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Off the News

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Let there be hula, and a helping hand for Japan

It’s a happy week for hula lovers everywhere: The Merrie Monarch Festival competition will be in full swing, starting Thursday. The weeklong festival itself always starts with an Easter Day parade, and then crafts and dancers fill the Hilo streets.

Keep an eye out this year for Japan tsunami relief items amid the merchandise. How many Japanese visitors attend will speak volumes about the state of the recovery: This year their traditionally conspicuous presence could be diminished.

He’s president, but can he coach a football team?

It isn’t even close. Ken Niumatalolo, the Radford High grad who now is head football coach at the U.S. Naval Academy makes around $1 million a year, more than twice the $400,000 salary of President Barack Obama.

At the state level, No. 1 is University of Hawaii football coach Greg McMackin, whose salary tops $1 million, nearly 10 times the paltry yearly pay of Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s $117,312. The same probably is true in every state. The money is on the gridiron sideline, which may be why coaches, unlike governors, can’t be heard calling themselves public servants.

CORRECTION

» U.S. Naval Academy head football coach Ken Niumatalolo is not a federal employee. He is paid by the Naval Academy Athletic Association, a nonprofit organization. This “Off the News” item had said Niumatalolo was the nation’s highest-paid federal employee.

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