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State roundup for April 3

Money sought for education

HONOLULU (AP) — The Senate Ways and Means Committee wants to give more money to Hawaii’s public schools to help them tackle ambitious reform initiatives.

The committee on Monday proposed giving the Department of Education $15 million more than it requested for the upcoming fiscal year.

Committee chairman Sen. David Ige explains additional money would go to each public school. It also demonstrates the Senate’s commitment to providing schools the resources they need to undertake ambitious reforms under Hawaii’s Race to the Top, he says.

The education budget amendments are just some of the changes the committee proposed in its first draft of the state budget bill.

2 critical after near-drownings

HONOLULU (AP) — Two men are hospitalized after each nearly drowned in separate incidents on Oahu’s western shore.

Authorities say a man in his 60s was found floating in a tide pool off Makaha Beach around 1 p.m. Sunday. He was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Three hours later, lifeguards pulled a man in his 20s from the ocean off Maili Beach, to the south. He also was listed in critical condition.

It was a busy weekend for rescuers throughout Hawaii. A 3-year-old boy is in serious condition after being rescued Saturday from Waimea River on Oahu’s North Shore.

And two men remain in critical condition after being found unresponsive Saturday off a Kauai beach and in a stream in Chinatown.

12 Maui dogs burned to death

WAILUKU, Maui (AP) — Maui fire officials say a dozen hunting and herding dogs were killed when their kennel was intentionally set on fire.

The dogs included seven adults and five puppies. Someone set fire to the kennel in a field in Waikapu on Sunday night.

Maui Humane Society CEO Jocelyn Bouchard says it’s horrible someone would target the dogs. She says the humane society will investigate the incident.

The financial cost of the blaze has been put at $14,000, including $12,000 for the loss of the dogs and $2,000 for the kennel.

Escaped parrot returned to zoo

HONOLULU (AP) — An exotic parrot that escaped from the Honolulu Zoo is back home after hikers spotted the bird on the Diamond Head Trail over the weekend.

Acting Zoo Director Tommy Higashino said the red Eclectus parrot was near the top of the trail Saturday morning.

Higashiro says a couple recognized the zoo’s missing bird, bundled it in a jacket and brought it to the Waikiki zoo. A total of three birds escaped between Monday night and Tuesday morning when vandals cut holes in 24 bird cages. No suspects have been arrested.

Veterinarians checked out the parrot, and it seems to be doing well.

Officials believe the other two escaped birds — a gray tawny frogmouth and a buff-headed ground dove — are somewhere on zoo grounds.