Marathon semifinal match ends volleyball season for Farmers

Molokai players Dayson Gomes, left, and Brahunson Kaai celebrate a second-game point in the second set against Hana last Wednesday. Photo courtesy of The Maui News.

An heroic effort from the Molokai High boys volleyball team in the semifinals of the Division II Maui Interscholastic League playoffs pushed Hana to five sets last Wednesday.

Despite winning the first and third set at the Lahaina Civic Center, the Farmers lost the marathon match 22-25, 41-39, 23-25, 25-15 and 16-14. Hana lost the MIL Division II title match to Seabury Hall the following night in four sets. Seabury, last year’s state runner-up, will represent the MIL in the state tournament.

The second set was one for the ages. Molokai fought off five match points before losing the 41-minute stanza 41-39.

“The second set, I don’t know if I have ever seen anything like that,” Molokai coach Billy Dudoit told The Maui News. “Maybe in the olden days in side-out scoring, but never in rally scoring. It has to be one of the best sets ever, in a long time.”

The match lasted 2 hours, 18 minutes. Molokai finishes the season with a 6-6 record.

Home team wins wrestling tournament

Molokai wrestlers won 18 individual weight classes on the way to claiming first place in the Maui Style Wrestling Tournament held Saturday in Hoolehua.

The Molokai team finished with 138 points. Placing second was Central Maui Style with 57 points and four first place finishers. The Maui Razorback had 38 points and five champions. The Lahaina Roughnecks placed fifth with seven points and Maui Makalii scored four points and the Lahaina Red Raiders had one.


Birth announcement – Azalea Rice

Azalea Rice

Alex Rice (formerly of Mahana Nursery) and Dayanti Karunaratne-Rice (formerly of The Molokai Times) are the proud parents of a baby girl, Azalea, born April 24, 2012 at 7 a.m. in Ottawa, Canada.

Azalea weighs 6 pounds, 2 ounces and was 18 inches at birth. Both mother and child are doing well.

State task force to address MIS problems related to drought conditions

A state resolution adopted March 28 calls for the creation of a task force to consider a plan for the Molokai Irrigation System in the face of “dangerously low” levels of available agricultural water.

Kualapu'u Reservoir, one of the central agricultural reservoirs on Molokai, is at a dangerously low level.

House Concurrent Resolution 207, introduced by State Rep. Mele Carroll, was written in response to ongoing complaints by local farmers concerning the disrepair of the MIS. The MIS, operating under the state Department of Agriculture and constructed in 1957, has suffered from leaking pipes from its main source, Well 17, and other maintenance issues dating back many years.

Adding to these problems is the current drought. Reports show that the MIS storage levels are at 50 percent of their levels in 2011. HCR 208, which asks the DOA to address these problems and to improve the agricultural economy on Molokai, states that rainfall is at 10 percent of normal. The resolution also states that MIS users have operated under a 30 percent restriction for the past three years. As a result of these cutbacks, Molokai has lost 90 jobs and more than $2 million in revenue.

Testifying in favor of these two resolutions was Dave Gilliand of Mycogen, who said that, “the current summer forecast could cause further job restrictions and loss.”

Lynn DeCoite, a Molokai homestead farmer who was recently confirmed by the state Senate to the state Board of Agriculture, testified that, “throughout the years of farming, we have suffered cutbacks because of drought conditions. We can no longer continue on the course we are going.”

HCR 207 goes on to state that MIS water levels are “critically low,” estimated to be as low as 10 feet.
Representatives from Monsanto Molokai, Kumu Farms, Molokai Chamber of Commerce and the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation also testified in support of these measures.

The task force will be made up of various chairpersons from the DOA, the Board of the Agribusiness Development Corporation, the Hawaiian Homes Commission, the Board of Education and the MIS Water Users Advisory Board. The task force will report its findings to the state legislature before it convenes in 2013.

HCR 208 seeks to improve the agricultural economy through several actions: Developing a three-year plan for additional irrigation water source development to meet existing MIS user demand within the various service areas; Providing an estimate of capital funding requirements to develop basal groundwater well sources; Develop necessary engineering data utilizing existing hydrological data; Seeking capital funding for project development; Seeking Commission on Water Resource Management water use permits or increases in existing permits within the known limitations of aquifer sustainable yields; and Considering that increased irrigation water sales have significant potential to pay back the amortized cost of the capital invested.

The DOA will be charged with submitting a report to the legislature with its findings and recommendations before it meets in 2013.

Kualapu`u Elementary School receives $2.75 million to improve water line

Representative Mele Carroll News Release

A press release received from the Office of Governor Neil Abercrombie on April 19 announced the release of $34.5 million in Capital Improvement Projects (CIPs) for education, health services and communications projects statewide.

Representative Mele Carroll

“These projects continue to fulfill our commitment to a new day for the people of Hawaii and stimulate the economy,” said Governor Abercrombie. “These funds in particular will help hospitals and health centers provide services and benefit Hawaii’s students by maintaining and further upgrading our school facilities.”

Part of the $34.5 million released for CIPs includes the construction of a new water line for Kualapu`u Elementary School on Molokai. Representative Mele Carroll and Senator J. Kalani English, who represent East Maui, the islands of Lanai, Molokai, Kaho`olawe and Molokini, worked together with their colleagues and appropriated $2,750,000 in the budget.

“Kualapu`u Elementary School has needed to improve its infrastructure. The $2,750,000 would cover design and construction for a new water line and/or provisions for fire suppression; ground and site improvements and equipment are a major step in our continued school maintenance initiatives,” said
Rep. Carroll.

“I am most pleased with the release of these funds by Governor Neil Abercrombie. Finally we can address and improve the most critical infrastructure and facilities that are in disrepair identified by the Department of Education such as Kualapu`u Elementary School ,” added Rep. Carroll.

Kualapu’u Elementary School — Molokai’s only public charter school and its largest elementary school — has experienced problems with its current water line for years. Each year the campus usually gets shut down for at least one school day because of water supply problems.

Strong local turnout at Hawaii History Day State Fair

Fifteen Molokai students competed in the 2012 Hawaii History Day State Fair April 14 at Windward Community College on Oahu.

Hope Will of Molokai High School took first place in the district competition in the Senior Exhibit category with her "Propaganda in Nazi Germany" exhibit.

This is the third year Molokai High School students have participated in the Hawaii History Day Program. “The Hawaii Council for the Humanities is very pleased with the students and their work,” said Jane Murau, History Day coordinator for the HCH.

Those who made it to the state competition represent the top 3 percent of students who participate in the History Day Program. An affiliate of National History Day, the Hawaii program is a yearlong history education program that invigorates the teaching and learning of history for students in grades four through 12.

For Molokai, the following students were top finishers at the Molokai District History Day Fair Feb. 29 and competed at the state competition:

Senior paper — Kelsie Espiritu-Tanabe, “Kalakaua World Traveler,” first; Kiloaulani Kaawa-Gonzales, “El Grito de Lares,” second; Michaela Riehn, “Bathing Suits,” third.

Senior exhibit — Hope Will, “Propaganda in Nazi Germany,” first;

Conan Kawano and Quintin Chow placed second in the District competition for the exhibit "Kapu System & Overthrow."

Conan Kawano and Quintin Chow, “Kapu System & Overthrow,” second; Kiana Simmons and Haaloha Aikala-Falealii, “The Trading of Curt Flood and other Baseball Players,” Kainoa Pali, third.

Senior documentary — Jhaymie-Lee Davis and Apelilia Tangonan, “Kahoolawe Then & Now,” first.

Senior Website — Michael Kikukawa and Michael Onofrio, “Telephone,” first; Trevor Takata and Codi Kamakana, “The History of Free Agency,” second; Shampayne Kaai, “Ruby Nell Bridges: Revolution, Reaction, and Reform in History,” third.

The national theme for this year’s competition, “Revolution, Reaction, Reform in History.” Each year a different theme is designed to engage critical thinking in an historical context.

In Hawaii, over 288 students and 73 teachers from 38 schools across the state participated in the State Fair. The Hawaii Council for the Humanities organizes district and state contests and provides support with free classroom visits, materials, and teacher, student and parent workshops.

Label It Hawaii seeks support for GMO food labeling legislation

Walter Ritte protesting GMOs on Molokai two years ago at the Lanikeha Center. Ritte will be on Oahu Wednesday to rally for a bill to require the labeling of GMO products in food.

For several years, Hawaiian rights activist Walter Ritte has studied and fought against the development of Genetically Modified Organisms on Molokai.

Ritte has campaigned for legislation to ban the genetic modification of taro and for all other proposed anti-GMO laws. Now he has teamed up with the statewide group Label It Hawaii in an effort to require that all foods containing genetically engineered products be labeled as such.

“Molokai is paying the true cost for this ‘cheap’ GMO food,” explains Ritte in his written statement. “Our best farm lands are being turned into dust bowls. Soil is not only blowing out into the sea but is being washed by rain down onto our reefs. In the dust are powerful chemicals, which are blowing into our cars, schools, kupuna housing, daycare center, county baseball park, Molokai Community College, and hundreds of homes. If this is happening to our island, it must be happening on other islands, we all have na’au to aloha ‘aina, and kuleana, to malama ‘aina.”

With the ultimate goal of getting a state GMO labeling law in front of the 2013 state legislature, Ritte will be on Oahu Wednesday when the City and County Council of Honolulu will hold a hearing in Kapolei regarding resolution 12-57, “urging the State of Hawaii and the FDA to require the labeling of GMOs.”

According to a recent editorial in the Star Advertiser, submitted by Label It Hawaii, “The FDA’s anti-GMO labeling policy rests on the antiquated doctrine that only those changes in food that can be detected by taste, smell or other senses need to be labeled.” The U.S. Food and Drug Administration supports this position by stating that the National Research Council Committee has concluded that assessing food safety based solely on how the food was produced is scientifically unjustified.

Label It Hawaii compares this current effort to ban GMOs with the work to ban the use of the pesticide DDT in the 20th Century. While it was recognized that DDT had adverse health and environmental impacts, it took almost 100 years after it was first produced for the EPA to ban DDT in 1972.

Monsanto workers on Molokai place paper bags over the GMO corn pollen to prevent its spread into other fields. Monsanto is the largest private employer on Molokai.

Like the manufacturers of DDT who fought its ban, Monsanto — the worldwide leader in the production of GMO seeds and Molokai’s largest employer — has resisted any type of government regulation. For example, the National Academy of Sciences has called for regulation that would make the process of testing GMO food products more transparent and rigorous. Monsanto has strongly lobbied against this type of regulation.

Label It Hawaii believes consumers have the right to know what is in their food products. “Mandatory labeling would also give akamai consumers the ability to choose whether the foods they consume are produced in a sustainable manner.”

While federal GMO-labeling has been introduced and failed on the federal level, there are currently 55 members of Congress, including Senator Dan Akaka, who have signed a letter of support to label GMO products.

Hawaii is one of 14 states seeking mandatory labeling of GMO foods. This is evidence of the unprecedented groundswell of support for labeling across the nation, according to Label It Hawaii. “Hawaii prides itself on leading the nation in efforts to protect the safety of our food and the health of our environment.”

The group has identified seven members of the City and County Council who are either on the fence or are opposed to the labeling legislation. To get the additional five votes needed to pass the resolution, Label It Hawaii is asking supporters to contact the following members:

Ernie Martin: A supporter of GMOs, 768-5002; Ikaika Anderson: “Kailua and Waimanalo guys need to talk with him,” 768-5003; Stanley Chang: “He is on the fence (voted yes with reservation at committee level),” 768-5004; Ann Kobayashi: “She is budget chair and must be influential on the Council,” 768-5005; Romy Cachola: Kalihi is his district, 768-5007; Breene Harimoto: “He did turn around and vote yes at the committee level,” 768-5008; Nestor Garcia: Kunia and Kapolei is his district, “He also needs a lot of persuasion,” 768-5009.

Label It Hawaii is also asking supporters to submit testimony, online or in person; or to join them at 9 a.m. Wednesday at Kapolei with labeling signs for a “support rally” prior to the public hearing.

Undersea cable impacts and costs too severe, says National Grid

I Aloha Molokai News Release

A high-voltage undersea transmission cable planned for Massachusetts has been killed by one of the nation’s major utilities because it would be a “high-risk” installation, too expensive to construct, with too many severe environmental impacts and too difficult to maintain.

The State of Hawaii is now seeking to build an undersea power transmission cable to move electricity to Oahu from industrial-sized wind farms on Molokai and Lanai.

The National Grid, which serves much of New England and New York State, released the findings of its Cable Feasibility Study this week. The cable would have been built using the latest technology called horizontal direct drilling — the same technology planned for sections of the interisland cable proposed by Governor Neil Abercrombie and HECO, and now being considered by the Hawaii Legislature.

The giant utility has just released an executive summary of its Cable Feasibility Study, stating that an underwater high-voltage cable is, “a high-risk installation, has increased environmental impacts, has increased project costs, and poses adverse long-term maintenance/reliability issues … As such, this project alternative has been deferred from further analysis and consideration.”

Undersea drilling also poses even more environmental risks, National Grid said, because of the environmental impacts of a large platform necessary for cable laying. It added that if there were a problem, locating and repairing an undersea cable failure would be time-consuming, very costly and destructive to marine life.

The governor’s and HECO’s proposed multi-billion-dollar interisland cable would substantially increase Hawaii electric rates and taxes. It would be constructed through the Hawaii Humpback Whale National Sanctuary, the world-famous Molokai Reef, and the Penguin Banks, one of the most significant marine environments in the Pacific. No environmental or economic analyses of this project have been done, and the governor is attempting to exclude it from such studies and public review.

The cable’s staggering cost and environmental impacts parallel a recent analysis by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who terms Hawaii’s high electric rates as one of the three barriers to the state’s economic growth. Rather than build huge and wasteful wind and cable projects, Stiglitz stated, Hawaii should concentrate on expansion of rooftop solar, which would reduce our electricity rates “to a fraction of what you are paying today.”

I Aloha Molokai has repeatedly stated that the Hawaii interisland cable proposal must be subjected to full public, economic and environmental review before it can be considered by the Legislature. With Hawaii’s electricity rates already the nation’s highest, to continue this colossal and environmentally destructive boondoggle is unfair to all Hawaii ratepayers and residents.