Maui Pineapple Saved With Newly Formed Company: Haliimaile Pineapple Company, Ltd.

January 1,2010 marks a new day for pineapple production on Maui, as a team that includes five former Maui Pineapple Company executives assume operations of Maui Land & Pineapple Company, Inc.

The five join Ulupalakua Ranch’s Pardee Erdman in running the newly named Haliimaile Pineapple Company, Ltd. The new company will officially assumes operations tomorrow, January 1, 2010 and will continue to grow and market fresh pineapple under the established Maui Gold® Brand.

HPC has purchased and licensed key assets, and leased farm land, equipment and buildings from ML&P with plans to serve the Hawaii market.

“We are proud to continue the 100 year legacy of pineapple on Maui,” said Darren Strand, president and CEO of the new company.

“Haliimaile Pineapple Company brings new hope for a new year by immediately saving 65 agricultural jobs with an expectation of adding more in the future,” said Strand.

Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares responded to the announcement this afternoon saying, “I am extremely grateful to the company for their commitment to continue Maui Gold pineapple on Maui. I was excited to hear that nearly 70 employees will retain jobs associated with Haliimaile Pineapple Company and I’m confident that the new company will find success.”

“The company founders, shareholders and directors are to be commended for their work in making this happen. Since first learning about this effort, I’ve been very excited about the possibilities. The fact that jobs are saved and pineapple farming continues is absolutely great news for our county,” said Mayor Tavares.

Governor Linda Lingle also welcomed the news saying, “I can’t think of a better way to ring in the new year than with preservation of 65 agricultural jobs and the prospect of creating more jobs for our residents in the long-term. The new company and the ongoing cultivation of pineapple on Maui will help stimulate our economy and also inject a boost of confidence in what has been a challenging year.”

Key shareholders and directors in the new company include Pardee Erdman, owner of Ulupalakua Ranch; Doug Schenk, former president of Maui Pineapple Company; former vice presidents of MPC, Doug MacCluer and Ed Chenchin; and current operating directors for MPC, Darren Strand and Rudy Balala. The group brings over 150 years of combined expertise in growing and packing premium pineapple on Maui.

HPC will consolidate its plantation, fresh fruit packing facility, cold storage, and shipping operations in Haliimaile to maximize efficiency and product quality. Company officials say they will continue to provide the highest quality of fresh pineapple to local hotels, restaurants, and supermarkets while increasing its direct consumer business.

ILWU Local 142 Maui Division Director, Willie Kennison said, “We are grateful to Haliimaile Pineapple Company for saving these jobs to make this a happy New Year for so many Maui families.

In a news release today, company officials said they would hire existing ML&P employees and the ILWU will continue to represent the company’s workers.

ML&P Chairman and Interim CEO, Warren H. Haruki said, “We are gratified to see the continuation of pineapple farming on Maui. The new company’s simplifie3d business model and targeted local market, along with the flexibility and cooperation of the ILWU are key ingredients for their future success,” Haruki said.

(Posted by Wendy Osher)

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NOAA Charges Vessel For Repeat Violations Of Whale Protection Rules

With Hawaii’s humpback whale season underway, officials are reminding boaters and other ocean users to use caution and follow whale protection rules. Federal regulations require people to stay at least 100 yards away from the wintering whales.

Image Courtesy NOAA

In the past two years, officials reported 12 cases involving violations, including approaches by swimmers, non-motorized watercraft, and motorized watercraft. In a recent case, officials with the NOAA’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary say a commercial whale watch vessel was charged with violating the approach regulation on five separate occasions.

The case was settled in court on Maui when the owner and operator agreed to pay a civil penalty of $30,000. Humpback whale approach zone violations should be reported to NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement at 1-800-853-1964. Additional guidelines and safety tips, can be found at http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov/explore/safe_boating.html

In addition to the water regulations, aircraft are required to stay 1,000 feet away when passing near whales. The “approach” regulations apply to all ocean users – power boaters, sailors, jet skiers, kayakers, paddlers, windsurfers, swimmers, divers – throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

“Everyone must be particularly cautious during whale season,” said Naomi McIntosh, superintendent, Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. “If a humpback whale is sighted, you’re advised to stay well outside the 100-yard approach area. Keeping your speed down is also very important in helping us protect these animals.”

Humpback whale season in Hawai‘i runs from November through May. As many as 10,000 humpback whales come to Hawaii during these months.

The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary was created by Congress in 1992 to protect humpback whales and their habitat in Hawai`i. The sanctuary, which lies within the shallow (less than 600 feet), warm waters surrounding the main Hawaiian Islands, constitutes one of the world’s most important humpback whale habitats.

(Posted by Wendy Osher; Supporting information provided by the NOAA Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary)

Hazy Skies and Light Winds Expected During New Year Celebration

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health’s (DOH) Clean Air Branch will be monitoring Hawai’i’s air quality during New Year’s and comparing it with national ambient air quality standards.

Health officials say the heavy use of fireworks during the annual holiday celebration can significantly increase the amount of particulates in the air, especially on Oahu. The public is encouraged to be properly informed and prepared for the New Year’s fireworks celebrations as well as possible temporary increases in vog levels.

The National Weather Service is forecasting hazy skies and light winds, which could pose problems for those with breathing problems as others ring in the New Year with fireworks. Firefighters will not get much help from the weather either as very little rainfall is expected. The forecast calls for widespread haze and light and variable winds across the island of Maui and much of the state.

Firework smoke consists primarily of particulate matter that can aggravate conditions such as asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis. Those who suffer from any of these lung conditions can take the following precautionary measures:

• On New Year’s Eve, stay indoors and close your windows and doors.

• Check that your air conditioner or air purifier is working properly, change filters if necessary.

• Do not smoke and avoid second-hand smoke.

• If you take medication, make sure you have an adequate supply and use them as directed by your physician.

• Contact your physician if you need more medication and get clear instructions of what to do if your lung condition suddenly worsens.

• Avoid people who have colds and other lung infections and wash your hands thoroughly.

• Drink plenty of fluids to loosen mucus. Warm beverages work best.

• Get plenty of rest and limit physical exertion.

While these suggestions are intended primarily for persons with respiratory or chronic lung disease, they are also useful for healthy persons during air pollution episodes such as particulates dust, brush fires, firework smoke, or volcanic haze.

(Posted by Wendy Osher)

Deadline Extended To Apply For Maui Boards And Commissions

The deadline to apply for the various vacancies on the county’s Boards and Commissions has been extended to next week Friday, January 8, 2009.

There are a total of 73 vacancies that were created due in part to expiring terms.

Terms for seats on County Boards, Councils, Commissions and Committees last from two to five years, depending on the appointment.

Positions are appointed by Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares, and must be confirmed by the County Council.

Responsibilities include hearing public testimony, reviewing policies and standards and making recommendations.

Application guidelines and detailed information can be found online by clicking on the “Boards and Commissions” tab on the County of Maui homepage at http://www.mauicounty.gov, or by calling the Office of the Mayor at (808) 270-7855.

(Posted by Wendy Osher)

3.5 Quake Off Windward Coast of Maui

Image Courtesy USGS.

A 3.5 magnitude earthquake was recorded a short while ago off the windward coast of Maui. Civil Defense officials say NO tsunami is expected. Repeat, NO tsunami is expected. The quake occurred at 11:39 a.m. Officials with the US Geological Survey say the quake was situated 13 miles north east of Haiku and 16 miles northeast of Paia. The earthquake was 10 miles below the surface.

Earthquake Details

Magnitude 3.5
Date-Time
Location 21.070°N, 156.186°W
Depth 16.5 km (10.3 miles) (poorly constrained)
Region MAUI REGION, HAWAII
Distances
  • 21 km (13 miles) NE (38°) from Haiku-Pauwela, HI
  • 27 km (16 miles) NE (48°) from Paia, HI
  • 27 km (17 miles) NE (37°) from Haliimaile, HI
  • 36 km (22 miles) NE (54°) from Kahului, HI
  • 172 km (107 miles) E (99°) from Honolulu, HI
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 13 km (8.1 miles); depth +/- 17.3 km (10.7 miles)
Parameters Nph=039, Dmin=145 km, Rmss=0.14 sec, Gp=328°,
M-type=duration magnitude (Md), Version=0
Source
Event ID hv00036230

(Posted by Wendy Osher; Infromation provided by USGS & State Civil Defense)

Fireworks Displays Planned For Hana, Wailea, and Lanai

There are three public fireworks displays planned in Maui County for New Year’s Eve. All three displays begin at 12:00 midnight on New Year’s Eve will be at the following locations:

Hana – below Fagan’s Cross

Kihei – barge offshore fronting the Grand Wailea Hotel

Lanai – Manele Bay Hotel

Firework permits are available until 4:30 today for those wanting to pop their own firecrackers this year. A limit has been placed on the number of permits issued—with a total of 250 available. Permits are not required for novelty items.

Firework permits and processing are available December 24 – 31, 2009 – During normal business hours 7:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the following locations:

Fire Prevention Bureau (Wailuku Fire Station)

County Parks Permit Office – Lahaina

County Parks Permit Office – Molokai

Pine Isle Market – Lanai

Based on the inventory available, the maximum amount of permits for Maui is 250, for Molokai 61, and for Lanai 47.

Fireworks permits are required to purchase the firecracker type of fireworks and are good for 5,000 firecrackers. Permit applicants must be 18 years or older and show proof of age at the time of permit processing. There is no limit to the number of permits a person may purchase and the cost of each permit is $25 payable by check/money order to the County of Maui. Cash will be accepted at the Fire Prevention Bureau and Pine Isle Market only,. Novelty fireworks such as sparklers, snakes, fountains and cylindrical or cone fountains which emit effects not higher than 12 feet off the ground do not require permits.

The Maui Fire Department would also like to remind residents of the following rules in relation to fireworks:

Fireworks and firecrackers can only be legally set off from 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve to 1 a.m. New Year’s Day. Setting off fireworks outside designated times is punishable by law. Violations are subject to fines up to $2,000.

Aerial fireworks are illegal and extremely dangerous. Importing and selling aerial fireworks without a permit is a Class C Felony.

General Prohibitions

-It is unlawful to remove or extract pyrotechnic contents.

-It is unlawful to throw any ignited fireworks from a moving vehicle.

-It is unlawful to set off fireworks within 1,000 feet of health care facilities and facilities for animals.

-It is unlawful to set off fireworks by schools.

-It is unlawful to set off fireworks on public roads, in County parks, at County facilities, cane fields, or places of worship.

-It is unlawful for any person without a permit to set off, ignite, discharge or otherwise cause to explode any fireworks within 500 feet from any hotel.

-It is unlawful for any person to offer for sale, sell or give any fireworks to minors, and for any minors to possess, purchase, or set off, ignite or otherwise cause to explode any fireworks, except that the parents or guardians may allow the minor to use fireworks while under the immediate supervision and control of an adult.

Safety Tips Regarding Fireworks Use:

1.Fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burns and eye injuries.

2. Young children and fireworks do not mix. Never give fireworks, even sparklers to young children. Sparklers burn at temperatures of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Older children should only use fireworks under the direct supervision of an adult.

4. Always read and follow all warnings and instructions listed by the manufacturer for the safe use and handling of fireworks.

5. Make sure you have a clear, flat area to use the fireworks; away from structures, dry grass or brush, and other flammable materials.

6. Have a water hose or bucket of water readily available in case of a fire.

“Safety is always a concern. Of course, the best way to stay safe is to not use fireworks and enjoy one of the professionally done shows,” said Captain Paul Haake of the department’s Fire Prevention Bureau. “Dry conditions have always been a concern and this year is no different. We want people to enjoy their New Year celebrations safely.”

For additional information on the fireworks permits, contact the Maui Fire Prevention Bureau at (808) 270-7566

Maui Electric Urges the Public to Celebrate Safely on New Year’s Eve

Maui Electric Company reminds those celebrating with fireworks to do so carefully. Some tips to having a safe New Year’s Eve are:

• Carefully set up and use fireworks in an area clear of overhead power lines.

• Do not string fireworks on utility poles.

• Don’t use metal ladders or poles near power lines.

• Keep any type of ladder, pole or tie lines used to set up fireworks at least 10 feet away from power lines.

Power lines are energized and could cause a serious electrical shock, burn or electrocution.

If an object should become tangled in an overhead power line, don’t try to free it. Call MECO’s trouble line at 871-7777 on Maui, or 1-877-871-8461 on Moloka`i or Lana`i.

Safety Tips From The Maui Fire Department:

• Fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burns and eye injuries.

• Young children and fireworks do not mix. Never give fireworks, even sparklers to young children. Sparklers burn at temperatures of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

• Older children should only use fireworks under the direct supervision of an adult.

• Always read and follow all warnings and instructions listed by the manufacturer for the safe use and handling of fireworks.

• Make sure you have a clear, flat area to use the fireworks; away from structures, dry grass or brush, and other flammable materials.

• Have a water hose or bucket of water readily available in case of a fire.

North Shore Under High Surf Advisory

The National Weather Service in Honolulu has ISSUED a HIGH SURF ADVISORY for NORTH FACING SHORES of MOLOKAI AND MAUI in effect from 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, December 30, 2009 to 6:00 p.m. Thursday, December 31, 2009.

A High Surf Advisory means that high surf will affect beaches in the advisory area, producing rip currents and localized beach erosion.

Surf along north facing shores will build to heights of 14 to 18 feet on Wednesday night, then drop to 10 to 15 feet Thursday.

On Oahu, surf along West facing shores will reach 10 to 14 feet tonight, then decrease to 8 to 12 feet tomorrow.

Forecast surf heights are estimates of the height of the face or front of waves.

A high tide of approximately 3.2 feet is expected between 2:53 a.m. and 4:11 a.m. Thursday morning. The next high tide of approximately 1.4 feet is expected between 1:29 p.m. and 2:47 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

As a precautionary measure, beach goers are urged to stay out of the water and well away from the shore break due to the hazardous wave action and strong rip currents.