Today in West Hawaii history | April 18

April 18, 1984: A parade of witnesses testifies against the majority report of the Native Hawaiians Study Commission which concluded that native Hawaiians are not entitled to compensation for the lands they lost when the United States overthrew the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893. More than 100 people packed Yano Hall for the hearing that featured U.S. Sen. Spark Matsuyama.

No injuries were reported in Pahala after an apparent twister struck a portion of the town, knocking out power in areas for hours. The twister hit about 8:40 a.m. and damaged a handful of homes, according to the Hawaii County Civil Defense.

The de-designation of Kona Hospital as a psychiatric facility by the state Department of Health and the refusal of the hospital to admit involuntary psychiatric patients has resulted in a class action lawsuit being filed in Third Circuit Court. The suit, filed by the Mental Health Association of Hawaii, stems from an incident in which a 14-year-old boy was taken by police to Kona Hospital after he became violent and uncontrollable because of mental illness. According to the suit, the boy was examined at Kona Hospital but refused admission. He was then transferred by police in handcuffs to Hilo without trained medical personnel accompanying him.

April 18, 1994: Hawaii County officials give a Japanese developer who is supposed to build a semi-municipal golf course in Kealakehe until the end of the month to begin the project. Kealakehe Associates has until May 1 to issue preliminary grading plans to the county. Submitting such plans usually signals the start of construction.

More than 13,000 state and county workers and their supervisors are expected to strike today after rejecting a proposed 4 percent pay raise. The strike would involve members of bargaining units 3 and 4 of the Hawaii Government Employees Association. Picket lines were to be set up at 6 a.m.

City and county lifeguards and emergency 911 dispatchers have been deemed essential workers so they will not be allowed to join fellow members of the Hawaii Government Employees Association on the picket line.

The Wood Valley Temple near Pahala attracts one of the largest crowds ever concentrated in one area on the Big Island when the 14th Dalai Lama spoke there on April 17. The spiritual leader of the 120,000 Tibetan refugees who are in exile in India, Nepal, Bhutan and the west drew a crowd of more than 3,500 people.

April 18, 2004: As jobs decline across America, employment in Hawaii’s key tourism industry is rising at a pace to match the pre-9/11 boom. Jobs in hotels, restaurants and other businesses driven by the vital tourism industry are approaching an all-time high. Nationally, the economy is down about 2 million jobs since early 2001. But Hawaii added 24,700 jobs between January 2001 and January 2004, and 1,100 of those were in tourism.

The current crisis in Iraq will play a significant role in the upcoming presidnetial election, Hawaii’s senior member of the U.S. House of Representatives says during a visit to Hawaii Island. “People are getting madder and madder. There will be a significant backlash,” says Neil Abercrombie.