The future of two major telescopes atop Mauna Kea remains uncertain following a decision to cut funding for at least one of the instruments. Officials with the United Kingdom’s Science and Technology Facilities Council tell the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that one of the telescopes slated for review is the United Kingdom Infra-Red Telescope, which the Joint Astronomy Center operates along with the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope.
Despite a boan on bigeye tuna fishing and increasing prices, the availability of ahi for New Year’s festivities should be stable. Les Lee Loy, the meat department manager for KTA Puainako, tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that the store has a good supply of top shushi grade at $19.99 a pound, and that price should hold firm through New Year’s Day. Lee Loy says medium grade ahi caught in local waters runs around $9.99 a pound.\
Christmas trees ready to be discarded can be dropped off at any of the following Recycle and Transfer Stations: Hilo, Kailua-Kona, Puako, Honokaa, Kaauhuhu, Keahuhou, Pahoa, Keaau, Waimea, and Waiohinu. The transfer stations will be accepting trees for recycling through January 17thy, 2010. Trees should be fee of all decorations, lights, tinsel, and ornaments. Please do not drop off artificial or flocked trees. For details, call the solid waste division at 961-8339.
(AP). Governor Linda Lingle has rejected a plan agreed to by the state teacher union, the Department of Education, and the Board of Education to reduce furlough days for public school teachers. The plan would slash to three the ten furlough days scheduled for the rest of the school year.
(AP). The University of Hawaii has decided to unilaterally reduce the salaries of faculty member by 6.7 percent, beginning this week. The head of the faculty union says the university’s move was in breach of contract and mocked the collective bargaining process.
(AP). The humpback whale sanctuary needs volunteers to help count the endangered whales. The sanctuary says they’ll need people to count the whales on the mornings of January 30th, February 27th, and March 27th. Volunteers should register at www.hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources will close Hapuna Beach Recreation Area and Kekaha Kai State Park early on New Year’s Eve, Thursday, December 31st. The area will close at 5:30 p.m. DLNR spokespersong Laura Thielen says “we are closing the park early to discourage use of fireworks, which is prohibited in state parks, and to protect the public and natural resources of the area.” Normal park hours will resume on Friday, January 1st, 2010.
Hawaii Island State Representative Mark Nakashima and Hawaii Island State Senator Dwight Takamine will hold a series of community and senior club meetings prior to the convening of the 2010 State Legislature on January 20th , 2010. The first two meetings will be held on Monday, Janaury 4th at the Kohala Senior Center (5 p.m.) and at teh Waimea Elementary School Cafeteria (6:30 p.m.).