Chinese gun exhibit today

Mel Chung will be exhibiting Chinese guns today from noon to 6 p.m. at his Kaunakakai shop.

A special event today. Mel Chung, Molokai’s gunsmith, is planning a Chinese gun exhibit as a continuation of the recent Chinese New Year celebration for the Year of the Tiger that he organized.

This free exhibit will be open for public display for one day only, today, from noon to 6 p.m.

Featured will be guns of the Royal Hong Kong Police. Actual guns issued and used in Hong Kong, China will be displayed as well as firearms representative of those used by that police force.

Chung asks that no unattended children come to the exhibit. Mel Chung’s gunsmith shop is located behind the Pascua Store / Bamboo Pantry parking lot.

The Molokai Chinese Cultural Club sponsored commemorative T-shirts listing all parade marchers, participating merchants and volunteers in Molokai’s first ever Tiger Parade.


Priestly Fraternity of Molokai finally pays Molokai a visit

The Priestly Fraternity of Molokai finally visited Molokai for the first time last month.

Fr. Thierry de Roucy, left, and Fr. Gonzague Leroux stand in front of the cathedral in Honolulu. Photo courtesy of Catholic News Service

The Catholic News Service reported that the founder of the fraternity, Father Thierry de Roucy of the Congregation of the Servants of Jesus and Mary in France, along with Father Gonzague Leroux, also of France, came to Molokai to look for a facility for a retreat. In August, 30 to 35 members of the Heart’s Home, an international Catholic movement, will come to Molokai for a retreat. The movement spreads what it calls a “culture of compassion” to impoverished places around the world through mostly lay volunteers living in prayerful communities.

The idea for Priestly Fraternity of Molokai came to Father de Roucy in a flash of inspiration in 1990. The fraternity has opened “houses of compassion” in destitute areas to serve the poor, particularly children, by visiting them and keeping an open door. Today the movement has 35 houses and two Heart’s Home villages in about 20 countries. It has 175 missionaries, 54 permanent volunteers and nine employees. More than 1,200 volunteers have served since 1990.

Upon visiting Molokai, the two priests said they found it beautiful but liked the people more. They found a “great spirit of hospitality” among the residents.

“It is a good community,” said Father de Roucy. “People support one another a lot.”

Before their visit to Molokai, the two priests had only known about the island through photos and books.

New bill requires local consultation in development of renewable energy facilities

Other legislation addresses transfer of Kalaupapa to Department of Hawaiian Home Lands

The new legislative session got under way this week and at least a few bills could impact Molokai.

On January 28, The Molokai News reported that State Senator J. Kalani English planned to propose legislation to transfer management of the Kalaupapa settlement from the state Department of Health to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

Representative Mele Carroll introduced House Bill 2975 this week, to go along with English’s Senate Bill 2771. Both bills authorize DHHL to accept the transfer of the land to the native Hawaiian sovereign entity. It also prohibits Maui County from zoning authority in Kalawao County.

Representative Carroll has also expressed support of House Bill 2971, which requires local consultation with residents when a renewable energy facility is being planned. This consultation is designed to establish the terms and conditions of permits, plans and community benefit agreements regarding such facilities.

Carroll said that Molokai and Lanai are, “most likely to be affected immediately because of proposals and negotiations taking place to build a solar energy farm and a large wind farm.” Carroll went on to say that because these proposals for renewable energy facilities entail the exportation of energy, it is highly important that the island residents be consulted prior to the construction of the facilities and have a voice in the proceedings.

Meanwhile, Hawaiian Electric Company is asking the state’s Public Utilities Commission to suspend the development of new photovoltaic systems on Maui, the Big Island, Lanai and Molokai. Hawaiian Electric believes the number of renewable-energy systems poses a threat to the reliability and stability of its transmission system. The electric company is asking the PUC to agree to the moratorium while a group is convened to study reliability issues.

Of course, the use of alternative energy sources is a major part of Governor Linda Lingle’s Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative that calls for Hawaii to use 70 percent clean energy sources by 2030. One part of this initiative is known as revenue decoupling, which received the OK from the PUC last week.

Advocates say it will encourage energy conservation and will stabilize HECO’s revenue stream. In effect, consumers will pay higher electricity rates when usage goes down as a means of stabilizing HECO’s revenue.

Pala’au State Park improvement under review

The 30-day comment period opened yesterday for the environmental assessment of the Ala Pala’au project in Pala’au State Park.

Pala’au — Molokai’s only state park — sits in the Kalae area and includes the Kalaupapa overlook. The non-profit group Ke Aupani Lokahi received a grant from the Hawaii Tourism Authority in 2008 to develop a plan to improve the state park.

Goals of the project including restoring native forest habitat and rare species in the area, improving views of the Kalaupapa peninsula and the cliffs of the northern coast of Molokai, and to provide interpretation and education of these unique natural and cultural resources. The vision is that local schools, community members and visitors will experience the half-mile interpretive trail as a way to learn about Molokai’s rich biological and cultural heritage.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources, which leases the land from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, has partnered with Kalaupapa National Historic Park on this project. A series of five community meetings were held in 2009 to discuss the impact of this project. Also helping make this possible is Bill Garnett’s business Wiliwili Hawaiian Plants, which produced the biological survey for this assessment. Garnett has worked with the Park Service for years restoring native plant species to the Kalaupapa trail area.

When built, the trail will begin across the Kalae Highway from the Pala’au State Park pavilion just past the mule ride concession. The pedestrian-only trail will include a short loop where it meets the pali that will incorporate two small overlooks. The project will be built in four stages. The total cost for the project is estimated at $150,000.

According to the Draft Environmental Assessment, the possible negative impacts identified so far include the effects of increased traffic that bring the possibility of litter, fires and invasive species. Increased soil erosion and the need for continual maintenance of the trail are other concerns that have been mentioned. Since these concerns can be mitigated, a finding of no significant impact is anticipated.

A copy of the Draft Environmental Assessment can be obtained from the Office of Environmental Quality Control. Comments on the assessment can be submitted to the DLNR Division of State Parks at 1151 Punchbowl Street, Honolulu, 96813 along with the project’s consultant Stephanie Dunbar at Box 740, Kaunakakai 96748, phone 330-6514.

In other news, today’s regularly scheduled Molokai Planning Commission meeting has been cancelled. The next meeting for the Planning Commission will be March 10.

Rebate program for old refrigerators begins in April

Since the Molokai landfill’s metal recycling facility closed in December, Molokai residents have had no place to dispose of large metal goods such as vehicles, appliances, scrap metal, tires, propane tanks, and batteries.

Cheryl Okuma, Director of the County’s Department of Environmental Management, said a new recycling site is under construction and is expected to open in April.

When it does open, it may coincide with the beginning of a federal rebate program that will give customers a $250 rebate when they replace their refrigerators with Energy Star models.

This $300 million of federal stimulus money will have limited scope. In Hawaii the program will apply only to refrigerator purchases made once the program begins, which is estimated to be in April.

On Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and the Big Island, the program will be operated by contractor SAIC, or Science Applications International Corp.

Maui Community College gets a new name

All Maui Community College campuses, including the Molokai Education Center, will be operating under a new name: University of Hawaii Maui College.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents approved the name change at its monthly meeting last Thursday.

The change was proposed to accurately represent the college’s programs and services that now include 15 associate and two four-year baccalaureate degrees.

Local government officials, alumni, foundation members, faculty, staff and students were consulted and support the name change.

The name change will be immediately initiated and will be fully implemented in the 2010-2011 academic year. Signs at the campus will be temporarily updated until permanent signs can be designed and constructed for the two major entrances to the Kahului campus. Signs for the college’s educational centers in Lahaina, Hana, Kihei and on Molokai and Lanai will be approached similarly. All sign changes will occur over time as funds become available.

Weekend sports: Season ends for both basketball teams while wrestlers advance to state tournament

A busy sports weekend as the Farmer boys and girls basketball teams wrapped up their seasons while the wrestling team competed in the Maui Interscholastic League tournament.

The Lahainaluna boys grabbed their fifth straight MIL wrestling championship Saturday at the Lunas gym. The Molokai boys and girls teams had three league champions. For the girls, Chelsie Davids defeated Makamae Smith of Hana in the 220-pound division while Kaulanarose Akaka beat Sandi Rabaca of Lanai at 125 pounds. At 135-pounds Kevin Dudoit became Molokai’s only boy champion by defeating Lonopele Cabanilla of Lahainaluna.

Finishing second in the MIL tournament for Molokai were Michal Torres-Umi, Simon Blair, Charisse Manley, Daylen Spencer-Basa and Kailen Inouye.

Wahine Farmers drop state championship game to Kaimuki

In basketball, the defending state champion Molokai girls team made it to the finals before losing to Kaimuki 41-32 in the Division II Championship at the Blaisdell Arena Friday.

Kaimuki’s tenacious defense shut down Molokai’s top players, point guard Danna-Lynn Hooper-Juario and post player Kalei Adolpho. Hooper-Juario was held to four points while Adolpho had 12 points and 18 rebounds. Puna Kawamae added six points for the Farmers.

In the semifinal game on Thursday, Molokai defeated Kahuku 79-69 at Kalani gym. Senior Hooper-Juario scored 33 points for the Farmers. She was 18-for-20 from the foul line, and had five assists. Jamie Duvauchelle had 16 points for Molokai and Adolpho had six points, 14 rebounds, six assists and five blocked shots.

On Wednesday at Kalani gym, the Farmer girls beat Kaiser 67-56 in the quarterfinal round behind 24 points and 21 rebounds from Adolpho and 20 points from Hooper-Juario. Molokai finished the season second in the state with a 12-1 record.

The basketball season for the Molokai boys also came to an end Friday night with a 53-33 loss to Seabury Hall in the MIL tournament in Makawao. Dylan King and Michael Palmer led the way for Seabury with 18 points each as the undefeated Seabury team gained the sole MIL berth in the Division II state championship tournament.

The matchup with Seabury came only after a dramatic overtime victory over Lanai Thursday evening at War Memorial Gym in the league semifinals. Molokai fell behind early, took command in the middle, before Lanai came back late in the game. The Farmers fell behind in the overtime period before finally pulling out a 63-59 win. The Farmer boys finished the season with a 6-4 record.