Queen’s Set To Open May 20


Talking Story…Sen. Mike Gabbard

Aloha e Friends,

Great news! Especially if you have kids/grandkids who are elementary-school level and you live in Kapolei. The groundbreaking ceremony for Kapolei Elementary II was April 2, located across from Kapolei High. It is expected to open in the fall of 2015. Is that cool, or what?

Please let me know if I can ever help you or your family in any way. I can be reached at 586-6830 or sengabbard@capitol.hawaii.gov.

Queen’s Medical Center-West Oahu Opening Soon

More great news! The Queen’s Medical Center-West Oahu will open on

May 20. I’m stoked that our community will once again have a hospital. The facility will have 80 acute care beds, but that number will increase to 135 in the future. It will feature 23 emergency room bays, four operating rooms and two procedure rooms. There will be approximately 470 employees working at the hospital.

Queen’s has invested $70 million to make this hospital a reality for our community.

Pulse Oximetry Bill Still Alive

Because of a constituent’s request, I introduced SB 2194 this session to require all birthing facilities in the state in perform a pulse oximetry screening on every newborn prior to discharge. I authored this bill in collaboration with the Hawaii chapter of the American Heart Association.

A pulse oximetry test is a non-invasive test that costs about $1 and measures the blood oxygen saturation levels of newborns. Pulse oximetry is effective at detecting critical, life-threatening congenital heart defects, which otherwise can go undetected by current screening methods. Already more than 30 states around the country make the pulse oximetry test a requirement.

This test is just common sense. I’m aware of cases where parents didn’t find out their kids had heart defects until it was almost too late. This is a good thing to do to ensure that newborns born with heart defects get the emergency care they need as quickly as possible. I’m hopeful it will become law in 2014.

Leeward Bikeway Project Back on Track

The state Department of Transportation held a public meeting March 20 at Ewa Elementary School on the Leeward Bikeway project. I’m very happy it’s moving forward, as this will improve the quality of life for thousands of bicyclists and pedestrians who are likely to take advantage of this community amenity.

The project is back on track after being delayed for a number of years because of historical preservation issues. Plans are to extend the 14-mile bikeway from Waipio Point Access Road in the Pearl Harbor area to Lualualei Naval Road in Nanakuli. For much of the route, the bike path will run alongside the existing OR & L railway and be 8 to 10 feet wide. Design for the project is under way.

Construction is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2015 and it should be completed by third quarter of 2016.

‘Listen-Story’ Meeting

My next ‘Listen Story’ meeting, a legislative session wrap-up, will be held at 9 a.m. May 10 at the Kapolei Starbucks (next to the Chevron Station).