It’s a good thing Hawai’i has two major daily papers that cover news of statewide importance. Some deride the papers as just following each other, ultimately just reporting the same stories over and over, but that’s just not true. Take today’s papers, both of which lead with updates on the Mar. 8 crash of a Hawaii Air Ambulance plane in Kahului that killed three people. “FAA asks air medic company to hold off,” announces the Honolulu Advertiser, detailing how the Federal Aviation Administration has asked the ambulance firm to “ground” its transport flights for as long as it takes safety inspections to continue. Yet over in Honolulu Star-Bulletin country, the headline is “Air ambulance planes inspected, ready to fly.” Does it really matter that both stories source their definitive, completely contradictory headlines to the same guy, Hawaii Air Ambulance CEO Andrew Kluger? Um, yeah, I guess it does. Well, as it turns out, they’re both right, kinda. The FAA did ask the company to ground their planes—a while ago. And they will be able to fly when the inspections are done—whenever that is. See? We’re all better informed… In somewhat but not really related news, three-year-old Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based Hooters Air just cancelled regularly scheduled service, claiming high fuel prices had made operating impossible. Though the airline never made it as far as Hawai’i—hell, they never made it as far as California—every true red-blooded American male has a special place in his heart for the restaurant chain that boasts beautiful waitresses wearing tight tops and dolphin shorts while they serve thoroughly inedible chicken wings.
THURSDAY, Mar. 30
Forty-eight of the nation’s 50 states are better than Hawai’i at not leaving children behind, according to a preliminary study by the U.S. Department of Education, according to an Associated Press story today. That’s right—just 34 percent of this state’s schools are meeting the math and reading test score requirements mandated by our wonderful No Child Left Behind Law. Of course, a recent NPR story on the law reported those states with rising math and reading test scores have only been able to do so by pulling resources and money away from history, science, the arts, etc. But we don’t need those subjects! This is the 21st century! Who needs to know science? That’s what we have computers for… Oh, you want to know which state is dead last in the list? Let me give you a few hints: the state has a lot of beaches, tons of cranky old people, one of Dubya’s brothers for a governor, far too many incidents in which someone gets wholly or partially eaten by a reptile and a name that’s pronounced Flor-i-duh. Any guesses?
FRIDAY, Mar. 31
What was supposed to be a real forum on the proposed Superferry last night at the Ocean Science Discovery Center in Ma’alaea turned into a one-sided argument against the so-called “H-4.” This is because representatives from Superferry, Inc., Maui Land & Pineapple Co. and the state Department of Transportation all declined invitations to attend. According to today’s Maui News, Maui Land had a scheduling conflict and the other two said they stayed away because “some of those involved in organizing the forum were involved in legal actions against them.” And that’s fair, though it does carry the scent of fear, which moves very far in political circles. Superferry, Inc. especially has been very touchy lately when accused of trying to push through its plan to start running high-speed ferries between the islands next spring. Opting out of forums like this sends the message that since it beat back court challenges demanding it complete a full environmental review of the project, it only sees the need to talk to the public when—and if—it chooses.
SATURDAY, Apr. 1
In a move that will both send a strong, anti-addiction signal throughout Maui’s correctional world and most likely break the back of the local prison economy, Maui Community Correctional Center (MCCC) has banned all smoking throughout one of its men’s dorms. In a few days, they’ll do the same with a women’s dorm. “Because half of substance abusers in recovery die of tobacco-related chronic diseases, this is a leap in the right direction for our program,” Maui Drug Court administrator Barbara-Ann Keller said in a press release sent out today. “If we are truly providing quality substance abuse treatment services, we should be assisting the inmates with nicotine treatment because they can never be fully sober while still being addicted to nicotine.” Man, no more smokes in prison: incarceration’s rough.
SUNDAY, Apr. 2
Ask me tomorrow.
MONDAY, Apr. 3
It’s Monday morning, so let’s all talk about death. Seems the morgue over at Maui Memorial Medical Center has a lot of problems, not the least of which is that it’s located across the hall from the new hospital cafeteria, according to today’s Honolulu Advertiser. Set up years ago, the morgue is much too small to accommodate the island’s current death rate, forensic pathologist Dr. Anthony Manoukian told the paper. Manoukian said space is at such a minimum that decomposing bodies are often placed next to the recently deceased. Some bodies are even moved to an “auxiliary chilled unit” where… I’m sorry, but I’m having trouble focusing on anything other than hospital officials’ motivation for having people eat perilously close to where they keep the dead people. By the florist shop? Sure. Next to radiology? Okay. Across the hall from the snack bar? You know, that might even be fine. But near the cafeteria? Unconscionable.
TUESDAY, Apr. 4
Great news: we’ve got nothing but good weather forecast for the foreseeable future, so state officials can get back to inspecting all our old, earthen dams. See, for the last couple of weeks the weather has been so awful that no one could get close to the dam. But now that the rain is gone and there’s no more chance of flash flooding, the inspectors can go in and see if the dams are prone to flooding. Isn’t this wonderful?
Anthony Pignataro easily throws the most smack in his crew, yet he still eats canned vegetables. MTW