Search Results for: New Beginnings

New Beginnings for Molokai’s Guzeiji Soto Mission

Thursday, September 29th, 2022

New Beginnings for Molokai’s Guzeiji Soto Mission

By Jack Kiyonaga | Community Reporter

Early last Sunday morning, community members gathered at Molokai’s Guzeiji Soto Mission in Kaunakakai with shovels, rakes, tree saplings and lots of food. After digging up weeds and planting trees along the fence, the volunteers then moved picnic tables built and painted by Molokai High School students. Although much had been done at the Buddhist temple, the day represented just a small part of the large-scale project currently underway at the Soto Mission. 

Suzanne Langford, president of the Alana Ke Aloha: Krause Family Foundation, and Lisa Takata, president of Molokai’s Soto Mission, are co-directors of the new project at Guzeiji.…

New Beginnings on Molokai

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

Leaders discuss opportunities which may come from Ranch closure.

By Todd Yamashita

Molokai community leaders are joining efforts to find solutions for the island’s economy in the aftermath of Molokai Ranch’s closure.

“Yesterday was about the Ranch, today is about the people of Molokai,” said Councilman Danny Mateo.

A few days after Ranch CEO Peter Nicholas abruptly announced the company’s shutdown, soon-to-be former employees rallied in Kaunakakai, holding signs blaming environmental activists for the loss of their jobs.

However, as the finger-pointing begins to subside, community leaders are stepping up efforts to re-shift the focus on where to go next.

“There’s something good about the Ranch getting out,” said DeGray Vanderbilt former chair of Molokai Planning commission. “It’s an opportunity for people to come together to work on … various plans.”

“We need to hold a community forum talking about where we go from here,” said Mateo, who hopes individuals will be motivated to come together.

At least 30 people did just that last Saturday, at Molokai Community Service Council (MCSC) conference room. Their goal is to filter through thousands of pages of community plans spanning almost three decades, to piece together a single comprehensive document which will chart the course of Molokai’s future.

“Molokai has a destiny,” said Kauwila Hanchett, Molokai Youth Center instructor. “This is where we need to be at this point in time.”

Hanchett, who has two sisters who will be laid off by the Ranch as early as April 5, said “the Ranch failed because it was not pono.”

“I want Molokai to be an example,” community advocate Bridget Mowat said. “This island is special.” Her words echoed what many others at the meeting said. Mowat put education, sustainability, and environments stewardship at the top of Molokai’s list of priorities.

“It’s good to know that we’re on the same track,” said homesteader Walter Ritte, briefly displaying at least ten large community plans, all of which he said he participated in creating.

Ritte explained that the plans’ emphasis on subsistence and sustainable practices is what has set Molokai apart from all other state plans. At least 38 percent of Hawaiians on Molokai depend on some means of subsistence to survive, Ritte said. 

Among the plans being reviewed are the Ranch’s Master Land Use Plan, Alternative to La`au Development Committee plan, Molokai Community Plan, and Molokai Enterprise Community (EC) plan.

“A lot of these things have been done, we don’t need to start from scratch,” said Kahualaulani Mick, who helped facilitate the meeting. He said that the EC plan had been hijacked by “special interests,” but overall it was a great plan, and the community should take it back.

Taking back the most important aspect of the EC plan is exactly what MCSC executive director Karen Holt plans. She authored the original EC plan, in 1998. Holt said the community had made buying back Molokai Ranch property the plan’s top priority.

“We can buy the Ranch,” said Holt, noting that UPC Wind has already pledged $50 million.

While most at the meeting agreed Ranch could be bought Steve Morgan, of environmental group Hui Ho`opakele `Aina, stressed that action must be taken immediately.

“It’s fire sale and we have to act now,” Morgan said. Guoco Leisure Limited, the Singapore based company which owns Molokai Ranch, is facing poor publicity, a stalled development, and falling stock prices, which Morgan said leaves very little time to make a deal.

“I’d say we have less than a month to get this thing together,” he said.

Getting it together will include meetings all week long, beginning with a homesteaders meeting with UPC April 1 at Lanikeha Hall in Ho`olehua at 6 p.m., and a community advocates meeting on April 2 in the QLCC conference room at 6 p.m..

A series of youth organized meetings will take place on Tuesday, April 8, at Kaunakakai Elementary School; Wednesday, April 9 at Maunaloa Elementary School; Tuesday, April 15 at the Kilohana Community Center, and Wednesday, April 16 at Lanikeha Hall. The meetings, open to everyone, will be from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Same Face, New School

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Same Face, New School

Denise Kelly has seen plenty of new beginnings. After floating around as principal of multiple schools in the last nine years, she has begun a new journey as acting principal of Molokai Middle School (MMS).

Ending last school year in leadership limbo, MMS was able to snag Kelly, former acting principal of Molokai High School, as an interim principal until a new one is hired. Former MMS Principal Gary Zukeran, who started in 2004, retired at the end of the 2009-10 school year.

scores last year,” she said. “I’d like to see that continue.”

While there wasn’t much time for transition or for Kelly to learn about the school, she said one of the concerns she is aware of, and would like to address, is the lack of communication between staff and families.

“It’s important for parents to know how their students are progressing and information about the school in general,” Kelly said. “I want to make sure we remain vigilant with our communication.”

Kelly’s experience with Molokai schools extends back to 2001, when she moved to the Friendly Isle from Phoenix, Ariz. For two years, Kelly taught at Kilohana Elementary, which she later served as acting principal. She has also worked as a District Educational Specialist, overseeing special education at Molokai and Lanai schools, before transitioning into the role of acting principal at MHS for one year. After being replaced by Stanford Ha`o this year, Kelly was able to slide into the vacant spot at MMS.

“I’m glad I’ve been able to stay,” she said. “I really do enjoy working for this community.”

A Living Church

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

A Living Church

It was a solemnity and emotional groundbreaking ceremony as members of the Molokai Catholic Parish, community members and dignitaries bade farewell to the charred remains of St. Sophia Church to celebrate new beginnings. The blackened Crucifix and Stations of the Cross were laid to rest under the future alter of St. Damien Church, and parishioners gave their final blessing by throwing flowers.

The Bishop of Honolulu, Reverend Larry Silva told the story of how he was given a wooden cross carved from the wood of a monkey pod tree planted by St. Damien at Our Lady of Seven Sorrows.
“So it is we plant a seed today to grow not just into a building but into a living church. This isn’t just for the people here today but for generations to come.”

Molokai at the Inauguration

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

The Friendly Isle represents in D.C.

By Todd Yamashita

We awake the morning of Obama’s inauguration a little before 4:30am. Though bleary-eyed and exhausted, Noe and I are eager to begin the journey from her parents’ house in northern Virginia, to the capital in Washington D.C.

Today, D.C. is at the center of the world. All eyes are on the nation’s capital to witness perhaps the biggest change in American politics since the induction of the nation’s first president. It is estimated that over 100 million television and internet viewers tuned in to the event.

More important to Noe and I, there are over 2 million who are physically making their way to the same place at the same time. To make matters a bit more interesting, the temperature is in the teens and possibly even colder with wind-chill.

By 6 a.m., we are on the train. The trip into town is only 16 miles as the crow flies and normally takes 20 minutes. But today there are so many people packing in that the train’s doors won’t close and we are stalled on the tracks a number of times. After an hour and a half in transit we become aware that our journey to witness the inauguration is a race against time.

After emerging from the subway we meet up with a friend and begin navigating the city streets. It’s an amazing sight – all the roads and highways are closed to traffic but instead are crowded with hundreds of thousands of people. At one point we enter a mile-long highway tunnel packed with more people than live on the entire island of Molokai.

At 8:45 a.m. we finally locate the Blue Gate which is the security entrance onto the National Mall. Our tickets place us in a good spot - less than a quarter mile from the capital. But unfortunately, there are over 240,000 thousand people holding the same ticket, many of whom are in our line, which is as wide as it is long.

It’s now 9:45 a.m. and in the past 45 minutes we’ve moved just five feet closer to the front of the line which is still so far ahead we can’t even see it. Finally we’re in! It’s 11 a.m., and with thirty minutes to spare, we find a relatively uncrowded spot on the lawn.

The Inauguration
The capital is huge – it’s so much larger than it appears in photos. Although we are not positioned to see the actual ceremony, we are very close to the jumbotrons, allowing us to see and hear everything in detail.

The crowd cheers as various politicians grace the screen --  Ted Kennedy, Colin Powell, the Clintons. But not everyone is as popular – Lieberman, Cheney, and Bush receive jeers. As Sasha and Malia make their way out the crowd erupts again in celebration.

Anticipation is high. There is electricity in the air. Finally Obama appears and the crowd erupts into a raucous cheer. Noe and I can’t believe we’re here.

Canons thunder around the city. Obama is sworn in and is now officially the 44th president of the United States. “My fellow citizens, I stand here today humbled by the task before us…”

It’s amazing. A crowd of nearly 2 million falls completely silent as the president speaks. We have all come such a long way and have waited patiently for this experience. Eight years of an unpopular president, two wars, a troubled economy. During this time of challenge and doubt, here stands an unlikely leader exuding hope and the promise of new beginnings. The crowd is spellbound.

It’s now 1:30 P.M. and the crowds are dispersing. The bone-chilling cold is relentless and all we can think about is finding warmth and food. We watch the rest of the inauguration from a nearby pub. CNN shows Bush Jr.’s 747 leaving for Texas and the entire restaurant celebrates – the city now belongs to the Democrats. A resident describes it as a weight that’s been lifted and the mood is all-around jubilation.

Welcome to the Ball
A quick power-nap and shower at a friend’s house and we’re ready for more. We set off on an “Amazing Race”-like jaunt across the city to the Washington Convention Center where thousands of celebrities, politicians and Obama supporters are congregating for several celebrations. Noe and I were lucky to score tickets to the Obama Home States Ball which combines Illinois and Hawaii revelers.

In D.C., movie stars take a backseat to the popular politicians. We’re lucky – the last major event of our whirlwind journey is headlined by none other than President Obama himself! In person, Obama is twice as engaging and charismatic as he is on TV. After greeting the crowd with an aloha, he gives a quick speech thanking supporters and proceeds to dance with his wife.

Obama and Michelle have amazing chemistry and without a doubt are still very much in love. How cool is it to have a young Hawaii-raised president who happens to be a happy and positive person?

As quick as he had popped on stage, Obama is gone. Noe and I, along with everyone else, are in awe to have shared the same space with this amazing man.

Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, have stopped by for a quick appearance. Biden seems to be as laid back and jovial as Obama. After joking with the crowd and dancing with his wife, he, too, is  off.

Soon North Shore musician Jack Johnson takes the stage. The eco-conscious artist who normally performs in T-shirt and slippers admits it’s his first time performing in a suit. Accompanied by John Cruz, the duo is putting on a show that’s all about good times and aloha. We are happy to get a photo with Jack after the show then call it a night.

Representing Molokai
After sleeping in a bit we return to D.C. the following morning to meet with Hawaii’s politicians and offer ho`okupu (gifts) from Molokai. Representing the island’s businesses -- Molokai Visitors Association, Molokai Mele, Gourmet Salts by Nancy Gove, Dan Bennett Pottery, Purdy’s Mac Nuts, Decoite’s L&R Farms, and the Molokai Dispatch each donated items – mahalo!

First on our list is Sen. Akaka, who graciously accepts us into his office. From there we shake hands with Sen. Inouye in the hall, then make our way to House of Representatives office building. We meet with Rep. Abercrombie who is delighted with the gifts and we’re quickly off to Rep. Hirono’s place. She isn’t around but her attentive staff makes us feel quite welcome.

Back at Sen. Akaka’s, we take a break and talk story with him about Hawaii and politics. Moments earlier, he had met with constituents and confirmed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. But he was most excited about recently swearing in Gen. Shinseki as secretary of Veterans Affairs, who he had worked hard to facilitate to the new post. We also talk about his support for the Kalaupapa Memorial Act, but most of all, Akaka enjoys talking about his love of the islands and its people.

Sharing with Sen. Akaka our excitement for Obama is a highlight of the trip. Akaka, with over thirty years of service in D.C., helps us to put it all in perspective. The sacrifices are great, but you can hear it in his voice that working to better the lives of our greater `ohana is truly what it means to be a great politician.

Mahalo again to our own `ohana who have made great sacrifices for us to travel to the inauguration. Mahalo also to our Molokai supporters and our Hawaii constituents who helped to open doors for us along the way. The excitement and hope we have for our nation, state, and island are our own personal ho`okupu to our new president. May all of our collective optimism pave the way for a better world!

Much Aloha, Todd and Noe Yamashita

For photos of the trip, please visit Noelani Yamashita's Facebook page.

MHS Alumna a Star in Astronomy Research

Thursday, June 8th, 2023

MHS Alumna a Star in Astronomy Research

By Catherine Cluett Pactol, Editor

When she was a freshman at Molokai High School in 2017, Mallory Go set her sights on the stars and proposed astronomy research that would become groundbreaking. She captured the first look at magnetic fields within the iconic and beautiful Horsehead Nebula. Six years later, a paper she co-authored has been published in an astronomy journal.

“[A nebula is] a big cloud of dust and the Horsehead Nebula is a very cold cloud of dust,” explained Go.

At the time, not much research existed on the Horsehead Nebula, which has a district and identifiable shape as its name describes.…

Makahiki, a Celebration of the Harvest

Wednesday, December 14th, 2022

Community Contributed

By Glenn I. Teves, UH CTAHR Molokai Extension Agent

In ancient Hawaii, the rising of the constellation Makali’i, also known as Pleiades or the Seven Sisters, signaled the start of the Makahiki season and the season of the harvest. Southerly storms signaled the arrival of Lono i ka Makahiki, a special season to give thanks for the bounty of food, and another year without famine. The celebration of abundance was probably the most important aspect of Makahiki, while also giving thanks to the God Lono, the god of fertility, agriculture, rain, music, and peace for blessing our fertile, fat lands or ‘aina momona. …

Friendly Isle Festival

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

Friendly Isle Festival

The first Friendly Isle Festival attracted hundreds of people to Mitchell Pauole Center throughout the day last Saturday. Whether it was for a sports clinic, to get some killer deals on clothing, for a bite to eat, to listen to live music or just to chat with one of Hawai‘i’s rising mixed martial arts stars, there was something for everyone in the ‘ohana.

Paulele Alcon, owner of Hawai‘i’s Finest clothing and concert promotion company, said it has been a goal of them since their beginnings almost 8 years ago to put together a free festival such as the one last week.…

Blood Quantum Bill Signed on Molokai

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Blood Quantum Bill Signed on Molokai

Last week, Governor David Ige signed a historic bill on Molokai that changes the blood quantum requirement for successorship to Hawaiian Homestead land from one quarter to one thirty-second. It marked the first time a bill has ever been signed on the island, and held special significance for Molokai homesteaders.

Hawaii’s first homestead was established in in Kalama`ula in 1921, and Department of Hawaiian Homelands Chairperson Jobie Masagatani said Molokai homesteaders once again came forward as leaders in spurring Bill 451 forward.

“[It] actually was the beneficiaries from Kalama`ula initially who came to the [Hawaiian Homes] Commission and asked for [their] support…” said Masagatani during the signing ceremony at Kulana `Oiwi last Wednesday.…

Hatched, Matched and Dispatched   

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Community Contributed

By Father Pat Killilea, St. Francis Church, Kalaupapa

As we checked in at the former Pau Hana Inn, I received a warm welcome capped by a big hug from graphic designer, Laura Pilz. She had come all the way from Colorado for this evening’s celebration. Now instead of hiking down and up the steep Kalaupapa trail in order to cover our monthly settlement meeting, she faces the might and the majesty of the Rocky mountains. I had taken the previous day’s 2:15 p.m. flight from Kalaupapa to Topside Molokai, entrusting my life to Makani Kai Air’s Captain Sean. Now in the company of Sacred Hearts Father Mike Kelly, known in his days in the Bahamas as the mayor of Nassau, we took our seats at table in this historic place.…