Kona pot dispensary opens

HONOLULU (AP) — A new medical marijuana dispensary plans to begin sales in Kailua-Kona today.

Hawaiian Ethos is the eighth and final licensed medical cannabis dispensary to receive approval from the state Department of Health.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports the dispensary plans to open another retail center in Hilo.

Hawaiian Ethos communications director Diana Hahn said it’s taken the dispensary longer than it hoped to open, but she says it used the extra time to learn about local patients’ needs.

Hawaiian Ethos is the second dispensary to open on Hawaii island. Big Island Grown Dispensaries opened in Hilo in January and in Waimea in March.

The state legalized medical cannabis in 2000, but dispensary sales began just two years ago.

Man killed in St. Paul shooting

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — St. Paul police say a shooting has left one man dead.
Officers were called Friday night on reports of shots fired and that a person was shot.
Police arrived to find a man lying unresponsive on Earl Street with an apparent gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators were interviewing witnesses and canvassing the area to find out what led to the shooting and to identify any suspects.
The name of the victim was not released.

Young drivers face long waits, long trips for road tests

EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota parents are complaining that their families are facing long waits and having to drive long distances so their teens can take their driver’s license road tests.
Cheree Johnson, of Rockford, told KSTP-TV that she and her 16-year-old daughter, Ashley, had to drive an hour to Eagan to take the test recently because a closer location in Buffalo was booked until October. Fortunately, she passed on the first try. The Eagan office is now booked into October, too.
Other young drivers from the Twin Cities have had to travel more than 100 miles to takes their tests. The Bemidji scheduling office said three young drivers from the Twin Cities took tests there one day midweek. The Duluth center recently told KSTP that the first available driver’s road test in the northern part of the state was mid-July in Grand Rapids.
Cindy Kendall, of Hastings, had not just one new driver who needed to schedule a road test. Her twins are 17 and anxious to get behind the wheel. After months of calling and waiting, her daughter took her test in Winona. Her son is still waiting.
As he waited patiently outside the Arden Hills office Thursday morning, James Nelson said he’d been in line since 10 p.m. Wednesday, hoping that someone would skip out on a scheduled road test appointment. Twenty people were in line behind him.
“You just sleep in the truck, that’s what everyone here is doing, a lot of these guys, the four back there showed up at 3 o’clock in the morning,” he said.
State Rep. Jon Koznick said he’s considering whether the Legislature should do something about it next session.
“It shouldn’t be as frustrating and aggravating as it is,” the Lakeville Republican said. “We need to do a better job of scheduling, and having people arrive at 3 in the morning or 5 in the morning, it just shouldn’t have to be that way.”
The Department of Public Safety has received more than $2 million to pay for 12 additional examiners over the last four years, he said.
The department’s Driver and Vehicle Services division said it has 110 examiners across the state who administer around 130,000 skills tests annually. It plans to hire seven additional examiners in the next fiscal year, which begins Monday, with funding approved during the last legislative session.
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Information from: KSTP-TV, http://www.kstp.com

Victims of medical helicopter crash in Minnesota identified

BRAINERD, Minn. (AP) — Authorities in Minnesota have released the names of a pilot and a nurse who were killed and a paramedic who was injured when a medical helicopter crashed at a regional airport.
North Memorial Health of Robbinsdale, the hospital that owns the helicopter, identifies the pilot as Tim McDonald and the nurse as Deb Schott. Both died at the scene of Friday’s crash at Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport.
Paramedic Josh Duda was injured. Duda’s condition was unknown Saturday.
No patients were aboard when the AgustaWestland A-109 helicopter crashed in foggy conditions near Brainerd, about 127 miles (204 kilometers) northwest of Minneapolis.
Schott’s daughter, Air Force Tech Sgt. Kristie Collins, told the Star Tribune her mother was returning from a medical call at the time of the crash.
The National Transportation Safety Board will be in charge of the investigation.

Minneapolis church expelled over support of gay marriage

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Leaders of the Evangelical Covenant Church voted to defrock a Minneapolis pastor and expel his church for permitting gay marriage.
The Rev. Dan Collison had his credentials removed by a 77% vote at the Evangelical Covenant Church’s annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, on Friday night.
Leaders also voted to expel Collison’s First Covenant Church, a founding member of the 134-year-old denomination.
Collison, who became a pastor at First Covenant in downtown Minneapolis in 2009, told the Star Tribune he was “not surprised” but “saddened” after he was voted out.
“I feel grounded in the path we have chosen. I feel grateful for the pastors and churches who stood up for us. I feel compassion to those caught in the middle,” Collison said.
The ECC says First Covenant is free to keep operating as a church and can keep its church building. First Covenant says Collison will continue serving as lead pastor.
A First Covenant staff member officiated at an off-site wedding of two women from the church worship band in 2014. It also put out a “love all” statement that said it welcomes members of the LGBTQ community to participate in the church, including serving in leadership roles. It also says it offers pastoral care, including weddings, “to all in our congregation without regard for ability, race, sex, gender identity or sexual orientation.”
ECC leaders also voted Friday night to remove another pastor, Rev. Steve Armfield, a retired Michigan minister who officiated his son’s same-sex wedding in Minneapolis. Armfield also was accused of violating the denomination’s same-sex marriage ban.
Leaders had recommended that Collison, Armfield and First Covenant be forced out because they violated Evangelical Covenant Church policies on human sexuality, specifically “celibacy in singleness and faithfulness in heterosexual marriage.”
“The ECC is mindful of the complexity, the sensitivity and the pain that matters of human sexuality can bring,” said Michelle Sanchez, an ECC executive minister. “We talk about the desire for both freedom and responsibility as a denomination. Those two things were coming into tension in this case.”
First Covenant Church was founded by Swedish immigrants in 1874. For decades it was one of ECC’s largest churches nationally, until membership declines began in the 1970s. Today, the denomination has about 875 churches with 280,000 members nationally. It is headquartered in Chicago.
“I hope this historic church someday changes its mind and then returns to our family,” ECC President John Wenrich said in a statement.
Armfield, an ECC pastor for 47 years, also was suspended in 2017. He had served an ECC church in Red Wing, Minnesota, in the 1970s before moving to Michigan. He officiated his son Matthew Armfield’s wedding in 2017.
“It is so unbelievably upsetting to see my father, Dan, and my fellow members of First Covenant experience the hate, deceit and actions that go against the teachings of love and inclusion that Jesus Christ preached,” said Matthew Armfield, who attends First Covenant.
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This story corrects that Evangelical Covenant Church is 134 years old instead of 135 years old.
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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

Couple goes from flower girl, ring bearer to bride, groom

MANDAN (AP) — A North Dakota couple who were kids at a wedding ceremony nearly 20 years ago are tying the knot themselves.
Renae Zachmeier and Daniel Schimetz were to take their vows Saturday at the Church of St. Joseph in Mandan.
Renae and Daniel are getting married in the same church where they met in 1999 when she was a flower girl and he was ring bearer.
Daniel was about 8 years old and Renae about 4 at the time. The Bismarck Tribune reports the couple only vaguely remembers the wedding and sharing their first dance.
The couple started dating in August 2017 and got engaged in June 2018.
Renae says, “If it wasn’t for that wedding, none of this would have ever happened.”

McQuade softball tournament by the numbers

By SCOOTER
PURSLEY
Bismarck Tribune

How does a person start to break down a softball tournament as large as the Sam McQuade Charity Softball Tournament? Well, just about everything can be broken down by numbers.
So, let’s crunch some numbers, starting with 0.57. That’s the amount of rain a storm dumped on Bismarck on Friday morning. Not enough to be a threat, just enough to act like a ladle dumping water in a sauna. That leads to 104, the estimated heat index in Bismarck this afternoon at the peak time of the tournament.
By then, some of the record 464 teams will be headed home, while others will have to find a way to beat the heat in between games. Umpire-in-Chief Mike Wolf says the number is the highest for any year without an international division. It’s the most gathered in Bismarck and Mandan for a single tournament.
Other numbers to note:
3: Tournament rainouts (1986, 2011, 2014).
7: International tournaments (Bosnia ’06; Baghdad ’07, ’08, ’09; Kosovo ’10, ’12; and Kuwait ’12.
472: Teams playing in 2010, including an international division.
15,784: Total number of teams to have played.
1.5 million: Dollars raised for charity.
Forty-Four and Counting
“They allow disabled players to play. I’ll be the disabled ump if I can’t get to 50.”
Umpire Al Ziemann of Mandan is determined to get to the half century mark for tournaments worked. Umping in the A/B Open division, Ziemann is the only umpire to have worked all 44 McQuade tournaments.
“It’s the camaraderie that keeps you coming back,” Ziemann said.
‘Family reunion’ for All Air Force Alumni team
When the guys who once played softball with Steve “Pup” Shortland get together for what amounts to a “family reunion,” it generally involves playing softball.
This week, the Washington, D.C., All Air Force Alumni team has its sights locked in on the McQuade Softball Tournament men’s Class A/B Open. The team made up of all Air Force alumni — and a couple of active-duty guys — will have a long way to come back after a 22-0 loss to Mandan Heartland Investors on Friday.
Shortland coached the All Air Force softball team for 17 years. The players on his roster this weekend all played for him before.
“It’s a reunion team of players that played for me,” said Shortland, whose team took first and second in the men’s Masters 35 in two previous McQuade appearances. “We chose to play Open because some of the younger guys wanted to be involved.”
The Air Force Alumni didn’t land in Bismarck by accident. A few years back, Shortland and his Team USA toured the area and met Jack Jones, who suggested his team try out the McQuade. After two successful runs, the team took a year off due to scheduling difficulties, then returned this year, with one goal in mind.
Seeing old friends a couple times a year is nice. But winning is the goal and the tournament has only just begun.
Four Generations
Ian Ely has more than just a passing interest in the McQuade tournament. The Century junior-to-be was a batboy for the Wounded Warrior team in 2014, but had to wait until this year to finally play.
Ely, son of Shannon McQuade-Ely, grandson of Sam McQuade Jr. and great-grandson of founder Sam McQuade Sr., finally go to take the field as part of Mandan’s Team Bang.
The team, made up of kids too young to play in Bismarck’s leagues but not Mandan, opened the tournament with an exhibition against the USA Patriots, former Wounded Warriors on Friday.
McQuade-Ely’s twin daughters played in last year’s tournament.
Wolf’s Den
Wolf’s neighbors know that when the McQuade tournament is in town, the ump’s home becomes a gathering place for visiting umpires. Umpire Brad Eiesenbeis is in his 30th year. He comes back yearly from Minnesota.
“There must be five or six campers. His neighbors block off the street,” Eisenbeis said. “Everyone gathers at Mike’s house. There must be 60 people staying there.”
That would be half the crew of 119 umpires from 16 states in town this weekend.
“I recruit year-round when I go to national events,” Wolf said. “They come here and they go tell their friends. They say you have to see it once. It sells itself.”

Removal of Haiku hiking stairs proposed by board

HONOLULU (AP) — A Honolulu city agency has proposed removing the popular Haiku Stairs hiking staircase that spans Oahu island’s Koolau Mountains.

The Honolulu Board of Water Supply said it could cost about $1 million to remove the staircase with 3,922 steps that attracts 4,000 people yearly, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Tuesday.

While it is extremely popular, the access that the staircase allows has been a cause of injuries and costly rescues of hikers, officials said.

Work to remove the stairs along the side of the Koolau Mountains in Kaneohe could begin next year and finish in mid-2022, officials said.

The water board owns most of the property where the stairs are located and said it spends $250,000 a year trying to deter trespassers from using them.

The agency cited safety and potential liability concerns due to the poor condition of the staircase’s lower half.

The city spent $875,000 refurbishing the staircase in 2002 in anticipation of a land transfer from the Coast Guard, which ended public stair use in 1987. But the exchange was not completed and the climb remains an illegal adventure.

Honolulu’s Democratic Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he would like the parks and recreation department to take possession, while also noting the need to “ensure the experience is made safer for hikers and first responders.”

Prosecutor: She ‘lies as easily as she draws breath’

Katherine Kealoha taken into custody after guilty verdict

By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER

The Associated Press

HONOLULU — Two U.S. marshals led a former Honolulu prosecutor out of a courtroom Friday when a U.S. judge ordered her detained after a jury found her guilty of conspiracy and he expressed concern that she could try to obstruct justice before being sentenced.

Katherine Kealoha left her purse with her defense attorney as the marshals approached to take her into custody after the bail hearing.

She “lies as easily as she draws breath” and will do anything to avoid consequences, prosecutors said in court documents seeking her detention.

“This defendant is a walking crime-spree,” Michael Wheat, a special federal prosecutor, told the judge in court, saying she holds sway with police and has tampered with grand jury witnesses in the past.

Her lawyer said Friday that the judge should consider that the 48-year-old Kealoha had previously complied with all the conditions of her release on bond during the trial.

“That has to count for something,” defense attorney Cynthia Kagiwada said. She also said there was no showing that Kealoha had engaged in obstructive behavior.

U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright interrupted: “We heard from 12 people yesterday.” In finding Kealoha and her husband, former police Chief Louis Kealoha, 58, guilty of conspiracy Thursday, the jury also determined they obstructed justice.

The jury also convicted two officers in a plot to frame Katherine Kealoha’s uncle Gerard Puana for the theft of a mailbox to discredit him in a family financial dispute.

Prosecutors said during the trial that the Kealohas were afraid the uncle would reveal fraud that financed the couple’s lavish life. Maintaining their power and prestige was a motive for the framing, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors didn’t oppose allowing Louis Kealoha, police Lt. Derek Hahn and Officer Bobby Nguyen to remain free on bond. The jury acquitted retired Major Gordon Shiraishi.

Louis Kealoha didn’t attend his wife’s bail hearing. They have appeared hand-in-hand or arm-in-arm when arriving at court since their 2017 indictment and during the trial that began in May.

The conspiracy charge carries a maximum 20-year sentence but legal observers believe Katherine Kealoha could get less than 10 years behind bars.

The Kealohas face another trial on bank fraud and identity theft charges involving allegations that she bilked relatives and children whose trusts she controlled.

Prosecutors say Katherine Kealoha stole from her now-99-year-old grandmother in a reverse mortgage scheme that forced her grandmother to sell her family home. They say Kealoha spent the money on Maserati and Mercedes-Benz car payments, a banquet when her husband became police chief and Elton John concert tickets.

Prosecutors say some was lavished on her firefighter lover.

Katherine Kealoha also faces a third trial on a separate indictment accusing her and her pain physician brother of drug dealing. She used her position as a prosecutor to cover up their crimes and protect her brother, the indictment said.

During the trial, prosecutors portrayed Katherine Kealoha as the ringleader of the conspiracy. She invented an alias, Alison Lee Wong, to forge documents, and tried to have her grandmother declared incompetent to silence her, prosecutors told the jury.

Jurors watched a deposition from Puana’s mother, Florence Puana, who was unable to testify in court because of her failing health.

Gerard Puana testified that Katherine Kealoha came to them with an idea about taking out a reverse mortgage on her grandmother’s home to help buy a condo her uncle wanted. Kealoha said she would consolidate her debts — which prosecutors described as massive — and promised her uncle and grandmother that she would pay off the loan.

Wheat noted that Kealoha tampered with potential witnesses, including sending letters trying to convince them Alison Lee Wong was a real person.

“Well, it’s pretty clear who Alison Lee Wong is,” Seabright said. “It’s Katherine Kealoha.”

Kealoha had an innocent man incarcerated and tried to silence her grandmother “after engaging in an outright theft of their money,” Seabright said.

“To be clear, it was her own grandmother she did this to,” he said.

She also got her firefighter boyfriend to lie about their affair to a grand jury and convinced the man whose childhood trust she controlled that his mother would go to jail if he didn’t lie and say Kealoha gave him his money, Seabright said.

Attempting to obstruct justice is “Ms. Kealoha’s bread and butter,” Seabright said.

Kenneth Lawson, who teaches criminal law at the University of Hawaii’s law school, attended her bail hearing and said he knows how humiliating it is to be detained. He said he was sentenced to two years in federal prison for fraudulently obtaining prescriptions to feed an opioid addiction.

Kealoha will “adapt” at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center, he said, adding that like he did, she will be able to trade her legal expertise for “food and candy.”

Wie to take off rest of the season

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Michelle Wie says she’ll take a break for the rest of the year to try to get healthy.

Wie had surgery on her right hand in October and tried to return in February, completing one tournament. She sat out a month and returned to the LPGA Tour’s first major and to her hometown event in Hawaii, both times missing the cut. After withdrawing from the U.S. Women’s Open, the 29-year-old Wie played in the Women’s PGA Championship at Hazeltine National and shot rounds of 84-82.

In an Instagram post Friday, Wie says, “After doing everything I could to play this year, I have made the decision to take the rest of the year off from competitive golf.” She says that will be her best chance to “finally get healthy.”