Island History

The Cow-Eye Sentinel

On June 30, 1942, Charlie Fern, the editor of The Garden Island newspaper, began publishing a four-page insert in the weekly Tuesday edition of the paper titled “The Soldier’s Page of The Garden Island” for military personnel stationed on Kaua‘i.

That insert, the first edition of the popular The Cow-Eye Sentinel, would, by the early fall of 1942, become a separate weekly paper published on Thursdays with a circulation that exceeded The Garden Island and was distributed across the United States.

Army Pvt. Duncan R. Campbell, later promoted to tech sergeant, was the editor of The Cow-Eye.  Campbell also was heard on Fern’s KTOH radio station every Wednesday at 7 p.m. and often on the 6 p.m. daily news broadcast.

The Cow-Eye also sponsored a soldiers’ golf tournament and a cartoon contest.

But its biggest and best promotion was the annual Lei Day Queen contest that attracted the interest of local island residents and military personnel alike.

In 1943, the competition was hot, with five island girls vying for the Lei Day crown: Nora Leandro, Catherine Carrillo, Lani Kim, Frances Figueroa and Alberta Carroll.

Miss Leandro won and received her royal crown from Tech. Sgt. Campbell at the coronation festivities held before hundreds of civilians and servicemen at the Isenberg USO center in Lihue on Sunday, May 2, 1943.

The princesses were: Princess Mokihana (Kaua‘i), Miss Carroll; Princess Roselani (Maui), Miss Figueroa; Princess Ilima (O‘ahu), Miss Kim; Princess Lehua (Hawai‘i), Miss Carrillo.

Following the coronation, a holoku parade was held. Judged most outstanding was Miss Marian Ellis. In the modern division, first place went to Lani Kim, and second and third places were won by Frances Figueroa and Alice Sakoda respectively. Mrs. Leila Malina was awarded a prize for the most beautiful old-fashioned holoku.

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