LAHAINA - Recapping recent events, the Independence Day fireworks were a big success. Said one observer, "Why don't merchants contribute more for a bigger fireworks display when they reap huge profits from the big crowds?"
By actual count, one boat company offering fireworks excursions boarded 100 guests, and they ran more than one boat. Not to take away from contributors, but we could do better.
Rotary's "Savor the Sunset" benefit tallied about $15,000 for the facelift of the library. In the saddest of news, Carol Coe - a regular at Leilani's, whose treasure chest at "Savor" helped raise $2,000 - passed away just two weeks after the event. Left out of the Lahaina News ad thanking contributors were Foodland Farms (a must visit if you haven't been there), Sweet Paradise Chocalatier, and Leilani's on the Beach with a gift certificate.
FRONT STREETING: The $15 hamburger has arrived at a local restaurant. It includes ketchup and mustard.
Backed by the Willie K band at the Hard Rock Cafe, Juliette K (Kahaiali'i) and Annette Ronen, daughter of master musician Avi Ronen, sang their ABCs and "Itsy Bitsy Spider." Deja vu: this columnist, as a house husband, once reluctantly sang the song in a swimming pool surrounded by women as our kids got lessons.
TIME TO VOTE: This is a watershed year for our representation in Congress, as we elect a brand new senator and House member. Tulsi Gabbard, Iraq War veteran and Honolulu councilwoman, is vying with Mufi Hannemann, former Honolulu mayor defeated by Neil Abercrombie in the 2010 primary race for governor. Also in the fight are Esther Kia'aina, a Native Hawaiian who served as an aide to Sen. Akaka for nine years, and the only Neighbor Island candidate, Bob Marx, a former Oregon legislator who touts his negotiating skills as a lawyer.
For the Senate, Mazie Hirono, current third-term congresswoman who stresses the need "to create jobs," goes up against former Congressman Ed Case, who says he wants to "fix Washington." Their likely opponent, former Gov. Linda Lingle, appears to want to lower taxes.
SAMMY CONTACTED: Stopped by the abode of Lahaina's favorite "old-timer," Sammy Kadotani, who opened up a bit to talk short story. The son of Pioneer Mill workers, Sammy remembers the days when the area where Lahaina Shores now sits included a large pond teeming with fish. His playmate Irmgard Farden, legendary writer of the song "Puamana," used to play in a swamp filled with dragonflies. Great fun: capturing yellow-tailed females and attaching them to a string (how this was done, unspecified), Sammy said. The strung up ladies attracted males - if you will pardon the expression - like flies. Both Sammy and wife Hatsumi, longtime Lahaina librarian, are on the mend after several medical challenges.
BEACH BEAT: Good government inaction at Kaanapali Beach. Rep. Angus McKelvey pushed for the addition of safety buoys for swimmers along the shoreline after a traffic boating accident. The head of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Bill Aila Jr., personally came over from Oahu to install the buoys, aided by Kahana Canoe Club and others. When a boat cut a rope buoy the first day out, Aila returned to install steel cables as a permanent fix.
MOTORISTS 'RECHOICE': Costco opened its new service station mid-July with regular gas a welcome $3.99 a gallon. Interesting that prices from the other guys have been falling consistently since the Costco pumps started going up.