Letters for Sunday, September 7, 2008

• First at the scene

• Mahalo for great surf event

• Landfill proposal a win-win

First at the scene

I was the first to arrive at the scene of the horrific accident on Kuhio Highway on Aug. 25. I work at the Hilton, and I was pulling out onto the highway that afternoon when I saw a white sedan driving well over 80 mph swerving into the oncoming lane of traffic. I reached for my purse and was searching for my cell phone to call the authorities, and I decided to pull out and follow the driver and get his license plate number.

I was too late. I could smell the accident before I saw it. I must have been a mere few seconds behind, before the erratic driver hit the car in the oncoming lane of traffic. I don’t remember even thinking, but I jumped out of my car and walked up to the cars praying for signs of life, and yelling to the passenger in the driver’s side window, but I knew he was gone.

I recognized the erratic drivers car, and I could barely see him through the wreckage of the car. I saw a baby in the back of the other car and that was when I lost it, the doors were locked and the car was smoking and beginning to set fire and all I could do was yell at everyone who was passing by. It was then that, by the grace of god, a woman came running to the scene yelling, “I am a nurse,” and with her a few strong men and immediately she took charge.

The men got the mother out of the car and lay her on the ground and the baby got out as well. Thank God someone had a fire extinguisher and the fire was sustained. I was a wreck and all I could do was lay with the mother and pray and tell her to hold on until help arrived.

I cannot shake the images out of my head, and I cannot even imagine the loss that the families are feeling. What I want the families to know is that there were many angels there who happen to be residents of Kaua‘i. The nurse, the men, the woman directing the traffic, everyone pulled together to do all that they could for the mother and child.

I cannot explain how helpless I felt at that moment, and how helpless I continue to feel. I was wondering if you could help me, I would like to arrange a donation for the Sunada family. I don’ t have a lot of money, but I will start with a $100 donation. I know that it will never bring back Colin or undue the suffering to Marry and her daughter, but I hope that it will help. I saw the erratic driver, and I don’ t believe that they ever had a chance. He was out of control. For more information about making a donation, e-mail me at leahklani@gmail.com

Leah Kathryne Mason


Mahalo for great surf event

On the weekend of Aug. 16 and 17, the Kaua‘i Surfing Association held its 10th annual Ho‘onua O Ke Kai at two well known surfing breaks, PK’s and Shipwreck’s.

This ongoing event is held in order to help our top amateur surfers with travel expenses to O‘ahu for the Hawai‘i State Surfing Championships.

A big mahalo to Quiksilver’s Glen and Meredith Moncata, and Tom and Gayle Holbrook, it is your continued belief in the youth of our island, your hands-on support and involvement and of course your generous donations that help make this one of the biggest events of the year for the youth of Kaua‘i. The Kaua‘i YMCA, Tom Tannery, once again thanks for making sure that we meet all of our insurance requirements, without the YMCA this event would never get off the ground. We would also like to thank Joseph Borden and his staff at the Department of Land and Natural Resources and John Martin, Bernard Carvalho Jr. and staff at the county of Kaua‘i Parks and Recreation Department for their time and assistance in helping us make sure that all permits for both sites were in place. It was a pleasure working with you and we look forward to next year’s event.

This year’s event took place at four different sites: The Beach House lawn, The Lawa‘i Beach Resort lot and facilities, The Grand Hyatt’s access to Shipwreck’s beach, and the Royal Order of Kamehameha’s permission to use Prince Kuhio Park for our awards banquet. Your support of this event is immeasurable, much mahalos.

And the mahalos continue.

Every year we are blessed to have so many local businesses involved in the promotion of this event. We want to let you know how much we appreciate your continued support in light of our slowed economy. Nukumoi Surf Shop, Brennecke’s (awesome job, Chef Boucher), The Beach House Restaurant, Progressive Expressions, The Poipu Beach Club, Joe’s on the Green, Keoki’s, Kaua‘i Springs Water, Holo Holo Charters, Deja Vu, Duke’s Canoe Club, Hanalei Surf/Back Door, Quik Kai Kane Hanalei, Taylor-Mayo Designs, Copy Cats, Dox-a-print, Chris Tennburg our webmaster and Water Malisha to name a few. Anyone else directly or indirectly involved you know we appreciate you.

As we reflect over this event, it is amazing just how many in our community are involved in the making this a success year after year. To the Ho‘ai Bay Hui and PK posse, seeing you at 5 a.m. setting up for the day’s events and being there to break down each evening, you are our heroes. Knowing that the Kaua‘i County lifeguards and Kalani Vierra and his water patrol are onsite and in the water providing water safety is an enormous relief to competitors and families alike.

To all the judges, tally people, security, announcers, Gary Kewley of Surf News Network, thank you, thank you, thank you.

To all of you competitors and families, we save the final and biggest mahalo of all. Seeing all of you there enjoying a weekend of fun in the sun and the surf is the biggest reward of all.

Congratulations to all of our winners, and a special congratulation to this year’s overall winner of the Open Men’s Division, Daniel Hurtado.

See you in the water.

Miguel Graham and Rueben Balmores, Kaua‘i Surfing Association


Landfill proposal a win-win

How much longer are we going to grapple with Kaua‘i’s solid waste demands? No matter what, it will be costly and the price will continue to escalate.

It is time to “think outside the box.” It is time to seriously consider what Steve Hall from Arizona has proposed as referred to in Walter Lewis’s column (“Candidates, prioritize landfill issue,” Forum, Sept. 6). I, for one, personally endorse the merit of Mr. Hall’s proposal, which has merited the interest and attention of our community organization E Ola Mau Na Leo O Kekaha.

Not only could there be “the light at the end of the tunnel,” but also the spark and glow of economic revitalization that comes with investment dollars that can create additional jobs. More so, the alternative energy pellets and the construction materials that can be converted from what is deterred from the landfill (mainly plastics and organic waste) can help our community in it’s efforts to replace the swimming pool for residents and visitors to enjoy.

How much more of a “win-win” situation can be attained for the entire island?

Jose Bulatao Jr.



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