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Off the News


Gas costs more here but beaches are closer

The up side of the down economy on this Labor Day: Gas prices have dropped, and the folks who track such things aren’t expecting any last-minute holiday weekend spikes at the pump.

The down side? Hawaii, where retail prices average $3.46 per gallon, barely misses the dubious distinction of "most expensive." Alaska ticks in at $3.53; mainland average: $2.68.

Ah, well. At least we don’t have far to drive for our Labor Day picnics, unlike the mainland where, the AAA estimates, 31.4 million people plan to travel at least 50 miles from home this weekend. So add a gallon to the tank, head for the beach and enjoy.


New voting machines have new technology

Here’s a little bit of reassurance for those about to venture off to vote early at one of Honolulu’s walk-in stations. The voting machine (called an eSlate by its makers, Hart InterCivic) uses a dial to select the candidate before the user punches a button to register the choice.

This is more accurate, according to the Hart website, than the touch screens we all love these days. Touch screens, Hart says, are prone to error due to accidental bumps of the screen, weather fluctuations or other glitches.

That didn’t stop at least a few iPad-happy early voters from poking fruitlessly at the screen.

Old habits die hard. So do new ones.


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