New USDA State Director Visits GCC, Brings News of $2.25M ARRA Loan – Guam News

Guam – At the same time Guam Community College officials were meeting the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development’s new state director for Hawaii and the Western Pacific Region this week, the college received formal word that it had been awarded a $2.25 million Community Facilities direct loan by the federal agency.

Dr. Mary Okada, GCC president, and Joseph Diego, Guam’s U.S.D.A. Rural Development area director, along with Doris Perez, GCC’s assistant director of Planning and Development and several other officials, met with Chris Kanazawa, the newly appointed Hawaii/Western Pacific Region state director for U.S.D.A. Rural Development, on Tuesday. At the meeting, Mr. Kanazawa announced that GCC was one of 145 government entities across 37 states and territories just awarded American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for projects.

Read today’s letters to the editor: Immigration | The News-Press

Re: "Follow Hawaii," Diane L. Trembly, June 1. Ms. Trembly writes that she lived and was employed in Hawaii for 25 years and Hawaiian employers require two proofs of citizenship for every job applicant and she asks why the other 49 states can’t do the same thing. Actually, non-U.S. citizens with legitimate "green cards" and Social Security numbers are legal workers.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 requires all employers, without exception, to have "all" job applicants (U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens) complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The purpose of this form is to document that each new employee hired after Nov. 6, 1986, is authorized to work in the U.S.

Barking mad – Star Advertiser

Pet owners run out of patience with the shortage of inspectors and longer waits at Honolulu Airport’s quarantine station

The line of tired and weary pet owners can stretch out the door at the Honolulu Airport’s animal quarantine office, and tempers occasionally grow testy.

In just the last three weeks, the anti-rabies quarantine station has seen as many as 60 pet owners per day trying to squeeze through a time window that used to be 12 hours a day.

Since the number of inspectors reviewing both applications and animals was cut to two from four in December and mandatory furlough days went into effect, pet owners now have 31/2 fewer hours to get their pets processed through the increasingly busy quarantine station below Gate 26.

Agriculture enlisting farmers to try pineapple – Virgin Islands Daily News

Daily News Staff

In an effort to boost fruit production in the territory, the V.I. Agriculture Department is offering $2 pineapple plants to local farmers.

Three popular commercial varieties not typically grown in the territory — sugar loaf, cayenne smooth and elite gold — will be available and will be shipped to growers for free in orders of 36 or more. The Agriculture Department will collect data about acreage and the the kinds of food grown by each farmer who orders the fruit.

State offering agricultural leases in Pahoa | Hawaii 24/7


The state Department of Agriculture (HDOA) is now accepting applications for lease negotiations on seven parcels of state agricultural land in the Pahoa Agricultural Park.

Interested persons should submit an application to the Agricultural Resource Management Division (ARMD) to determine whether they are qualified to hold an agricultural lease with the state. The deadline to submit the application is 3 p.m. July 14. Once qualified, the applicant will be notified about submitting a proposal for the parcel.

To qualify, a potential lessee must:
* Be a U.S. citizen who has resided in the State of Hawaii for at least three years; or
* Is a permanent status alien who has resided in the state for at least five years; and
* Is a bon fide farmer or new farmer as defined in the Hawaii Administrative Rules.

The parcels available in the Pahoa Ag Park include:
* Lot 1 – 10.193 acres
* Lot 3 – 10 acres
* Lot 12 – 29.166 acres
* Lot 15 – 19.596 acres
* Lot 18 – 5.372 acres
* Lot A – 13.428 acres
* Lot 8 – 5.002 acres

Thielen: Need to be efficient in finding new water sources – The Maui News


State Commission on Water Resource Management Director Laura Thielen defended last week’s decision by the water panel to order 12.5 million gallons of water per day – now diverted by ditches for sugar cane irrigation and other uses – back into West Maui Mountain streams.

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She said the commission established groundbreaking requirements for water conservation and called for the development of alternative water sources to streams for users.

"It was a very hard decision to make," said Thielen, who heads the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. "It’s not like it was a mathematical equation where there is one right answer. It was somewhat subjective. Maybe no one is 100 percent happy with the decisions, but to me, the important thing is we made the tough decisions."

The commission’s order Thursday to restore 12.5 million gallons to the streams – which will likely be appealed to Hawaii courts – amounted to about a third of the amount proposed by contested hearing officer and commissioner Dr. Lawrence Miike. The environmental and Native Hawaiian groups that had been hoping for more water to be restored called the decision a miscarriage of justice.

[callout]"The fact is we don’t have enough water, and there needs to be better investment in making systems more efficient and finding new water sources," Thielen said.[/callout] "I just felt it was important to make the hard decisions."

The majority members of the commission are forcing people to address the limits on Maui’s water resources, she said, adding that she hopes the panel’s action will inspire more responsible water resource management at the local level. It is time to move on to the tougher, more expensive water sources, such as digging wells and repairing leaks, she said.

Na Wai Eha: Decision in but dispute lingers (2 of 2) – The Maui News


WAIKAPU -Taro farmers and environmentalists said Friday that they would appeal a decision by the state Commission on Water Resource Management that ordered just a fraction of the water they hoped to see restored to the Na Wai Eha streams.

Earthjustice attorney Isaac Moriwake, who represented the groups that petitioned for greater stream flow, said legal precedent, the state water code and the Hawaii Constitution were on their side. He said he hoped the 6-year-old case would be resolved in their favor within another two to three years.

"The bottom line is we waited six years to get to this point, and I guarantee it will not take that long to get this resolved in the court system," Moriwake said. "If the law means anything, the court will find that the commission did not follow its public trust responsibilities in this case."

The water commission on Thursday ordered that a minimum of 12.5 million gallons of water per day be allowed to flow in Na Wai Eha streams, about a third of the amount that had been proposed. The decision restored water to only two of the four streams – 10 mgd to the Waihee River, and 2.5 mgd for the Waiehu Stream. Diversions at the remaining Iao and Waikapu streams would remain at existing levels.

Na Wai Eha: Decision in but dispute lingers (1 of 2) – The Maui News


PUUNENE – Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. General Manager Chris Benjamin characterized last week’s long-awaited state decision on Na Wai Eha stream waters as a reprieve, rather than a victory, for the plantation struggling for survival.

On Thursday, the state Commission on Water Resource Management ordered 12.5 million gallons of water per day to no longer be diverted from West Maui Mountain streams, also called Na Wai Eha, or the "Four Great Streams."

That amount to be returned was only about a third of what had been proposed by Dr. Lawrence Miike, a commissioner and the contested hearings officer for the ongoing water dispute.

"I would say that the commission’s decision is nuanced," Benjamin said. "I would not use the word ‘victory.’ The reality is we still lost a significant amount of water for a plantation that lost $45 million over the last couple years because of low crop yields (due to drought conditions).

"It’s a setback in that respect, but relative to the initial recommendation, it’s a dramatic improvement," Benjamin said. "In the long term, at least this gives us hope when we’re just trying to stay in business."

Attorney: Water commission ‘wilted’ – The Maui News


Panel: Decision strikes a balance between values, responsibilities

By ILIMA LOOMIS, Staff Writer

The state Commission on Water Resource Management on Thursday ordered 12.5 million gallons of water per day be allowed to flow in the Na Wai Eha streams in the West Maui Mountains, about one-third of the amount that had been proposed.

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The commission majority said the decision represented a balance between the values and responsibilities the law required them to consider. Chairwoman Laura Thielen said in a statement that even if 100 percent of the water were diverted, it would still not be enough to meet demands.

But contested hearings officer Lawrence Miike, also a commission member, issued a scathing dissenting opinion that accused the water panel’s majority of protecting the interests of private corporations over the public streams.

"By its decision, the majority has failed in its duties under the constitution and the state water code as trustee of the state’s public water resource," Miike wrote.