AAA Hawaii is offering a free ride home and tow service for drinking drivers over the New Year’s holiday weekend.
The “Tipsy Tow” service is available from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Sunday on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island.
Calling (800) 222-4357 will allow drivers who have been drinking a free tow to a home of up to five miles. The service excludes rides for passengers and is limited to a one-way ride to the driver’s home. For distances farther than five miles, drivers will pay the rate charged by the tow truck contractor.
AAA Hawaii reminds drivers it only takes one or two drinks to slow physical and mental skills, affecting vision, steering, braking, judgment and reaction time.
APIA, Samoa >> The weekend came sooner than usual for the tiny South Pacific island nation of Samoa.
When the clock struck midnight Thursday, the country skipped over Friday and moved 24 hours ahead — straight into Saturday, Dec. 31.
Samoans gathered around a main clock tower in the capital of Apia for the historic moment, applauding in celebration as the midnight hour struck to the wail of sirens and burst of fireworks. Drivers circled the clock tower blaring their horns, and prayer services were held across the country.
Samoa aimed to align its time zone with key trading partners in the Asia-Pacific region by shifting west of the international date line.
The time jump means that Samoa’s 186,000 citizens, and the 1,500 in the three-atoll United Nations dependency of Tokelau, which also shifted, will now be the first in the world to ring in the new year, rather than the last.
The date line dance came 119 years after U.S. traders persuaded local Samoans to align their islands’ time with nearby U.S.-controlled American Samoa and the U.S. to assist their trading with California.
But the time zone put Samoa and Tokelau nearly a full day behind neighboring Australia and New Zealand, which are increasingly important trading partners.
In June, the Samoan government passed a law to move Samoa west of the international date line, which separates one calendar day from the next and runs roughly north-to-south through the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Under a government decree, all those scheduled to work on the nonexistent Friday will be given full pay for the missed day of labor.
In addition to the economic advantages, the time jump is also expected to make the everyday rituals of family life a little more pleasant. Like many small Pacific island states, more of Samoa’s people live permanently in other countries. About 180,000 Samoans live in New Zealand and 15,000 in Australia. The date line switch means that families split between the island nation and Australia or New Zealand can now celebrate important events such as birthdays at the same time.
“We’ve got to remember that over 90 percent of our people emigrate to New Zealand and Australia. That’s why it is absolutely vital to make this change,” Prime Minister Tuila’epa Sailele Malielegaoi told The Associated Press just hours before the country catapulted into the future.
Officials have begun work on changing maps, charts and atlases to reflect Samoa’s new date line position. A postage stamp, featuring the phrase “into the future,” has also been created to mark the switch.
Although generally embraced by most Samoans, the date change wasn’t expected to happen without a few little glitches. Digicel, the most popular mobile phone service provider in Samoa, said the company would have to update its systems immediately after the time jump, leaving phone service dead for about 15 minutes.
“The interruption will only take a few minutes so we can adjust our system,” CEO Pepe Fiaailetoa Fruean said. “So I would like to inform all of our customers to have alternative communication means available in case of an emergency.”
Being a day behind the rest of the Asia-Pacific region has meant that when it’s dawn Sunday in Samoa, it’s already dawn Monday in adjacent Tonga and nearly dawn Monday in nearby New Zealand and Australia, as well as prominent east Asian trade partners such as China.
The original shift to the east side of the line was made in 1892, when Samoa celebrated July 4 twice, giving a nod to Independence Day in the U.S.
The date line drawn by mapmakers is not mandated by any international body. By tradition, it runs roughly through the 180-degree line of longitude, but it zigzags to accommodate the choices of Pacific nations on how to align their calendars.
None of 79 stores Sears and Kmart stores slated for closing are in Hawaii, according to a list released by Sears Holdings Corp.
The Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based company said Tuesday that it planned to close between 100 and 120 stores after recording poor sales during the holiday season.
Sears Holding Corp. has six Sears department stores and seven Kmart stores on Oahu, Maui, the Big Island and Kauai.
HONOLULU- The Hawaii State Senate today adopted a social media use policy. The Policy provides guidance to users, both internally and in the public.
Currently, the use of social media in the public sector is a new and emerging phenomenon across the country. The Hawaii State Senate is one of the few state senate bodies that have formally adopted a social media use policy.
The State Senate endeavors to increase public accessibility to legislative policies and information to best serve the needs of citizens and has found it necessary to explore and embrace the use of social media.
“The recent growth of social media use to communicate with government officials and organizations underscores the importance for government agencies to incorporate social media services (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr) as integral components to governments’ overarching communication initiatives,” said Senate President Shan Tsutsui . “At the same time, it is equally vital that we, as agencies and representatives, harness the potential of these tools in the most appropriate and responsible manner. That’s what this policy guides us to do.”
The Senate policy supports growing adoption of social media by its members and staff while providing guidance and standards of its use to ensure appropriate and effective use is consistent and in compliance with Federal and State rules and regulations.
“Social media is continually changing the way we communicate and engage with one another,” said Senate Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria. “While traditional vehicles of communication, such as print and broadcast hold much value, we cannot negate the importance of new and emerging technology. It is important for us to reach out to all of our citizens, and that includes the use of social media. This policy provides the appropriate structure for doing so.”
The Hawaii State Senate Social Media Use Policy includes guidance on social media application, use, security, approval, content, and management. All official accounts will be monitored by the Senate Communications Office to assure compliance with the use policy.
Here’s a link to the Senate Social Media Use Policy: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/senate.aspx
A man was struck and killed by a ski boat in waters off Wahikuli Wayside Park near Lahaina this morning.
Maui Police report that this morning, at approximately 11:30, while diving in the waters off Wahikuli Wayside Park in Lahaina, 60 year old William W. GONZALES was accidentally struck by a 19-foot ski-boat recreational watercraft.
GONZALES sustained injuries to both his legs as a result of this incident and had to be transported to shore by Lifeguard jet ski. GONZALES was transported by medics to the Maui Memorial Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries and expired.
The Coast Guard suspended its search for a missing boater who disappeared while sailing from Kauai to Oahu earlier this month.
Ira Foreman, 66, of Seattle, departed from Port Allen on Dec. 17 aboard the 36-foot sailboat Arcturus and was supposed to reach Keehi Lagoon on Oahu the following day. His wife reported him overdue about a week later, late Saturday afternoon.
His wife said Foreman was sailing from American Samoa to Oahu but went off course and reached Port Allen instead. He remained aboard the vessel at anchor for one day before departing for Oahu.
The Arcturus is described as having a white hull, white sails, no name on the transom, and four portholes on both sides of the cabin. Foreman reportedly had a cell phone, personal locator beacon, and VHF radio on board.
The Coast Guard searched continuously since Sunday and covered about 178,000 square miles of ocean, stretching about 600 miles west of Kauai, by Wednesday.
The search was called off Wednesday at 7:50 p.m., pending new information about Foreman’s whereabouts, said Coast Guard spokeswoman Angela Henderson.
Anyone with information on Foreman’s whereabouts is urged to call Coast Guard Sector Honolulu at 842-2600.
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