Many deserving of cheers, congrats

Yep, it’s once again time to send out congratulations to some folks for achievements, outstanding efforts or a heart to help. Let’s start with:

– Padraic Gallagher named Kauai County director of the American Red Cross. He’s a great choice for many reasons. He is dedicated, driven, personable and filled with desire to assist folks who need assistance in tough times, someone who can unite a team of volunteers. He’s not one of those who leads by words, but by actions. He comes across as a strong leader for a nonprofit that can use some strong leadership as it faces financial challenges nationwide. Gallagher, in case he sounds familiar, has been working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an interpretative ranger at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. He was friendly, knowledgeable and an excellent representative for his employer. He’ll do the same for the American Red Cross.

– The Kauai County Council for turning down salary cap hikes that would have increased the maximum salary limit for 22 department heads. It’s essential the county control spending and while these increases only totaled about $150,000, saying no is a sign this council is taking a hard line on spending at all levels. This council is taking the necessary steps so tax increases are not necessary. The council didn’t buy into the argument that raises are necessary to keep top talent. In one breath, we are told government workers are public servants, sacrificing for their community and we should appreciate them, which we do. In the next, we are told they need more money or they might go into the private sector. The county already provides generous pay and benefits for folks who live in paradise. In a time when many on Kauai are getting by on little, when taxes went up, raises were not appropriate.

– The film “Jurassic World” is sure to be a box-office hit, and at least some of the credit must go to the island of Kauai, where some of the movie was filmed, to the many extras on Kauai who got parts, and to the leadership of Kauai Film Commissioner Art Umezu. He is spot on when he says the movie industry is a boost to our economy. And he is absolutely right when he says Kauai offers some of the most incredible landscapes you’ll ever see. And kudos, too, to Sue Kanoho, director of the Kauai Visitors Bureau, for her tireless efforts and contagious enthusiasm at promoting Kauai, which leads to more visitors ( good for the economy) and movies like Jurassic World.

– Hanapepe United Church of Christ is celebrating 125 years. Wow. Considering that a heckuva lot of churches open and close every year, considering that many congregations rise and fall in accordance with how they like their pastors, considering that many churches struggle to survive, what Hapapepe United Church of Christ has done in marking more than a century would be a miracle by many books.

– Finally, a shout out to Kohola Leo, whose mission is to be a voice for the whales, and its welcoming of the whales ceremony on Sunday. Nothing fancy there. Music, poems, dance, a few testimonies. Might be considered a little out there by some. But what really made this event was the heart. These were people who have strong feelings for whales, who are delighted to see them in the waters around Kauai and who find great joy in them. They have no motivates other than to cherish and protect these giants of the ocean. When some whales spouted and showed themselves, you could feel the excitement within the crowd of about 100. On such a spectacular, sunny evening, with calm waters, it was a magical evening.

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