The eastern sky was shot through with red when Koko and I went walking this warm morning. The world was softened by an abundance of moisture in the air, which caused the Giant to appear hazy and the pastures to glow beneath a yellowish light.
As we walked, Waialeale slowly sloughed off her white mantle, even as a bank of gray clouds edged in from the east, threatening rain that it only now delivered. As is typical for a weekend morning, a truck filled with dogs passed us enroute to the hunting area and Koko danced and spun on the end of her leash.
“You must still be on vacation,” said my neighbor Andy when we encountered him on the road, and I admitted I was, and had fallen into the habit of staying up late and rising late — that is, if 6:25 a.m. can be considered “late.”
It’s been great having both paid time off — something I haven’t experienced since I quit my job at the Star-Bulletin 13 years ago — and a visit from one of my sisters. No one from my family has been out to see me in more than a decade, as they all seem to believe it’s easier for me to make the long slog across the Pacific than them. So when I took her to the airport yesterday, I was sad to see her go.
It was interesting to hear my sister’s take on the island, which she thought looked generally down on its heels, especially Lihue, and inhabited by a lot of “aging hippie types.” As we sat on the beach at Hanalei Bay, with the St. Regis spilling down the cliffside and lavish vacation rentals lining the sand, she pronounced the area “pretty ritzy,” and I couldn’t help but feel sad as I recalled the line from the Shilo Pa song: “Whatever happened to Hanalei?”
There's been some discussion — including a post by Andy Parx yesterday— about whatever happened to Wally Wilson, the convicted rapist who was a suspect in the Westside serial killings of a decade ago. An email has been circulating with the subject line “Women on Kauai be careful...” that forwards the contents of an email reportedly sent out by the wife of Gary Heu, the mayor’s administrative assistant:
Remember those 2 murders and one almost murder on the westside a while back? Gary told me this evening that the guy that KPD thought did them but could not prove that did them is out of jail and apparently back on island - his name is Waldorf Wilson and if you search Sex Offenders in Hawaii you will find a picture of him. Apparently he rides a bike - targets middle-aged caucasian women and is currently thought to be living in Puhi. Look up his picture. Keep an eye out for him. Don't go camping alone on secluded beaches. He attacked one woman that was gardening in her yard I think. Not trying to be paranoid but Gary thought it was important enough to tell me tonight to 'be careful'......just sayin'.
When I followed up on that email I was told that the police are still trying to confirm if Wilson is indeed on island, and if he is, he’ll be required to register with authorities and the sex offender website will be updated accordingly.
That’s all well and good — if you believe the sex offender registry is an effective way of keeping track of sex offenders. According to the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center website:
Unless the covered offender is incarcerated or has registered with a designated law enforcement agency after establishing residence in another state, every January, April, July, and October, the Department of Attorney General mails a non-forwardable verification form to the last reported address of the covered offender. The covered offender shall sign the verification form and state that he/she still resides at the last reported address and that no other registration information has changed or shall provide the new information. The covered offender shall mail the signed and completed verification form to the Attorney General within ten days after receipt of the form.
Beginning July 1, 2009, each covered offender shall report in-person every year, within the thirty-day period following the offender's date of birth, to the chief of police where the covered offender resides and shall review the existing information in the registry, correct any information that has changed or is inaccurate, provide any new information that may be required, and allow the police to take a current photograph.
But one has to wonder just how aggressively the authorities follow up if sex offenders fail to report in or return their verification forms. My late friend Carl Nishiie remained on the registry for more than two years after his death, with his record bearing the disclaimer that the state could not vouch for the accuracy of the entry because “the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center has not received a required up-to-date periodic verification of registration information from this offender."
If they can’t even keep track of the dead guys, who don't move around much, well, it does kinda make you wonder…. Just like the recent unsolved deaths of two middle-aged Caucasian women, whose bodies were found in remote areas on the eastside.....
(This post was updated on Sept. 29.