By Rep. Mele Carroll
This session I introduced House Bill 1483, which directs the Department of Agriculture (DOA) to provide water to Molokai Irrigation System users who lease tracts of land at a reduced rate. It also requires the DOA to forgive past due water bills for the provision of irrigation water for Molokai homestead farmers.
With this challenging economy, the hardship of our Molokai homestead farmers is real and I feel that we need to provide some relief to our farmers so they can continue to economically survive during these most trying times.
House Bill 1483 was advanced by the Committee on Hawaiian Affairs on Feb. 4, and will now advance to Joint House Committees on Agriculture and Water, Land & Ocean Resources for consideration.
The Molokai Irrigation Ditch was created for the homesteaders to be used for agricultural purposes, per an agreement made between the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, the homesteaders and the Department of Water Supply. That agreement called for sufficient water be given to the homestead farmers to be used for their farming. As the years have progressed, the federal mandate that homesteaders be given two-thirds of the water allotment has seemingly lost its strength or forgotten altogether. Continue reading
LIHU‘E — A controversial permit to fence off the easiest access to Lepe‘uli, known as Larsen’s Beach, was surrendered last month. But Paradise Ranch may still go ahead and fence off the access to protect the conservation district land next to this secluded North Shore beach.
The lateral access to Lepe‘uli runs parallel to the beach and guarantees an effortless walk down from a 140-foot elevation. However, the lateral access is on private property, and there are already two county-owned trails that guarantee access to Lepe‘uli.
Following the permit’s withdrawal, community members who had opposed the fence immediately cried victory. But before they were able to finish their victory lap, ranch workers placed two metal posts resembling a fence foundation at the entrance of the trail, prompting further outcry from those trying to preserve the access that goes through private property.
Paradise Ranch owner Bruce Laymon, however, said the metal posts are not fence posts.
Over the years, ranch workers have put up quite a few land demarcation posts, establishing the boundaries of the land Laymon leases from landowner Waioli Corporation, a private non-profit organization. But those posts keep being vandalized.
Tired of replacing the boundary demarcations, Laymon said he decided to install metal posts to indicate the property limits. Continue reading
HONOLULU — One recent afternoon, as the temperature in their native Nashville dipped to a slim 7 degrees, Blythe Grant and Jordan Tlumak walked along the beach at Waikiki with beers in hand and smiles on their faces.
“We just left three inches of snow in Nashville,” said Mr. Grant, 26 and buff. “I was pretty pumped to get on the plane.” Mr. Tlumak, his friend, nodded. “Nashville just doesn’t know how to handle that.”
Mr. Grant and Mr. Tlumak are not the only mainlanders to be gloating about their good luck. Hawaiian tourism officials, hotel operators and travel agents — battered by several years of slumping sales — have recently seen a marked increase in arrivals to the islands. And while there are various theories as to why — including favorable currency exchange rates attracting foreign visitors, and Obama on the beach — what most people can agree on is that the rotten weather in much of the rest of the country, including a series of brutal snowstorms in the Midwest and on the East Coast, has been good news in Hawaii.
“We talk to these people every day, and they’re miserable,” said Amy Terada, the vice president of marketing for Pleasant Holidays, a tour operator in Westlake Village, Calif. “They’re saying, ‘Just get me out of here.’ ” Continue reading
HONOLULU – The Hawai’i Tourism Authority, in partnership with Hawaii’s four county governments, has selected more than 120 events and projects statewide to receive funding under its County Product Enrichment Program for 2011.
CPEP was created in 2002 to strengthen and diversify Hawaii’s tourism product and provide a quality visitor experience.
Maui County programs to receive money are:
Arts Education for Children Group: Maui Invitational Music Festival and Aloha Peace Festival.
Ebb & Flow Arts: North South East West Festival.
Hana Cultural Center: Aloha Spirit: Tradition of Worship & Music in East Maui Ho’olaule’a.
Hawaii Nature Center Inc.: Earth Week in Iao Valley.
Japanese Cultural Society: Maui Matsuri.
Kapalua Maui Charities Inc.: Kapalua Wine & Food Festival.
Kihoalu Foundation: 20th Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival.
Lahaina Restoration Foundation: The Hawaiian Music Series and Lahaina Plantation Days.
Lanai Community Association: Lanai Pineapple Festival.
Maui Academy of Performing Arts: Summer Under the Stars.
Maui Arts & Cultural Center: Visual Arts Exhibit Program; Na Hoku Hou; Ka Mai Ka Hula; Ukulele Festival; Ku Ka Maka.
Maui Classical Music Festival. Continue reading
WAILUKU – Converting those stinky gases from the Central Maui Landfill into electricity could create enough energy to power the equivalent of up to 3,000 Maui homes per year, according to a county-commissioned study.
The 2010 study by engineering consultant A-Mehr Inc. estimated it would cost around $12.6 million to develop a 3.2-megawatt gas-to-energy facility at the landfill or around $8.6 million for a smaller, 1.6-megawatt facility. The report will be reviewed by the Maui County Council Infrastructure Management Committee on Monday, at a meeting that also will include a presentation by the county Department of Environmental Management.
The county already has installed a system to collect and control gas emissions from the Central Maui Landfill, and officials now are evaluating alternatives for using the gases as a renewable energy source, the report notes.
Landfill gases can be used in a variety of ways, including electrical generation and conversion into a high-BTU fuel, according to the report. In addition to providing a source of renewable energy, harnessing the gases is beneficial because it reduces greenhouse-gas emissions and can generate revenue from the sale of the electricity. Continue reading
Ag tourism, marketing leaders are planting, watering seeds of interest with isle students
KAHULUI – At first glance, it’s hard to recognize the plot of land in Kahului filled with weeds, grass and natural debris. On second look, a couple picnic benches come into view and the nearby area, which was once a thriving banana plantation, becomes slightly more discernible.
However – the only thing Pomai and Lani Weigert see at the Maui High School farmland – is potential, acres and acres of it.
The mother-daughter team of ag tourism and marketing leaders are launching a pilot program to revitalize agricultural studies at MHS, Pomai’s alma mater, in hopes of harvesting future farmers and agricultural enthusiasts for Maui County.
As a result of the MHS farm replanting effort that started last month and two days of agriculture field trips, their efforts are already yielding results.
“Ag and food services have never had registration like how they have now,” MHS agriculture teacher Ian Lowland said. “Instantly the word got around: Cool stuff is going on in agriculture. They’ve been an integral part of all of this.”
MHS senior Sarah Bam said she realizes that agricultural skills are important for all people, especially those living in Hawaii: “Everybody should know how to plant and grow their own food.” Continue reading
The state Department of Agriculture says an illegal lizard was found roaming a Maui hotel hallway.
The department said yesterday that hotel staff captured the alligator lizard on Feb. 3 and handed it over to inspectors. It is not known how the lizard got to the hotel.
The species is illegal in Hawaii but is native to a stretch of North America from southern Washington state to Baja California. They can grow up to 2 feet in length. Their diet includes insects, spiders, snails and other lizards.
A year ago, Haliimaile Pineapple Co., the employee-driven farm picked up the pieces of the failed Maui Pineapple Co., and reopened with a new name and renewed commitment to grow pineapple.
Vice President Rudy Balala confirmed, “We just finished the one year. We had some up-and-down times, but overall we’ve had good support from Hawaii customers. And our Mainland customers too, they have hung with us.”
The company employs 83 people.
Friday was an extra day for picking to accommodate a field that had ripened earlier than expected.
BAMNOD, India — The 50-year-old farmer knew from experience that his onion crop was doomed when torrential rains pounded his fields throughout September, a month when the Indian monsoon normally peters out.
For lack of modern agricultural systems in this part of rural India, his land does not have adequate drainage trenches, and he has no safe, dry place to store onions. The farmer, Arun Namder Talele, said he lost 70 percent of his onion crop on his five-acre farm here, about 70 miles north of the western city of Aurangabad.
“There are no limits to my losses,” Mr. Talele said.
Mr. Talele’s misfortune, and that of many other farmers here, is a grim reminder of a persistent fact: India, despite its ambitions as an emerging economic giant, still struggles to feed its 1.1 billion people.
Four decades after the Green Revolution seemed to be solving India’s food problems, nearly half of Indian children age 5 or younger are malnourished. And soaring food prices, a problem around the world, are especially acute in India.
Globally, floods in Australia and drought in China have helped send food prices everywhere soaring — on fears the world will see a repeat of shortages in 2007 and 2008 that caused food riots in some poor countries, including Egypt. Continue reading
In Friday trade, vehicle manufacturers among leaders.
In trading on Friday, vehicle manufacturers shares were relative leaders, up on the day by about 1.6%. Leading the group were shares of Tata Motors, up about 9.5% and shares of Ford Motor up about 2.8% on the day.
Also showing relative strength are real estate shares, up on the day by about 1.6% as a group, led by China Housing & Land Development , trading higher by about 9.4% and Maui Land & Pineapple , trading higher by about 9% on Friday.