Author Archives: Catherine Cluett

Volunteers Carry on Search for Missing Plane

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

Volunteers Carry on Search for Missing Plane

A private plane with three people onboard disappeared off Molokai’s Ilio Point on Dec. 30. After taking off from Ho`olehua Airport en route to Honolulu that evening, the Cessna 172 disappeared off radar around 7 p.m., four miles east of Ilio Point.

John Mizuno, Michael Childers and Whitney Thomas went missing in a Cessna 172 on Dec. 30. Courtesy photo

The plane’s pilot was Michael Childers and passengers were John Mizuno and Whitney Thomas. The Coast Guard and Fire Department began searching for the plane that night, and continued until Jan. 1 and Jan. 2, respectively, finding no debris, remains or evidence of a crash.…

Breaking News: Search for Missing Cessna Continues Off Molokai

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

Breaking News: Search for Missing Cessna Continues Off Molokai

The search continues today for a downed aircraft off Ilio Point that was reported missing last night. Around 7 p.m. on Dec. 30, a Cessna 172 with the tail number N174LL, with three people on board, disappeared off radar about four miles east of Molokai’s Ilio Point after departing the Molokai airport for Honolulu.

The plane’s pilot has been identified as Michael Childers, with passengers John Mizuno and Whitney Thomas, according to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard is leading the search for the missing aircraft and has widened the search up to 17 miles northeast of Ilio Point. HC-130 Hercules airplane and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point along with the crew of USCGC Kittiwake from Honolulu are searching by boat and air, with the assistance of Molokai Fire and Police departments.…

Update: DHHL Water Given the All Clear

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

DHHL News Release (Nov. 23)

Effective immediately, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) is lifting the water usage restriction for Molokaʻi residents who receive their potable water from the Hoʻolehua reservoirs.

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) completed the microbiological and chemical testing of the Hoʻolehua water system and has determined that it is safe to resume normal water usage and consumption.

“We would like to thank our homesteaders and the residents of Molokaʻi for their patience and understanding as well as Maui County, the State Department of Health and the State Department of Education for their continued cooperation in this matter,” said Jobie M.…

Prevent a Rabbit Invasion

Friday, November 18th, 2016

Domesticated rabbits on Molokai that have escaped or been released have been reported around the island and pose a dangerous threat to the ecosystem if not controlled, according to local natural resource managers.

“There are confirmed sightings in a widespread area,” said Butch Haase, executive director of the Molokai Land Trust (MLT). “They could cause devastating ecological and economic impacts like nothing we’ve seen before.”

Haase said MLT staff found a rabbit in one of its fenced restoration sites in the Mokio Preserve near Ilio Point.

“The rabbit had been browsing the endangered ohai plants within the fenced site to the point of killing many of the plants,” he said, adding the animal was large and mostly white. “The rabbit was captured and removed, but there have been other sightings across central and west Molokai.”

Rabbits have also been reported near Hale O Lono, Kaluakoi, Kalae, Ho`olehua, Kaunakakai and Kawela.…

Running Under the Moon

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

Running Under the Moon


Photo by Catherine Cluett Pactol

Donning white shirts and glow sticks, community members ran and walked for a cause last Saturday night, getting showed in colorful powders along with way. The Moon Glow Run, held in the moonlight on a track around the Heart of Aloha Church’s Kualapu`u property, raised funds for the church’s planned worship pavilion. The church is nearing its goal of $170,000, having raised $132,700 so far. The pavilion will be located at the church’s property in Kualapu`u and will be used for church services, community events and cultural activities.…

Local Election Results

Thursday, November 17th, 2016


This year’s General Election brought results that shook the nation, with Republican Donald Trump becoming the President elect over Hillary Clinton. Maui County’s results largely favored incumbents but saw some changes in the County Council. Molokai’s Lynn DeCoite won the District 13 State Representative race over challenger Nick Nikhilananda. For federal representation, Brian Schatz held his seat as U.S. Senator and Tulsi Gabbard remains the District II U.S. Representative. Stacy Helm Crivello remains Molokai’s County Council member, winning the election over Keani Rawlins-Fernandez. Upsets in the county council include Alika Atay sweeping incumbent Dain Kane, and Kelly King topping incumbent Don Couch.…

Search Underway for Missing Molokai Helicopter-Updated

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

3:30 pm update: Maui Fire Department crews have located the crash site and confirmed there are no survivors. The downed helicopter was found about a mile and a half above the highway just east of Puko`o Fire Station. The Maui Police Department is coordinating recovery of the victims and preserving the wreckage for federal investigation. 

Initial story at 1:15 pm:

A land, air and water search is currently underway for a missing Molokai helicopter. The black helicopter, with two people on board, reportedly departed Honolulu Tuesday evening and never arrived at a private helicopter pad on Molokai as expected.

The Coast Guard hasn’t released the names of the missing persons pending notification of family members, but the pilot has been unofficially confirmed as Gary Galiher, a prominent attorney and east Molokai homeowner with a helipad on his property.…

A Debt of Gratitude

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

A Debt of Gratitude


Juan Alcon salutes during the Veterans Day program. Photo by Catherine Cluett Pactol

Kaunakakai School students, along with dozens of residents, honored Molokai service members at last Friday’s Veterans Day program in Kaunakakai. Organized by the Molokai Veterans Caring for Veterans, the observation included a student performance, release of colored pigeons, and words from Councilwoman Stacy Helm Crivello, Rep. Lynn DeCoite and other speakers.

Molokai VA physician Dr. Carlann DeFontes said according to research she did, Molokai has historically had the highest number of men and women joining the military per capita.

“People sacrificed so much to fight for us,” she said, becoming emotional.…

Students Intern with Local Businesses

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Students Intern with Local Businesses


Photo courtesy of Jennifer Hawkins

Seven Molokai High students will have the opportunity to intern with some of Molokai’s 16 businesses that were selected to attend the Made in Maui County Festival (MIMCF) Nov. 4-5. The internship is a partnership between MHS’s Career and Technical Education and Fine Arts departments, the county’s Office of Economic Development, Kuha`o Business Center, and vendors that will be participating in the MIMCF. The program is being piloted for the county here on Molokai.

“This program has the potential to take our students to the next level in preparing for the business world,” said Jennifer Hawkins, small business specialist with the Kuha`o Business Center.…

Brush Fire Threatened Home

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Six brush fires blazed on Molokai last week, five of which were small but deemed of suspicious cause on Tuesday, Sept. 27. A larger fire burned 10 acres near the Molokai Airport two days later, coming dangerously close to a home.

On Tuesday around 5:45 p.m. Molokai firefighters responded to four separate brush fires, all around 200 to 300 yards apart, along the Maunaloa Highway near the Seventh Day Adventist Church.  A fifth small fire was found one mile up the highway near Kamakou Forest Preserve Road.

According to the Maui Fire Department, the largest fire was 20 by 50 feet in size.…