Local Politics — Wally Lau To Run For Mayor

image(Media release) — Hawaii County Managing Director Wally Lau today resigned his position and announced he is running for mayor of Hawaii County.

Lau has helped manage the daily operations of the Hawaii County administration for the past seven years, as deputy managing director and managing director. His next step forward in a career of caring for people and strengthening our island community is to become mayor and leader of our Hawaii Island. Read more

Hawaii News — Sen. Gilbert Kahele Is Dead At 73

gilbert kahele(Media release) — It is with heavy heart and great sadness that the Hawai‘i State Senate reports the passing of Senator Gilbert Kahele, Senator of the First Senatorial District.

Surrounded by his loving family, Sen. Gil Kahele passed peacefully at 7:55 a.m. surrounded by family at Queens Medical Center.

Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi issued the following statement on the passing of Sen. Kahele:

“The Hilo community and the State of Hawai‘i today has lost a great Senator, a gentleman, and passionate advocate who cared deeply about public service and the people he represented. I am honored to have served with him and I know his fellow colleagues in the Senate feel the same.

Senator Kahele’s family thanks the public for their words of support and aloha and respectfully asks for privacy at this difficult time.

Senator Kahele’s staff will be in the office to handle the concerns and issues of the district. His Tourism and International Affairs committee will be handled by the Vice Chair, Sen. J. Kalani English.

I send heartfelt condolences to the Kahele family as we mourn the loss of this remarkable man.”

Sen. Gil Kahele, 73, has served in the Senate since 2011, when he was appointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie for the 2nd District, encompassing the communities of Hilo, Puna and Ka‘u on Hawai‘i Island. In 2012, he was elected to represent the community of Hilo, now known as the 1st Senatorial District as a result of reapportionment.

As a visionary and proponent for strengthening Hilo’s economy, Sen. Kahele sought ways to help create jobs and business in his district. Among his many accomplishments, Sen. Kahele was instrumental in bringing much needed funding to build the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo.  He also was a staunch supporter behind the creation a world-class School of Aviation at the underutilized Hilo Airport and the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo.

Services for Sen. Kahele are pending.

Senator Gilbert Kahele was born in the fishing village of Miloli‘i in South Kona before moving to Hilo on Hawai‘i Island. Following his graduation from Hilo High School in 1960, Senator Kahele served in the U.S. Marine Corp until 1964 and graduated from Laney College in Oakland, Calif. After a few years on the Island of O‘ahu, in 1976 he returned to his hometown in Hilo with his wife Linda to raise their family. He retired from the Hawai‘i State Department of Defense after 33 years as the Director of Public Works, Pohakuloa Training Area.

Hawaii Politics — Governor Ige’s State of the State Address

david ige state of the state address(Media release) — Gov. David Ige today delivered his second State of the State address. The governor outlined his plans for a renaissance for Kalihi, including the future of the O‘ahu Community Correctional Center, air conditioning for Hawai‘i’s public schools, affordable housing which is key to addressing homelessness across the state and proposed investments in public housing, the Hawai‘i State Hospital, agriculture and the environment and innovation economy. Following is his speech:  Read more

Island News — Special presentation by Big Island Film Festival at Aloha Theatre Saturday

Our FatherIn a special presentation of award-winning films, the Big Island Film Festival will screen two dynamic, award-winning films at the Aloha Theatre in Kainaliu. The short film, “Our Father,” and feature “Honeyglue” will screen at 7 p.m. on Saturday, January 30, 2016.

Acclaimed for strong acting and impactful story, “Our Father” chronicles an aging father, estranged from his family and suffering from late stage dementia. In a fleeting moment, he reveals to his son secrets that begin to heal a broken family. The film stars Michael Gross, who played “Burt” in the “Tremors” movies, and is still recognized worldwide as Michael J. Fox’s father from “Family Ties.” “Our Father” is a short film, under 30 minutes, and would be considered R-rated.

Feature film “Honeyglue” won Audience Choice Feature at last year’s Big Island Film Festival at the Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i. Winner of numerous film festival awards, including Cannes World Cinema Initiative Best Feature, “Honeyglue” is a story of love that steps out of all boundaries. In the only three months they have, Morgan, a protected young woman with terminal cancer, and Jordan, a gender-defying adventurer, make every second worth more than the last. This film would be rated PG13.

Tickets are $10 adults, $5 children, available at the door.

The Big Island Film Festival at the Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i is a celebration of narrative filmmaking, with free family films under the stars, international features and shorts, stellar social events, celebrity receptions, screenwriting workshops, film awards and much more in an outstanding island setting. Anchor sponsors include: The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, The Shops at Mauna Lani, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority/Hawai‘i County Department of Research and Development CPEP, and many other generous sponsors and supporters. For detailed information, visit www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com or call 808-883-0394.

HAWAII BULLETIN — Police Suspect Foul Play With Body Found On Daniel K. Inouye Highway

Media Release

Hawai?i Island police are investigating the early morning discovery of a body in a vehicle on the Daniel K. Inouye Highway.

Shortly after 5 a.m. Tuesday, police received information that led them to a silver Honda sports-utility vehicle parked against the flow of traffic on the highway in the area of the 27-mile marker. Responding officers discovered an unresponsive man in the SUV.

Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigation Section and evidence specialists responded to the location to further the investigation, which is currently classified as a coroner’s inquest. The victim has yet to be identified.

Police believe foul play is involved. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday (January 6) to determine the exact cause of death.

Detectives are also investigating what appears to be a related incident that was reported Monday night (January 4) at about 11:56 p.m. Officers responded to a reported shooting in the upper Wai?kea Uka area but were unable to locate a shooting victim. They initiated a first-degree terroristic threatening investigation.

Police are asking for any motorists who may have seen the silver Honda SUV parked along the highway, may have seen a man hitchhiking toward the Kona direction or may have picked up a hitchhiker and taken him to Kona to contact either Detective Robert Almeida at 961-2386 or robert.almeida@hawaiicounty.gov or Detective Grant Todd at 961-2385 grant.todd@hawaiicounty.gov.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers does not record calls or subscribed to any Caller ID service. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

‘Bringing the Legacy of Katsu Goto to Life’

Discover the story about Katsu Goto, an early Japanese immigrant who came to Hawai‘i in 1885 aboard the City of Tokio, the first ship of the Kanyaku Imin (contract laborers) to work on the sugar plantations in Hawai‘i. After enduring a three-year labor contract at Soper, Wright & Co. along the Hamakua coast of Hawai‘i Island, Goto became a succimageessful businessman and labor leader. He was killed via a lynching in Honoka‘a, Hawai‘i in 1889 while helping Japanese sugar plantation workers.

“Bringing the Legacy of Katsu Goto to Life” is the first documentary of his story presented by the Katsu Goto Memorial Committee (KGMC) of the Honokaa Hongwanji Mission. This special is a 25-minute preview as well as a behind the scenes look at the “making of” the documentary on Katsu Goto featuring a fundraising campaign to document his story on film. The preview will run four times on Nippon Golden Network (NGN Channel 677):

? 9:35 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016

? 12 a.m. Sunday, Jan 3, 2016

? 6 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016

? 3:15 p.m. Sunday, Jan 3, 2016

The previews are airing during the Nippon Golden Network “Freeview” period (Dec. 30 – Jan. 3) when NGN will be available for free to all Oceanic Time Warner subscribers in the state of Hawai‘i. Interviews will be captioned for Japanese and English speakers.

In the preview, experience interviews with his descendants, academic and historical scholars, community members and the film’s production team.

“As a film director, you look for those really beautiful stories that come together to make a movie and I think we really have those powerful stories in this film,” says Director and Editor Danny Miller.

“We still have new immigrants coming to Hawai‘i all the time so it is important for us to remember our history so we do not repeat some of the mistakes we have made in the past,” said Baron Sekiya, producer and writer.

It was Goto’s knowledge of the English language and Western laws that thrust him into his role as a bridge between Japanese contract laborers and plantation management as he fought for workers’ rights. “I feel that my life is in danger by being here . . . but I am not afraid,” said Goto while meeting Japanese laborers accused by plantation management of arson of a canefield, according to court documents. Goto was ambushed then lynched from a telephone pole in the town of Honoka‘a after this late night meeting.

Goto’s death in 1889 at 27 was tragic, but his legacy didn’t end there. Dr. Fumiko Kaya, Goto’s niece and a survivor of the bombing of Hiroshima, learned about the lynching of her uncle in 1985. Kaya admirably turned the tragedy into the Goto of Hiroshima Foundation in 1993 to benefit Hawai‘i scholars and improve cross cultural communication. The foundation continues today through the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa’s American Studies Department.

The KGMC is now seeking individual, foundation, corporate or organizational sponsors to provide production and completion funds and welcomes your participation to bring this important story to film. Executive Producer and Writer Patsy Iwasaki strongly believes “His story has become a legacy. It’s a Hawai‘i story, it’s an immigrant story, it’s a national story, it’s a story that needs to be told.”

If you have any questions or for more information, please contact Patsy Iwasaki at patsy@KatsuGotoMovie.org. The KGMC was created under the fiscal sponsorship of the Honokaa Hongwanji Mission, an affiliate of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawai‘i, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. To make a tax deductible contribution to the Katsu Goto film project, please make checks payable to: Katsu Goto Memorial Committee, ? Honoka‘a Hongwanji Mission, P.O. Box 1667, Honoka‘a, HI 96727 or you can make a contribution via Paypal on the website: KatsuGotoMovie.org

Waimea Ocean Film Festival Is Jan. 1-8

Welcome the New Year with a superb lineup of films, special guests, intimate coffee talks, Q&As, exhibits and more January 1-8 at the 2016 Waimea Ocean Film Festival (Ocean Film).

Find the 2016 program posted online, where you can also purchase festival passes, at www.waimeaoceanfilm.org. Program copies and pass sales will be available starting 9 a.m.-3 p.m. December 31 at the festival hospitality desk at Kahilu Theatre in Waimea. Also find programs at concierge desks at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Hapuna Prince Beach Hotel, The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i and Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.

Films are shown starting 9:30 a.m. January 1, and play simultaneously January 1-4 at multiple venues in Waimea (Kahilu, HPA Gates and Parker Theatres), plus at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i. The festival moves to Four Seasons Resort Hualalai the evening of January 4, where passes will also be sold.

Ocean Film brings over 60 extraordinary films to the big screen this year, most of which are world, U.S., Hawai‘i or Big Island premieres, with many filmmakers in attendance to answer questions following the showing of each film. The format of this dynamic festival immerses participants in a greater understanding and awareness of the ocean and island culture through exceptional films, talks, exhibits and activities. Films fall into the basic categories of ocean experience (such as surfing and paddling); ocean environment—including things we do on land that impact the sea; and island culture. Inspirational films and films that shed light on who we are, or give pause for thought, form part of the mix.

The Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel is offering discounted room rates to festival pass holders from January 2-11.

For the latest updates on films and speakers, follow the festival on Facebook, www.facebook.com/waimeaoceanfilmfestival, visit www.waimeaoceanfilm.org or email info@waimeaoceanfilm.org.

The Waimea Ocean Film Festival is a 501c3 organization made possible through the support of patrons, sponsors and the community. Mahalo to the 2016 Ocean Film partners: Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, Holualoa Inn, Matson, K2 Imaging, Sushi Rock, Palani French Bakers, Big Island Brewhaus, Big Island Traveler, Maile Charters, Starbucks Coffee, Anna Ranch Heritage Center, Hawaii Preparatory Academy (HPA), Parker School, West Hawaii Today, Hawaii Tribune Herald, Kona Law, Emily T Gail Show, The Beach FM and The Wave FM.

***Commentary*** Speculation On The Puna Hot Seat; Here Comes Campaign Season

My initial thoughts upon reading that State Sen. Russell Ruderman is seeking re-election rather than pursue the Council District 4 seat he was said to be eyeing:

Campaign season is upon us! The state Senate seat for Puna is going to be one hot race, with Ruderman seeking to keep his seat after one term, and Greggor Ilagan officially seeking the Puna Senate seat after two terms as the lower Puna councilman. In the most generalized sneak peak, I see a major scrap ahead between environmentalists and biotech/GMO defenders. While that promises to be a lively race to watch, the Council seats in Puna and beyond are going to be sought by a whole cast of characters, as you can imagine. Then there is the mayor’s race ahead. The peanut gallery is going to be a hoot, that’s for damn sure. — Tiffany Edwards Hunt

***Commentary*** Proposed Resolution Calling For The Opening Of Railroad Avenue Between HPP And Nanawale Estates

I lost the election to the Hawaii County Council, but I can still try and write some legislation, at least a resolution for God sakes. Following is:
A resolution calling for the immediate opening of Railroad Avenue between HPP and Nanawale Estates.
Whereas, an improvement to Railroad Avenue between HPP and Nanawale occurred in 2014 as a result of lava threatening to inundate Pahoa Village;
Whereas, HPP homeowners consented to the use of the subdivisions roads to access this connector road between HPP and Nanawale;
Whereas, to respect HPP homeowners, the County of Hawaii agreed to open up this newly improved connector road for emergency purposes;
Whereas, the State of Hawaii has started on construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Highway 130 and Pahoa Village Road;
Whereas, the detour route takes the traffic down Pahoa Village Road and Kahakai Boulevard, both two-lane roads considered substandard in terms of modern road construction requirements;
Whereas, traffic is backing up as far as Ainaloa subdivision, several miles from Pahoa Village, as a result of the roundabout construction;
Whereas, the people of lower Puna are not only inconvenienced by the traffic backup, emergency responders are having a difficult time responding to calls for service in a timely manner;
Whereas, the traffic backup experienced with the roundabout construction is begging a solution;
Whereas, Railroad Avenue between HPP and Nanawale Estates must be opened to alleviate the traffic backup on Highway 130…
Now therefore it is so…

— Tiffany Edwards Hunt

***Commentary*** Open Up Railroad Avenue To Alleviate Roundabout Construction Congestion

Open letter to the mayor and Hawaii County Council:

As of Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 3, Pahoa residents are adjusting to a new normal, detouring on the original Pahoa Village Road while the roundabout construction is underway on Highway 130. We are all going to have to learn how to plan for the traffic backup that is occurring as a result of this bottleneck that is happening at the ingress and egress to Pahoa Marketplace and also at the intersection of Pahoa Village Road and Kahakai Boulevard.
I would like to urge you to consider opening up the Railroad Avenue detour route you created last year when lava was threatening to inundate Pahoa Village Road.
While, as a small business owner in Pahoa Village, I would like to see more traffic flowing through town, I understand the frustration people are experiencing to be backed up on the highway as they approach Pahoa Village Road, having already experienced the Keaau Crawl in Highway 130 on their afternoon-evening commute. For those traveling to Hawaiian Beaches or Nanawale or down to Kapoho, it might provide a great relief to have another option to get home. This may alleviate the urge to kick the dog, after a long day and a lot of commute time.
Please consider opening up Railroad Avenue between HPP and Nanawale — it’s the right thing to do.
Mahalo.
Tiffany Edwards Hunt
Pahoa

Puna News — PCMC To Expand Its Services

(Media release) — Puna Community Medical Center is expanding its services to the community in several ways:

Our Medivan, which has been parked across from Pahoa High School since last year, has now been driven down to Kalani Honua, where it will see patients on the first and third Fridays of every month from 9 am to 1

pm. Dr. Hart Miller will provide the same services as at our Pahoa clinic, including urgent and acute care, school and job physicals and referrals. No appointment will be needed. Patients should bring their insurance card, if they are covered. This is being done as a feasibility demonstration project to determine if it is (a) needed by the coastal community, and (b) economically viable. At the end of the one year cycle we will have enough data to determine if the project should be dropped, continued as is, or expanded. A big mahalo to Kalani Honua for hosting this project and to councilman Ilagan for providing start-up funding from his District 4 Contingency fund.

Our urgent care clinic at the Pahoa Marketplace will also be staying open longer. We will be open on Christmas Day and on New Years Day from 8:00 am to noon. And we will increase our Sunday hours to 5:00 pm starting January 3rd (although we will still be closed for staff lunch).

Future plans to continue expansion of services are being finalized, as the logistics have to be worked out regarding shift changes and staffing, but we will be moving our current 5:00 pm closing time to 7:00 pm and staying open through the lunch hour on weekdays. This will help our working people get the medical care they need without losing time at work or their sick leave. Date for this change will be announced.

We have signed a 65 year lease for state land on Hwy. 130 and are now waiting for the governor to sign it. At that point drivers will see a banner in front of the property, announcing “Future Home of Puna Community Medical Center’s Emergency Dept. & Medical Park”. The emergency facility will be the first increment. Future plans may include a Birthing Center, Senior Day Care, Dental Clinic, Dialysis Center, or other components on an as-needed and/or fundable basis.

PCMC continues to honor its commitment to provide medical services to the Puna community. We will keep doing it until Puna no longer has a federal designation as a “Medically Underserved Area”. Want to help? Contact president@punahealth.org. (Rene Siracusa)

***Commentary*** A Proposed Solution To The Pahoa Roundabout Construction Traffic

image

Open letter to Mayor Billy Kenoi and the Hawaii County Council:

As of Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 2, Pahoa residents are adjusting to a new normal, detouring on the original Pahoa Village Road while the roundabout construction is underway on Highway 130. We are all going to have to learn how to plan for the traffic backup that is occurring as a result of this bottleneck that is happening at the ingress and egress to Pahoa Marketplace and also at the intersection of Pahoa Village Road and Kahakai Boulevard.

I would like to urge you to consider opening up the Railroad Avenue detour route you created last year when lava was threatening to inundate Pahoa Village Road.
While, as a small business owner in Pahoa Village, I would like to see more traffic flowing through town, I understand the frustration people are experiencing to be backed up on the highway as they approach Pahoa Village Road, having already experienced the Keaau Crawl on Highway 130 on their afternoon-evening commute. For those traveling to Hawaiian Beaches or Nanawale or down to Kapoho, it might provide a great relief to have another option to get home. This may alleviate the urge to kick the dog, after a long day and a lot of commute time.
Please consider opening up Railroad Avenue between HPP and Nanawale — it’s the right thing to do.
Mahalo.
Tiffany Edwards Hunt
Pahoa

Letters — Roundabout for Pahoa – Thanks a lot for nothing!

Oh great, the first day DOT is starting to work on the roundabout, and now traffic is backed up from Ainaloa just trying to get into Pahoa. Can’t imagine how we are going to survive this. Puna should have had an alternate route since at least 1998, and the Planning Department and DOT has been discriminating against us for too long now. If we had an alternate route, half the people could be taking that instead of waiting and waiting and waiting for our 4 lanes of traffic to be crammed through a single-lane roundabout. Who is in charge here? Can you make any bigger mess? Oh, right, Puna residents have tons of free time to wait in traffic… we’re all just hippies and don’t matter to the folks in Hilo or Oahu.

You better hope there are no accidents on the Pahoa side as emergency services can’t get through!

Sara Steiner

Hawaii News — Captain Thomas Spencer and Makaleka Kiiwaiopualani Kaaloimaka Robinson Family Seeks Reunion Dec. 5

image
Scott Brewster, great grandson to Captain Thomas Spencer and Makaleka Kiiwaiopualani Kaaloimaka Robinson, will be visiting Hilo in December.
Makaleka’s mother was Lucille “Luika” Kaaloimaka and father Robert Robinson.
Scott is the great nephew to the Captain’s brother, Charles N. Spencer. Lillian “Lilly” Spencer is Scott’s grandmother.

Scott is hoping to meet any relatives, if possible. Anyone related is encourage to meet Scott at Kalakaua Park on Saturday, Dec. 5 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The Spencer legacy is one of love for our native people, Brewster said.

Hawaii News — Jane Wiedlin’s Panty Party A Celebration of Women! A Benefit for Aloha Ilio Rescue Dec. 19

Jane Wiedlin invites you to her Panty Party on Saturday, December 19 at the East Hawaii Cultural Center in Hilo. (Photo by Bj Papas)

Jane Wiedlin invites you to her Panty Party on Saturday, Dec. 19 at the East Hawaii Cultural Center in Hilo. (Photo by Bj Papas)

(Media release) — Jane Wiedlin, founding member of the legendary all-female rock band THE GO-GO’S, is hosting a Panty Party, a benefit for Aloha Ilio Rescue. Shop for panties, not pets, on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015 at the East Hawaii Cultural Center at 141 Kalakaua Street in Hilo from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

As a long time animal lover and animal rights activist, East Hawaii resident Jane Wiedlin is quickly raising awareness of the needs of animal rescue and shelter organizations island-wide. Jane is best known as the rhythm guitarist and singer/songwriter of the most successful female rock band of all time, the Go-Go’s. The Grammy-nominated Go-Go’s received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2011, thirty years after they rose to fame in 1981 with their debut album, Beauty and the Beat. Jane has also led a successful solo career as a musician, songwriter and actor. She ranks #76 of VH1’s Greatest Women of Rock N Roll, penned her first #1 song with Keith Urban and fellow Go-Go Charlotte Caffey in 2000 and has even won a round of celebrity Jeopardy in which she wore bondage pants!

Jane Wiedlin’s Panty Party includes thousands of dollars of brand new Felina lingerie and brand new high end makeup available by silent auction in an evening sure to tickle all of your fancies. The night includes a Fashion and Dog show starring HourGlass Burlesque and features the sexy shelter dogs of the Hawaii Island Humane Society! Burlesque and Drag Show to follow. The $20 event ticket includes a complimentary glass of wine or soft drink and a chance to win fantastic door prizes. Makeup by Lancome, Armani, Dior and MORE! 100% of proceeds benefit Aloha Ilio Rescue. Burlesque doggies will be available for adoption after the show!

Adopt, don’t buy! The mission of Aloha Ilio Rescue is to stop the overpopulation and euthanasia of unwanted dogs on Hawaii Island. Aloha Ilio Rescue adopts dogs from the Hawaii Island Humane Society Shelter and finds them their new forever home. Most adoptions cost $100 and include heartworm and flea medication, spay/neuter service and microchip. Aloha Ilio Rescue also provides home checks to ensure the safety of your new companion in your home.

Please join us for a fun evening celebrating women to benefit Aloha Ilio Rescue at Jane Wiedlin’s Panty Party on Saturday, December 19, 2015 at the East Hawaii Cultural Center in Hilo from 7:30 to 10:30PM.

Jane Wiedlin’s Panty Party is a 21+ event sponsored in cooperation with the Hawaii Island Humane Society, the East Hawaii Cultural Center and supported by the legendary Jane Wiedlin and a team of volunteers. For more information, call Daylynn at 960-1704 or visit Aloha Ilio Rescue on Facebook or at www.alohailiorescue.com.

Hawaii News — W. M. Keck Observatory to celebrate 25 years since First Light

image(Media release) —  Twenty-five years ago, the W. M. Keck Observatory opened the telescope dome, observing the heavens above Maunakea for the very first time and changing astronomical science forever. On Nov. 24, Keck Observatory will celebrate this landmark anniversary of first light, commemorating the extraordinary impact made over the past 25 years and expressing gratitude to their community on Hawai’i Island.

“Thanks to the pristine conditions on Maunakea and the incredible work and ongoing efforts of hundreds of Hawai’i residents, Keck Observatory has become the pride of Hawai’i, contributing more to humankind’s understanding of the Universe than any other research facility on Earth,” said Hilton Lewis, member of the original project team and director of the W. M. Keck Observatory.

W. M. Keck Observatory’s twin telescopes open the domes to begin a night of scientific observation. For high resolution photos, click here.

Before the Keck Observatory was built, the most powerful telescope in the world was the 200-inch Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory. Back then, technological limitations threatened the expansion of astronomy, as mirrors much larger than Palomar’s could not be made and supported at the exacting levels required for the science.

W. M. Keck Observatory’s revolutionary segmented mirror technology changed everything.
For high resolution photos, click here.

A few bold engineers envisioned a radical new approach to gathering light: tile together smaller hexagons, and control them so finely that they would act as a single, giant mirror. This technology–the foundation of Keck Observatory’s twin telescopes–changed everything for astronomy worldwide. Today, all the next revolutionary telescopes, on both ground and space, are being designed using the architecture developed and perfected by Keck Observatory.

Maunakea on Hawai’i Island was identified by the project team as the best site on earth for astronomy. It has since been measured as having the best seeing conditions on Earth. The height of the mountain, placing it above much of the atmosphere, lack of light pollution leading to clear, dark skies and dry summit air with minimal turbulence made it the only location that would allow the Keck Observatory to reach its tremendous scientific potential.

Keck Observatory could immediately make discoveries considered impossible at other observatories, and would completely change our understanding of the universe.

Throughout the past 25 years, teams of scientists using Keck Observatory have made thousands of groundbreaking discoveries, including:
Becoming the first telescope to directly image planets orbiting another star
Determining that twenty percent of Sun-like stars in our galaxy have Earth-sized planets that could host life
Proving the existence of the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole
Observing the most distant (and the earliest) galaxies to be formed after the Big Bang
Discovering the expansion of the Universe is actually accelerating and the subsequent revelation of a new mysterious force called Dark Energy
Perhaps the biggest discovery is how much remains unknown. “There are as many unanswered questions as ever, 25 years later. If anything, the mysteries are deeper. Each layer we pull back reveals more complexity,” Lewis said.

“Looking forward to the next 25 years, we are committed to deepening our engagement with our local community and inspiring our keiki to study science and technology,” said Rich Matsuda, operations and infrastructure senior manager for the Keck Observatory. “We are grateful for the opportunity join our community in making Hawai’i birthplace and home to some of the world’s most innovative science and technology.”

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of first light this Nov. 24, 2015, Keck Observatory will host Hawai’i Island school groups at their base facility in Waimea throughout the day. Students will talk with Keck Observatory’s industry-leading astronomers and engineers about the feats of science and technology that make the telescopes so special, and visit activity stations for hands-on learning.