BY HAWAII REPORTER

Obama Approval Rating Falls in Hawaii, But Still Highest of States

President Barack Obama’s approval rating tumbled last year across the country, including a 4.9 percentage point drop in Hawaii.

The Honolulu-born Obama’s job approval rating fell to 65.9 percent in 2010, down from the 70.8 percent a year earlier, according to Gallup Daily Tracking poll averages.

About one quarter of the people surveyed here –26.5 percent – said they didn’t like the job Obama was doing.

Hawaii continued to lead all states in terms of favorably viewing the job Obama is doing. Nationally Obama had an average approval of 47 percent, down 11 percentage points from his first year in office.

The highest approval rating wasn’t from a state –  84.4 percent of District of Columbia residents gave the President a thumbs up.

The lowest approval for Obama was in Wyoming where less than a third – 27.6 percent – had a favorable opinion about his work.

Inouye Says Protestors may win out over Qaddafi

Libyan leader Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi may be trying to put down street uprisings, but message of citizen protestors will probably win out by the end of the week, Hawaii’s senior U.S. Senator said yesterday.

Sen. Daniel Inouye said he believed the trend of leaders in the Mideast bending to the wave of protests there will eventually catch on in Libya.

“The events up until this moment have not been initiated by the radical elements. They were initiated by people. Men and women in the street. Housewives. Store owners,” said Inouye, responding to a reporter’s question after Tuesday’s City Rail Transit groundbreaking ceremony in Kapolei.

“So I hope that the leadership of these lands would take these demonstrations seriously. So far I think that’s so.”

“The only one  remaining is Libya but I think by the end of this week they’ll learn.”

Hawaii Research Shows Potential for Alzheimer Misdiagnosis

Research done in Hawaii shows Alzheimer’s disease and other dementing illnesses may be easily misdiagnosed in the elderly, according to early results of a study of people who had their brains autopsied after death.

The study authored by Dr. Lon White of Kuakini Medical System is being released today and will be presented as part of the American Academy of Neurology’s Annual Meeting here in April.

“Diagnosing specific dementias in people who are very old is complex, but with the large increase in dementia cases expected within the next 10 years in the United States, it will be increasingly important to correctly recognize, diagnose, prevent and treat age-related cognitive decline,” said White.

Researchers autopsied the brains of 426 Japanese-American men who were residents of Hawaii, and who died at an average age of 87 years. Of those, 211 had been diagnosed with a dementia when they were alive, most commonly attributed to Alzheimer’s disease.

The study found that about half of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease did not have sufficient numbers of the brain lesions characterizing that condition to support the diagnosis.

It found most of those in whom the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease was not confirmed had one or a combination of other brain lesions sufficient to explain the dementia. These included microinfarcts, Lewy bodies, hippocampal sclerosis or generalized brain atrophy.

White said larger studies are needed to confirm the findings and provide insight for more accurate diagnoses and prevention measures.

House Republicans Call for Better Road Repairs

Several Hawaii House Republicans are calling for more of a state focus on maintaining and repairing roads and highways.

“I believe the government has a basic duty to maintain safe and navigable streets,” stated Rep. Gene Ward. “Yet our streets are filled with potholes and poor patches that damage our cars, and make it more difficult for emergency vehicles, such as ambulances and fire trucks, to reach their destinations quickly.”

The legislators said the State Department of Transportation says it only has about $20 million in funds available this year to repair roads but that maintaining the same road conditions requires closer to $100 million each year.

The legislators charge at least $145 million was raided from the state Highway Fund by Democrats.

“This means we were unable to build and repair the roads we needed even though drivers had paid more than their fair share of vehicle and gasoline taxes,” said Rep. Kymberly Pine.

The legislators said they were concerned that Gov. Neil Abercrombie was considering raising gasoline and vehicle weight taxes without assuming enough money will be dedicated to taking care of roads.

Ward said the Republican Caucus was starting Operation Pothole, an initiative that will encourage citizens to call the city and state to report pothole locations and for road repairs.

The legislators said citizens can call 768-7777  for the Honolulu Pothole Hotline or 536-7852 for the Hawaii Pothole Patrol Hotline to report pothole locations and road repair problems in their neighborhood.  The reports will be channeled directly to the City and State transportation departments.

ABC’s Cougar Town to film here

The second-season finale of the ABC network’s Cougar Town series will be filmed in Hawaii, according to a number of reports.

Local actors have been responding to a call for extras next week for filming on Oahu’s North Shore.

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