Author Archives: Adam Bencze

No Mo Ukus

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

With the growing popularity of the shampoo, Aunty Noni has been convinced to sell her product in local stores. Uku-Ban Shampoo can now be found at Kualapu`u Market, Outpost Natural Foods, G&M Variety and at Mana`e Goods and Grindz.

The shampoo has a rich, aromatic scent and smells somewhat of lavender. Because it’s relatively inexpensive ($10/bottle), it can be used as a preventative measure for families with children who have continued exposure to head lice.

Enjoy a Cuppa’ Molokai

Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

Enjoy a Cuppa’ Molokai

Molokai connoisseurs of fine caffeinated beverages can finally add some hometown pride to their cupboard. Coffees of Hawaii released three new coffee blends last week, and for the first time ever, all of the flavors contain 100% Molokai grown coffee. The flavors include Malulani Estate, a medium roast; Muleskinner, a dark roast; and Hawaiian Espresso, which is great as espresso or as regular percolated coffee. Above, Coffees of Hawaii tour guide Desiree Cabreros shows off the 8oz homegrown product in Ho`olehua.

May Day

Wednesday, May 9th, 2007


May Day or May 1, is Lei Day in Hawaii. Celebrations include the making and exchanging of leis among the local people, music, entertainment and food.

Lei day was first celebrated on May l, 1928. In early 1928 writer and poet Don Blanding wrote an article in a local paper suggesting that a holiday be created centered around the Hawaiian custom of making and wearing lei. It was fellow writer Grace Tower Warren who came up with the idea of a holiday on May 1 in conjunction with May Day. She is also responsible for the phrase, "May Day is Lei Day." At the end of the day, prizes are offered for the most unique or outstanding lei work.

Each Hawaiian Island has it own official lei color:

Oahu – lei ilima (yellow)
Maui – lei lokelani akala (pink rose)
Kauai – lei mokihana (violet)
Hawaii – lei lehua (red)
Molokai – lei kukui (silver/green)
Lanai – lei kaunaoa (orange)
Kahoolawe – lei hunching (silver/grey)
Niihau – lei pupu (white shells)
Molokini – lei limu kala (blue)

Hawaii abounds with ancient spirituality. It is perhaps one of the only places that the ancient world is so totally interwoven with the modern world.

Molokai fishermen defiant after deep sea fishing ban announcement

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

Molokai fishermen defiant after deep sea fishing ban announcement

Bottomfish closure to take affect May 15

“You’re taking away my livelihood. It’s completely unfair that we’re given this little advanced warning” asks fisherman Kenny Corder (left) at WesPac’s (Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council) public meeting on April 24. “Now I’m going have to fish at night to avoid getting caught, and I don’t want to fish at night” says Corder with typical Molokai humor in a serious situation, “nighttime’s when I like to sleep.”

After federal scientists in Hawaii determined that the current catch rates of bottom fish are too high to be sustainable, WesPac determined that a pre-emptive measure was necessary to keep bottom fish stocks from deteriorating into an “over-fished” situation, which would likely necessitate even more severe measures than the 4 1/2 month ban. The closure will last from May 15 until September 30 of this year.

Though the decision was announced on March 16, there was no way of guaranteeing that Hawaiian fisherman on all the islands would be aware of the ban or what it entails. To ensure clearer public comprehension, WesPac organized 6 public meetings- one on each Hawaiian island, with an extra meeting on Big Island- the last of which was held on Molokai.

Molokai’s fishermen are upset over the short notice – the ban was initially supposed to go into effect on May 1, one week after the meeting on Molokai. Also upsetting was the fact that the ban will not apply to fishermen on the northwest Hawaiian islands of Kauai and Niihau, where a system of no-fish zones instead exists. “I don’t see why they’re allowed to keep fishing,” said one Molokai fisherman at the public meeting. “It’s all one big eco-system; there shouldn’t be any exceptions.”

Others believe the ‘emergency closure’ does not adequately address the economic impact on fishermen who were given very little time to come up with their own respective contingency plans. “The warning you’re giving us isn’t enough,” says Conrad Aquino, “I bought all the gas I would need, and bought new boat engines, all before this announcement.”

Aquino was one of several fishermen who were concerned over how the ban might affect Native Hawaiian fishing rights. “Right now I think the future of the Hawaiian fisherman is bleak,” laments the soft-spoken Aquino, who says he is normally reticent to speak in public but felt the issue deserved some of his mana`o. “Mostly, I worry about the kids. Whenever I take kids out on my boat- we’ll sometimes fish for 14 hours straight and only make $150 or so, but the kids still love fishing. I hope they’ll be able to do what they love. I hope we (Hawaiians) haven’t lost our rights.”

Keli`i Mawae, Molokai’s unofficial mayor, was moved by the Hawaiian fishermen’s frustration on display at the meeting. “I think you folks (WesPac officials) do Molokai wrong, and I think you do Hawaii wrong.”

WesPac has come under fire often of late for appearing to be aligned with commercial interests, something which appears to have bred mistrust in the Molokai community. The regulatory body has also been heavily scrutinized by the Hawaiian and pacific mainland press for its alleged lobbying at the Hawaiian state legislature, and because Executive Director Rose B. “Kitty” Simonds is, for reasons unbeknownst to the journalistic community, the fifth highest-paid official in the entire United States government- trailing only George Bush, Dick Cheney, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In addition to the closure, WesPac will be implementing a TAC (Total Allowable Catch, amount of which has yet to be determined) aggregate ceiling for Hawaiian commercial fishermen starting in October, and all fishermen will also be required to possess a state or federal permit if even possessing bottom fish .

The impending 4½ month ban on bottom fish covers 7 species of snappers and groupers- onaga, ehu, gindai, kalekale, opakapaka, lehi, and hapu`upu`u, collectively known as the ‘deep 7’- caught within 200 miles of the Hawaiian shoreline. There will likely be a similar 4 month ban in effect in 2008; one that will be lifted on September 1 rather than at the end of September.

¡Hola! Healthy Eating gets a Mexican Twist for Diabetes Sufferers

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

¡Hola! Healthy Eating gets a Mexican Twist for Diabetes Sufferers

Those suffering from diabetes received an informative and delicious lesson on healthy eating on Saturday as Molokai’s Rural Health Clinic ran it’s second of three cooking demonstrations at Mitchell Paoule Center. The demonstration focused on lunch foods, and was given a Mexican theme based on suggestions from participants.

Dishes being served included a mouthwatering ‘chicken fajitas with cowpoke BBQ sauce,’ straightforward and hearty ‘enchilada rice’, zesty ‘Mexican vegetables’, savory ‘nacho squares’, and a deftly sweet dessert ‘sweet potato custard.’ Recipes were given out to all participants so the same dishes can be replicated in the home. Also provided were tip sheets on how to recognize and choose healthy foods when eating out, shopping for groceries, and tips for avoiding hyper-glycemia.

All dishes were prepared with guidelines set out by the American Diabetes Association, and covers not only ingredient selection but cooking methods. Grilling and baking, for example, are better cooking methods than frying or stewing, because fats are not trapped in the process. While this is common knowledge for most casual chefs, it never hurts to have tangible examples to demonstrate that healthy cooking methods can produce delicious dishes.

“This is a very solid turnout for us,” says Jeanette Bince, “it doesn’t look like we’ll even have leftovers, which is a first for us!” Bince is a Diabetes Nurse Educator in charge of outpatients for Molokai General Hospital, and says a grant from UH Department of Native Hawaiian Health has made programs like Saturdays cooking demonstration and the Los Vegas Diabetes Challenge possible.

Native Hawaiians are twice as likely to develop diabetes as Caucasians, making diabetes demonstrations throughout Hawaii ever more important. The next free cooking demonstration, focusing on dinner foods, will take place in June.

For a wide selection of nutricious and tasty recipies to prepare for your self and family, go to http://www.diabetes.org/home.jsp and select either the ‘recipe of the day’ or the ‘nutrition & recipes’ tab at left.

Meet AHEC’s new Crisisline counselor

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

Meet AHEC’s new Crisisline counselor

Molokai Girl Kazan Dela Cruz is available to provide help, emotional and instructional support, or just to talk story.

“On Molokai, it’s hush-hush. Nobody likes to talk about it,” says Kazan Dela Cruz from her office in Kaunakakai. “I am here for any victim or potential victim on Molokai. There’s no issue too small to talk about.”

Kazan, who grew up on Molokai- and graduated from Molokai High School in 1987 and has since completed courses in group counseling at MCC- has six years experience working with Molokai Alternatives to Violence, and is passionate about helping people.

“There is a certain taboo about bringing sexual violence up with other people. But people can call (the crisis line) for any reason. If they feel threatened, if they have a friend who feels threatened and want to give them advice, or just to talk story- anything. Anything people tell me is completely confidential; I am here to listen and lend strength. (Callers) don’t need to name names, and won’t be forced to take any action they are not comfortable with.”

Kazan says people can stop her in town if they wish to talk if they are more comfortable talking in person than over the phone.

Sexual abuse is being forced or persuaded into sexual acts or situations by others. It includes being encouraged to look at pornography, being harassed by sexual suggestions or comments and being touched sexually or forced to have sex.

Maui County Area Health Education Center (AHEC) has been running Crisisline since February and, according to coordinator Rosie Davis, the organization is overjoyed to have someone with Kazan’s experience and compassion available at any time.

In addition to being available for victim support, Kazan is able to run training sessions for employers, schools, or other groups. Call the crisis line, 553-5907, for a training session or any other, more personal reason.

Kaunakakai bids adieu to RAP

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

Program likely to return to Kualapu’u next year


Crowds came out in force again for Read Aloud America’s final Read Aloud Program (RAP) session of the ’06-’07 school year at Kaunakakai school on Wednesday afternoon. The popular program began its Molokai run on January 24 and has been running every two weeks to packed houses ever since.

After RAP founder Jed Gaines introduced a rundown of the evening’s festivities, kids grouped off to read to one another and Gaines gave parents tips on getting kids to develop a love for reading. With just over three hundred people on average attending RAP sessions at Kaunakakai, Gaines says he is encouraged by the public response to the program.

“The best thing about us coming here is that I can see that habits are being changed. People are writing and telling be they’re watching less tv and are spending more time together as a family.” Among other initiatives, RAP pushes a TTTT(TV Turnoff Through Thursday) program which stresses keeping the television off during the work/school week.

RAP’s final installment featured special guest Alan Brennert, author of the best-selling historical novel Moloka`i, published back in 2003. As well as reading excerpts from his novel to the crowd, Brennert gave a short speech about his love of comic books and adventure novels growing up, and how his childhood passions have led to television writing jobs and to helping to write screen-plays about the very comic characters he was so fond of as a youngster. “It just goes to show you, you never know where reading will get you in life.”

The energetic 61-year old Gaines says he is overjoyed by RAP’s success on Molokai and will likely bring the program back to the island next year, at Kualapu`u elementary.

EC Board Suspended

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

EC Board Suspended

Molokai Enterprise Community board action put on hold by recommendation from Washington

Some in the group, like KAL meeting regular attendees Lawrence Aki and Patricia Chow were concerned over how the land battles are being perceived on other islands, and encouraged Molokai people to share their mana`o with Akaku community television and other media outfits.

There is no word on how long the USDA will be proceeding; Mayer said he was given no time frame for an official response. As of now, the next Molokai EC meeting on May 17 is still scheduled to take place at the usual time and place, and all other EC projects on Molokai will continue as planned action is handed down from the USDA in Washington.

Farmers Ask MIS Chairman Helm to step down

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

Farmers Ask MIS Chairman Helm to step down

Ho`olehua residents upset over advisory Irrigation board’s handling of Bills

passes this year, that’s fine; we’ll work with it. You guys do what you got to do.”

The next day, the House Representatives did, in fact, pass legislation on the MIS in the form of bill SCR176; both the House agricultural and land management boards recommended the adoption of the bill which would order an audit of the MIS system. Ho`olehua farmers believe this audit will eventually result in MIS generated revenues remaining on-island, allowing much-needed repairs and improvements to Molokai’s neglected irrigation infrastructure.

As for SB1705, essentially quadrupling Homesteader representation and making the MIS a governing body, the bill has been passed by the Senate, and is awaiting a House decision. 1705 could be a big step toward self determination for Ho`olehua farmers, but weather lawmakers agree with its effectiveness remains to be seen.

Fire Safety on Wheels

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

Fire Safety on Wheels

Captain Akaka shows the public some common kitchen fire hazards; Maui County Fire Fighters ran a fire safety day in Kaunakakai on Saturday. A fire situation simulator located in an RV was set up in front of Mitchell Pauole Center between 9:30am and 2pm, and parents and kids alike were encouraged to go inside the public training tool and learn what to do in the event of fire in the home.

Guests to the fire trailer learned everything from how to roll out of bed if you hear the fire alarm to check different spots for heat on a closed door with the back of your hand. Maui County fire personnel also made keiki fire ID badges for kids who came and learned from at the event.