Schools program sees spike in scores
HONOLULU - A program for Hawaii public school students from military families has achieved increases for scores on Advanced Placement exams.
The National Math and Science Initiative announced Thursday that four Hawaii public high schools achieved a combined 68 percent increase in AP math, science and English in the first year of the program.
Initiative Senior Vice President Gregg Fleisher says Mililani, Radford, Campbell and Leilehua high schools accounted for 82 percent of the state's increase in AP scores for those subjects.
State Rep. K. Mark Takai says it shows how the state Department of Education and the military can work together to help Hawaii's students.
Although the program targets children of military personnel at five bases, the program is open to all students at the participating schools.
Union fined for support in Congress race
HONOLULU - A complaint about the United Public Workers' support of Hawaii's U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa in 2010 is raising questions about how far labor unions can go in requiring political participation.
The union agreed to pay a $5,500 penalty to the Federal Election Commission for not reporting more than $40,000 in spending to help Hanabusa win a special election.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Thursday that the complaint showed a division within the FEC on the issue.
Three Republican appointees agreed with UPW attorneys that employees can be required to participate in activities such as sign-waving and telephone banking for candidates. Three Democratic appointees said there was evidence the union coerced employees.
A former staff attorney for the union alleged she was fired because she wouldn't participate in activities to help Hanabusa.
Accreditors seeking updates on concert
HONOLULU - The association that accredits the University of Hawaii wants information about fallout from a botched benefit concert promoted as featuring Stevie Wonder.
A team from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges that visited earlier this month wants to be kept abreast of any report or legislation related to the concert, which needed to be canceled after school officials learned it wasn't approved by the artist or his representatives.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that some have worried the blunder would threaten accreditation, but the association does not appear to believe the matter to be urgent enough to take immediate action.
The team wants results of a special state Senate committee holding hearings into the canceled concert. The university lost $200,000 in what officials have described as a scam.
Archaeological survey set to delay park
HILO - An archaeological survey to search for possible Native Hawaiian graves is expected to delay plans to build an oceanfront park on $6 million of land on the Big Island.
West Hawaii Today reported Friday that the survey will put off the evictions for several Native Hawaiians who live in tents and wooden structures on the land, saying they have a right to stay.
County administrators haven't evicted 70-year-old Abel Simeona Lui and a group of people who live with him despite a court order.
Neighbors have complained about Lui and his supporters, saying they have harassed people for hiking the land's trails and taking children to the shoreline.
Lui claims his great-grandfather was given the land in a royal grant.
Feds grant $1.3M for new tsunami sirens
HONOLULU - The U.S. Commerce Department says it will grant Hawaii $1.3 million to upgrade its disaster preparedness system and build new tsunami warning sirens.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank said in a Friday statement that the money is meant to help protect Hawaii homes and businesses during natural disasters.
Oahu and the Big Island will get the new sirens, which include remote control devices and solar power. Six sirens will be placed in new locations while 10 existing sirens will be replaced.
Officials say the grant is part of $200 million in funds going to places that received a major disaster designation during fiscal 2011.