State briefs for January 15

Young Brothers to restore Kahului to Honolulu service

WAILUKU, Maui (AP) — Young Brothers will once again accept all its usual cargo items for shipping from Maui to Oahu after a staffing shortage triggered by a COVID-19 outbreak disrupted some operations.

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The interisland shipping company said Thursday that “barring any setbacks,” it expects to fully restore all cargo acceptance and delivery services from Kahului to Honolulu by Monday, The Maui News reported.

Last week, eight out of 33 Young Brothers employees at the Port of Kahului tested positive for the virus. Three of the eight returned to work as of Thursday, while the other five remain in isolation at home.

There are no new COVID-19 cases at the port, the company said. Young Brothers said it sailed uninterrupted to all ports as scheduled, including three trips between the ports of Honolulu and Kahului before the end of this week.

Last week the company said it wouldn’t accept certain items from Honolulu to Kahului, including cars, livestock, hazardous materials and some palletized and loose cargo. The company has since slowly phased in those types of cargo for shipment this week. It’s monitoring staffing levels and updating customers by email.

Young Brothers said more than 90% of its team is vaccinated. It has scheduled clinics to offer booster shots to employees.

UH to build entrepreneur student center

HONOLULU (AP) — The University of Hawaii is expanding its flagship Manoa campus to build a learning center and dorm for students who want to be entrepreneurs.

The complex, called the Residences for Innovative Student Entrepreneurs, or RISE, will be a six-story building set to open in 2023, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported. Officials gathered for a ceremonial groundbreaking on Thursday.

There will be nearly 400 dorm beds with nearby classrooms, labs and meeting spaces geared toward helping students start businesses.

“With RISE our students will benefit from having a state-of-the art facility whose scale and programs are found in only a handful of universities in the world,” said Susan Yamada, board member and former executive director of the university’s Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship.

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Under a public-private partnership, the University of Hawaii Foundation will be the owner of the complex and help fund operations. The site was purchased in 2017 for $8 million.

“We desperately need critical thinkers and entrepreneurs in a state so reliant on small and medium sized businesses,” said Walter A. Dods Jr., a University of Hawaii graduate and former First Hawaiian CEO, in a statement.