Molokai and Hawaii – Island Politics

Federal Gov. Shutdown Felt on Molokai

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

While the shutdown of the federal government for two weeks earlier this month didn’t affect the daily lives of many Molokai residents, it did have a marked impact on some. The National Park Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other federal agencies with employees on Molokai all felt the federal actions directly.

Across the country, 800,000 federal civilian workers were furloughed for 16 days after the government faced a partial shutdown starting Oct. 1. More than one million members of the military remained on the job, as well as just over one million civilian federal workers involved in operations deemed essential, including air-traffic controllers and TSA inspectors, among others.…

Teachers’ Turn To Learn

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

One hundred of Molokai’s 120 Kindergarten through 12th grade teachers congregated at Molokai High School last Wednesday for a day of personal and professional development. While students around the island had the day off, teachers were busy learning in the classroom.

Called Teacher’s Institute Day 2013, the event allowed Molokai teachers a day to sit down with each other as well as representatives from the Hawaiian State Teacher’s Association (HSTA) teachers union and the National Education Association (NEA). Together they discussed teaching rights in Hawaii and how the state education system can progress looking ahead.

“Teachers don’t have enough time to talk to each other because they are so busy during the school day,” said Princess Moss, NEA executive board member. …

Honoring Sen. Inouye’s Legacy

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

Molokai community members gathered last Wednesday evening to remember the legacy of the late Senator Daniel Inouye, who helped bring millions of dollars in federal funding to support a variety of Molokai programs. Inouye’s wife Irene, son Kenny and former chief of staff Jennifer Sabas visited the island as part of a Hawaii tour to say mahalo to his supporters and celebrate his legacy.

“We’ve been doing a series of thank you events to thank his many contributors and friends,” said Irene Inouye. The tour falls shortly before the first anniversary of Inouye’s death last December.

“This was one of his favorite islands,” said Billy Akutagawa, executive director of Na Pu`uwai and organizer of Wednesday’s event.…

Community Calls for County Funds

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Community members had the chance to tell county officials and representatives Thursday that although Molokai is distinct from other islands in the county, they deserve the equal support in the next Fiscal Year 2015 Maui County budget.

“[Our islands] are not the same, but we are not divided,” said Ruth Ululani Manu to county officials at the budget hearing. “We are one ohana.”

Concerned residents, organizations and community leaders voiced which public services need continued and additional support from the county for the next fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014. Although Mayor Alan Arakawa could not attend the meeting due to a U.S.…

Talk Story with Sen. Schatz

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Talk Story with Sen. Schatz

U.S. Senator Brian Shatz visited Molokai last week to talk story with community members and answer questions about local and federal topics. Photo by Catherine Cluett

Last week, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz made a visit to Molokai and talked story with business owners, farmers, advocates and residents. Schatz is former Hawaii Lt. Governor, and was elected by Gov. Abercrombie to serve out Daniel Inouye’s term until the 2014 special election, for which he is running. As a senator, Schatz sits on three Senate committees: Commerce, Energy and Natural Resources, and Indian Affairs. Here are some excerpted questions and answers — some from a conversation with the Dispatch and others from community members.…

Residential, State Efforts for More Solar Increase

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Residential, State Efforts for More Solar Increase

Molokai residents are eager to install photovoltaic (PV) panels on their roofs to reduce their energy bills and malama the environment. But current technology limits the amount of renewable energy that can be fed into the island-wide electricity grid while maintaining reliability of electric service, according to Maui Electric Company (MECO).

Because renewable energy is a variable source — solar, for example, only generates energy during the day — MECO says relying heavily on renewable sources can cause instability in electricity service. To solve this problem, utility companies, in conjunction with the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC), have established various threshold levels, also known as penetration limits, to regulate the amount of renewable energy on each circuit.…

Beyond Big Wind: Molokai’s Energy Future

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

With the possibility of an industrial scale wind farm no longer hanging over the heads of many concerned Molokai residents, the community is now looking toward Molokai’s energy future. Many options are being discussed in a conversation that is including residents, land owners, state and county officials and other energy stakeholders.

Molokai residents pay among the highest electric rates in the nation, second only to Lanai. Those prices are due largely to the rising cost of fossil fuel used to produce electricity. The price of fuel so greatly impacts electric bills because more than 50 percent of each bill is made up of fuel costs, according to Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO).…

Crivello Shares Council Experiences

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Crivello Shares Council Experiences

Stacy Helm Crivello joined Maui County Council as the Molokai representative in January. A few months into her new role, Crivello answered questions from the Dispatch about serving as a county councilmember.

How are you setting into your new job?

I am humbled to serve my home island as Molokai’s councilmember.  The reality of serving on the Maui council is accepting the fact that I need to spend most of my work week on Maui.  Molokai is my home, and I adjusted to this reality by commuting to Maui on Monday and returning on Friday or Saturday.  The work is full time, and I appreciate the challenge and opportunity to make a difference for our island and Maui County.…

Kupuna Take a Stand Against Drugs

Thursday, April 11th, 2013


Molokai residents concerned with methamphetamine use on the island are working to bring change to the way officials address the issue.

“We’re advocating for a full-time vice officer on Molokai to concentrate strictly on our drug problems now,” states a petition created by a group of kupuna that has garnered signatures and support across the island. Molokai kupuna Judy Caparida said she will present it at the upcoming Maui County Molokai budget meeting on April 15.

“If they were doing their job, we wouldn’t have this cycle,” she said of how police address the widespread use of drugs on Molokai.…

‘A`ole GMO’

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

‘A`ole GMO’

The main streets of Kaunakakai were closed Saturday morning as people young and old marched through town, carrying signs and shouting protests aimed toward Monsanto and calling for clear labeling of food made with genetically modified organisms (GMO).

Molokai activist Walter Ritte and Oahu resident Dustin Barca organized the series of rallies called March in March that took place across the islands throughout the month. The marches on Maui and Kauai had more than 2,000 participants each.

“This is equal to the other islands because in its own way, it’s making just as much noise and raising just as much awareness,” Barca said about the Molokai rally, which had about 200 marchers.…