Friday, April 17, 2015

Thirty Meter Telescope opponents outnumber proponents at Hilo hearing, Honolulu rail bed cracking, retiree benefits could become undone, more government and political news from all the Hawaiian Islands

University of Hawaii at Hilo courtersy photo
Overflow crowd at Hawaii Board of Regents Thirty Meter Telescope hearing, photo courtesy UHH
The University of Hawaii Board of Regents left its meeting Thursday with an overwhelmingly clear message to take home from the Big Island — no Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. As operator of the mountain’s astronomy precinct and the entity that subleases the land to TMT for the project, opponents say the university must reconsider its support for the $1.4 billion project. Tribune-Herald

The Thirty Meter Telescope took a mighty verbal beat-down Thursday at a special meeting of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents. Hundreds of mostly Native Hawaiians joined hands at UH-Hilo to raise a chorus of opposition before a panel whose members largely weren't in their positions when the $1.4 billion project was approved in 2010 on land subleased by the university. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents heard hours of testimony during Thursday’s special meeting on the campus of UH-Hilo. The speakers voiced overwhelming opposition to the Thirty Meter Telescope, currently in its construction phase on the summit of Mauna Kea. Big Island Video News.

Hundreds of people packed a special University of Hawaii Board of Regents meeting at UH Hilo Thursday to sound off on plans to build one of the world's largest telescopes at Mauna Kea. Hawaii News Now.

With a time-out announced by the governor, the University of Hawaii Board of Regents heard from both opponents and supporters of the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope project. KHON2.

Supporters of Bill Requiring Autism Coverage Say This is the Year. This is the four straight session in which the Legislature has considered requiring insurance companies to help pay for treatment. Civil Beat.

Led by Rep. Romy Cachola, House lawmakers have pushed forward a plan to effectively undo a law passed in 2013 that forces Hawaii to finally get serious about paying down its massive unfunded liability in retiree health care benefits promised to thousands of public workers. Civil Beat.

Hawaii cannot afford to wait for the Hawaiian Electric Cos. to transform themselves, NextEra Energy Hawaii’s top executive said in a public filing this week with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. Pacific Business News

Oahu

State Attorney General Doug Chin says former state representative and former Honolulu prosecutor Jon Riki Karamatsu has been charged with driving under the influence. Associated Press.

Many of the concrete segments on Honolulu's rail transit system are only a few months old but already cracks are beginning to show. Hawaii News Now.

Rail board meetings will be broadcast on local cable television starting next week, thanks to a push by the public and lawmakers for more transparency into the cash-strapped transit project. Star-Advertiser.


Hawaii

A meeting slated for next week at which Mayor Billy Kenoi typically would appear to make his county budget request before the Hawaii County Council could also serve as an opportunity for Big Island voters to ask questions about his personal use of the county's purchasing card, but the embattled mayor might not show up. Star-Advertiser.

A  large national laboratory has joined forces with the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority for the installation of an energy storage demonstration system in Kona. West Hawaii Today.

Kauai

A $224,050 contract for materials, labor, transportation, tools, equipment, machinery and services needed to install and complete repairs to the Kilauea District Park gymnasium was awarded on Tuesday to Pacific Blue Construction, LLC, a Lihue-based general contractor. Garden Island.