Wednesday, July 22, 2009

World's largest telescope coming to Big Island, union negotiations drag on and other top Hawaii news

Mauna Kea was chosen yesterday as the site for what will become the world's largest telescope — a mega-feat of engineering that will cost $1.2 billion, create as many as 440 construction and other jobs and seal the Big Island summit's standing as the premier spot on the planet to study the mysteries of space.

The University of Hawaii's Manoa and Hilo campuses are celebrating Mauna Kea's selection over Cerro Armazones, Chile, for the world's most powerful telescope.

After careful evaluation and comparison between two outstanding candidate sites--Mauna Kea in Hawai'i and Cerro Armazones in Chile--the board of directors of the TMT Observatory Corporation has selected Mauna Kea as the preferred site for the Thirty Meter Telescope.

The Lingle administration made an offer to public-sector labor unions yesterday that includes a combination of pay cuts and furloughs to help with the state's budget deficit, but the state's chief labor negotiator would not disclose the details.

The dozen or more state workers on Kaua‘i who received layoff notifications received support from places expected and unexpected during a lunchtime, highway-side protest here Tuesday.

At least 69 sailors and Marines on a Navy assault helicopter carrier tested positive for H1N1 swine flu and were confined to the ship at Pearl Harbor.

Maui County's unemployment rate edged into double digits for the first time in nearly two decades, according to figures released this week by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

Less than a third of the offerings on Hawaii hotel menus are grown locally. If papaya and pineapple are subtracted from the equation, the figure falls to about 18 percent.

Six months after pitching its $240 million "recreational renaissance" project, the state can no longer afford to pay its conservation officers to work overtime.