Koko and I kind of follow the sun, which has put us out and about well before farmer Jerry and my neighbor Andy for some weeks now. But the days are already getting shorter, so soon we’ll be rising later, too, and will have a chance to again see our old friends.
Even if you’re not an early bird, the sky is well worth checking out at about 5 a.m. You’ll see big, round Jupiter, with its golden glow, shining low in the southwest, while rising in the east is my favorite, Pleides/Makalii, and I know some of you reading this will understand exactly what I’m talking about when I call it the home constellation.
Today is gonna be a mish-mash of stuff. First, some of the most shocking news I’ve read lately was the piece in today’s Star-Bulletin about putting lifeguards — finally — at Kee Beach. It seems that an unbelievable 700,000 people visited that little spot at the end of the road last year.
That is absolutely nuts, and the wear and tear is showing, not only on the beach and surrounding Haena State Park, but the locals who live down there and have to deal with the crowds and non-stop traffic — all in the name of accommodating tourists.
Doesn’t Kauai have any limits? Or is the philosophy just bring ‘em on until everything collapses under the strain? And in typical state fashion, even though it gets lots of use, it doesn’t get much maintenance money, which is why only now some decent toilets are being put in.
The best news I’ve read lately was printed in Current Concerns. It reports Monsanto has to pay Canadian canola farmer Percy Schmeiser for contaminating his crops with their GMO strains.
As you may recall, Monsanto tried to sue Schmeiser for patent infringement, claiming he had illegally used their product and so they owned the harvest. But because he was able to prove he’d never used the company’s GMO seeds or herbicide, he was acquitted. He again discovered GMO plants in his field in 2005 and had them professionally removed, sending Monsanto the $660 bill. When Monsanto refused to pay, Schmeiser sued.
Monsanto later agreed to pay, but only if Schmeiser agreed to keep the whole matter under wraps. He refused, and an hour before court hearings were set to proceed, Monsanta settled — with no confidentiality agreement. It just goes to prove that GMO crops cannot be contained and even the little guys can sometimes win against ruthless, deep pocket giants like Monsanto.
Thanks to John Tyler for that, and also for noticing in yesterday’s Garden Island that the county found 1,050 vacation rentals advertised online, but only 129 registered for such use. That means about 90% are under the table, and the county could be losing out on $3.03 million in tax revenues because people are paying residential rather than resort property taxes.
Wonder how many of those are owned by off-island residents? At any rate, maybe the prospect of money will finally prompt the county to deal with the issue.
And finally, I was talking yesterday to the artist Keala Kai, who has lived his entire life in Kapaa, and he offered this perspective about the bike path:
“In the past, when it was the cane road, there was plenty of room and nobody had any problems. You could go with your horse or whatever and everybody got along. When people were down there, they were looking for fish, or watching the ocean, just minding their own business.
"Now it’s too structured. Everything has been concentrated into a four-foot path, so everybody’s just looking at each other. That’s when they start complaining, he’s not doing that and he should be doing this and you get all kine trouble. People need to get off the path and back on the beaches, where they can reconnect with nature."
Can't argue with that.