Weathering the Storms

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013


A look at disaster planning on Molokai

Hurricanes, tsunamis, flooding – catastrophes like these can quickly go from bad to worse in a place as isolated as Molokai. In the midst of disaster, the island will rely first on its own – a small team of dedicated responders who are doing their best at planning for the worst.

When a tsunami hit Hawaii three years ago, 25 out of the 29 damage cases in Maui County were from Molokai, according to the Red Cross. Though these cases didn’t qualify as a disaster, the aftermath brings with it fear of what will carry Molokai through a time of need.…

Funding Available to Enter “Made in Hawaii” Product Show

Friday, June 7th, 2013


County of Maui News Release
If you have a locally-made product you would like to showcase in the “Made in Hawaii” festival but do not have the funds to pay for an exhibit, assistance is available. Funding is being offered for locally-made product companies in Maui, Molokai and Lanai to exhibit at the Made in Hawaii Festival, announced the County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development and INNOVATE Hawaii. The festival will be held August 16-18 at the Neal S. Blaisdell Exhibition Hall & Arena on Oahu.

The festival is a three-day showcase of “Made in Hawaii” products including food, books, art, gifts, fashions, plants, crafts, produce and more.…

Residential, State Efforts for More Solar Increase

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Residential, State Efforts for More Solar Increase

Molokai residents are eager to install photovoltaic (PV) panels on their roofs to reduce their energy bills and malama the environment. But current technology limits the amount of renewable energy that can be fed into the island-wide electricity grid while maintaining reliability of electric service, according to Maui Electric Company (MECO).

Because renewable energy is a variable source — solar, for example, only generates energy during the day — MECO says relying heavily on renewable sources can cause instability in electricity service. To solve this problem, utility companies, in conjunction with the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC), have established various threshold levels, also known as penetration limits, to regulate the amount of renewable energy on each circuit.…

Big Wind: Not As Big

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Focus now on island-wide energy generation

Big Wind was the nickname for the state’s energy plan that included 200-megawatt wind farms on both Molokai and Lanai to supply energy to Oahu via an undersea cable. In the latest plan, Molokai Properties Limited , also known as Molokai Ranch, had planned to lease 11,000 acres of land to wind company Pattern Energy to build 70 400-foot tall wind turbines. But that plan fell through when the Ranch called off the deal in February, announcing their decision not to renew the lease agreement.

“Big Wind is dead as far as island of Molokai,” said Doug McCleod, Maui County energy commissioner last week.…

Beyond Big Wind: Molokai’s Energy Future

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

With the possibility of an industrial scale wind farm no longer hanging over the heads of many concerned Molokai residents, the community is now looking toward Molokai’s energy future. Many options are being discussed in a conversation that is including residents, land owners, state and county officials and other energy stakeholders.

Molokai residents pay among the highest electric rates in the nation, second only to Lanai. Those prices are due largely to the rising cost of fossil fuel used to produce electricity. The price of fuel so greatly impacts electric bills because more than 50 percent of each bill is made up of fuel costs, according to Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO).…

Leading the Charge Off Grid: Organization runs on solar and wind

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Leading the Charge Off Grid: Organization runs on solar and wind

Molokai’s first smart-grid electric system is now powering nonprofit Ka Honua Momona (KHM). The Ali`i fishpond’s new office is a milestone for the organization and the island, demonstrating how rural development can utilize wind and solar energy to create electricity.

The system is off-grid, meaning KHM provides all of their own power. With the help of eight large batteries, the nonprofit organization can remain completely independent from Maui Electric even during extended windless and overcast periods. It is also a smart system, prioritizing essential appliances and automatically switching to a backup generator when all else fails.

Molokai engineer Bruce Yamashita oversaw design of the project.…

Learn About Land Preservation Incentives

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Community Contributed

By Jean Brokish, Oahu Resource Conservation and Development Council

The public is invited to attend a workshop exploring strategies and financial incentives to preserve and care for Hawaii’s agricultural lands on Thursday May 30 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the OHA conference room in Kaunakakai.

The Molokai Land Trust has been working with partners from around the state to bring this workshop to Molokai.

“This workshop will be of interest to landowners and people dedicated to caring for Molokai’s agricultural lands,” said Butch Haase, executive director for the land trust.

The morning session includes an overview of land preservation tools, including conservation easements and Important Ag Lands designation, and information on a variety of available funding sources. …

Hale Connects People to Land and Sea

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Hale Connects People to Land and Sea

At Ka Honua Momona (KHM) Ali`i fishpond, workers take breaks in the shade of a large traditional thatched hale, where it is cool even on the hottest days. Office workers can look out at the hale and 30-acre pond from the windows of the sustainable office building where administrative work supports KHM’s mission of sustainability.

KHM hasn’t always had these amenities. The office and hale are the newest addition to the Ali`i fishpond, which nine years ago was overgrown with mangrove and knee-deep in mud. Today, because of the efforts of staff and volunteers eager to preserve the site’s ancient heritage, the Ali`i and Kalakoeli fishponds serve as a place for learning, sharing and restoring.…

Maximum Protection, Minimal Change at Papohaku

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Maximum Protection, Minimal Change at Papohaku


Papohaku sand dunes protect the water from runoff and nearby homes from high tide swells. Now the system that guards so much could receive some protection from human threats. The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) proposed increased protection for the Papohaku dune system. While the changes will not likely bring enforcement of stricter development rules, officials said they hope the protection would raise awareness of the dunes’ value.

Red dirt flows into the ocean where dunes were demolished on the west end of Molokai.
Photo contributed by Arleone Dibben-Young

A 500-page document dedicated solely to the preservation of the dune system at Papohaku stresses the environmental and cultural value of the system.…

Big Funds for Organizations Making a Big Difference

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Big Funds for Organizations Making a Big Difference


Two Molokai nonprofit organizations have support to “pay it forward” in the community using awards from the Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA). Ka Honua Momona (KHM) and Kukui Ahi Patient Program at Molokai General Hospital each received $10,000 from HMSA as part of the health care coverage provider’s 75th anniversary celebration.

HMSA employees chose 10 organizations statewide to receive $10,000 each to make a difference in their communities, according to a press release about the HMSA Pays It Forward campaign.

“Our employees wanted to find a way to really stretch this gift and I’m confident this concept of paying it forward will accomplish that,” said HMSA CEO Michael Gold.…