Fire chief hiring process handled poorly

Kauai County has begun the second year of a search for a new fire chief—to replace Chief Robert Westerman, whose retirement became effective in January. At its April 1, meeting, the Fire Commission confirmed that it “… is at step one of its hiring process.”

Haena State Park reopens to little fanfare

It may have been the ultimate soft opening. At least that’s what Vivien Davenport, of Lihue — who said she was the first person at Ke‘e Beach at 4:45 a.m. Monday — had to say about the grand relaunch of Kuhio Highway and Haena State Park, which reopened after a lingering shutdown of more than a year.

A movable restroom

When Black Pot Beach Park reopens to the public in June, it will not yet have a new, state-of-the art restroom unlike any ever seen before on Kauai.

Wary of highway reopening

Kuhio Highway west of Hanalei — closed and accessible only to residents since last year’s disastrous storms — is tentatively set to reopen on or about May 1, but continuing restrictions will make actually using the highway challenging for both residents and visitors.

‘Generations of injustice’

Kauai County Council on Wednesday adopted a resolution that could reopen a controversy that originally dates to 1993 over whether Bank of America reneged on a deal to provide a total of $180 million in mortgage loans to Native Hawaiians and Filipinos. The vote was 6-0, with Councilmember Kipukai Kuali‘i absent.

Coco Palms Defaults

Efforts to redevelop the former Coco Palms resort have collapsed, with the two Oahu men behind the project facing foreclosure after defaulting on $11.2 million in financing they used to purchase the property five years ago.

Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami reflects on plans

Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami was sitting in his office in the Moikeha Building in the Lihue Civic Center recalling his first day at work as Kauai’s chief executive, just 100 days before.

Breathing room for TVRs

Dozens of transient vacation rentals that operate legally in the Wainiha-Haena area closed to the public since last April’s disastrous storms got a one-year reprieve on Monday that will permit them to go back into business when Kuhio Highway reopens — projected for later this year.

Mayor: Time for action on Coco Palms

Saying he is “frustrated” by a lack of progress on the reconstruction of the former Coco Palms resort in Wailua, Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami said Thursday that “we have to remind the developers that there comes a time when they have to fish or cut bait.”

Growing weary on Weke Road

Owners of the two heavily damaged houses on Weke Road in Hanalei that have become symbolic of the horrific storms of mid-April and August have applied for demolition permits to tear them down, though replacement plans have not been filed with Kauai County officials.

Haena park opening nears

State park officials have set March 30 as the projected completion date for the total reconstruction of public facilities at Haena State Park.

New council off to a head-shaking start

Kauai County may have just had its most important local election in a generation, but who would have thought the new County Council would begin by calling police to remove a public commenter who refused to relinquish his seat until someone told him who called the meeting?

Danners won’t face prosecution

The Kauai County prosecutor has declined to pursue trespassing and interfering with a government agent charges against Native Hawaiian activist Robin Danner and her son, Garrett Danner, that grew out of a confrontation in Anahola last month.

Numbers tell an accurate election story

Underlying any election results — even those with very small electorates like Kauai’s that exhibit a remarkable indifference to voting — is the question: “What does it all mean?”

Mel Rapozo targets bureaucracy

County Council Chair Mel Rapozo slid into the banquette at JJ’s Broiler on Kalapaki Beach looking a little the worse for wear. He’d had a cold-induced coughing fit that caused a small blood vessel in his eye to burst, so he looked a bit like he’d been in a fight.