In brief

  • Leong

Unemployment down slightly in December

Hawaii Island’s unemployment rate decreased slightly during the month of December, recently released state labor statistics show.


About 3.0% — or 2,600 people in the island’s 88,050 person labor force — were without work during the final month of 2019, according to the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. In November, unemployment was at 3.3%.

Statewide, unemployment held steady at 2.6% during November and December.

Around the state, unemployment decreased for Maui and Kauai counties and the City and County of Honolulu. Maui County’s rate dropped from 2.5% in November to 2.2% in December while the City and County of Honolulu saw the unemployment rate decrease from 2.4% to 2.1%. Kauai’s jobless rate fell from 2.9% to 2.5% during that time period.

In Hawaii, job increases were recorded in leisure and hospitality (1,300), trade, transportation and utilities (300), professional and business services (300), manufacturing (100), financial activities (100) and education and health services (100). Employment in the construction, information and other services sectors was unchanged.

Nationally, the unemployment rate was 3.5% during in December, unchanged from November, but a down from December 2018 when 3.9% of workers were unemployed.

Hawaiian Ethos opens Waimea dispensary

Hawaiian Ethos will open its second medical marijuana dispensary in Waimea on Tuesday.

Dispensary hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The dispensary will be located at Uilani Plaza, 64-1035 Mamalahoa Highway, Unit J.

A public grand opening will be held a from 11 a.m. to noon Feb. 9 with music by Mikey Fiyah and food by Cheese Please Hawaii. Local certifying physicians will also be available to provide information and answer questions. Access to the dispensary will be limited to patients and caregivers with 329 Cards.

For more information about the event, business hours, location, products, and services, visit or call (808) 339-3205.

KKCC slates AfterHours event

Meet, greet and connect to West Hawaii’s business community at the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce (KKCC) AfterHours event from 5-7 p.m. on Sunday hosted by Jack’s Diving Locker at Honokohau Harbor.

Open to Chamber members and the public, this monthly networking opportunity is designed to expand business reach and build professional relationships in the local community.

The entry fee is $15 for KKCC members, $30 for general admission or $15 for first-time attendees.

The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce is a nonprofit member organization with nearly 500 member businesses representing a variety of industries located in West Hawaii.

Register at

Info: Call (808) 329-1758 or email

Hawaii Dental Association elects new president

The Hawaii Dental Association, the state’s oldest and largest voluntary nonprofit membership organization representing dentists, has elected Wayne Leong, D.D.S. as its new president.

Leong will serve a one-year term and will lead the organization in its advocacy, education, and community giveback efforts.


In his role, Leong will work with the association’s board to develop and execute HDA’s goals and initiatives, which includes professional development programs, legislative priorities, the annual statewide dental convention held every January, and the Give Kids A Smile program that offers free oral health services to underserved populations.

A 1980 graduate of St. Louis High School on Oahu, Leong has been a dentist in Hilo since 1995 and in private practice since 2001. He received his college degree from the University of Notre Dame and his dental degree from Indiana University. Leong started his career as a dentist for the United States Air Force and is a member of the American Dental Association.

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