Sour Poi Awards: Celebrating the Strange, the Stupid and the Scandalous of 2015
Honoring the best of the worst new stories from 2015.
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State food-safety inspectors were busy in 2015, shutting down several eateries for sanitation violations. The first casualty: Pa‘ala‘a Kai Bakery, in Waialua. The bakery, beloved for its snow puffy treats, was closed for more than a month after inspectors found it repeatedly failed to keep its food chilled enough to meet safe and legal standards.
A Punchbowl resident made headlines in June after he chopped down dozens of trees on his property that were protected by Punchbowl Special District rules. The lot, which used to belong to noted artist Madge Tennent, and sported a full canopy of trees, was left with just one large tree standing. The city issued Raymond Kang a notice of violation, and ordered him to pay a $3,800 penalty, replant with new trees, and obtain a permit to cut the original trees.
Turns out the men were, in fact, asking for it
Police arrested 16 women working at massage parlors near Ala Moana Center in May, charging them not with prostitution, but fourth-degree sexual assault. Honolulu prosecutors later dismissed the charges, saying they didn’t think it was possible to prove them beyond a reasonable doubt.
ILLUSTRATIONS: DANA PARESA
In January, Waiākea High School wrestling coach Stan Haraguchi lopped a few inches of hair from one of his female wrestlers, after a “friendly bet” that the girl would lose her long locks if she lost a match. Unfortunately, the coach didn’t check with the student’s mother first. “I’m shaking,” said the mother to the Hawai‘i Tribune-Herald. “My daughter’s hair went all the way down her butt before. Now it looks like a rat has been nibbling on it.” Local police launched an investigation into the incident, and Waiākea High suspended Haraguchi from his position.
They’re Lovin’ It
In February, McDonalds added a few Hawaiian-themed specialty items to its menu, including a Hawaiian barbecue pork burger, a loco-moco burger and pineapple pie. Yum! Unfortunately for Hawai‘i residents ‘ono for some Island-flavored fast food, though, these treats were only available in Japan.
In June, a man on trial for forgery, resisting arrest and attempted theft couldn’t leave well enough alone. Sheriff’s deputies at the state courthouse discovered security footage showing Justin Abas stealing a jar of Hershey’s Kisses from a checkpoint. Added to his charges—a count of fourth-degree theft.
In March, the state revoked its contract with Hālau Lōkahi Charter School, after allegations that the school’s officials had racked up more than $100,000 in questionable spending and money laundering. In addition to numerous payments made to nonexistent vendors, the school’s purchases included acupuncture, essential oils and the services of a “clairvoyant psychic healer.” The school closed at the end of the school year.
No wonder his ethics were so relaxed
Politically connected Honolulu businessman Albert Hee was convicted in July of falsely claiming $2.3 million in personal and family expenses as legitimate business tax deductions from his company, Waimana Enterprises Inc. Where’d the money go? Almost $1.7 million went to salaries for his wife and three kids, who didn’t actually work for his company. More than $700,000 went to putting his kids through college on the Mainland. And for himself, Hee spent $96,000 of the company’s cash on twice-weekly, two-hour massages.