State briefs for January 26
Activist McElrath honored with plaque
HONOLULU (AP) — An affordable rental housing nonprofit organization honored late union and social activist Ah Quon McElrath with a plaque.
The Hawaii Housing Development Corporation unveiled the bronze plaque Friday at Wisteria Vista Senior Apartments in Honolulu.
McElrath spent most of her career as a social worker for the International Longshoremen’s and Warehouse Union or ILWU.
She pushed the state Legislature to increase unemployment benefits for workers and improve workers compensation and disability insurance.
She also secured federal funds to build homes for low-income workers.
Hawaii Housing Development Corporation President Randolph Moore said his organization created the plaque in the hope others will continue McElrath’s fight for a better world.
2 earthquakes strike near Guam
HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — Two earthquakes greater than 5 in magnitude struck near Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands on Thursday.
The United States Geological Survey reported the first quake, a magnitude 5.9, occurred at just before 3 p.m. Thursday about 85 miles east of Hagatna, Guam.
The second quake, a magnitude 5.5, occurred less than half an hour later near the same location, about 80 miles east of Hagatna, the capital of the island, which is a United States territory.
Clint Simpson, lead forecaster with the National Weather Service in Guam, said he wasn’t aware of any damage and didn’t even feel the quakes at the NWS office in Tiyan.
Teen accuses teacher of rape 6 years later
HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — A Guam high school teacher is accused of raping an 11-year-old girl more than six years ago.
The alleged victim, now 17, told police Francis Jude Taitano got drunk and raped her in 2007 as she cried.
Taitano is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
“The offense takes place almost seven years ago, and there is no allegations that this was an ongoing event,” defense attorney Mark Kondas said.
Kondas said the girl visited Taitano’s family many times, raising questions about her credibility.
Assistant Attorney General Jordan Leidel said it’s not known whether the girl visited Taitano of her own volition or what her feelings about visiting were.
Kondas said the George Washington High School teacher is a lifelong Guam resident. He asked his client be released without putting up any money. But Taitano was ordered to remain jailed on $75,000 cash bail during a court hearing, where he appeared via video conference at the Judiciary of Guam Northern Satellite.
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