Author Archives: Hilary Dyer

Windmills Proposed for Homestead Land

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

UPC Wind  takes first steps in developing wind farms on Molokai.

The discussion of energy alternatives continues to blow strong on Molokai. Last week Wednesday, representatives from UPC Wind met up with Hawaiian homesteaders in Ho`olehua to seek approval to build two meteorological towers (met-towers) on homestead lands.

The towers will record wind speed, direction, and other weather data which will ultimately help decide if a wind farm would be feasible on homestead land.

Although UPC representatives are confident that the selected areas will provide enough wind for the project, they say that the homesteaders themselves will have the most say whether or not the windmills will be built.

UPC spokeswoman Noelani Kalipi said she was excited to begin the dialogue process but did not expect an immediate decision from the homesteaders. According to Kalipi, the company wants to be a part of Molokai “for the long haul” and is dedicated to building relationships with the community.

If the community approves installation of the met-towers, UPC will erect the met-towers and gather data for 12-18 months. Pending further community approval UPC would begin the first of two phases toward building a Molokai wind farm.

The first phase consists of obtaining a general lease on uninhabited homestead land from Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) where 19 small wind turbines would be built. The farm would be capable of producing 50 megawatts of electricity which would be sold to Oahu and transported via an underwater cable.

At Wednesday’s meeting, homesteaders asked why Oahu should benefit before Molokai residents.

“The resource is from us, we have the right to have it first,” a homesteader said.

Kalipi said that building and maintaining wind farms are expensive, and that Molokai doesn’t use enough electricity (on average 2.5-6 megawatts) to generate the finances necessary for operating the wind farm.

In order to make the project financially viable, UPC has to sell the power to a larger energy consumer like Oahu, explained Wren “T’ree” Westcoatt III, who works for UPC.

Kalipi said the Molokai community could benefit from the wind farm through monthly cash rebates.  She says she would also like to hear alternative ideas from the community.

Westcoatt and Kalipi both have direct connections to Molokai. Westcoatt was born and raised on the island, while Kalipi’s husband is from Molokai.

Resident Kilia Purdy said she was glad UPC Wind representatives have strong Molokai ties. “You know that they will do what is best for the island,” she said.

“Their presentation was very thorough,” Purdy said. “It’s positive for the land; it would help buy the Ranch and has other benefits for us.”

Purdy, along with others, are supporting a campaign called Buy The Ranch (BTR) which hopes to buy Molokai Ranch properties. BTR supporters say UPC’s offer to build a Molokai wind farm would provide a viable alternative to Molokai Ranch’s controversial proposed development of La`au Point.

UPC has stated that it officially supports the community’s BTR campaign. Kalipi said the company is committed to making a significant donation to the fund. In turn, the company hopes the community would eventually allow UPC to lease land to construct a larger scale wind farm.

This latter phase of UPC’s plan for Molokai includes a large, 250-350 megawatt wind farm stretching from Ho`olehua to Ilio Point, which is currently owned by Molokai Ranch.

If the BTR campaign is successful and the community agrees to a lease with UPC, access and control to all land surrounding the wind turbines would be maintained by the community.

“A lot of development plans have been brought before Molokai over the years,” said Westcoatt. “UPC’s plan is the first that doesn’t require bringing in more people or using (more) water.”

Kaheawa Wind on Maui is a 30 megawatt farm owned by UPC, and built on State Conversation Land. The farm supplies 10 percent of Maui’s energy needs.

UPC has also signed a contract with the Kauai Electric Utility Cooperative. The company’s representatives are working with Hawaiian homesteaders there toward developing a smaller wind operation.

In Kaheawa, UPC developed a nature conservation habitat on the land employing two full-time biologists. UPC representatives say the stewardship of the Kaheawa Wind property has demonstrated the company’s commitment to Hawaiian culture and preservation of the environment

 “It seems like they listen to the people,” said homesteader Will “Yama” Kaholoaa Sr.

Hawaii is the most oil dependent state in the country. Studies show that the state is 78 percent and Molokai is 100 percent dependent on petroleum.

The Hawaiian Energy Company (HECO) is currently receiving seven percent of its energy from renewable sources. Gov. Linda Lingle’s “Energy for Tomorrow” plan requires Hawaii to obtain 20 percent by 2020.

Green Energy Grants Available

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

Federal government is giving away renewable-energy grants to Molokai businesses.

By Hilary Dyer

Farmers who might be looking into renewable-energy alternatives will finally have some realistic options.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is catching up with the Renewable Energy Systems Rural Investment Act (The Farm Bill), and offering grants to assist farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses with renewable-energy projects.

USDA representative Tim O’Connell met with Molokai residents on Sept. 27 to provide information on how the island’s rural community can receive free funding from the government to lower energy costs.

Plastic Bags to be Prohibited in Maui County

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

Buyers beware – the familiar white plastic bag that carries groceries home may have its days numbered. There is currently a bill before the Maui County Council Policy Committee proposing to reduce the use of plastic bags within the county.

“The council finds and declares that in order to preserve the health, safety, welfare and scenic natural beauty of the county of Maui the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags must be regulated,” states the bill, in chapter 20.18 of the Maui County Code.

Molokai businesses have expressed concern to councilmember Danny Mateo, who also serves as chair to the county policy committee. Anyone with questions or comments is encouraged to call him.

According to Mateo’s office, the bill is before the council right now, but has not yet been brought up for discussion.

Molokai wahine finish strong in channel race.

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

During the early Sunday morning hours, hundreds of paddlers from across the United States and throughout the world, slid their canoes into the water at Hale O Lono Harbor, Molokai.

Kukui o’ Molokai, consisting primarily of paddlers from the Novice A team, were the 60th boat on the beach.

Congratulations to all the paddlers who battled it out in this year's Na Wahine O Ke Kai!

The Cost of Water

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

Molokai Irrigation finances detailed.


Homesteaders who showed up at a recent water meeting were hoping hear details about the removal of Molokai Ranch from the Molokai Irrigation System (MIS) this Thursday.

But Duane Okamoto, assistant chairman of Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), said the department has still not received any further instructions. Steps toward removing Molokai Ranch from the MIS will not be taken until the HDOA is given specific direction from the attorney general’s office.

Instead, financial implications of the Ranch’s removal from the system were examined during Okamoto’s presentation on the finances of the state-run irrigation systems.

High School Students Beautify Animal Shelter

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

Recycled container brightened up with paint and smiles

Molokai High School students spent their Saturday morning in the hot sun, painting brightly colored animals on the Humane Society’s new modular office.

“It is a nationwide program based on technology, but also encourages the students to take on community projects,” said Perry Buchalter, who directs the program on Molokai and is also the Fine Arts and Digital Media teacher at MHS.

EAST began in Arkansas by Fortune 500 companies as a way to introduce software like Adobe Suite and others, in order to improve student’s proficiency before they enroll in college.

“I want to study computer science, so EAST is really good for that,” said Cheyanne Keliihoomalu, a senior at MHS.

Like artists in training, the students were dedicated to making the recycled container appealing to the eye.

According to Buchalter, the students spearheaded the entire project. They were responsible for selecting the images to be painted, coming up with the supplies they would need and other details that surround planning a community volunteer project.

Participation in the project was optional for the students, but those who did volunteer their time and energy will be receiving class credit.

Mahalo to them, for volunteering their time for the betterment of Molokai animals. Also, mahalo to Coffees of Hawaii for supplying the volunteers with refreshments.

Molokai Catholic Community Fair

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

Fundraiser attracts patrons of all ages.

Kupuna and keiki alike came out last Saturday for the community fair hosted by the Molokai Catholic Community. Gathering at the Mitchell Pauole Center, booths selling home-made baked goods and hand-made crafts were set up inside. Outdoors, the crowd gathered in the stands to bid at the auction.

Funds raised from the event go to benefit the St. Sophia’s building project. The Catholic community has been raising money to construct a new church for the past twenty years


Indian Ambassadors Hele Mai Molokai

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

Indian Ambassadors Hele Mai Molokai

Native Americans and Hawaiians might be separated by thousands of miles of land and sea, but both cultures have a lot in common. Over the past week a group of 18 indigenous ambassadors traveled from North America to meet up with their Hawaiian cousins to explore their indigenous kinships.

AIO’s American Indian Ambassadors Program, a landmark leadership development initiative, assists early to mid-career Native American professionals develop their own unique leadership style and their ability to improve the quality of life, well-being and growth of their communities. Today over one-hundred and fifty established Native American and two Hawaiian leaders are a part of AIO’s international network of Indigenous leaders.


Photos by Chris Hammond and the American Indian Opportunity. 

County Budget

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

Mayor Charmaine Tavares, along with Councilmember Danny Mateo, met with the Molokai community on September 13 to discuss the 2009 budget. The heads of each county department were also present and listened to the financial needs of island residents.

“This is how our administration wants to be, we want to be close to the people,” said Tavares.

Community members expressed gratitude for the county funded programs on Molokai and asked for continued backing. Among the programs that stood out was the youth center, the Maui Economic Opportunity (MEO) transportation system and the Kuha`o Business Center.

Kealoha Leamoa, young member of the Independent Living Council, commended the MEO transportation system. She uses the system on a daily basis for transportation to work, school and for personal errands.

Requests Heard to Build Higher Than Two Stories

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

Ok'd for locals, not for city folk.


Zoning laws on Molokai prevent buildings from being more than two stories high or 35 ft. tall. Last Thursday the Maui County Board of Variances and Appeals (MCVBA) ruled in favor of the fire department’s request to build a 44 ft training tower and denied a request to build a three story home on the West end.

The Maui County Department of Fire and Public Safety is planning to build a training tower which is nine feet above the current allowance. The tower will help rescue workers meet training requirements for state and federal regulations, according to Molokai firefighter Greg Jenkins.

The structure will be built at the proposed Kaunakakai Fire Station located off of Alanui Ka`Imi `Ike, near its intersection with Kakahahale St.