Study names Hawaii number one in the nation for meth use in the workforce

People often talk about the “price we pay to live in paradise”, referring to the high cost of living in the Aloha state.  Taxes are high.  Groceries are pricey.  Electricity is expensive. Life in Hawaii does indeed come at a high cost.  A recent study shows that the high cost may be one of the causes of a high rate of methamphetamine use among the workforce.

A leading drug testing company, Quest Diagnostics, conducted a study of millions of urine test samples collected from the American workforce, in an effort to analyze workforce drug use by state.  And what they found when looking at drug use here in Hawaii is disturbing.  According to their study, [click to continue…]

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South Shore Swell Causes Excitement and Concern

by Staff on September 1, 2011

A surfer takes his chances on advisory-worthy waves off Oahu's south shore. Photo courtesy of JoahPhoto.com

Big Waves – Big Fun for Some, Big Trouble for Others

A storm that passed by New Zealand last week brought rough waters to the Aloha state this week. The resulting high surf advisory has been fun for some, and frightening for others.

Surf started building on Sunday and continued to grow, with waves reaching 15 feet on Tuesday. The summer’s most powerful swell – and arguably the largest south shore swell in decades – warranted a high surf warning, causing some surfers to head straight for the water and forcing other residents and visitors to enjoy the view safely from the shore.

While the waves have certainly brought some excitement to south-facing shores here in Hawaii, their power and the potential for danger has also meant more work for lifeguards and firefighters, and less business for surf schools and catamarans.

On Oahu’s south shore, the 16 lifeguard stands from Ala Moana to Sandy Beach are typically manned by 23 lifeguards. This week, seven additional guards were added to the staff to better ensure the safety of those entering the water. In addition, the fire department has been lending a hand to help with assists, using a chopper to spot surfers and swimmers in trouble, and directing rescuers to them.

In spite of ample official warnings [click to continue…]

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Disney Opens Aulani Resort in Hawaii

by Staff on August 29, 2011

Aulani Resort will include a taro patch where guests can plant and harvest taro

Oahu’s Waianae coast has officially become home to a Disney timeshare and resort hotel.  The project – already six years and a billion dollars in the making – is the first of its kind, as the only Disney resort with no amusement park affiliation.  But that fact won’t stop Mickey and Minnie from making an appearance.  Both attended the opening blessing today and will continue to be a part of resort activities, as guests rather than hosts.  This distinction is important in keeping with the intent of the resort – named Aulani, meaning “messenger from a higher authority” – to tell the story not of the Disney characters, but of the place in which the resort has been built.

Admittedly, there is a bit of irony in a fantasy-fabricating company like Disney insisting on [click to continue…]

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Labor Board Dismisses HSTA Complaint

by Staff on August 20, 2011

The labor dispute between the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) and Governor Abercrombie hit another snag this week, further delaying a decision on the core “impasse” issue.

On June 24, just days before teacher contracts expired, Abercrombie declared that negotiations with the HSTA had reached an impasse.  The governor claimed he had no choice but to impose new contract terms, including the equivalent of a five percent temporary wage reduction.  The HSTA disagreed, promptly filed a complaint with the Hawaii Labor Relations Board (HLRB), and consequently become the first case to challenge impasse law in Hawaii.

When Abercrombie, the superintendent, and the Board of Education chairman sent a joint letter to the HLRB last week that made mention of the possibility for mediation [click to continue…]

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Taxpayer-funded Trip to Hawaii

by Staff on August 13, 2011

Was a taxpayer-funded Maui vacation necessary?

While many Americans spent time this week considering the negative consequences that the downgraded US credit rating will have on their lives, the press staff of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee spent time enjoying Hawaii.

Senator Akaka’s committee press staff has come to Maui to attend an oversight field hearing entitled “Strengthening Self-Sufficiency: Overcoming Barriers to Economic Development in Native Communities” on August 17th.  But many of the staffers arrived a full week prior to the scheduled hearing.  And they did so on taxpayer dollars. [click to continue…]

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Akaka Introduces Medicaid Restoration Bill

by Staff on August 5, 2011

Hawaii has aloha for COFA migrants, but not sufficient funding

When the United States federal government passed the Compact of Free Association (COFA) Act in 1985, it made a promise to provide specified protections, economic benefits and domestic programs to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), and the Republic of Palau in exchange for certain military permissions in these “associated” states.  Under the COFA, the federal government has the freedom to operate U.S. armed forces in the region and deny access to the associated states by other countries, and citizens of the associated states have the right to U.S. economic assistance and the ability to work and live in the U.S.

The relationship detailed in the COFA was intended as a mutually beneficial exchange between the U.S. federal government and the associated states of FSM, RMI, and Republic of Palau.  However, over the years, domestic U.S. states have taken on the burden of making good on the promises the federal government made.  [click to continue…]

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Should Hawaii Legalize Marijuana?

July 30, 2011

The Drug War Debate: What Are We Arguing About? Plenty of people in Hawaii have strong opinions about the prospect of legalizing marijuana. Some cite the medicinal benefits while others express health concerns related to marijuana use. Some believe that legalizing marijuana could help Hawaii get out of debt and others are afraid it will [...]

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Aloun Farms Forced Labor Case Goes to Trial

July 28, 2011

Hawaii agriculture is big news in Thailand.  But sadly, this news is not about our “slow food” movement or the health and economic benefits of island grown produce.  International media outlets, such as the Bangkok Post, are reporting on Hawaii’s Aloun Farms and their allegedly illegal and inhumane treatment of farm workers from Thailand. This [...]

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Hawaii Medical Marijuana Laws

July 24, 2011

Medical marijuana laws have been making news headlines in Hawaii for over a decade.  Challenges and proposed changes to the laws can cause some confusion.  And cases such as Rev. Roger Christie’s have some residents asking questions about Hawaii medical marijuana laws.  What exactly are Hawaii medical marijuana laws?  Who qualifies for medical marijuana?  What [...]

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Japanese Tea Ceremony To Be Held at Pearl Harbor

July 19, 2011

The USS Arizona Memorial is a site of great historical significance and intense emotions.  Nearly 70 years ago, 1,102 USS Arizona crewmembers and an additional 1,245 military personnel and 57 civilians were killed when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, in what was described by then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt as “a date which will live in [...]

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