POSTED: Friday, May 29, 2009

Counties get OK on Segway rules

Gov. Linda Lingle has signed a measure to allow counties to prohibit or regulate “;electric personal assistive mobility devices,”; such as the two-wheeled vehicles called Segways.

The legislation, Senate Bill 281, permits counties to restrict the devices' use on sidewalks and bicycle paths.

The measure seeks to deal with the sometimes dangerous confluence of pedestrians and bicycles with Segways and similar vehicles, which can move swiftly and make sharp turns.

Current state law allows such vehicles to move at speeds of up to 8 mph. The new law would not change that limit.

The builder of Segways supported the bill, but there was opposition from groups representing the disabled, who wanted an exemption for motorized wheelchairs.


2 new cases bring isle flu total to 73

Two more cases of swine flu were reported yesterday by the state Health Department, bringing the total number of cases in the islands to 73.

Both new cases of the H1N1 influenza involve adults who live on Oahu. The department said neither had contact with a person who had the virus.

Health officials have said that all the confirmed cases have been mild and that patients have either recovered or are recovering.

Oahu has the most cases with 70. There were two confirmed cases on the Big Island, and a Maui resident who contracted the disease while traveling in Washington state recovered before coming home, the department said.


Blaisdell site for new farmers market

The Honolulu Farm Bureau will open a new farmers market at the Neal Blaisdell Center that to sell locally grown fruits, vegetables, flowers and plants.

The grand opening, from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, also incorporates the third annual “;Ag in the City”; event, which showcases the local agricultural industry.

Officials hope the partnership will help the public learn about the industry as well as meet the organizations and individuals who supply stores and restaurants with island-grown and produced foods.

The market will operate every Wednesday at Blaisdell.

Parking will be available at the center for a reduced rate of $3. For more information, contact Eleanor Nakama-Mitsunaga at 848-2074 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Vietnam War remains to be identified

The remains of two Vietnam War servicemen recovered from Laos and South Vietnam will arrive at Hickam Air Force Base today and will be taken to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Central Identification Laboratory for identification.

Once identifications are established, the names will be announced following the notification of relatives.


Catfish season to open at reservoir

Anglers will have another chance at catfish in Nuuanu Reservoir when fishing season opens July 18.

Applications will be available Monday at the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources, 1151 Punchbowl St., and from licensing agents.

June 26 is the application deadline for entry cards to the Nuuanu Freshwater Fish Refuge.

Each card-holder must also have a valid freshwater game fishing license, also available at the department and fishing supply stores. Licenses are free.

More than 1,000 catfish, the largest weighing 13 pounds, were caught during the last season, which ended in March.


Institute to get $1 million donation

Hawaii resident and philanthropist Pam Omidyar is giving $1 million to the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology for a new microscope that will allow scientists to see activities in living cells, the University of Hawaii Foundation announced in an news release.

“;The scope of the science that can be done using this imaging technology is staggering and addresses questions at the very frontier of modern biological science,”; said Ruth Gates, a scientist at the institute on Moku o Lo'e, also known as Coconut Island.

The money will aid researchers at the UH-Manoa Confocal Microscopy Laboratory.

Omidyar, the wife of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, is a supporter of research and development of new technologies in biological science.

She earned a bachelor's in biology from Tufts University and a master's degree in molecular genetics from the University of California at Santa Cruz.



Kauai council OKs 2.5% cut in spending

The downturn in the state's economy has forced belt-tightening in Kauai County.

The County Council there recently passed and sent to Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. a budget that is 2.5 percent less than this year's.

The $213 million budget includes $154.09 million for operations and $58.83 million for capital improvements.

Many vacant positions were left unfunded, including the job of a recycling coordinator.

The county is continuing its automated curbside refuse pickup and recycling.

The budget is based in part on a Council projection that the county will receive $11.2 million from the transient accommodations tax, or hotel room tax.

Carvalho is expected to sign the budget bills.