POSTED: Friday, February 06, 2009

House approves $23 million budget

The state House has given unanimous approval to a legislative budget of $23 million.

The bill provides for the pay and operating expenses for the Legislature's employees and the legislative auditor, reference bureau and ombudsman. The money also goes to pay for broadcasting legislative sessions and hearings and maintaining the legislative computers.

The bill shows a drop of $2.3 million compared with what had been previously budgeted before the state budget deficits were reported. But the legislative auditor's revolving funds were increased by $820,000, according to the House finance committee.

The bill goes to the state Senate, which is also expected to pass it.


Isle schools near bottom in report

Hawaii's public schools rank near the bottom in a national study that claims increased education spending here has not led to better test scores.

The 15th annual report card by the nonprofit American Legislative Exchange Council places Hawaii 49th among the states, ahead only of Mississippi and the District of Columbia, respectively. Minnesota led the ranking.

The group says Hawaii students averaged 983 points on the SAT college entrance exam last year, below the national average of 1,017. Public school students did better on a comparable test, the ACT exam, posting 21.6 points compared with the 21.1 national average, according to the report.

But it says Hawaii fourth- and eighth-graders ranked below the national average in reading and math in the 2007 National Association of Education Progress test.

The results came as Hawaii spent $9,897 per student in the 2006-07 academic year, some $500 more than the national average, the study says. It placed the average Hawaii teacher salary of $51,599 as the nation's 14th best, also above the national average of $46,593.


Fund will support hunter's children

A fund has been set up to help support the two children of hunter and producer and creator of “;Hawaii Sportsman TV,”; Eric Sawchuk, who died after a fall from a ridge while hunting in Keaau near Makua Valley.

Anyone wishing to contribute can send donations to Bank of Hawaii, Children of Eric Sawchuk Fund, 4634 Kilauea Ave., Honolulu, HI 96816. Donations can also be made at any Bank of Hawaii branch.


Dentist's no-contest pleas deferred

A Mililani dentist who pleaded no contest to charges that he arranged to receive painkillers he prescribed to patients will have the opportunity to keep his criminal record clean.

Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario told Jay Adam Cambra on Wednesday he will defer accepting Cambra's no-contest pleas for five years. If Cambra abides by probationlike conditions and stays out of trouble for the five years, he will not have any convictions on his criminal record.

Cambra pleaded no contest in November to 11 charges of failing to keep records of prescriptions to patients and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. He also pleaded no contest to marijuana possession.


Pro Bowl theme at Sunset event

This year's first Sunset on the Beach will kick off with a football theme to celebrate the Pro Bowl.

The monthly event, which includes a movie and live entertainment, begins today at Queen's Beach, across from the Honolulu Zoo, with Son Caribe performing between 4:30 and 6:15 p.m.

The movie “;The Express”; will begin after 6:45 p.m. It is based on a true story about college football hero Ernie Davis, who become the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy. He became an icon for the civil rights movement in the early 1960s.

Saturday will feature three local bands and Pro Bowl cheerleaders instead of a movie. Kawao will take the stage at 6 p.m., Ten Feet at 7:30 and Rebel Souljahz at 9. Pro Bowl cheerleaders will perform at 7:10 and 8:40 p.m.

Tesoro Hawaii, which is sponsoring the event for 2009 with a $65,000 donation, will give away free Tesoro gas cards.