State and Region briefs for July 24

Guam voters get new absentee ballot option

HAGATNA, Guam — Guam voters who want to avoid large crowds in the island’s Aug. 29 primary elections will be allowed to cast in-person absentee ballots starting July 30 thanks to a new law that went into effect this week.

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They can do so at the Guam Election Commission office between July 30 and Aug. 28.

The bill that led to the law was sponsored by Democratic Guam Legislature Sen. Kelly Marsh and Gov. Lourdes Aflague Leon Guerrero, also a Democrat, signed it into law.

“We are each being impacted by this global pandemic in different ways,” Marsh said. “Leaders owe it to our people to provide them flexibility in carrying out their sacred right to vote during this stressful, extraordinary time.”

The bill also expands in-person absentee voting for the November general election, Marsh said.

Residents interested in voting in-person absentee are asked to call or email the Guam Election Commission for instructions, a commission statement said.

The commission had a meeting Thursday to discuss safe practices for in-person absentee voting.

University dorm planned for former YMCA building

HONOLULU — The University of Hawaii plans to redevelop a former YMCA property on Oahu to include a sizable dormitory space.

The project comes as the university cuts a third of the student housing beds on its Manoa campus for the fall in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The former Charles Atherton House was originally planned to house 30-40 students at a cost of $5 million. The plan now calls for a $58.6 million innovation and entrepreneurship center where students will live, learn and work.

Construction is scheduled to begin in eight or nine months with completion by fall 2023.

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The project on the edge of a residential neighborhood is expected to house 350 students in a six-story building and include 40-50 parking spaces.

The University of Hawaii Foundation purchased the property on Metcalf Street and University Avenue in Honolulu for $8 million in 2017.

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