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MISSING KIDS-MOM ARRESTED

Mom of missing kids waives extradition; bail stays at $5M

HONOLULU (AP) — Bail will remain at $5 million for a mother arrested in Hawaii over the disappearance of her two Idaho children. A judge rejected defense attorneys' request to reduce bail at a hearing Wednesday on Kauai, where Lori Vallow was arrested on an Idaho warrant. She has been charged with two felony counts of child abandonment. Seven-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan have not been seen since September. Their disappearance captured worldwide attention after authorities pleaded for help in finding them. Vallow is waiving an extradition hearing, which was scheduled for March 2.

POLICE CHIEF-BROTHER

Honolulu police department suspends ex chief's half-brother

HONOLULU (AP) — The Honolulu Police Department has stripped police authority from the half-brother of the department's former chief following his arrest due to an altercation between the two men. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported the department has opened criminal and administrative investigations into Lt. Andre Peters. Peters was charged Sunday with misdemeanor abuse of a family member. A police report says an alleged assault on former Chief Louis Kealoha happened during an altercation around 1:45 a.m. Sunday at Peters’ East Oahu home. Kealoha is free on bail pending his scheduled sentencing next month on conspiracy and obstruction charges.

UNION AUDIT

National audit cites concerns over Hawaii union spending

HONOLULU (AP) — A national labor union has conducted an audit of its organization in Hawaii and found what it says is excessive spending and a lack of transparency by some staff. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees says concerns emerged after a review of the internal financial records of the United Public Workers in Hawaii. The December audit found thousands of dollars in union funds spent on restaurants, airfare and other costs without proper supporting documentation. The organization has about 13,000 members in Hawaii and represents unionized county, state and private-sector workers.

VIRUS-TOURISM ECONOMY

Report: New virus could hurt Hawaii's tourism industry

HONOLULU (AP) — A research report has predicted Hawaii may be hit by the economic fallout of a new virus that could affect the tourism industry. The University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization says the spread of COVID-19 could undermine previous predictions that 2020 would be a better year for tourism than 2019. The organization's latest quarterly forecast on the state's visitor industry notes the virus that started in China has changed its previous calculation. Hawaii visitor industry and government officials have not sounded an alarm about COVID-19, which they say has had little impact so far on the state’s tourism-driven economy.

BRUSH FIRE-EXPLOSIVES

Unexploded ordnance keeps fire crews away from island blaze

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) — Firefighters in Hawaii have been unable completely extinguish a large brush fire on an uninhabited island used for military bombing practice for decades because of explosive material in the area. The Maui News reported the fire on Kahoolawe island had blackened 4 square miles as of Sunday morning. Officials say the fire that was first reported Saturday spared fuel tanks, solar panels and other key facilities at the Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission base camp. The Maui Fire Department was unable to battle areas of the blaze because of concerns over unexploded ordnances from the years the U.S. Navy used the island for bombing practice.

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN-DOCTOR

Honolulu marathon CEO says he was abused by Michigan doctor

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The president and CEO of one of the nation’s largest marathons says a late University of Michigan doctor performed an inappropriate act on him during a medical examination in the 1970s. Dr. James Barahal joins a chorus of former students by accusing Dr. Robert E. Anderson of assault. Barahal heads up the Honolulu Marathon and is a longtime physician. He told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Monday that Anderson gave him a digital rectal exam when the then-medical student visited the student health center in 1975 complaining of a sore throat.