POSTED: Sunday, March 28, 2010

Public access room celebrated

Hawaii lawmakers are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Capitol's Public Access Room, which helps citizens understand the workings of the state Legislature.

The Public Access Room, which opened March 6, 1990, is located on the fourth floor of the Capitol with staff ready to assist people who want to participate in their governance.

Both the state House and Senate honored the Public Access Room in ceremonies last week.

The Public Access Room has two year-round full-time employees, with two more workers added during this year's legislative session.

Public Access Coordinator Suzanne Marinelli said she hopes citizens become more informed so the Legislature can create better laws.

Resurfacing to close lanes in both directions of H-1

Motorists on the H-1 freeway between Aiea and Halawa should expect lane closures starting tomorrow night as the state begins a $5.9 million resurfacing project along a 2.3-mile section of the freeway from the Kaimakani Street overpass to the Kahuapaani Street underpass.

The right lanes of the H-1 in both directions will be closed between Aiea Heights Drive and Kahuapaani Street underpass starting tomorrow night through Wednesday morning, from 7 p.m. to 4:30 a.m.

Work also will include the H-1 Koko Head-bound offramp to the H-3 Freeway and Aiea, the H-1 Waianae-bound offramp to H-3 Freeway, and connector ramps to Moanalua Freeway. All ramps will remain open during the construction, but right lanes will be closed. Electronic message boards near the work zone will inform drivers of upcoming closures. The project is expected to be finished early next year.

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Population growth on neighbor isles slows





Honolulu 907,574 +.5 %
Hawaii 177,835 +.8 %
Maui 145,240 +.5 %
Kauai 64,529 +1 %
State 1,295,178 +.6 %


        Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census

Neighbor island population growth slowed last year but is still outpacing Oahu, according to new Census Bureau population estimates for 2009.

Last year, more people moved away from Oahu than moved to Honolulu. But Oahu still had a 0.5 percent increase in population, or an increase of about 4,829 residents, because of births and immigration from other countries.

Kauai added 654 more people and had the biggest percentage increase in population last year at 1 percent. The Big Island added 1,437 people, but its growth rate of 0.8 percent was the lowest since 1999; and Maui County's additional 778 people, a 0.5 percent increase, was the lowest growth rate since 1968, according to an analysis of the census numbers by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

Over the last 10 years, the Big Island grew the fastest, averaging 2 percent annual growth compared to 0.7 percent yearly growth for Oahu, 1.1 percent for Kauai and 1.3 percent for Maui.

Since 1990, Oahu's share of the state's population has dropped from 75.5 percent to 70.1 percent last year.

Runway repair complete at Kauai missile facility

LIHUE » The U.S. Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai has completed repair work on a runway.

Officials say the project, which was finished Tuesday, is the first U.S. Navy project completed in Hawaii using federal stimulus funds.

U.S. Navy Capt. Aaron Cudnohufsky says it ensures the facility will remain “;mission-ready”; for the next 25 years.

He says the $20.7 million project was completed within budget and ahead of schedule. It was not expected to be finished before April 4.

The work involved cutting into the existing runway and taxiway, resurfacing with new asphalt concrete pavement, sealing existing cracks and restriping.

Extra costs for renovation questioned

HILO » Some people are wondering why officials bought $400,000 worth of new furniture and window treatments after already spending $24.9 million to renovate the Hawaii County Building in Hilo.

County administrators say even though times are tough, funding for the furniture and treatments came from money that was approved in 2008, but not spent.

Public Works Director Warren Lee says some employees had complained they were uncomfortable with the windows because people walking through the building could see into their work areas. Some of the money also went to changing room dividers.

But Hamakua Councilman Dominic Yagong questioned the additional costs, saying new furniture was purchased for council offices four years ago when a move was made to temporary quarters.