Mac Poepoe to receive Ho’okahiko Award for preserving Hawaiian traditions at Mo’omomi

Almost anyone who has enjoyed fishing or diving at Mo’omomi Bay knows Uncle Mac, as Mac Poepoe is known. In 1993, Mac and his wife Kamalu Poepoe founded Hui Mälama o Mo’omomi, a non-profit group that protects this sacred land and beach with the oversight of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

Two years ago, Hui Malama starting publishing the Pono Fishing Calendar, designed to educate Molokai about sustainable fishing practices. For the calendar, and for his efforts over the years to protect Mo’omomi, Uncle Mac will be honored at the reef and ocean expo April 9 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m at Duke’s Waikiki.

Uncle Mac has been concerned about the overfishing of Mo’omomi for years. He sees this Hawaiian Home Land beach as Molokai’s ice box that needs to be managed in a traditional way so that it continues to thrive. The Pono Fishing Calendar uses the phases of the moon to dictate when to fish and when to let fish stocks replenish. The practice ensures ample supplies.

Mac Poepoe will receive the Ho’okahiko Award, established to honor those who pass on Hawaiian traditions. Poepoe is involved in outreach programs that teach Molokai youth about sustainable fishing practices. He has also taught youth diving classes at Mo’omomi.


News Briefs: Locals make good; Kualapuu Elementary saves $$ with solar power and posts four new jobs

The National Weather Service in Honolulu has issued a high surf advisory for north and west facing shores of Molokai and north facing shores of Maui in effect from midnight last night until 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Maui County announced last week that the regular Molokai Planning Commission meeting scheduled for tomorrow, March 24, has been canceled due to a lack of items for the Commission to review. The next regularly scheduled meeting will be April 14.

State Representative Mele Carroll, representing District 13, which includes Molokai, recently announced her staff for the 2010 legislative year. Among her staff is Communications Specialist Momi Awana, a Molokai native who has just earned her master’s degree in English. She said she is glad to have a chance to both utilize her skills and help her community.

And kudos go out to another Molokai native, Tino Reyes, who has been selected interim women’s volleyball coach at the University of Hawaii-Hilo. The announcement came March 3 from UHH athletic director Dexter Irvin. Reyes was associate head coach of the University of Hawaii men’s volleyball team for 17 years. Reyes has also been head women’s volleyball coach at Chaminade University and Oregon State.

Kualapuu Charter Elementary just announced the completion of phase II of its photovoltaic systems. As of last week, the system generated 20,400 kilowatt hours which has saved the school $7,548 since it was installed in August of 2009. Kualapuu Principal Lydia Trinidad said that this solar system represents a long-term savings for the school and it is their way of helping to build energy independence from fossil fuels.

At the same time, Kualapuu is posting openings for four jobs at the public conversion charter school. Applicants have until April 5 to respond to the postings for a vice- principal, a planning, research, and development specialist, a school administrative assistant and a health aide. See the Kualapuu School website for the position descriptions and qualifications at

Lions Club offers service awards to college-bound seniors

The Molokai Lions Club established a benevolent fund to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the club’s charter. Service awards will be made available annually for graduating Molokai High School seniors who are continuing their education.

A candidate must have actively practiced in either the high school’s LEO club or another service organizations during his or her high school career. To be eligible, a student must submit a grade transcript, two letters of recommendation, a college acceptance letter and a cover letter and resume. See Aunty Berna in the Counselor’s Office or Mr. Sotelo for an application.

Track and field and softball open their seasons

Candice Pauole led the Molokai girls track and field team to a seventh place finish at the Yamamoto Invitational Meet at War Memorial Stadium Saturday. Pauole took first place in the high jump with a leap of 4-foot-6, earning 10 team points for the Farmers.

The boys team finished ninth with one point as Akona Adolpho of Molokai placed seventh in the 1,500-meter run in a time of 5 minutes, 1.52 seconds. Molokai’s Michael Kikukawa finished 14th in a time of 6:06.03. In the 3,000-meter run Akona Adolpho was seventh in 11:16.46. The boys placed sixth in the 400 Relay in a time of 55.01.

Farmers split a doubleheader with Lanai

In softball, Molokai won its season opener against Lanai High School on Saturday in Lahaina by a score of 9-7. The Farmers scored seven runs in the third and fourth innings to hold offr a late run by the Pine Lasses. Collecting hits for the Farmers were Jasmine Borden, Korie-Lee Dudoit-English and Amanda Venegas-Makaiwi.

In the second half of the doubleheader, the Farmers lost to Lanai 18-11. Lanai scored in every inning except the third in the victory. Venegas-Makaiwi hit a home run for Molokai and Tyra-Lee Reyes-Garces added a triple.

Kaunakakai Elementary Principal Janice Espiritu honored by State Senate

State Senator J. Kalani English, who represents Molokai, tweeted a message yesterday that Janice Espiritu, principal of Kaunakakai Elementary on Molokai, was honored by the senate for winning the Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in Leadership Award for 2009.

Espiritu was one several educators who was honored by the Hawaii State Senate as part of education week, which is being recognized by the Senate this week.

In May of 2009, Island Insurance Foundation presented Espiritu with a $10,000 cash award and a $15,000 award for a school project of her choice in a ceremony at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Espiritu used the award to implement a green initiative by partnering Kaunakakai Elementary with community members and organizations such as Maui Electric Company. She hopes to power part of the school with electricity created with solar power and create an eco-friendly alternative energy project that would serve as a teaching tool for students. Since then she has also helped initiate an island-wide robotics program for the first time on Molokai. Espiritu was one of 12 public school principals nominated for the award.

Former Big Leaguer Steve Trout coaches Molokai baseball

Former Chicago Cubs pitcher Steve Trout is now the head coach for the Molokai Farmers baseball team.

Molokai has a deep tradition of baseball. In 1999 and 2000 the Farmers won state titles. Alumnus Keith Lu’uloa made his big league debut with the Anaheim Angels in 2000. Even the Philadelphia Phillies all-star Shane Victorino, of Maui, has family on Molokai. The success of the Little League teams from Molokai is also well documented, with the local team reaching the state finals two years ago.

And now the Molokai High School baseball team will have a Major League ballplayer as the head coach. Steve Trout, who played 12 major league seasons with the Cubs and White Sox in Chicago, is now the Farmers fourth head coach in the past four years.

Trout, 52, from Florida, responded to an ad in the Molokai Dispatch newspaper and was then interviewed and hired by the high school’s athletic director Camie Kimball.

According to Trout’s Web site,, he does speaking engagements and works at baseball camps. He said he also coached at a Sarasota, Florida high school for two years. According to reports, Trout has visited a friend on Molokai the past three years.

Molokai opens its baseball season March 26 on Maui. The home season begins April 16 and 17 at Duke Maliu Field in Kaunakakai when the Farmers play Seabury Hall.

M20 Group joins Epic Sports to manage Molokai to Oahu paddleboard race

Eight-time Molokai to Oahu paddleboard champion Jamie Mitchell will return to this year's event scheduled for July 25.

An event management group out of Encinitas, California called the Molokai 2 Oahu Group just announced that it has joined forces with local event team Epic Sports to take the annual paddleboard race to the next level.

Now in its 14th year, the annual Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard Race will take place on July 25 and will feature a record 200 entries, shared between traditional and standup paddleboard divisions.

The Ka’iwi Channel is one of the most challenging bodies of water in the world and the Molokai to Oahu title carries international prestige. The race began in 1997 with just 44 paddlers taking up the crossing challenge. Today, the event has grown to include a capacity international field of accomplished watermen and women.

World class racers returning to the channel this year include reigning eight-time champion Jamie Mitchell from Australia, reigning six-time women’s champion Kanesa Duncan from Hawaii, and defending SUP division champion Ekolu Kalama, a Molokai native.

Economic pressures has threatened many international sporting competitions over the past 12 months, but as a testament to its strength and heritage, Hawaii’s Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard Race has gone against the tide and gained momentum.

This year’s sponsorship team includes C4 Waterman, Maui Jim Sunglasses, Patagonia, Watermans Sunscreen, Hotel Renew and Duke’s Restaurant.

The M2O Group has invigorated the race with new energy, new sponsors, and development of an event expo that supports the main event. All members of the M20 Group are avid paddleboarders. In addition to producing the event, three of the five members also plan to compete in the channel crossing.

Roch Frey of the M2O Group said that they wanted to create an event platform that could accommodate the world. Frey also said that with the limited number of entries that can be accommodated, the group is looking to expand the engagement opportunities in other areas.

The new race website is It has become a social hub of information and exchange both for this race and the sport of paddleboarding as a whole. Online entries opened on Monday.