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)

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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.

Roadwork Scheduled for Piilani and Kalae Hwys and Lahainaluna Road

By Wendy Osher

There are several road work projects that will result in delayed travel on Maui roads next week.  The projects include resurfacing of the Piilani Highway, ongoing work on the Honoapiilani Highway Realignment Project and road resurfacing and lane striping of the Kalae Highway on Molokai.  Details are as follows:

PIILANI HIGHWAY RESURFACING CONTINUES IN KIHEI

Pavement resurfacing will take place on the Piilani Highway in South Maui next week.  Motorists are advised of a two- lane closure on Piilani Highway in the northbound direction between Kanani Street and Welakahao Street on Monday, January 4, through Friday, January 8, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., daily.

LAHAINALUNA ROAD DETOUR CONTINUES

Detours continue on Lahianaluna Road as crews work on construction related to the Honoapiilani Highway Realignment Project.  Lahainaluna Road will be closed from Kelawea Street to Ikena Avenue from Monday, January 4, through Sunday, January 10.  During these closures, there will be no access between Ikena Avenue and Lahainaluna Road. Traffic detours will be in effect.

KALAE HIGHWAY LANE CLOSURES ON MOLOKAI

Resurfacing and lane striping work will result in partial lane closures of the Kalae Highway on Molokai.  The work will result in alternating single lane closures on Kalae Highway in both directions between Maunaloa Highway and the Kalaupapa Lookout on Monday, January 4, through Friday, January 8, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., daily.

Motorists are advised to use caution while driving through the work areas and to allow for extra travel time. All roadwork is weather-permitting.

Traffic Delays Expected During Papahawahawa Bridge Installation

Motorists are advised of anticipated delays in Kipahulu during the installation of a temporary bridge.

Work to install the Papahawahawa temporary bridge will take place January 11-15, 2009 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The bridge is located at mile marker 46.5 on the Hana Highway between Hana and Kipahulu.

County officials say motorists will experience traffic delays of up to 30 minutes at a time as a result of the intermittent road closures. The public is encouraged to plan accordingly when traveling in the area.

The work is being conducted by the Engineering Division of the County of Maui Department of Public Works.

(Posted by Wendy Osher)

VIDEO: Report Shows Doubt Over Future ML&P Operations

By Wendy Osher

A report filed Monday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission shows doubts over future operations at Maui Land & Pineapple Company.

The document detailed uncertainties in the company’s ability to continue after ceasing pineapple planting last week and laying off 208 employees by tomorrow, New Year’s Eve.

The audit also pointed to recurring losses and negative cash flow as reasons for its doubts.

But the company has made efforts to generate cash flow and find financial stability. The report notes actions include the $50 million sale of the Plantation Golf Course in March, and the company’s move to restructure its lines of credit and reduce expenses.

A Beyond that, there are plans to sell off some real estate assets and extend the maturity dates of loan agreements beyond 2010.

As a result of these actions, the company believes it will be able to continue to be in compliance with its borrowing arrangements.

According to a financial statement summary included in the report, the Company incurred an operating loss of $71.6 million and negative cash flow from operations of $51.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2008. As of March 30, 2009, ML&P had borrowings of almost $100 million outstanding and approximately $11.7 million available under existing lines of credit.

VIDEO: Missing Banyan Tree Santa Resurfaces

By Wendy Osher

On the First Day of Christmas, the Wailuku Community Association got a Santa Claus in a Banyan Tree.

The Santa statue had gone missing for a full week, but was returned to its perch at the Wailuku Banyan Tree Park over the holiday weekend.

Missing Santa statue resurfaces at his old haunts. Photo by Wendy Osher.

The statue is situated at the corner of the busy Vineyard-North Market Street intersection where motorists slow to a four way stop—drawing the attention of passerby’s during their holiday commute.

When the smiling Santa was stolen on December 18, pleas were published across the state.  Despite signs posted on the tree reminding visitors to leave the Santa for the children, the banyan stood bare for seven straight nights.

Until, the Santa statue mysteriously made his way back to the shady spot on Christmas morning.  The only thing noticeably missing was his black belt.  Banyan Tree Santa was originally placed at the park by the Wailuku Community Association.

Governor Says Revised Furlough Plan Is Not Viable

The Hawai‘i State Teachers Association (HSTA) and the Department of Education reached an agreement to restore classroom days lost to furloughs in their original contract.

Governor Linda Lingle has already spoken out against the plan saying, it “is not a viable solution.”

The plan calls for the restoration of seven out of 10 remaining furlough days.  Five of the days would be restored using $35 million from the state’s rainy day fund; and two additional days will be restored through the use of teacher planning days (on January 4 and May 21).  The three remaining instructional days will be taken as furlough days at the end of the year.

The governor must agree to the plan in order for it to go into effect.

In a statement released by the Governor last night, she said the proposed plan, “defeats the intent of giving Hawai‘i’s children more instructional time.”

She said, “We cannot agree to a plan that does not solve the furlough situation and that shortens the school calendar at the expense of children and their families.”

HSTA president Wil Okabe said he is pleased with the agreement.  In a statement released on Monday afternoon, Okabe said, “The plan is the most reasonable and viable short-term solution to provide a safe and healthy environment for our children and to maintain the quality of instruction they deserve.”

Okabe went on to say, “The agreement will salvage the remainder of the current school year and position the DOE to receive an additional $75 million in federal Race to the Top funds.”

(Posted by Wendy Osher)