Editor’s note: This list of notable stories featured in West Hawaii Today throughout the years is compiled from West Hawaii Today archives. It includes historical notes from one, five, 10, 15, 20 and 30 years ago. “Today in West Hawaii history” is a daily feature of West Hawaii Today and is available only online at westhawaiitoday.com.
March 7, 1984: A hearing on a measure to raise Hawaii’s minimum drinking age from 18 to 21 draws big crowds of supporters and opponents to the state Capitol. Supporters testify the increase would save lives and help keep alcohol out of the hands of teens. Opponents, including liquor industry representatives, waitresses and musicians, say that raising the age would affect their business and that there are better ways to save lives without restricting the rights of young people.
The trial over the Keopu flood channel begins. The Burgess family, represented by Honolulu attorney Hayden Burgess, challenges in court Hawaii County’s action to seize Burgess family lands through eminent domain to construct a flood channel that Burgess says was not intended for the public benefit but for the private interests of Keopu homeowners. Then County Chief Engineer Edward Harada testifies that while a study recommended placing the flood control channel aligned with Hiona Street, the county, after meeting with the homeowners’ association, placed the channel behind homes passing within the Burgess’ land because of one house located on subdivision boundary.
March 7, 1994: The Hawaii Supreme Court says it will hear an appeal by Kohala Joint Venture of a lower court’s decision that stopped the development of a golf course. A Third Circuit Court judge has previously ruled in favor of plaintiffs who brought the original suit alleging the county illegally approved a zoning request of 1,288 acres that would have been turned into 1,498 housing units, a 27-hole golf course and a shopping center.
March 7, 1999: Coconut Grove Marketplace, located on Alii Drive across from Kahakai Road, in Kailua Village, opens with a celebration that included Mardi Gras festivities and other activities, including a men’s best leg contest.
An angry Hawaii County Council Finance Committee questions Mayor Stephen Yamashiro about adding $7.9 million in refinanced bond funds to the county’s Operating Budget when the council has not yet approved releasing the money.
March 7, 2004: In the next 20 years, there will be fewer telescopes atop Mauna Kea than, according to the director of the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy. Several of the 13 telescopes on the summit at the time were expected to reach the end of their lifetimes in the coming years.
A trio of Big Island wrestlers bring home gold from the Hawaii High School Athletics Association wrestling championship held on Oahu. Konawa sophomore Dylan Rush won the 215-pound division; Kealakehe’s Alex Molina won the 135-pound weight class and Hilo’s Johanson Quist captured the 140-pound division.
March 7, 2009: Decades after University of Hawaii officials recognized the need for West Hawaii classes, the university is still working on a dedicated campus. A supplemental environmental impact statement for the long-range development plan for a West Hawaii center is released, showing the potential impacts a center north of Kaiminani Drive in North Kona.
Democratic Rep. Neil Abercrombie announces plans to run for governor of Hawaii in 2010.
March 7, 2013: The idea of a spaceport on Hawaii Island is back on the table, says state Rep. Cindy Evans, who noted the state Department of Business and Economic Development’s Office of Aerospace Development was working with the unnamed group that has connections to the Florida spaceport. An attempt to build a spaceport at South Point a few decades prior failed.
Hawaii County proposes creates two new clerk positions to reduce wait times for people seeking to obtain or renew driver’s licenses, state identification cards and vehicle registrations.
The Hawaii County Police Department says it is keeping the South Kona Police Station on the books with requests for nearly $6 million in general obligation bonds through 2015.