Oahu Faces Taco Bell-Linked Hepatitis A Outbreak; 47 Denver Teachers to Lose Tenure

Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii


Connecting state and local government leaders

Also in our State and Local Daily Digest: County commissioner shot in the neck; Utah’s toxic algae problem; contractors in Va. city are peeved over budget mess.

PUBLIC HEALTH | A Taco Bell employee on Oahu tested positive for Hepatitis A, according to the Hawaii State Department of Health. Anyone who ordered food or drink from the fast food restaurant on the days the employee worked may have been exposed and are advised to seek a vaccine from their doctor. At least 52 people have been diagnosed in the outbreak, but a source has not been identified. [Hawaii News Now]

PUBLIC EDUCATION | The impacts of a state education-reform law signed six years ago are being felt in the Denver Public Schools. Forty-seven teachers in Colorado’s largest school district are on track to lose non-probationary status, commonly referred to as tenure, after they were rated as ineffective for two years in a row. That’s 2 percent of the district’s total number of teachers in the Denver Public Schools and the highest proportion of any school district in Colorado. [Chalkbeat]

BUDGET AND FINANCE | A $17 million budget deficit is keeping this Virginia city just south of Richmond from being able to complete construction on a major capital improvement project—the renovation and restoration of the historic South Side Depot—which is to be used by the National Park Service. According to the general contractor, work on the project halted in March and will not start up again until the city pays $202,000 for work that has already been completed. Many of the 25 vendors and subcontractors that were brought on for the project haven’t been paid. One of these vendors trying to keep his head above water while waiting to be paid is Allan Rudolph, a drywall contractor. “I’m basically getting stiffed here, and I have almost no recourse,” says Rudolph, adding “if I saw a job coming up in Petersburg, I wouldn’t do it.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

ENVIRONMENT | Toxic algae isn’t just a problem in Florida. One of largest lakes in the Beehive State, Utah Lake, is facing a toxic algae threat and state authorities are warning residents—and their pets—to steer clear of the lake. Satellite imagery shows the current blue-green bloom covering about 100 square kilometers of the lake. A previous algae bloom in 2014 was blamed for sickening and killing two dogs. Some algae contains cyanobacteria, which can be very harmful if ingested or exposed to skin. [The Salt Lake Tribune]

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT | Coshocton has lost thousands of jobs due to the closure of General Electric, Lancaster Colony, Pretty Products, WestRock paper mill, Shaw-Barton, and Edmont plants. Half the city earns less than $35,000 a year with 25 percent working in manufacturing, and meth use has become a problem. “What you hear on the national news about the gridlock of Washington, people here are really jilted toward politics,” said Mayor Steve Mercer. “And when you speak about jobs, and especially blue-collar jobs, those masses are looking for whoever can provide change to bring those jobs back.” [The Blade]

CRIME | A county commissioner in this jurisdiction south of Pittsburgh is reportedly in stable condition after his wife allegedly shot him in the neck on Sunday. Commissioner Vincent Vicites was flown to a hospital in Morgantown, W.Va., for treatment. His wife, Deanna Vicites, was charged with attempted homicide. It’s unclear what led to the incident. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]