Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Board of Regents plans public meeting on Thirty Meter Telescope, Mauna Kea opposition spreads, teachers' pay hike nears, Ige's water board pick controversial, job forecast rosy, police behavior targeted, Kauai monk seal recovered, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

photo courtesy Occupy Hawaii Media
TMT opponents build a Mauna Kea hale, courtesy Occupy Hilo Media
The University of Hawaii Board of Regents will hold a special board meeting to discuss the future of the Thirty Meter Telescope project this Thursday, April 16, at 11:30 a.m. at the University of Hawaii Hilo campus. Hawaii Independent.

Big promises from the University of Hawaii over the Thirty Meter Telescope, which started construction atop Mauna Kea then stalled amidst mounting concerns with the project. The university, which manages observatory activity on the mountain, says this will be the last project for the area. KHON2.

Hundreds of students walked out of classes at University of Hawaii campuses around the state Monday in a show of support for those protesting the Thirty Meter Telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea. Star-Advertiser.

Native Hawaiian advisory councils at eight of the University of Hawaii system’s 10 campuses have taken an official stance against the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea. Tribune-Herald.

While construction on the Thirty Meter Telescope remains stalled for now, protesters of the project continue to hold vigil on Mauna Kea. What happens next remains unclear. Hawaii Public Radio.

Organizers of the Thirty Meter Telescope launched a new website over the weekend as demonstrations against the $1.5 billion project atop Mauna Kea continue to grow. KITV4.

The union representing Hawaii public school teachers hopes to strike a deal with the state within the next week for additional compensation for its 13,000 members. Negotiation teams for the Hawaii State Teachers Association and the state have met three times over the past month and need to reach an agreement in the "next week or so" in order for any increases to be funded by the Legislature this session. Star-Advertiser.

Public opposition to Gov. David Ige’s nominations to the powerful board that administers the state’s water code is mounting ahead of a key legislative hearing Wednesday. An online petition against longtime sugar-plantation boss William Balfour’s appointment to another four-year term on the Commission on Water Resource Management has garnered more than 1,200 signatures since the governor quietly sent his name to the Senate for confirmation. Civil Beat.

Opinion: Bill Balfour's record during his prior term on the Water Commission shows how inappropriate a choice he is; Ige risks a second failed nomination only a month after the Ching fiasco. Hawaii Independent.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige and Speaker of the House Joe Souki have reappointed familiar faces to the state Council on Revenues, which forecasts the state government’s tax revenue for each fiscal year. Pacific Business News.

A measure that could extend sick leave benefit opportunities to more service industry workers is gaining traction in the Legislature, where some lawmakers say more fine-tuning might be needed before it can become law. Garden Island.

Thousands of additional jobs are expected across Hawaii in the coming years. That's according to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. The department announced Monday it is forecasting statewide employment to expand by 2.9 percent by 2016. That amounts to nearly 20,000 jobs. Associated Press.

Oahu


The Navy said it spent $1.35 million to clean up munitions-related items from Ordy Pond, a 10,000-year-old limestone sinkhole on the old Barbers Point Naval Air Station that's helped point to when Polynesians first colonized Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

State Likely to Pay $30K After Student Forced to Run on Treadmill Collapses. Kailua High staff had special ed student exercise to combat "extreme" behavior, Attorney General's Office tells Legislature. Civil Beat.

All of the $487,044 in cash that former arcade owner Lo Van Ho admitted that he and his wife deposited in their bank accounts in quantities of $10,000 or less over a three-month period last year came from the Products Direct Sweepstakes machines in the arcades, lawyers for the Hos said in federal court Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The public will get its first opportunity today to weigh in on a $434.7 million spending plan Mayor Billy Kenoi has proposed for the budget year that starts July 1. West Hawaii Today.

The feasibility and cost of constructing a small commercial boat harbor and small commercial airport in Puna could be studied by the Hawaii Department of Transportation, if the State House agrees to a resolution passed through the Senate this week. Big Island Video News.

A traffic collision occurred Sunday evening at one of Hilo’s busiest intersections after an on-duty police officer ran a red light, police said Monday. Tribune-Herald.
 
Maui

A former Mainland police chief said he was illegally arrested by Maui Police. In a lawsuit filed in federal court today, Jason Griego, then chief of the Cuba, N.M. Police department, said he and James Sanchez, a former reserve officer with Cuba police, were held for hours in a filthy jail cell in July 2013. No charges were filed and the two men were never given an explanation for their arrest, the suit said. Hawaii News Now.

Legislation allowing Maui's state hospitals to enter into an agreement with a private entity such as Hawaii Pacific Health will go to the state Senate for a vote on Tuesday. Pacific Business News.

Four public meetings have been scheduled in Maui County for residents to comment on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's proposal to expand the size and sharpen the focus of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary to include multiple marine species. Maui News.

A crowd of about 125 dignitaries, staff and community partners joined Maui Economic Opportunity in a blessing celebration for its new transportation facility in Puʻunēnē. Maui Now.

The median sales price of a single-family home in Maui County inched up 2 percent to $599,000 in the first quarter of 2015, compared with the first three months of 2014, and the median price of a condominium went up 8 percent to $440,000 in the first quarter, according to Realtors Association of Maui monthly statistics. Maui News.

Kauai

DLNR Rules Linger in Governor’s Office. Hawaii Gov. David Ige has yet to sign off on aquarium fishing rules and commercial fishing restrictions off Kauai. Civil Beat.

When a large ulua hook became stuck in the left check of the Hawaiian monk seal known as RN44, it put its life in danger. The monk seal was seen later, “strong and healthy, which is good news. Officials hope RN44 stays out of further trouble. Garden Island.