Author Archives: Leo Azambuja

Makahiki Pictures

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

Monk Seal Dies at Hale O Lono

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

A juvenile monk seal rests at Dixie Maru Beach while two people walk by, unaware that they should keep a 100-foot distance from the endangered animal.

Juvenile female a sad loss to Hawaii’s seal population.

By Léo Azambuja

The already slim population of Hawaiian monk seals took a serious blow. A young female born in Kalaupapa last April was found dead at Hale O Lono on Jan. 19.

The highly-endangered marine mammal is endemic to Hawaii. David Schofield, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, said the seal population is estimated at 1,200. However, the majority of the population inhabits the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Only 80-100 seals inhabit the major Hawaiian Islands.

“It’s a great loss to the seal population, especially because it was a young female,” said Schofield, who is NOAA’s marine mammal response coordinator.

The young female seal was born on April 24, and had not reached sexual maturity yet. “Female seals don’t breed until they are four or five-years-old,” Schofield said.

NOAA Fisheries was notified after a Molokai resident saw the dead seal at Hale O Lono.

Schofield flew to Molokai the same day to investigate the incident. He said the body was in good condition, and that the seal probably died in the morning of the day it was discovered. Schofield said he cannot say the cause of death until the autopsy is finished.

Dwindling fish resources throughout the major islands might have been a fact a factor that pushed the majority of the seal population to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. However, Molokai’s resourceful fishing grounds, especially at the remote La`au Point, are a lure to Hawaiian monk seals.

There are at least eight seals that are spotted constantly at La`au Point. The seals swim as far as the Penguin Banks to find food, and are hardly a threat to Molokai’s coastal fishing resources.

Some monk seals may have their flippers tagged with identification numbers. Even though the staff at NOAA Fisheries would like to track the seal population, humans should never get too close to read the tags. “If you see a monk seal, call us at (808) 220-7802,” Schofield said.

Last week Thursday a West End resident saw a seal lying on top of dry reef at the end of Papohaku Beach. The seal appeared to be in bad shape, according to him. The resident, who asked not to be identified, said he called authorities, but no one showed up. He, along with a neighbor, decided to coax the seal back into the ocean by pulling it by its tail. The seal eventually swam away. However, the resident said the seal was almost dead, and probably did not survive.

Monk seals come ashore to rest and can be easily disturbed by human interaction. If a startled seal swims to the ocean, it can become an easy prey for sharks, its main predator. Also, dogs and humans can transmit diseases to seals, which could easily bring the seals to extinction, according to NOAA Fisheries.

NOAA Fisheries mission says the government agency is dedicated to the stewardship of living marine resources through science-based conservation and management, and the promotion of healthy ecosystems.

On April 19 NOAA will promote a statewide Hawaiian monk seal count; from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Schofield said he will provide appropriate training and tools to volunteers. Those interested in participating should call Schofield at (808) 944-2269.

Music and Food for a Cause

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

Melveen Leed graced the audience at the annual Habitat for Humanity banquet, singing and telling jokes.

Habitat for Humanity fundraiser banquet a success.

By Léo Azambuja

Great entertainment rocked Hotel Molokai last week while the public enjoyed a Hawaiian feast. The third annual Habitat for Humanity (HFH) banquet drew a large crowd last Thursday, raising funds for the organization’s noble cause.

The non-profit Christian organization builds inexpensive homes for people in need throughout the world.

“I really believe in Habitat,” said Claud Sutcliffe, HFH Molokai secretary. “We all deserve decent, affordable housing.”

Sutcliffe formally addressed the crowd of over 300 at the hotel supporting HFH. He said there was an “enormous” need for housing on Molokai, and that the community should help the needy because “it is the right thing to do.”

The banquet was scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. However, food and beverage manager Ramona Smith said a lot of guests were arriving as early as 4 p.m.

Executive chef Mia Gaines prepared a Hawaiian-themed banquet that made most of them want to come up for a second serving. Kahlua pig, mahi-mahi, hibachi chicken, long-rice, white rice, salad, dinner rolls and an array of desserts and fruits were on the menu. The ever-smiling chef and staff never let the buffet line run out of food.

Kumu April Kealoha’s hula halau of Kilohana opened the entertainment with a vibrant display of Hawaiian culture. After performing, all the keiki from the halau brought their lei and presented them to the kupuna having dinner.

The highlight of the night was Melveen Leed. With a high-energy level, the Molokai born-and-raised musician rocked the crowd. When she performed Wahine Ilikea many in the audience sang along to the lyrics that praise the island’s beauty. At that point the jovial Leed put the microphone aside and performed hula, to the delight of the audience.

Close to the end of her show, Leed said the late Don Ho was one her biggest inspirations. It was Ho who taught “da Tita” how to project Hawaii well in the world, according to her.

Outside the dining room, a silent auction and a ticket drawing added monetary value to the fundraiser. Sutcliffe said that last year more than half of the $8,315 raised at the event came from the silent auction and donations.

Michael Drew, the hotel’s general manager, was all smiles. “We held this banquet because we want to support the Habitat for Humanity and the people of Molokai,” he said. “It went really well, everyone was happy with the entertainment and the food.”

The event also served to announce the upcoming HFH projects. On Feb. 1 the public is invited to help Halona and Gay Kaopuiki build their dream-home in Ho`olehua. In March it will be Nani Duvauchelle and her three children’s turn to have their home built by HFH.

“Everyone is invited to come,” HFH executive director Jean Han said. “Just bring your hammer and some glue.”

Those interested in volunteering at HFH should call Han or Ui Colon at 560-5444.

Mahalo to the various sponsors and donors who help Molokai residents to build their homes. Special mahalo to Hotel Molokai for providing the location to the successful event.

Family Business Alive and Well

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

Family Business Alive and Well

Takes hardware changes location, boosting business.

By Léo Azambuja

Despite the gradual population increase, much of Molokai’s main town, Kaunakakai, still looks almost the same as it was decades ago. Long standing family-owned businesses such as Rawlins Gas Station, Misake’s, Friendly Market and Take’s still thrive.

One of the longest-running businesses, Take’s, has been passed on for three generations. On a regular day, it is possible to visit the traditional hardware store and see Doris Kanemitsu, the original owner’s wife, smiling and greeting customers, while her son, Ralph Kanemitsu, helps customers find screws and bolts.

Doris’ grandson, Garrick Kanemitsu, is in the office making important phone calls. Garrick’s wife, Maricel Kanemitsu, has worked in the store for 16 years. She is behind the cash register ringing up sales, as her adorable and inquisitive infant daughter, Aiko, scans with her almond-shaped eyes every customer entering the store.

The traditional store used to operate out of Ala Malama Street, and has been a part of Molokai’s culture for 55 years. When Doris’ husband, Takio Kanemitsu, first opened his business, it used to be a simple hardware store, about 25 by 30 feet wide. The store was called Kanemitsu. But Doris the name created a problem because there was already a Kanemitsu Bakery across the street.

“Everybody called my husband Take,” Doris said. “So we decided to change the name to Take’s.”

Over the years, the store kept expanding. After 54 years in the same location Take’s store finally moved at the end of 2007. It is now on Maluolu Place, on property owned by the Kanemitsu family.

Ralph, whose close friends call Take Take, said that business has been better since moving. The new location offers better parking and a bigger, brand new warehouse. Doris, with an everlasting smile stamped on her face, said the “customers are happy.”

How does a small, family-owned business thrive so well on Molokai? “It’s tough,” Ralph said.

“In the early days there were just about two stores,” Ralph said. Now there are several stores that sell hardware, but the Kanemitsu family is far from being discouraged. Their business is doing well.

Maricel said the store has been opened for so long, that they have lots of loyal customers.

Affecting most businesses on Molokai are high shipping costs. Ralph said it costs about $6 a cubic foot for shipping.

Ralph thanked Molokai’s population for fighting to keep development at bay. A small population such as Molokai’s does not lure larger stores that could potentially drive the small guys out of business.

Ralph may be right, but families like his are also largely responsible for keeping the island the way it has been for generations.

The Kanemitsu family would like to thank their dearest customers, and all community members who have helped the family business over the past years: Grandma Doris Kanemitsu, Uncle Jimmy Duvauchelle, Uncle Ted Kanemitsu and Auntie Fern, Eve Kanemitsu, Max and Nicole Kanemitsu-Toa, the Ragonton family: Felipe, Teresita, Mely, Leonard, Auntie Perlita and Rommel. Also Alex and Marlyn Salazar, Frank Maniago, Lester Keanini, Elroy Molena, Dedric Manaba, Uncle Sam Thompson, Pat Ware, Carlito Salazar, Kimmy, Joanna and Mayrose, AJ, Albert Madela, Cello Dudoit, Puna Domingo, David Bush, and Pastor Kirk.

The New Face of Paddlers

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

New ownership shifts bar philosophy.

By Léo Azambuja

Just a couple months ago Paddlers’ Inn changed ownership. The new owner, Kamuela Kamakana, has already made it clear that the long-standing restaurant and bar will be more emphasized toward families.

Since Kamakana took over the business, he has already implemented several changes; new kitchen and bar equipment, new furniture, new patio covers, and new computer system. The floors will be redone soon, and the bathrooms will go through renovations.

The menus have already changed. Paddlers has three chefs, and everyday there is fresh fish available on the menu. The fish “are literally brought in by the tail,” Kamakana said.

But perhaps the biggest change might just be in the heart of the business. “I really want it to be more like a family oriented place where families can enjoy their meals together.” Kamakana said.

“The main thing is that this is a restaurant, a place to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Kamakana said. But the bar will still be open until 1 a.m. There will still be karaoke nights, concerts, and fundraisers too. Recently Paddlers sponsored a poker tournament on Tuesday nights, and bingo on Sundays.

One of the main concerns that Kamakana has is safety. For that reason he said there will be “zero tolerance” on loitering in the parking lot. He said that if people insist on hanging out in the parking lot, the police will be called.

Kupuna now receive a 20 percent discount just by showing their senior citizen card, and kamaaina will enjoy a 10 percent discount. Even snow birds will benefit from a 10 percent discount.

Kamakana is also planning on accepting take out orders in the future. Customers would call in, place an order, and give a description of their cars. Cameras installed in the parking lot would show when customers arrive, and their orders would be brought up straight to their cars.

On Wednesday nights is Ohana Night at Paddlers. Each child that comes in with his or hers family leaves with a book. In the short time Kamakana has been heading his business, he already distributed about 8,300 to children.

Kamakana was raised between Kaneohe and Seattle, but his family lineage can be traced back to Molokai over a century ago. Hanging on one of the walls, there’s a picture of his great-grandfather Bill Kamakana, dated 1913. On another wall, there are pictures of his grandfather Henry Kamakana Sr., and his uncle, Henry Kamakana Jr., a decorated former tennis pro.

About five years ago, Kamakana was visiting Maui when he decided to hop the Molokai Ferry and came to the island for the first time. He said he felt an emotional connection with the island. The next day he bought property here.

Kamakana’s mother, Haunani Kamakana, is a Molokai girl, who now lives in Washington State. But he said that as soon as he finishes building his house in Kamalo, the local wahine will return to the island.

Molokai’s newest restaurateur has never worked in the restaurant business and will have his work cut out for him. But he is not short of help. The first-time restaurant owner boosted the staff to 43 employees, from only 11.

“It has been challenging,” Kamakana said. But those who already had a chance to visit the new Paddlers can already see positive changes. For those who haven’t been there yet, it’s worth it to check it out, and bring the whole family.

Entrepreneurs bet on Kalamungay

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

Entrepreneurs bet on Kalamungay

Health and alternative energy benefits could pay homesteaders.

By Léo Azambuja

If the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ever decide to embrace a healthier lifestyle, they’ll be screaming Kalamungay instead of Cowabunga.

Kalamungay has been around for a long time in Hawaii. This small-leafed, bushy tree, also known as moringa, is one of the best-kept secrets in the agricultural world. The tree has a wide range of uses; food, fertilizer, fuel, medicine, and even cosmetics. Banking on that, two investors on Molokai are trying to put together a farmers’ cooperative to bring in grants, and boost the local agriculture, especially on homestead lands.

Just about a year ago, Jerry Manning introduced kalamungay to Jim Schelinski, who fed his curiosity by researching online the plant’s possible uses. Schelinski was astonished. He realized kalamungay was a gold mine waiting to be explored. With that in mind, Manning and Schelinski founded J. J. Moringa LLC, a company intended to promote kalamungay agriculture on Molokai.

The plant is easy to grow and requires little water, according to Manning. This would be one of the major lures for growing kalamungay on an island that is constantly battling drought.

Growing in adverse conditions is hardly the main merit of kalamungay. The plant has 18 out of 20 amino acids that we need to survive. It also helps fight cancer. It purifies water. Used as a fertilizer, kalamungay is known to increase crop yield by 30 percent. Fish food and livestock feed are also options.

According to the Trees for Life Web site, kalamungay has more protein and calcium than milk, more potassium than bananas, more vitamin A than carrots and more vitamin C than oranges. All that packed in only one vegetable.

“It’s a cash crop,” Manning said. “There is no way to loose.”

According to Manning, Kalamungay does not pose a threat to the environment. Despite thriving in unfavorable conditions, and spreading a lot of seeds, it does not propagate easily outside of a controlled environment, Manning said.

The small crowd that attended the company’s presentation at Lanikeha last month was eager to know more about the plant. At least half of the 15 attendees were homestead farmers.

“You’ve got to take a chance,” Manning said. “This is a good product; you can live off of it.”

But some were a bit skeptical. “If this is so good, why don’t you pay us guys to do it?” one of the homesteaders asked.

Manning said that if the farmers start a cooperative, it will be much easier to receive government grants. But for that to happen, the cooperative must be made up of at least 70 percent native Hawaiians.

“We already have some money saved to start a cooperative,” Manning said. The money might help to buy some equipment or to pay for irrigation. However, it is still not enough to fund all of the homesteaders that may want to grow kalamungay on their lands, according to him.

“It would be nice if we had enough money to plant 40 acres for everybody, but we don’t,” Manning said. “You guys form a coop, then there’s grant money.”

Manning’s business partner, Schelinski, said that if for some reason farmers get stuck with kalamungay produce, they can turn it into compost.

“Hikiola said they will buy the fertilizer,” Schelinski said. “Whatever they cannot sell locally, they will ship off island.”

Schelinski and Manning are already testing Kalamungay on a one-acre land to find out how many plants can be grown, how fast, and how many seeds can be produced.

“We do have some funds from UH,” Manning said. “Soon we’ll start another acre at a higher altitude.”

Growing kalamungay on Molokai sounds like an excellent business venture, and some homesteaders showed interest, but still had some reservations. They were concerned about losing market to foreign growers. One of the homesteaders said the market for Polynesian `awa was overtaken by foreign growers. “Brazil went all out planting it, and now Hawaii cannot compete with them,” he said.

J.J. Moringa is willing to provide seeds to farmers who wish to plant kalamungay. The only thing that the company requires, according to Manning, is that growers give first choice to the company to purchase their produce.

For more information on kalamungay, please see

Molokai Now and Then

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

Former Coast Guard officer returns to Molokai after 40 years.

By Léo Azambuja

Visitors staying on the West End probably ponder what those white structures in the distance near Ilio Point are. Most Molokai locals know they are the ruins of an old Coast Guard Station. But very few have experienced the ghost station as much as one man who left Molokai over 40 years ago.

John Thomson was only 20-years-old when he arrived on Molokai in late 1964. He was serving the Coast Guard, stationed in Sand Island, Oahu, and was the next on the list to board a ship. Meanwhile, one of the Coast Guard officers on Molokai got into a car accident, and had to take a medical leave.

“You’re going to Molokai,” Thomson’s superiors told him. “I didn’t even know what Molokai was,” he said.  

The handsome and young city boy was not a happy camper at that time. “I said no, I’m going on the ship.” To his dismay, he didn’t have a choice. However, upon arriving on Molokai he quickly changed his mind. “Once I was here I was glad, I’d rather be here than anywhere else.”

Thomson’s stay on Molokai marked his life in a way he would never imagine. “It made my youth,” said the retired policeman, who visited Molokai last October for the first time since he left, in early 1966. It has been a long time, Thomson looks different now, sporting a completely bald head and an inconspicuous post-retirement belly. But his deep affection for the island is still the same.

Thomson served in the Coast Guard on Molokai for about a year and a half, along with about a dozen other officers. They all lived at Ilio Point, in the structures that are now in ruin. “It was like our own paradise up there,” he said.

“We used to go camping between the Sheraton and Ilio point for three or four days,” Thomson said. The boys rode their motor-scooters everywhere. They had a dog that they would take to the beach with them and body surf with. The dog disappeared for a while, and when it came back it had a puppy with it.

There were about 2,500 residents on Molokai at that time. Was it ever boring for a 20-year-old city boy living on Molokai then? “There was never a dull moment.” Thomson said the Coast Guard boys made more than friends; “the people pretty much adopted us here.”

Although Molokai is still considered the last Hawaiian island, partly because there are over 60 percent of Hawaiians living here, back in those days there was an even higher percentage of Hawaiians on the island. Thomson tried to count how many haoles lived on Molokai at that time and could not remember enough of them to fill two hands.

“People were so nice to us,” Thomson said. “We could do no wrong, we were like spoiled children.”

The Coast Guard used to have a small crew stationed in Kalaupapa, where Thomson and his buddies would go down sometimes and have a luau.

Some of his friends would go goat hunting with the locals in Kalaupapa. Every once in a while, they would kill a goat and hang it on a tree to fetch it later, only to come back and find no goat. It was the work of the menehune, the locals would tell the city boys.

Once the locals took Thomson along on a boar hunt. He said they offered him a knife to stab a boar, which he quickly refused. “You think I’m going to stab a wild boar, you’re crazy,” he was thinking to himself. “I might be from the city but I know what a vicious animal looks like when I see one.”

The boys would come down almost everyday to Kaunakakai. Sometimes they would spend the whole weekend in town. “We’d come to town Friday mornings and wouldn’t go back till Monday,” Thomson remembered without holding back a good laugh. “We would all be speaking pidgin English till Wednesday.” Kaunakakai was such a laid-back town that the city boys would sleep in the post office.

Sometimes when they came in the middle of the week they would hang out in a hotel tavern that no longer exists. The owner, Mr. Pali, would close down the tavern during the week, and the boys would go in, play cards and serve themselves. They would later write down how much they owned and give it to Mr. Pali. Every once in a while a police officer would pass by and waive to them.

It’s hard to imagine Molokai slower than today. But it was. “Forty years is a long time to remember, but I still remember,” Thomson said.

The Wharf was a lot smaller. “Now there are fishing boats and everything else,” Thomson said. The jail had iron bars, but the building was made out of wood, which still pulls a good laugh out of Thomson. Most of the arrests were for occasional fights or marijuana growing. The highway ended just past Kaunakakai.

“Television here was a week behind,” Thomson said. Sunday football games were shown the following Sunday.

There was an open-air movie theater, complete with wooden bleachers. “I saw ‘The Great Train Chase’ from Charles Chaplin.” Thomson said the silent picture was one of the funniest movies he had ever seen.

The traffic and the amount of housing was a lot smaller than before. “It had to happen,” Thomson said, shrugging his shoulders.

“I’ve watched the entire mainland explode,” Thomson said. The coast of Lake Michigan “looks like all one city now, for 300 miles.” The summer homes there raised the property value for the local people. “When they (part-time residents) are paying outrageous prices for their houses, it has to raise the prices for your house,” he said.

“In the end money wins out,” Thomson said.

After over 40 years, and a lifetime ago, Thomson still has the fondest memories of Molokai.

The locals took him on a horseback ride, the first of his life, for his 21st birthday. Thomson was amazed with the views from the top of the mountains. “It was something most of the city kids never see,” he said.

There was a bar downtown that had music on the weekends, an alleyway and a small neighborhood bar that belonged to the folkloric late August Rawlins.

“August adopted us,” Thomson said. He remembers when Rawlins caught a 400 pound turtle. “The restaurant next door was serving turtle for a week after that.”

Thomson loved some of the food, but he just could not get a taste for other Hawaiian cuisine. “I only ate raw fish a couple times but couldn’t get into it,” he said. Laughing to himself, he remembered Mr. Pali sitting at his own bar and eating fish heads. “The eyes were a delicacy.”

Mr. Pali’s hotel is gone. Rawlins’ bar is gone, replaced by Mango Mart. The pineapple fields are gone, mostly replaced by GMO corn fields.

If there was one thing he could say to all of the Molokai community, Thomson would just say “thank you.” On his last day here in early 1966, almost the entire island population showed up to bid farewell to him and his fellow Coast Guard officers, according to him.

It has been over forty years since he left Molokai, but he says he dreams of returning all the time.

Sustainable Technology

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

Sustainable Technology

“There’s absolutely no impact anywhere to the reef,” contractor Gregg Morton assured island residents, regarding the underwater drilling Environmental Crossings, Inc. is supposed to start in a few weeks.

Company will bring high-speed broadband telecommunications to Molokai with minimal damage to environment.

By Léo Azambuja

All Hawaiian homesteaders will soon be able to benefit from modern, high-speed broadband telecommunications. Sandwich Isles Telecommunications (SIC) will be laying underwater fiber optic cables linking all major Hawaiian Islands as soon as six months from now.

In a meeting last Wednesday at the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) conference room, Healii Kihune disclosed to island residents the key points of the upcoming project. Kihune works as a project manager for Clearcom, Inc., the company that will oversee the construction of the fiber optic network.

The network cable will connect with Molokai at DHHL lands adjacent to Ali`i fishpond. The cable will be coming from a site at Sandy Beach, Oahu. Contracting company Henkels and McCoy will be in charge of the marine landing site operations, and the construction of the statewide underwater network.

One of the main concerns residents raised about the project was the potential damage to reef and marine life that the marine landing site could cause. Henkels & McCoy contracted one of the leading companies in the world specialized in burrowing cables under reefs, Environmental Crossings, Inc. (ECI).

Contractor Gregg Morton said ECI is one of the few companies in the world that do this type of work, besides being one of the best. Morton said he works all over the world overseeing the company’s operations.

The burrowing will not damage the reef, according to Morton. The burrowing will start before the reef, on dry land, and will go underneath it, popping at 4,600 feet into the ocean, in 60-feet-deep water, in an area that is covered with soft sand. An eight-inch-wide metal pipe will follow the bore, and will be later used to accommodate the fiber optic cables.

The cable was originally to go under Ali`i fishpond. But after consulting with Ka Honua Momona, a not-for-profit organization that cares for the pond, Morton said ECI decided to reroute the drilling to make sure it would not adversely impact the delicate ecosystem.

Consulting firm Kuiwalo, LLC will be on site, providing archaeological monitoring. Kihune said Clearcom has prepared an Environmental Assessment and an Environmental Impact Statement, which is available to anyone interested.

The undersea fiber optic cable will link Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Maui and Big Island. The Molokai portion of the project is scheduled to start Jan. 2, 2008. Drilling under the reef should last 16-20 days, according to Henkels &McCoy construction manager Joel Venegas.

A 3.98-mile fiber route between Ali`i fishpond and Kalamaula is supposed to start on Jan.14 2008, and last for approximately 5-6 months.

Residents with questions and concerns about the project are encouraged to call Kihune at (808) 760-5797, or email her at

La`au Point Party

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007


No Ordnance at the Dump

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

No Ordnance at the Dump

Molokai landfill cleared of munitions debris

By Léo Azambuja

The Molokai landfill got its own clean up this year. As of Dec. 18, the last remnants of old munitions debris was packed in containers and shipped away, according to a press release by Senator Daniel K. Inouye.

“To our knowledge, everything was properly inspected and removed from the site,” said Mike Souza, County Landfill Worksite Supervisor. “I think everything is fairly secure at this point.”

When old munitions were first discovered in the Molokai landfill four months ago, Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares asked Senator Inouye for help providing federal assistance to remove ordnance from the dump.

According to the senator, after American Technologies, Inc. was awarded a federal contract in September, approximately 670 pieces of munitions debris were found, none of which contained explosives.

“The successful cleanup means the Molokai landfill is safe; it does not pose a threat to the community,” Inouye said.

“I wish to thank Maui County, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the contractor, American Technologies, Inc., which is certified by the Enviromnental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, for a job well done,” Inouye said.

However, not everyone was happy with the outcome. Environmental watchdog Carroll Cox said that the hiring of American Technologies Inc. is an “insult to taxpayers.” In early 2004 the company was hired by the army to clean up unexploded ordnance in Papohaku Ranchlands, where the military conducted exercises.

In March 2004 American Technologies hired Boswell Trucking, now Makoa Trucking, to carry all the “scrap and/or explosive contaminated metal from Papohaku Ranchland Bombing target.” All of the material was dumped at the Molokai landfill, even though the dump did not have a permit to accept or process hazardous waste.

Cox said that now the Senator is glowing, bragging that he did such a great job in cleaning up the dump. However, American Technologies, the same company that was responsible for dumping the ordnance at the landfill, was now paid $185,000 to clean up the mess.

Hawaiian State law says that “fines may be levied on the generator of the waste, even if they hired someone else to dispose of the waste.”

“Shame on you,” Cox said he told Inouye. “Where were you when they were dumping all that ordnance there?”