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Although music hath charms to soothe the savage breast, it had the opposite effect on a Hawaii resident who lives near Moanolua High School.

Acting on a citizen complaint, a police officer last October ordered the school's marching band to stop holding practices outdoors, saying the rehearsals violated the state's noise-control code.

Rather than remain mute, band members and parents took their case to state legislators. And this month, the House education committee approved a bill that would exempt bands and other school-sanctioned groups and activities from the noise-abatement statute.

"Those who complain about kids getting into drugs and other antisocial behavior are now complaining about an activity that keeps 132 band members off the street," Melissa Shimabukuro, a band member, told lawmakers on the panel.

Ms. Shimabukuro's father, Glenn, added that as a resident who lives near the school, "I realized there would be loud campus-related noise and I accepted that would be part of a vibrant, active campus life."

"Marching band is another form of learning," he said.

Kentucky's First Lady has taken her offensive against adult illiteracy across state lines.

Shortly after her husband Wallace's election as Governor in 1987, Martha S. Wilkinson created "Martha's Army," a citizens' group that encourages Kentucky dropouts to enroll in programs to earn a General Educational Development certificate.

Encouraged by her progress, which included the creation of a telephone hot line--(800) GED-ARMY--and financial incentives for state employees to earn a ged, Ms. Wilkinson decided to spread her message nationally.

Thus far this month, Ms. Wilkinson has spoken to groups in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. She is scheduled to make appearances in Atlanta and Nashville in coming weeks.

A Democratic lawmaker in Minnesota reportedly is having trouble convincing colleagues that her proposal to grant suffrage to children as young as 12 is not a joke.

Representative Phyllis Kahn told reporters her proposed amendment to the state constitution "is a very dramatic way of calling attention to the fact that those who can't vote truly have no power."

"When we think of the people in our society who are powerless, it really is children," she said.

The measure would appear on the ballot in 1990 if it is approved by lawmakers.--tm

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