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Hawaii’s high costs tough on retirees

Retirement is not as golden as basic official government numbers indicate, especially in Hawaii, according to a new analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s poverty line by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The bureau’s official report is that 8 percent of Hawaii residents 65 and older live below the national poverty income line of $11,490, slightly below the national average. However, the analysis finds that "supplemental" information estimates that 19 percent of Hawaii’s seniors live below the poverty line, second high only to California’s 20 percent.

The analysis attributes the difference to supplemental factors such as housing prices and medical expenses affected by "differences in the generosity of state Medicaid programs."

The really bad analysis is the warning that the senior supplemental poverty rate is likely to rise sharply if Medicare premiums are reduced along with growth in Social Security payments.

Memorials honor lost loved ones

Who says Memorial Day is just one day, or even one weekend? In Hawaii, it’s more like a season — a good chunk of summer, in fact.

That’s because of the obon festivals and observances. Some popular events come much later (the Haleiwa Shingon lantern festival isn’t until July 13, for example).

But the curtain-raiser is Monday, when 40,000 people are expected at Ala Moana Beach Park with the 15th annual Lantern Floating Hawaii event, starting at 6:30 p.m.

Many people will have messages for their departed loved ones on the lanterns that bob out to sea in the most picturesque fashion. These messages were accepted at the Shinnyo-en Hawaii temple through May 19 but late submissions are being taken online through Sunday (

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