There are some noteworthy events happening in Paia, the great little town on Maui’s North Shore that I call home. In yesterday’s Shave Ice column in the Maui News, columnist Tom Stevens revealed that the Sugar Mill in Paia is slated to be torn down soon. The old mill is no longer processing the sugar that comes from the sea of green cane fields that surround the town. The last active mill is located in nearby Puunene. The Paia mill is a reminder of a bygone era in Paia, when the town was the agricultural hub of Maui. Paia was Maui’s boom town in the 30s and 40s. Shops, theaters and businesses flourished under a thriving sugar industry. As Tom Stevens points out, one of the best ways to take a look at the old mill is to head over to the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. The Schaeffer gallery is hosting an exhibit by local artist Tom Sewell. Sewell has sculptures and images as well as projector show that capture some of the images and sounds of the old mill. It is both good art and a good tribute to an era of Paia and Maui’s past that is slowly fading away.
In other news, the Paia mini bypass is looking like it will be open very soon. The paving is complete, signs have been erected and a few finishing touches are remaining. Hopefully, this will be a relief to some of the traffic back ups at the intersection of Baldwin and Haleakala Highway. Finally, it has been fun to see the spirit of the world cup hit Paia. The wind and the waves of the North Shore draw visitors and residents from all over the world. I notice it every day when I walk the streets of Paia hearing accents and languages from 6 of the Earth’s continents. The international nature of the town has been particularly pronounced during the world’s biggest sporting event. The other day I heard honking on the street in front of the office. A pickup full of French nationals was driving through town celebrating “Les Bleus” victory in the semifinal of the World Cup. I have seen signs of our international population throughout the cup with the flags and jerseys of teams from South America and Europe flying high and worn proudly. I imagine the world cup final on Sunday will bring about some good natured rivalry f between the local Italian population and the areass French Population. Just another reason to enjoy one of Hawaii’s most international and unique small towns.