THE BIG ISLAND (Ben Caxton) — The contradictions continue to become more bizarre as the protests at the base of Mauna Kea drag on. What started with ten years of failed legal battles to stop construction turned into a protest that blocked roads to the summit last month. Protesters originally were protesting the desecration of religious grounds of the new telescope even though 13 other telescopes operate at the peak, and religious ceremonies are held further down the slope but quickly morphed into a call for a redress of all grievances against native Hawai`ian culture going back to the original coup by sugar plantations that overthrew the monarchy last century leading to statehood. The governor issued an emergency declaration and vowed the roads would remain open before handing the problem off to Hawai`i Mayor Harry Kim and then retreating back to Oahu in silence. Now with scientists and staff unable to continue observations and billions of dollars worth of equipment shutdown to the blocked roads a new twist this week. The University of Hawa`i has announced that they have received a $1.1 million grant to install an advanced mirror on the University’s telescope at the summit. The same summit some of its students are blocking. At the same time, they announced they are making it possible for the students blocking the road and blocking the installation of the new mirror to get credit for their courses while remaining at the site blocking the road. Still no word from Governor Ige on how he plans to address some of the protesters concerns that Hawai`i should never have become a state so the road can be cleared and scientists can get back to work.