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Waipahu Students Sweep Academic Competitions

WO-022614-Kidani

Sharing Notes …Sen. Michelle Kidani

Waipahu’s Standout Students

Waipahu High and Intermediate students displayed their talents at the recent Leeward District Science and Engineering Fair, where students of teachers Michael Sana, Lucille Imamura and Edmar Ramos showed off their projects at Leeward Community College and Waipahu High School.

Also, Hawaii Council on the Humanities is sponsoring the Leeward District History Day Fair next weekend at Waipahu Intermediate. The coordinator for this program is Waipahu Intermediate social studies/history teacher Cynthia Tong.

We know that students put a lot of creativity and hard work into their projects – congratulations to everyone chosen to participate!

Waipahu also can brag about the five students who took top honors in this year’s LifeSmarts competition!

This all-day game-show-style contest is staged every year by the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs as a means of encouraging young people to take time to make informed consumer choices. Coach Cindy Takara took two WHS teams to the competition this year, and they finished first and second! With their win, coach Cindy and winning team members Roel Ibanez, Maximiano Saludares, Mark Abucay, Marc Ramierez and Cia Dela Cruz are entered in the national LifeSmarts competition in Orlando, Fla., in late April.

Legislature Discusses School Fundraising

Waipahu High’s success brings us to a discussion of a piece of legislation that lawmakers are considering this session. The Waipahu High LifeSmart team’s airfare to and accommodations on the Mainland are covered by the sponsoring department, but the youngsters will be out fundraising to cover other expenses they’ll incur while representing our state.

A few weeks ago, the state Ethics Commission offered an opinion that there may be some conflicts between fundraising activities at schools and provisions of the state Ethics Law.

This session, the Legislature is moving to assure that student fundraisers can continue as legitimate school activities in support of the many programs that enrich the educational experience. State Sen. Jill Tokuda, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Education, introduced SB 2423, and I signed on as a co-sponsor, to specifically state that fundraising is allowed under policies developed by the Board of Education.

The Legislature is moving toward the halfway mark in the current session. You can follow the progress of bills, check schedules of hearings and offer your comments on legislation at the Capitol website: capitol.hawaii.gov.

Tax Time – Help is Available

Many people are focused on getting information together for their federal and state tax returns at this time of year. Fortunately, there are a number of volunteer organizations in the community ready to help!

* AARP offers free assistance at Wahiawa Public Library Tuesday afternoons and Friday mornings. Call AARP at 545-6016 for appointment or walk-in information.

* Again this year, Hawaii Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development has tax help hours Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and Saturday mornings at Leeward Community College. Call the Helpline at 2-1-1 or 455-0524 at LCC to make an appointment.

* Through IRS Free File, all taxpayers who made $58,000 or less in 2013 are eligible to visit IRS.gov/freefile to prepare and e-file their federal tax returns. About 100 million Americans – or 70 percent of taxpayers – are eligible for this free service.

Contact Sen. Michelle Kidani at the state Capitol, Room 228, 586-7100, or email: SenKidani@Capitol.Hawaii.gov.

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