Business

Molokai Getting WiFi Hotspots

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

Kalaupapa settlement now has 10 free public WiFi hotspots, with locations also coming to Kaunakakai, the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) has announced. The hotspots will provide one hours of free service per day per device, provided by Spectrum. The Molokai hotspots are among at least 1,000 hotspots that were required as part of the agreement of transfer of Oceanic Time Warner Cable to Charter Communications, known as Spectrum.

The Kalaupapa WiFi hotspots are part of the first wave of public hotspots now active or underway on Molokai, Maui, Kauai and Oahu. Kaunakakai’s hotspots are scheduled for installation this fall, according to the DCCA, though they did not say where they will be located or how many are planned.…

Battle of the Airlines

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

 

It’s a battle of the airlines to the tiny settlement of Kalaupapa, with two companies vying for the ridership of residents. In a drama that will play out in the coming weeks, both Makani Kai Air and Mokulele Airlines are now flying into the peninsula.

In March, Mokulele Airlines was selected to service the settlement under the federal Essential Air Service (EAS) program beginning June 1, but without the federal subsidy that normally offsets the cost of flying into remote locations that otherwise might not get air service. Makani Kai has been serving Kalaupapa under the EAS since 2011, also applied to renew its EAS contract, requesting about $700,000 annually.…

Mule Ride Evicted

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

Mule Ride Evicted

The Molokai Mule Ride has been evicted from the Kalae barn that served as the business’ base for more than four decades. Last Saturday morning, state sheriffs, Molokai police and representatives of R.W. Meyer arrived to carry out the eviction, leaving the barn’s entrance chained up.

“We are only leaving this place under duress,” said Molokai Mule Ride co-owner Kalehua Sproat-Augustiro in a live video of the eviction she streamed on Facebook. Rising tensions were caught on camera, including a sheriff’s threat to place Sproat-Augustiro under arrest. Her father, the legendary muleskinner Buzzy Sproat, operated the family business for more than 40 years and his wife and children carried it on after his death.…

Proposal for Ranch Purchase

Friday, April 13th, 2018

A company called Lamplighter Energy has proposed the purchase Molokai Ranch to grow and export hibiscus to South Korea. Lamplighter CEO Andre De Rosa said wood pellets from the hibiscus is a renewable substitute to burning coal, and his energy company has the investors and contract with an organization in Korea to sell the product.

Molokai Ranch, owned by Singapore-based land holder owner GL Limited, went up for sale last September at a price of $260 million, and its 55,575 acres represents one third of Molokai.

De Rosa sat down with a small handful of residents last month, filmed by Akaku, and shared his plans, which he says he has been doing on a one-on-one basis with the community.…

Eviction Notice Threatens Mule Ride

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

Eviction Notice Threatens Mule Ride

Almost two years of legal disputes between the Sproat family — owners of Kalaupapa Rare Adventures mule ride — and landowner R.W. Meyer, Ltd. have come to a head with an eviction notice for the mule operators. Both parties are now claiming ownership to the Kalae property where the mule barn has stood for more than 40 years.

Paul Meyer, President of R.W. Meyer, Ltd., said Kalauapa Rare Adventures’ lease ended in January 2017 and since then, the company has not paid rent and refused to negotiate a new lease. The Sproats say they have a title to the land so they don’t need to pay rent.…

Mokulele Selected to Serve Kalaupapa

Thursday, March 29th, 2018

Mokulele Airlines has been selected to fly into Kalaupapa under the federal Essential Air Service program without subsidized funding, despite concerns from the community. The airline has not yet finalized its flight schedule or pricing for its service to the isolated settlement, which will begin June 1.

The federal Department of Transportation (DOT) announced their decision on March 16, and Mokulele representatives met with Kalaupapa residents the following week to discuss their needs.

“I would say there’s a guarded optimism that Mokulele will serve the community and meet our needs, but there’re still concerns,” said Department of Health Kalaupapa Adminstrator Kenneth Seamon.…

Choosing Molokai’s Energy Future

Friday, March 16th, 2018

Choosing Molokai’s Energy Future

Maui Electric has identified a four-way fork in the road to Molokai’s energy future. Last week, the utility presented several options to reach the goal of 100 percent renewable energy for the island in a series of island-wide community meetings.

A large-scale solar project with battery storage, proposed by Molokai New Energy Partners, a division of Half Moon Ventures (HMV), figures largely into those options. The project includes 37 acres of solar panels to be located next to Maui Electric’s Pala`au Power Plant. An agreement between HMV and Maui Electric was recently reached, and Maui Electric submitted the proposal to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for review last week.…

Community Ownership of Renewable Energy

Friday, February 9th, 2018

Sust`aina ble Molokai News Release

Sust `aina ble Molokai invites the Molokai community to join the Tentou Network for a day of transformative discussion on Molokai’s readiness for community ownership of renewable energy projects  on Feb. 19 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Kulana `Oiwi Halau.

The Tentou network consists of nonprofit organizations from four continents and the Pacific Islands, working in close cooperation with our communities. The founding members of the network are the Samsø Energy Academy in Denmark; the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies in Japan; the Islands Institute in Maine, USA; the Coalition for Community Energy in Victoria, Australia; and Sust`aina ble Molokai in Hawaii, USA.…

Kalaupapa Flight Concerns

Friday, January 19th, 2018

Community Contributed

By Richard Miller

Editor’s note: The Kalaupapa community is circulating a petition for their voice to be heard in the selection of the airline that serves the peninsula through the federally awarded Essential Air Service subsidy. Makani Kai currently provides affordable flights to Kalaupapa through the EAS, however residents are concerned that may soon change. For more information or to sign the petition, email kahuricharducc@gmail.com, adlau@sof.org or rjm2429@gmail.com.

The Kalaupapa peninsula is a remote triangular shaped area jutting out of the north shore of the Hawaiian Island of Molokai.  The peninsula is surrounded on two sides by ocean, and on the third by the highest sea cliffs in the world.…

Ferry System Not Feasible

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

A state ferry system is not feasible, and neither is bringing back the Molokai to Maui ferry, even though it may be needed, according to a recent study from the Department of Transportation.

After being tasked with conducting the study by the state Legislature in 2016, the DOT examined the technical, commercial and financial feasibility of several types of ferries in Hawaii. It looked at an inter-island ferry, an intra-county ferry between Molokai and Maui, and intra-island ferries between West Oahu and Honolulu and between West and Central Maui.

The study reviewed the controversial Superferry, which served Oahu, Maui and Kauai between 2007 to 2009, as well as the recently shut down Molokai Princess, which ended operation between Molokai and Maui in 2016, after claiming financial hardship.…