Hawaiian Electric Companies has rolled out a statewide plan that sets a goal for Molokai of 100 percent renewable energy by 2020. Over the next three years, the electric utility is proposing 1.4 megawatts (MW) of additional photovoltaic energy to be added to the island’s existing 2.3 MW of energy coming from rooftop solar panels, as well as 5 MW of wind energy. The plan also calls for a transition to biofuel for “some” of the island’s 12 MW of energy currently being generated from diesel fuel.
“Molokai will serve as a blueprint to increase the cost-effective use of renewables for the remainder of the state and help us obtain real–world experience in running an island grid with 100 percent renewable energy,” states the report, filed with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) last December and recently presented at the fourth annual Maui Energy Conference.…
Two upcoming projects slated for permitting represent firsts of their kind on Molokai. A two-story hotel and commercial space planned for downtown Kaunakakai would offer eight rooms for rent and retail storefront. The island’s first potentially permitted Bed and Breakfast is also seeking approval from the Molokai Planning Commission this month.
The property of the proposed hotel, located between American Saving Bank and Kalele Bookstore, is currently a 13,092 square foot empty lot owned by Stanley Wada.
The first floor would include two room units, manager’s office, laundry room, and three retail units, totaling 3,776 square foot of building coverage, according to Maui County Molokai Planner Sybil Lopez.…
Molokai Burger’s grills will remain cold for two months, following a fire during the night of Monday, Feb. 13. The blaze and smoke caused significant damage to the building’s interior and equipment, and the island’s only drive-through is closed while repairs are made.
Smoke was reported by a community member at 11:19 p.m., while the building was vacant. Three minutes later, firefighters were at the scene and found heavy smoke and active flames in the back kitchen area of the restaurant, according to the Fire Department. The fire was under control within 10 minutes and was fully extinguished around 1 a.m.…
After 63 years under the ownership of the Egusa family, one of Molokai’s largest stores is changing hands this week. As of Feb. 11, Friendly Market Center will continue operation under the leadership of another family of grocers — the Okimotos of Waianae, Oahu.
The change comes after careful consideration over the last few years, said the Egusas of their retirement and business sale. Having a long working relationship with the Okimoto family as fellow independent grocers, FMC co-owner Jeff Egusa said they feel good about the transition.
“We didn’t want a big mainland company or anything like that [to buy the store],” explained Jeff of their decision to approach the Okimotos with the possibility of purchase.…
The Sproat family, owners of Molokai’s legendary mule ride, say they’re worried land access issues may prevent the business from continuing operation.
Photo by Catherine Cluett Pactol
The Kalae barn that serves as their base of business — home to the mules that make daily guided trips down the rugged Kalaupapa trail — is on land owned by R.W. Meyer Ltd, leased by the Sproats. R. W. Meyer also owns the land at the trailhead by Kalae Highway, through which mules and hikers must pass to access the settlement.
The late Buzzy Sproat operated the mule ride for more than 40 years, and his family has owned the business for 25 years.…
Molokai’s Unemployment Insurance office is slated for closure at the end of this month because of federal budget cuts. The office has been open since the 1970s and has helped residents through the closure of many island industries. Now, officials say the community can still access services online and by calling the Maui office.
“All of the usual services and benefits of the Unemployment Insurance office will still be available to the residents of Molokai,” said Linda Chu Takayama, Director of the Dept. of Labor and Industrial Relations. “Face to face is always preferable but it has to be balanced with the economic situation.”
The office, located in the state building in Kaunakakai, will be closed after Jan.…
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.…
Photo by Sarah Ching
By Sarah Ching
Starting a business on Molokai has its share of challenges but when Leah-che and Ross Takashima chose to leave a stable career in order to see their business dream come to fruition, it required faith. The Planter Box, in the location of the former Simply Natural in Kaunakakai, is a new business on the block featuring custom coffee, local produce and natural products.
“We prayed a lot,” the couple said of the big step. “We prayed about this opportunity, we prayed when making any kind of decisions.”
When Ross chose to leave the stability of his job in order to fully help in the business they admit it was scary.…
Photo by Sarah Ching
By Sarah Ching
For those who relish the savory eats you find at Cory’s Lunchwagon, you may not know the long history behind this local eatery. Launched in 1996 by Melody Alcon, it originated as Cody’s Lunchwagon. Kapua Balbas, current owner and operator of Cory’s, reflected on her time assisting her mother with the family owned lunch wagon up until she moved to Arizona after completing high school.
“Once I graduated and moved to the mainland, I was hungry for local style food, [such as] spare ribs, hamburger steak and shoyu chicken, so I’d call home and get recipes from my mom,” she said “All of the recipes were taught over the phone and I’d recreate them for my friends.”
She tried to keep the recipes as authentic as possible, however living out of state she often had to improvise.…
Photo by Catherine Cluett Pactol
By Catherine Cluett Pactol
For Marcy and Zhander Fiesta, hard work has made a dream come true in the form of newly-opened Fiesta Market Place, where Outpost Natural Foods was formerly located. They’ve completed a renovation impossible mission, revamped a locally-focused menu and are building an eco-friendly business they hope will grow into the future.
With a lunch counter offering options for both vegetarian and meat-eaters, as well as smoothies, health food retail products, local produce and frozen desserts, Fiesta Market Place is off to a running start since the couple acquired the business in January.…