PAIA – The state Commission on Water Resource Management will hold two days of hearings starting Wednesday on competing applications for withdrawal of water from Na Wai Eha, the surface water collection system that serves Central and South Maui.
During earlier proceedings, the commission received applications from existing users to continue withdrawing water pending a final commission decision on allocating the water resource. Most of the applications have been challenged because there likely will be less water allocated by the commission than the total of present withdrawals, even before applications for new uses are considered.
Starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Paia Community Center, the commission will hear testimony from users to justify the reasonable and beneficial uses they intend for water.
The commission staff will present a new map, which graphically represents the users’ locations and the ditches and gates where they seek to draw off the water. Commission staff member Roy Hardy said the map should help sort out exactly which applications are in conflict.
Two commissioners, Neal Fujiwara and Sumner Erdman, will conduct the hearings. Continue reading
Sugar for March delivery closed at 28.45 cents per pound on Monday — a little off its above-30-cent peak struck last month, but still double its May 2010 low.
And it looks like sugar may have higher to climb.
Global supplies of sugar are projected to lag worldwide demand this year for the third year running. According to a new report by Czarnikow Group, a London-based sugar and biofuel broker, the supply/demand deficit could run as high as 2.8 million metric tons from September 2010 to September 2011.
Of course, when you consider that total supply for 2010/11 is expected to rise to 168.4 million tons from last year’s 157.4 million, that deficit doesn’t seem like a huge gap. And generally, if sugar becomes too expensive to use, end-consumers can just switch to cheaper sweeteners, like corn-based syrups.
Still, one can make the argument that sugar should be higher, especially considering that growing consumption is expected in emerging markets like China, where we’ve yet to hit the limit of their commodity appetite. Plus, over the past few years, we’ve seen drawdowns in world inventories of the sweet stuff, a fact that helped boost prices up to ever-higher highs in 2007/08 and 2008/09.
The supply shortfall springs from poor growing weather we saw earlier this year. Remember that Brazilian bumper crop we talked about back in August? Yeah, not so much. Brazil, the world’s largest producer of sugar, saw sugar cane production declines from a hotter summer than usual, while similar drought conditions stunted Russian beet production and South African cane yields. Meanwhile, in Indonesia and Australia, the sugar cane harvest withered under a deluge of super-wet weather. Continue reading
The Hawaii County Department of Water Supply is considering building a wind farm to power its South Kohala wells.
The department would lease about 80 acres of state land next to its Lalamilo wells and have a developer build the wind mills.
The project would create 50 construction jobs and three permanent jobs.
Department energy management analyst Julie Myhre says a wind farm built on the site in the mid-1980s has been decommissioned and the site has been cleaned up.
West Hawaii Today reported Monday the wind farm would save about $500,000 a year in electricity costs for the next 20 years.
A department spokeswoman says it’s too early to tell if the facility would generate excess energy to sell to Hawaii Electric Light Co.
WAILUKU – Maui County Mayor-elect Alan Arakawa named six new members to his Cabinet on Monday, including two key people to help him achieve his campaign goals, Danny Agsalog as director of the Department of Finance and Dave Taylor as director of the Department of Water Supply.
With the stumbling economy still heavy on most people’s minds, and job creation and finding more water on the lips of political candidates this election season, Arakawa chose people he was familiar with – and who are educated and experienced – to run the county’s finance and water departments, he said.
Arakawa also picked former longtime and award-winning television and print journalist Rod Antone as the county and mayor’s spokesman, replacing Mahina Martin. In addition, Arakawa chose deputy directors for the water and finance departments as well as for county communications. Continue reading
Alexander & Baldwin Inc. has added a California neighborhood shopping center to its commercial real estate portfolio, paying $48 million for a 165,500-square-foot complex in Temecula, Calif.
The Honolulu-based company said it bought Rancho Temecula Town Center through subsidiary A&B Properties Inc., in part, using proceeds from a warehouse complex in Ontario, Calif., it sold in October for $43 million.
A&B said the shopping center, which was built three years ago and is 97 percent occupied, is one of Temecula’s best-performing retail properties and is expected to benefit from population growth.
KALAMAULA, Molokai – Sunlight will be providing the power needed to run lights, electronics and air conditioning at the Nature Conservancy’s office on Molokai beginning Wednesday, the environmental organization announced.
Rising Sun Solar of Maui installed the office’s 8.88-kilowatt photovoltaic array on the roof of the building in the Molokai Industrial Park on the hot and sunny leeward side.
“We were able to basically cover all of our energy needs and put a cap on our energy costs into the future,” said Suzanne Case, the conservancy’s Hawaii executive director. “It’s good for Hawaii both economically and in terms of sustainability.”
Tapping into sun power will help with the organization’s energy costs on Molokai, which has some of the highest electrical rates in the nation, according to Matias Besasso, a partner with Rising Sun Solar.
“Not only can it reduce costs, but it can lead to job creation and greater energy independence and self-sufficiency for Molokai’s people,” he said.
The conservancy’s Molokai director, Ed Misaki, said the solar energy system has been planned for three years.
“Going green is one of our big goals,” he said. Continue reading
Different organizations have taken different stances on 2,4-D’s cancer risk. On August 8, 2007, the United States Environmental Protection Agency issued a ruling that stated that existing data does not support a conclusion that links human cancer to 2,4-D exposure. However, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified 2,4-D among the phenoxy acid herbicides MCPA and 2,4,5-T as a class 2B carcinogen – possibly carcinogenic to humans. A 1995 panel of 13 scientists reviewing studies on the carcinogenicity of 2,4-D had divided opinions, but the predominant opinion was that it is possible that 2,4-D causes cancer in humans.
A 1990 study of farmers in Nebraska, even when adjusting for exposure to other chemicals, found that 2,4-D exposure substantially increased the risk of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). A 2000 study of 1517 former employees of Dow Chemical Company who had been exposed to the chemical in manufacturing or formulating 2,4-D found no significant increase in risk of mortality due to NHL following 2,4-D exposure, but did find an increase in risk of mortality due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
The amine salt formulations can cause irreversible eye damage (blindness); ester formulations are considered non-irritating to the eyes.
One study found that occupational exposure to 2,4-D caused male reproductive problems, including dead and malformed sperm.
Early on Saturday, October 23 a blue helicopter with large spray wings attached sprayed the edges of the canefields in Pa‘ia. There were strong and variable winds and the spray blew directly into many nearby residences. Pa‘ia houses emptied as families stepped outside to gawk in awe as the flying sprayer made pass after pass along the canefields at the edge of town.
Moon Over Haleakala inquired of HC&S as to what was being sprayed so close to homes, children and old people – and why?
A&B spokesperson Meredith Ching was kind enough to find out what was going on and to send the Moon a detailed account of the spraying that day. Her full account and a sample of scientific controversy surrounding 2,4-D is on page 14. Our photo gallery of the spraying, and the links to internet sites describing the ongoing controversy surrounding health risks and the approvals for such wide use of 2,4-D are available at our website, mauimoonnews.com.
Below is Moon Over Haleakala staffer Madeline Ziecker’s personal account of events that Saturday morning. Continue reading
By A&B spokesperson Meredith Ching
This is my understanding of the situation you have inquired about. On October 23, HC&S conducted an aerial application of an herbicide, Clean Amine, on its Field 212, located along Hana Highway, just west of Paia town. We were attempting to eliminate a noxious weed, castor bean, from the field, as it shades out the crop and depresses sugar yields. Aerial herbicide application was required because the 16-month old cane is too dense to allow access for ground spraying, and the weed height exceeded the canopy of the cane.
The active ingredient in Clean Amine is 2,4-D, which is among the most widely used weed control chemicals in the world and is present in a number of substances labeled for residential use. For more information about 2,4-D, refer to http://www.24d.org. This product is labeled for aerial application, and applications were made in compliance with the pesticide label. The mix used on Field 212 was a very diluted formulation, consisting of about 2% of 2, 4-D by weight.
We fully appreciate that the helicopter’s presence was likely startling for the residents. By design, they fly very low when applying the agricultural substances, for the very reason of minimizing drift and applying the substances most directly on the plants. Further, with this type of application of Clean Amine, the substance is only released when directly over the targeted weeds (which are very visible above the cane).
Further, when HC&S undertakes aerial applications on its fields, we generally do so in the morning when wind speeds are lower and more predictable; gusts and variable winds typically occur later in the day. Wind characteristics are an important factor for aerial applications, and one that HC&S carefully considers prior to any application. A spotter goes along on all aerial applications, monitors and records wind speeds and directions, and watches for any visual signs of drift so that prompt action can be taken to address it. Continue reading
Mike Atherton’s employees call him “Coach” for good reason. Since he bought Maui Tropical Plantation in 2006, the affable entrepreneur has been overseeing a comprehensive game plan to re-energize the 26-year-old attraction.
“We’ve painted the buildings, pruned the trees, spruced up the landscaping, basically given the grounds a complete makeover,” Atherton said. “I’m an outdoors, hands-on guy; I get as dirty as my gardeners do, and I love it!”
A native of Stockton, Calif., Atherton comes from a distinguished family. His maternal great-grandfather was Benjamin Holt, founder of the Caterpillar equipment company. His paternal great-grandfather, the Rev. Isaac Warren Atherton, was a missionary in the Hawi-North Kohala area of the Big Island from 1878 to 1880. His paternal grandfather, Warren Atherton, was an attorney, judge and politician who’s best known for authoring the G.I. Bill.
Atherton and two partners have owned and operated Jesus Mountain Coffee Co. in Nicaragua for 30 years. They acquired the Coffees of Hawaii plantation on Molokai in 2002, and Atherton came to Maui three years later, seeking land to start a similar venture there.
“At the time, C. Brewer & Co. was shutting down and selling all its assets, including Maui Tropical Plantation,” Atherton recalled. “The plantation was an agri-tourism attraction that had been open since 1984, so it had a lot of established growth. It also had a big parking lot, a store, a restaurant, dedicated employees and a good reputation. It was perfect; it just needed some tender loving care.”
Armed with enthusiasm and fresh ideas, Atherton and his hui bought the 60-acre plantation and the surrounding 1,940 acres. Continue reading