The half-moon shone feebly through the clouds when Koko and I set out this morning, and no stars were visible at all. It’s been a while since I’ve seen either them, or Waialeale.
Aside from the hunting dogs that were going off somewhere in the valley, it was a quiet Saturday morning, ideal for lounging in bed. But I dragged myself up and out because I’ve got an early interview in Lihue today, followed by an official break from work until Jan. 2, 2008. Yippee!
Superferry part-timers are also getting a break from work, although possibly not a dsired one, as high winds and seas idle the boat for yet another day, the Star-Bulletin reports.
Once again, the accounts of passenger numbers are screwy, with the Bulletin reporting today: [Superferry business development director Terry] O'Halloran estimated that ridership for today [Saturday] was "significantly lower" than normal. About 95 people and 40 vehicles were scheduled for the Oahu-Maui passage. About 20 people and 20 cars were booked for the Maui-Oahu trip.
The article continues: Yesterday's [Friday’s] cancellation affected about 240 passengers and 80 vehicles each way. O'Halloran said today's [Saturday’s] numbers reflect the response of passengers noticing the travel alerts on the company's Web site and changing their travel dates.
Meanwhile, today’s Advertiser story reports: Company officials said fewer than 100 passengers were booked for travel yesterday [Friday] and today [Saturday].
But yesterday, in a news brief updated at 3:59 p.m., the Advertiser reported: Approximately 160 passengers were booked for yesterday's [Thursday’s] sailings and 480 had reservations for today [Friday], according to Terry O'Halloran, director of business development for Hawaii Superferry.
It all gets me wondering, what's da scoop? And don't newspapers notice the discrepancies in their own pubished reports?
More sobering to the state as a whole than squirrely Superferry stats is another report in today’s Star-Bulletin on the growing number of bankruptcies in Hawaii.
It seems the high cost of living the American dream in Hawaii — coupled with outrageous housing prices, rising energy costs and a slowing real estate-dependent economy — is catching up with Islanders. I pumped gas in Kilauea yesterday, and it was a whopping $3.74 a gallon. Wow. Makes me glad for my fuel-efficient Hyundai.
Bankruptcies are up 44 percent over last year, the article reports, and 2008 is expected to see even more filings.
The article continues:
“Hawaii attorneys are beginning to file more cases related to properties in foreclosure, though consumer bankruptcy attorney Greg Dunn said the worst is yet to come next year and in 2009, as the state begins to feel the effects of the credit crunch.
“Honolulu bankruptcy attorney Bradley Tamm, who has seen calls to his office double in recent months compared with last year, expects bankruptcy cases to climb to the historical norm of about 3,000 cases per year by the end of 2008 and increase even more in 2009, as the mortgage crisis hits Hawaii.
"’The only thing keeping Hawaii from being hit right now is the fact that Hawaii still has positive employment’ he said. ‘People are not doing well. They're hanging on, but 2008 is going to be a busy year.’
“Many of the weaker players in the market such as small retailers, mom-and-pop restaurants and underfinanced developers will likely close in the next few years, therefore driving up the number of bankruptcies, he said.
"’These are the harbingers of bad times,’ Tamm said. ‘It's not light at the end of the tunnel; it's the headlights of a freight train coming. We're going to get hit.’"
But apparently nobody’s told consumers it's time to get off the tracks. Instead, the news has been full of stories about folks buying up a storm in the post-Christmas sales.