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State briefs for June 20

Protesters block Kauai highway

HANALEI, Kauai — Protesters formed a human chain and blocked tourists from using a Kauai highway to access an area they said cannot support a large influx of people.

A 2-mile stretch of the Kuhio Highway was reopened by police before 7 a.m. Monday.

No arrests were made when protesters allowed construction workers and residents through, but turned away about 50 tourists.

Protesters said the region has not been viable for tourism since April 2018.

Extensive flooding that month closed several popular attractions including the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park, Haena State Park, Kee Beach, Kalalau Trail, Haena Beach Park and Limahuli Garden & Preserve.

Reopening the region put people and natural resources in jeopardy, protesters said.

Defense rests without Katherine Kealoha testifying

HONOLULU — The lawyer for ex-Honolulu deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, who is on trial for corruption-related charges, rested the case without Kealoha testifying in her defense.

Kealoha’s attorney, Cynthia Kagiwada, rested Wednesday. The case has been described as Hawaii’s biggest corruption scandal.

Kealoha and her ex-Honolulu police chief husband, Louis Kealoha, are accused of framing her uncle for stealing their mailbox to keep him from revealing fraud that enriched them. Prosecutors say they conspired with officers in a secret police unit to frame Gerard Puana to discredit him in a lawsuit he and his mother filed saying Kealoha stole money from them.

Her now-retired husband didn’t testify in his defense.

The couple’s co-defendants were expected to conclude presenting their cases later Wednesday.

Navy to name new destroyer after late Sen. Inouye

HONOLULU — The U.S. Navy will christen a new guided missile destroyer, the USS Daniel Inouye, during a ceremony in Maine.

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii will speak during Saturday’s ceremony in Bath, Maine. Inouye’s widow, Irene Hirano Inouye, will be the ship’s sponsor.

The Arleigh Burke-class ship is being named after the war hero and politician who broke racial barriers in Congress.

Inouye represented Hawaii in the U.S. Senate for a half-century until his death in 2012.

He played key roles in congressional investigations of the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals and served as chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

He received the Medal of Honor for bravery in World War II with the mostly Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team. He lost his right arm.

Rail authority must replace 15 cracked canopy arms

HONOLULU — The city will redesign and replace portions of 15 metal canopy arms that were erected at three rail stations after flaws were discovered in similar arms fabricated for the rail line, according to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation.

Andrew Robbins, executive director for HART, said the new push to redesign and install all of the station canopy arms by December is an effort to stick to the scheduled interim opening of the stretch of rail line from East Kapolei to Aloha Stadium by the end of next year.

Rail officials previously expressed concern that problems with the canopy arms might delay that interim opening, but Robbins said HART directed the engineering company, AECOM, about two weeks ago to immediately redesign the arms to avoid any further delays.

The city will not pay any extra cost to resolve the problem, Robbins said.

The arms are designed to support overhead fabric canopies that would extend toward the center of the station platforms to provide travelers with shelter from rain and sun as they wait for trains.

Chick-fil-A a step closer to opening 1st Hawaii location

HONOLULU — Atlanta-based fast-food restaurant chain Chick-fil-A is closer to opening its first Hawaii location nearly a year after announcing the expansion plan.

Chick-fil-A recently applied for a city permit to develop a new restaurant in Makiki, a neighborhood in Honolulu, to replace a Burger King restaurant at 1056 S. Beretania St.

Restaurant spokeswoman Jackie Jags declined to confirm the permit application or comment about a possible timetable for opening.

According to city Department of Planning and Permitting records, a completed application was accepted in April and is still under review. The application estimates construction will cost $500,000 for site work and $1.7 million for a new building.

Chick-fil-A announced its Hawaii expansion plan in July, saying a franchisee would own and operate an initial restaurant on Oahu.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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