Today in West Hawaii history | April 25


April 25, 1984: The world’s largest telescope will be built atop Mauna Kea if the University of California’s Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory is granted a permit by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. A public hearing is slated May 10 before the Land Board to discuss the proposed 10-meter telescope, which is consistent with the UH’s plan for development on the peak of the 13,796-foot mountain.

The fate of recreational skiing operations on Mauna Kea is one of the details of a University of Hawaii Mauna Kea management plan that needs to be hammered out, according to state planner Roger Evans. The state Land Board has delayed until August an application by Ski Shop Hawaii for permission to conduct commercial recreational skiing operations on the 13,796-foot mountain.

April 25, 1994: The public employees strike enters its second week, following a weekend of informal contact between the Hawaii Government Employees Association and negotiators for the state and counties. James Yasuda, the state’s chief negotiator, said he had an informal conversation with HGEA executives director Russell Okata on Saturday. The United Public Workers union announced its members will join picket lines today in a show of solidarity with the 16,000 striking HGEA members. The UPW, which represents 9,000 blue-collar workers, said results of its contract ratification vote conducted last week were expected today.

April 25, 2004: A banana virus discovered in East Hawaii, the heart of Hawaii’s $8.4 million banana industry, has spread too far to be eradicated, state officials say. The banana bunchy top virus, which deforms fruit and eventually ends growth, was found on a Keaau banana farm and reported to the state last week. But it may have been too late. Surveys indicate the virus may have infected plants at the Keaau Banana Plantation for more than a year. The virus turned up in Kailua-Kona in 1995, where the Department of Agriculture ordered the eradication of 175,000 banana trees in a 10-square-mile area around the town.