County/In Brief

Search for paragliders turns up empty

An ocean search for two paragliders off Keawakapu Beach was called off at noon Thursday, after the Coast Guard and firefighters found no signs during an extensive search that began Wednesday evening, a fire official said.

Firefighters responded to the beach after the 6:17 p.m. report by witnesses that two paragliders entered the ocean one-half to 3 miles off the beach, said Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga.

The Fire Department’s rescue boat, a Coast Guard helicopter and a Coast Guard 45-foot rescue boat searched overnight Wednesday and were continuing to search Thursday morning along with the Fire Department’s Air One helicopter, he said.

No family, friends, paraglider rental companies or paraglider pilots had reported any missing paragliders, Mainaga said.

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Arrest in death of Molokai 20-year-old

A man has been arrested in the investigation into the suspicious death of a 20-year-old Molokai man who was found on a dirt roadway in the Mapulehu area on Molokai’s East End early Tuesday.

The 39-year-old man was being held at the Molokai Police Station on suspicion of second-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, according to police records. The man gave no local address but was staying in the Kaluaaha area of Molokai, according to police records. Police said he hadn’t been charged early Thursday afternoon.

He was arrested shortly after noon Wednesday, according to police records.

Police said the victim, Koshari Kahikili, was seen lying motionless on the roadway near Milepost 15 of Kamehameha V Highway at 6:45 a.m. Tuesday. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

An investigation showed that the man had sustained an apparent head injury, police said.

An autopsy was pending, and the investigation was continuing.

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Staffing shortage slated to close landfill

The Molokai Landfill will close early, at 12:30 p.m., Saturday because of a staffing shortage, according to an announcement from the county Department of Environmental Management’s Solid Waste Division.

Officials said the closure will be necessary for the department to “maintain safe operations and meet the minimum state Department of Health operating requirements” of the landfill’s permit to operate.

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Center at Kealia Pond temporarily closed

The Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center will be closed until further notice because of mechanical problems with air conditioning in the Maui National Wildlife Refuge Complex Headquarters, according to an announcement.

The refuge will remain open for bird viewing from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, officials said. Visitors can still access the refuge’s bird viewing area to observe Hawaiian wetland birds and view nesting Hawaiian stilts and coots in their natural habitat, along with other wetland species.

The refuge is closed Fridays through Sundays and on all federal holidays.

The Kealia Coastal Boardwalk also is open and accessible seven days a week from sunrise until 7 p.m.

The refuge is located at Mokulele Highway Milepost 6 in Kihei. The boardwalk is located on North Kihei Road between Kihei and Maalaea.

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State funds for technology improvements

The Maui Research and Technology Center in Kihei received $734,000 in state funds to replace a chiller with energy-efficient technologies.

The funds also will go toward construction of a mechanical room on the grounds to protect the new equipment from the elements. The chiller replacement and relocation will reduce maintenance costs, increase energy efficiency and have replacement parts readily available in case of a failure, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie released more than $52.4 million last month for projects statewide to improve public housing facilities and to modernize technology infrastructure.

Capital improvement projects include $45 million to develop, upgrade or renovate public housing facilities around the state; $2 million to modernize the eligibility determination system for public assistance programs; and $2 million to modernize the 25-year-old case management system for the Social Services Division.