Environment

News stories regarding Molokai’s outdoor environment

Molokai Weighs In On NextEra Merger

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Representatives of NextEra, the Florida-based energy company proposing a merger with Hawaiian Electric, visited Molokai last week with plans to hold an open house to meet residents and answer questions. Concerned community members, however, had other plans.

Standing in a circle amid NextEra’s large, colorful posters and blue-shirted staff, local attendees requested a meeting format in which all their answers could be answered at once and heard by all.

“We want to know what is going on, as a group – that’s Molokai style,” said local activist Walter Ritte.

NextEra officials, joined by Maui Electric representatives, obliged.  With no seating planned for the open house format, everyone stood for the next three hours and discussed the merger and its implications for Hawaii’s energy future.…

Mana for Mauna Kea

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Mana for Mauna Kea

Community members gathered along Maunaloa Highway in solidarity with the Mauna Kea movement. Courtesy photo.

Ongoing efforts to protect Mauna Kea’s peak, considered sacred by Native Hawaiians, from an 18-story tall structure called Thirty Meter Telescope, has gone international, with Molokai residents joining in the protests and social media buzz.

Pictured here, local community members rallied along Maunaloa Highway last week, holding signs and raising awareness.

Mauna Kea’s peak is viewed as one of the most sacred sites in Hawaii, and Molokai activist Walter Ritte is leading efforts to protect it from a 14th telescope.

“There’s certain places where you just cannot compromise anymore.…

County Passes Ferry Resolution

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

While the Maui County Council has yet to decide exactly what type of assistance to extend to Molokai’s floundering ferry system, councilmembers are nearly unanimous in their support of the ferry’s operations.

At their April 7 meeting, councilmembers passed a resolution urging Mayor Alan Arakawa to seek a subsidy for the ferry, which the Lahaina Cruise Company (LCC) reports has lost both riders and funds over the past year.

Councilmember Stacy Crivello introduced the resolution, which asked the mayor to propose an amendment to the fiscal year 2015 budget to appropriate $500,000 to the ferry. The money would come from the county’s Economic Development Revolving Fund (EDRF), which, according to the resolution, currently has an estimated balance of $1 million.…

County Explores Avenues for Ferry Aid

Friday, April 10th, 2015

The Maui County Council is taking the first steps toward addressing the struggling Molokai ferry, which has seen decreases in riders and funds within the past year.

Councilmember Stacy Helm Crivello, who represents Molokai on the nine-person council, introduced a resolution last week urging Mayor Alan Arakawa to seek significant financial support for the Lahaina Cruise Company (LCC), which runs the ferry service between Maui and Molokai.

The resolution requested that the mayor to propose an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget that would appropriate $500,000 to the ferry. The money would come from the county’s Economic Development Revolving Fund (EDRF), which, according to the resolution, currently has an estimated balance of $1 million.…

Record Roi Round-Up

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Record Roi Round-Up

Divers harvested over 1,000 pounds of invasive roi in the island’s second annual tournament. Photo courtesy of Dicky Dowling.

Molokai divers joined forces last month for a cause – to save native fish species by ridding the island of about 1,000 pounds of invasive roi.

“Nowadays everyone is about malama this, malama that. This is really giving back to the reef,” said local diver Dicky Dowling, who organized the second annual Molokai Roi Tournament. “That’s the most invasive species… Somebody gotta do something, you cannot just stand on the side.”

In the 1950s, the Hawaii Department of Fish and Wildlife introduced roi as a game fish for food.…

Solar Applications in Limbo

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Solar Applications in Limbo

Sixty-five applications for rooftop solar on Molokai currently remain in limbo at the hands of Maui Electric Company (MECO), according to company Communications Director Kau`i Awai-Dickson.

Most rooftop solar panels in the state are installed under a program called Net Energy Metering (NEM), which pays customers the retail electric rate for excess energy generated from their panels.

At 51 percent, Molokai has the highest percentage in Hawaii of rooftop solar compared to the island’s peak demand.

“Hawaii leads the nation as far as rooftop [solar], and Molokai leads the state,” said Mat McNeff, MECO manager of engineering, at a meeting on Molokai last month.…

NextEra Energy Open House

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric News Release

The public is invited to provide input, learn more about NextEra and how the proposed merger with Hawaiian Electric Industries will advance a more affordable clean energy future for Hawaii. The companies will be hosting a series of 13 open house informational meetings across Hawaii to introduce residents to NextEra Energy and the benefits of the companies’ pending merger as well as to provide members of the public with the opportunity to provide input directly to company officials.

On Molokai, the open house will take place on April 9 at Kaunakakai School Cafeteria from 5 to 8 p.m.…

Rebuilding a Tradition

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Rebuilding a Tradition

When Sheldon Wright builds walls, his main focus is to listen. He hefts a rock in his hands, flips it, spins it, lets it fall and hears the clack as it hits the stack of rocks in front of him. To construct walls the way Wright does—the same way ancient Hawaiians did hundreds of years ago—he has to tune into the tools of his trade.

“The rocks speak to me,” said Wright. “They tell me where they want to go.”

Wright fashions the beginnings of a dry stack wall outside Madsen’s home. Photo by Colleen Uechi.

Wright is carrying on the Hawaiian tradition of dry stack masonry in which the rocks are placed in an interlocking fashion that requires no mortar, he said.…

Financial Woes May Suspend Ferry Route

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

Financial Woes May Suspend Ferry Route

Photos by Catherine Cluett

In the face of falling ridership, the Lahaina Cruise Company (LCC) is planning to suspend the Molokai Ferry’s daily round trip between Molokai and Maui, pending approval from the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), according to the company’s President and Senior Captain David Jung.

“What’s happening with the ferry right now, is that we’re hemorrhaging money because of low ridership,” said Jung. “We’re trying to come up with a solution right now, but in the meantime we [plan] to cut back one trip a day. It’s better to have reduced service than no service.”

The route, which departs from Kaunakakai Harbor at 5:15 a.m.…

Bright Ideas for Saving Energy

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Community Contributed

By Maya Lima and Gaby Miguel, Kilohana sixth graders

Did you know that you can save a lot of energy and money by simply flicking off a light?   On Feb. 18, Kilohana School held an Energy Expo for their school community.   At the expo, Kilohana’s fifth and sixth graders gave presentations on how to save energy and money at home.  Parents and students walked from station to station to learn about energy conservation.

One of the student presenters, Gabrielle Miguel told audience members, “One cool way to save energy is to wash your clothes with cold water and buy Energy Star appliances.”  According to Miguel, washing clothes in cold water can save a family more than $63 a year.…