It was a few weeks ago that Alden Alayvilla, TGI reporter, said he needed to talk with me. He had good news, and he had bad news.
I quickly said, give me the good news first. I like good news.
The good news was, Alden had been hired by the county as a public information officer. Yes, a good career step, one that I certainly don’t begrudge anyone. Better pay, better hours and, as we all know, county employees get lots and lots of paid days off — more than the rest of us in the private sector. A job with a county is a good gig, with good pay and benefits and job security as the county rarely reduces its workforce. Many who work there are friends and family of administrators and other county leaders, so it’s really like a big ohana with camaraderie among its staff.
The bad news, of course, was that Alden was resigning as a TGI reporter. Tuesday was his final day here. That is, indeed, bad news, as I have come to rely on him. Alden has been one of the best reporters I’ve worked with since I arrived here more than four years ago. I recall reading one of his articles he wrote as freelancer not long after I started here. It was about Tahiti Nui in Hanalei. I took two things from that article: One, this guy could write well and we needed to hire him. Two, I needed to visit this place called Tahiti Nui.
I managed to pull off both.
We stayed in touch with Alden and hired him when he graduated from the University of Hawaii last year, and Tahiti Nui became my favorite hangout on the island.
What makes Alden stand out?
Alden is a Waimea High School graduate. He grew up on the island. He knows it and loves it. He understands the culture and the traditions. He has a respect for the land and for the people. In his time here as a full-time reporter, he influenced this paper more than he might realize. I relied on his opinion often for news coverage and the best angle to approach a story. His talents were many. As a writer, a videographer, a photographer, our go-to guy when it came to social media. He became a newsroom leader.
He is one of those people everyone likes because he is kind, respectful, humble and courteous, while also determined, smart and steadfast in what he believes to be true and right. And if you didn’t know it, he’s an excellent golfer, but better yet, has taken up running.
While we’re disappointed to lose Alden, as I told Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. the other night, I certainly understand why he wants him on his team.
You get what you give in this world, so we know Alden is bound for good things and will continue to follow his career.
That said, we are looking for a reporter to replace him. While we would love another good writer and photographer, the most important qualities are someone who wants to cover the people and places here, tell their stories, and highlight what makes Kauai so special. If you want to know more, give us a call.
Meantime, if you see Alden, wish him well. He will do the same for you.
Bill Buley is editor-in-chief of The Garden Island.