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State roundup for April 4

Fire ants found in Waimanalo

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii lawmakers criticized state agricultural officials this week after little fire ants were discovered in Waimanalo.

Sen. Clayton Hee said on the Hawaii Senate floor Wednesday that officials delayed telling the public about the infestation of the tiny invasive insect. Hee says he worried other nurseries around the area could become infested with the stinging ants.

Department of Agriculture Director Scott Enright later said that the infestation was discovered in the state Agricultural Lots in Waimanalo less than a week ago.

He says an inspection suggests the ants have been on the ground and in the trees there for two or three years.

A multiagency team will follow up and wipe out the infestation. Enright says that process could take as long as a year.

Migrants fight health ruling

HONOLULU (AP) — An attorney representing Hawaii’s Micronesian migrants says he will fight a ruling that the state isn’t required to fund Medicaid for people under the Compact of Free Association.

Honolulu attorney Paul Alston said he’ll take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Tuesday that Hawaii has no constitutional obligation to fill a gap left when Congress cut health care funding for migrants from three Pacific Island nations in Micronesia.

The compact allows Palau, Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia citizens to live and work in the U.S.

In the exchange, the U.S. military controls extensive land and water in the Pacific.

Alston says the ruling is wrong and could cost hospitals a lot of money.

Ducks close pool in Kailua

HONOLULU (AP) — Ducks have forced the closure of the Kailua District Park pool.

Honolulu spokesman Jesse Broder Van Dyke says it’s the first time the pool has been shut down because of duck feces, and park officials are working on a plan to deal with the problem.

Waterfowl have taken to the pool before, but on Saturday a large group of ducks appeared, and they have returned every day since.

Pool personnel have been treating the feces problem with chlorine.

Officials say the goal is to deter the ducks from entering the pool.

Lifeguards placed toy floats and plastic lane lines in the pool overnight Wednesday to discourage the ducks from returning.


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