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Wrap up a winning halftime meal

Should be a good Super Bowl this Sunday. And the most talked-about play of the game could be the sandwich platter you serve at halftime. These delicious, make-ahead wraps are easy to assemble and require no utensils at mealtime. Tortillas team up with bold flavors and fresh ingredients for a colorful presentation. Make several varieties, add chips and beer, and get ready to score some compliments.

How progressive is our system?

On Jan. 15, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) released a report ranking the states in terms of how progressive their tax systems are. A “progressive” tax system is one that asks wealthier taxpayers to pay more of their income than poorer taxpayers. Most states rely upon some form of net income tax and some form of sales tax. Sales taxes tend to have flat rates and, therefore, are regressive. Income taxes tend to have brackets, with taxpayers with higher incomes are exposed to higher tax rates and are progressive.

Many islanders live healthy by eating well with low stress

A trip to so called Third World countries of the tropics can be very enlightening in some unexpected ways. We are on our way to French Polynesia and plan to travel by local transportation to a few of the less developed islands like Huahine, Tahaa and Raiatea. We plan to learn more about what tropical fruits besides banana, breadfuit and coconut are used and how this is related to the health of the islanders.

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Lottery as the most practical path to wealth?

In 2005, a survey commissioned by the Consumer Federation of America and the Financial Planning Association asked a sample of 1,000 adult Americans what would be the most practical way for them to accumulate several hundred thousand dollars. Most — 55 percent — of the respondents said, “Save something each month for many years.” But a significant number of people – 21 percent overall, 38 percent of those with incomes below $25,000, and 31 percent of those 55 or older — thought the answer is “Win the lottery.”

Why not add grapes to your garden?

In an ongoing search for new crops for Hawaiian farmers, some interesting species have emerged as possibilities. Plants including tea, blueberries and grapes have been tested by the University of Hawaii and several varieties are growing successfully here. Though these plants were tested for commercial production, they can also be attractive and interesting additions to smaller Hawaiian gardens.

Get tuned in to your plants’ needs

With all the variations in rainfall this winter, it is sometimes hard to know whether your garden is thirsty or overly wet. The east side of the island has received abundant rain this fall and winter with periodic dry spells. Where soils drain excessively, garden plants may experience stress. Heavy soils high in clay and organic mater will hold moisture longer. In general, East Hawaii has not suffered serious drought. On the other hand, parts of West Hawaii have not had measurable precipitation in almost two months. Even the upper forests of Kona and the coffee lands are beginning to suffer.