Letters for Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017

• Kauai was gracious, helpful • Swimmers behaved badly • Councilmember on Waioli board

Kauai was gracious, helpful

Recently, my husband became ill while our cruise ship was in the port of Nawiliwili. The doctors felt it was not feasible for him to return to the ship, which was to sail for Honolulu on Friday afternoon.

We want to thank the people of Lihue, all of the hospital staff who helped us, the staff at the Kauai Palms Hotel and the Kauai taxi drivers, all of whom were most gracious and helpful.

Thanks to James, who prayed for us as I walked with him to Walmart.

Kauai is the most like the old Hawaii that we miss.

Thank you for your Hawaiian hospitality and kindness.

Much aloha,

James and Nanci Billings, Honolulu

Swimmers behaved badly

The action of the Kauai High School boys swim team at the KIF swim championship on Jan. 30 was an act of unsportsmanlike conduct I have never seen in my 30-plus years of coaching age-group, high-school and college-level athletes. Their conduct was an arrogant act of trying to make fun of the Kapaa High School boys swim team by swimming butterfly in a freestyle event to show their superiority.

Swimmers, coaches, athletic directors and principals need to be aware of the swimming future of high-school swimming on Kauai. Getting students to go out for a sport that has meager spectator base where parents of swimmers are officials, timers and spectators is not very popular among students.

The practices are difficult and under adverse weather conditions in the late afternoon swimming in water temperature averaging in the 60-degree range, and the rewards are meager.

Waimea High School does not field a boys swim team for those reasons. At a time where swimming needs to be promoted, acts like that of the Kauai High School boys swim team only discourages others from participating.

If Kapaa does not field a boys swim team in the future, there is great chance that KIF boys swimming will be eliminated as a sport and boy swimmers will not be able to participate in state championships.

Kapaa coaches Kara and Jeremy have over many years been doing a tremendous job in getting students to go out for swimming and fielding competitive teams. The majority of their swimmers have no swimming experience and had to be taught how to swim competitively. They also take in special-needs students on their team. Two of the swimmers on the Kapaa relay team that was involved could barely swim across the pool when they first joined the team. Thank heaven, they won.

A majority of the Kapaa swimmers do not have the financial capability of joining a year-round program to enhance their swimming skills. It is a sport that demands year-long competition to reach potential.

KIF athletes sign a contract of behavior and athletes, parents and school administrators need to review and inform all those involved.

I have lost respect for the Kauai High School swim coaches who allowed such behavior to occur and to the athletic director and principal who showed no courage in not suspending those involved.

All must be aware that high school athletics is a privilege and not a right.

James Kitamura, Retired athletic director, Kapaa

Councilmember on Waioli board

I see from the website of Waioli Corporation, that Councilmember Derek Kawakami has recently become a member of their Board of Trustees. This is a major conflict of interest due to Kauai County budgeting $70,000 of taxpayer money to build a fence that is intended to protect Waioli’s 541 acres at Lepeuli, and their neighbor Patricia Hanwright’s land. It will also block a state owned historic ala loa trail there.

Councilmember Kawakami needs to choose whether he wants to serve the public interest as a councilmember, or serve Waioli Corporation’s private anti-access interests.

Richard Spacer, Kilauea

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