Thursday, July 2, 2015

Mauna Kea Thirty Meter Telescope stalemate drags on, Kauai mulls mayor-less government, Hawaii council to change law to suit judge's rezoning, Health Department wants comments on Maui cane burning, needles washing up at Keehi beach, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Photovoltaic panels in Honolulu
Hawaiian Electric Co. has submitted a new plan to Hawaii regulators regarding rooftop solar, which includes raising the cost of new systems being installed. Pacific Business News.

If there are new challenges to the construction of telescopes on Mauna Kea, the expansion of Turtle Bay Resort or the Honolulu rail system’s impact on historic sites, they could be heard in Hawaii’s Environmental Court, which debuted Wednesday. Supporters hope it will bring more consistency to environmental rulings. Last year, opponents said judges designated to the Environmental Court would be prone to improper influence. Civil Beat.

Oahu

City Environmental Services Director Lori Kahikina acknowledged a shopping bag ban will be an adjustment for residents of Oahu, the last county in the state to implement an ordinance aimed at stepping up use of environmentally friendly checkout bags, but said the law is a compromise between environmentalists and businesses that have to pay more for compostable or paper bags. Star-Advertiser.

Several of the homeless people living in a warren of plywood- and pallet-hardened tents around the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center worry that Monday’s attack on state Rep. Tom Brower by two homeless teenagers will bring unwanted attention and force them to set up shop in someone else’s neighborhood. Star-Advertiser.

Those who frequent Keehi Lagoon Beach Park say needles have been washing up on shore more often. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

The County Council will fast-track changes to its concurrency laws to accommodate a Hilo District Court judge’s application to subdivide his property. Judge Harry Freitas and his wife, Sandra, want to rezone their 50-acre Mountain View property from agriculture 20 acres to agriculture 5 acres. The Windward Planning Commission had recommended against the rezoning. West Hawaii Today.

As University of Hawaii officials offer no timeline for reopening the Mauna Kea summit road and visitor center, some tour operators who rely on the mountain for business say that each day brings them closer to layoffs. West Hawaii Today.

Tourists and island residents hoping to visit Mauna Kea’s summit anytime soon likely will be left disappointed as the road closure is expected to continue through the end of the week. Tribune-Herald.

The Mauna Kea summit will remain closed to the public well into next week while officials ensure the safety of a road damaged last week during the protest that blocked construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope, officials said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Many of the protesters opposed to plans for a giant telescope atop Mauna Kea came down from the mountain for a large gathering Wednesday around the King Kamehameha statue in Honolulu. Associated Press.

A Hawaiian mediation process known as ho‘oponopono is being offered to the first group of protesters arrested on Mauna Kea as an alternative to prosecution. Tribune-Herald.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources approved more than $9,000 in fines for a Big Island tour company that operated unpermitted tours of the lava flow near Pu‘u ‘O‘o. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

The state Department of Health is soliciting public comments regarding cane burning on Maui after residents called in earlier this month with concerns about a May 27 burn that enveloped South Maui, an official said. Maui News.

Sign-waving protesters line Piilani Highway near the entrance to a Monsanto farming operation in north Kihei on Wednesday morning. The protest came a day after a federal judge struck down the Maui County moratorium on genetically engineered crops passed by voters last fall. The judge ruled Tuesday that the ordinance was "invalid and unenforceable." Maui News.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council unanimously approved a resolution on Wednesday to form a council subcommittee to study a county manager form of government. Garden Island.

Members of the public testified Wednesday on a measure that would charge hikers who ignore warning signs for costs to rescue them if they get in trouble. Garden Island.