Renovation of new Community Health Center halted

Renovation has stopped at the old Pau Hana Inn, apparently because Gov. Lingle failed to release $1 million promised by the legislature.


The Molokai Community Health Center recently came to the difficult decision to shut down its renovation project at the former Pau Hana Inn, according to MCHC Director Desiree Puhi.

“The decision came with many tears from the staff and community board,” wrote Puhi. “Especially sad is the loss of work for the construction workers and their families.”

It was Aug. 24 when dignitaries such as Governor Linda Lingle and U.S. Senators Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye came to Molokai for a groundbreaking ceremony of the new six-acre site in Kaunakakai.

Now it appears as if Gov. Lingle was unwilling to release the $1 million appropriated in the 2009 legislature for this critical renovation project. According to Puhi, Lingle, “knew very well that the success of the project hinged on the release of these funds in 2010 … and a sound reason for the hold-up was never given.”

At the time of the groundbreaking the project had already begun and the 10 buildings at Seaside Place were on schedule to provide core health care services by the end of 2010. The site was planned to include primary health care, family doctors, dental, behavioral health and family support services.

The plan called for the related partner health services will be in place by the end of 2011. These were supposed to include acupuncture, massage therapy, native Hawaiian health systems and a healthy eatery including a juice bar. An opening celebration was planned for 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.

Puhi is now urging the community to put pressure on the governor to release the funds.

“The immediate release of these funds will put the project back on its feet, will put Molokai construction workers back to work, will help move our community toward a future of improved health care and wellness opportunities, and will show us Governor Abercrombie’s true commitment to Molokai,” wrote Puhi.

A form letter (see below) can be sent to Gov. Abercrombie and to Rep. Mele Carroll, Senator Kalani English, and Danny Mateo. People can also take your testimony and submit it to the governor online at: http://hawaii.gov/gov/contact/contact-gov.

Or, call the Governor’s Office (808-586-0034) and ask him to “please save an important community project by releasing the Molokai Community Health Center GIA funds immediately.”

A community rally is planned for Feb. 16 at Kulana O`iwi, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Suggested form letter

The Honorable Neil Abercrombie

Governor, State of Hawaii

Executive Chambers, 
State Capitol

Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

RE: Release $1 Million in GIA Funds for Molokai Community Health Center

Aloha…

My name is (your name) and I am (brief description of yourself and relationship to Molokai). I am writing to ask for the immediate release of $1 million in GIA funds to the Molokai Community Health Center.

The health and wellness of our people translates into the wellness and balance of our communities and environments. This is why the Molokai Community Health Center (MCHC) is critical to our island. It provides high quality, affordable primary, dental and behavioral health care to the island’s most vulnerable populations, its working poor, indigent, underinsured and uninsured residents.

In 2009 the MCHC took on a community supported move to a bigger and better facility. The new facility would allow MCHC to better serve its 3,000 and growing patients, fully integrate its broad spectrum of services, maximize its partnerships with other organizations, and create additional employment and partnership opportunities on Molokai.

Renovations of the new facility began in July 2010 with the promise that the State would release a $1 million Grant in Aid appropriated by the 2009 legislature. Former Governor Lingle, however, withheld these funds. The MCHC now finds itself midway through the renovation project without necessary funds for completion. The withholding of the GIA funds has also prevented the MCHC from accessing critical matching funding sources.

The continued withholding of the GIA funds will have huge negative repercussions to Molokai’s small island community — from the halting of a hugely beneficial community project, to the loss of jobs, and the economic strain of a critical healthcare provider left with the overhead of operations as well as huge mortgage costs.

On the other hand, the positive impact that the immediate release of these GIA funds will have on Molokai are huge and far reaching. Please help create a “New Day” for Molokai and release the $1 million in GIA funds to the MCHC.

Sincerely,
(Your Name)
(Your Address & Phone/Email)

Advertisements

Kamakani (wind): Cultural resource or commodity?

By Brandon Roberts

‘Aha Ki’ole challenged to take an equal seat at the table for wind farm process.

Molokai’s renowned winds have Oahu charged for more power and residents asking if this is a blessing or a curse.

Walter Ritte — community organizer and Wednesday evening’s kukakuka (discussion) facilitator — issued a challenge to the public to get involved in the future of Molokai. Kupuna, keiki o ka `aina, kama`aina and malihini alike responded by filling the Mitchell Pau’ole Center.

Walter Ritte blows the pu, protocol for all to come together, to work together and to get informed.


Kamakani (the wind) was still as the meeting commenced, much like a gentle southern Kona, as if the room were holding its breath — anticipatory, speculative, eager, hopeful, fearful.

Logic is a sail in these winds; slacked and tacked, taut but adjustable. Two canoes departed, one from Oahu one from Molokai, each sail set into the wind, each believing in its course, purpose and destination.

Ritte’s resounding pu was an invitation for the community to come together and participate in the discussion and the sharing of information. It may be ironic, but Ritte’s call for lokahi (cooperation) does not extend to the State of Hawaii’s Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement process. Ritte has called for a boycott/protest of this process.

“Each and every one of you is now burdened with the kuleana of protecting our resources for our future generations,” he ordained.

For Ritte it is simple. He wants a Hawaiian process. He has no faith in the state process. Within this logic there lies no irony. Through a lifetime of studying and participating in this process, Ritte has shown — love him or hate him — that he is an icon of successful resistance.

That is where the evening’s first presenter fit into Ritte’s strategy. The `Aha Ki`ole, a legitimate, state-recognized council has been charged to “work in harmony” with the DLNR, according to council representative Opualani Albino.

“I hope the [council] will take this on as a challenge,” Ritte said. His formula is easy to follow. Boycott the state process and urge the people of Molokai to get involved in the `Aha Ki`ole and thereby create and validate the Hawaiian process. This way the conversation cannot bypass the community and allows Molokai control of its destiny.

The banner "Hawaiians Ku`e" (resist, oppose) was a focal backdrop to the evenings discussion.


“Its not a commodity called the wind, it is a cultural resource called kamakani,” Ritte said. As of now, he says “a`ole” (no) on wind farms. “We have a statewide process [`Aha Ki`ole] that can help us save our resources for the future. We need to get Hawaiians involved in this process because it is your kupuna’s process.”

“By the time we finish tonight, we will have some understanding on how we are going to protect our natural resources, and it is based on traditional land management of the Hawaiian people.” Ritte framed the kukakuka as “historic” when an island starts to take control of its resources. Ritte said the `Aha Ki`ole is one of the better vehicles of hope and empowerment.

Molokai has taken the lead in this traditional resource management model, partially by bucking the policies of the Department of Land and Natural Resources. According to Ritte, the DLNR interim chairman William Aila Jr. did not attend the meeting due to illness.

Another honorable absentee was Peter Nicholas, CEO Molokai Ranch, who had another meeting scheduled in Maunaloa. Ritte warned of the time constraints placed on the state to conduct and conclude their scoping and PEIS, which is March and the urgency this atmosphere blusters.

He used a well received metaphor of scoping in hunting terms.

“I know what a scope is. I use one all the time. And I don’t like when somebody is scoping me … it is dangerous.”

By a show of hands, four attendants out of at least 150 said they knew what the scoping process was. “We are trying to come together so we are one voice,” Ritte said, comparing the 7,000 people on Molokai to the million who “need something we have.”

The chain of causality that is linked to the necessity for the kukakuka is not secret and it was retold through the community comment, “Oahu has grown beyond its means.” “What are they doing to take responsibility?” It is an Oahu created problem and Molokai should not be held captive to alleviate their overextended resources. “How much will they give. How much will they stop taking … stop growing beyond the island’s means.”

`Aha Ki`ole representive Karen Poepoe explains the flow of information within the organization's model.


What is also true is that Molokai has the “most abundant, consistent wind source on the planet,” according to Josh Strickler, a facilitator within the Energy Planning and Strategic Industries Division for the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

Kekoa Kaluhiwa, Director of External Affairs for First Wind, the wind developer that first came to Molokai in 2006 to put a finger to the air and gauge the community. “The writing is on the wall.

“We have been looking at Molokai Ranch.” He said, as of now, First Wind does not have a site secured on Molokai.

A banner hung reading, “Hawaiians Ku`e (oppose, resist), Honor your kuleana,” serving as a backdrop to the speaker’s podium. Referring to this banner, Kaluhiwa asked Molokai residents to stay involved as part of the process. To “take the “e” and the okina off of ku`e and ku, stand up. Get educated … Please participate.”

Malama Minn with DBEDT debated that Oahu has championed infrastructure (refineries, hospitals, schools and universities) that is to the benefit of all Hawaii and reminded Molokai of its dependence on Oahu for supplying these invaluable resources.

Minn fell prey to a pack of metaphor monsters when she began with us “looking down the barrel of a gun” which represented our petroleum-soaked palate and the potential disasters of coral and coastline drizzled in crude.

Hawaii is the most oil dependent state, with over 75 percent of all energy consumed coming in carbon chains compared to a mere 10 percent in renewables and a state mandate to use 40 percent renewables by 2030. Some attendees balked at what they felt was fear mongering and being taken hostage with doomsday discussions.

The next monster at Minn’s heels was comparing Oahu’s need for subsidized energy with an earthquake on the Big Island and she recanted the echoes of isolationism.

“Oahu bears the burden for many islands,” Minn said. “We can talk about isolation but what about when someone needs help.”

The failure of this comparison is that one is a natural disaster, which does not require a planning and permitting process to develop. It does not allow for public input or state scoping. Oahu’s current needs are human created and began with a plan and a permit.

However Strickler’s mango tree metaphor was picked apart during the public input that concluded the meeting. He spoke of a mango tree in “your” backyard. “We need your mangos.”

“What is the best way to ask you for these mangos,” he began. “What is it you need? … What is it you want? … If we take these mangos back to Oahu? This is your home. This is your backyard and we are asking to come here and have a big impact on your life.”

“True Hawaiian style is not, ‘You can have my mango, if you get something for me.’” One Molokai resident responded. “True Hawaiian values, if you good, you welcome … This is a good thing? Then it’s good … If it’s not … you’re not welcome.”

“We can’t get to where we need to get to on our own, we need to work with you all,” Strickler said. “On this island you have one of the best wind resources in the world … its phenomenal. If we do it the right way, the wind from this island can power Oahu and then we can send benefits back to Molokai.”

What will kamakani bring this time? The question at the piko of this discussion. Will it be a blessing or a curse? Hawaiians have long known the wind’s many personalities, and kamakani o Molokai’s front is just forming. The first gusts of a storm building above lands proposed for a 200-400 megawatt wind farm are drying eyes and disheveling hair.

A single 400-plus foot windmill can generate only a couple of megawatts. It would be safe to allow for three megawatts, equaling roughly 66 or 133 turbines relative to the megawatts designated for the area.

Lanai is currently Molokai’s lone geographic competitor for Oahu’s energy subsidy. They happen to be a few months advanced from Molokai’s position with a proposal already offered to the community. A model that will surely be reflected in the package presented to Molokai.

Some potential benefits, depending on the lands in question, include stewardship, energy efficiency and lower rates, temporary structures and monetary funds, to name a few.

Molokai resident and kukakuka presentor Karen Holt’s Powerpoint was about an island that said “no” and the benefit or consequence of saying “yes.” She commenced with Molokai’s current and potential environmental changes and concluded with the “Buy the Ranch” proposal. This plan involves First Wind or another wind company to purchase the land currently under the stewardship of Molokai Ranch, give it to the community and then lease it back at a fair market value to the tune of Holt’s estimates of $3-5 million a year.

Some potential controversies, depending on the lands in question, include stewardship, energy efficiency and rates, looming structures, etc. One attendee asked if a windmill could be power designated for Molokai?

Currently the proposal is for equalizing rates with Oahu. Molokai currently pays 45 cents per kilowatt hour to Oahu’s 22 cents. It is a stretch to think energy efficiency has a correlation to energy reduction. The Jevons Paradox hails from William Jevons, an Englishman alive in 1865, who roughly said that making energy more efficient does not lead to a reduction in the amount of energy used. It has a rather opposite effect. It drives down prices. Increases demand and subsequently consumption increases as well as the potential acceleration of development. This Paradox has yet to be proven false over the span of human history.

A crucial question that presently permeates all aspects of Hawaii is land stewardship. The current lands “owned” by Molokai Ranch are recognized in our modern system. Prior to the Kamehamehas and the later Great Mahele, or land division, of the 1840s established by Kamehameha III, Molokai’s West End was under the ali`i and konohiki.

The Great Mahele incorporated the West End into what eventually became the Bishop Estate. The sale of these lands to private parties have stewardship of 66,000 West End acres in Singapore currently with Guoco Limited, parent company to Molokai Ranch.

“Tonight there is hope for the Hawaiians because of what their kupuna is passing down to them about how to survive on these islands. Be proud of our kupuna … and we have to stick together,” Ritte said.

The representatives of Molokai’s six moku within the `Aha Ki`ole are: Ko’olau — Judy Caparida and Ruth Manu; Halawa — Anakala Pilipo Solatorio; Mana`e — Duke Kalipi; Kawela — Mervin Dudoit; Pala`au — Wayde Lee; Maunaloa — Byron Espaniola.

These representatives are the disseminators of information, organizers and gatherers of mana`o from residents within the moku and messengers between these residents and the council, which then relays to DLNR.

The state scoping meeting on the PEIS will be held Feb. 3 at the Mitchell Pau’ole Center at 6 p.m.

Local non-profits receive $4,950 grant from Monsanto Fund

Press Release

Three Molokai non-profits received nearly $5,000 from the Monsanto Fund as part of the philanthropic organization’s annual gift to communities across the country.

Hui Kakou, Molokai Affordable Homes & Community Development Corporation, and the Molokai Community Health Center each received $1,650.

In total, the Monsanto Fund gifted $38,450 this year to the Aloha United Way, the Maui United Way, Kauai United Way and Molokai non-profits. The dollars directly reflect the number of Monsanto Hawaii employees on each island. Over the past three years alone, the Monsanto Fund’s gift to Hawaii-based charitable organizations and agencies has totaled more than $100,000.

“We value the tireless efforts of these non-profits to assist so many of our friends and family in our community,” said Ray Foster, Monsanto Molokai site manager. “Our employees are proud to be able to help these worthy organizations continue their efforts.”

The Monsanto Fund is the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company. Incorporated in 1964, the Fund’s primary objective is to improve the lives of people by bridging the gap between their needs and their resources.

Monsanto Company works with farmers to discover new ways to improve agriculture and is a leading provider of agricultural products and solutions worldwide. The company’s farm stations in Hawaii help develop better-quality seeds that help small and large farmers produce more abundant and healthier foods, combat insects and diseases, preserve precious farmlands and protect natural resources.

Opinion: ‘Kumumaomao’ — The source of green

A kukakuka for the issue of placing a wind farm on Molokai will take place tonight at 6 p.m. at the Mitchell Pau’ole Center. A public scoping meeting on this issue will be held on Molokai Feb. 3 as part of the Environmental Impact Statement for the undersea power transmission cable between Oahu and Maui and Molokai and Lanai.

By Steve Morgan

Windmills
Of the many winds that characterize the island of Molokai, one in particular seems to be making the news. Recognized as “Kumumaomao,” which I have always understood to mean “the source of green,” it is this wind that receives the clouds that travel from Kamakou, bringing moisture to Maunaloa and the upper hills of Kaluakoi. It is a wind that I have come to know well, at times being in gratitude for the rain she brings and at other times cowering from the ferocity of this wind when she rages at 50 or 60 miles an hour.

The billion dollar question now is not whether or not Kumumaomao will be the source of green grass for our island, but instead will this wind be a source of green energy and possibly a source of green profits for those who hope to invest in this wind.

In my own opinion, the obstacles in place at this time seem to cast doubt upon the reality of this project. One of these obstacles is the general feeling of skepticism that many on our island feel. Some of this skepticism is the fruit of urban legends, yet some of this skepticism is easily justified. After years of talk, there still is no land secured, and the community really has no clear idea as to how this project might really improve the quality of life on Molokai.

At the Jan 11 Senate hearing, Wren Wescoatt of First Wind acknowledged that it would be up to the community to make its request known for a “community benefits package.” This is a bit perplexing, with such a fragmented process, how do we go about doing this? And when MCSC was working with First Wind, wasn’t a list of community benefits already recognized? Are those potential benefits no longer acknowledged by First Wind?

Following Mr. Wescoatt’s comment, he also mentioned that what would be offered to our island might be something like what Lanai is being offered. While my intention is not to villainize First Wind, the apparent contrast between what was previously being offered to Molokai by First Wind and what is now being offered to Lanai is like the difference between a bag of chips and a full buffet.

Two facts are hard to ignore — Guoco is playing hardball with land sales and First Wind is scrambling to pay off some of its $500 million in debt, so is it possible that community perks are the first to go?

And without any resolution of these critical issues, we now find ourselves in the midst of an EIS involving the installation of the underwater transmission cable to our island. So what’s next? Maybe the EIS meeting on Feb. 3 will offer a few answers … maybe.

Two teaching positions posted at Kualapu’u Elementary School

Kualapu’u Elementary School, Molokai’s only charter school, is posting two anticipated teacher vacancies for the 2011-2012 school year.

The two vacancies are: Special education teacher, grades K-6; and grade one teacher. Applications will be accepted from Jan. 31 to Feb. 18, 2011.

Kualapu’u School is a public conversion charter school for students in kindergarten through sixth grades. Teachers must meet Hawaii Teachers Standards Board licensure and must be “highly qualified” under the federal No Child Left Behind requirements.

Please submit a current resume, proof of teacher certification, and Hawaii State Teacher license.

Please contact Lydia Trinidad, Principal, at 808-567-6900 or email Lydia_Trinidad@notes.k12.hi.us.

The party returns to Paddlers’ Inn

The word is out. Longtime Wavecrest residents Jerry Chernik (foreground) and Wade Clontz stopped in for a beer Monday afternoon after hearing Paddlers' might be open.



By Brandon Roberts

After a brief stay in permit purgatory, Paddlers’ Inn restaurant and bar is set to officially reopen tomorrow, Jan. 26.

Bar manager and Paddlers’ relic Michael Helm was busy putting the first alcohol shipment to shelf and ice in preparation for tomorrow’s ladies night. He was all smiles, replacing dust with an arsenal of fermented flavors.

“This is a new year, a clean slate and we are movin’ on,” Helm said. “We have a great environment for people to enjoy and are just excited to have the doors back open.”

A tumultuous tenure under the ownership of Darrin Abell, who purchased Paddlers’ in August 2009, led to the sale of the business to Hilo restaurateur Louis Santiago on May 28 of 2010.

However, the end of Abell’s ownership was also the end of Paddlers’ liquor permit. Santiago kept just the restaurant open for several months after the purchase but eventually was forced to close. Alcohol revenues needed to keep the doors open were lost at sea during the reapplication process with Maui County.

While the ownership baton has been passed five times in three years, the faces behind the counter have not changed much and the 20-or-so employees are ready to get back into the groove.

Paddlers’ is open seven days a week, with hours of operation Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m.-10 p.m; Wednesday (ladies’ night with different D.J.s) and Friday from 11 a.m.-2 a.m., and Sundays, 3-7 p.m. Lunch is served from 11-2, pupus from 2-5:30 p.m. and dinner 5:30-8 p.m., with happy hour from 3-6 p.m. and daily specials.

Paddlers’ has decided to limit its menu to lunch and dinner until it is fully reestablished. It is unclear if a breakfast menu will return.

After Saturday night’s Battle at the Barn, Paddlers’ plans to welcome the community with the return of night life in Kaunakakai. Expect all the punches to be thrown inside the ring as a strict no fighting policy will be enforced at the bar.

Stay tuned to themolokainews.com for a deeper look into the liquor permitting process in Maui County and why Paddlers’ was required to reapply.

Wahine Farmers defeat Seabury in MIL tournament

The Molokai girls basketball team clinched its fourth straight Maui Interscholastic League Division II title in basketball on Friday with a dominating 50-19 win over Seabury Hall at Kaulaheanuiokamoku Gym on Maui.

When Seabury visited Molokai Jan. 7 and 8, the Farmers were losing after the first quarter of both games. A slow start plagued Molokai in the tournament championship game as well. The Farmers were up only 9-8 after the first quarter and 19-10 at halftime.

As she has all season, senior Kalei Adolpho led the way with 21 points and 14 rebounds. She also had seven blocked shots and three assists to spur the team’s second half rally.

Even though the girls won the regular MIL season with a perfect 4-0 record, the team was not guaranteed a spot in the state tournament without winning Friday’s game. With the new structure in the MIL this year, Molokai will go to Maui Friday to play the MIL Division I runner-up, followed by a matchup with Lahainaluna on Saturday.

With the win against Seabury, the Molokai girls team will be seeking its third straight appearance the state Division II title game. In 2009 Molokai won the state championship and last year they finished as runner-up. The state tournament is Feb. 1-4 at the Blaisdell Arena on Oahu.

Boys basketball

The boys team also extended its undefeated MIL record by topping Lanai twice this weekend at The Barn.

The Farmers almost dropped Friday’s game when Lanai’s Dareen Llamelo scored 14 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to help tie the game at 45 apiece after regulation. Molokai outscored Lanai in the overtime period to win the game 54-49.

David Rapanot led the team with 13 points followed by Kamakana Duvauchelle-Andrade who added 12 points. Hauoli Falealii scored 10 and Ryan Rapanot 8 in the victory.

The Farmers had an easier time on Saturday afternoon, jumping out to a 12-4 first quarter lead and cruising to a 47-27 win over Lanai.
Duvauchelle-Andrade was the leading scorer with 24 points. Ryan Rapanot added 11 points toward the victory. The Farmers are now 4-0 in MIL competition.

Paddling

The Molokai girls crew on Saturday prevented Seabury Hall from capturing the MIL title at Kahului Harbor, winning the half-mile race to force a winner-take-all showdown for the crown at next weekend’s regular-season finale.

Molokai’s Leenell Hernandez, Jasmine Borden, Crystal Puaoi-Kawai, Kailana Ritte-Camara, Natalia Levi and fill-in Kachet Kaiama took an early lead, surrendered some of it after the turn but quickly recovered and crossed the finish line in 4 minutes, 37.40 seconds, four seconds ahead of the Spartans, for their second-ever varsity victory – the first was in the season opener.

With teams earning points based on their top three finishes of the season, Molokai and Seabury are now knotted atop the standings with 31 apiece, setting the stage to conclude the season next week at Hanako’o (Canoe) Beach Park.

Girls soccer

The soccer team played two home games against Maui High School over the weekend. The Farmers dropped both games by identical 7-0 scores.