Political

Molokai and Hawaii – Island Politics

Hundreds Testify on GMO and Pesticide Bill

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

More than 100 Molokai residents sat all day outside Molokai’s county offices last Tuesday, waiting to testify on a proposed Maui County bill aimed at regulating pesticide use and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

As currently written, the bill would establish mandatory disclosure requirements for commercial agricultural companies using certain quantities of pesticides, create buffer zones around schools, other public areas and bodies of water, and require public notification before pesticide applications. It also calls for the county to complete studies on the possible environmental and health impacts of large-scale agricultural companies that use pesticides and GMOs.

Introduced by Maui Council Member Elle Cochran, the bill resembles one passed into law on Kauai in November.…

Hanabusa Talks With Molokai

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Hanabusa Talks With Molokai

With the primary election approaching in August, Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa made a stop on Molokai last week and sat down to talk story with residents and answer questions. Here, The Molokai Dispatch summarizes some of those questions and her responses.

A fourth generation resident from the Waianai coast, Hanabusa said though she is not Native Hawaiian, the cause is especially important to her, along with education and seeing student success in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Question (Q): How do you see the future of energy in Hawaii?
Colleen Hanabusa (CH): You’re not going to go independent of fossil fuels overnight.…

County Seeks Input for Home Business Bill

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

There are currently 355 registered business owners on Molokai and most of them are home based, according to Jennifer Hawkins, small business specialist at the Kuha’o Business Center. These businesses are regulated by the Maui County Council under a bill currently up for revision. But when the council visited Molokai last week, asking for feedback on how to best tailor these standards and encourage small businesses, many Molokai business owners revealed they never knew the ordinance existed.

“I feel very unprepared as do most of us [home-based business owners] here to speak on this,” said local business owner Brenda Kaneshiro before the council Wednesday evening.…

County, Monsanto Sign Pesticide Agreement

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Maui County and Monsanto signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) last week that requires Monsanto to disclose information about pesticide use on a voluntary basis. Monsanto operates on both Maui and Molokai.

“Responsible use of pesticides is a concern for us all, especially for those of us who grew up on these islands when sugar cane and pineapples were our main exports,” said Mayor Arakawa. “There must be safeguards and a sharing of information, and I believe the AG Oversight Agreement [MOU] is a proactive step we needed to take….”

The MOU comes shortly after bills were passed on both Kauai and Hawaii Island involving restrictions on the use of pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).…

Federal Gov. Shutdown Felt on Molokai

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

While the shutdown of the federal government for two weeks earlier this month didn’t affect the daily lives of many Molokai residents, it did have a marked impact on some. The National Park Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other federal agencies with employees on Molokai all felt the federal actions directly.

Across the country, 800,000 federal civilian workers were furloughed for 16 days after the government faced a partial shutdown starting Oct. 1. More than one million members of the military remained on the job, as well as just over one million civilian federal workers involved in operations deemed essential, including air-traffic controllers and TSA inspectors, among others.…

Teachers’ Turn To Learn

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

One hundred of Molokai’s 120 Kindergarten through 12th grade teachers congregated at Molokai High School last Wednesday for a day of personal and professional development. While students around the island had the day off, teachers were busy learning in the classroom.

Called Teacher’s Institute Day 2013, the event allowed Molokai teachers a day to sit down with each other as well as representatives from the Hawaiian State Teacher’s Association (HSTA) teachers union and the National Education Association (NEA). Together they discussed teaching rights in Hawaii and how the state education system can progress looking ahead.

“Teachers don’t have enough time to talk to each other because they are so busy during the school day,” said Princess Moss, NEA executive board member. …

Honoring Sen. Inouye’s Legacy

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

Molokai community members gathered last Wednesday evening to remember the legacy of the late Senator Daniel Inouye, who helped bring millions of dollars in federal funding to support a variety of Molokai programs. Inouye’s wife Irene, son Kenny and former chief of staff Jennifer Sabas visited the island as part of a Hawaii tour to say mahalo to his supporters and celebrate his legacy.

“We’ve been doing a series of thank you events to thank his many contributors and friends,” said Irene Inouye. The tour falls shortly before the first anniversary of Inouye’s death last December.

“This was one of his favorite islands,” said Billy Akutagawa, executive director of Na Pu`uwai and organizer of Wednesday’s event.…

Community Calls for County Funds

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Community members had the chance to tell county officials and representatives Thursday that although Molokai is distinct from other islands in the county, they deserve the equal support in the next Fiscal Year 2015 Maui County budget.

“[Our islands] are not the same, but we are not divided,” said Ruth Ululani Manu to county officials at the budget hearing. “We are one ohana.”

Concerned residents, organizations and community leaders voiced which public services need continued and additional support from the county for the next fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014. Although Mayor Alan Arakawa could not attend the meeting due to a U.S.…

Talk Story with Sen. Schatz

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Talk Story with Sen. Schatz

Last week, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz made a visit to Molokai and talked story with business owners, farmers, advocates and residents. Schatz is former Hawaii Lt. Governor, and was elected by Gov. Abercrombie to serve out Daniel Inouye’s term until the 2014 special election, for which he is running. As a senator, Schatz sits on three Senate committees: Commerce, Energy and Natural Resources, and Indian Affairs. Here are some excerpted questions and answers — some from a conversation with the Dispatch and others from community members.

Question (Q): What do you love about Molokai?
Schatz’s answer (A): It’s the sense of people depending on each other and real aloha.…

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.…