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2 dengue cases suspected on Maui

The Department of Health announced yesterday it has received reports of two suspected cases of dengue fever in East Maui, the site of the most recent Hawaii outbreak, which occurred a decade ago.

They are two of 42 suspected cases reported between March 24 and April 6 by physicians statewide to the Health Department, 13 of which have been ruled out or found negative.

So far, only four locally transmitted, related cases of dengue fever in Pearl City have been confirmed since March 24; 29 are unconfirmed.

State Epidemiologist Sarah Park stressed that the Maui cases have not been confirmed and are among a handful of neighbor island reports by clinicians.

Park noted that after the 2001 outbreak, Paul Effler, the former state epidemiologist, found that the Oahu and Kauai cases were unrelated to the Maui outbreak and had been brought into the state from elsewhere by travelers.

Most of the suspected cases are scattered on Oahu, where physicians have been alerted to look for patients with symptoms consistent with dengue, including high fever, muscle ache, pain behind the eye and rash.

The mosquito-borne viral disease has no cure or vaccine. The Health Department urges residents to remove standing water near their homes where mosquitoes breed.

4 lawyers named as district judges

Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald has appointed four Ho­nolulu lawyers to six-year terms as Honolulu district judges, the state Judiciary announced yesterday.

The four are Lanson Kupau, a part-time district judge and lawyer with Bronster and Hoshibata; Melanie Mito May,

a partner with Marr Jones & Wang; Dean Ochiai, vice president and managing attorney for First Insurance Co. of Hawaii Ltd.; and Catherine Remigio, partner with Bryant and Remigio. Remigio was appointed as a district judge in Family Court.

The appointments are subject to Senate confirmation.

Recktenwald chose the four from lists of candidates by the Judicial Selection Commission. The chief justice released the names earlier and sought public comment on the candidates.

UH-Hilo seeks $36 million for housing

The University of Hawaii at Hilo has asked the Legislature for $36 million to build more on-campus student housing.

Enrollment at the university has grown 17 percent in the past five years, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Tuesday. No on-campus housing has been added since 1989.

Enrollment is 4,000, with only 600 beds available for on-campus living. University officials say student demand for housing exceeds the university’s capacity by at least 1,200 beds.

Administrators have attempted to address the housing shortage by forging agreements with four separate off-campus apartment and hotel operators. However, a tight housing market and a lack of public transportation limits off-campus housing options.

Public views sought on  park flights

The National Park Service and the Federal Aviation Administration are seeking public comment on possible regulations for commercial tour flights over Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

The park service said the agencies are considering defining flight paths and restricting when helicopters and airplanes can fly over the park. Federal law enacted in 2000 requires national parks to have air tour management plans.

Park Service officials say a plan is necessary to preserve the quiet wilderness of the park, along with maintaining safety for visitors. The Grand Canyon is the only national park with more flights than Hawaii Volcanoes.

Three public meetings will be held this month on Hawaii island.

The Maui News reported Tuesday that an air tour management plan is also being developed for Haleakala National Park.

Food drive by synergy

Synergy Home Care is coordinating a food drive Saturday to benefit the Hawaii Foodbank. People can drop off nonperishable food or monetary donations at the Ward Court building, 320 Ward Ave., from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. People who bring in 10 or more canned food items will receive a free kit to list their critical medical information and post it on their refrigerator.

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