Drive-Inn cash register stolen then recovered

Molokai Drive-Inn register, now locked down, in its normal spot after being stolen Wednesday evening.

Robber leaves money and register behind in field across the street

By Seth Lichtenstein

The Molokai Drive-Inn has served burgers in Kaunakakai for 40 years without any serious incidents, so it was a shock to employees when an unidentified man came to the counter and helped himself to the cash register Wednesday night.

“I’m screaming and crying,” said Gloria Biros, supervisor on duty at the time, about her initial reaction to the robbery. “We ran outside and were screaming, ‘Help, help!’ But there wasn’t anybody. We were shaking.”

The thief, described to police as a 5-foot-10 to 6-foot tall male, exploited a lull in business between 7 and 7:30 p.m. While employees worked in the back of the kitchen and no customers around to witness, the robber swiped and ran.

“I was wiping the grill and a friend called me because she wanted me to work for her the next day, and then I just hear a noise,” said Biros. At that point, the cashier worker noticed the register was gone, and that’s when the panic in the kitchen ensued.

“This place has been open for 40 years and nothing like that ever happened,” said owner Sam Cariga, who was on Oahu when he received a call from an unsettled Biros. “They’ve broke inside coming in through the window (in the past), but they couldn’t get past the dining room, but nothing like that. We have desperate people.”

While the culprit got away before Biros or anyone else could get a clean look at him, he failed to make off with the register or any of its contents. Police recovered the register, along with clothes, worn presumably by the perpetrator, in a field across the street just over an hour after the original theft.

Despite the initial shock, the Drive-Inn continued to operate Wednesday night, handling money by calculator until the register was recovered.

Since then, it’s been back to business as usual, with one minor change.

“We put a chain on the register now,” said Cariga. “There’s no way they’re going to run with the register anymore.”

If you have any information regarding this incident, call the Molokai Police station at 553-5355 or crime stoppers at 808-242-6966.


Fireworks displays tonight for Maui County

As usual, there will be no public fireworks display on Molokai tonight for New Year’s Eve. However, expect many private displays.

A private fireworks display held in Kaunakakai during 2010 New Year’s celebration was recently posted by the San Francisco Chronicle. The video is a good example of what will probably be seen later tonight.

Molokai has enough firecrackers on hand for 26 permits. The $25 permits are good for the purchase of up to 5,000 firecrackers. Use is limited between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. tonight. Novelty fireworks such as sparklers, snakes, fountains and cylindrical or cone fountains which emit effects not higher than 12 feet off the ground are legal in Maui County and do not require permits.

For public displays on Maui, Mulligan’s on the Blue at the Grand Wailea Resort is advertising its concert by Willie K. and special guests as the “only fireworks this year.” Mick Fleetwood, Rick Vito and local bandmates also perform New Year’s Eve in a fund-raiser for the Maui Arts and Cultural Center and the Maui Food Bank at Māla Wailea. Hana is planning a fireworks diswplay at Fagan’s Cross.

Lanai’s fireworks display takes place at midnight over Hulopo’e Beach.

If an object should become tangled in an overhead power line, don’t try to free it. Call the MECO trouble line at 1-877-871-8461 on Molokai.

Kalaupapa shoreline beset by North Pacific ‘garbage patch’

This map is a simple representation of ocean currents and features in the Pacific Ocean. There are numerous factors that affect the location, size, and strength of all of these features throughout the year, including seasonality and El Nino/La Nina. Depicting that on a static map is very difficult. Graphic courtesy of NOAA.

Although the landfill at Kalaupapa shut down earlier this year, garbage continues to come to the isolated peninsula from an unlikely source.

As reported by, a huge vortex of trash in the North Pacific Ocean deposits garbage on Hawaiian shorelines, making beach cleanup a “never-ending task” at Kalaupapa National Historical Park.

Arthur Ainoa, who is in charge of the Kalaupapa recycling program, was not at the settlement and could not be reached for comment. But according to an administrative assistant at the National Park Service, the beach cleanups are regular occurrences.

Garbage from these cleanups is collected and stored for recycling to be hauled away by the annual barge that visits each summer. This is handled differently from the household garbage generated on Kalaupapa, which is now sent off by planes.

Last year, a single beach cleanup at Kalaupapa yielded 300 pounds of trash. This trash, mostly plastic debris, originated far away and was delivered to these shores by wind and waves.

To the northwest of Kalaupapa, on Oahu’s North Shore, a group of 474 volunteers collected four tons of trash and 89,253 separate debris items in 2009.

Apparently, a 6,000 mile-long system of westward-flowing winds and ocean currents called the North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone (STCZ) concentrates floating trash and moves it to the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands, where some of it ends up on the beaches.

For more information on the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” go to This NOAA site explains the difficulty of measuring and cleaning this garbage patch. The site also demystifies some of the popular misconceptions about the garbage patch, like the idea that it can be observed by satellite.

Adolpho leads Farmers in MIL season opener

Kalei Adolpho led the Farmers with 29 points yesterday against Lanai.

After finishing the preseason with a 5-2 record, the girls basketball team opens the Maui Interscholastic League Division II season with two games in Lanai City. The defending DII state champs soundly beat Lanai yesterday 58-15.

The wahine Farmers finished the preseason with a 59-40 victory over a team from Canada in the Lahainaluna Tournament on Maui last week.

In yesterday’s season opener, the Farmers got 29 points from Kalei Adolpho, and 13 from Kalei Vaivai. Adolpho, a senior, will be attending the University of Hawaii next year on a basketball scholarship.

Molokai allowed eight points over the final three quarters, including two each in the third and fourth.

Molokai and Lanai meet again tonight starting at 7 p.m. at Lanai High School.

Santa Claus coming to Kualapu’u Elementary School

Firemen assist Santa Claus on his annual visit to Kualapuu Elementary School.

Santa Claus, aka, Kumu Marshall Joy, paid a visit to Kualapu’u Elementary Charter School Dec. 17 bearing gifts for school children in grades K-6. Santa received a special escort to the school from the Maui County Fire Department in a fire truck.

During this same Christmas program at Kualapu’u, students representing grades K-6 join in a Hawaiian rendition of “Silent Night.” Playing ukelele is fifth grade teacher from the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program at Kualapu’u Briann Naole. Click this link to see a video of the performance.

Mele Kalakimaka and Hau’oli Makahiki Hou from Kualapu’u and everyone on Molokai!

Young Brothers requests rate increase in response to reduced cargo volume and new Pasha service

Young Brothers' Molokai office at the Kaunakakai wharf.

In response to anticipated loss of revenues from Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines entering the interisland transportation business, along with a weakened economy, Young Brothers last week applied for a 24 percent rate increase that could go in effect by August.

The application, filed with the Public Utilities Commission on Dec. 22, claims that the decline in business accounts for the majority of the proposed 24 percent increase. Young Brothers said it saw a decline in cargo volume this year and expects the decline to continue through 2011, with modest growth projected for 2012 and 2013. By taking these growth estimates into account, Young Brothers reduced its rate increase request by about 5 percent.

According to a press release issued by Young Brothers, “the dramatic drop in cargo volume accounts for about 18 percentage points of the proposed 24 percent increase. This sharp drop-off is reflected in Young Brothers’ rate of return, which was less than 1 percent in calendar year 2009, with similar results to date in 2010.”

“The company is clearly at a point where either our rates have to increase or our service frequency has to decrease,” wrote Matthew J. Humphrey, vice president and general manager of Young Brothers.

While visiting Molokai Dec. 8, Jeffrey Low, Young Brothers’ manager of planning and facilities, said that the Molokai and Lanai routes both lose money. “If Pasha makes a dent in our service it will impact rates,” said Low, hinting at last week’s rate request. Low also said that Pasha may impact the frequency of barge visits to Maui or possibly the Big Island.

Pasha will not be serving Molokai or Lanai because its ship, the Jean Anne, is too big to dock at either Kaunakakai harbor on Molokai or Kaumalapau on Lanai. For the past six years, the Jean Anne has been transporting vehicles between the Hawaiian islands and the mainland.

In September, the PUC granted Pasha a provisional license until 2013. At the time, Young Brothers testified that the entry of Pasha would hurt its ability to serve all the islands. The PUC will monitor this situation, retaining the right to suspend or revoke Pasha’s license.

Young Brothers’ last rate increase came in August of 2009 when the PUC granted a 13.46 percent increase.

If Pasha has a negative impact on Young Brothers business, the 30 to 35 percent discount to ranchers and farmers may be removed. This would be an issue for the Big Island and for Molokai as well.

With the PUC approval last week of tariffs for Pasha, the new interisland service could begin this week.

Residents reminded of holiday-related changes in refuse collection schedule

Press Release from County of Maui

WAILUKU, Maui, Hawaii— The Department of Environmental Management reminds residents on Molokai and in Hana that due to the New Year’s holiday next week, the refuse collection schedule will change as follows:

Molokai: Regular Friday pickups for 12/31 will be picked up on WEDNESDAY 12/29.
Hana: Regular Friday pickups for 12/31 will be picked up on THURSDAY 12/30.

There will be no change in the residential refuse pickup schedules for the rest of Maui Island.

As previously announced, all County of Maui offices will be closed Friday, December 24 and Friday, December 31, 2010 in observance of the Christmas Day and New Year’s Day holidays. The Waiehu Golf Course will be closed Saturday, December 25, 2010 and Saturday, January 1, 2011 in observance of Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

All County pools will close at noon on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and remain closed for both holidays. Pools will return to a normal schedule on Sunday, January 2. For current pool schedules, call the Maui County Pools information line at 270-8208; the recorded message is updated by 9 a.m. daily.

All satellite offices of the Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing (DMVL) will be closed on Thursday December 23; the Service Center at Maui Mall will be open that day for normal hours. On Thursday, December 30, all offices will be open for normal hours. All DMVL offices will be closed on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve along with all other County offices in observance of the two holidays.

County landfills will operate as follows on the actual holidays:
Saturday, December 25, 2010
OPEN: Central Maui Landfill, open 6 a.m. to noon
CLOSED: Hana, Molokai and Lanai landfills

Saturday, January 1, 2011
OPEN: Central Maui Landfill, open 6 a.m. to noon
CLOSED: Hana, Molokai and Lanai landfills