Bomb scare fails to mar mayor’s tribute dinner

Mayor Maryanne Kusaka’s tribute dinner last Sunday got sidetracked for about half an hour when police evacuated the soiree for a bomb threat.

The dinner, celebrating the Kusaka administration’s Ambassadors of Aloha program at the Grand Ballroom of the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club, became a garden party when all 550 guests were moved outside from about 7 -7:30 p.m.

“Nobody was really frightened, and everybody had a nice time out in the garden area,” remembered Wallace Rezentes, Sr., Kusaka’s administrative assistant.

Master of ceremonies Ron Wiley “set the tone” to guests after being given the message from plain-clothes security officers, Rezentes said.

Mayor Kusaka was even overheard joking about the “Kaua’i-style” evacuation after party-goers casually exited the ballroom, drinks in hand and conversation flowing.

At 6:41 p.m. Kaua’i Police Department received an anonymous call from a woman who said she overheard people talking about putting a bomb at the event. The call was made from a pay telephone at Ha’ena Beach Park.

Detectives were sent to follow up in Ha’ena and continue to investigate the incident.

“Everybody was talking about how amazing it was that everyone was calm,” Rezentes added.

The skies swelled gray with rain clouds, but not a drop of rain fell while the guests and mayor were forced to wait for hotel guards and KPD officers to do a security sweep.

Once it was determined there was no danger, the party continued as though uninterrupted, raising more than $25,000 through ticket sales and donations.

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