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State/In Brief

August 3, 2013
The Associated Press

Gabbard's first bill headed to Obama

HONOLULU - The first piece of legislation from Hawaii U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is headed to President Barack Obama for his signature after passing unanimously in the House and the Senate.

The measure is designed to help severely injured and disabled military members and veterans get through security at airports.

The House approved the bill Friday after voting on it again to approve some Senate amendments.

Gabbard introduced the bill in March.

The Helping Heroes Fly Act directs the Transportation Security Administration to provide expedited passenger screening for injured and disabled active-duty military members and veterans.

Gabbard said the bill will help improve the lives of people who have served in the military. She said the overwhelming support is an example of what can be done when differences are set aside.


Witness: Victim bullied customer

HONOLULU - A security guard who was working at a Waikiki McDonald's restaurant during a deadly 2011 altercation says Kollin Elderts was bullying a customer.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that Rosalinda Soriano testified Elderts was bothering a customer, prompting State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy to intervene.

Deedy is on trial and charged with murder in Elderts' shooting death. Deedy claims he was acting in self-defense and protecting others.

Soriano says she didn't hear exactly what Elderts said to the customer, Michel Perrine. Perrine previously testified he had been drinking earlier and doesn't remember much of the exchange.

Soriano says Elderts and his friend were unfriendly toward Deedy and speaking to him loudly, while the agent was using a soft voice.

Deedy's trial is to resume Monday.


Eroded sandbar causing rip current

POIPU, Kauai - Kauai lifeguards are prohibiting swimming in an area off Poipu Beach because strong ocean conditions created by Tropical Storm Flossie eroded a sandbar there.

Kauai County Ocean Safety Bureau Supervisor Kalani Vierra said in a statement Friday that the erosion is causing an extremely dangerous rip current from the shoreline to a rocky islet off Poipu Beach called Nukumoi Point.

The sandbar is a popular attraction for beachgoers.

Officials have posted signs to warn of the danger.

Lifeguards are telling swimmers to stay out of the water. They're encouraging swimmers to remain in calmer waters fronting the Poipu lifeguard tower.

Flossie passed through Hawaii this week, though the center of the storm never hit land. Flossie's center came closest to Kauai early Tuesday.


Senior achieves perfect ACT score

HONOLULU - A high school senior earned a perfect score on a national college admissions exam to become the only student in Hawaii to ace the exam this year.

Gillian Miyuki Desmond of Roosevelt High School scored a perfect 36 on the ACT test. It's a feat only 781 students out of more than 1.66 million achieved last year. Last year, Jason Cheng of Kaiser High School scored a 36 as well.

The standardized test covers English, reading, math and science and is accepted by all major U.S. colleges.

Her grade-point average is 4.4 and she received the highest possible score of five on Advanced Placement exams in chemistry, statistics and English. She also scored 2280 out of 2400 on her SATs.

Her father credits her academic success to reading and music. She could recite the alphabet at 15 months old and was reading Harry Potter in the 2nd grade. She started playing ukulele in 3rd grade and eventually played clarinet in band.

"When she was old enough to walk basically, I was taking her to the library already," said Richard Desmond. "She always liked it."

As she starts her senior year next week, she'll be busy applying for scholarships and is considering studying math or science at Stanford University, the University of Southern California, the California Institute of Technology or the University of Hawaii-Manoa.



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