Thursday, June 6, 2013

Japan chips in $12M for Mauna Kea telescope, Gabbard celebrates Mink, Army studies sex assaults, native groups want Hawaiian sovereignty, Honolulu passes $2.2B budget, rail boss takes European tour, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii astronomy
Mauna Kea telescopes courtesy photo
A group building what will be the world's largest and most advanced optical telescope atop Mauna Kea says the Japanese government has allocated key funding for the construction of the project. The Thirty Meter Telescope said Wednesday the Japanese parliament last month approved a budget including more than $12 million for the telescope. Associated Press.

Alaska natives and American Indians, groups recognized by the federal government as indigenous people with the right to self-determination, reaffirmed support for Hawaii officials' efforts to gain similar status for Native Hawaiians as congressional delegations from both states met Tuesday to discuss ways to continue working together for the mutual benefit of the only two noncontiguous states. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. Army Pacific leadership says preventing sexual assault is their number one priority.  They say commanders have been instructed to investigate every allegation, so that all soldiers know victims will be taken care of and their perpetrators will be held accountable. Hawaii News Now.

Work area inspections and renewed emphasis on prevention are some of the initiatives that the U.S. Army Pacific is taking to combat sexual assaults. A panel of experts held a news conference at Fort Shafter on Wednesday to discuss increased efforts by the command to combat the problem. Star-Advertiser.

US Rep. Tulsi Gabbard paid tribute Tuesday to one of her predecessors at an event celebrating this month’s 41st anniversary of the signing of Title IX legislation. The late Rep. Patsy Mink, a Democrat from Hawaii, was a co-author and the driving force behind the landmark legislation that opened the door to gender equality in sports. Big Island Now.

More local teachers are able to attend a nationally recognized training conference because it's being hosted in Hawaii for the first time. Associated Press.

Lawmakers sneaked a bill through this past session to extend a law that critics say compromises the health and safety of Hawaii’s elderly and disabled. Civil Beat.

State roundup for June 6. Associated Press.

State 6/5. Associated Press.

Oahu

A $2.16 billion operating budget for the coming 2014 fiscal year approved by the City Council on Wednesday is the largest ever for Honolulu. The budget includes no increases in property tax rates and nearly all fees will remain the same. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council approved a budget of more than $2 billion for the upcoming fiscal year. It includes all the money Mayor Kirk Caldwell wanted for sewer and road work. KHON2.

The back-and-forth budget battle between key members of the Honolulu City Council and Mayor Kirk Caldwell wrapped up Wednesday, with much of the focus centered on additional funding for nonprofit groups. KITV4.

A private detective firm has been hired by Mayor Kirk Caldwell's administration to help city officials with an internal review into an $8 million federal grant issued to a controversial nonprofit company. Star-Advertiser.

Dan Grabauskas, the executive director and CEO of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, just returned from a business trip to Europe that he said could save the city millions of dollars on the rail-transit project and help the transit agency make better decisions when it comes to building it. Pacific Business News.

This week’s edition of the Honolulu Weekly contains a letter from the publisher announcing the end of the popular newspaper.  The Weekly’s editor and others, however, are banding together for a new venture. Hawaii Public Radio.

Read Honolulu Weekly's closing letter here.

High surf combined with summer school break and thousands of visitors contributed to a high number of rescues along Oahu's South Shore Wednesday, city Ocean Safety Division officials said. More than 120 people were rescued in Waikiki alone, including multiple numbers who were carried to safety on personal watercraft. Star-Advertiser.

On Wednesday, lifeguards rescued 123 people from high surf in Waikiki and conducted 739 preventative actions. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Hawaii County Council members on Wednesday clashed over, but eventually approved, new contracts for unionized county employees. West Hawaii Today.

Condominium prices on the Big Island jumped by 37.5 percent last month, while single-family home prices remained the same, compared to last year, according to statistics released Wednesday by the Hawaii Information Service. Pacific Business News.

The 133,000-acre Army facility between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa has made its land much more available to hunters over the last year, allowing sportsmen greater access to areas not being used for military training. West Hawaii Today.

It may have hit a few snags along the way, but project managers say that the sewer rehabilitation project along Kalanianaole Avenue in Hilo should be complete by the end of the month. Tribune-Herald.

High waves that flooded part of the Kona coastline Tuesday were not the result of any tsunami generated by the earthquake that struck off Hawaii Island's Southeast side about the same time, experts said. Hawaii News Now.

The waves just kept bumpin’ Wednesday providing young and old with plently of swell times in West Hawaii. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Kahului Airport has received $6 million from the state - $4.75 million for construction and $1.25 million for environmental impact statement studies - to repave a portion of its main runway. Maui News.

Maui Electric Co. will hold meetings in Maui County this month to seek public comment on a draft five-year action plan for the utility to meet future energy needs. Maui News.

More than 500 people received free health services in the first day of the Tropic Care Maui clinic that is being offered to individuals across the county through June 12, county officials said. Maui Now.

A 3-day-old fire at the EKO Compost facility was mostly contained Tuesday, with officials estimating that the blaze caused several hundred thousand dollars in damage. Maui News.

Kauai
A 1997 ordinance intended to facilitate the timely rebuilding of structures following the devastation of Hurricane Iniki should be repealed, according to Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. Garden Island.

County Planning Director Michael Dahilig outlined to the Kauai County Council Wednesday the Planning Department’s plan to step up enforcement of Transient Vacation Rentals. Garden Island.

Kauai’s North Shore will soon be home to a predator-proof fencing system, similar to the one found at Kaena Point on Oahu. Garden Island.