Government

Interisland Travel Now Unrestricted

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021

By Catherine Cluett Pactol

For the first time in months, there are no Safe Travels screeners greeting arrivals to the Molokai Airport. Travelers may come and go interisland freely without going through a litany of testing, quarantine procedures, forms, QR codes and other protocols, as of June 15. The ending of regulations for travel within Hawaii marks one of several to the Emergency Revised Rules the governor made last week.

Individuals who have been fully vaccinated in the state of Hawaii are also no longer required to do a pre-travel test when traveling from the U.S. mainland. However, visitors from the continental U.S.…

Hurricane Season Predicted ‘Below-Normal’

Wednesday, June 16th, 2021

By Catherine Cluett Pactol | Editor

Weather officials are predicting a “near-or below-normal” hurricane season this year, which runs June 1 through Nov. 30. Forecasters say to expect two to five tropical cyclones — including tropical depressions, storms and hurricanes — for the 2021 Central Pacific season, and an 80 percent chance of near or below normal season. A near-normal season has four to five tropical cyclones.

“This year we will likely see less activity in the Central Pacific region compared to more active seasons,” said Matthew Rosencrans, NOAA’s lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center. “Less activity is predicted since ocean temperatures are likely to be near- to below average in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean where hurricanes form, and because El Niño is not present to increase the activity.”…

County Council Urges Permanent Online Meetings

Wednesday, June 9th, 2021

Maui County Council News Release

The National Association of Counties will honor Maui County with an Achievement Award for “Enhancing Civic Engagement Through Online Legislative Meetings” at the NACo Annual Con-ference in Prince George’s County, Maryland, on July 11.

On March 16, 2020, Governor David Y. Ige issued his first COVID-19 emergency proclamation, which partially suspended public meetings statute, known as the Sunshine Law, to authorize online meetings.

Meetings held during the emergency weren’t required to be open to the public. “Boards” subject to the Sunshine Law, including the Maui County Council and its committees, were merely asked to “consider reasonable measures to allow public participation.”…

Intern with Sen. Schatz

Wednesday, May 19th, 2021

Intern with Sen. Schatz

Sen. Brian Schatz News Release

Applications for U.S. Senator Brian Schatz’s 2021–22 High School Internship Program are now being accepted. The statewide program provides a hands-on learning opportunity about the U.S. Senate and encourages students to be leaders and advocates in their schools and communities. Molokai High School’s Ashawna-Leigh Bicoy is among the outgoing interns from the 2020-2021 program.

“This year’s interns were obviously very impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of being discouraged, they used this moment to advocate for better communication with their communities, increased physical and mental health resources, and expanded educational opportunities for students. I thank them for all of the great work they did this year,” said Sen.…

Top 3 Candidates Selected to Fill Senate Vacancy

Wednesday, May 19th, 2021

By Catherine Cluett Pactol

Three candidates for the vacant Senate District 7 seat previously held by Sen. Kalani English have been submitted to Gov. Ige by the Democratic Party of Hawaii. One of those is Molokai’s Lynn DeCoite, who currently serves as Representative for House District 13. Molokai’s Walter Ritte was also one of six applicants for the position but was not selected among the top three for the governor’s consideration.

Sen. English announced his retirement on May 1. The Senate District 7 seat represents Molokai, Lanai, Hana, East and Upcountry Maui and Kaho’olawe. Filling the vacancy follows the Democratic Party of Hawaii’s (DPH) constitution and bylaws for filling legislative mid-term vacancies.…

Sen. English Retires, Molokai Candidates to Vie for Seat

Thursday, May 6th, 2021

By Catherine Cluett Pactol

Longtime Senator Kalani English announced his retirement from the State Senate last week, effective May 1. Meanwhile, Molokai’s Representative Lynn DeCoite has said she will be seeking his seat, along with Walter Ritte, who narrowly lost to DeCoite in the last election.

English served as senator of District 7, Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Molokai and Lanai, since 2000, having previously served on the Maui County Council since 1997. He cited longterm medical issues resulting from contracting COVID-19 last year as his main reason for retirement.

“In late November 2020, I contracted COVID-19 while with family out of Hawaii,” English said in a statement last week.…

Input on Proposed Molokai Addition to Forest Reserve System

Wednesday, April 21st, 2021

DLNR News Release

Five proposed changes, including four additions totaling roughly 8,100 acres and one withdrawal of about 2.7 acres, are being considered for the State Forest Reserve System (FRS), which is managed by the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW). One of the proposed additions is on Molokai.

The FRS represents the state’s largest public forest lands that provide a variety of benefits including aesthetic benefits; watershed restoration; native, threatened, and endangered species habitat protection and management; cultural resources; and recreational and hunting opportunities, among others. DOFAW will hold a virtual hearing at 6 p.m. on April 28 to receive testimony on the proposed changes affecting the FRS.…

Charter Commission Seeks Molokai Input

Wednesday, April 14th, 2021

County of Maui News Release

The Maui Charter Commission is seeking input from members of the Molokai community at its next scheduled virtual meeting on, April 15 at 6 p.m.

The Charter Commission is formed every 10 years to study and review the operation of the government of the county of Maui under the amendments or new charter and to propose amendments or to draft a new charter for voter’s consideration at the next general election.

Interested members of the public may submit written testimony and/or provide oral testimony at the meeting. When submitting testimony, please consider addressing these two questions: What are you recommending be changed in the charter?…

Health Center Gets Funding

Wednesday, April 14th, 2021

MCHC News Release

Molokai Community Health Center (MCHC) is one of 14 Hawaii Community Health Centers to receive American Rescue Plan funds to expand operations in response to COVID-19 vaccinations, increased testing, preventive and primary care expansion, direct transportation for patient care, including improving physical infrastructure and adding mobile clinic services.

Molokai Community Health Center has been awarded $839,500 of the $31,969,250 American Rescue Plan funds allocated to Hawaii Health Centers.

To further support this work, in late March, The Hawaii Community Foundation has also awarded MCHC $222,500 towards increased COVID-19 vaccination efforts and mobile clinic services to reach patients who are homebound, lack transportation to get to their appointments or seek care, or who may not have adequate broadband or device capability in their neighborhood to receive care by telehealth.…

Maunaloa Post Office Still Closed, Under Construction

Wednesday, April 14th, 2021

By Catherine Cluett Pactol

After being closed on Feb. 24 for structural concerns and pest issues, the Maunaloa Post Office remains closed nearly two months later. Construction on the building is underway, and in the meantime, Maunaloa residents continue to have to pick up with mail at the Ho’olehua Post Office.

“The landlord for the Maunaloa Post Office is currently making repairs to the facility,” representatives of the U.S. Postal Service district office in Honolulu said in a statement to The Molokai Dispatch last week. “We look forward to reopening the facility when the repairs are complete. At the moment we don’t know when that will be.”…