Busy sports weekend: Makahiki games, girls soccer and boys basketball

Kualapuu 6th graders pulled their way to victory in hukihuki practice today in preperation for tomorrow's Makahiki Games.

Today the Molokai High School girls soccer team may have its last and best chance this season to win a game when they play Seabury Hall at Duke Maliu field in Kaunakakai today at 3:30 p.m. The Farmers play Seabury again tomorrow at 10 a.m. at Duke Maliu.

Farmers boys basketball also plays Seabury at home this weekend, tonight at 7 p.m., which will be senior night, and tomorrow at noon, at the Barn.

But the big event Saturday will be the Makahiki games at Kaunakakai ballfield from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Kaunakakai.

The games are meant to celebrate the end of the Makahiki season, the time following the harvest season when wars and battles ceased. Molokai’s four elementary schools have been practicing the various games and athletic competitions for weeks in preparation. Adult competitors, including a team from the U.S. Coast Guard, will be there as well.


Maunaloa Consolidation Task Force postpones a decision on school closure to take closer look at data

On Tuesday evening, the Maunaloa Elementary School Consolidation Task Force decided that another meeting needed to be scheduled for March before a recommendation can be made on the school’s closing.

Before Tuesday’s meeting, February 16 was going to be the last meeting of the task force. A recommendation to the Hawaii Board of Education was expected to be made soon after. According to task force member Wendy Espaniola, who is also a teacher at Maunaloa, there is too much data that still needs to be analyzed before a recommendation can be made. Sunshine laws prevent the task force from meeting and discussing the data except at scheduled public meetings.

Task Force members were presented with six or seven new packets of data at Tuesday’s meeting. Espaniola — whose brother Daniel Espaniola is also one of the 10 Task Force members — said they received information on enrollment and facilities from Kuanakakai Elementary and Kualapuu Elementary, the two schools where the 60 or so Maunaloa students would need to be transferred. Both schools received site visits from the Task Force and have since gotten strong positive ratings from the Task Force.

Members of the Task Force also heard testimonies, both positive and negative, addressing the potential school closing. “Each and every testimony was heartfelt,” said Espaniola. The Task Force is still looking for solutions and alternatives to closing the school, which many believe could have a far-reaching negative and destabilizing impact on the Maunaloa community. Espaniola said she would like to hear more input from the community that looks at the social impact of closing the school.

On Saturday, Maunaloa had a Unity Rally, which, Espaniola said, “showed the true meaning of the word ‘unity’ in ‘community’.” State Rep. Mele Carroll, as well as Maui County Council Chair and Molokai representative Danny Mateo, both appeared at the rally to express their support of the Maunaloa community. Hawaii Schools Board of Education member Mary Cochran also showed her support of Maunaloa at the rally. Espaniola said that Cochran believes in the importance of maintaining rural schools because of what they mean to the community.

From Espaniola’s point of view, the best part of Saturday’s rally was when the children from Maunaloa performed skits to show the impact of losing their school. Then the community joined hands and sang songs to again show what true unity means.

The date of the March meeting has not been set.

New plan for Ke Nani Kai wheelchair ramp considered but original plan approved

Construction of a wheelchair access ramp for a condo at Ke Nani Kai received approval from the Molokai Planning Commission on Wednesday.

At 9:30 on Wednesday morning the planning commissioners visited Ke Nani Kai after having deferred making a decision two weeks ago on this Special Management Area minor permit. At the previous meeting, several neighbors at Ke Nani Kai had testified that the proposed ramp would create access and maintenance problems even if it was compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

At the commissioners site visit, they were presented with an alternative ramp and wheelchair lift plan designed by architect Art Paar. Apparently, the new plan was less obtrusive and was still ADA compliant.

Ke Nani Kai resident Jody Canady said the original ramp plan extends about 145 feet from the building and could have a significant impact on other residents. “What it’s going to do is impact three or four other units and make it very difficult for them,” said Canady. She said they are planning to put a wall in front of the condo which is “overkill.”

Canady and her husband Darryl Canady, a member of the Maui County Urban Design Review Board, both believe a less invasive solution could have been found. The approved plan requires digging out an entire hill and will create drainage issues as well as potential problems with lighting and underground wiring. Resident of Unit 234, Erico Takeuchi, testified that she will lose privacy as a newly built raised sidewalk will allow people to see in her bedroom.

Upon returning to the Mitchell Pau’ole Center for the regular noon meeting, the commissioners accepted more testimony and information on the application and then went into executive session. Commissioners then approved the permit after being advised by corporate counsel to either accept or reject the original application.

Legislation will transfer Kalaupapa management to Department of Hawaiian Homelands

The Associated Press reported yesterday that State Senator J. Kalani English, who represents Molokai, has proposed legislation that would transfer management of the Kalaupapa settlement form the state Department of Health to the Department of Hawaiian Homelands.

The transfer would not happen until there are no more patients receiving care in Kalaupapa. At this time there are 19 patients living in Kalaupapa, all are over the age of 65. Senator English said the state should prepare for more visitors interested in the historical, cultural and religious significance of Kalaupapa.

Because there are some Hawaiian homesteads on the north shore of Molokai in Kalawao County, English believes it makes more sense for the DHHL to manage this area once the patients are gone.

Island Air will end midweek Molokai-Maui flights on Feb. 1; Brush fire on East End

A petition is circulating through Molokai this week asking Island Air to continue its regular flights between Maui and Molokai.

Island Air plans to stop all flights on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between Molokai and Maui beginning February 1. Flights to Maui will remain as scheduled from Friday through Monday. This will not affect Island Air flights between Molokai and Oahu.

Island Air spokeswoman B.J. Whitman said the midweek flights to and from Kahului, Maui will return when demand increases. This is a business decision, said Whitman, that is based on the low demand for these flights. The decreased schedule will also allow Island Air to do its regularly scheduled maintenance during this time.

The Island Air petition was at Kualapuu Elementary School yesterday. Sign this petition if you would like to see service continue seven days a week.

Fire near Wailua

On Saturday night, Maui County Fire Department crews responded to a brush fire in a remote part of east Molokai. The blaze was about two-and-a-half miles above Wailua, 19 miles east of Kaunakakai and was reported at 5:17 p.m. on Saturday.

No other details were immediately available.

Fourth annual Luau by the Sea tonight

A fundraiser to benefit Molokai Habitat for Humanity called Luau by the Sea will be tonight starting at 5 p.m. at Hotel Molokai. Live entertainment by Anakahi with Kanoho Helm and Brothers and others. Also lucky numbers and silent auction. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at Hotel Molokai, Outpost Natural Foods, Molokai Furniture Store and Molokai Habitat for Humanity.

Woman gets three-month sentence for growing marijuana on Molokai Ranch land

Last Thursday, a Molokai woman was sentenced to three months in jail for her involvement in growing marijuana plants found on Molokai Ranch land in 2008.

23-year-old Chantell Stevens was told by Second Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza to use that time to come up with a plan for her life. She was placed on five years’ probation as part of her sentence. Stevens had pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of second-degree commercial promotion of marijuana and possessing drug paraphernalia.

She and her cousin Jason Stevens, 22, were arrested when police discovered 47 plants weighing two pounds at Dixie Maru Beach on the west end. According to court records, the two were living in tents at Dixie Beach.

Jason Stevens was placed on probation and given credit for 81 days he spent in jail when he was sentenced last year.

Meeting tonight to learn about Akaka Bill and its impact on Molokai

An important meeting tonight at the Lanikeha Center for all Molokai residents to gain information regarding the Akaka Bill. Amendments were made to the bill and it is now up for another hearing and a floor vote in the legislature.

To learn more about how this bill will attempt to give greater autonomy to native Hawaiians, attend the meeting tonight from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Lanikeha Center in Hoolehua.

‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ returns to Hawaii, just not Molokai

Locals may remember the time about four years ago when Hollywood came to Molokai. Crews descended upon Paniolo Hale on the island’s west end to film the third installment of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie.

Last week, Governor Linda Lingle announced that the franchise is returning to Hawaii for the fourth movie, titled “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.” The governor estimates that this will generate an estimated $85 million in direct and indirect spending in Hawaii. Unfortunately for Molokai, the filming will not take place here and will be shot on Kauai and Oahu. Filming will take place this summer for a release in the summer of 2011.

Don’t mess with Maui County: Huge fines levied for non-permitted work

The following press release relates to county code violations in Haiku and Paia, Maui. Although they do not directly impact Molokai, I believe Molokai residents who attempt to do work on their properties without the proper permits (especially in Special Management Areas) need to be aware that Maui County will pursue legal action.

— David Lichtenstein

January 26, 2010
Press Release from Maui County Newsroom


Building Without Permits in Violation of County Code Costly for
Property Owners

WAILUKU, Maui, Hawaii—The County of Maui has received payments
totaling more than $19,000 as a result of settlements of two cases
brought against property owners who were cited by the County’s
Department of Public Works for failure to obtain building and other
required permits prior to commencing work on their property in violation
of the Maui County Code.

Defendant Michael Malek paid $10,000 in fines to settle the County of
Maui’s claims filed against him in the Second Circuit Court case,
County of Maui v. Michael Malek, for doing grading work, plumbing work,
constructing a rock wall and building a barn on his Haiku property
without obtaining the necessary permits.

Seashore Properties LLC, owner of the property on which the Paia Inn
Hotel, Paia, Maui is located, paid $9,160 to resolve three disputed
Notices of Violation issued to it by County building inspectors. The
Notices alleged that Seashore had performed work on the property without
first obtaining required building permits. Seashore denied these
allegations, filing appeals of the Notices with the Board of Variances
and Appeals. The appeals have been dismissed.

In addition to these payments, both property owners had to obtain the
required permits, paying an additional penalty amount for the issuance
of the after-the-fact permits as provided for by the Maui County Code.

The County was represented in these enforcement cases by Deputy
Corporation Counsel Mary Blaine Johnston. Malek and Seashore Properties
were each represented by private attorneys.

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