Fireworks permits still available for tonight

For those who would like to shoot fireworks tonight, permits are still available at the county office at the Mitchell Pau’ole Center for $25.

The office is open till 4:30 p.m. today and only 61 permits will be issued to Molokai. Fireworks can legally be set off tonight only between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. Violators are subject to fines up to $2,000. For more details on fireworks celebrations in Maui County, check out the story online at


New Year of the Tiger celebration features keiki art contest and honoring of Chinese kupuna

A different type of New Year’s celebration will take place on Molokai January 18. For the first time ever, Molokai will hold a Chinese New Year Tiger Parade to honor the beginning of the Year of the Tiger.

Hope, strength and unity is the Molokai Chinese Cultural Club’s theme for the parade. Since a community’s wealth begins with its children, one part of the tiger parade celebration is a keiki art contest. Kumu Edrian Apo signed on all of her 30 Kaunakakai School third graders into an art contest called “Year of the Tiger & Me.” A Molokai native with Chinese heritage, Kumu Apo is cultivating future hopes in her keikis artistic expression and helping them to think creatively.

One of the panel of judges in the art contest is Oliver Ah-Sun Young. He is also one of the four kupuna honorees at the parade celebration. He traces his Chinese roots through his father, a district magistrate on Maui. Mr. Young served three years in the U.S. Army with one of those year served in Pisa, Italy at the end of World War II. He also volunteered to become a parachutist and glide man while in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg and earned his jump wings.

Oliver A.S. Young

Many older Molokai residents remember Mr. Young dressed in his olive drab uniform. Since retired as field sergeant, Mr. Young served 24 years at the Molokai Police Station.

Married 57 years to Lily Young, Mr. and Mrs. Young remain active in volunteer work at the Maui County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program. Their church work had also brought them to far places working as missionaries.

Tourism numbers and dollars down more on Molokai than other islands

As we approach the end of the year, the Hawaii Tourism Authority has released figures on tourism for all Hawaiian islands through November.

On Molokai, arrivals are down 31.5 percent to about 44,100, compared with the same period last year. On Maui, Kauai and the Big Island arrivals were down an average of about 10 percent, while that number is 5 percent for Oahu.

Molokai has also suffered large drops in visitor spending, down 34.6 percent to $22.5 million. Visitor spending on the other main Hawaiian islands, while down from last year, has dropped between 10.9 percent and 14.4 percent.

One other sharp decline of note: The number of international travelers visiting Molokai has dropped 60 percent to 6,800 year over year through November.

The November tourism statistics were released Monday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority and can be viewed at

If that’s not enough to tell us that the economy is hurting, The Honolulu Advertiser is reporting that bankruptcy filings are at a four-year high in Hawaii. There have been a total of 2,906 bankruptcies filed in U.S. District Court to date, an increase of 829 from the same time last year.

The bulk of the filings were for Chapter Seven personal bankruptcy, with most of those by people who had gone through their savings and were at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure. A number of notable business bankruptcies have also taken placed this year, including the parent company of Ala Moana Center, the Honolulu Symphony, Hawaii Biotech, and the parent company of the Hawaii Superferry.

Molokai Roi Tournament spears 392 invasive fish

To help bring attention to the problem of the peacock grouper fish, or roi, Molokai High School senior Kumu Spencer-Misaki held a tournament to clean up this invasive species.

Peacock groupers, known in Hawaii as roi, were the target in a recent local fishing tournament to reduce the population of this invasive species.

Earlier this month, divers at the Molokai Roi Tournament speared 392 total fish. Prizes were awarded for the most fish, the biggest fish and the smallest fish.

Apparently, the roi contains a toxin that when consumed, can cause extreme sickness. The roi also began eating many of Hawaii’s reef fish. A roi can consume 150 fish annually and its lifespan is approximately 13 years.

After the tournament, Kumu presented Camie Kimball, Molokai High School Athletic Director, with a check for $1,500 to help with the budget shortfalls the school’s sports teams are now experiencing. Kumu also donated an additional $122 that he made by raffling a spear that was made by Eddie Castro.

Kumu decided to donate the money to the high school despite not playing any sports. He also has been working hard to raise funds for a school trip to Washington, D.C. in March, but did not keep any of his roi money for that trip.

Fireworks permit required in Maui County

As residents of Maui County prepare for New Year’s Eve, Maui County Fire Department reminds people of the permit process required for the use of fireworks.

The county fire department will issue firework permits on Molokai at the County Parks Permit Office at the Mitchell Pau’ole Center. The permit office will be open during normal business hours, 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Dec. 31.

Public fireworks displays will be on Maui and Lanai New Year's Eve but not Molokai.

On Molokai, a maximum of 61 permits will be issued. Fireworks permits are required to purchase the firecracker type of fireworks and are good for 5,000 firecrackers. Permit applicants must be 18 years or older and show proof of age at the time of permit processing. There is no limit to the number of permits a person may purchase and the cost of each permit is $25 payable by check/money order to the County of Maui.

Novelty fireworks such as sparklers, snakes, fountains and cylindrical or cone fountains which emit effects not higher than 12 feet off the ground do not require permits.

Fireworks and firecrackers can only be legally set off from 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve to 1 a.m. New Year’s day. Setting off fireworks outside designated times is punishable by law. Violations are subject to fines up to $2,000.

Aerial fireworks are illegal and extremely dangerous. Importing and selling aerial fireworks without a permit is a Class C Felony.

While there is no public fireworks display on Molokai, there will Public displays at midnight on New Year’s Eve at Hana below Fagan’s Cross; Kihei at the barge offshore fronting the Grand Wailea Hotel and Lanai at the Manele Bay Hotel.

Mele Kalikimaka! Ken Nip an honored kupuna at Chinese New Year

Ken Nip in traditional Chinese garb.

The Molokai News would like to wish all our readers a joyous and safe Christmas. This is especially true if you are heading out to a west or north facing beach today. The National Weather Service is calling for 20 to 25 foot waves along north-facing shores of Maui and Molokai and 15 to 20 feet along west-facing shores of Molokai. Please be careful out there.

Molokai to hold first-ever Chinese New Year parade

In honor of the Chinese lunar New Year of the Tiger, the Molokai Chinese Cultural Club has organized the first-ever Molokai parade for the Chinese New Year for January 18, 2010.

The historic parade will start at 9 a.m. at Kaunakakai Place, also known as Wharf Road. Parade participants will gather near Makoa Trucking Company. Members of each participating group will display their good luck unit number. This good luck unit number serves to unify each group and make them easy for parade watchers to identify.

The Tiger parade will travel along Ala Malama Street, Kaunakakai’s main street, and end at the War Memorial Park. This small park in downtown Kaunakakai remembers those from Molokai who lost their lives during past wars. At this site, four Chinese kupunas will be honored and the 12-member Chinese Lion Dance group from Honolulu will put on a Chinese martial arts demonstration.

Kenneth Yit-Kong Nip, one of the honored kupuna, is a retired teacher with 38 teaching years under his belt and 31 of those years devoted to Molokai youth. He was a well-known figure at Kaunakakai Elementary School. Mr. Nip has nurtured many generations of Molokai students with his gift of knowledge and imagination.

There really is no retirement for Mr. Nip who still serves the Molokai community by volunteering at the library’s reading partners program, singing to patients at Molokai hospital, working with the Boy Scouts and volunteering for the Maui Economic Opportunity Inc.

For several years now, Mr. Nip has put up a Chinese New Year display at the Molokai Public Library and helps host the Chinese New Year observance at the Senior Citizen Center.

Molokai High School principal’s honors list announced

Molokai High School announced its principal’s honors list this week for students who have earned a 4.0 grade point average or above.

In ninth grade, two students — Yasushi Arakaki and Michael Kikukawa — made the principal’s honors list. The two 10th graders on this list are Rae-Lynn Puailihau and Sammilyn Pule-Kaahanui.

For grade 11, those on the principal’s honors list are: Kawena Puhi, Chelsea Sakamoto, Cristina-Lynn Alcon, Eric Gilliland, Kachet Kaiama, Kesha-Leah Reyes, Kailana Ritte-Camara and Tracilyn Sagario.

Seniors on the principal’s honors list are Jesse Lite, Maluhia Mendes-Medeiros, Lori-Lynn Pedro-Kalua, Ashley Tangonan and Kealohapauole Will. Congratulations to all these great students as well as all those who made the honor roll and honorable mention lists.