Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Native Hawaiians, other protesters, block Thirty Meter Telescope ceremonies, heat is on Ige in gubernatorial battle, voter registration up, plans to name beach for Obama dropped, Hawaii could net $13M from marijuana sales, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo Occupy Hilo
Protesters block Mauna Kea telescope access, courtesy Occupy Hilo
A groundbreaking and Hawaiian blessing ceremony came to an abrupt end before it could really get underway Tuesday because of protesters who oppose plans to build one of the world's largest telescopes near the summit of a mountain held sacred by Native Hawaiians. Associated Press.

Protesters who say the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope doesn't belong on Mauna Kea blocked access to the summit for more than an hour Tuesday, disrupting groundbreaking for one of the world's largest optical observatories. Star-Advertiser.

courtesy Occupy Hilo
TMT protesters courtesy Occupy Hilo
A groundbreaking ceremony for what will be one of the world’s most advanced observatories was disrupted Tuesday by Native Hawaiian protesters and others opposed to the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. More than 50 protesters blocked access near the mountain’s summit and greeted vans carrying dozens of attendees from five countries with chants and hula. Tribune-Herald.

What was meant to be a moment of pride for the University of Hawaii and Hawaii astronomy, turned into a spectacle revealing the deep animosity among those who consider Mauna Kea a sacred mountain. Hawaii News Now.

Protesters disrupted a groundbreaking and Hawaiian blessing ceremony for the construction of one of the world's largest telescopes at the summit of Mauna Kea Tuesday. KITV4.
courtesy Occupy Hilo
Protester with telescopes courtesy Occupy Hilo

The price tag for the building of a 30-meter telescope on Mauna Kea is $1.4 billion, and it has been seven years in the making, but it literally ran into a roadblock Tuesday on Hawaii Island. KHON2.

TMT groundbreaking ceremony blocked. Demonstrators have blockaded the Mauna Kea access road to protest the Thirty Meter Telescope project, which was set to break ground today. Hawaii Independent.

State Sen. David Ige on Tuesday night took a more piercing tone against his rivals for governor, chiding former Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona for improperly filming a campaign advertisement in a state courtroom and former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann for his administration's blacklisting of two stagehands after a dispute over a benefit concert. Star-Advertiser.

On Tuesday night, the three leading candidates for governor squared off in a debate sponsored by AARP and held in the KHON2 News studio. Afterward, KHON2 asked political analyst and HPU Communication Department Chair John Hart: “Who do you think won the debate?”

National and local Republicans are scolding the Democratic nominee for Hawaii governor, accusing him of raising taxes and fees. Perhaps the strongest attack concerns a proposal for increasing the state’s general excise tax by 25 percent three years ago. The GOP claims that, as chairman of the state Senate Ways and Means Committee, David Ige was the architect of a draft of a bill that called for the GET hike in 2011. Civil Beat.

The state of Hawaii's web portal is the best in the U.S., according to the e.Republic's Center for Digital Government's 2014 Best of the Web and Digital Government Achievement Awards. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii stands to make more than $13 million each year in tax revenue if it were to fully legalize marijuana. That’s the results of a new study from NerdWallet, which determined this number by analyzing the population of pot smokers in Hawaii - those who acknowledge smoking marijuana - and the marijuana market size here. Hawaii Reporter.

Oahu

Two Honolulu city councilmen have dropped plans to rename a popular beach for President Barack Obama. Associated Press.

The University of Hawaii's flagship Manoa campus is facing a multimillion-dollar tuition shortfall for a fourth straight year as state support continues to decline while energy and personnel costs escalate. Manoa officials are projecting a $31 million deficit for the fiscal year that ends June 30, despite efforts to curb spending. Star-Advertiser.

The city of Honolulu is seeking to pay a California law firm experienced in fighting environmental regulations $900,000 in an effort to avoid having to comply with stricter environmental controls at three sewage treatment plants on Oahu that discharge waste into the ocean. Civil Beat.

The author of a bill that would ban sitting and lying on sidewalks in Oahu business districts outside Wai­kiki — scheduled for a final vote Wednesday — says he wants to pull the measure back for further work. Star-Advertiser.

The price tag for refurbishing City Council chambers at Hono­lulu Hale is $428,000, more than three times the $141,000 figure that officials initially said it would cost. Star-Advertiser.

The Makaha Hotel and Resort in West Oahu, which has been closed for about three years, will be demolished as soon as possible to make way for future redevelopment of the property that may include the rebuilding of a new hotel, the owner of the 40-year-old resort told Pacific Business News on Tuesday.

An endangered tree snail atop Oahu's highest point is holding up repairs that would allow Hawaii Public Radio to transmit to listeners on Kauai and Oahu's North Shore during HPR's million-dollar pledge drive. Star-Advertiser.

As Hawai‘i Public Radio’s fall fund drive Celebration 2014 proceeds at its breakneck pace toward its $1.03 million goal, an O‘ahu tree snail colony asserts its own timeline. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii

The Big Island Press Club will present a luncheon panel “Revisiting Hawaii’s Primary Election” at noon Friday at Restaurant Kenichi. Discussion will consider “Could Puna voters have changed the outcome and should media have called victory in the U.S. Senate Democratic contest for Brian Schatz on Aug. 9?” Tribune-Herald.


Hawaii County voters are adding to their numbers at a faster rate than the state as a whole. Some 856 Hawaii County residents have been added to the voter rolls since the Aug. 9 primary election, a statistic that is expected to grow as registrations continue trickling in following Monday’s voter registration deadline. West Hawaii Today.

The front of a lava flow spewing out of Kilauea Volcano advanced 120 to 150 yards and was within one mile of Apaa Street in Pahoa on Tuesday. The flow remained "fairly narrow" and was 0.95 mile from reaching Apaa Street near the waste transfer station, said Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira. Star-Advertiser.

As lava from the Kilauea Volcano continues its approach toward Pahoa, schools in the rural community are preparing for the worst. For two public Department of Education and charter schools, that could mean total devastation. Civil Beat.

It is a sight frustrated coffee farmers might line up to see — a hungry predator beetle devouring the larvae of the pestilential coffee berry borer. Researchers at the U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center took that video inside a coffee bean just a few days ago using a microscope, part of a research project that could eventually lead to the square-necked grain beetle being used as biocontrol. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The food fight over GMO's in Maui County will be put to an historic vote in one month. Ashley Lukens, Hawaii Center for Food Safety Director, explained the significance, saying "Never in Maui's history have citizens been able to collect enough signatures to get an initiative on the ballot." 9,000 people signed a petition calling for a halt to seed production, while chemical companies conduct a health and environmental impact study. Hawaii News Now.

The Shaka Movement, the group that filed the petition in support of a moratorium on genetically engineered organisms in Maui County, hosts a public meeting today to discuss Monsanto’s operations in KÄ«hei. Maui Now.

Wailuku Water Co. will begin releasing 10 million gallons of water per day into Iao Stream on Monday morning, per a settlement agreement in the Na Wai Eha Contested Case, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources said. Maui News.

Oral and written comments on proposed changes to cesspool rules - which include conversion of cesspools to septic tanks when a property is sold - will be accepted at meetings on Molokai on Friday and in Wailuku on Oct. 15, the state Department of Health announced Monday. Maui News.

Kauai
The Kauai County Council will make final decisions on three of eight measures that seek relief for county taxpayers who saw noticeable increases on their real property tax bills this year. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council is urging the state Department of Education to take a hard look at a policy through which students with negative account balances can be denied meals at their schools. Star-Advertiser.

Kauai District Health Officer Dr. Dileep Bal has been nominated to the University of Hawaii Board of Regents. Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced four nominations — Bal, Simeon Acoba, Peter Hoffmann and Helen Nielsen — on Monday. All are interim appointments that take effect immediately and are subject to state Senate approval. Garden Island.