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State / In Brief

September 23, 2012
The Associated Press

A third of homeless victims of violence

HONOLULU - A survey of homeless people on Oahu suggests nearly a third have been the victim of a violent attack since ending up on the street.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that the survey of 439 homeless people by nonprofit 100,000 Homes Oahu also suggests more than a third had at least one characteristic making it more likely that living on the street could prove fatal.

Coordinator Kent Anderson says those factors include simultaneously suffering from mental illness, substance abuse and other health problems and being over 60 years old.

Nearly two-thirds of responders reported substance abuse problems while roughly 45 percent said they suffered from mental illness.

Organizers say the data will be used to determine who will get a chance at permanent supportive housing.


More highly qualified teachers in schools

HONOLULU - After struggling to increase the number of Hawaii teachers who are considered highly qualified, there are now more of them in classrooms statewide.

New figures show that 85 percent of Hawaii secondary school classes are taught by highly qualified teachers. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported last week that's up 20 percentage points from five years ago but still falls short of the state's goal of having them in every classroom.

Hawaii ranked second from the bottom nationwide for the percentage of core classes taught by highly qualified teachers in 2010-11.

State Department of Education officials say it's difficult to attract highly qualified candidates to work in Hawaii.

The state has worked with existing teachers to get them certified and revamped hiring procedures to increase the number of highly qualified teachers.


Police warn of scam targeting elderly

HILO - Big Island police are warning the public about a scam targeting the elderly.

Police say they have received complaints about unlicensed contractors soliciting elderly residents for home projects such as painting or power washing. The scam works by asking for full payment up front but then only a portion of the work is completed. The victim tries to contact the contractor who never returns to finish the job.

In an incident last week, police say an 87-year-old man reported that a couple offered to power wash his roof. After agreeing on a price, the woman said she needed to go inside to close the windows. The man distracted the victim. After the couple left without completing the job, the victim found several valuables were missing from the house.


Hawaii candidate received death threat

HONOLULU - Police are investigating congressional candidate Tulsi Gabbard's claim that she was the target of a death threat.

Hawaii NewsNow reported Saturday that Gabbard told police she received an anonymous email death threat. Gabbard believes that the threat comes from the same man who was ordered by a judge last year to stay away from her after a series of bizarre phone calls.

Gabbard's campaign spokesman Jim McCoy says the man moved to the Mainland, but continued to post negative comments about the former city councilwoman online this past summer.

The 30-year-old Democrat is running against Republican Kawika Crowley in the race for Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District.


Elementary schools set to be accredited

HONOLULU - The Hawaii Board of Education has approved a plan to accredit all public elementary schools by 2019.

Board Chairman Don Horner says the state Department of Education will use the same accreditation criteria as most private schools in Hawaii.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday that the ambitious plan is aimed at providing schools with periodic, in-depth reviews.

Ninety-six of Hawaii's public schools, including 13 elementary schools, have Western Association for Schools and Colleges accreditation.

The department hopes to have the 159 remaining elementary schools accredited by the association over a five-year period.

The program will cost about $745,000 a year, which includes providing training, extra support and guidance.



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