Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Agriculture takes another big hit, Oahu home sales up, health insurance worries employers

Hawaii will be left with just one big grower of pineapple, Dole Food Co., and a handful of small farms next month when Maui Land & Pineapple ends production of what was once the state's single biggest cash crop.

Hawaii's once-rich agricultural industry, renowned throughout the 1900s for its pineapple and sugar crops, has suffered another devastating blow.

Maui Land & Pineapple Co. announced today that it will cease pineapple operations by the end of the year and restructure its resort and land development division.

Department of Land and Natural Resources officials are continuing their public pitch to garner support for their Recreational Renaissance plan.

Sales of Oahu homes rose to their highest level in more than a year and a half in October, although still below the peak of recent years.

Hawaii's congressional delegation said bills in both the U.S. House and the Senate will protect Hawaii's system of employer-paid health insurance, but that worries many local employers who said health insurance costs soaring higher each year are a huge burden.

Balancing Hawaii County's budget could require selling more property than the 737 acres of vacant Paauilo lands up for County Council liquidation approval Wednesday.

More than 50 people spoke up about a land transparency bill during a public hearing Monday night, and this time, most were against it.