BY HAWAII REPORTER

Maui Chef among Semifinalists for James Beard Award

The stars may be aligned for Sheldon Simeon.

The chef of Lahaina’s Star Noodle restaurant has been named a semifinalist for the The James Beard Foundation’s prestigious Rising Star Chef of the Year award, to be handed out in May.

The restaurant itself – a small eatery tucked away in the Lahaina Business Park – has also been nominated in the Best New Restaurant category by the foundation. The Maui restaurant promotes itself as serving fresh house-made noodles and Asian specialties.

Simeon, a 2003 graduate of the Maui Culinary Academy, was born and raised on the Big Island.

Chef Kevin Chong of Chef Mavro has also been selected as a finalist in the Best Chef, Pacific category.

Finalists for the awards will be announced next month.

Census Bureau to Release Detailed Hawaii Report Next Week

The U.S. Census Bureau said it will be released its detailed summaries for Hawaii that are used in voter redistricting and other purposes, next week.

The Census Bureau will provide summaries of population totals, as well as data on race, Hispanic origin and voting age for multiple geographies within the state, such as census blocks, tracts, voting districts, cities, counties and school districts.

Hawaii among Top States for Leisure-Time Physical Activity

The Centers for Disease Control has published leisure-time physical activity for all 3,141 counties or county equivalents in the U.S. showing that Hawaii is one of the top states in terms of fitness.

Hawaii was listed among top states that have at least 70% of their counties in the lowest quartile for leisure-time physical inactivity. Other states in this category were California, Colorado, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.

Warm Weather May Hurt Thinking Skills of People with MS

Research to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology meeting in Honolulu shows that people with multiple sclerosis may have a more difficult time learning, remembering, or processing information on warmer days of the year.

“Studies have linked warmer weather to increased disease activity and lesions in people with MS, but this is the first research to show a possible link between warm weather and cognition, or thinking skills, in people with the disease,” said study author Victoria Leavitt, Ph.D., with the Kessler Foundation in West Orange, New Jersey.

The study found that people with MS scored 70 percent better on thinking tests during cooler days compared to warmer days of the year. There was no link between thinking test scores and temperature for those without MS.

Honolulu Law Firm Changing its Name

The law firm formerly named Roeca, Louie & Hiraoka has been renamed Roeca Luria Hiraoka LLP following the appointment of David M. Louie as Hawaii Attorney General.

The firm said its newly named partner is April A. Luria, who concentrates in the area of medical malpractice, employment and labor matters, civil rights litigation, insurance defense, personal injury, premises liability, and products liability.

Honolulu Named One of Top 100 Communities for Young People

Honolulu has been named one of the America’s Promise Alliance “100 Best Communities for Young People” presented by ING, according to Mayor Peter Carlisle.

The city said the national competition identifies 100 communities nationwide that are dedicated to ending the high school dropout crisis by helping young people overcome challenges to succeed.

The City Department of Community Services’ Youth Services Center applied for the “100 Best Cities” designation in collaboration with several nonprofit groups that assist young people through various programs that provide mentoring, career guidance, and other youth development services: Good Beginnings Alliance; Family Programs Hawaii; YMCA of Honolulu; Honolulu Community Action Program’s Head Start Program; Hawaii Youth Services Network; Hawaii Community Foundation; Hawaii Job Corps; and ALU LIKE.

Higher Risk of Stroke for Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders

Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders may be at higher risk for hemorrhagic stroke at a younger age and more likely to have diabetes compared to other ethnicities, according to a study that will be presented at the April meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Honolulu.

Data on 573 people hospitalized for intracerebral hemorrhage was taken from the “Get with the Guidelines-Stroke” database from The Queen’s Medical Center over a period of six years. Of those, 18 percent were Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders, 63 percent were Asian, 16 percent were Caucasian, 0.2 percent were African-American and three percent were described as other.

On average, Native Hawaiians who experienced a hemorrhagic stroke were around the age of 55, more than 10 years younger than those from other racial groups which had a combined average age of 67 when a stroke occurred. More Native Hawaiians also had diabetes; 35 percent compared to other racial groups at 21 percent. There were no differences in gender or other cardiovascular risk factors between the groups.

“Knowing risk factors for certain populations is an important step toward recognizing, treating and preventing stroke. More research needs to be done to determine which factors are contributing to stroke at such a young age in Native Hawaiians,” said study author Kazuma Nakagawa, MD, with The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu.

Hawaii Unemployment Claims Fall Again

The state Department of  Business, Economic Development and Tourism said statewide initial unemployment claims decreased by 13.5%, with this week’s  total filings of 2,157 and filings during the same week in 2010 of 2,495.
The department said Oahu’s weekly claims were down 14.5 percent, while Maui registered an almost 29 percent decrease.

It said the claims were off 15.3 percent on Kauai.

Hawaii County had a 4.1 percent increase in claims.

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