West Maui Projects Focus of Advisory Meeting Tonight in Lahaina

By Wendy Osher

Several West Maui projects will be the focus of tonight’s (Wednesday, January 27, 2010) meeting of the Governor’s council of neighbor island advisors for Maui.

A county engineer will give an informational presentation on the Lahaina Watershed Flood Control project, DLNR managers will present an update on projects at the Lahaina Small boat harbor, and the Governor’s Maui Liaison, George Kaya will update the public on Highway projects in West Maui. The council will also elect a new vice chair to replace Carl Lindquist who, along with his wife Rae, was lost in a flash flood in Hana on Thanksgiving night.

The Governor’s Council of Neighbor Island Advisors for Maui meets tonight, Wednesday, January 27, 2010, 5:00 p.m. at the Lahaina Civic Center in Lahaina, Maui.  The public is invited to attend.

Guest speakers will include:  Joe Kreuger, engineer from the County of Maui Engineering Division; Nicholas Giaconi, Maui District manager of the Department of Land and Natural Resources; and George Kaya, the Governor’s Maui Liaison.

Governor Linda Lingle created councils of neighbor island advisors to give neighbor island residents a stronger voice in state government. The Governor’s Council of Neighbor Island Advisors for Maui holds monthly public meetings to seek community input, advise the Governor of important issues and make recommendations for state boards and commissions.

The members of the Governor’s Council of Neighbor Island Advisors for Maui are: Madge Schaefer (chair), Kathryn Ghean, John Henry, Lori Ululani Sablas, Gail K. Takeuchi and Leona Rocha Wilson.

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Lindquist Post to be Filled, West Maui Projects Presented

By Wendy Osher

Several West Maui projects will be the focus of the next meeting of the Governor’s council of neighbor island advisors for Maui.

A county engineer will give an informational presentation on the Lahaina Watershed Flood Control project, DLNR managers will present an update on projects at the Lahaina Small boat harbor, and the Governor’s Maui Liaison, George Kaya will update the public on Highway projects in West Maui. The council will also elect a new vice chair to replace Carl Lindquist who, along with his wife Rae, was lost in a flash flood in Hana on Thanksgiving night.

The Governor’s Council of Neighbor Island Advisors for Maui will meet on Wednesday, January 27, 2010, 5:00 p.m. at the Lahaina Civic Center in Lahaina, Maui. The public is invited to attend.

Guest speakers will include:  Joe Kreuger, engineer from the County of Maui Engineering Division; Nicholas Giaconi, Maui District manager of the Department of Land and Natural Resources; and George Kaya, the Governor’s Maui Liaison.

Governor Linda Lingle created councils of neighbor island advisors to give neighbor island residents a stronger voice in state government. The Governor’s Council of Neighbor Island Advisors for Maui holds monthly public meetings to seek community input, advise the Governor of important issues and make recommendations for state boards and commissions.

The members of the Governor’s Council of Neighbor Island Advisors for Maui are: Madge Schaefer (chair), Kathryn Ghean, John Henry, Lori Ululani Sablas, Gail K. Takeuchi and Leona Rocha Wilson.

Three Days of Filming Puts Front Street On The Big Screen

By Wendy Osher

A portion of Front Street in Lahaina will be closed to traffic tonight as filming gets underway on the Romance/Thriller Hereafter.  The Warner Bros. film is being directed by Clint Eastwood, who owns a home in Makena on Maui.

Lahaina's Front Street is one of three sites being used for the filming of Hereafter. File Photo by Wendy Osher.

Filming begins today at a Kaanapali Hotel, them moves to Front Street tomorrow, and then to a private property in Kapalua.  Maui Film Commissioner Benita Brazier tells Pacific Radio Group and MauiNOW.com that the production will infuse an estimated $4 million to $6 million into the local economy for the production dates alone.  That is non-inclusive of the cast and crew, some of which have been here since December.

An estimated 70 extras have been hired locally including a young girl and her mother who have day-play roles.

Brazier said the production is the largest Maui County has seen since Crowfoot, a TV series filmed in the early 1990s.  She said the new production is also the only to take place in the middle of a Maui town.  Other recent productions in Maui County included Tempest on Lanai last year and Pirates of the Carribean the year before in Kaupo and on Molokai.

“It’s been a nice way to start the New Year…as we continue to try to diversify the job opportunities here,” said Brazier.

“Hopefully this will be the first of a few productions that we will have coming in this year,” said Brazier.

Actor Matt Damon is among the leading actors in the film, however he is not included in the Maui portion of the production.  Other Hereafter stars include Cecile De France and Bryce Dallas Howard.

The screenplay, written by Peter Morgan, tells the story of three people who are touched by death in different ways.  Their lives intersect and are forever changed by what they believe exists in the hereafter.

Maui Home Sales Reach 17 Month High

By Wendy Osher

Maui home sales were up significantly in December with 90 homes selling for a median price of $477,000. That translates to a 63 percent increase in sales volume over last year and marks a 17-month high for home sales on the island.

The Maui Realtors Association released the year end figures saying the market seems to be getting its footing as number of sales increase, inventory decreases, and median prices bounce along the bottom.

A total of 31 homes sold in Central Maui for a median of $438,000; 19 sold in Kihei for a median of $435,000; and 8 sold in Kula for a median of $825,000. Median properties above the $1 million mark sold in Hana, Kaanapali, Lahiana and Wailea.

Sales for condos meantime more than doubled to 80 from the same time last year. The median price for a condo dropped from last year to $401,500. A total of 23 codos were sold in Kihei for a median price of $275,000; 13 sold in Napili for a median of $320,000; and 11 sold in Kaanapali for a median of $1.5 million.

The first time homebuyer credit is still available for up to $8,000. The offer is set to expire on April 30, 2010. Credit grants of up to $6,500 are also available for current homeowners purchasing a new or existing home between November 7, 2009 and April 30, 2010.

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.

Honoapiilani Widening Project Breaks Ground

A ground breaking ceremony was held today for Maui’s Honoapiilani Highway widening project.  The one mile stretch between Lahainaluna Road and Aholo Road will be widened from two to four lanes, with landscaped medians, pedestrian and bike lanes and intersection upgrades.

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State and County officials joined in a ground breaking and blessing ceremony marking the start of the long awaited Honoapiilani Highway widening project. Photo by Wendy Osher.

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Cultural Practitioner Clifford Naeole presided over the blessing ceremony, marking the start of construction on the Honoapiilani Highway widening project that stretches one mile from Lahianaluna to Aholo Road. Photo by Wendy Osher.

State Transportation officials say the Highway carries nearly 26,000 vehicles daily, and is the only access route available to parts of the island north of Lahaina.  Construction began on October 26, 2009 and the project is anticipated to be complete at the end of 2010.

“The Lahaina community has been waiting patiently for this widening project and we are pleased we can finally break ground,” said Jiro Sumada, deputy director of the DOT Highways Division.  “The highway widening will not only improve access for all users of the roadway, but we believe it will ultimately improve quality of life for West Maui residents,” he added.

“We are committed to seeing this project through,” said Lt. Governor James “Duke” Aiona.  “Coupled with the Lahaina Bypass, the Honoapiilani Highway Widening project will help our West Maui residents spend less time on the road and more time in their homes with their families. The Lingle-Aiona Administration is moving forward to improve safety on our highways and ease traffic congestion, which saves our motorists time and money.”

When the project is completed, there will be a new side walk on the makai side of the highway and an improved Shaw Street signalized intersection.  Paved shoulders on both sides of the highway are also designed to improve access for bicyclists.

To reduce excessive traffic noise along school and residential properties, a noise wall barrier is also being constructed on both sides of the highway.  The noise wall barrier will have a natural rock pattern on both sides of the wall, to maintain the neighborhood’s sense of place.

The Federal Highways Administration provided 80 percent matching funds on this $18.5 million contract.  Goodfellow Brothers Construction Company, Inc was selected for this phase of the project.

(Posted by Wendy Osher; Supporting information courtesy Hawaii State Department of Transportation.)

Lahaina Investigation Ends After 7 Hour Incident: Suspect Dies Of Self Inflicted Wound

Maui Police are nearing the end of an investigation that began several hours ago in Lahiana.  At 6:45 this evening (Tuesday, October 06, 2009), authorities from the department’s Special Response Team approached a vehicle that was being monitored, and found a lone suspect expired within the vehicle from a self-inflicted wound.

Earlier this afternoon, the department’s negotiators were called to the scene fronting the Jodo Mission on Ala Moana Street when officers heard a weapon being discharged from within the vehicle.

The 44-year-old male suspect was wanted for questioning for Robbery, Unauthorized Control of a Propelled Motor Vehicle and several (TRO) Temporary Restraining Orders Violations.

The incident began at 12:20 this afternoon, forcing the closure of the small section of road and the clearing of surrounding area residents.

Police were still on the scene investigation at last report.  Positive identification and other details are still being investigated.

(Posted by Wendy Osher; Updated at 7:17 p.m. Tuesday, October 06, 2009; Information provided by the Maui Police Department)