULU — Hawaii Republicans canceled their upcoming presidential caucus and will instead commit their national party convention delegates to the re-election of President Donald Trump.

No other presidential candidate declared for the Hawaii party ballot by the Dec. 2 deadline, said Hawaii Republican Party Chairwoman Shirlene Ostrov.

Ostrov said the party’s executive committee decided Tuesday to cancel the party caucus and preference poll “rather than spend tens of thousands of dollars to bring people out to vote for our single candidate.”

The caucus were scheduled for March 10.

Mixed results with artificial turf median strips

HONOLULU — A pilot project to test the use of artificial turf on road median strips on Oahu has had mixed results.

The artificial turf has worked well in some of Oahu’s nine city council districts, while others have experienced problems.

Honolulu launched the $1 million pilot project to install artificial turf in nine medians, roundabouts and other traffic spaces in February 2016, officials said.

Some of the 3-year-old turf was damaged, while the turf on one median is encircled with weeds because of errors made during installation. But the artificial grass on another median looks so realistic a resident used a riding mower to cut it, an official said.

Honolulu Councilwoman Kymberly Pine hopes the project will lead to reduced water use and landscaping maintenance, but said the cost benefits have not yet been determined.

The turf project could save taxpayers money by reducing the time and labor to maintain the areas, said department Deputy Director Eduardo Manglallan.

Family files suit over woman’s death in jail

HONOLULU — The family of a woman who killed herself in view of jail surveillance cameras filed a lawsuit against the police department that was detaining her.

Leslie Lutao, 59, took her life while in Kauai Police Department custody following her June 2017 arrest for a traffic warrant.

An autopsy report listed Lutao’s cause of death as asphyxia due to foreign body obstruction.

Attorney Michael Green filed the lawsuit on behalf of Lutao’s husband and her four grown children.

Officers assigned to monitor cameras should have noticed Lutao’s behavior prior to her death in one of the jail’s six cells, Green said.

Jessica Lancaster, Lutao’s daughter, said her mother suffered from depression.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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