The last Hawaiian monarch, Queen Lili`uokalani said to her people, “oni pa`a” – stand strong. Last week, around 100 Molokai residents did just that.
The meeting, called Hawaiians Ku`e, called for a return to traditional Hawaiian protocol and a Hawaiian voice to the table when it comes to resource management within the state and county.
“It’s hard to participate when don’t know what you’re participating in,” said Walter Ritte, one of the meeting’s organizers. “We don’t want to participate in [a] haole process.”
The meeting began with `oli kahea, where those invited to speak – Hawaiian or not – asked for permission to enter. This is a simple practice which allowed ancient Hawaiians to coexist in limited spaces, said Ritte.
“Protocol very important if we are to survive on the island of Molokai,” Ritte said. “Us Hawaiians …cannot, will not survive without natural resources.”
Natural resources they hope to protect – such as agricultural land proposed to be used as a wind farm.
The Wind Farm Issue
Representatives from the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) as well as wind energy company First Wind shared potential benefits of building a wind farm on Molokai.
Malama Minn of DBEDT said she understood Oahu is a huge load, but because entire state is energy inefficient and oil dependent, residents throughout the state must help each other out.
However, many in the audience didn’t agree Continue reading
by Erin Miller
It happened again — a West Hawaii resident observed Kona Blue Water Farms employees pouring something into their fish pens and wondered what it was doing to water quality and the environment.
State officials at two departments said they haven’t received any recent complaints about water or environmental quality around the Kona Blue Water Farms fish pens.
Kona Blue’s Neil Sims, attending a conference in Canada, provided a brief response via a voicemail Wednesday afternoon. He said the activity observed was a standard therapeutic treatment. Sims was unavailable for additional comment Wednesday evening.
Kona Blue takes water samples and reports the results back to the state Department of Health, said Matthew Kurano of the Clean Water Branch.
“To our knowledge, they’ve passed (those tests),” Kurano said, adding he’s seen no reasons for any compliance violations in recent months.
Kona Blue leases about 90 acres offshore of Unualoha Point on the Kohala Coast where it is raising fish in floating pens.
DLNR Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands Administrator Sam Lemmo said his office has asked Kona Blue to fix some of its benthic monitoring reports, which look at the conditions of the ocean floor below the fish pens. That’s the only recent area of concern, Lemmo said.
“I haven’t found any negative effects yet to our resources we’re protecting,” Lemmo said. Continue reading
Alexander & Baldwin Inc. earnings were about flat in the last three months of 2010, but bigger gains earlier in the year enabled the diversified Honolulu-based company to more than double its full-year profit.
A&B reported 2010 net income of $92.1 million, up from $44.2 million the year before.
Fourth-quarter net income was $20.2 million, barely up from $20.1 million in the same quarter in 2009.
Revenue in the fourth quarter totaled $461.4 million, compared with $362.9 million in the year-ago quarter. Full-year revenue totaled $1.6 billion, up from $1.4 billion in 2009.
A&B said its profit was principally driven by ocean cargo transportation subsidiary Matson Navigation Co. operations in China, real estate sales and a turnaround in its sugar business on Maui.
WAILUKU – The decision on whether Upcountry residents get more county water meters ultimately lies with the county’s fiscal policymakers, acting Department of Water Supply Director Dave Taylor said Wednesday.
“Not to kick the can to you guys, but it’s really a fiscal policy question,” Taylor said during his confirmation hearing before the Maui County Council’s Policy Committee. “Only the council can decide how much this is worth to pursue. We really can’t make that decision for the council.”
Following the recommendation of committee Chairman Riki Hokama, the panel voted 9-0 to recommend adoption of a resolution approving Mayor Alan Arakawa’s appointment of Taylor to head the county’s water department.
On Wednesday, the committee also unanimously recommended approval of John D. Kim as the county’s chief prosecuting attorney. Council members noted that Kim had received universal support during his Jan. 25 confirmation hearing.
Acting Corporation Counsel Pat Wong also had his nomination heard last month, but action on his appointment was deferred then and on Wednesday.
The Policy Committee grilled Taylor on numerous operational and policy questions, including the county’s Upcountry water meter list. That list has more than 2,000 people waiting for water meters, some for at least a decade. Continue reading
The first-ever fungus infestation of Hawaii’s $6.8 million sweet basil crop discovered late last week has started affecting some businesses while farmers scramble to save their fields.
Most of Hawaii’s sweet basil crop is grown across Oahu and farmers are hastily pruning back their plants and applying fungicide to combat “basil downy mildew” after the pathogen Peronospora belbahrii was confirmed Friday on multiple farms in Waianae, according to the University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.
It has since been spotted on farms in Ewa and Waimanalo, said Jari Sugano, a UH extension agent who works with commercial farmers in the field.
Ba-Le Sandwiches & Bakery already has seen a price increase in its sweet basil purchases and will bear the extra costs for now, said operations manager Trung Lam.
“We definitely do use a lot of basil — we have basil in drinks and a lot of food items, as well,” Lam said. “We have to absorb it (price increase) for a little while. We can’t just raise prices tomorrow.”
Foodland Super Markets has turned to sweet basil imports, rather than locally grown sweet basil, spokeswoman Sheryl Toda said.
She was told the shortage of local sweet basil is due to the recent rain and “we expect to receive our normal delivery next week.”
The recent cool weather and heavy rain were a factor because they created a friendly environment for Peronospora belbahrii to latch onto the sweet basil leaves Continue reading
The summer of 2010 saw cocoa prices shoot up, much to bears’ skepticism. They said there was no fundamental reason for the move: It was just a hedge fund manipulation.
On that notion, coca prices fell from a 33-year high at over $3,400 a metric ton down to about $2,600 in September. But the bearish view proved wrong in the end.
Any intelligent observer can see the big problems brewing in the Ivory Coast. Accounting for 40% of global supplies, the country is the world’s largest coca bean producer.
That key chocolate ingredient factors in heavily to the Ivorian economy. Cocoa is its biggest source of revenue, with sweet bean sales valued at $45 billion annually.
But the country’s cocoa trees have long-term problems, not to mention major political problems. And the latter has pushed coca prices back up above $3,300 once again.
Never Mix Chocolate and Politics… at Least not in the Ivory Coast
On November 28, 2010, the Ivory Coast elected a new leader, Alassane Ouattara. But while the United Nations certifies that victory, sitting president Laurent Gbagbo refuses to leave … and he has the full support of the military.
Countries around the globe are imposing sanctions on the Ivory Coast, but Ouattara has taken that idea a step further. He has called for a 1-month ban on cocoa exports and most other nations – including the U.S. – have signed onboard. Continue reading
WAILUKU – Council Member Riki Hokama reopened the issue of moving the Central Maui sewage treatment plant inland at a meeting of the Water Resources Committee on Tuesday.
It was a surprise from the fiscally conservative Hokama. While he was off the council because of term limits, the County Council debated the wisdom of moving the Wailuku-Kahului plant (which is in a tsunami zone near the airport), but it shied away from the price tag of $300 million to $400 million.
But as long as members of the new council were throwing out surprising ideas, Council Member Joe Pontanilla mused that perhaps the county should “have an ordinance about how much greenery to put in” in landscaped dry areas.
He didn’t pursue that, but it showed that the council is concerned about diminishing water supplies.
The item under discussion was a report from the Department of Environmental Management about ways to increase the use of treated sewage effluent from the Wailuku-Kahului Wastewater Reclamation Facility.
All the public testimony was in favor of making more use of reclaimed water. Even if it means higher rates and fees, said Irene Bowie, executive director of the Maui Tomorrow Foundation.
It would. Department of Environmental Management Director Kyle Ginoza said he had anticipated such a question, and the cheapest alternative would mean about a $5-per-month increase in water rates if spread out over the whole county. Continue reading
KAHULUI – Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines’ M/V Jean Anne will begin shipping vehicles interisland Feb. 15.
The Jean Anne calls at Kahului every two weeks.
Since 2005, Pasha has shipped vehicles and heavy equipment between San Diego and Hawaii ports. Recently it obtained Public Utilities Commission authority to move vehicles between island ports.
It calls at Kahului, Hilo and Honolulu.
The PUC ruling has been controversial, with critics saying it gave Pasha an unfair advantage over interisland shipper Young Brothers Ltd. because the ruling allowed Pasha to skip over the islands of Molokai and Lanai because its ship is too big to enter those harbors.
Young Brothers is required by the PUC to make stops at those small, unprofitable ports. Continue reading
Unknown number of workers at Kapalua golf courses to lose jobs under a new manager
KAPALUA – A number of Maui Land & Pineapple employees will lose their jobs when an independent firm takes over management of the Kapalua Plantation Golf Course and Bay Golf Course at the end of March, the company announced Monday.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, ML&P said the total number of employees affected by the turnover is still uncertain, but that it had sent a 60-day layoff notice to workers, in compliance with U.S. labor laws.
There are about 100 ML&P employees working at the two courses, approximately half of the company’s total work force of 200, said Chief Financial Officer Tim Esaki.
Troon Golf, of Scottsdale, Ariz., will take over management of the courses on April 1, the company said.
Esaki said golf course employees were sure to be involved in the change, but “it may affect other employees as well.”
“Troon Golf, assuming the management of the golf course, will have an impact on other areas of our operations, but we’re currently in the process of evaluating what that is,” he said.
ML&P sold its Bay Course last year to TY Management Corp. for $23.6 million, with an agreement to lease back and continue to operate the links until March 31.
TY also purchased the Plantation Course from money-losing ML&P for $50 million cash in 2009, also with a lease-back contract.
Hawaiian Electric Co. is seeking a company to supply locally-produced biodiesel to power its recently completed 110-megawatt generating station in Campbell Industrial Park.
The request for proposals state’s HECO’s preference for locally-produced biodiesel, but if it isn’t available in sufficient quantities the utility said it would accept biodiesel produced on the Mainland or a mix of the two.
The contract is for three to seven million gallons of biodiesel a year over a three-year period. The contract will replace a two-year deal with an Iowa-based supplier of biodiesel made from waste animal fat. That contract that expires in July 2012.
The Campbell plant is the largest commercial power plant in the world powered exclusively by biodiesel, according to HECO.
included in the RFP is a request to supply 250,000 additional gallons per year for the 8-megawatt Honolulu International Airport Emergency Power Facility which is projected to be in service in summer of 2012.