Sellers surprised by high demand for big evergreens

Families who are waiting until the weekend to buy their Christmas trees may be in for a shock.

Across the board, retailers throughout Hilo are unable to keep up with demand for the big evergreens as the holiday spirit inspires shoppers to open their wallets.

“All over Hilo, there are less Christmas trees this year,” said Chris Behle of KTA Super Stores on Puainako Street. “They better get ’em now.”

“There are way less trees this year. People are asking for certain varieties, certain types of trees, and they aren’t there any more,” he said. “The public needs to know there’s no trees out there. They’re running out.”

Behle wouldn’t say how many trees KTA has ordered, but he confirmed that those on display at the front of the store are the last of their shipment. As of midday Tuesday, everything higher than 7 feet had sold out.

“I really felt in the recession, people would go for a reasonable-sized tree,” Behle said. Now, he feels that if a store ordered 200 10-footers, they’d be all gone.

“I don’t think you can find a big tree on this island,” Behle said.

Lesley Hill, the proprietor of Paradise Plants, said that interest is so strong that some people want to preorder their trees for Christmas 2011.

This year, big is back. Paradise Plants’ tallest trees were priced at a high of $245, but they were sold out in the first day and a half after going on sale. Like KTA, the store still carries trees for as low as $30, but almost all are between 4 and 7 feet.

Ohio silo collapses, unleashing ‘sea of corn’

NORWALK, Ohio — An Ohio fire chief says a metal grain silo collapsed into a “sea of corn” up to 12 feet deep that pushed a nearby home off its foundation.

Chief Doug Coletta in Norwalk says no one was hurt in Tuesday’s collapse that spilled more than 100,000 bushels of corn.

He says corn that flowed like water knocked over a fire hydrant and created a “one-block mess” in the community about 50 miles southwest of Cleveland.

Neighbors described hearing an explosion, but Coletta says what they likely heard was the sound of the bin breaking apart.

The chief said Tuesday it was not clear what caused the silo to give way.

Afterward an attached but empty grain dryer, resembling a smaller bin, was leaning. Coletta said it would be dismantled.

Ohio silo collapses, unleashing ‘sea of corn’

Piiholo South well deal dead for now

WAILUKU – With mutual allegations of insincerity flying, the County Council Water Resources Committee on Tuesday decided to allow its resolution about exploring the possibility of acquiring the Piiholo South water well to expire.

However, committee Chairman Mike Victorino said he plans to revive the idea when the new council convenes in January.

Zachary Franks, co-managing director of Piiholo South, originally proposed selling his well to the Department of Water Supply, but he did not like the way the county responded. Tuesday, he asked the council to allow its resolution to expire.

“It was a complete failure,” he said.

He charged that Council Member Wayne Nishiki had introduced the resolution “with the primary, though unstated, purpose of derailing Kula Ridge. Prior to its introduction, Piiholo South, towards whom the resolution was putatively aimed, was not even notified by Mr. Nishiki of the resolution’s existence, let alone consulted with regard to its substance.”

When he did learn the framework of a proposal, he said it was “a disproportionate and unfair deal” that would have had Piiholo South “hand over” 95 percent of its well for free. That, he told, the committee “could never happen.”

Nishiki is not a member of the committee, but he usually attends its meetings. He was not present when Franks made his statement, but he came in later and accused Franks of not sincerely wanting to deal with the county. “As far as I am concerned, he can go back to the Mainland,” Nishiki said.

Judge orders destruction of biotech beets

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge has ordered the destruction of all genetically engineered sugar beets that seed companies planted in September.

U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White of San Francisco found that the U.S. Department of Agricultural improperly granted permission for the plantings without a detailed environmental review. White said his order will take effect Dec. 6 to give the companies time to appeal.

The companies couldn’t be reached for comment late Tuesday.

Several environmental groups filed a lawsuit in September alleging the USDA’s action violated an earlier decision by White.

The environmental groups say Monday’s ruling affects beets planted in Oregon and Arizona. The sugar beets are genetically engineered with a bacteria gene to withstand sprayings of a popular weed killer.

Judge orders destruction of biotech beets

Junior golf tournament scheduled be held on Maui

The Hawaii State Junior Golf Association is hosting 2010 Haliimaile Pineapple Co. Tournament of Champions on Maui this weekend.

The association is inviting all champions to compete in the end of the year tournament at Wailea Golf Club.

It’s the last opportunity players will have to earn points toward becoming “HSJGA Player of the Year” in each age division.

The association will also be recognizing the top boy and top girl golfers from each island, as measured by final HSJGA Point List.

These players will be eligible to participate in the 2011 Junior Golf Day scheduled to be held at the Kapalua Plantation Golf Course in January, just before the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

Junior golf tournament scheduled be held on Maui | San Francisco Examiner