POSTED: Friday, May 08, 2009

2 more swine flu cases confirmed

Two more cases of swine flu have been confirmed in Hawaii, the first sign that the flu is spreading within the community.

The two individuals apparently contacted the H1N1 influenza within the state and have not traveled out of state recently, a state Department of Health news release said. The state is not releasing the individuals' genders or relation to each other, but said they have had close contact.

Both are recovering at home.

Five cases have now been confirmed.

“;These two cases indicate that there is at least limited community transmission”; of swine flu, said Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino in the release.

Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist, said the state is reviewing test results from commercial labs to see whether any swine flu cases have slipped past undetected.

“;We can expect to see more confirmed cases as this nationwide outbreak continues,”; she said.

Pacific islands receive Tripler aid

Tripler Army Medical Center has again donated surplus doses of flu vaccines to Guam and other small Pacific islands.

Tripler partnered with Hawaiian Airlines and Continental Micronesia Airlines last week to fly 17,500 surplus doses of flu vaccine to American Samoa, Guam, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the Marshall Islands.

The Army said the surplus vaccines would have been discarded once the flu season is over in the United States.

The program began in 2007, when Joint Task Force-Homeland Defense at Fort Shafter recognized the need in these islands for influenza vaccine and the availability of the Defense Department's excess influenza vaccine. In a trial run, 7,800 doses of excess influenza vaccine on Oahu were collected and shipped to the Northern Marianas.

The program expanded last year, and 26,500 doses were distributed to the health departments of U.S. territories (Guam and American Samoa) and former trust territory governments in the Pacific basin.

Chaminade graduates to hear Lingle

About 400 students at Chaminade University will receive degrees Monday at the school's spring commencement ceremony.

Gov. Linda Lingle will be the commencement speaker at the ceremony beginning at 7 p.m. at the Neal S. Blaisdell Arena.

The undergraduate speaker is Elizabeth Pearson, and Nina Yuk Ngan Ung will speak for graduate students.

Candidate for UH president pulls out

There are now just two finalists for president of the University of Hawaii system.

A third finalist withdrew because the candidate does not want to go through the public selection process, University of Hawaii spokeswoman Carolyn Tanaka said.

M.R.C. Greenwood, former senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of California system, visited UH campuses this week for public forums and interviews.

Robert J. Jones, the second finalist, will visit next week. Jones is the senior academic and chief operating adviser for the University of Minnesota system.

Current President David McClain is scheduled to step down on July 31.

The Board of Regents set the salary for the next UH president at between $450,000 and $550,000 a year.

Neighbor island watch

HANAPEPE » Hanapepe public library will close for one month beginning Monday for site improvement projects, including expanding the parking lot. The book drop will also be closed. Patrons who need to return items are advised to visit other libraries. Passport applications will also not be accepted during construction.

HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK » Nearly $7.9 million in federal stimulus money has been earmarked for construction and repair projects at national parks on the Big Island. The bulk of the money, more than $7.8 million, is for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to replace dilapidated buildings and refurbish trails, roads and fencing. Another $20,000 goes to Kaloko-Honokohau National Park for roadwork, while $61,000 is slated for flood repairs in Puuhonua o Honaunau.

WAILUKU » The public is invited to the grand opening of the Hui Aloha playground at Keopuolani Park, next to the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, at 10 a.m. tomorrow. The playground is at the former horseshoe pits below the softball fields and was the brainchild of the late Masaru “;Pundy”; Yokouchi, who envisioned a place “;where children of all abilities could play together,”; according to a release from Maui County.