News You Don't Hear


Dec. 13, 2017

After 4 hearings this year and more than 4 hours of discussions and testimonies today, Maui County Council finally voted 5 to 4 to not grant a zone change residential zone to commercial which prevented the land owner to build a Wellness Center on the wetlands. 'Aha Moku Councils from Kula Makai, Wailuku and Lahaina testified to not support the zone change for reasons such as messy politics, mishandled policies and planning, preserve the resources and habitat for native plants and birds.

Other community groups and residents of South Maui came to say no to the zone change as well. Mahalo to Charlene Schulenberg for her persistance to get to the bottom of the pot. Mahalo to  Mike Moran, Daniel Kanahele, Linda, Mags, Ekolu Kalama, Randy Wagner. Mahalo to Ke'eaumoku Kapu of 'Aha Moku O Maui, Inc., Kaniloa Kamaunu and Foster Ampong of Wailuku Moku.  Mahalo to Cody Nemet and Robert Aldrich of Kula Makai Moku for their dedication in searching information that would support us to oppose the zone change.  For now its over. But we see!

Written by Vernon Kalanikau


Dec. 10, 2017

Written by Vernon Kalanikau

The applicant Sujata Bhatia, along with her team Munikeyo Harada, is relentless to find and create statements though State, County and Federal agencies that could possibly help their case to change the property zone R-3 Residential to B-2 Community Business.

This Weds. 13th @ 130pm County Chambers 8th Floor, testimonies are open again to oppose or support the zone change.  I say heck NO!  This is one of the last habitat for the Hawaiian Stilh in South Maui. Also gathering of la'au still can continue here. Malama our resources.  If this past in favor of support, the behind Long's Drug will be next for development.

So come to support Weds. if you can, especially if you have generational knowledge of this area and any mana'o will be appreciated.  MAHALO


Dec. 6, 2017

Written by Vernon Kalanikau

Get involved people!  When I first saw this map last night it blew me away. 12 Moku's on Maui is reduced to 6 Moku's. How the heck that happens?  That's why we gotta go find out.  How us Moku Councils can restore and stabilize our ahupua'a life style. At least try preserve the best we can for culture and resources.  I don't know about you guys but I like keep 12 Moku's and not allow Commissions and Settlers minus 6 Moku's off Moku O Maui. Protect Da Moku's


Dec 4, 2017

From: Robert Aldrich, Calif. Dept Fish & Wildlife (retired.)​

“Hawaii’s five major wind farms are killing endangered Hawaiian hoary bats at a much faster pace than expected. The wind farms have killed 146 Hawaiian hoary bats out of the 187 they are allowed. They’ve killed that many in 6.4 years while they were expected not to reach the total for 20 years or more.” The wind farms have also killed at least 50 nene – the endangered Hawaiian goose and state bird – and 26 petrels, an endangered seabird.”

A new study that looked at hoary bat mortality at wind energy facilities during 2014 revealed that populations of the species may plunge by a staggering 90 percent in the next 50 years if no action is taken. (Batcon.org)

A March 26, 2013 Wildlife Society bulletin article included a study that estimated 888,000 bats and 573,000 bird fatalities (including 83,000 raptor fatalities) were killed by wind turbines in North America.

According to a 2015 report from the Daily Caller, America’s wind turbines in the last five years killed more than three times as many birds killed in the BP oil spill.

A 10/10/16 study by the University of California estimated that the hoary bat population could be reduced by 90% and increase the risk of extinction due to wind turbines.

I am requesting BLNR/DLNR deny the amended HCP due to an inaccurate and unfair regulatory process, erroneous and misleading information in the planning process, because of a rushed review and approval process.

This is part of a 7-page comment Mr. Aldrich has submitted for review by DLNR/BLNR 

MAHALO Robert for your time and effort.


Nov. 27, 2017

Written by Cody Nemet

I went to a meeting tonight regarding a new HCP(Habitat Conservation Plan) amendment to keep the turbines moving above Ma’alaea after affects to the “Permitted Take”(turbine caused deaths) of our indigenous and endangered Ope’ape’a(hawaiian bat) had gone over the limit set forth by the previous HCP.

To present the presentation of the new proposed HCP was a DLNR rep, a biologist who was the first to ever document the Ope’ape’a in the 80’s and the owner/developer of the turbines. Their plan concluded in providing funding and research for every take involved. They offered to maybe slow down turbines and they also offered a plan to remove natural habitat vegetation in an attempt to discourage Nēnē and Ope’ape’a from even coming to these areas.

A few of us Vernon Kalanikau Robert Aldrich and Albert Perez shared our concerns with the amendment.

For one, the aspect that, even though the biologist seemed somewhat knowledgeable in the bat, they really had no real numbers on population, and reproduction when it comes to them, as he says they live as individuals and not in flocks, and that they live in trees, and not in caves, and when asked if they played a valuable aspect of the eco system of Maui, he said “absolutely. So why if he seems to care about the bat is he speaking on behalf of the amendment? Well it seems that maybe funding for research for him to keep his position has a role to play in it, but that is yet to be determined. I always think, if you leave em be, they will flourish on their own, why we always gotta push the fast forward button and be all up in their shit, lol.

For two, it was also brought up that slowing down the turbines will only allow for more Ope’ape’a and Nēnē to seek opportunity to fly in and get hurt, and that it would be ignorant to think that it will have the affect they desired, since they don’t even have much info on the bats to go on.

For three, it was also brought up that removing their natural habitat is another form of “take” and it was compared to the removing of wetlands from the birds to prevent them from nesting and feeding....

The term “Take” is a term of genocide to the very culture of Hawai’i. What kind of example are we setting for the future generations, when we use terms like “Take” instead of Lokahi? Why are we moving so fast, that we cannot take the time to step back, slow down and create Lokahi? The true foundation of the issue is that we need to know our Hawai’i. We live on an island which means everything connects, everything has a purpose. We need to understand before we take part and that is common sense. I am against this Amendment, not because i am against a lot of things developing and continuing, but i am against it because it is not the direction we need for the future of Hawaii. We have to speak for those which have no voice who are true natives to the land. With other possibilities like solar energy which is proving to be much safer and effective, the real question is, are wind turbines becoming redundant or obsolete?


Nov. 22, 2017

Written by Vernon Kalanikau

Although the homeless trash, garbage and drug paraphernalia items like needles, etc. has been mostly removed, there is a concern of how it was removed, who was contracted to remove trash, who is involved to coordinate the removal, only a Board of Health permit was issued for rodent control (no other permits), how much of bio-hazard materials was left in the soil, better yet, wetlands. 'Aha Moku O Kula Makai Council members Vernon Kalanikau and Robert Aldrich spoke with a women who claims the attorney for the property hired her firm to cleanup and haul away trash. She hired Brown Contracting or Brown Construction (she can't remember which name), she claims the County inspector walked the property earlier that day and a week ago. When asked who was the  inspector? She don't know.  We asked to walk the property because we are very concerned about the bio-hazard materials to the land. Also the grubbing, so we assume, we wanted to see for ourselves. Access was denied.  Please contact the attorney for permission.  There's a few large mounds of trash and brush mix from what we saw, that will be spread out flat on the land because the cost for removal has escalated. This is not PONO and more to this story for sure as we continue to ask the right questions.


Nov.15, 2017

Written by Vernon Kalanikau

After 10 years of planning for the much need additional support power supply for South Maui and Makena, MECO will continue ground work early next year. The work was halted after MECO received calls of concerns like, the black cloth is going up again, is the Mega Mall doing something again, possible dynamite was used on ground work, cultural sites nearby a concern and more questions raised. Mahina Martin - Community Relations for MECO asked community groups who had concerns if we could all meet to discuss the project itself, time frame and what is involved to do the work.  The Hewahewa Ohana was also invited at the table because they have lineal rights to this property.

The main concerns that were brought up is location, the size of the substation, the left over fill being stored on the property, surface runoff and flooding, disturbing nearby cultural sites, grubbing, dynamite use. Arch. monitor is on site. Communication to all parties is priority through the entire project.

'Aha Moku O Kula Makai Council wanted to make sure the lineal descendants to the property have a say at the table. The Council has deferred to the Hewahewa and Liu Ohana and support their decision to this project. The Council is aware of the cultural significance to this area and asked for continuous communication with Kula Makai Council.  Wailuku Moku Council Foster Ampong was present and asked for ACMP which was provided.

All parties felt good about the talk story.  Now MECO can move forward.


Nov. 14,15  2017

Written by Vernon Kalanikau

The property in question is next to Dr. Keller's Vet Clinic off South Kihei Road. Adjacent property owner is requesting from the County a zone change from R-3 Residential to B-2 Community Business. If granted, the owner plans to build a Wellness Clinic possibly offering diverse practices from different cultures in healing/holistic services.

There was much opposition from the community and organizations to prevent this zone change to be approved for reason of cultural gathering rights and practices, native plants and species, flooding to nearby residents, water quality affects to the wetlands and more comments from the public that did not support this project.

After 2 days of testimonies , and the community is saying NO, the County Council could not agree to vote on this Bill until a later date.   We will keep the community inform when it comes up again and again.

The 'Aha Moku O Kula Makai Council stands by its decsion to oppose this Bill for zone change and "NO" to building a Wellness Clinic on wetlands.


Nov. 1, 2017

Explained by Cody Nemet

We went to the home of Charlene who lives next to La'ie river. It came to our attention that there was some kind of chemical imbalance happening in the river after the last big storm that brought a great amount of overflow from Mauka down into the river. The result was a mass amount of fish deaths, 500lbs. of mullet and talapia in 5 days. She had first moved into the area in 2011 and from then till now only experience this phenomenon happening one time prior. This other phenomenon which happened 2 years ago in November did not involve a big rain, instead she claims it to be from some sort of cabbage lilly pad plant that killed 40 birds, mostly ducks, along a mass amount of fish from oxygen deprivation. She was told this by Uncle Skippy Hau and Kimokeo that this plant was sucking up the oxygen out of the water and poisoning the invertibrates through lack of oxygen, in turn poisoning the birds feeding off the invertibrates and the same affect to the fish. She has claimed that they get big rains in the past but had never seen this kind of behavior before. She has seen the river in different colors from red, dark green but never black.

She claims that the Pacific Whale Foundation used to do water testing on a regular basis for a year and a lady name Robin would come and take samples. She claims that Robin was not getting the results she wanted from the lab and would only get results for certain chemicals like ekoli. No testing has been done since. If any she said one or two more times by DLNR in the last 7 years with no follow up.

She claims this to be the last catch basin that collects majority of the flow from Mauka and that before every big rain, the County usually comes and digs a little to help the water push through to the ocean allowing flow to run through but this last rain the County never came and so the water never had chance to break through.

She installed several aerators inside the pond to help provide oxygen. She claims mangroves has been there for over 100 years with a thriving ecosystem attached to it. This is the only mangrove habitat I've seen in this Moku. During the last tsunami in Japan, a major flow came into the pond and knocked down some of their wall foundations. She said it was declared an emergency situation so she along with Kimokeo, they got a huge crane to come in and aggressively push/clear much of the growth back to make way for what we see today which is clear pathway of water. After this issue with the birds, she claims studies were done saying that the culprit was due to cabbage/like lilly. Her and friends from a malama group came in to clear back the grass and cabbage/lilly and hauled it away.

There is 6-8 acres of wetland with an open parcel on the opposite side of the river that got sold to a lady from Connecticut. No house yet, but designs were sold to her along with the property from realtor. No archeological sites to her knowledge has been discovered besides the massive Kuapa style fishpond fronting this property. Her property was built in 2000 with no archeological study that she knows of. The other property hasn't been built yet so we need to inquire that one be done for sure. That owner has run into issues already being that her property does not meet FEMA standards regarding her location so close to the ocean and wetlands, so she is stuck at the moment to build.

She has seen papio, aku, moi golden talapia, barracuda, and maybe awa swimming in the pond.

Jacob brought up the fact that there is an existing pump structure dilled with sand that exists in the pond that drains to the ocean, and it is obvious from Makai that it stretches out into the sea and was designed long ago for manageable drainage. She claimes it does not work because its clogged and it was constructed in the 50's. This was an interesting exchange as in what Jacob said would be her easier bet to use an exsisting device that was put there for a reason. She was optimistic.

She claims Rae Chandler was the head of the community work day group but no longer is. Community work group cut back the trees and brush, mulched it and threw it back near the river against Rae's wishes. This might be a red flag. She also may know of archeological studies done to this area. Charlene claims to have seen this river at its peak about 2 years ago before the phenomenon attracting all sorts of life and even nene goose. 10 or more. And DLNR came to document the nene.


Oct. 23, 2017

Shared by Vernon Kalanikau


To meet with Allen Yap and to find out his position in relationship to Kulanihakoi River, to know more of the owner he represents and intentions to the river (property), what is happening currently and future to this property.


- The owner due diligence of not doing the homework before purchasing the property has become a reality of bad investment and possible liability concerns when Kulanihakoi River is raging from rain water coming from mauka and flooding to residents on South Kihei Road area. Flood waters causing damage to property owners.

- Owner feeling pressure from the County to cleanup the river from trees and brush. No threat of fines imposed yet.

- Owner doesn't want to invest more to the property to maintain.

- Allen mentioned attempts to the County possibly a land swap or credit to other parcels. Also the idea the County Parks and Recreation would be interested to the property. Parks said no.

- Those at the table entertained the idea of a land trust firm a possible idea to be a partner in this.

- May be donate the property to preservation and receive tax credits.

- Owner is willing to get out of this rut the quickest way and at the least recover what he has invested.

- 'Aha Moku O Kula Makai Council is how can the council and community can work together to come up with solutions to malama, maintain, preserve a resource and continue cultural practices on the property.

- Kula Makai Council got permission from Allen Yap that cultural practices are welcome and an “Ahu” can be erected and other form of practices can occur. Allen just wants to be informed on such activities.

Meeting was done with everyone doing more investigating on their own finding solutions. Very happy and productive meeting. Mahalo to everyone for their contribution to this issue in Kaono'ulu ahupua'a.

Follow up meeting will be planned if it is necessary.


P.O. Box 133, Kihei, Hawai'i, 96753

Created ©2017 by Vernon Kalanikau