Molokai Community Health Center celebrates groundbreaking at new location at Pau Hana Inn

Gov. Lingle along with Sens. Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka break ground at the old Pau Hana Inn, site of the renovations for the new Molokai Community Health Center.

Governor Linda Lingle and U.S. Senators Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye, along with approximately 300 community members, attended a groundbreaking ceremony Aug. 24 for the new Molokai Community Health Center.

The old Pau Hana Inn in Kaunakakai is being renovated to create this fully integrated community health center. The six-acre site will offer primary health services along with Western, Eastern and traditional health services, said Executive Director Desiree Puhi.

“The whole idea is to create a community park environment where different healthy activities are happening simultaneously,” said Puhi.

The old Pau Hana Inn was purchased by the Molokai Community Health Center

The renovation of the 10 buildings is on schedule for the core services to be in place by the end of this year. These will include primary health care, family doctors, dental, behavioral health and family support services.

By the end of 2011, the related partner health services will be in place. These will include acupuncture, massage therapy, native Hawaiian health systems and a healthy eatery including a juice bar. Puhi plans for an opening celebration in December of 2011.

The center purchased the site of the former Pau Hana Inn from New Hope Christian Fellowship in July 2009 for $2.75 million. The Pau Hana Inn was once one of two hotels in Kaunakakai. It was sold by Molokai Ranch to New Hope in 2002.

Maui-based Central Construction began work on the project in mid-July and will progress in phases. Although it is a Maui company, a Molokai renovation team is doing the work. The entire project will be completed at a total cost of $6.5 million.


Kalaupapa pastor Father Vandebroek passes away

Father Felix Vandebroek, who served the Kalaupapa community as the pastor at St. Francis of Assisi Church, died on Saturday.

Father Vandebroek in Kalaupapa

Like Saint Damien, Vandebroek was a native of Belgium. He moved to Hawaii in 1956 and served at parishes on all the major islands.

Vandebroek was found dead at the Sacred Hearts Center in Kaneohe after a recent trip to Belgium. He was 83 years old.

Most recently, Father Vandebroek served the Hansen’s disease patients in Kalaupapa for the past three years. He was installed as the pastor by Bishop Larry Silva in a ceremony on May 10, 2008 in Kalaupapa.

Mayor Tavares talk story tonight at Mitchell Pau’ole

Mayor Charmaine Tavares will talk story on Molokai at the Mitchell Pau’ole Community Center on Friday, Aug. 27, beginning at 5 p.m. The event will feature local entertainment and door prizes with a grand prize flat screen TV. A free chicken hekka dinner will be served.

Mayor Charmaine Tavares

The Mayor’s “Talk Story” will provide residents with the opportunity to share ideas, concerns and solutions in an informal setting. The session is open to all residents.

Mayor Tavares met with residents of Läna‘i, Upcountry, Lahaina, Pä‘ia and Häna in July. She also met with the residents of Waikapu and Kihei earlier this month.

For more information, call the Mayor Charmaine Tavares Re-election Headquarters at 242-5500 or visit

Skateboard contest tomorrow in Kaunakakai

As part of Maui County’s Skate Jams series, a skateboard contest will be held at the Molokai Skatepark in Kaunakakai tomorrow from 2-5 p.m.

Saturday’s contest is the third of five events in the Maui Skateboard Series Summer 2010 sponsored by the County of Maui Department of Parks and Recreation.

Each Skate Jam will feature skateboard lessons, contests and activities, as well as music and games. Participants should bring a skateboard; helmets and protective equipment recommended. All participants under 18 must have a parent sign a waiver at the event.

The last two events are on Lanai Sept, 11 and Lahaina Sept. 25.

Play exploring impact of alcoholism on a Hawaiian family comes to Mitchell Pau’ole Center

An adapted version of “Family Laundry,” a play about a Hawaiian family dealing with the alcoholism of a family member, will be staged on Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Mitchell Pau’ole Center in Kaunakakai.

'Family Laundry' coming to the Mitchell Pau'ole Center.

“Family Laundry” was written by the late local playwright Tremaine Tamayose and staff members of the Kamehameha Schools Safe & Drug-Free Schools Program. It was originally produced by Kamehameha Schools in 1993 and performed by a talented group of professionals — all of Hawaiian ancestry — for more than 10,000 people statewide.

It is a musical, a comedy and a drama about a local Hawaiian family and their struggle to deal with a family member’s alcoholism.

The title of the play, “Family Laundry,” stems from the viewpoint of “never airing the family’s dirty laundry” or letting the family problems become public.

The play shows, however, that sharing the family’s secrets can be an act of courage, particularly when it comes to alcohol and drug problems.

“Family Laundry” is directed by Cyndi Mayo Davis, who originally played the role of Lehua. She will portray this role again alongside a stellar cast of local talent and professionals, including two staff members from the Neighborhood Place of Wailuku.

Contact the Neighborhood Place of Wailuku (NPW) at 986-0700 for more information.

As Maui County continues its efforts to prevent underage drinking, the play gives a powerful message of how a family’s beliefs concerning drinking can strongly influence a child’s own beliefs about alcohol use and abuse.

According to NPW, it is an extremely important message, since recent statistics show that the majority of underage drinkers get their alcohol from older friends and family members.

Na Pu’uwai to receive $1.64 million in federal grant

Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono announced on Aug. 10 that Native Hawaiian health centers across the state will receive $9,044,880 in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant funding.

Na Pu’uwai Native Hawaiian Healthcare System on Molokai and Lanai will receive $1,641,390 of this money. There are an estimated 6,000 Native Hawaiians residing on the islands of Molokai and Lanai. The programs implemented by Na Pu`uwai are designed to promote better health and prevent diseases among Native Hawaiians.

These grants represent base funding that keeps vital health care providers operational by enabling them to pay for rent, salaries, various overhead, and medications for qualified patients.

Compared to other ethnic populations across America, Native Hawaiians have the highest death rate levels in the categories of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. These Native Hawaiian health care centers provide primary care, dental care, while also offering education and prevention programs.

In addition to these grants, Congresswoman Hirono has also secured $14,000,000 in FY2011 federal appropriations funding for Native Hawaiian Health Care. First established in 1988, the Native Hawaiian Health Care Act authorizes initiatives to promote disease prevention, provide health promotion activities, and increase the number of Native Hawaiians in the health profession.

The Na Pu’uwai grant, along with three others serving Maui, Kauaui and the Big Island are being distributed through the Native Hawaiian Health Care Act which is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Challenge to Mateo’s candidacy dismissed

Councilman Danny Mateo stands in front of an electric vehicle at the Molokai Country Fair at the Lanikeha Center in Hoolehua.

Danny Mateo, Molokai’s representative on the Maui County Council, will be allowed to run for his fifth consecutive term on the council following a ruling on his eligibility.

Challenging his candidacy is Nellie E. Laird-Woods of Lahaina, who claimed that the upcoming term represents Mateo’s sixth term, violating the council’s five-term limit.

Maui County Clerk Jeff Kuwada dismissed the challenge that was filed Aug. 11. Mateo was appointed to the vacancy left by Councilmember Pat Kawano’s death in 2002. He was elected later that year and served the next four consecutive terms.

When Mateo takes office in January of 2011 it will be his fifth consecutive full term. Mateo, who serves as the chairman of county council, is running unopposed.