Kaunakakai Harbor Improvements Meeting This Wednesday

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

DLNR News Release

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) will conduct a public
information meeting in Kaunakakai on Wednesday, May 16, to provide information on planned construction activities for improvements to the commuter ferry (Molokai to Maui) and the impact to harbor operations.

“DLNR is the lead agency coordinating the design and construction of this major project, in coordination with the state Department of Transportation-Harbors Division, which manages the commercial harbor side,” said William J. Aila. “Public use of this essential harbor will continue during construction.”

The meeting will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Mitchell Pau‘ole Center, 90 Ainoa St.…

Kawela Bridge Replacement Underway

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

For years, Kawela residents living along the highway about five miles east of Kaunakakai have experienced flooding of Kawela Stream during heavy rains. Now, the year-and-a-half process of replacing the Kawela Bridge has begun, which state Department of Transportation (DOT) officials say should improve water flow and mitigate future flooding.

Construction of the new bridge is scheduled to continue through January 2014, according to a statement from Goodfellow Bros., the Molokai company contracted to complete the work. The $8.4 million project is being paid for with $6.5 million in federal funds, $1.6 million in state money, and some additional funding, according to DOT spokesperson Michael Moscati.…

School Bus Services Face Cuts

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

This fall, Molokai High and Middle School students who ride the bus daily may need to figure out another way to get to school. The state Department of Education (DOE) is expecting its student transportation budget to be cut in half for the upcoming school year — a shortfall of about $20 million.

“For Molokai, it is likely that we will not be able to provide bus services for students going to middle and high school,” said Randy Moore, Assistant Superintendent for facilities and support services. “We are looking on a route-by-route basis to see if we can continue to run a bus from the far ends of the island like Maunaloa and east end.”

For parents, that would mean finding alternate modes of transportation to get their kids to and from school.…

Molokai Scooters Opens Shop

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Molokai Scooters Opens Shop

Owner David Kelly pictured on one of his for-rent mopeds with wife Jane in front of their new business. Photo by Leslie Hibner

With gas prices on the rise, Molokai Scooters may be just what residents and visitors to the island need. Oregon natives David and Jane Kelly are opening the moped rental store next door to the Bank of Hawaii in Kaunakakai, with an expected start date of April 9.

With years of experience in the retail business shared between the two, the Kellys are hopeful for the future of Molokai Scooters even before its official opening. They currently have a fleet of 20 mopeds available for rent with a 50cc engine –an engine small enough to operate with only a driver’s license under Hawaii law.…

Proposed Marine Corps Training on Molokai

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

The U.S. Marine Corps is looking to expand their presence in Hawaii, and some of their proposed operations may take place on Molokai. New aircraft would be based at Kaneohe on Oahu, but the Marine Corp’s draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) calls for increased activity at the Kalaupapa airport, and use of the Ho`olehua Airport for training.

“With new squadrons [coming], it’s important to take a look at all potentially available facilities,” said Maj. Alan Crouch.

The proposed activity was met with unanimous objection from Molokai residents who attended a Marine Corps consultation meeting last week. A public scoping meeting for the project was held on Molokai back in 2010, with a public comment period open last fall.…

Aha Kiole Drafts Protocol for Passenger Boat Industries

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

As the Molokai community continues to determine its future and where tourism fits into the economical equation, the Aha Kiole, a resource management group, has compiled the results from a series of community meetings and surveys. The document outlines guidelines for tour companies arriving to the island by boat, including American Safari Cruises (ASC), which has been making controversial stops to Molokai since October 2011.

Results of feedback gathered by the Aha Kiole over the past several months showed different levels of agreement with ASC’s visits through surveys and moku meetings. In the surveys, 85 percent of the 395 residents surveyed voted “no,” 11 percent voted “yes,” and 4 percent said “yes” but with controls.…

Marine Corps Consultations to Be Held on Molokai Airport Use

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Marine Corps Base Hawaii News Release
Marine Corps Base (MCB) Hawaii is proposing renewed use of the Molokai Airport as a re-fueling location for MV-22 “Osprey” and H-1 “Huey” and “Cobra” helicopters, as well as increased use of Kalaupapa Airport by the H-1 helicopters. On Tuesday March 27, at Mitchell Pauole Center conference room from 5 to 7 p.m., the Marine Corps is holding National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) Section 106 consultations to discuss issues and concerns related to potential effects on historic properties in the vicinity of these airports.

MCB Hawaii initiated Section 106 consultations in November 2010, and expanded consultations in December, 2011, to include discussions of other locations in Hawaii outside Oahu.…

Fuel Costs Rising, Worse to Come

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Fuel Costs Rising, Worse to Come

Molokai residents are used to some of the highest gas prices in the nation. But with an overnight jump of 25 cents last week – reaching $5.36 for regular unleaded – even locals were left in disbelief. While Molokai has seen higher prices before, experts predict record-breaking highs in gas prices by summer of this year.

In 2008, the Dispatch investigated just why oil prices were so much higher on Molokai than other parts of the state or nation. The conclusion was a combination of factors – first, supply-and-demand economics dictates that less consumption requires higher prices to turn a profit.…

Senate Bill Encourages Remote Air Service

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Hawaii Senate News Release

The Hawaii State Senate passed Senate Bill 2960 last week that would suspend landing fees for air carriers that provide interisland service to rural airports, which include Kapalua, Hana, Kalaupapa, Lanai, Molokai and Waimea-Kohala airports.

“This measure encourages commercial air carriers to continue service to the remote parts of our State,” said Sen. J. Kalani English, chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation and International Affairs. “In effect, I hope it increase reliability and stabilize air fares.”

According to a Department of Transportation report, flight activity at Kalaupapa, Kapalua, Hana, Waimea-Kohala and Lanai has steadily declined over the last five years.…

Passenger Boats Survey Results

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

Community Contributed
By `Aha Kiole o Molokai

The `Aha Kiole o Molokai has made a concerted effort to reach the community to get feedback and input regarding the arrival of the American Safari Cruises. Now, results are out from an island-wide “Advent of Passenger Boats and Yachts Survey.” A vast majority – 85 percent – of people voted “no,” 11 percent voted “yes” and 4 percent voted “yes, with controls.” We had 395 people participate in our surveys.

The results of the four Moku meetings showed 36 percent voting “no,” 8 percent voting “no” and the majority, 56 percent, voting for controls.…