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State briefs for May 10

Public asked to give space to endangered Hawaiian monk seal

HONOLULU — The public should give adequate space to ensure the safety of a monk seal that has been resting on a Hawaii beach, officials said.

The female seal identified as 8-year-old Kaiwi has come onto a Waikiki beach in Honolulu four times in recent days.

Hawaiian monk seals are an endangered species protected by state and federal laws that typically forages at night and “hauls up” to rest on beaches during the day, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Volunteers from Hawaii Marine Animal Response set up a border around Kaiwi and are keeping an eye on her from sunup to sundown.

Members of the public in the high traffic area should remain behind the protective barriers and avoid taking photographs close to the animal.

“There’s a lot going on in Waikiki, so any time a seal hauls up in a high human-use area, we ask people to use precaution to keep the noise level to a minimum and to give a seal some space,” said Dave Schofield, a NOAA marine mammal response coordinator.

Kaiwi has previously given birth to pups in south and east Oahu, although she does not appear to be pregnant at this time, he said.

“This would be the time of year that she would give birth based on her previous puppings,” Schofield said. “However, she’s not as large as we would expect to see her if she was giving birth at the beginning of May.”

Hirono seeks answers after deadly helicopter crash

HONOLULU — A U.S. senator is asking federal transportation officials for detailed information about helicopter accidents in the state, a report said.

Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono sent letters Tuesday to National Transportation Safety Board chairman Robert Sumwalt and Federal Aviation Administration acting administrator Dan Elwell.

The request for information about helicopter accidents in Hawaii in the last five years and follow-up with air tour companies follows an April 29 crash on Oahu that killed a pilot and two passengers.

The helicopter crashed on a street in a residential neighborhood of Kailua, 15 miles (24 kilometers) northeast of Honolulu.

The NTSB is leading the crash investigation, while the FAA regulates helicopter operations.

Hirono’s wants a detailed history of problems associated with the Robinson R44 helicopter model that crashed.

The Robinson R44 is the best-selling civilian helicopter, but also has a long history of deadly crashes, the Star-Advertiser reported, citing a 2018 investigation by the Los Angeles Times.

Hirono also requested “an accounting of all air tour accidents and unintended landings in Hawaii for the last five years, the findings, recommendations and requirements” from each of event.

Man who fatally stabbed mother sentenced to 8 years

HONOLULU — A Hawaii man who fatally stabbed his mother when he was 16 has received a reduced prison term under young adult sentencing guidelines, reports said.

A judge sentenced Kaanoi Kipapa Tuesday to eight years in prison for manslaughter in the July 2014 death of Jolyn Kipapa, news outlets reported.

Kipapa used kitchen knives to inflict multiple stab wounds to Jolyn Kipapa’s head and body while she was confined to her bed with a leg injury in their home in the town of Waimanalo, 18 miles (29 kilometers) east of Honolulu on Oahu, authorities said.

The normal prison sentence for manslaughter is 20 years. Hawaii sentencing laws allow judges to impose lower penalties for defendants who were age 21 or younger when they committed their crimes, officials said.

The judge also granted Kipapa credit for five years of time already served.

Kipapa was beaten daily from the time he was a young child, said defense attorney Crystal Glendon.

“She ordered this violence to happen. And if it wasn’t her doing it, she ordered her (biological) sons or her many foster children to do it to each other,” Glendon said.

At his sentencing, Kipapa said, “I was so broken, so damaged that I didn’t know what else to do. I will forever be sorry for what I done. She didn’t deserve to die.”

The abuse claims are untrue, said family members who appeared in court.

“I know there’s nothing that that lady did that would deserve death like that,” Kurlyn Kipapa said to her adopted brother.

Woman injured in apparent shark bite off Oahu

HALEIWA, Oahu — A woman who says she was bitten by a shark off the North Shore of Oahu Wednesday has been transported to the hospital.

Honolulu Emergency Medical Services spokeswoman Shayne Enright says an initial 911 call was made for an injury to the arm caused by a spear at the Haleiwa Boat Harbor. But while being treated, the 34-year-old Oahu resident told medics that she had in fact been bitten by a shark about 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) offshore.

Enright says the wounds are consistent with a shark bite. The woman was treated and is in serious condition at a local hospital.

No other details were immediately available.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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