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State briefs for March 22

Photographer of iconic 9/11 image chosen as resident artist

WAILUKU, Maui (AP) — A photographer who captured one of the iconic images from the Sept. 11 terrorist attack has been appointed to a prestigious Hawaii artist-in-residence program.

Photojournalist Stan Honda will be the 2019 artist in residence at Haleakala National Park in eastern Maui.

Officials from Haleakala and the National Parks Arts Foundation said Honda was selected for his passion and ability to capture otherwise indescribable events, citing his image of two victims escaping the collapsing World Trade Center in 2001.

“We are pleased to again partner with the National Parks Arts Foundation to bring such a talented artist to Haleakala National Park,” Superintendent Natalie Gates said.

Honda has worked
for The National Post, Los Angeles Times and New York Newsday. For 16 years, he was a freelance writer and photojournalist for Agence France-Presse in New York.

It was during this time that he was on the ground in New York City on Sept. 11, The Maui News reported.

“It was just an experience that no one had ever experienced or seen before,” Honda said of his most famous image.

Honda’s photos have been featured six times as NASA’s astronomy picture of the day and in National Geographic, according to the newspaper.

The residency invites artists like Honda to produce original work, share advice and experiences and promote the organization, program officials said.

Rail project whistleblower lawsuit attracts federal scrutiny

HONOLULU (AP) — A rail contractor whistleblower says the U.S. Department of Transportation’s inspector general has inquired about his claims.

A lawsuit filed by 55-year-old Edward Morris says he was fired last year from his job as a quality manager for Honolulu rail contractor Traylor Bros. Inc.

The $9.2 billion rail line is the largest public works project in state history and is already the subject of a federal investigation involving the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office, according to the newspaper.

The lawsuit filed in Honolulu circuit court in January claims Morris and others working on a rail segment voiced concerns “over the continued lack of adherence to construction quality, design requirements, and construction specifications” on the project.

Morris said he has been contacted by the transportation department’s inspector general, but his attorney clarified he has not yet been interviewed.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation awarded Shimmick/Traylor/Granite, JV a design-build contract for $874.7 million in 2016 for what is known as the airport segment, one of four major segments of the 20-mile rail line scheduled to open in late 2025.

Ex-chief’s request granted for lawyer in mailbox framing

HONOLULU (AP) — Honolulu’s police commission has approved hiring a lawyer to represent a retired chief in a federal case that accuses him of using police resources to frame a relative.

Commissioner Steve Levinson says they approved the request Wednesday.

Former chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, former deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, are indicted on corrupted-related charges. Prosecutors say they used police resources to frame her uncle for the theft of their mailbox in an attempt to cover up financial fraud that funded the couple’s lavish lifestyle.

It’s not clear how the decision will affect the federal taxpayer-funded lawyer the ex-chief already has.

A hearing is scheduled for today.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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