A year later, two local youth paddlers show improvement at the Naish Paddle Championships

Alex and Josie Mawae, at 10 and 12 years old, were the youngest competitors for the second year in a row at the Naish Paddle Championships on Maui.

By Clare Seeger Mawae

A year has gone by since two Molokai kids showed up at Maliko Gulch as the youngest contestants at the annual Naish Paddle Championships. At 9 and 11 years old, Alex and Josie Mawae joined an international fleet of stand-up paddlers to take on the prestigious long distance course.

Josie and Alex returned on July 22 to the seventh annual Naish Paddle Championships, a 9.5-mile SUP race from Maliko Gulch to Kahului Harbor on Maui. Now 12 and 10, Josie and Alex were still the youngest contestants.

While a broken finger forced Josie to take a timeout from paddling, she still insisted on racing despite no training. To her, the participation was what counted.

Alex Mawae powers through some flat water on his way to capturing second place in the 16-and-under division at the Naish Paddle Championships July 22.

Among a fleet of 221 participants, the kids faired well despite a drop in the wind making for a tough and grueling race. The start was intense with staggered starts. After the prone paddlers, the paddlers in the 12-foot-6 division jockeyed for good position with both Josie and Alex in the front of the lineup.

Alex got an incredible start, keeping a strong pace and position for a good portion of the race until the wind decided to back off and drop.

Josie, in the meantime, focused on steady strokes since she had been out of the water for over a month. Despite the winds dropping and knowing that she could bail any time because of her recovery, Josie chose to punch through the barriers and focus on the finish line. She finished third in the 12-foot-6, women’s 30-and-under division. Alex finished second to Travis Baptiste of Maui in the 12-foot-6 men’s 16-and-under division.

Both Josie and Alex have proven that they are serious competitors and hopefully this is just the beginning fir these young Molokai paddlers.

Josie and Alex started their paddling with Youth In Motion at the end of 2010. This September, Youth in Motion will be introducing stand-up paddling and other ocean activities to the Molokai youth and their families for the remainder of 2012. Youth in Motion is hoping that more youth will be inspired to take a step further, whether it is enjoying the ocean and what it has to offer, or to the level of competition where endurance, motivation, discipline and determination play important roles.

Congratulations to Josie and Alex Mawae who have both worked hard to achieve their goals, especially when it was not that long ago that their boundaries were Kaunakakai Harbor. Now their horizons have broadened as they look forward to another exciting season for 2013. Youth In Motion would like to thank all those individuals, businesses and organizations that have helped to make this possible.

For more information on Youth In Motion’s upcoming season, email Clare Mawae at clare@youthinmotion.org or call 808-336-0946.


Gaul, Baxter top finishers in Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championship

A pule held yesterday morning in Kaluakoi before the start of the 16th annual Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championships.

After winning his 10th straight Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championship race in 2011, Jamie Mitchell of Australia announced that it would be his last competitive crossing of the Kaiwi Channel.

Brad Gaul of Australia won the Unlimited Prone Division. It was the first time anyone other than Jamie Mitchell had won the race in over 10 years.

But even without Mitchell at the starting line Sunday morning in Kaluakoi, Australian paddlers continued to dominate the “Super Bowl” of paddleboard racing. In the largest field ever for the race, Brad Gaul, 33, of Warriewood, Australia, battled it out to win in a time of 4 hours, 43 minutes, 54 seconds. It was Gaul’s third time entering the race.

Placing second in the unlimited prone division was Jackson English of Singapore (4:59:57). Oahu’s Brian Rocheleau (5:01:49) was third.

Connor Baxter, 17, of Maui, won his second consecutive Molokai-2-Oahu SUP Championship.

For the 16th annual Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championship, conditions for the 32-mile crossing were fast and big. Race officials reported winds of 25-30 knots and wave faces up to eight feet in height.

While Mitchell ended his winning streak last year, Connor Baxter, 17, of Maui, began his. Baxter repeated as Stand-up Paddle champion in a time of 4:13:26, smashing his own record from last year of 4:26:10. Baxter, reportedly, had just recently recovered from a bought of pneumonia. It was only a month earlier that Baxter had repeated as champion in the 2012 Triple Crown of SUP.

Jordan Mercer of Australia successfully defended her title in the female unlimited prone division, finishing in 5:34:53.

Talia Gangini, 19, won the Top Overall Solo Unlimited division in SUP, overtaking last year’s winner, 32 year-old Andrea Moller, beating Andrea’s course record by 30 minutes with a finish time of 4:55:02.

Molokai Humane Society elects new board, reviews finances

An all-new board of directors for the Molokai Humane Society was chosen last Friday at the Mitchell Pau’ole Center during the non-profit group’s annual meeting.

The MoHS bylaws allow five to seven people on its board. Voted onto the board were Lyndon Dela Cruz, Tony Lauifi, Nan Walters, Karen Buhr and Frank Pratt. A sixth candidate, Darryl Canady, was not selected because he did not receive the requisite votes from 50 percent of the MoHS members in attendance.

Because last year’s board members had all been appointed, none of them chose to run for election. At the last annual meeting held June 20, 2011, the MoHS membership had not put forward any names to run for the board. Without any candidates, the board members were forced to reappoint themselves, as allowed under the bylaws if no candidates are nominated.

The MoHS had received criticism from its membership for not holding elections last year. Some members claimed they didn’t present any candidates because they had not received adequate notice of the last annual meeting.

“No one knew when the annual meeting was,” said MoHS member Jody Canady. “They never notified the membership.”

Besides holding elections at the July 20 annual meeting, it was also a chance to review the accomplishments from the past year. Just under 1,500 animals were treated over the past year, according to MoHS Executive Director Jenn Whitted.

“That’s a huge amount for this island, way more than we have ever done in the past,” said Whitted.

The storage container in Ho’olehua, which serves as the home for MoHS, has also been improved. The waiting area is now covered, a new sign was installed and a new storage container was brought in that doubles the size of the facility and allows for a separate, sterile area for surgery.

Molokai Humane Society Executive Director Jenn Whitted.

But the biggest development over the past year has been the hiring of a full-time veterinarian. In the past, a visiting vet would come in once a week. With the arrival of Dr. Stewart Morgan last November, animals were being treated five days a week by a vet.

The 2011-12 fiscal year was also the first year the MoHS has hired a full-time paid director. While some members have questioned the need for a director, Whitted, who earned a $40,000 salary, said it was necessary to fulfill the requirements of The Shields Animal Shelter Foundation, which offers matching funds for all the MoHS fundraising efforts.

Financially, the MoHS appears to be on solid ground. The balance sheet shows that at the end of the fiscal year, June 30, the MoHS had $93,531 in the bank after paying all expenses. Total income for the non-profit was $336,208, with approximately half coming from Maui County and the Shields Foundation and the other half coming from fees charged for services, membership dues and other donations. MoHS also earned money at a Cinqo de Mayo Mexican dinner fundraiser at Hotel Molokai.

The projected expenses on this year’s budget are only slightly higher than last year. Costs and income balance out at $370,000 with the majority, $224,000, covering personnel expenses. The largest salaries are Dr. Morgan, $103,000, and Whitted, $45,000. Two veterinary assistants, a bookkeeper, a clinic director and receptionist make up the other salaries.

Income is projected to come from these sources: $75,000 from Maui County; $75,000 from Shields Animal Shelter; $100,000 from grants, donations and fundraising; $20,000 from facility fee and retail amd $100,000 from vet services.

Whitted said she plans to offer an expanded spaying and neutering program this year through the ASPCA. With this program, Whitted believes the MoHS will become eligible for more grants from companies like Petsmart and other smaller organizations. “There is no question it will open doors for us,” said Whitted.

For animal owners, the biggest change will probably be the expanded hours of operation. Currently, the clinic on Maunaloa Highway is open Monday through Friday, 8 to noon. Starting Aug. 1, the hours will be Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8 a.m.-2 p.m. for surgery only or minor services. Tuesday and Thursday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. the clinic will be open for appointments.

In the event of a health emergency, animal owners can always bring in their pets during these hours. For example, if your animal is not eating or drinking water and is vomiting, the vet will stop surgery to attend to the animal. But if it is not an actual emergency, Witted urges people to call 558-0000 and make an appointment.

Whitted hopes that this is the year the MoHS finds a permanent home. Currently, the MoHS pays the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands a month-to-month lease to use the property.

“This next fiscal year I really see us finding a forever home,” said Whitted. “That is something I’m really passionate about because that will also open us up to more funding … a lot of people won’t fund a program that operates month-to-month.”

New One Ali’i playground opens yesterday with blessing

The blessing ceremony for the new playground at One Ali’i Park, about three miles east of Kaunakakai, featured speeches, balloons and, of course, keiki! Photo courtesy of Rick Schonely.

Let the playing begin!

Since the jungle gym and slide was removed from One Ali’i Park about five years ago, Molokai has not had a public playground. Keiki can use the school playgrounds during school time but after the final bell rings use of the playgrounds is considered trespassing.

Surrounded by county officials, Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa, left, along with Danny Mateo, chair of the Maui County Council, conduct the official ribbon cutting opening for the long-awaited new playground. Photo courtesy of Rick Schonely.

With the blessing and ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday by Maui County officials, the new One Ali’i Park playground opened for business.

The plan and funding for the playground was announced in 2010. At that time, Zachary Helm, Molokai District Supervisor for the Maui County Department of Parks and Recreation, said he hoped the project would be completed by the fall of 2011.

As with so many construction projects on Molokai, delays set in. By early 2012 it appeared as if the project was complete. For months, an orange plastic fence surrounded the playground. Yesterday the fence came down so the keiki could start sliding and climbing.

The project was funded with a $62,000 grant from Van Valkenburg Trust and an additional $82,500 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development. Total cost was $150,000.

More than half of that money went toward the shipping and equipment itself, with the rest paying for the labor. The manufacturer of the equipment, Innovation Playground and Recreation, supplied a supervisor during the construction of the project.

Safety is a key feature of the new playground. During the 1990s, many Maui County playgrounds were shut down when child injuries led to lawsuits. The county has made sure to reduce its liability by including cushioned ground material and a barrier of boulders to keep off vehicle traffic. It is also in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with its handicapped accessibility.

Learn why and how to save seed at Molokai workshop

The Kohala Center News Release

A workshop for farmers and gardeners on seed production and seed saving methods offered by Hawaii Public Seed Initiative will be held Friday, Aug. 24, and Saturday, Aug. 25, in Ho‘olehua on Molokai. The workshop will be at Lanikeha Center and at the NRCS Plant Materials Center.

Kauai workshop participants harvest brassica seeds grown at Regenerations Garden in Kilauea.

Registration and scholarship application deadline is Aug. 19.

The cost of the workshop is $50 for both days, which includes a seed manual, a catered lunch on both days, and a tour of the Plant Materials Center. For more details and online registration information, visit kohalacenter.org/seedbasicsworkshop/molokai.html.

Five youth scholarships are offered to students in grades 11 through college interested in agriculture. Scholarship forms are available online at the website above. Contact Lyn Howe, Hawaii Public Seed workshop coordinator, at (808) 756-5310 or seedproject@kohalacenter.org for information.

Cutting taro for huli.

The two-day workshops, offered on all five islands, are designed to create a beginning working knowledge of seed production, botany and biology, plant selection, seed harvesting, cleaning, and saving various types of seed as well as develop island-wide seed networks. These workshops are possible through the support of the CERES Trust and The Kohala Center.

The workshop includes lectures and hands-on fieldwork so participants can practice harvesting, selecting, cleaning, and storing fresh seed. Fieldwork focuses on growing lettuce and tomato and on seed and taro propagation. Strategies to account for differences in elevation, weather patterns, and rainfall will be discussed.

Among the presenters sharing their knowledge are:
• Hector Valenzuela, Ph.D., College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Relations (CTAHR) Extension, vegetable specialist;
• Russell Nagata, Ph.D., CTAHR County of Hawaii Extension administrator, lettuce propagation and seed production specialist;
• Glenn Teves, CTAHR Molokai Extension Office, taro and tomato propagation specialist;
• Ellen Sugawara, Co-owner and operator of Papohaku Biodynamic Farm; and
• Nancy Redfeather, program director of the Hawaii Public Seed Initiative and the Hawaii Island School Garden Network, and co-owner of Kawanui Farm on Hawaii Island.

“By learning to save seed, farmers and gardeners can help to halt the loss of diversity in our food supply experienced over the last century,” said The Kohala Center’s Howe.

“A 1983 study conducted by the Rural Advancement Foundation surveyed 66 crops and found that 93 percent of varieties are extinct. More than 300 varieties of corn existed 80 years ago; now only 12 varieties remain. Tomato varieties have dwindled from 408 to 79; peas from 408 to 25 — and the list goes on. Large corporations have bought out many seed suppliers; and this consolidation of seed, combined with the loss of knowledge of seed-saving practices, has resulted in the disappearance of thousands of varieties of heirloom, open-pollinated seeds,” Howe said.

Paul Myers, a home gardener who attended the Kauai workshop, said, “The Kauai seed workshop demystified the basics of gathering my own seeds and empowered me to imagine a greater involvement with our garden. Bringing this knowledge and these friendships back to the garden has invigorated our daily work with enthusiasm and the knowledge that we are not doing this alone.”

For a firsthand account of the Kauai workshop, see “The State of Seed” in the Hawaii Homegrown Food Network newsletter at http://hawaiihomegrown.net/reports/288-thegardentalks-the-state-of-seeds.

A workshop will be held on Hawaii Island on Nov. 3 and 4 at Amy Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden in Captain Cook with optional farm field trips on Nov. 5.

Marines back off plans to increase training in Kalaupapa

A Hawaiian cultural site built by Walter Ritte, Lori Buchanan and their respective ohanas protests the military plans for Molokai Airport. After a blessing a kapu was place and a kuahu to signify the opposition to the planned fuel depot. Photo courtesy of Walter Ritte.

The U.S. Marines will not increase its helicopter training in Kalaupapa following opposition to the plan from the National Park Service, the State Department of Land and Natural Resources and local residents.

But plans for the military to build a fuel depot at Molokai Airport are still being considered despite protests by locals.

A report in yesterday’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser said that the Marines wanted to significantly increase the number of takeoffs and landings at the remote airport in Kalaupapa. The Marines’ Draft Environmental Impact Statement proposed 1,388 takeoffs and landings to prepare to bring MV-22 tilt-rotor Osprey and Huey attack-utility helicopter squadrons to Hawaii. The Marines agreed to keep that number at 112.

Stephen Prokop, superintendent for the NPS at Kalaupapa expressed concern for the endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal population. About seven monk seal pups are born at Kalaupapa each year. He also discussed the overall impact this activity could have.

“The Marines’ environmental impact statement draft that they shared was strongly opposed by the park service for a place as special and scared to the history and people of Hawaii as Kalaupapa is,” Prokop said. “Most importantly, the lifestyle and privacy of the patient community at Kalaupapa would have been severely impacted.”

For many of the same reasons, the DLNR also expressed its opposition to increasing the use of Osprey helicopters at Kalaupapa.

Local activist and OHA candidate Walter Ritte has spoken against military presence on Molokai. Ritte and Lori Buchanan, a member of the Molokai Planning Commission and head of the Molokai Invasive Species Committee, organized a protest against the fuel depot at the airport. They constructed an ahu (stone altar) at the location of the proposed fuel depot, calling the site “kapu” (forbidden).

“Molokai’s pretty quiet compared to Oahu, so this is a big deal for us,” said Ritte.

“It’s a statement that we have cultural significance there, that they cannot disregard what the people have been telling them,” Buchanan said. “We represent people who do not want any military presence on Molokai.”

Brushfire burns five acres near Kaluakoi golf course

A brushfire yesterday next to the old Kaluakoi golf course involved about five acres of land. No structures were threatened or injuries reported.

The Kaluakoi Golf Course as seen from the air before it was closed and the brush allowed to become overgrown. A five-acre brushfire in this area yesterday was extinguished without damage to any structures.

Maui County Fire Department Engines numbers 9, 4, 12 and Tanker 4 responded to an alarm for an ongoing brushfire at 2:10 p.m. Sunday, reported Maui Fire Department Chief Lee Mainga. Two public works tankers were also on the scene to assist.

By 3:40 p.m. the fire was under control. Crews stayed on the scene and continued with mop up operations until 6:10 p.m. when it was considered extinguished.

The cause of the fire is as yet undetermined. No monetary losses were reported.

Since the golf course was shut down by Molokai Ranch in April of 2008, the grounds have been allowed to become overgrown with weeds and grass. Shortly after closing, Molokai Ranch did cut down many of the coconut palm tree surrounding the greens.