Author Archives: Megan Stephenson

Health Plan Up in the Air

Monday, July 4th, 2011

Duplication of health services is not an issue for Molokai, said Loretta Fuddy, state Director of Health, last week. That announcement comes after health providers on Molokai have been concerned about duplication for the past two years, and have participated in several meetings mandated by the state to hash out a comprehensive health care plan for the island.

Health care providers and concerned residents gathered one more time at the Mitchell Pauole Center last Wednesday, to try and agree on a plan where health care professionals would form partnerships for services, as well as collaborate on funding.

A Shrimp’s Tale

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

A Shrimp’s Tale

After a professional rugby stint, winning multiple Ka`iwi Channel canoe races, pilot training, and starting restaurants and construction companies, John Austin has found a new calling: shrimp.

Relatively new to the business, Austin moved to Molokai three and a half years ago to run Keawa Nui Farm, managing the operation nearly single-handedly.

Keawa Nui looks more like a hobby farm than a shrimp plantation, with horses, cattle, sheep and chickens scattered around the salt ponds. Growing up a fisherman’s son in New Zealand, Austin said he wanted to return to what his childhood was like.

“I bought this farm so my daughter could grow up the way I did,” Austin said, his voice becoming emotional when talking about five-year-old Madeline.

He bought the 80-acre shrimp farm – one of two on the island -- taking over a lease from Kamehameha Schools. Austin’s shrimp are a hit with chefs around the state and even the mainland, and he ships out thousands of pounds of crustaceans every month.

In each circular pond, about the size of half a baseball diamond, Austin raises between 20,000 and 65,000 shrimp. That’s 12 to 200 shrimp per square meter.

The son of an English-Scottish father and Maori mother, Austin is the second-oldest of 10 children, and said when it comes to business, he is still of the “old school” persuasion. He started a sign production business in California out of his garage.

“Next thing I know I’m working in a 20,000 square foot building with over 100 employees,” he said. His work outfitted the Staples Center, the Hollywood Theater and Universal Studios among other well-known national landmarks.

In the time before he came to Hawaii in 1997, he has owned restaurants, a security business, earned his commercial pilot’s license in Michigan, and toured the U.S. via motorcycle – “I went on what you call a walkabout,” he said.

While living on Kauai six years ago, he met Hawaiian singer Amy Hanaialii through her brother. While their union did not last, Austin calls his daughter with Hanaialii “the dream of my life.” Still struggling with custody, Austin said it was difficult no longer being able to share his lifestyle with his daughter.

However, Austin is on the path to building a legacy for little Madeline. Besides opening production on the hatchery, Austin wants to create a food brand for Molokai.

“It was a dream when I first got here to have a Molokai brand – shrimp cakes and deer burgers – at a roadside shrimp stand,” he said. He also often donates from his farm to Molokai fundraisers – cows or pigs, and gave away his shrimp to the recently visiting Polynesian voyagers. While ambition is on the horizon, he is focusing on one shrimp order at a time for now.

“I’m working on living off the land; I think I’m somewhere near that now,” he said. “There’s not a better way to live.”

Check out the Keawa Nui Farm online at

Blessed Marianne Closer to Sainthood

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Blessed Marianne Closer to Sainthood

The second miracle needed for Molokai’s Blessed Marianne Cope to be declared a saint was medically approved last week. The ruling marks a significant step toward her canonization.

The Vatican’s medical board pronounced that there is no medical explanation for the cure of a woman who had suffered from an illness previously believed terminal and incurable. The identity of the woman and other details have not yet been disclosed.

The announcement was made last week by the Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, NY, home of Blessed Marianne’s religious community, the Sisters of St. Francis. The next step in the verification of the miracle is the examination and approval of the Vatican’s theologians, who will decide if the healing was the result of prayer to Blessed Marianne.

If they do attribute the incident to Marianne’s intercession, the case will be evaluated by a board of cardinals and bishops. The pope will then make the final decision whether or not to approve the miracle, which could be followed by Blessed Marianne’s canonization.

The first miracle attributed to Marianne, which resulted in her beatification (given the title “blessed”), was approved by the Vatican in 2004. The case involved the medically unexplainable recovery of a dying New York girl after prayers were said to Blessed Marianne.

Blessed Marianne came to Hawaii in 1883 to establish nursing care for patients of Hansen’s disease. She worked in Kalaupapa – alongside St. Damien at the end of his life – for 30 of the 35 years she served in Hawaii, and died on the peninsula in 1918. 

Veterans Corner

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Veterans Corner

Community Contributed

Column by Jesse Church

Hello veterans, old Jesse here with the veterans’ news and upcoming events. It saddens me to report that alcohol contributed to the death of a 19-year-old Marine who fell from a Hawaii hotel over Memorial Day weekend, according to the Honolulu medical examiner’s office on June 1. Pfc. Luke Monahan’s blood alcohol content level was .087, said Acting Chief Medical Examiner Dr. William Goodhue. Hawaii’s legal limit for driving is .080. Monahan, of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., fell from the Ilima Hotel on May 28. He was a rifleman from the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines and was to deploy later this year.

I’d like to remind our veterans that Joe Thompson, the VA service officer, will be on Molokai Friday, July 15 from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Also last week, a walker and wheelchair were donated to the Molokai Veterans Caring for Veterans. If we have any veteran out there who needs one of these items, call the watch commander at the vets center Monday, Wednesday or Friday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., at 553-8387. Please remember that Joe Candello, the VA advocate, will be on Molokai on July 7 and July 14. He will be at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs from 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. by appointment. Call to schedule an appointment at 553-3611. Last, but not least, if there are any veterans out there who would like to become a member of Molokai Veterans Caring for Veterans, please stop by the vet center.

If anyone has any news, or stories, or just would like to talk about their experiences while in the service of this great country, give old Jesse a call at 553-3323, I’d love to hear from you. A big mahalo to all our veterans, and the people of Molokai; you’re the best, I love you all.

Ka`ikenaona`ale Rawlins-Fernandez

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Ka`ikenaona`ale Rawlins-Fernandez

Proud parents Keani and Makena Fernandez would like to announce the birth of their daughter, Ka`ikenaona`ale `Ilikea Nalikolei Rawlins-Fernandez.  She was born on May 10, 2010 at 4:39 a.m. at Molokai General Hospital.  She weighed in at 6 lbs, 4 oz, and was 21 inches long.  Her brother, I`a, eagerly welcomed her arrival.  Her grandparents are Kana and Liko Wallace, and Randy and Debbie Fernandez.

Keliyah Thompson

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Keliyah Thompson

Keliyah Marie Thompson was born May 20, 2011 at 11:08 a.m. at Molokai General Hospital, to proud parents Jamie Mailelauli`ili`i Bullion and David Charles Thompson Jr. She weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce and was 20 inches long. She joins sister Danielle Iwalani Kaianhiku Aguila; and grandparents Wanda and Sam Thompson of Kaunakakai, Laina M. Carrillo of Kaunakakai and Jimmy Naki.


Support from Lanai

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

To the people of Molokai, our brothers and sisters. We were very excited to hear of your meeting with Pattern and Bio-Logical Capital. Copies of the event are showing up all over the island. If we don’t take care of the `aina, what will become of us? Thank you for your courage. The people of Lanai are with you!

Have You Heard?

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

By now you’ve heard or read some greats things about Hospice Hawaii-Molokai. What you may not know is that Hospice Hawaii-Molokai is offering its long awaited volunteer training session, July 8 and 9.

If we’ve struck a chord with you in any way, we would like to encourage you to have your questions answered or even get in on our upcoming volunteer training session. Please call our office at 553-4310 to speak with our very own Molokai coordinator and LPN-CHPLN, Cathy Karras.  

Hospice Hawaii-Molokai’s team of doctors, nurses, and volunteers provide compassionate, palliative, end-of-life care to its patients, as well as support services for their families. Together we strive to bring hope, reduce fears, and impact lives.

Roof Repair Mahalo

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Grace Episcopal Church in Ho`olehua wishes to extend a big mahalo to everyone who supported us in our project to the repair the roof on our church building.  Many people from Grace Community and from the local community lent their help and encouragement with this project and we are very grateful.  A special mahalo goes to Tubz Kalipi for organizing and overseeing this project. 

Mahalos to the following people who worked on this project:

Friendly Isle Funds

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Friendly Isle Funds

Apart from the film festival, Molokai was by no means left off the county budget for projects ranging from parks to water supply.

Molokai will be receiving $1.6 million for Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) through the fiscal year 2011-2012, which accounts for 1 percent of the total CIP county budget, according to the county budget.

Its main projects consist of water source improvements at $1 million; Kaunakakai’s drainage system improvements at $200,000; Ualapue tank and piping upgrades and improvements to the Kaunakakai-Kawela well at $150,000; Mitchell Pauole Center improvements at $130,000; and additional parking to Duke Maliu Field at $50,000.

The budget also included the six-year CIP plan that will amount to $26 million in projects. Molokai will see its Senior Center expanded, Kaunakakai Gym improved, a playground added to One Ali`i Park, an additional landfill and recycling center improvements and public safety radio system replacements, among others.

Local organizations and programs also received monies for the upcoming fiscal year, but many received the same amount or less than previous years.

Maui Economic Opportunity (MEO)’s Molokai summer program will receive $27,300, the same amount as last fiscal year; the Livestock Cooperative received $27,000, less than last year; the Molokai Economic Development and Cultural Program received $82,900, $38,000 less than last year; and Molokai’s soil and water conservation districts received $10,000, the same as the previous three years.

The budget also included a review of the Molokai Community Plan, which is projected to be 80 percent completed during fiscal year 2011-12. The budget said the plan is 50 percent compete at the end of this fiscal year.

The planning department also reported it completed is pre-final draft of the Cultural Resource Survey for Maui County, which identified for potential historic districts on Molokai.

To view the Maui County budget, visit their website at, under the Mayor’s page.