• Today, the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) leadership informed me that construction will continue to be postponed. Any further announcements about the construction schedule will come from TMT.

    My understanding is that TMT followed an almost 7 year planning and permitting process, which included public hearings and community input. Following this process, project permits were issued. The TMT team is legally entitled to use its discretion to proceed with construction.

    I understand that not everyone will agree with this and recognize and respect their right to appeal through the court system.

    We have used this time to listen and learn about Maunakea from various stakeholders. I learned about other issues that need our attention to create and implement a better plan for the stewardship of Maunakea. This may include:

    • Decommissioning and removing older telescopes and facilities to restore the summit
    • Reducing the level of activity on the summit
    • Integrating culture and science

    My administration will be working with the University of Hawai‘i, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the community to actively pursue these outcomes.

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  • 20 Apr 2015 /  Uncategorized

    Aloha,
    Project Hawai’i, Inc. is a nonprofit organization run 100% by volunteers and solely supported by public donations. We provide a FREE summer camp for homeless and poverty stricken keiki. Our agency is seeking a VOLUNTEER photographer that would like to attend our summer camp and help us document the whole “story”. We would love to have a short film made, or at least lots of photos to put together a story that will help us document our progress and hopefully allow us to gain more supporters.

    Our summer camp is a sleepover camp, and we can provide you with full accommodations and meals in exchange for your volunteer service. Plus we can provide you with a full tax deduction for your services if needed. If you are not able to stay for the entire camp, but can come a few days, etc…that too is fine. We can work out the details.

    Our summer camp provides these children with life changing opportunities that help them to escape their cycle of poverty. It is vital part of our overall success!! Unfortunetly we are just not able to reach out to the community and get the support needed to run the camp as it should be. We are hoping to put together a 20 minute video we can submit to public access tv and maybe obtain supporters that way.

    This is a wonderful opportunity for a student who is trying to build their resume, or a photographer that is expanding their knowledge, etc.

    We will need you to be able to transfer all the photos/video taken at the camp before you leave, so we have a copy as well.

    For more information, please feel free to contact us. Mahalo for your time.

    This is a volunteer opportunity provided by VolunteerMatch, in partnership with LinkedIn for Good. If interested, you can apply via the LinkedIn notice here.

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  • Jazzmin Cabinilla, educator, mother and Kanaka maoli, explains what the problems she has with the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Ke. It’s not a problem with science per se, she explains…..

    Jazzmin Cabanilla’s testimony

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  • 16 Apr 2015 /  politics, State Legislature

    A bill that would make pimping a felony and another that would establish a safe haven program for youthful abuse victims are among five public safety-relate bills that the State Senate bills that the State House of Representatives just approved:

    SB265, SD1, HD1 replaces the term “promoting prostitution” with the term “sex trafficking,” a Class A felony, and includes the offense of sex trafficking in the Department of the Attorney General’s statewide witness program.

    SB1211, SD1, HD1, relating to the Major Disaster Fund, would increase the expenditure ceiling on Major Disaster Fund moneys and require the Adjutant General to report any allotment of fund moneys or any expenditure of Fund moneys to the Legislature within one month of the allotment or expenditure.

    SB871, SD1, HD3, relating to highway safety, authorizes the director of transportation to establish reciprocal licensing privileges to any person eighteen years of age or older who holds a license from another jurisdiction, under certain conditions.

    SB979, SD2, HD1, requires the Office of Youth Services to coordinate a Safe Places for Youth Pilot Program until June 30, 2021. It would also establish a Safe Places for Youth Program Coordinator position. The bill would allow youth in crisis–including victims of family violence, school bullying and predatory adults– who are at least 14 but under 18 years of age to consent to accept services in the Pilot Program under certain circumstances.

     

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  • 16 Apr 2015 /  politics, State Legislature

    The Hawaii House of Representatives has now approved a Senate bill that would eliminate a major legal roadblock, literally, for the homeless.

    SB273, SD2, HD2 addresses a a major problem for those who are homeless but otherwise eligible to drive: they needed to supply a address to the driver’s license examiner.   The bill requires the examiner to  “to accept a sworn statement from a victim services organization, an attorney, a member of the clergy, correctional institution staff, a medical or health professional, or a verification letter from a homeless service provider as documentary evidence of a homeless person’s address.  The bill would also” waive all fees for homeless individuals” and would set up a “working group to enable homeless individuals in the State to obtain necessary documentary evidence.”

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  • The State House of Representatives has voted to pass several dozen bills that crossed over from the Senate.  Among them are several bills related to health, including on that would create a statewide system for dispensing medical marijuana, and another that establishes a “mini-PLDC” for medical procurement.

    SB682, SD2, HD1, relating to medical marijuana. Establishes a regulated system of medical marijuana dispensaries and production centers. Specifies that the number of licensed dispensaries and production centers increase gradually over an initial phase-in period. Prohibits counties from enacting zoning regulations or rules that prohibit the use of land for licensed dispensaries and production centers.
    SB1228, SD2, HD3 establishes a process for special innovative procurement and generates a framework for public-private partnership in Hawaii. Appropriates funds for a temporary position to assist the Procurement Policy Board. Appropriates funds for the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation to procure services to develop a master plan for the Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital and Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital.

    SB1291, SD2, HD2, relating to medical marijuana. Prohibits discrimination against medical marijuana patients and caregivers by schools, landlords, courts with regard to medical care or parental rights, employers, planned community associations, condominium property regimes, and condominiums.

     
    SB964, SD2, HD1, relating to aging. Appropriates funds for the Kupuna Care Program and the Aging and Disability Resource Center. Requires appointment of an Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia services coordinator no later than July 1, 2017. Appropriates funds for the Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia services coordinator, fall prevention and early detection services for the elderly, the Healthy Aging Partnership Program, and an Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia public awareness campaign.

    SB1028, SD2, HD1, relating to the Hawaii Health Connector. Attempts to harmonize requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act with the Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act by implementing federal requirements for provider network adequacy through requiring that insurer contracts with federally-qualified health centers. Authorizes other means of generating revenue through provision of benefits administration services.

    SB1338, SD2, HD1, relating to the Hawaii Health Connector. Authorizes large group insurance coverage under the Connector. Beginning Oct. 1, 2016, ends authorization to renew or issue transitional renewal policies. Requires notice to group health plans that offer continuation of coverage about options for affordable coverage under the Connector, in addition to the requirements under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA).

    SB1117, SD2, HD1, relating to Hawaii Health Systems Corporation. Makes an emergency appropriation to support the functions of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation.

    SB1095, SD1, HD1, relating to health insurance. Defines the term “habilitative services” to be included in health care services, including but not limited to physical and occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, speech and swallowing therapy, applied behavior analysis, medical equipment, orthotics, and prosthetics, that help a person keep, learn, or improve skills and functioning for daily living.

    SB791, SD1, HD2, relating to autism spectrum disorders. Requires health insurers, mutual benefit societies, and health maintenance organizations to provide insurance coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism.

    SB1036, SD2, HD1, relating to substance abuse treatment. Establishes within the Department of Health a working group to address publicly-funded substance abuse treatment services. Appropriates funds.

    SB768, SD1, HD1, relating to in vitro fertilization insurance coverage. Provides in vitro fertilization insurance coverage equality for women who are diagnosed with infertility by making available to them expanded treatment options, ensuring adequate and affordable health care services.

    SB1032, SD2, HD2, relating to tobacco products. Expands the definition of “tobacco products” to include tobacco-free products containing nicotine that are intended for human consumption. Increases the license fee for wholesalers or dealers of cigarettes or tobacco products. Increases the retail tobacco permit fee for retailers engaged in the retail sale of cigarettes and tobacco products.

    SB1030, SD1, HD2, relating to health. Increases the minimum age for the sale or possession of a tobacco product in a public place, and the sale or furnishing of a tobacco product, from 18 to 21. Defines “tobacco products” to include electronic smoking devices.

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  • 16 Apr 2015 /  letters

    Dear Josh Green, the rest of the Hawaii Legislators, Governor Ige:

    I’d like to take this opportunity to be straight with you and to the point.  I’m sorry if my bluntness may offend you, but you, the Hawaii Legislature (encouraged by the Hawaii Police Department/Narcotics Enforcement Division) have been denying access of cannabis for medicine since  “Compassionately” creating the program in the year 2000.

    Regarding your worries about the federal government coming to bust Hawaii Dispensaries, don’t be afraid, they have been calling off the dogs on the dispensaries for awhile now so let’s keep that in mind, and their deplorable marijuana laws are going to bite them in the okole, as they are hypocrites of the worst degree taking out patent on THC as medicine while incarcerating millions.  The States need to stand up to the Feds for their residents rights to use a plant, for goodness sakes, and the police/NED need to mind their own business, stop making medical decisions for patients and stop persecuting cannabis doctors.

    As far as either version, if you really give a damn about creating a locally owned industry, with an affordable product (not taxed to hell), you will use HB321, giving it only the “edibles” from SB682 and you will have the best of both bills.  Throw the rest of those amendments and all of all versions of SB682 far away, as it is a set-up for an absolute out-of-state corporate monopoly, and you all know it.

    One license for one person for one aspect.  Give as many residents a chance to help themselves and the State will benefit accordingly.   Don’t forget,  If anyone any age can be a cannabis patient (with a recommendation), and anyone over 18 can grow their own medicine, you cannot go backwards and take away a patients right to have a caregiver of their own choosing.

    We do not need the overkill of countless taxes, super-redundant paperwork, security measures, and unattainable-for-the-local-person fee structures with the resulting $35 an ounce top shelf (like in Washington state) because it only turns the State of Hawaii into a drug dealer, and does nothing to decrease the black market.

    Please, please, I am begging on my knees for you do what is right for the people of Hawaii Nei!

    It is easy, pass the original HB321 with “edibles” and that is it!

    Sincerely,

    Sara Steiner
    P.O. Box 2011
    Pahoa, Hawaii 96778

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  • Aloha, everyone. William Balfour’s response to questions by the Senate Water and Land Committee today at his confirmation hearing was disappointing to put it mildly. It is very hard for me to believe the Governor nominated Mr. Balfour to serve yet another term on the Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM). Mr. Balfour did not know about the hierarchy of water uses or constitutionally protected rights and uses under the State Water Code, nor was he concerned that he did not know about this most important tenet of the code.

    Five major decisions by CWRM have been reversed by the courts in the last decade or so. Most if not all of them involved stream diversions, Native Hawaiian water rights, and superior uses. As a past water commissioner, Mr. Balfour voted on two important decisions that were reversed by the Hawai‘i Supreme Court in the Na Wai ‘Eha and East Maui stream cases.

    The Committee is meeting again this Friday, April 17, 2015 at 1:15 pm in Room 225 to give Mr. Balfour another opportunity to address the code’s hierarchy of water uses and rights under the code. Even if he does his homework in the next two days, his past record as a water commissioner speaks louder than any recitation of the State Water Code.

    Please call and email members of the Senate Committee on Water and Land before Friday noon. Respectfully ask them to oppose GM 820 and the nomination of William Balfour, Jr. to serve on the Commission on Water Resource Management. Be sure to contact your own state senator too (see contact information for the committee and all senators below). Please share with others and broadcast far and wide. Mahalo!

    We must not give up opposing this ill-advised nomination.

    Our state senators are the only ones with the power to decide whether Mr. Balfour serves on the CWRM for another 4 years or if the people deserve someone who is committed to upholding the State Water Code and the state constitution, and righting the wrongs of the past.

    Mr. Balfour already had his turn on CWRM. If he is confirmed for another 4 years, he will be voting on matters as they come back to CWRM as ordered by the courts. It is inappropriate for him to serve on CWRM again.

    This is a new time, and the paradigm is shifting towards a more just and sustainable water management regime in the islands.

    Mr. Balfour represents the old way of exploiting water at the expense of native stream ecosystems, estuaries, and fisheries, and on the backs of Native Hawaiian practitioners and kalo farmers.

    The old way perpetuates illegal stream diversions that were so cruel and complete, they are beyond belief, and which continue to this day. The old way is not the way forward.

    Mr. Balfour is also a climate change denier, and will hinder efforts by CWRM to mitigate impacts to our water resources.

    Senate Committee on Water and Land Members:

    Chair Laura Thielen
    Phone 808-587-8388
    Fax 808-587-7240
    E-Mail: senthielen@capitol.hawaii.gov
    District 25 Kailua, Lanikai, Enchanted Lake, Keolu Hills, Maunawili, Waimanalo, Hawai‘i Kai, Portlock

    Vice Chair Brickwood Galuteria
    Phone 808-586-6740
    Fax 808-586-6829
    E-Mail: sengaluteria@capitol.hawaii.gov
    District 12 Waikiki, Ala Moana, Kaka‘ako, McCully, Mo‘ili‘ili

    Les Ihara, Jr.
    Phone 808-586-6250
    Fax 808-586-6251
    E-Mail: senihara@capitol.hawaii.gov
    District 10 Kaimuki, Kapahulu, Palolo, Maunalani Heights, St. Louis Heights, Mo‘ili‘ili, Ala Wai

    Gil Riviere
    Phone 808-586-7330
    Fax 808-586-7334
    E-Mail: senriviere@capitol.hawaii.gov
    District 23 Kane‘ohe , Ka‘a‘awa, Hau‘ula, La‘ie, Kahuku, Waialua, Hale‘iwa, Wahiawa, Schofield Barracks, Kunia

    Russell Ruderman
    Phone 808-586-6890
    Fax 808-586-6899
    E-Mail: senruderman@capitol.hawaii.gov
    District 2 Puna, Ka‘u

    Maile Shimabukuro
    Phone 808-586-7793
    Fax 808-586-7797
    E-Mail: senshimabukuro@capitol.hawaii.gov
    District 21 Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Ko ‘Olina, Nanakuli, Ma‘ili, Wai‘anae, Makaha, Makua

    Sam Slom
    Phone 808-586-8420
    Fax 808-586-8426
    E-Mail: senslom@capitol.hawaii.gov
    District 9 Hawai‘i Kai, Kuli‘ou‘ou, Niu, ‘Aina Haina, Wai‘alae-Kahala, Diamond Head

    –Marjorie Ziegler

  • Dr. Gay Barfield is offering  a workshop entitled “From Conflict to Connection,” sponsored by Kuikahi Mediation Center, at the Neighborhood Place of Puna,  16-105 Opukahaia Street, Kea’au, on Saturday, April 18, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

    “Many of us are terrified of conflict as being inevitably harsh & harmful,” notes the press release for the workshop. “Due to our past experiences with anger & upset, we are used to conflicts fraught with fear, failure & fractured relationships. The result? Even normal arguments or differences create reactions in us of avoidance, placating, or sudden escalation. Would you like become more competent in handling conflict? Do you long for resolution and renewal? Does the idea of transforming conflict into a pathway toward intimacy and peace seem oddly unrealistic?
    Then join us to discover how constructive conflict is possible!”

    Among the topics covered: How to engage in spirited fighting (while maintaining personal integrity); how to  make the first move toward reconciliation; Increasing compassion and caring; fostering a sense of ease at home, in the workplace and across cultures, and setting personal aims for making change.

    Gay Barfield, Ph.D., Lic. MFT, is a human relations educator, trainer, consultant, and therapist specializing in Carl Rogers’ person-centered approach to diversity, conflict dialogue, and listening across differences at work, at home, cross-culturally, and between genders. Dr. Barfield was a Fellow of Center for Studies of the Person for nearly 30 years where she created one of the first Women’s Centers in San Diego and the Living Now Institute. With Carl R. Rogers she founded and co-directed the Carl Rogers Institute for Peace, a project applying person-centered principles to real and potential crisis situations. Currently semi-retired, Dr. Barfield continues to offer workshops internationally, mentor young therapists, and write about her experiences over the past 40 years as a “gatherer,” social activist, and stubborn idealist.

    Tuition for the workshop is $50. Partial scholarships are available .To register, contact Executive Director Julie Mitchell at:

    KU‘IKAHI MEDIATION CENTER
    101 Aupuni Street, Suite PH 1014 B-2 • Hilo, Hawai‘i 96720
    Phone: (808) 935-7844 x 116 • Fax: (808) 961-9727
    Email: julie@hawaiimediation.org • Web: www.hawaiimediation.org

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  • 13 Apr 2015 /  feature, news, Sentiment

    Kathleen Inouye is giving a gift of warmth.

    In memory of her mother, Misao Noguchi, who passed away at the age of 93 on April 17, 2014, Inouye has donated 10 hand-made beanies to patients receiving treatment at Hilo Medical Center’s Hawaii Pacific Oncology Center.

    “I am carrying on my mom’s legacy,” said Kathy. Each beanie takes six to seven hours of dedication to make.

    “A lot of our patients wear beanies to keep warm,” notes Julie Leach, Nurse Manager at the Oncology Center. “Kathy’s gifts are more than a donation. They are assurances to our patients that one more person in our community cares for them.”

    “My mother retired with 25 years of service as a licensed practical nurse at the Old Folks Home in Ola`a and at Hilo Medical Center’s Extended Care Facility,” said Inouye. “Upon her retirement, she was asked to crochet beanies to donate to the Hilo Medical Center’s cancer unit.” When Noguchi first started work at Hilo Medical Center, then Hilo Hospital, she was a young, single nurses who living above the hospital in a pink dormitory that is now affectionately known as “The Pink Palace.” She and her fellow nurses played volleyball in the yard by the dorms.

    “People say my mother had the hands of a genius because she was so good at knitting, crocheting, sewing and crafts,” said Inouye. “She taught me how to knit when I was eight years old. She always carried her needlework and, as an avid sports fan, she did her needlework while cheering on the Vulcans, Hilo High, and attending the Haili Tournament.  I truly cherish and am grateful for all of the wonderful and precious hours spent with my mom as we knitted, talked and had fun together,” said Kathleen. “I am hoping to continue knitting beanies and donating them to the patients at Hawaii Pacific Oncology Center.”

    Donations to Hilo Medical Center are made through the Hilo Medical Center Foundation by contacting the office at 935-2957.

     

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  • 10 Apr 2015 /  commentary, environment, letters

    A Message from the Temple of Lono
    And the Hale O Papa

    A member of the Human Family emerges from darkness to take a place in the chain of life.

    Human survival relies upon the fertility of the land and the oceans.

    The Gods were Ku (the Ocean), Kanaloa (the Sun), Lono (the Earth) and Kane (the fresh water). These Gods established the faith and foundation upon which our customs and civilization were built. These four Gods give breath to all things and provide the staff of life to feed all of us. Because the essential role of food is preserving and sustaining life, we worship food. That is why our temples are square, a constant reminder of the faith in these four elements.

    As an island people, we would always need a secure source of food. The land dedicated to growing food was cultivated as a sacred responsibility and protected and honored as a center of peace within the greater civilization. This land is the Pu’uhonua. The life of the land is preserved in righteousness.

    The kuleana: The areas of responsibility. The King had the power to take a life. The Tahunas were the priests, the doctors, and the teachers. The maka’ainana were the people who kept the garden healthy and productive for seven generations.

    The Hawaiian understanding of the hydrologic cycle served to inform the unfolding of the religion, a personal matter — the huna mana for each household to pursue in a form that suited their avocation, first as an ‘ohana and then their role in the garden The study of the Gods led to an intricate and deep understanding of natural processes. We had more than a thousand years of observation.

    Thus, when the missionaries arrived in the islands, they encountered a very sophisticated civilization founded on a strong faith rooted deeply in the people’s understanding of natural processes. On that foundation of faith, the Hawaiians had developed a complex social system suitable for an island civilization and a highly effective economic system that sustainably supported hundreds of thousands of people.

    While there were acts that Hawaiians considered wrong and even evil, there was no Devil in the islands. The missionaries taught the Hawaiians to believe in the Devil, superimposed the missionary Devil on to the traditional Hawaiian faith, and then taught the Christian Hawaiians to turn against their own faith as proof they rejected the Devil. The suppression included the passing of the Moe Kolohe Law, which banned numerous practices and customs, including the worship of ancestors – a central tenet of the faith. This law still stands. The passing of such a law today would be equivalent to forbidding our Asian brothers and sisters to hold Bon dances that honor their ancestral dead.

    The suppression of the traditional faith has been a long-standing practice of the State of Hawaii. In a country that prides itself on the freedom of religion, this interplay of traditional faith with state disrespect is nothing new to the Temple of Lono and the faith of our people. The Temple found out a long time ago that the State of Hawaii does not think we are a people of faith. If they did our Temples wouldn’t be historical sites for tourists.

    In 1978, based on the passage of United States Public Law 95-341, the Temple of Lono emerged from decades of suppression to reclaim the Pu’uhonua Lehua at Kualoa. For this law said that we, as a people of faith, had the right to our sacred lands. The Temple rebuilt the Ma Pele at Kualoa to reconnect with the practice of Moe Ohane — talking to our ancestors.

    The State of Hawai’i brought in its bulldozers to destroy Sam Lono’s work and arrested him for camping without a permit. After years of forcing him through one court proceeding after another and spending hundreds of thousands of public dollars, the State levied a $5 fine for the offense.

    Do you see the people being arrested now on Mauna Kea because they are trying to protect that sacred mountain from the destructive actions of those seeking to put yet another telescope on sacred land?

    The challenge is not about lease payments or terms. The challenge is about the right of a faith to be respected and practiced in its own homeland. The altar of the Temple of Lono is still in place at the Hale O Keawe in the Pu’uhonua O Honaunau. That Pu’uhonua, however, is now part of a national park operated as a tourist attraction by the United States National Park Service. The Temple is “allowed” to go into the Pu’uhonua to hold ceremony subject to the limitations of the park on the time and duration of worship.

    The failure of the occupying power and even our own people to recognize the traditional faith of our people calls for a reconciliation. That reconciliation includes the recognition of the key role that the Pu’uhonua played in establishing the jurisdiction of the Kingdom.

    Watching the Hawaiian landscape, the Temple of Lono witnessed various people stepping forward to reclaim the position of King or Queen. One measure of the validity of such a claim would be their relationship with the Pu’uhonua.

    Only one embraced that relationship by acknowledging that the King’s kuleana is based on the foundation of the Pu’uhonua. King Edmund Keli’i Silva, Jr. claimed his rightful position as protector and sovereign over the Pu’uhonua O Honaunau. The King put the issue of restoring the sacred land base directly before the National Park Service.

    The King announced his intention to enter the Pu’uhonua and remain there for an extended period to engage in spiritual practice, seek reconciliation, and confirm his claim to the spiritual land base.

    The response was to threaten to arrest the King should he over stay the time period the National Park Service would allow him to enter and remain on the Pu’uhonua.

    The foundation of the faith in the Pu’uhonua reaches to the heights of Mauna Kea. From the sustenance of food provided by the Pu’uhonua to the realm of the Gods on Mauna Kea, the faith encompassed all.

    When the time is right, the King, supported by the Temple of Lono and others who recognize the need to reconcile the religious schism created within the Hawaiian community by the teachings of the missionaries, will enter and reclaim the Pu’uhonua. On that day, a great step forward will take place in renewing the civilization that once provided an example of wise stewardship of our Earthly Garden.

    Tahuna Frank Kamealoha Anuumealani Nobriga
    Temple of Lono

    Darlene Pabre
    Hale O Papa
    Submitted by Lanny Sinkin, for the Temple of Lono and Hale O Papa

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  • By Kealoha Pisciotta

    We applaud Governor Ige for stepping forward to take some kind of action in this crisis.

    His call for a one-week halt to TMT’s construction is a victory for the Mauna Kea Protectors, clear evidence that he recognizes the worldwide groundswell of public support we have for halting further desecration of our sacred mountain. Mahalo, Governor Ige.

    However, it is not enough to pause for a week. We need a commitment from the Governor or TMT to stop the desecration until our legal appeals can work their way through the courts to the State Supreme Court.

    We’re grateful for the Governor’s action, but this welcome pause does not mean we’re standing down from our vigil of protection, during which so many people have had an opportunity to experience first-hand and from afar the deepest meanings of aloha and the power of peaceful expressions of protest against injustice and environmental disregard.

    Many Hawaiians participating in the Merrie Monarch Festival are coming up the mountain with pain in their hearts, so our continued presence for them is essential.

    Until there is a commitment from TMT and its international partners to stop their desecration of Mauna Kea, we will stand strong on the mountain to defend it. We are discouraged by the Canadian Prime Minister’s action yesterday to commit his nation’s funds to this lawless project and the desecration of our sacred mountain, and only days after Native Hawaiians were arrested for protecting their mountain. Shame on him!

    We also continue to hold our vigil for our brothers and sisters who were arrested last week and who face criminal prosecution unless the Governor or the County Prosecutor drop these unjust and legally dubious charges.

    Our Deepest Aloha and Mahalo again go out to all the people across the planet who have expressed their support for our mountain and our cause!

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  • By Alan McNarie

    Governor David Ige, finally stepping in on the crisis on Mauna Kea, has called for a week-long “time out” on construction of the giant Thirty-Meter Telescope, afte days of protests, arrests and an uneasy standoff on the mountain.

    I have to express my admiration for the way that both the protestors and the  police are handling themselves. Look at the videos that have come down the mountain, and compare them to the ones from Ferguson, Missouri, or any number of places around the world. It’s tragic when anyone has to be arrested for their beliefs. But this is exactly what nonviolent dissent is supposed to look like: nobody throwing punches or rocks, nobody using pepper spray or billy clubs, nobody grabbing cameras, nobody beating anyone up. The county police and the DLNR agents appeared to do their jobs without rancor or excessive force, and the protestors did theirs in the same way.

    I hope these videos go viral, because everyone around the world should be aware of some of these issues, and everyone needs to see that a conflict, even where religion and huge sums of money are  involved, can be handled without violence and with mutual respect.

    I’ve been covering the conflict on the mountain, now, for over two decades. I have genuinely mixed emotions about the Thirty Meter Telescope. On one hand, I think the science it would do is important.  And frankly, Mauna Kea may have seemed the center of the universe when Polynesians first came here, but it isn’t–and we know that, in part, thanks to science. What science can tell us about our place in the universe is   more honest, in at least the physical sense, than what any religion tells us, be it Christian, Hawaiian, Hindu, Muslim or Zoroastrian. Religion, originally, performed some of the same functions that science does: it offered explanations about who we are and where we came from. But in many cases, science now can do that better.  Religions  can still function in areas where science can’t: they can  can ask why we’re here and what our purpose is, and suggest what is good and valuable. Science can tell us what the universe is made of and teach us our place in it, but religion-and philosophy, and ethics,  and sound rhetoric–can help us to decide what to do with that knowledge. We need to give science its due where science does best, and give religion its due where its due is truly due.

    On the other hand, a lot of what this project is about has nothing to do with science: it’s also about construction jobs and bragging rights. Some of what the TMT’s backers have said contradicts facts, in the worst possible violation of the spirit of science. The telescope’s supporters–and major media outlets echoing them– have repeatedly stated, for instance, that the TMT will be the biggest  optical telescope ever built, but there’s a bigger one going up  in Chile: Europe’s 39-meter, aptly named, Extremely Large telescope, which will likely see first light before the TMT. Misinformation continued yesterday: Covering the Governor’s announcement,  for instance, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser said the TMT was “being billed as the world’s largest telescope.”  without even the “optical” qualification. That’s just flat-out wrong.  There are already radio telescopes and telescope arrays that are larger–Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory, for instance, has a 305 meter radio reflector.

    The Environmental Impact Statement for the TMT is probably the most environmentally conscious one ever submitted for a telescope on Mauna Kea,  and I think the TMT people are really trying to do a good job of minimizing impacts. But it would be silly to pretend  the TMT is not going to have an impact: This thing has a height and footprint equal to that of a major resort. And the University of Hawaii and the state have conspired to make rules that blatantly favor the telescopes in general over any other use of the summit, which has only inflamed the people who see other values for it. The TMT may have been designed to have “minimal” impact on the wekiu bug, the tiny weevil that lives nowhere but on the summits of Mauna Ke and Mauna Loa-but some wekiu habitat will be lost just in road construction. And the expansion onto another previously untouched plateau of he summit can only add to the cumulative impacts of all  the telescopes.

    Just being the biggest, of itself, isn’t a good enough excuse to build anything, anywhere. There are more persuasive reasons to build the TMT, in terms of science: its backers could emphasize the fact, for instance, that the other really big telescope projects are all in the southern hemisphere, leaving half of the sky unexplored.  But a lot of it of the hype about the telescope is just an appeal to jealousy, a “We’ve got to keep Hawai Number One.” That may be good business, but it’s not good science. In fact, it’s just the opposite of what we’re learning from astronomy: ironically, the biggest lesson that we can glean from the world’s greatest telescopes is humility: we are just a tiny speck of dust in an incredibly vast universe, and there’s nothing unique or special about our planet, our sun or our galaxy, except that life grows there and one form of life has learned to look out at the cosmos in awe. And with the help of the big telescopes, we may soon find out that we’re not the only life in the universe, either.  We may even  find something out there that sees us the way we see wekiu bugs, so  maybe we need to work on our attitude.

    I used to hope that people could find some common ground–that Hawaiians could perhaps see that scientists are seeking some of the same things that inspired Hawaiian religious stories about the mountain: a reverence for nature and a wish to understand our place in it better. I said as much in some of my early writings about the conflict, and I hope maybe those early writings had some part in the inspiration of Imiloa, which seems to have that building of bridges as its main theme. But I think that there’s a hard core on both sides for whom compromise is finally impossible. I think the government and the TMT backers should have waited until the TMT opponents’ last court appeal was exhausted before forcing this confrontation, and I think they should have set rules that made it a fairer fight—but I expect that this confrontation would have to have happened eventually. Like the ongoing battle in Israel/Palestine, this is a bitter lover’s quarrel between two groups in love with the same land.

     

     

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  • 07 Apr 2015 /  environment, news, politics

    In the wake of the defeat of lobbyist Carleton Ching, Governor David Ige’s first choice to head the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Ige has chosen some with much more solid conservation credentials:  Suzanne Case, the veteran executive director of  The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii.  Case, a Hilo native and  a Punahou graduate with a law degree from the University of California, San Francisco and B.A. in history from Stanford, has been managing the Nature Conservancy’s approximately 53,000 acres of Hawaii preserves, for the past 14 years, and has worked in some capacity for the Nature Conservancy for the past 28 years.     In 2003, she oversaw the  the purchase of the 117,000-acre Kahuku Ranch at the southern end of Hawaii Island and its transfer to Hawai?i Volcanoes National Park She oversaw the purchase of Palmyra Atoll, where the Conservancy also  manages a preserve and  a research station. She’s received several awards for her work, including the Hawaii Community Foundation’s Ho`okele Award, which honors “exceptional leaders in Hawai‘i’s nonprofit industry.”
    “Suzanne shares my vision of wise stewardship of Hawai‘i’s public and conservation lands and waters, for excellence in government to make the most of our limited resources, and for collaboration and inclusion in carrying out the many responsibilities of the DLNR and the State of Hawai‘i for the benefit of all,” said Ige, in his announcement of her nomination.

  • by Sen. Laura Thielen

    Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when we look back everything is different. —C. S. Lewis.

    Dan Boylan has a column in this week’s Midweek asking what is needed in the next DLNR Chairperson. Here’s my two cents.

    • Hawaii is the Endangered Species Capitol of the world. We have decimated entire populations of life, and are rapidly continuing to do so;
    • Polluted waters running off land has killed our near shore estuaries and brutalized our reefs, decimating fisheries and marine life;
    • Invasive species are killing our native forests, reducing the waters that can reach our aquifers and choking our reefs – the two essential foundations for life on land and in our oceans
    • Developments stretch along our coast lines and uplands, blocking traditional practices and public access to beaches, ocean and forests – the public spaces where we practice religion, go to for sustenance, recreation and spiritual refreshment.

    None of these things happened because of one, 10 or even 20 events. They happened because of thousands upon thousands of decisions over years.  Seemingly little decisions, like:

    • We can’t adopt regulations to reduce pollution running into the ocean – it’s too expensive.
    • We need a new hotel along this coast – its jobs and the backbone of our economy. People can still access the beach down the way.
    • Yes, its Conservation land, but the owner has the right to put it to a higher and better economic use, so we’re reclassifying it as “Urban.”

    During this time, day by day, nothing seemed different. One by one these decisions are rationalized as necessary because each one has “little” impact on our natural and cultural resources.

    But when we look back and remember what our islands were like when we were kids, we realize immense changes have happened. We realize that these thousands of decisions have permanently altered our state over the last 50 years.

    The changes that took place in our islands since 1965 – the last 50 years – will be dwarfed by the changes that will take place over the next 50 years.

    • The impacts Japanese investments had on our economy in the 80s – a country with 130 million people – will be dwarfed by the rapidly growing investments from China – a country with nearly 1 ½ billion people.
    • The impacts climate change will have on our resources – including our water supply, our reefs and marine life, our beaches, and our watersheds – will be formidable.
    • The never-ending drive for economic growth built upon our old model of sprawling development will continue to erode our culture, our “sense of place” – the intangible essence of what makes Hawaii “Hawaii.”

    Yes, we need a Chair of the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Commission of Water Resource Management who understands business, development, and economics. Yes, we need to develop to meet our population’s needs.

    But we also need a DLNR Chairperson who understands that the seemingly innocuous decisions made day by day are not innocuous. They are cumulative.

    And unless they know that in their very heart and soul, and can explain it to the people who fight for the short term profit over the long term vision, and convince our public and civic leaders that we must follow a new path where development does not come at the expense of our environment and our culture, then we stand to lose at an escalating pace that which we cannot afford to lose.

    Our Hawaii.

    Editor’s Editor’s Note: Sen. Thielen chairs the Senate Committee on Land and Water, and was one of the key figures in defeating Governor David Ige’s nomination of lobbyist Carleton Ching to head the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

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  • 07 Apr 2015 /  Uncategorized

    Public registration is now open for the “BioBlitz” a nassive two-day species count and combined with a  “BiodiversityNative rainforest along Crater Rim Trail and  Cultural Festival”  in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16, 2015.
    “Themed I ka n?n? no a ‘ike (“By observing, one learns”), the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz is part scientific endeavor, part outdoor classroom excursion and part celebration of biodiversity and culture,” according to the Park Service’s announcement of the Blitz. “It will bring together more than 150 leading scientists and traditional Hawaiian cultural practitioners, more than 750 students and thousands from the general public. Together, they will be dispatched across the park’s 333,086 acres to explore and document the biodiversity that thrives in recent lava flows and native rain forests of K?lauea volcano.

    “BioBlitz provides an unparalleled opportunity to work alongside leading scientists and cultural practitioners to discover, count and add to the park’s species list; to explore the interconnectedness of plants, animals, Hawaiian people and our daily lives; and to protect this amazing biodiversity and rich culture in our park,” said HVNP  Superintendent Cindy Orlando.

    To be part of a scientist-led inventory team, participants must register online at nationalgeographic.com/bioblitz. Participation on inventory teams is limited and spots will be filled on a first-come basis. Children ages 8 and older, accompanied by adults, may participate in the free inventory opportunities.

    The park is moving its 35th annual Cultural Festival from July to May this year and expanding it to include biodiversity in order to coordinate it with the Blitz. the festival  will “offer hands-on science and cultural exhibits, food, art and entertainment, plus the opportunity to meet individuals and organizations at the forefront of conservation, science and traditional Hawaiian cultur…everybody can enjoy hands-on fun at the Biodiversity & Cultural Festival. BioBlitz base camp and the Biodiversity & Cultural Festival will be located at the Kahua Hula overlooking Halema‘uma‘u Crater near the K?lauea Visitors Center in the park.  No registration is required, to participate in the Festival, which  is free and open to the public;  Park entrance  entrance fees are waived for both days.

    The BioBlitz  is the ninth of ten similar that are taking place at various national parks around the country–all sponsored jointly by the Park Service and National Geographic Society.

    To learn more about BioBlitz and the festival, visit nationalgeographic.com/bioblitz or call (800) 638-6400, ext. 6186. For more information about the parks, visit nps.gov/havo. oin .

    –AM

     

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