University of Hawaii Responds to TMT Protests

The construction phase beginning on the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project on Maunakea on Hawaiʻi Island has prompted protests and media coverage. The telescope is being built in the 525-acre Astronomy Precinct, which is the only area astronomy development can take place. It is part of the 11,288-acre Maunakea Science Reserve that UH has leased from the Department of Land and Natural Resources since 1968.

Mauna Kea Via UH

UH supports the TMT project because it contributes significantly to the university’s mission of advancing knowledge. With a primary mirror thirty meters in diameter, the TMT will have nine times the light collecting area of the largest telescopes now on Maunakea. It will be able to see much fainter and more distant objects than is possible with existing telescopes and to study them in greater detail. It will help to maintain Hawaiʻi’s worldwide leadership in astronomy.

The Office of Maunakea Management

Through the Office of Maunakea Management, which reports directly to the UH Hilo Chancellor, UH is responsible for the sustainable management and stewardship of the Maunakea Science Reserve. The university understands that Maunakea is one of the most culturally significant sites in Hawaiʻi.

The Master Plan adopted in 2000 by the UH Board of Regents requires community based management that protects, balances, integrates and enhances Maunakea’s resources while providing a world-class center dedicated to education, research and astronomy. The university is also responsible for providing safe access for everyone on the mountain: local residents, observatory personnel, cultural practitioners, visitors and UH staff.

UH’s commitment to free speech

UH is committed to the free and open exchange of ideas and affirms the rights of all individuals to engage in their first amendment right to free speech. The university respects everyone opposed to the TMT project and their right to a lawful protest.

The open and extensive public process

Over the last seven years, TMT has met all legal requirements in obtaining the necessary permits to build a next generation telescope from the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources and the County of Hawaiʻi, including a sublease from the university.

More than 20 public hearings have been held during the process and the project has been approved by then Governor Neil Abercrombie, the UH Board of Regents and the Board of Land and Natural Resources. The Hawaiʻi County Mayor and Office of Hawaiian Affairs along with numerous unions and Hawaiʻi Island community groups have expressed support. The project has also cleared legal challenges and was upheld in the Third Circuit Court.

Inaccurate claims

There have been inaccurate claims made about the project recently. The most common is that TMT is a danger to the Maunakea aquifer and drinking water on Hawaiʻi Island. Comprehensive research by expert hydrologists confirms that TMT and the existing 13 telescopes pose no such danger. Furthermore, TMT is designed to be a zero waste discharge facility with all waste securely transported off the summit. There is also very little precipitation above 8,000 feet and the observatories are located well above that at the top of Maunakea at 14,000 feet.

Another claim is that TMT did not meet the eight criteria for a conservation district use permit issued by the Hawaiʻi Board of Land and Natural Resources in 2011. The Third Circuit Court ruled that TMT did meet the criteria by being consistent with state laws governing the districts, not causing substantial adverse impact to existing natural resources, being compatible with the surrounding area, preserving the existing physical and environmental aspects, not subdividing or increasing the intensity of the land use and not being materially detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare. State regulations specifically identify astronomy as a permitted use in the Maunakea Science Reserve.

Stewardship and community involvement

The Office of Maunakea Management has expanded community involvement. Its seven-member board is comprised of Hawaiʻi Island community leaders. There is also a Kahu Kū Mauna council that consists of Hawaiʻi Island residents who are knowledgeable about the cultural significance of Maunakea and are consulted on all projects proposed on UH-managed lands and cultural matters. The Office of Maunakea Management is responsible for continuing to address public access, cultural resource management, cultural resources management, natural resources management and the decommissioning of telescopes.

The University of Hawaiʻi and the Office of Maunakea Management will continue to treat everyone with respect and aloha.

Honouliuli National Monument Dedicated

U.S. Secretary of Interior Sally Jewel was in Hawaii today to dedicate the Honouliuli National Monument.

Honored, humbled to dedicate Honouliuli National Monument in Hawaii today.  Secretary of State Sally Jewel

“Honored, humbled to dedicate Honouliuli National Monument in Hawaii today,” said Secretary of Interior Sally Jewel

The monument will help tell the sad but important story of Japanese internment in Hawaii during WWII.

Mayor Kenoi Extends Emergency Proclamation for Puna Lava Flow

Yesterday, Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi signed a fourth proclamation relating to the events of the June 27th Lava Flow.

Click to view proclamation

Click to view proclamation

A fourth supplementary proclamation pertaining to the declared state of emergency in Puna was issued March 30th by Mayor Billy Kenoi, extending the emergency for another 60 days.

Thirty Meter Telescope Project Manager Gary Sanders Statement

The time has come to allow TMT access to the public roadway and the TMT project site.
TMT laser
TMT, its contractors and their union employees have been denied access to our project site by a blockaded road. Our access via a public road has been blocked by protestors and we have patiently waited for law enforcement to allow our workers the access to which they are entitled. We sat in our vehicles for eight hours awaiting a peaceful resolution from law enforcement. There was no resolution and our access continues to be denied.

Our permitting and sublease process was a lengthy seven-year public process and agency review.

Our Conservation District Use Permit was upheld in a Contested Case hearing where the Hearings Officer concluded that TMT is consistent with the purpose of the Conservation District and should be granted its permit. The State Board of Land and Natural Resources agreed and issued a CDUP. Third Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura heard the CDUP appeal and ruled in favor of TMT. Subsequently, the Land Board approved TMT’s sublease with the University of Hawaii. Earlier this month, on March 6, the State Department of Land and Natural Resources  issued a Notice to Proceed noting that TMT had met all preconstruction requirements in the CDUP and associated management plan.

A flyer that was distributed recently

A flyer that was distributed recently

We’ve been patient, but the time has come to allow us access to the public roadway and our project site.

Gary Sanders, TMT Project Manager

 

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the International Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

Spot the International Space Station tonight.

Spot the International Space Station tonight.

It will be visible beginning tonight, Tuesday, March 21 at 7:51 PM. It will be visible for approximately 2 minutes.  Maximum Height: 48 degrees, and it will appear in the South Southwest part of the sky and disappear to the South

Coast Guard Seeking Public’s Help Locating Owner of Adrift Kayak

The Coast Guard is seeking the public’s help in identifying the owner of an adrift kayak located approximately 12 miles southwest of La’au Point, Molokai, Sunday.

Submerged Kayak

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center received notification from a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew of an adrift, partially submerged 12-foot blue kayak.

There are no missing persons or distress reports in the area.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Station Maui and an Auxiliary aircraft searched approximately 170 square miles for three hours.

Anyone with information that may help identify the owner of the kayak is asked to contact the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center at (808) 842-2600.

The Coast Guard advises the public to register and label all watercraft and equipment with contact information in order to quickly account for owners and prevent any unnecessary searches.

Through the Operation Paddle Smart program, the Coast Guard offers a free “If Found” decal to be placed in a visible location on small, human-powered watercraft. The information on the sticker can allow response entities to quickly identify the vessel’s owner and aid search and rescue planners in determining the best course of action.

The stickers can be obtained for free at local harbormasters, through the Coast Guard Auxiliary, from Honolulu Sail and Power Squadron offices and at select marine retail and supply stores.

Hawaii County Announces Web Based Puna Traffic Cameras

The County is pleased to announce the launch of punatraffic.com, a publicly available web based traffic monitoring service for the lower Puna to Kea`au area.

Click to view current conditions

Click to view current conditions

Traffic conditions along several transportation corridors that may be affected by the June 27th Lava Flow, including HWY 130, will be monitored with thirty cameras. The images are available for public viewing at punatraffic.com.

The camera images refresh every three to five minutes and are meant to assist the public in making their travel plans. The website also provides estimated drive times based on current traffic conditions.

The traffic monitoring system is a part of the County’s overall plan to monitor traffic flow that may have to be re-routed as a result of the June 27 Lava Flow.

The cameras were installed by ICX Transportation Group. The service went live on March 25, 2015.

The cameras are government property and specifically programmed to only work with government equipment. Please kokua and respect this public benefit and service.

The website also provides social media links to Civil Defense and the County of Hawai`i and can be updated to inform the public about road incidents.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 17-Year-Old Hilo Girl

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 17-year-old Hilo girl who was reported missing.

Makaala Pea

Makaala Pea

Makaala Pea was last seen in Hilo on February 15.

She is described as Hawaiian, 5-foot-6, 130 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

New TripAdvisor Accolades for Waikoloa Beach Resort

TripAdvisor.com, the world’s largest travel site, has ranked Waikoloa Beach Resort as 7th on its list of “Top U.S. Destinations for Vacation Rental Stays.” Based on TripAdvisor reviews, the luxury Kohala Coast resort bested Las Vegas, Nevada and two other Hawaii destinations.  Hilton 1

Along with the Top 10 list, TripAdvisor also published results of its recent survey of 1,800 travelers. According to that study, 59 percent of participants plan to stay at a vacation rental this year. Vacationers value cost-savings, space and quality amenities, and place a high priority on having a kitchen.

Hilton 2“Vacation rentals are becoming increasingly popular as more travelers discover the outstanding amenities, comfort, and value a rental can offer,” said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications for TripAdvisor. “With summer the most popular time for vacation rental stays, savvy travelers should book early for the best options.”  Hilton Waikoloa Village Skyview

With a wide range of vacation rental units within its 1,350 acre boundaries, as well as 30+ dining options, two shopping centers, two golf courses, two resort hotels and a full schedule of entertainment and activities, Waikoloa Beach Resort has earned recognition as one of Hawaii’s top destinations. Last December, the property was ranked 8th on TripAdvisor’s list of “Destinations on the Rise” in the United States.

If you look closely you can see a hot tub in the cave pool

If you look closely you can see a hot tub in the cave pool

“To be named on two significant TripAdvisor lists in such a short time is very exciting for us,” said Scott Head, Vice President of Resort Operations. “We have worked hard to create a Waikoloa Beach Resort experience that works well for visitors, island residents, resort homeowners and vacation rental guests as well.  This kind of recognition shows that offering a variety of excellent choices in dining, shopping, golf, activities and accommodations are a formula that works, that people enjoy and are happy to visit again.”

Hawaii – A Time Lapse Film of Mark Twain’s Favorite Island

Hawaii – A timelapse film of Mark Twain's favorite islands from Matt Johnson @ WhoIsMatt.com on Vimeo.

“Hawaii: No alien land in all the world has any deep strong charm for me but that one, no other land could so longingly and so beseechingly haunt me, sleeping and waking, through half a lifetime, as that one has done.

For me the balmy airs are always blowing, its summer seas flashing in the sun; the pulsing of its surfbeat is in my ear; I can see its garlanded crags, its leaping cascades, its plumy palms drowsing by the shore, its remote summits floating like islands above the cloud wrack; I can feel the spirit of its wildland solitudes, I can hear the splash of its brooks; in my nostrils still lives the breath of flowers that perished twenty years ago.

It is the loveliest fleet of islands that lies anchored in any ocean.”

Mark Twain

Filmed and Edited by Matt Johnson: whoismatt.com
Music by Sleeping At Last: sleepingatlast.com/
Narration by Stan Robinowitz: voices.com/people/stanrobinowitz

Read more and download in HD at: whoismatt.com/hawaiitimelapse

Hilo Man Charged in Monday Assault

A Hilo man has been charged with three offenses in connection with a reported assault Monday night (March 23).

At about 8 p.m. Monday, a 43-year-old Hilo man reported that he was assaulted, held at knife point and threatened while at the home of an acquaintance at a home on Ohea Street. The victim managed to break free, leave the premises and call the police.

Paul Sasaki

Paul Sasaki

At 8:40 p.m., police arrested 42-year-old Paul Sasaki. He was taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

At 3:15 p.m. Tuesday (March 24), after conferring with prosecutors, detectives charged Sasaki with assault, unlawful imprisonment and terroristic threatening. His bail was set at $12,000. He remained at the cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Wednesday (March 25).

USGS – Active Breakouts Near Puʻu ʻŌʻō

Breakouts are active in three general areas near Puʻu ʻŌʻō: at the northern base of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, north Kahaualeʻa, and about 6 km (4 mi) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The distal breakout and the breakout north of Kahaualeʻa are both burning forest. There is no eruptive activity downslope from the distal breakout (nothing active near Pāhoa).

Recent flows from the hornito appear black.  (Click to enlarge)

Recent flows from the hornito appear black. (Click to enlarge)

There are several incandescent and outgassing hornitos on the floor of Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s crater, including the one shown here, which is at the northeast edge of the crater. Recent flows from the hornito appear black.

Man Charged With 16 Offenses After Stealing Purse From 87-Year-Old Woman

A Hilo man has been charged with 16 offenses stemming from the theft of a purse.

Bronson I. K. Lee

Bronson I. K. Lee

The purse was stolen from an 87-year-old woman at a drug store on Puainako Street in Hilo just before 1:30 p.m. Sunday (March 22). Shortly thereafter, the victim’s credit card was used at two businesses in the vicinity.

At 2:40 p.m., police arrested the suspect, 25-year-old Bronson I. K. Lee, in the parking lot of a home improvement store on Makaʻala Street. He was taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

At 2:25 p.m. Tuesday (March 24), Lee was charged with five counts of theft, three counts of forgery, four counts of ID theft and four counts of fraudulent use of a credit card. His bail was set at $44,250.

He remains at the cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Wednesday (March 25).

Big Island Police Searching for Two Wanted on Abuse Charges

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 59-year-old woman and a 27-year-old man wanted for abuse.

Catherine Surtees

Catherine Surtees

Catherine Surtees is described as 5-foot-2, 110 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes. Her last know address was in Kailua-Kona.

Damon Soderlund

Damon Soderlund

Damon Soderlund is described as 5-foot-9, 190 pounds with blue eyes and brown hair. He frequents the Kailua-Kona area.

Police ask anyone with information on their whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Kitchen Fire Temporarily Closes Restaurants in Volcano House

Both restaurants in Volcano House are closed for at least two days while officials investigate the cause of a kitchen fire that sent a hotel employee to the hospital Tuesday morning.
Volcano House Lodge, Volcano, HI
Both The Rim restaurant and Uncle George’s Lounge will be temporarily closed as National Park Service investigators determine the cause of the small blaze, said Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC General Manager David Macilwraith. They plan to reopen both restaurants Thursday. The Volcano House hotel remains open, he said.

Park rangers, Hawai‘i County medics and engine 19 responded quickly to the fire alarm and calls to park dispatch, around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. A 42-year-old hotel employee suffered burns to his upper arms, and was transported by county medics to the hospital.

UHHSA Approves Permaculture Parking Lot Unanimously

The University of Hawaii Student Association (UHHSA) voted unanimously to support the Permaculture Parking Lot (PPL) at last Thursday’s senate meeting (see video here).
permaculture

The bill will fund the creation of the Permaculture Parking Lot in the UH Hilo Science and Technology Building Lanikaula Parking Lot adjacent to the Kumukoa House.

The project is supported by the UH Hilo Sustainability Committee, UH Hilo College of Agriculture, Global HOPE, The Agriculture Club, and over 500 students and faculty members: see supporter video here

“The purpose of this project is to create an educational venue for the different edible plants that can grow in Hawai’i. The Permaculture Parking Lot will inform and inspire students and community members,” said principal project designer Wade Bauer. Over 80 different types of edible plants will be going into the parking lot (for complete list see below)

Earth Day Fair founder a professor Dr. Noelie Rodriguez fully supported the project. “Students could gain both skills and a way to lower their food costs,” she said.

UH Hilo neighbor Justin Avery jokingly said, “It could be a parking lot and we’ll put up a paradise,.” “This project has been a team effort to grow food on campus and be an example for the community, it’s a real win-win“ Avery said.

Over the past 3 and a half years The Kumukoa House has been organizing ‘yard days,’ where students and community members work in the gardens all day with trained gardening and landscaping experts. In the past 2 years, with the blessing of UH Hilo, the project has extended to the parking lot. “This is using the momentum we have from the past years to launch this project,” said Avery.

Agroforestry and permaculture consultant Dave Sansone said, “It’s not often that you have people who know what they are doing stepping in and offering free services and free labor. I see a real win-win. This project goes from having this idea on paper to lead the way in sustainability to actually doing it.”

UH Hilo is joining the national trend by moving in the direction of sustainability. Alex Lyon, University of Massachusets student and Kumukoa House resident, sees how permaculture gardens can serve as a recruitment tool for the university. “From 2010 UMASS started a permaculture garden at the university and has attracted considerable amount of students to enroll. The food goes straight from the campus gardens into the dining hall. You look outside of the dining hall and see 6 permaculture gardens. Students enroll in UMASS because of the garden, it has become a center of the university,” Lyon said.

The Kumukoa House invited everybody to come out for Yard Days on the 1st and 3rd Saturday from 9am-3pm. Mahalo!

NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric to Hold Informational Meetings Across State

NextEra Energy, Inc. and Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., Hawaii Electric Light Company, Inc. and Maui Electric Company Limited (collectively referred to as Hawaiian Electric), today announced that the companies will be hosting a series of 13 open house informational meetings across Hawaii to introduce residents to NextEra Energy and the benefits of the companies’ pending merger as well as to provide members of the public with the opportunity to provide input directly to company officials.

NextEra Logo

The open houses will take place on Oahu, Hawaii Island, Maui, Molokai and Lanai from April 7 to April 16.

“Since we announced our merger late last year, we’ve been gratified at the reception we’ve received as well as the high level of interest in this important topic for Hawaii,” said Eric Gleason, president of NextEra Energy Hawaii, LLC. “NextEra Energy shares Hawaiian Electric’s vision of increasing renewable energy, modernizing its grid, reducing Hawaii’s dependence on imported oil, integrating more rooftop solar energy and, importantly, lowering customer bills. We recognize that addressing Hawaii’s energy challenges requires Hawaii-specific energy solutions, and that is why we look forward to meeting with and listening to residents across Hawaii. The meetings will provide us with the opportunity to receive valuable feedback while allowing residents to learn more about NextEra Energy and the significant near- and long-term benefits this merger will deliver to Hawaiian Electric customers and the state of Hawaii.”

“In selecting NextEra Energy as our partner, we will join a company that shares our community and environmental values, has a proven track record of lowering electric bills, is the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun, and is committed to rooftop solar in Hawaii,” said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric’s president and chief executive officer. “We can’t imagine a better match to help us accelerate the clean energy transformation we all want for Hawaii. We hope our customers will take the opportunity to meet members of the NextEra Energy team and learn firsthand why NextEra Energy is the right partner to help us achieve a cleaner and more affordable energy future for Hawaii.”

About the Open House Meetings

Each open house meeting will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time. Senior leaders and other employees from NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric will be available to discuss NextEra Energy’s track record of increasing renewable energy, lowering customer bills, creating innovative solutions for modernizing the grid, and supporting local communities, as well as all the expected benefits from the proposed merger with Hawaiian Electric.

The dates and locations for the meetings are as follows:

Maui County

April 7

  • Central Maui: Maui Electric Auditorium
  • South Maui: Kihei Community Center

April 8

  • West Maui: Lahaina Civic Center
  • Lanai: Lanai Community Center

April 9

  • Molokai: Kaunakakai Elementary School Cafeteria

Hawaii Island

April 13

  • Hilo, Hawaii: Hilo High School Cafeteria
  • Puna, Hawaii: Pahoa High School Cafeteria

April 14

  • West Hawaii: Kealakehe High School Cafeteria
  • Waimea, Hawaii: HPA Village Campus Dining Hall

Oahu

April 15

  • West Oahu: Kapolei High School Cafeteria
  • Leeward Oahu: Pearl City High School Cafeteria

April 16

  • Honolulu: Ward Warehouse, Kakaako Conference Room
  • Windward Oahu: Windward Community College, Hale Akoakoa

Website

To learn more about the benefits of the transaction, please visit www.forhawaiisfuture.com.

23rd Annual Hawaiian Family afFAIR at UH Hilo

The 23rd annual Hawaiian Family AfFAIR at University of Hawaii Hilo happens this weekend.
2015 Family Affair

Hawaii Moon RIDERS Honored at Capital

The House of Representatives today recognized the Iolani School and Kealakehe High School robotics team, known as the Moon RIDERS, for their work on the electrodynamic dust shield lunar project and their partnerships with PISCES, NASA, and Google Lunar Xprize. 

PISCES Executive Director Rob Kelso, Moon RIDERS, and members of the Hawaii House of Representatives.

PISCES Executive Director Rob Kelso, Moon RIDERS, and members of the Hawaii House of Representatives.

In February, the group was selected to take part in an experiment involving electrodynamic dust shield technology that will be conducted on the surface of the moon by the end of 2016. 

Kealakehe teacher Justin Brown, Kealakehe student Moon RIDERS, and Reps. Nicole Lowen and Mark Nakashima.

Kealakehe teacher Justin Brown, Kealakehe student Moon RIDERS, and Reps. Nicole Lowen and Mark Nakashima.

The selected Hawaii students will be mentored by NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.  The project came about through an agreement with PISCES and NASA to work on a Hawaii high school STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) project.

Big Island Police Searching for 17-Year-Old Missing Since December

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for 17-year-old Kailua-Kona boy who was reported missing.

Jonah Xavier

Jonah Xavier

Jonah Xavier was last seen in Kailua-Kona on December, 2014.

He is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-2, 105 pounds with blue eyes and medium-length blond hair.

Police ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.