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State / In Brief

August 12, 2012
The Associated Press

Grant to boost aid with test readiness

HONOLULU - A three-year, $1.9 million federal grant is allowing Hawaii to beef up training for Advanced Placement teachers and to offer extra help for low-income students.

State Department of Education officials hope the efforts will attract more low-income students to take the Advanced Placement test and earn college credit.

The effort includes "brain camps" to help with study habits and Saturday prep classes.

The number of Hawaii public school students taking AP courses has increased by more than 50 percent over the past five years.

Students who score a 3 or above can get college credit. The top score is 5.

In the 2010-11 school year, 41 percent of exams taken were scored at 3 or better, compared with 42 percent the year before.


Big Isle marijuana minister denied bail

HONOLULU - A federal judge has upheld a ruling ordering the founder of the Hawaii Cannabis Ministry to remain behind bars without bail until his trial on marijuana charges.

U.S. attorney spokesman Elliot Enoki said U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Kobayashi on Tuesday affirmed a June ruling by a federal magistrate judge.

Roger Christie's lawyer appealed that decision and asked Kobayashi to release his client on bond to a halfway house.

Federal prosecutors allege that the Hilo resident led a major cannabis growing, processing and distribution ring. Authorities contend his 2010 arrest put a major dent in the Big Island's marijuana trade.


School to give head start on engineering

HONOLULU - Waipahu High School is giving students a head start on engineering by starting a new nationally accredited engineering program on campus.

The Oahu school's Academy of Engineering aims to fully prepare students for college-level studies in science, technology, engineering and math.

The academy is the first in Hawaii to be accredited by the National Academy Foundation. There are 68 other engineering academies around the country.

Officials from the University of Hawaii, the Honolulu rail authority, a construction company and other businesses and organizations will serve on the academy's Advisory Board.

Waipahu High dedicated the academy in a ceremony on Thursday.

Waipahu has three other academies that focus on finance, information technology and hospitality and tourism.


Foundation raises $66.9 million for UH

HONOLULU - The nonprofit organization that raises private money to support Hawaii's public university system has raised $66.9 million this fiscal year.

The University of Hawaii Foundation raised the money between July 1, 2011, and June 30 for the system's 10 campuses statewide. The foundation says nearly $17 million was raised for student aid and $11.5 million was raised for faculty and academic support.

Of the raised funds, $19.3 million came from individuals, while alumni contributed $15.4 million and corporations provided $13.1 million.

The foundation is a legally separate entity from the university, the UH Alumni Association, and all other UH affiliates.


Planned rail system sees rise in seating

HONOLULU - In response to public demand, officials plan to increase seating by more than 25 percent on each car of Honolulu's rail project.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation said Thursday that it will add 800 passenger seats to its rail-car fleet. Each two-car train will go from 76 to 96 seats.

Authority CEO and Executive Director Daniel Grabauskas says the additional seats will still allow for enough room for luggage, bikes and surfboards.

Grabauskas says the cost will be made up by recent cuts to the authority's budget.

The 20-mile rail route will run from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center.


Pilot project rates quality of preschools

HONOLULU - Hawaii parents will get information about preschool quality thanks to a pilot program state officials are working on to create a voluntary rating system.

Nineteen Hawaii child care programs are part of the pilot. There's a nationwide movement to create similar rating systems.

Hawaii's pilot program costs nearly $561,000 for fiscal year 2012 and is part of a broader state effort to increase access to early-education programs. Hawaii is one of 11 states with no public preschool program.



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