Helm Confirmed as Hawaiian Homes Commissioner

Thursday, June 4th, 2020

DHHL News Release

The Hawaii State Senate confirmed Molokai’s Zachary Helm, Randy Awo and Russell Kaupu to the Hawaiian Homes Commission on Thursday, May 21, in a 24-0 vote.

Molokai Commissioner Helm has 30 years of experience working with the Department of Parks and Recreation for the County of Maui, with most of his tenure spent as the District Supervisor for the Molokai District.

Helm is active in his community, serving on various boards, including the Kalamaʻula Hawaiian Homestead Association, Friendly Isle United Way, Molokai Catholic Community Council, and Molokai Little League Association. Helm’s term runs through June 2024.

Maui Commissioner Awo most recently served as the Administrator for the Department of Land and Natural Resources for the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement.…

HI Businesses Support Molokai and Lanai Athletics

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

DACH News Release

Proceeds from a fundraiser event called “Cheers for Molokai and Lanai High,” held on Oahu, will support student-athletes at Molokai High and Lanai High whose athletic departments annually face travel budget shortfalls. Held by Downtown Athletic Club Hawaii (DACH), a nonprofit founded in 2012 to advance sports programs of Hawaii’s public schools and support student athletes, the fundraiser will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 29, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., in front of Murphy’s Bar and Grill in downtown Honolulu.

In the current 2013-14 school year, Molokai High is underfunded by about $32,000, and Lanai High is often forced to travel with partial squads and offers a limited number of sports due to lack of funding and resources.…

Molokai Internet Survey – How’s Your Speed?

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Molokai Internet Survey – How’s Your Speed?

The State of Molokai’s Broadband Internet

High speed Internet can allow residents of rural areas like Molokai to participate in economic and civic life far beyond the geographic boundaries of our shoreline. Broadband technology can eliminate logistical constraints of regionally-based business, foster greater social interaction, and allow quick transmission of news and information. However, these economic and social advantages depend on the reliability and speed provided by Molokai’s limited Internet service providers.

In the spirit of community-building, The Molokai Dispatch is polling local customers of a variety of broadband providers to find out the quality and user satisfaction of Molokai’s Internet service.…

Primary Election Results

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

Last Saturday, Molokai residents cast their ballots at one of four polling locations. The winners from each political party in the primary election will go on to appear on the general election ballot in November. In the primary, voters could only select candidates within their designated parties, or else the vote will be discarded. In the general election, they may vote for party or nonpartisan candidates.

State-wide Results
One candidate from each party for each race moves on to the General Election, where voters will choose between a Republic or Democratic candidate for each seat. In the race for U.S. Senator, Mazie Hirono (Democrat) won with 56.8…

Touring the Numbers

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Touring the Numbers

The numbers are in – and they’re up.

Nearly 30,000 people flew to Molokai between January and June 2011, compared with about 24,200 during the same period last year – a 22.6 percent increase, according to reports released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA).

Michael Drew, general manager at Hotel Molokai, said he isn’t surprised. Through July this year, business at the island’s only hotel has increased between 15 to 18 percent compared to the same period in 2010. While kama`aina visitors have held steady, mainland and international guests have accounted for the increase, he said – making it the busiest year in the history of the hotel.

“Are they spending money elsewhere [on Molokai]? I don’t know,” he said. “But they’re coming.”

For business owners dependent on tourism, Drew’s question draws mixed answers. Jonathan Socher, owner of Big Wind Kite Factory in Maunaloa, said he couldn’t believe tourist arrivals had increased so much, saying his profits are “neck and neck” with last year’s. However, Roy Horner, who offers mule rides into Kalaupapa through his company, Kalaupapa Rare Adventures LLC, said results have been “favorable” since he reopened for business in January following repairs to the trail.

A closer look at the numbers tells a similarly mixed story: Total tourist expenditures on Molokai are up for the first half of the year – from $13 million in 2010 to $14.2 million in 2011, an 8.9 percent rise. But while the money spent per person per day rose less than a percentage point to about $106, each visitor appears to be spending less overall. Per person per trip spending from January to June dropped 11.1 percent between this year and last, from $536.40 to $476.60.

HTA, which works in conjunction with the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, calculates per person spending monthly based on tourist surveys.

Darrell Labrado, an employee at Molokai Fish and Dive, said revenue for the first half of the year has increased – especially from tours and other activities. He said many customers return to the shop from years prior or hear about it through word of mouth. If other visitors are gripping their wallets tightly, he said, he suspects it’s because traveling here is “expensive enough.”

HTA spokeswoman Momi Akimseu offered similar insight, suggesting that after people slashed their travel budgets in recent years, many tourists are now glad to be vacationing at all.

“As the economy suffered in recent years, that pent up some demand,” she said, adding the recession also fostered a “life is short” attitude. “People are coming back and getting back to traveling.”

Akimseu also credits “rallying” within the tourism industry for a bump in visitors, both across the state and on Molokai. Hawaii welcomed 6,982,425 visitors statewide last year – its first increase since numbers began sliding after 2007, when 7,496,820 visited.

The addition of more direct flights to Maui has also helped tourism on Molokai, she said.

Marketing Molokai
Representatives from the HTA and its sub-department, the Maui Visitor’s Bureau (MVB), say they’re working to maintain the upswing of visitors. HTA recently launched an iPhone application, called “Festivals of Hawaii,” to provide details on events throughout the islands.

And last week, as part of a statewide initiative, the Molokai Airport became the latest airport in Hawaii to greet fliers in Hawaiian. Visitors and kama`aina are met with a pre-recorded message by Molokai resident Ka`ala Fay Camara after landing.

The Hawaiian language greeting mirrors HTA’s and MVB’s goals of marketing Molokai as an authentic Hawaiian island, where tourists can come to learn true local culture. MVB recently launched a campaign targeting travel agents, writers and social media users, associating each Maui County island with a different word. Maui is “captivating,” Lanai is “embracing,” and Molokai is “enlightening.”

MVB Executive Director Terryl Vencl said the organization doesn’t plan to use the words in advertising campaigns; instead, it’s meant to serve as a behind-the-scenes jumping point for marketing brainstorms. She said MVB chose “enlightening” based on meetings with the Molokai Visitors Association (MVA) during the past year, as well as local and mainland focus groups.

 “Enlightening really seemed to be a fit for the kind of visitor that Molokai wants to have,” Vencl said. “They want somebody who can appreciate what it is they have.”
Several Molokai business owners disagreed with MVB’s approach, saying they felt left out of the discussion. Some felt Maui was “assigning” a word to Molokai, and wished Molokai’s visitors association was more independent.

“I’ve had a lot of trouble understanding what Maui does for Molokai,” said Socher, of Big Wind Kite Factory, later adding, “Buzz words by their very nature are at least inadequate, if not wrong.”

However, Hotel Molokai’s Drew, who chairs MVA and sits on the board of MVB, said the word is “perfect.”

“Come with no expectation, come with an open mind, and we enlighten you why we think we’re the best and the last authentic Hawaiian island,” he said.
MVA chair Julie-Ann Bicoy was unavailable for comment last week.

Despite some local misgivings about increasing traffic to Molokai, Drew and other business owners said tourism plays a vital role to life on the island.

“For one, it keeps people employed. For two, it keeps businesses successful,” Drew said. “They’re not gonna stay, they’re just gonna come and check us out. Everybody benefits from people coming to Molokai, period.”


Molokai Dispatch 2010 Survey

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Molokai Dispatch 2009 Survey

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

EC Bloc Fights Back

Friday, March 16th, 2007

Machado and Corbiel return to KAL Board despite protests from community

The heavy tension at the meeting finally boiled over and became uncontrollable during the discussion of the re-opening of project #7, the water moratorium, as the proceedings degenerated into shouting, displays of anger, name-calling, and attempts at physical violence.

President Crivello hastily adjourned the meeting just before 7:00 pm, and the many personal conflicts on display afterward were intense enough for County police to be called in to ensure there was no physical violence.

As one aforementioned attendee hinted at, there were certainly several travesties which unfolded at the March 15 meeting. Community members, like Karen Holt, lamented the polarization which has occurred because of the master land-use plan, and pleaded for everyone involved to remember better days when everybody worked together.

The Master Land-Use Plan has been heavily opposed because of what some fear it will do to the social demographics, the wealth, and agricultural potential of the island. Those concerned over what will happen to the very fabric of the friendly isle need not look further than Thursday’s meeting. The usually peaceful place, where family ties, history, and friendship run as deep as the proud legacy of activism and protectionism, was exposed for a brief moment, and the dark side of Molokai’s brimming potential was revealed.

EC Gets it Wrong

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

Enterprise Community board attempts to set voting results straight with misinformation.

On March 6, the Molokai Enterprise Community (EC) Board of Directors attempted to respond to what they call “numerous misstatements of facts” regarding the recent EC elections. EC Board President Stacy Crivello and EC Executive Director Abbey Mayer issued a press release (shown below) in an attempt to set the Molokai community straight.

The problem is that the information included in the EC press release is misleading and inaccurate. The press release compares voter turnout numbers between the recent EC election and the 2006 General Election. But the numbers that the EC uses are in error because they include outer island vote totals from the 2006 General Election. The document also fails to identify any of the alleged “numerous misstatements of facts” that the release is said to clarify.

Victory for Molokai

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

The EC vote on Wed. Jan 31 was a victory for Molokai. It is part of a great story of an Island that participated in a democratic process in large numbers without the influence of government. It was a grass roots effort by a community determined to express their choices. Those on both sides of the issue worked hard to create a safe place for all to participate, and participate we did. The election is the talk of the island.

The Save La'au candidates delivered a landslide victory and in the process ousted well known politician and OHA trustee Colette Machado. Also on the losing end was Claude Sutcliff who called the elections a "community referendum" on the issue of whether to develop La'au Point.

The ‘silent majority’ had a chance to speak, and it was a deafening NO! to the La'au development project. Those who won were against La'au Development, and the two encumbants who lost were in favor of the development, which begs the question: "How much more does this community have to say and do before Peter Nichols keeps his word about having the community decide whether La'au will be developed?”

Congradulations Molokai- you made yourself proud...KU'E!

Walter Ritte