Author Archives: Brandon Roberts

Honoring Hula

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Honoring Hula

Hula Momona

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

Molokai’s past is reborn in the present.

By Brandon Roberts

‘The heartbeat of our culture is dance. It is the essence of ourselves. Every movement in the universe is in our dance,’ wrote the late John Ka`imikaua, Ka Hula Piko founder. Hula dates back to the Eighth Century, where a Molokai wahine named La`ila`i is said to have given birth to the dance at Ka`ana on the hill Pu`u Nana..

In its 17th year, Ka Hula Piko is creating a new identity. To honor their Kumu Hula Ka`imikaua, the Halau Hula O Kukunaokala’s sunrise ceremony atop Maunaloa was private this year. Kumu Ka`imikaua’s haumana Sulu Tafaoimalo said “we are starting over, please respect that, and next year the ceremony may again be open to the public.”

Kalaupapa Settlement Seeing Growth

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Kalaupapa Settlement Seeing Growth

Peninsula designated “dream destination” by Life Magazine.

By Brandon Roberts

Larger airplanes are landing; bigger barges are planned in the harbor, and the National Park Service (NPS) is hiring more employees. There is no doubt, Kalaupapa is expanding.

Kalaupapa residents were informed at the monthly community meeting May 13 that their airport has new requirements due to the larger passenger planes that are now landing on the peninsula. Governor Linda Lingle has also appropriated just over one million dollars for pier construction and harbor facilities that should be completed by the fall of 2009.

Michael McCarten, administrator for the Department of Health (DOH), announced to residents that Life Magazine will contribute to the peninsula’s notoriety with the inclusion of Kalaupapa in a list of top 50 ‘dream destinations’. He said news was a total surprise and that state and federal officials were not informed prior to the designation.

The class three aircraft now using the Kalaupapa Airport can carry over 10 passengers requiring new codes and restrictions from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Hawaii Department of Transportation (DOT).

Kevin Funasaki, Airports Division project manager for DOT, told residents gathered in McVeigh Hall that a new perimeter fence will be built around the Kalaupapa Airport within the next year. The fence’s main purpose is to keep animals off the runway. Funasaki reassured residents that archeological sites would not be disturbed.

Completion of the new fence is dependent upon the barge service and new Kalaupapa NPS Supervisor Stephen Prokop informed residents that a one-year contract will be signed soon for continued barge service, and that the next barge will dock on July 19.

Prokop explained that the new contract will not be with Young Brothers (YB), who did not bid with the peninsula this year. Earlier this year, YB decommissioned a smaller barge to service the settlement.

Consultants from Leo A. Daly presented the new Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting plan for the airport, which will consist of a new building to house a fire engine and two firefighters.

Figures from April said the Kalaupapa settlement consists of 27 residents, 46 state Department of Health officials, 40 NPS employees, and one DOT employee. However, according to Prokop, Kalaupapa currently has six positions open, including a Law Enforcement Ranger, an Ecologist, and an Administrative clerk, as well as maintenance workers for the new solid waste facility.

Prokop added that besides the six jobs mentioned, an additional three will be added to the list soon. To accommodate the expanding workforce, 11 new housing units will be finished sometime in July.

Tourism and infrastructure expected to expand - patient pensions will also get a boost from the 2008 legislative session and the Department of Health. Patients can expect increased checks, as well as compensation from 2007, when the bill was introduced but not passed.  

The next Kalaupapa community meeting is set for 11:30 a.m. on June 10 in McVeigh Hall. Settlement residents are also invited to a community block party on July 16 at 6 p.m.

Hula Mana`o

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Hula Mana`oBy Brandon Roberts

“Hula is the language of the heart, therefore the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people” – King Kalakaua

Hula is more than dance, it is life, and with the annual Ka Hula Piko, I thought it would be appropriate to ask haumana from Ka Pa Hula ‘O Hina ‘O Ka Po La’ila’i how they incorporate the Hawaiian tradition into their everyday lives.

surrounds us has a story to tell and deserves respect.

Bettering Business

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Chamber of Commerce facilitates over 200 ID cards and elects new members.

By Brandon Roberts

Sitting quietly behind Molokai businesses is the Chamber of Commerce, which works tirelessly to improve the efficiency of local industry, and save us all some money.

The Chamber’s most recent success enabled individuals to attain Transportation Workers Identification Credentials (TWIC) which allow entry to Kaunakakai wharf for those needing to pick-up or drop-off freight. The identification card will be required no later than April 15, 2009 with the actual date to be determined by the Coast Guard.

Lockheed-Martin, the private contractor hired to process the cards by the Department of Homeland Security, was asked to come to Molokai by the Chamber. The Chamber partnered with the Kahu`o Business Center, and set up a processing tent outside the center’s office.

Challenge Day

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Island schools create safe environment.

By Vicki Newberry, Principal at Aka`ula School

Our Aka`ula Challenge Day was amazing, to put it succinctly. We played games, celebrated our achievements, and took time to look at the events that have shaped our lives. Then we did some soul searching for ways to let go of the hurts incurred as well as to make amends for those we have given.

Students from Aka`ula and Molokai High School created ‘change teams’, which have been actively engaged in making their campuses welcoming and safe for students, staff, and visitors. The culmination was a series of workshops to educate the youth on positivity, safety, and cooperation.

Our job now is to walk our talk and to be a part of a community that strives to ensure that each young person feels "safe, loved, and celebrated."

All 46 students (sixth-eighth graders), 14 adults (including five teachers), and the two trainers, Nola Boyd and Michael Allen participated in the positive event. They agreed unanimously that the day was life changing.

Molokai Enterprise Community Plans to Cancel Public Elections

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

Letting a little “sunshine” in on the sun-setting agency.

By Brandon Roberts

Molokai Enterprise Community (EC) will lose it’s federal funding status later this year on Dec. 24, at which time it will continue on as Ke Aupuni Lokahi (KAL). According EC interim director and president, Stacy Crivello, any remaining grant money will be lost if it is not spent by this date.

In light of the looming deadline, EC interim director and president, Stacy Crivello, is pushing the board of directors to amend the EC by-laws to allow a cancellation publicly held annual elections. Crivello said that it was not the time to bring in new board members when the EC must appropriate and spend its remaining funds.

Eugene Edward Shepherd

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

Eugene Edward Shepherd, Jr., 67, of Ocean View, Hawaii died May 12 at Hilo Medical Center. Born in Wyoming, Eugene was a retired maintenance worker at Kalaupapa Airport on Molokai. He is survived by daughter Aura (Robert Reino Wirkkula) Shepherd of Ocean View, brothers John (Joyce) Shepherd, Darro “Cub” Shepherd, and Jeff Shepherd, and sisters Melody Shepherd and Martha (Wes Stevens) Shepherd. Private services.

Theresa Lopez Motas

Saturday, May 17th, 2008


Theresa Lopez Motas, 92, of Maunaloa, Molokai died May 6 at Queen’s Medical Center. Born in Hana, Maui. Theresa is survived by sons, Benjamin Motas and Gil Motas; daughters, Leonora Manangan, Jean Han and Lillian Lee; sister Linda Cortez; 20 grandchildren; 33 great-grandchildren; 19 great-great-grandchildren. Visitation 8:30-11:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 24, at the Lanikeha Recreation Center across from the Hoolehua Fire Station. Service 11:00 a.m. Burial to follow at the Maunaloa Cemetery.

Until We Read Again

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008





Tulua and Teehani Aivao enjoy their last Read Aloud at Kualapu`u Elementary.

Read Aloud program holds last session of 2008.

By Brandon Roberts

“My kids begged me to bring them,” said Lenora Aivao. “They really look forward to this.” Aivao and her keiki Tulua (8), Teehani (7), and Taoso (18 months) attended four of the six Read Aloud programs held at Kualapu`u Elementary School. “This program has really helped - our family loves to read, and now we read a lot.”

This past Wednesday was the last of the Read Aloud series to be held at Kualapu`u and Maunaloa this year. The program will return next January to the Kilohana and Kaunakakai Elementary Schools. This was also the last session with co-founder and presenter Jed Gaines. Next year, local educator Matt Helm will head up the program.

“Anything positive, I am up for it,” Helm said of Read Aloud, “and what a great way to bring families together.” Helm came to the first session with his family, and has seen a difference in his `ohana. “Look at the statistics, this program works.”

Some families attended all six Read Aloud sessions, like Ronette Castro and her grandsons, Kukahi (10) and Kama`aina (9) Meyers. “The boys have had a lot of improvement in their reading skills, and enjoy it,” Castro said.

The enjoyment factor is tops for the Read Aloud program, which creates an atmosphere where the keiki read for pleasure. “I enjoy reading more and more, and have really gotten interested in books,” said the Meyer’s boys. Kukahi recently read ‘Tiger Rising” which is almost 200 pages long.