Letter: Another Take on the TMT

The debate over the Thirty Meter Telescope has become extremely divisive for our community. I’ve lost several long time friends because I support this telescope project. This has spread to the community at large. These ongoing protests segued from protecting Mauna Kea to a debate over the restoration of the Hawaiian Kingdom and questioning the legitimacy of the State of Hawaii. The lack of enforcement by Hawaii County and the State of Hawaii isn’t helping matters. Governor Ige’s administration is the prime culprit for the latter. His administration is afraid taking on the protesters head on and waiting for the courts to do the dirty work for them it seems like. The Hawaii Supreme Court is slated to hear oral arguments on August 27th, 2015 for one of these lawsuits. It’s questioning the legality of the Thirty Meter Telescope’s conservation district use permit.. In addition, the Hawaii Supreme Court has a pending decision involving the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, which may have legal ramifications for the Thirty Meter Telescope. The problem with this course of action is two-fold. The TMT has legally binding permits to start construction now. The lack of enforcement on the part of the State of Hawaii shows they’re catering to the whims of the protesters. This has given Hawaii huge black eye on the world stage. Why would anyone want to invest in Hawaii? The State of Hawaii has shown its content with siting on their hands instead of enforcing the law. This doesn’t bode well for Hawaii’s future. We need to diversify our economy away from unsustainable industries, such as tourism, real estate/construction, and the military. I strongly believe we all need to take a long hard look at what Hawaii’s future should look like. The latter is being completely ignored by the anti-TMT protesters. They’re hell-bent on stopping this telescope project, but haven’t stated any economic alternatives to improve the future of Hawaii. Aaron Stene Kailua-Kona

Renovations Close Trails in Park

From  Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: 

The exit route trail leading out of Thurston Lava Tube will close starting Mon., Aug. 3, while workers replace an electrical line. The lava tube will remain open, and the trail that leads into it will be used as both exit and entry.Abstieg zur Nahuku Lavaröhre, Thurston Lava Tube, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, USA

This entry will also be the exit.

The route is scheduled to re-open Aug. 14.

The closed area extends from the far end of the lava tube towards the restrooms. The restrooms will remain open. Escape Road, from Highway 11 to Thurston Lava Tube, will also be closed during the replacement of the electrical line.

Thurston Lava Tube, or N?huku, is one of the most popular features in the national park. Visitation is heaviest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. To reduce congestion in the parking lot and lava tube, visitors are encouraged to enjoy it in the early morning or late afternoon.

The park regrets any impact to visitors and residents. Dates and times are subject to change, and the public will be notified if changes are necessary.

Letter Roundabout Runaround.

Dear Department of Transportation,Concerned Elected and Emergency Officials, News Editors,

I tried to attend the informational meeting on the Pahoa Roundabout last evening but had to leave once the announcement was made Pahoa has no choice in the matter.  Perusing the roundabout design, I fail to see how one lane circling is a safe exit for Pahoa and lower Puna in general, much less in an emergency.  To be clear, the DOT is telling us, the residents of Pahoa, that they are spending multi-millions of dollars on our safety?  

Look at what is being proposed.  As it is now, at least we have separate lanes coming and going, a turn lane, and a merge now at Malama.  In the event of a disaster you all are are expecting an orderly evacuation on that one lane cattle-chute roundabout?  Just one accident and the cars are going to be pinned in a circle, backing up very quickly, and the emergency responders won’t be able to access, they will have to walk in and no one will be able to get out of town.  Eventually the roundabout gets increased to two lanes…

Pahoa can’t wait for eventualities anymore.  It is time to help Pahoa with modernizing the entrances to Malama, Woodland Center, Hawaiian Beaches and Post Office Road immediately.  You can use the money for the roundabout to accomplish all those projects.  We have been waiting for years and years to get our fair representation and a decent road for Pahoa.  Do we have to file more civil rights complaints to get fair treatment?  I’d like an answer to this letter at your earliest convenience.

Very Sincerely,

Sara Steiner

Free Pre-K Seats Available at Four Big Island Charter Schools

Applications for free, high-quality prekindergarten are still being accepted from qualified families at four public charter schools on the island of Hawaii. Children eligible to attend are four-year-olds whose birthdates fall on or between August 1, 2010 and July 31, 2011 and whose family income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines for Hawaii.

Na Wai Ola Public Charter School, Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School, Ke Kula ‘o N?wah?okalani‘?pu‘u Iki Laboratory Public Charter School (“Nawahi”), and Ka ‘Umeke K?‘eo Public Charter School (“Ka ‘Umeke”) are the first schools that will be providing pre-kindergarten under a $14.8 million, four-year federal Preschool Development Grant awarded to the State Public Charter School Commission in December. Nawahi and Ka ‘Umeke are Hawaiian language immersion schools whose pre-kindergarten programs will also be in Hawaiian. The grant is intended to serve 920 students, over four years, in 18 charter school classrooms statewide.

The Commission’s grant application was one of 18 applications approved for the highly competitive U.S. Department of Education Preschool Development Grant. Hawaii was one of only five states to be awarded a grant to open new preschool programs, as opposed to expanding current programs.

“This grant enables Hawaii to continue making progress with its early childhood education system,” said Commission Executive Director Tom Hutton. “By creating more high-quality prekindergarten classrooms in addition to those already operating on Hawaii DOE campuses, our public charter schools are helping to ensure that more of Hawaii’s keiki get the good start they will need in kindergarten and beyond.”

More information on the pre-K initiative and the participating schools is available on the Commission’s website, www.chartercommission.hawaii.gov.

# # #

Commentary: “Safe and Accurate” Food Bill Isn’t What it Seems

Editor’s Note:  Rep. Mark Takai has sent this letter out to constituents on his e-mail list.  We pass it on to you.  –AM

Aloha Friend,

This week, the House will consider H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015.  Under the guise of consumer protection, this bill would do nothing more than limit the ability of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require labeling of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) products.  While it includes vague language regarding voluntary labeling, it would also nullify current state laws that regulate GMO foods.  I simply cannot support this bill. 

The people of our nation deserve to have consumer clarity, and be able to make their own decisions on the type of food they buy.   In order to meet this goal, I have joined with Congressman Peter DeFazio (OR-04) to cosponsor legislation that will return transparency to the food labeling process.  Along with many of my democratic colleagues, I support H.R. 913, the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act.  This legislation would enhance GMO labeling by creating a national standard to label food products developed by the FDA.

To date, our nation does not have a uniform system in place that allows consumers to make educated decisions. For nearly 15 years, we have had voluntary labeling; however, standards often differ and lead to variances in the definition of natural and GMO products. Clearly, this process must be improved. 

 Enacting legislation like H.R. 913 would harmonize U.S. policy with the 64 other countries that require the labeling of GMO foods, including countries possessing some of our largest agricultural markets.  This would make it easier for producers, processors, and packagers to comply with labeling requirements, and in turn help export our products around the world.

 If you have any questions regarding my stance on GMOs please feel free to contact my office  here .


Mark Takai

Pahoa Student Does Plankton Research

Juniper Ozbolt of Pahoa, HI recently completed the spring semester of her sophomore year of high school at Coastal Studies for Girls in Freeport, Maine. Coastal Studies for Girls is a Semester School for 10th grade girls. The school features rigorous academic courses and an integrated marine science and leadership curriculum based on fieldwork and experiential place-based learning.

 While at CSG, Juniper completed a scientific research project examining the diversity within the phytoplankton community during the spring phytoplankton bloom. Juniper and her research team collected data at several sites, structured their study and analyzed their data with the guidance of CSG Marine Ecosystems instructor, Kerry Whittaker PhD. The girls each prepared a scientific paper explaining their findings. They documented the significance of their findings by pointing to research indicating that the oceans’ phytoplankton populations are the crucial building blocks of the ocean food supply and also produce over 50% of the oxygen on the planet. They presented their research results in a public forum held at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland, Maine. The title of Juniper ‘s presentation was: Phyto Zoo: a Look at the Spring Bloom. The other Spring 2015 Coastal Studies for Girls Research Topics included: Human-Driven Ocean Acidification Decimates the Base of Marine Life; Microplastics: A Macro Problem; Invasive species on the Coast of Maine: Green and Asian Shore Crabs; and Hypoxia in coastal waters.

 The presentations were live streamed to viewers across the globe. In addition to producing original marine research during her semester at Coastal Studies for Girls, Juniper also completed a semester-long leadership course, earned honors credits in Literature, History, Math and Foreign Language and traveled with her classmates on a 10-day expedition along the Maine coast and islands. Juniper describes her CSG Semester with these words, “I was encouraged to be my authentic self at CSG.

 Each semester, Coastal Studies for Girls accepts 15 girls from across the country to live in the farmhouse on the shores of Casco Bay. Together they create a community of engaged learners dedicated to observation, inquiry, connection and action.

 Juniper returns to Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science in the fall as a junior. To learn more about Coastal Studies for Girls, or for information on applying, please visit www.coastalstudiesforg

Free Talks Offered on Roundup and Public Health

Seeds of Truth and GMO-Free Hawaii Island are sponsoring a talk on “Connecting the Dots: the rise of Glyphosate, the active ingredient I the commonly used herbicide ‘Roundup’ and the link to the increase in diseases” with Drs. Stephanie Seneff and Judy Carman, on Saturday, July 25, 1:30-5 p.m. at Tutu’s House in Waimea; on Sunday, July 26, 6-9 p.m. at NHERC’s headquarters on 45-539 Plumeria St. in Honoka’a; and at the Kona County Council Chambers and at 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway in Kailua-Kona. Dr. Senoff, a researcher at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has traced links between Glyphosate and the rise of diseases such as obesity, Alzheimer’s, allergies and autism. Dr. Carman, who holds a PhD in medicine, nutritional biochemistry and metabolic regulation, was involved in some of the first independent animal feeding studies on the to investigate the safety of GMO crops in regard to human health. The talks are free, and pupus will be served.

A petition for the County of Hawaii to stop spraying Roundup on public roadsides has been started here.

Meeting July 29 to Discuss Pahoa Roundabout Plans

HVNP Unveils August After “Dark in the Park” Offerings

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has released its August schedule for its After Dark in the Park series. On tap for the month are a hula performance, an introduction to the ukulele, and a tour of Kilauea’s night skies from the viewpoint of artist/professional guide Kent Olsen.  All programs are free, but park entrance fees apply and a $2 donation is welcomed to help support park programs.

H?lau O Mailelaulani is a Hilo based h?lau under the direction of kumu hula Mailelaulani Canario. Kumu Mailelaulani established her h?lau in the mid 1970’s to perpetuate the ancient (kahiko) as well as modern style of hula. Today, her ‘auana or modern style hula performers take part in the annual Merrie Monarch festivities and are regular entertainers for the cruise ships through Destination Hilo. The h?lau placed third in the 32nd annual Kupuna Hula Festival, Wahine Group Competition held in Kona in 2014. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ N? Leo Manu, “Heavenly Voices” performances. Free.
When: Wed., August 19 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: K?lauea Visitor Center auditorium

‘Ukulele Lessons. Learn about the history of this world-famous instrument that plays a significant role in contemporary Hawaiian music. Join rangers from Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park as they share their knowledge and love of the Hawaiian culture. Learn how to play a simple tune on the ‘Ukulele and leave with a new skill and treasured ‘ike (wisdom) to share with your hoa (friends) and ‘ohana (family). Free.
When: Wed., August 26 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: K?lauea Visitor Center l?nai

K?lauea’s Night Skies: An Artist’s Perspective.  Hawai‘i Island artist and interpretive guide, Kent Olsen draws on insights and perspectives developed through years of work in the medical imaging design field; as an interpretive guide at Mauna Kea Observatories and as a certified commercial guide at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park to “present the night skies over K?lauea Volcano in a way that is sure to provide a new perspective and may just change the way you see everything. Utilizing the current lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u Crater as a point of reference, you will journey from the depths of the quantum realm to the edge of the cosmos.”
When: Tues., August 11 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: K?lauea Visitor Center Auditorium

M7.5 quake in Santa Cruz Islands; No Tsunami Expected.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reports an earthquake with magnitude 7.5 occurred near the Santa Cruz Islands at approximately 4:36p.m. Hawaii Standard Time.  Based on all available data a destructive Pacific-wide has not been generated and there is no tsunami threat to Hawaii.  repeat, no tsunami threat to Hawaii.

The quake was located 47 miles WNW of the town of Lata in the Solomon Islands.  For more details, and a location map,  follow this link.

Commentary: On Yet Another “Domestic.”

Years ago, when I was just getting started as a writer, I also  worked “part time” as a paralegal for my then-wife, Susan Decker McNarie, in a law firm that specialized in domestic violence cases. But I quickly found out that when domestic violence is involved, there was no such thing as a “part time” paralegal.  We ended up putting in twelve-hour days at the office, and my writing would get done in the wee hours of the morning; there were always emergencies, always Temporary Restraining Orders to file, always affidavits to take from traumatized spouses and children whose lives could depend on getting it right and getting it done fast. And not just spouses and children’s lives. In the course of doing that work, I heard from multiple sources that cops disliked responding to “domestics”reports more than any other type of incident, because those were the ones in which they were most likely to be injured.

Cases like the one in North Kohala (see previous posts this week) are hardly unique.  Over the years, this Web site has covered numerous other examples of “domestics,” and we’ve only covered a tiny fraction of the cases that happen on this island every year.

Domestic violence gets reported more often when lower-income families are involved–there’s less social pressure to “keep it quiet”–and it’s more often fatal when the man is the abuser, simply because men are, on average, just physically more powerful. But domestic violence is a problem that spans all income brackets, all ethnic groups and all genders. In the very first apartment that Susan and I owned in Hilo, we got to listen frequently to screams and crashes as the woman next door, who was of European descent, threw plates at her Japanese-American husband.  It wasn’t the first time I was witness to a “domestic”:  when I was working on my master’s degree in Columbia, Missouri, I had to call the police when the woman next door started screaming “stop hitting me!”  A couple of years later, I ended up interposing my own body when I was attending a renaissance fair in Topeka, Kansas, and one of the vendors, in a drunken rage, began demolishing his own craft booth with his terrified significant other inside.  I managed to divert his attention until the police got there to escort him off the premises.  We thought that would be the end of it, but we later learned that the man had been released, then had returned late at night with a gun, had thrown the woman’s possessions into a nearby river, and  had gotten himself arrested again.

In my sixty-plus years, I’ve never seen an armed robbery, a burglary or a car theft.  But I’ve been an eyewitness to domestic violence at least eight times.  When I was a college teacher, I had to cope with students who couldn’t complete their assignments because their fathers or domestic partners had chased them out into the street.  When I was a paralegal, we found so much “business” trying to rescue domestic violence victims who couldn’t afford to pay that we eventually lost Susan’s law office, our savings, our house and our marriage. We did some good for some people; won some cases, lost some.  But domestic violence was a great, yawning chasm in the island’s social landscape, and it seemed that no amount of individual effort could fill it. And by the time it reached the legal system, much of the damage was already irreversibly done: the relationship was already wrecked, the children permanently scarred.

If you’re in involved in a violent relationship, get informed,  get out and get help.  Notice that I didn’t say “If you’re a victim in a violent relationship.”  If you’re losing your temper with someone you love, you need to get help, too, BEFORE you permanently harm him or her, yourself, your children and/or a cop or an innocent bystander.  There are some superb programs such as Alternatives to Violence that can help both victims and abusers to figure out what’s going on and put a stop to it before it gets worse. You can start at this Web site, which offers both basic information and links to organizations that can help.

Remember: you love this person–or these people, if there are children involved. You don’t really want to harm them, or be harmed by them. Don’t let that happen.


–Alan McNarie

Man Charged in N. Kohala Shootings

From the Hawaii Police Department:

Alert Photo


A 37-year-old North Kohala man who was barricaded in his home Monday night and Tuesday (July 13-14) following a domestic incident has been charged with 22 offenses.

At 1:05 p.m. Thursday (July 16), Macdon D. Thromman of Kapa?au was charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder, one count of attempted second-degree murder, nine counts of first-degree terroristic threatening, one count of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault, two firearms offenses and one count each of felony abuse of a family member, kidnapping, endangering the welfare of a minor and reckless endangering. His bail was set at $390,200.

He is being held at the Kona police cellblock pending his initial court appearance in Kona District Court scheduled for Friday morning (July 17).

Biologists to US: Keep your Word on Kaho’olawe

The Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation, meeting in Honolulu, has passed a resolution “expressing concerns” about the U.S. failure to completely clear unexploded ordinance from the island of Kaho’olawe and to restore the island’s habitat.

“When President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Executive Order 10436 reserving the right of the US military to use Kaho‘olawe as a training facility, it clearly stated several obligations including the “eradication of cloven hooved animals” and, upon return of the island to Hawai‘i, to “render such area…reasonably safe for human habitation, without cost to the Territory.” These obligations have not been met. Initial funds were allocated by Congress only after considerable lobbying by former Sen. Daniel Akaka,” noted the organization’s press release, which added,  ” These funds ($400 million), meant to rid the island of unexploded ordnance, fell woefully short of the amount necessary to meet Pres. Eisenhower’s promise.  The Navy cleared ordnance from 75 percent of the land’s surface, not the 100 percent agreed upon. Furthermore, the Navy was to clear ordnance from 25 percent of the ground subsurface, to a depth of four feet; however, only 9 percent has been cleared.  Even this does not address the restoration of the destroyed native Hawaiian ecosystems.”

“The failure of the military to remediate and restore the island indicates the continued failure of the US government to fulfill its commitments, particularly when it comes to the rights of indigenous peoples,” stated by Jose MV Fragoso, Co-Chair of the ATBC Conservation Committee.

The organization also pointed out that “Native Hawaiians are being denied meaningful involvement in the process because funding and oversight of the island is still held by the State, not by the cultural group that succeeded in getting the island returned, nor by the people for whom the island is being held in trust. “


Kohala Standoff Ends in Arrest

From the Hawaii Police Department:

A man who had been barricaded in his home since Monday night (July 13) is now in police custody. No one was injured during his arrest. After the Police Department’s Special Response Team converged on the scene, shots were fired by the suspect, who eventually surrendered.

At 4:26 p.m. Tuesday (July 14), 37-year-old Macdon D. Thromman of Kapa?au was taken into custody on multiple offenses and was to be processed at the North Kohala police station. The Area II Criminal Investigations Section is continuing the investigation.

Route 270 in North Kohala, which had been closed in both directions near the 25-mile marker, has now been reopened.

The incident began Monday (July 13), when patrol officers responded to a 7:48 p.m. report of a domestic disturbance at a home on the 53-4200 block of Akoni Pule Highway in Halaula, North Kohala.

Responding officers contacted several neighbors in the area who reported loud yelling and screaming coming from the residence. Several people were then seen running from the house as officers approached from the driveway. A gunshot was fired at the officers, striking one officer in his right forearm.

A woman from the house approached the officers and said she had been shot in her outer thigh by her boyfriend.

Both the officer and the woman were taken to North Hawai?i Community Hospital for treatment of their injuries.

The 37-year-old man barricaded himself in the house.

The Hawai?i Police Department’s Special Response Team responded and neighboring residents were evacuated as a precaution.

The wounded 43-year-old officer is a 14-year veteran with the Hawai?i Police Department. He is listed in stable condition. The 32-year-old woman is also listed in stable condition.

For full details, view this message on the web.

Two Shot, Including Officer, in North Kohala Incident

From the Hawaii Police Department:

At 7:48 p.m. Monday (July 13), patrol officers responded to a report of a domestic disturbance at a home on the 53-4200 block of Akoni Pule Highway in Halaula, North Kohala.

Responding officers contacted several neighbors in the area who reported loud yelling and screaming coming from the residence. Several people were then seen running from the house as officers approached from the driveway. A gunshot was fired at the officers, striking one officer in his right forearm.

A woman from the house approached the officers and said she had been shot in her outer thigh by her boyfriend.

Both the officer and the woman were taken to North Hawai?i Community Hospital for treatment of their injuries.

The 37-year-old man barricaded himself in the house and remains there. He is believed to be the only occupant.

The Hawai?i Police Department’s Special Response Team responded and neighboring residents were evacuated as a precaution.

The wounded 43-year-old officer is a 14-year veteran with the Hawai?i Police Department. He is listed in stable condition. The 32-year-old woman is also listed in stable condition.

Detectives with the Area II Criminal Investigations Division are continuing the investigation.

Because of this ongoing incident, Route 270 in North Kohala is closed in both directions near the 25-mile marker.