The new year is a good time to make resolutions and plan for positive change, both personally and as a community. By addressing important issues that need attention, the island of Kauai can benefit from planning its own resolutions for 2018.
Mason Chock, planning chairman for the Kauai County Council, said, “I would like for everyone who calls Kauai home or visits our island to remember their kuleana for the preservation of our environmental and cultural resources by living healthy, sustainably and with aloha.”
Koloa resident Terry Waters’ resolution for 2018, to be a kinder and more peaceful person, echoed that sentiment. She says Kauai is the best place she’s ever lived but can see there is much room for improvements.
“We need less traffic and more aloha. There’s a lot of aloha here, but we could always expand on it.”
Most residents agreed that repairing roads with money from federal funding and new general excise taxes could alleviate traffic congestion. However, developing adequate infrastructure to accommodate even more vehicles continues to be a challenging issue to resolve.
Lawai’s Elliot Lucas of Kauai Made Films didn’t have any resolutions for the new year yet but would like to work out and go surfing more. For Kauai in 2018, he would like to see “less people sitting in traffic and more people sitting at the beach.”
Karen Saronitman of Hanamaulu also hopes to live a healthier life by improving her educational goals and working to be a better person for her family. For the Kauai ohana, she hopes to see truly affordable housing and less homelessness, especially after hearing about a houseless person who passed away recently.
“I would like to see that improve and really be affordable housing, not like that stuff that’s coming up now they say is affordable but isn’t really,” Saronitman said. “Real affordable housing needs to be made available, so people can move forward and take ownership of what they want, not just renting.”
Some believe affordable housing can be achieved through legislation creating incentives for developers. More realistic mortgage costs may alleviate financial stress on the middle classes, but homelessness remains a difficult issue for various individuals, some suffering from drug abuse and lack of education.
Teacher Marci Whitman hopes all Kauai’s keiki can receive the necessary guidance and education in 2018 to create a positive future for the island. The Puhi resident’s resolution is to have more fun with more dancing and drumming. She also hopes to start a Montessori school here in the near future.
“I wanna see more support in the early childhood education field and more quality childhood development centers,” she said.
Education remains a top priority for most residents concerned about developing a community with a positive future.
Kapaa resident Kailee Arakaki’s new year resolution is to get good grades while studying secondary education at Manhattan College in New York.
Her resolution for Kauai in 2018 was simple: “I’d just like to see everyone come together as a community, because I know that they just so very tight-knit and show the aloha spirit a lot, and I really love that.”
“Kauai is a unique place where people genuinely have as much aloha as anybody else,” said Kaeo Bradford of the Kauai Workforce Development Board. “Aloha begins with me. Because we work with the community, it’s very important. We always work with the public, so we have to be genuinely concerned about what’s happening in our community.”
With all the island’s challenges, including traffic, housing and education, many still believe the only way to create a positive future is by sharing kindness and empathy in our everyday activities.
For Larry Littleton of Lihue, a Hawaii State Judiciary certified court interpreter of sign language, his new year’s resolution is just to “get through the year.”
“I would like to see more renewable energy. I would like to see less traffic,” he said. “I would really like to see more cohesiveness among all of us.”
Kauai’s future starts with each individual of the community, and personal resolutions can lead to overall improvement of the entire island.
Abby Miyasato of Lihue summed it up with her outlook on the upcoming new year: “My new year’s resolutions are to be more active, stay happier and more positive, and be a lot more generous to people.”