News stories regarding Molokai’s outdoor environment

County to Complete Utility Study

Friday, September 18th, 2015

County of Maui News Release

The County of Maui is moving forward with plans to a study on the electric utility options for the community, and results will be complete by mid-October. The study will examine alternate businesses models and whether the proposed NextEra merger is in the best interest of residents. The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development has selected an Oklahoma based firm to complete the study.

Guernsey, which had an Oahu office from 1999 to 2007, is an engineering, architectural and consulting firm which once worked with Hawaiian Electric and the U.S. Army when the military wanted to privatize its electrical systems on Oahu and Hawaii Island.…

Taro Field Day to Host Queen’s Challenge Taro Competition

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Sust`aina ble Molokai and UH Cooperative Extension Service News Release

The Molokai Taro Variety Field Day will be held on Saturday, Sept. 19 at the Molokai Applied Research and Demonstration Farm, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The annual event has been organized by the UH Cooperative Extension Service since 1985, and is something that many residents look forward to. This year promises to be another outstanding event.

An important highlight of this year’s Taro Day is The Queen’s Challenge Taro Competition. This year, Molokai has been selected to host the competition, which is held annually at selected sites around the Pae `Aina in honor of Queen Emma Kalanikaumakaamano Kaleleonalani Na`ea Rooke, who recognized the value of the Hawaiian taro varieties and has written in detail on methods she used to produce large kalo (taro).…

Waves of Flickering Taro Leaves

Friday, September 11th, 2015

Community Contributed

By Alton S. Arakaki, County Extension Agent

In 1895, Katherine Lee Bates wrote the famous words “for amber waves of grain” in the lyrics of “America the Beautiful.” I didn’t know what the words meant until my teacher pointed to the thousands of acres of sugarcane and I watched the countless wave-like action of leaves as the wind move across the field. In this live classroom, he concluded that the mainland kids would never identify with words “for green waves of sugarcane” if Katherine Bates had used them instead.

These same kinds of words were written in the journals of early sailors and missionaries arriving in Hawaii, to describe the fields of kalo or taro, ko (sugarcane), uala or sweet potato, and mai`a (banana) they observed as they sailed the coast and walked from one island district — ahupua`a — to the next throughout Hawaii.…

Between Food and Climate Change

Friday, September 11th, 2015

Community Contributed

By Glenn I. Teves, UH CTAHR County Extension Agent

Characteristics of climate change include weather extremes — very hot and very cold — as well as violent storms. We’ve seen it this year with one of the coldest winters in decades, record high summer temperatures, and more than our share of threatening storms.

One of the positive aspects of a cold winter was a bumper crop of lychee, a native to South China. Most of the older lychee varieties, including Kwai Mi, Hak Ip, and No Mai Tze require colder weather to flower than is normally found in Hawaii, while the newer ones such as Kaimana and Groff require less of a cold snap to trigger flowering.…

Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove Access

Friday, September 11th, 2015

DHHL News Release

The kupuna of Kalamaula made it clear to Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) that Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove is sacred and not a place for recreation.  Following community meetings, it was decided that this significant wahipana (historic site) needed to be better cared for and protected.

DHHL consulted the State Historic Preservation Division of the Department of Land and Natural Resources because the agency has jurisdiction over historic sites and obtained authorization to clean and fence Kapuaiwa.  DHHL requests beneficiaries and members of the general public to respect the sacredness of Kapuaiwa while efforts are ongoing to work with the Department of Agriculture to continue diagnose/monitor the health of the trees so future decisions may be made about their well-being.…

Local Farmers Turn to Export

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Local Farmers Turn to Export

Molokai was once known as “Molokai `Aina Momona,” or the abundant land, providing plentiful food for a population many times its current size. While there are still many farmers and crops on Molokai, the economics of farming are making it challenging to provide for the community the way ancient Hawaiians once did. Thus, many island farmers have turned to exporting to make the numbers work.

A recent study by nonprofit Sust`ainable Molokai has found that the economy of scale – or the cost advantage of producing larger amounts – plays a key role in the success of local farmers.

“It’s all about quantity and the ability for farmers to make money,” said Harmonee Williams, Sust`ainable Molokai project manager.…

A Steak in the Local Economy

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

A Steak in the Local Economy

In Hawaii, 85 percent of calves are shipped to the mainland, said Pu`u O Hoku Ranch General Manager Jann Roney. They’re raised and butchered, and the finished product is not always sent back to the islands. However, like others around the state in recent years, Molokai ranches and businesses are working to keep the full cattle operation at home.

Molokai Ranch

Last August, Molokai Ranch launched its 100 percent grass-fed beef in an effort to establish its new pillars of animal husbandry and sustainability, said Operations Manager Dathan Bicoy.

Prepared beef dish from Molokai Ranch. Photo by Laura Pilz.

About 1,800 cattle graze 30,000 acres of pasture in Maunaloa.…

Changing Times for the Molokai Ferry

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Changing Times for the Molokai Ferry

Community Contributed

By Dave Jung, Molokai Ferry General Manager

Photo by Catherine Cluett

The Molokai Ferry has been running a fixed schedule for the last 27 years, operated by Sea Link of Hawaii. However, last year, airline travel from Molokai dramatically changed, and single engine aircraft are very fuel efficient and cheap to operate. With air fares down to $39, the ferry just can’t compete in this current price war.

A new ruling by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) allows the ferry to change our schedule on a monthly basis and may cancel a voyage when the number of reservations is below 20 passengers on either segment of a round trip 48 hours before departure.…

Summer Avocados

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Community Contributed

By Glenn I. Teves, UH CTAHR County Extension Agent

Mid-summer is the leanest season for avocado in Hawaii, but the West Indies avocado fills the void and is there for the picking. The most heat-tolerant avocado, it’s the best adapted to the lowlands of Molokai, although it doesn’t do well along the shore where salty winds and soils can cause burning of roots and leaf edges.

The avocado is native to Mexico, where it’s been eaten before 10,000 BC. It spread throughout the Caribbean, Central and South American, evolving into three distinct races: the high-quality and cold-tolerant Mexican, the tropical forest Guatemalan, and the heat-tolerant, lowland West Indies.…

Fence for Coconut Grove Generates Mixed Reactions

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) received permission last week to place a fence around Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove, a move that some residents feel will protect a historic site but others feel will prove ineffective.

Molokai’s 150-year-old grove became the subject of recent scrutiny after disease and invasive insects were discovered in some of the trees last December. The State Historical Preservation Division (SHPD), which authorized the fence, said in a statement that seeing “the affected coconut trees within the grove reinforced the need for protective fencing” for the health of the grove and the safety of the public.

Support for the Fence

At community meetings held by the DHHL and Kalamaula Homestead Association in May and June, residents voiced support for a fence.…