Author Archives: Devin Hogan

The 2006 Crowning of Miss Molokai

Friday, December 15th, 2006

Music, dance and class filled last Saturday evening’s Ms. Molokai and Miss Outstanding Teen pageant. Five beautiful ladies strutted on a beautiful stage for judges and the packed audience at Lanikeha Community Center. At the end of the evening Tiana Conley was crowned Ms. Molokai and Terina Naki crowned Ms. Outstanding Teen. Both ladies will now represent Molokai in the statewide Ms. Hawaii and Ms. Outstanding Teen Hawaii pageants.

The first competition category was swimwear/sportswear. First runner-up in the Ms. division, Natasha Kamake`eaina-Tom, won the category with an elegant but simple white two-piece. The Ms. Outstanding Teen group, which is an under 17 category, first featured Kylee Dudoit-English in full dirtbike gear, complete with jumpsuit, helmet and boots. Terina Naki came next, ready for volleyball practice, and first runner up Desiree Cavalar posed in her best golf gear.

Between the events, organizer Le`a Tupola presented a sash to Chelsea Simon as Ms. Molokai Junior Teen. Simon takes the pageantry and life coaching classes that Tupola offers free to local residents.

Each of the five contestants danced hula in the talent contest and the eveningwear category finished off the presentation part of the competition. Afterwards, special guests Ms. Kona Coffee and Ms. Hawaii sang and danced respectively. Last year’s winner, Leimana Ritte-Camara, performed a hula to a chant.

At the end of the night, the five ladies gathered for the final question. Ms. Hawaii asked each contestant about hobbies or their platforms. The platform is the subject contests want to educate the public about. Tupola said winning the pageant gives you a “year of service to promote your platform.”

Kamake`eaina-Tom, first runner-up in the Ms. Division, chose teen pregnancy as her platform. Conley, the winner, chose dental health, which fits in with her career goal to become a dental hygienist.
The crowning ceremony that evening brought tears of joy and applause from the audience.

Event organizer, Tupola, grew up with an auntie in the pageantry business and it became a hobby his first year at Kamehameha Schools. He knew a few girls in the Ms. Hawaii pageant and helped them prepare. Last year he decided to bring back the Ms. Molokai pageant after a 22-year hiatus. “Next year will be even bigger and better,” he said.

Tupola offers free classes in pageantry and life and business skills every Saturday at 11:00 at Molokai Outdoor Activities. For more information visit his website at

Molokai Film Festival to feature performance by John Cruz

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

Singer/songwriter John Cruz remembers good times playing music and “rolling around in the mud” in Halawa Valley, but he has not visited Molokai in a while. This Saturday, however, Cruz will return to play a concert and preview his new documentary.

“I love the island and people of Molokai,” the Oahu native said in an interview with the Dispatch. I’m looking forward to coming back. It sounds like its going to be a great celebration”

Cruz will play songs from his upcoming new album after a premiere of his biographical documentary at the Molokai Film Festival. His first album, “Acoustic Soul,” won two Na Hoku Hanohano awards and gave him notoriety all over the Islands. Individual tracks still receive radio airplay.

He also won a Grammy last year for his contribution “Jo Bo’s Night” to the compilation CD Slack Key Guitar Volume 2. It hasn’t changed his local boy down-to-earth demeanor at all, but the benefits are nice. “I get a few more phone calls returned than I used to,” he said.

His new (and as yet untitled) album will be “a little more bluesy,” Cruz said. He just finished recording the songs at Jackson Browne’s recording studio in Los Angeles and is hoping for a February release date.

The opening act for Saturday’s performance is “Made of Music - The Story of John Cruz.” The documentary talks of Cruz’s struggles and successes and includes stories by friends such as Jack Johnson, Jackson Browne, Kelly Slater and Jake Shimabukuro. It features live performances of his music and some fun stories Cruz has to share.

In the interview with the Dispatch, Cruz shared stories about jamming with Bill Clinton on the East Coast and with friends in Halawa Valley. In 1993 Cruz played in a band in Martha’s Vineyard, a popular vacation spot for Washington elite. His band played for a surprise party of a Clinton staffer, and when the President arrived Cruz shouted, “Bill’s in the house!”

After a hush came across the room, several staff members reminded Cruz to refer to Clinton as Mr. President. “I was quickly reminded that ‘Bill’s in the house’ doesn’t work,” Cruz said. Later on, though, Clinton and Carly Simon got on stage to jam with the band.

He also shared a story about a Molokai show. During a performance in Halawa Valley the generator powering the sound system went down. Someone offered his Volkswagen Beetle to use as the sound system. “So we ran the system through the Bug and it sounded great,” Cruz said. “He saved the gig.”

The Molokai Film Festival takes place Saturday, Dec. 9 at Kaunakakai Ball Park. Gates open at 3:00 p.m. and music begins at 4:00. Films start at sunset under the Molokai stars. Admission is free.

Las Vegas Challenge offers extra incentives to stay healthy

Monday, December 4th, 2006

eating habits have kind of filtered down to our children, whether they like it or not,” said Ah Van. Her advice for patients trying to become healthier is to “just do things slowly. If you do big drastic changes it’s really hard.”

The hospital measured patients’ Hemoglobin A1c lab values in November and compared the results to initial readings from August. A Hemoglobin A1c blood test averages the blood glucose level over several months. The closer patients stay to average (six percent), the less of a risk of diabetes-related complications. For each tenth of a percent lost, patients were awarded points. The group with the most combined points won the contest.

The second place group of Lita Lin Kee, Sylvia Pabalan and Beatrice Moran also lowered their hemoglobin A1c values to normal levels and won gift certificates to the Kualapu`u Cookhouse. Alice Smith won a certificate for acquiring the most points in the contest.

Besides offering another incentive to stay healthy, Molokai General Hospital used the contest to increase awareness and enrollment in its Diabetes Care Management Program, said Jeanette Bince, the Diabetes Nurse Educator and director of the Challenge.

The program, certified by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), provides education and ongoing work with physicians to help patients maintain their diabetes. The hospital funded the contest with a grant from the University of Hawaii Department of Native Hawaiian Health. “The grant is for two years, so we’re going to do another one next year,” Bince said.

Native Hawaiians are twice as likely to have diabetes as whites, according to the ADA. The Hawaii Diabetes Association reports Native Hawaiians have higher mortality rates than any other ethnic group in the state. Diabetes rates on Molokai are average with Maui County and the state.

Almost 21 million children and adults in the United States – about seven percent of the population – have diabetes.

Grandparents Day

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

Grandparents Day

Bennett’s back with many Molokai Mugs

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

“I like a pot that shows where it came from,” says Dan Bennett. The Molokai potter makes sure his stoneware shows its sculpting by human hands – doing so gives the glaze a texture.

Bennett will also show where his pottery came from at an exhibition and sale on Dec. 9. For those that make the trek to his home and studio in Kalae, Bennett will give a demonstration “if people ask for one.”

Bennett used to have a sale at least once annually since 1974, the year he came to Molokai to teach math at the high school. However, in 1999 he was evicted from his house and studio in Kipu. He built a new house in Kalae, but did not have a place to work or put his kiln until a recent addition of a studio and bedroom.

The new workspace holds two wheels to build the pots as well as shelves to display the work. It’s a step up from his studio in Kipu, which was little more than a shack that let in the elements.

Now that Bennett is retired he spends quite a bit of time on his hobby. Finished pots and dishes line an entire wall of the studio. Shelves on the other side hold work waiting to be fired in the kiln or to be glazed.

“I try to make honest pots,” he says. “Things you can use.”

One honest pot Bennett has perfected is the Molokai mug. Costing around $10, the bluish mugs have MOLOKAI emblazoned across the front. On either side is a kukui leaf design.

Bennett says that sometimes he’ll make a set of four to six dishes, but when it comes to mugs he may produce up to 20 at a time. “When I run out of things to do I know I can always make more mugs,” he says.

Besides the annual sale from his house in Kipu, Bennett’s pottery has been sold at Big Wind Kite Factory, Hotel Molokai and the R.W. Meyer Sugar Mill among other places. But, Bennett says, “Selling pots direct is best. You get to build a relationship with the customer. Plus there’s no markup.”

The show and sale take place Saturday, Dec. 9 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Bennett’s house in Kalae. Take the Kalae Highway and turn down Kalama Road (Mile 4). Take the second right on Analu Place. For more information call Dan at 567-6585.

Aka`ula School Theft

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

Aka`ula School teacher Vicky Newberry noticed something wrong as she sat down to use her computer last Tuesday morning. “I went, ‘Oh my gosh,’ and I had that feeling where your heart sinks to bottom of the stomach,” she said. Her month old Macintosh laptop was missing.

Newberry surveyed the situation and found that over the night of Monday, Nov. 20 someone forced open the door to the charter school in Kaunakakai and took two cameras, 21 blank DVDs, two brand new Macintosh laptops, a portable flash hard drive and a plastic jar with a $51 donation to the school.

“It was very specific,” she said. “It’s almost as if they had been in the building before.”

Thanks to help from parents, police recovered Newberry’s laptop on Friday. The other laptop has been located is awaiting identification. “The parents have been so great in helping us out,” said Newberry.

Healthy Baby Contest

Sunday, November 19th, 2006

Coffee Time!

Wednesday, November 15th, 2006

The Master Blaster: Molokai’s tipsy tradition

Wednesday, November 15th, 2006

Ag tour presents a taste of Molokai

Thursday, November 9th, 2006

Perhaps a testament to the Friendly Isle’s best kept secret, many more residents than tourists took the first ever Molokai agriculture tour last Saturday in conjunction with the fourth annual Molokai Chamber of Commerce Food and Business Expo. The half-day bus trip featured five unique agricultural producers, most of them local entrepreneurs.

The Nov. 4 tour brought the group of 30 to a plumeria farm, Coffees of Hawaii, L&R sweet potato farm, Ala Ekahi Salt farm and Beach Boy hydroponics farm.

With one last glance at the hulking adobe house, the group piled into the bus and left for lunch at Hotel Molokai. The day ended with the huge Food and Business Expo at Lanikeha Community Center. The building could not even fit the throngs of visitors on Saturday afternoon.

There was standing room only to watch some of the top chefs in Maui County demonstrate how to make food with fine Molokai ingredients. Local entertainment from Moana’s Hula Halau, Darrell Labrado, the Hawaiian Immersion Class and Pili Pa`a kept the crowd jumping between food demonstrations.

Booths lined the walls for visitors to sample and purchase local fare, including beeswax candles and surfboard wax by local keiki Tabitha Kaneshiro. Coffees of Hawaii was on hand with Mocha Mamas and Molokai High School art classes sold student pottery as a fundraiser.

The fourth annual event was organized by the Molokai Chamber of Commerce with help from the Maui County Office of Economic Development, Hawaiian Telecom, Maui Land and Pineapple, Maui Electric, Goodfellow Brothers, Island Air, Young Brothers Ltd. and American Savings Bank.