Hawaii Testing Lags; Ocean Windmills Here?; Honolulu Ranks in Public Transportation, Elephant Spaces

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Hawaii AP Exam Scores Lag Most Other States


The percentage of Hawaii high school students scoring at least 3 on Advanced Placement Program exams was the 12th worst nationally last year.

A study by The College Board shows 9.4 percent of Hawaii’s Class of 2010 were able to achieve that score or higher on at least one AP Exam during their high school years. That compares to 16.9 percent for the nation as a whole.

The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program allows students to take college-level courses while still in high school and ends with a rigorous exam. A score of 3 is equivalent to C or B- grade, while a 5 is equivalent to an A in a corresponding college course.

Typically students who score a 3 or higher on AP Exams experience stronger college outcomes than otherwise comparable non-AP peers, The College Board said.

Other data in the report shows the percentage of students scoring a 3 increased both nationally and in Hawaii. The U.S. average rose from 10.8 percent in 2001, while Hawaii rose from 6.2 percent that year.

Maryland had the highest percentage of students scoring well on the AP Exams for a third consecutive year. The College Board reported 26.4 percent of the state’s class of 2010 scored a 3 or more.

Mississippi was the worst at 4.4 percent.

U.S. Offshore Wind Energy Plan Includes Hawaii

A plan unveiled this week by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu calls for development of an offshore energy industry that may include Hawaii.

The plan calls for accelerating commercial-scale offshore wind development and installing a significant amount of wind-generating capacity by the year 2030. This includes the identifying of four areas off of Mid-Atlantic states for expedited planning and approval for installation of wind turbines.

Hawaii is mentioned as part of the plan that was unveiled, with a study showing Hawaii’s offshore wind potential the second-greatest of eight areas studied. It found a potential of 637 gigawatts of energy up to 50 nautical miles off of Hawaii’s coastline.

“Under the National Offshore Wind Strategy, the Department of Energy is pursuing a scenario that includes deployment of 10 gigawatts of offshore wind generating capacity by 2020 and 54 gigawatts by 2030,” the departments said in announcing the plan.

“Those scenarios include development in both federal and state offshore areas, including along Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf Coasts as well as in Great Lakes and Hawaiian Waters.”

Honolulu Ranked 8th U.S. Best City for Public Transportation

A ranking published in U.S. News and World Report shows Honolulu is the eighth-best city in the nation for public transportation.

The analysis of data from the Federal Transit Administration and the American Public Transportation Association, a group that advocates for public transit, looked at a variety of factors including account per capita spending on public transportation, number of safety incidents per million trips, and the number of trips taken per capita.

Portland was first on the list, with U.S. News and World Report noting city dwellers there have a variety of travel alternatives, including buses, light rail, commuter rail, streetcars and an aerial tram.

The magazine noted Honolulu is the only city among the top 10 that does not have an urban rail system, but was hoping to build one soon. It said the city’s TheBus and its high ridership helps to boost Honolulu to its No. 4 position in per capita public transit usage.

Elephant Space Bill is Deferred

Action on a legislative bill that would have required Hawaii zoos to provide at least one acre of exhibit space for each elephant has been deferred.

The measure, SB1126,  called for zoos to practice humane treatment of elephants by giving them sufficient space to live and roam within enclosures. Proponents said elephants need space to roam and exercise.

The bill had been opposed by Honolulu Zoo Director Manuel A. Mollinedo, who said the measure would force the facility to get rid of one of its two elephants.

Civil Unions Won’t Have Big Impact, Two Economists Say

With the likelihood that Hawaii’s legislature will approve a Civil Unions bill, two University of Hawaii Economists have released an updated study of possible impacts a law might have.

The 18-page report by Sumner LaCroix and Kimberly Burnett updates work done last year examining the possible the impact of same-sex civil unions on the Hawai`i economy, Hawai`i businesses, and state budget.

The report is update from work released by the pair last May and includes results of a survey of 101 businesses regarding health insurance benefits. Both reports reach the conclusion that such legislation will have only a very minimal impact on any aspect of Hawaii’s economy and state government operations.

The report concludes:

  • The State of Hawaii’s adjustment to the passage of civil union

legislation will be smooth and cost little given the experience of other states.

  • Tourism should experience a small increase in visitor arrivals and spending by same-sex

couples who travel to Hawai`i for civil unions.

  • A civil unions law is unlikely to lead to substantial increases in

the percentage of the state’s population covered by public and private health

insurance or substantial increases in health insurance expenditures by either

public or private employers.

  • There may be a small increase in state revenues via civil union registration fees, excise taxes, and state income taxes from civil union ceremonies and celebrations by visitors and residents.

Opponents to civil unions criticized the duo’s previous report saying some of it presented conflicting information or lacked evidence to make assertions. They also said some of the revenue assertions were speculative.

UH Receives $6 million for Renewable Energy

The University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) was recently awarded $6 million by the U.S. Department of Energy to increase Hawaii’s energy security using locally produced renewable energy.

The project will seek to develop high-yielding biofuel feedstocks that are economically viable and sustainable. Establishing local biofuel production for transportation fuel can have a tremendous impact in improving Hawaii’s environment, helping the economy, and reducing dependence on foreign oil.

The project will examine the use of tropical grasses such as banagrass, energy sorghum, and energy cane for biofuel production,  and develop ways to assess the sustainability of renewable energy production in Hawai‘i.

It will also investigate the conversion of the feedstocks into usable energy and other valuable co-products by testing several processes to produce biofuels and co-products that enhance the conversion economics.





  1. None of us are really “opposed to Civil Unions” – but some of us are opposed to Civil Union status granting the same privileges and responsibilities as Marriage from a secular point of view (not religious).

    Marriage, in general, produces the next generation. Yes, even the next generation of people of homosx behavior.

    What studies of this nature (Civil Unions Won’t Have Big Impact, Two Economists Say) fail to work into their mathematics is the non-linear effect of legislation providing great benefits to couples of homosx behavior, within an official Civil Union. That is, the number of such couples in Hawaii would skyrocket (Oahu/Hawaii would be “flooded”), and they would begin to have an inordinate effect on insurance costs for employers. It was, in fact the insurance companies who blocked the formal application of the RBR (Reciprocal Beneficiaries Relationship) laws in Hawaii. But couples of homosx behavior don’t even show why they constitute a minority. They assume this, and even claim to be a “family”, when actually a family is far removed from their “mating” habits, and do not procreate the next generation. Marriage needs even more (not less) rights, to provide a competitive advantage to homosx couples who don’t have to go through 9 months of pregnancy per child, and their mother did…

    Think about it, sloppy mathematicians at UH. Or are they themselves (biased) people of homosx behavior?

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