BY RON YOUNGBLOOD
Doug Schenk met the visitors with the kind of smile that radiates from a father showing off his newborn. In the background, Hali’imaile Pineapple Co. employees ate lunch after polishing off the morning’s work two hours ahead of schedule.
At the door of the old parts warehouse, two men who look younger than their years stood in dirty boots and T-shirts.
“These are the guys who run the operation,” Schenk said with affection. The company president is Darren Strand. Rudy Balala is the vice president. They are also partners in the farm, along with Schenk and Doug MacCluer. All are Maui Land & Pineapple Co. veterans. The other partners are Pardee Erdman and Ed Chenchin.
The aroma of plate lunches wafted out of the tin-sided warehouse. In the back of the picnic tables there’s a conference table.
“We meet every Monday to decide that week’s goals,” Strand said.
“All of our employees asked to come to work for Hali’imaile,” Schenk said. All were part of the work force when Maui Pine closed down Dec. 31, 2009. “We were still working out the details (of leasing ML&P equipment and fields) on the last day of the year. We took New Year’s Day off and were on the job the next day.”
“We’ve got the greatest people in the world,” Schenk said. “There’s no division of labor. Everyone does everything.”
WAILUKU — Sugar production on Maui got a reprieve on Thursday, at least through the end of the year.
Alexander & Baldwin Inc.’s board of directors met in Honolulu Thursday morning to mull over shuttering its Maui subsidiary, Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co., after it recorded about $45 million in losses over the past two years. In a statement, the company said it would continue sugar operations through the end of the year, but that the company’s fate beyond 2010 would depend on a "favorable outcome" in water cases pending before the state Commission on Water Resource Management, as well as HC&S’s ability to increase its sugar production levels.
An attorney for the environmental and Native Hawaiian groups that are petitioning the state to order HC&S to return more water to Maui streams called the company’s announcement Thursday a "stunt" aimed at pressuring the water commission to give it what it wants.
Asked on Thursday when the board of A&B would reevaluate the sugar company’s fate, HC&S General Manager Chris Benjamin said, "It’s hard to say. No later than the end of the year, but (the review) could happen at any time. It will depend on whether there’s an adverse development, if it’s a water decision or something else.
Maui Pineapple erntet letzten Ertrag
Geschlagen durch ausländischen Wettbewerb und eine stockende Wirtschaft, beendet der letzte große Ananaserzeuger auf Hawaii, Maui Land & Pineapple Co. Inc., seine letzte Ernte nach 97 Jahren in dem Landwirtschaftsgeschäft. Der letzte Ertrag wurde am 23. Dezember auf den Feldern bei Haliimaile geerntet, was das Ende einer Ära markiert, in der einst Ananas ein großer Arbeitgeber in dem Staat war. Maui Pineapple pflanzte seine ersten Früchte 1912 auf West-Maui.