Brief asides


POSTED: Monday, June 29, 2009


Spare the brush, spoil the child

Something is rotten in Hawaii: children's teeth.

The state Health Department reports that the average 8-year-old in Hawaii has 3.5 decayed teeth, nearly double the two decayed teeth that are the average for children that age in the continental United States.

Fluoridating Hawaii's water would improve that sorry statistic, but short of that, encouraging excellent oral hygiene and making dental care widely available can give kids something to smile about.



Superferry saga sails on

The specter of the Hawaii Superferry's vessels becoming ghost ships adds a sorry coda to the debacle. Unsecured creditors and the Hawaii Department of Transportation called the company's attempt to abandon the two ferries premature, given that they are the bankrupt company's major assets. A hearing to decide their fate is scheduled for Wednesday.



Too many questions, too little time

User-friendly is good. And it's especially welcome if one is dealing with a daunting 153-question form when applying for federal college aid.

In an attempt to help students—and their parents—out, the Obama administration is working to simplify the form. The goal is to boost college enrollment among low- and middle-income students, says Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

The three-pronged plan: Streamline the online application by about two-thirds; enable families to use tax data already submitted to the IRS; ask Congress to remove more than half of the financial questions on the form.

All those changes would be welcome, and timely: Demand for aid has risen since last year, with applications up by 12 percent to more than 16 million.