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Off the News

For Wednesday, July 27, 2011

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 2:22 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011

Downtown space goes from bentos to Buddhists

That queasy feeling diners and restaurateurs at Queen and Alakea streets are reporting comes not from anything they cooked or ate but from the realization they might not be doing so on that corner once the food court is closed next month.

It's making way for a Buddhist worship and cultural center. While the transition may not be entirely happy (businesses are complaining about a communication gap), it's unlikely to devolve into outright war.

Buddhists shrink from being at the center of protest — in this country, anyway.

Some years ago, when the Pacific Buddhist Academy became the country's first Buddhist high school, its directors were having a hard time contemplating having even a football team. Imagine: a peace-loving offensive lineman, politely sacking a quarterback.

Independence from injuries

It's no accident that the first injury-free Fourth of July in nine years coincided with the first Independence Day that sparklers, fountains and other types of fireworks were banned, except for firecrackers.

No emergency-room injuries were reported by Oahu hospitals to the state Department of Health during this year's Independence Day.

Neighbor islands, where a six-year high of nine people were treated for fireworks-related injuries, have not yet banned the fireworks.

Eventually, those who live there may want to choose safety over noise.

Not only was the holiday injury-free, the skies were absent of smoke, but that was so obvious that it needs no statistical backup.

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