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Monday, August 12, 2019
August 12, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:37 PM :: 674 Views

It was 121 years ago today: Hawaii Becomes US Territory

Kate Stanley Elected Chair of Hawaii Democratic Party

How State Leaders Hung TMT Supporters Out To Dry

CB: … Their botched handling of the Mauna Kea telescope project ought to make us all cynical about Hawaii’s ability to manage any big, new projects….

All of us, including those on opposite sides of the TMT, are victims who should share cynicism and doubt as the next important projects — prisons, a new stadium, climate mitigation, housing, and that old standby, rail — stumble and bumble down the road….

Meanwhile: More than 200 courses students can take on the mauna, either online or via distance learning

read … Designed to Fail

Scientists prep telescopes for work after long wait

HTH: … Even with access to the summit restored for astronomers, some observatories on Maunakea will not be able to resume work for some time.

“It’s not like we can just walk in, flip a switch and be back on sky,” said Grant Hill, technical operations manager for W. M. Keck Observatory….

Modern observatories like Keck, Hill said, are more than just a telescope and a dome, but require a wide array of supporting infrastructure for the facility to function, including pumps, compressors, hydraulics, cooling systems and more. All of those systems have been in a state of hibernation, Hill said, and need to be restarted and tested before full operations can resume.

About 50% of Keck’s instruments are unusable at present, Hill said, largely because they have not been kept at their optimal temperatures, which are extremely cold. Just the act of cooling the instruments is a time-consuming process that can take days.

Hill said another instrument had been dismantled when observatory directors chose to pull all staff from the mountain in July, and will need to be reassembled when access resumes.

However, Hill said it is difficult to estimate a timeframe for how quickly Keck could be returned to operational capacity. Because the scheduled projects at the observatory have different needs, Keck will prioritize restarting different instruments depending on when access to the facility resumes, leading to different end dates….

Michitoshi Yoshida, director of the Subaru Telescope on Maunakea, said it would likely take a full month before any night observations could begin, largely due to repair work required on the observatory dome.

Yoshida said observatory technicians have visited the summit five times since July 16, when all observatory staff were removed from the mountain, largely to do preparatory work for the dome repairs.

However, other engineering work, such as testing and reinstalling instruments will also be necessary after dome repairs are complete, Yoshida said.

Other observatories are more confident about their ability to return quickly to full operations.

Andrew Adamson, associate director of Gemini Observatory said Gemini would likely be able to reactivate shortly after a previously scheduled two-week maintenance shutdown period.

That shutdown period, Adamson said, occurs each year for invasive maintenance projects that require parts of the telescope and its instruments to be dismantled. This year, the primary mirror for the telescope wwas to be removed so it could be recoated, but Adamson said that would be postponed until next year in order to shorten the shutdown period.

“It’s an awkward calculation; if we leave it until next year, the mirror’s reflectivity will drop by about one percent, which we’ve accepted,” Adamson said….

Meanwhile: Stone Ahu Built on Kauai

read … Scientists prep telescopes for work after long wait

Gabbard: Telescope Dishonors Hawaii

SA: … Once in the kupuna tent, Gabbard presented an offering wrapped in ti leaf and took a microphone to tell the protesters that “we recognize that what is happening here is about so much more than just the telescope, that this speaks to not only the history of disrespect and dishonoring sacred places here in Hawaii, but this alarming trend that we see happening around the world.”

She then donned a red-and-gold t-shirt bearing the protest slogan “Ku Kia‘i Mauna,” or “protector of the mountain,” and waded through the crowd, stopping for a series of selfies with well-wishers.

“The next president, guys,” beamed Alii Samoa, who was helping with security for Gabbard. Gabbard has been busy in recent weeks traveling on the mainland on her long-shot campaign for president.

After meeting with the kupuna Sunday, Gabbard then crossed Daniel K. Inouye Highway for a meeting with protest leader Kaho‘okahi Kanuha.

The protests on Mauna Kea have stopped the $1.4 billion TMT project in its tracks…

read … Gabbard pays visit to protest site, questions TMT plans

Bill 40: Plastics Ban to Deepen Practice of Eco Religion on Oahu

SA: … the bill’s opponents say a switch to typically more expensive environmentally friendly service ware would likely mean price hikes for customers. Rather than forcing change, the Hawaii Food Industry Association has suggested encouraging businesses to reduce waste through incentives, such as tax credits….

Honolulu delivers it to HPOWER, to be burned as an inexpensive source for fuel. But to that, environmentalists have countered that unlike polystyrene, compostable containers don’t release toxic ash and smoke when incinerated.  This is a lie….

Earlier this year, state lawmakers weighed a hard-hitting bill that initially proposed banning restaurants, stores, wholesalers and government agencies from distributing and using a similar set of throw-away items. In the bill’s final version, which won approval from the Legislature and Gov. David Ige, the ban was replaced with creation of a “plastic source reduction working group” to make recommendations for cutting single-use food service items and packaging filler….

Reality: Crichton: Environmentalism is a religion

read … Ban Plastics

Tourists Scramble As Oahu Vacation Rentals Disappear Under New Law

CB: … As Honolulu cracks down on illegal vacation rentals, hosts of Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway units are canceling their bookings and altering their business models, leaving potentially thousands of tourists scrambling to find new accommodations – some within weeks of their flights to Oahu. …

(Crack down has ruined a lesbian wedding.)

read … Overtourism #1

North Shore residents hold protest at Laniakea, ask for safety and solutions

KHON: … Many residents also want to see the concrete barriers come back. They say the barriers worked and it kept people safe.

“I’d like to see the barriers put up at least for a temporary solution,” said Quitan.

“The resolution is sitting in front of us, we don’t need $65 million to figure out how to block the area there, the barriers are there push them back,” said North Shore community board member Raquel Hill.

“One little boy getting hurt like that is unacceptable, there’s no reason that should have happened none whatsoever,” she said.

The state Department of Transportation also said the accident could have been avoided if the barriers were still in place. However, the state was sued by a group of surfers in 2014 and the barriers came down in 2015. Since then lawmakers and residents have proposed dozens of solutions.

“We’ve been patient, we’re inconvenienced, we try not to grumble about it, we know the tourists want to come here and we understand that but at the same time we’re the number 2 tourist destination on Oahu,” said Bilderback.

“We’ve been waiting for about 15 years for something to be done here and the most cynical of us have said it’s going to take somebody getting hurt and just recently we had a little kid get hurt and that really struck our community as a time to act,” he said.

But there could be a temporary solution coming soon with the help of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

“[HTA] will come in with some grant monies and some of the ideas that could be used could be temporary crossing traffic lights to support crossing guards,” said Sen. Gil Riviere (D) Kunia, Haleiwa, Kaneohe.

“They’re helping to facilitate that and I have some hope we’re going to make some progress finally,” he said.

Rep. Sean Quinlan (D) Waialua, Haleiwa, Kaaawa, told KHON2 that the city has indicated that they might be able to provide some mobile traffic lights at Laniakea, similar to what’s been installed at Mauna Kea. They’re waiting on a response from the City Department of Transportation Services. Rep. Quinlan said that response could come within the next two weeks….

read … Overtourism #2

Plan for State Crack Down on Helicopters

CB: … Although the state can’t regulate federally controlled airspace, the DOT can still make meaningful progress toward regulating tour operators by exercising their control over airport leases and helicopter licenses. DOT should use its statutory authority and guidance from an updated Helicopter Master Plan to consider substantially drawing down the number of helicopter leases at state airports.

The second solution involves closing a loophole that allows Hawaii’s helicopter tour companies to avoid paying the general excise tax GET. The U.S. Constitution largely prevents states from taxing aviation transportation companies because it would interfere with interstate commerce.

However, since almost all tour helicopter companies take off and land from the same location and do not transport riders between counties, the state can subject these companies to the GET just like any other company. I already have legislation on my desk for the 2020 session that will close this tax loophole, subjecting helicopter companies to our state excise tax. Though this doesn’t completely solve the state’s problems with the tour helicopter industry, it sets those companies on the same playing field as the rest of Hawaii’s tourism businesses.

Third, the counties can also play an important role in creating safer skies. Because counties share responsibility for much of Hawaii’s land use regulations, the counties can examine how their zoning ordinances relate to helicopter pads on county and private lands.

Counties already enforce zoning laws for the benefit of endangered species, water, and other natural resources.

They can use the same approach to limiting tour helicopter companies’ dominance over our skies by limiting the number of permits given to private helipads. Tour companies that fly routes over densely populated residential communities and sensitive natural environments should find themselves under additional scrutiny to merit usage of county lands….

read … Overtourism #3

More Hawaii Students Are Leaving The State For College

CB:… The percentage of Hawaii kids choosing out-of-state schools is significantly higher than the national average….

In 2010, almost 8,850 students, or 72% of all first time undergraduate Hawaii residents, chose to stay in-state for college.

By 2016, this number had decreased to just under 6,500 residents or merely 62% of new college students….

read … Decline

Naloxone Is Reversing Hundreds Of Potentially Fatal Drug Overdoses in Hawaii

CB: … Fatalities related to opioids are rare in Hawaii — only 53 drug overdose deaths in 2017 involved opioids — but the latest count of 232 reported overdose reversals suggests naloxone has been put to good use since 2016.

“That’s just what’s reported,” said Leilani Maxera, the outreach and overdose prevention manager at the Health and Harm Reduction Center, which provided the latest count. “We imagine the number is higher especially in rural areas like on the Big Island.”…

In 2016, a new state law made it legal (for drug addicts) to carry the antidote in case a friend, client or the drug user themselves was at risk for an overdose. The center distributes the medication for free on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and Hawaii through its partnership with the state health department….

“Those who are most likely to be present when someone overdoses are other people who use drugs, family members and service providers,”…

Maui County Police Department Capt. John Kaupalolo IV said there have been a total of six deployments of the nasal spray Narcan Kit since Maui implemented the program last year.  “All of them were successful in reviving the individuals,” he said….

read … Increase

Makiki ‘safe house’ to become affordable housing for abused

SA: … The safe house, a 21-unit apartment building, provided free living space for female victims of domestic violence, sex assault and human trafficking. Residents were told in June they would need to vacate by the end of August. Community Services will take over the facility Oct. 1….

(Kick out victims of domestic violence to make way for domestic violence shelter.  Your County Government at Work.)

The $5.5 million project has served 41 clients since it opened….

Community Services Director Pam Witty-Oakland said Thursday that the city will soon put out a call for an entity to manage the property’s 21 units “as affordable rentals with a priority for survivors of domestic violence.” Rents would target households earning 50% of Oahu’s median income, Witty-Oakland told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in an email.

On Wednesday the Honolulu City Council voted unanimously to pass Resolution 19-166, urging the administration to establish a management plan for the complex….

read … Makiki ‘safe house’ to become affordable housing for abused

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