POSTED: Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tropical storm Neki lingering

Tropical storm Neki, moving to the northwest of the main Hawaiian islands is responsible for the muggy conditions over Oahu yesterday and today, the National Weather Service said.

The storm has cut off the normal trade wind flow from the northeast and the resulting southeasterly winds mean muggy weather, scattered showers and possible vog.

The weather service canceled a tropical storm warning yesterday afternoon for the Northwest Hawaiian Islands as Neki continued to drift to the north.

The storm was about 360 miles northwest of Lihue, Kauai, at 5 p.m. yesterday and moving north at about 7 miles per hour.

The storm was expected to dissipate by Tuesday. But weather forecasters said another weather system moving towards Hawaii will block the cooling tradewinds for most of next week. Relief may come Thursday or Friday, the weather service said.

School seeking public charter status

Laupahoehoe High and Elementary School will pursue plans to convert to a public charter school with a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The competitive grant, worth up to $150,000 a year, was awarded to Laupahoehoe Alumni/Community Association, which is also known as the Save/Improve LHES. It was the only Hawaii applicant funded this year by the federal Charter Schools Program, according to the association.

Laupahoehoe has suffered declining enrollment and is being considered for closure by the state Department of Education. The conversion to a public charter school is seen as a way to save the school and bring in new educational and enrichment programs.

Workforce drug use rate unchanged

Workforce drug use in Hawaii has stayed roughly the same for the third quarter of the year compared to the same time last year, according to workforce drug testing statistics provided by Diagnostic Laboratory Services.

Marijuana use has remained unchanged since last year, when its use jumped 8 percent from the previous year, a news release from Diagnostic Laboratory Services said.

Amphetamines, cocaine and opiates have also stayed about the same, according to the statistics.

Diagnostic Laboratory Services quarterly sample includes between 5,000 and 10,000 drug tests performed by the company.