From Coconut Wireless…
THE RETURN OF BILL WORTH
This might just be because I’m a newspaper editor, but there’s something seriously, terrifyingly humbling that happens to a person when he or she reads about previous publications on Maui. I’m talking about the old Maui Sun, Mauian, Art to Onions, Maui Quarterly and Rainbow Islands. These were all tabloids and papers published on Maui a few decades ago, written and edited by people usually more talented than me, and they are all, each and every one of them, out of business.
“Considering what they’re up against, it’s surprising Maui’s present crop of publishers have done as well as they have,” stated a May 1, 1986 Hawaii Business (which still exists) feature on the above publications. “But publishing is almost always a high-risk business–fortunes can be made in ink, but mostly fortunes are lost in trying, as Hawaii’s many former publishers can attest.”
Ironically, one of the publications mentioned in the Hawaii Business article actually does still exist: The Lahaina News, though it’s very different today (now owned by West Virginia-based Ogden Publications, which also owns The Maui News, Maui Bulletin and Maui Weekly) than it was back in 1986. Then, the co-owner and editor was Bill Worth, who bought the paper in the 1980s after seeing it advertised in the now defunct Editor & Publisher magazine.
“So, for just $20,000, they bought the Lahaina News,” the Hawaii Business article stated. “At the time, the small community paper had a light, feature-and-opinion format, was published twice a month, had a circulation of 4,000, and generated less than $20,000 a year in revenues. The Worths believed the Lahaina News had unfulfilled potential, but even they have been surprised at how much growth it’s undergone. With [Worth’s wife] Nancy heading up sales, and Bill the editorial, the Lahaina News today is a weekly news tabloid, with a 10,000, circulation, and revenues of $225,000 in 1985.”
I mention all this because Worth, who pretty much turned the Lahaina News into the stable little community paper it is today has written a new book called House of the Sun: A Metaphysical Novel of Maui. According to a news release sent out by Worth, the book “tells the story of Keli`i, a young Maui boy who has special powers–and an indelible connection with Madame Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire.” It’s got an elderly kahuna named Joshua, a “tragic accident at sea,” “mystical spiritual practices,” a tourist chick named Aimee and a “renowned televangelist” named Jeremiah Justice. In 2012, Worth will be publishing a sequel called House of the Sun: Island of Death.
Anyway, you can buy his newest book (and his The Hidden Life of Jesus Christ: A Memoir) at billworthbooks.com. And it’s probably fine, but seriously, if people–former editors or not–want to write novels about Maui, then they should have to have stretch out a bit and take a risk or two, not just rehash the dry characters and events that we see and hear about every day.
COUNTY SEZ ANSWER THE PHONE!
Well, it’s finally gotten to this. And I can’t say I’m the least bit surprised. You people knew what would happen, and now it’s happened. Oh, has it ever happened, and the County of Maui–yes, the entire county–is pissed. So pissed that they’re actually wagging their finger at each and every one of you.
“Maui County is asking that all residents please participate in a recent telephone survey being conducted for county and state governments,” stated a July 22 press release from Ryan Piros, Assistant Communications Director for the county, about a housing survey that started in late May and is apparently way behind schedule. “Survey callers report experiencing problems in getting Maui County residents to participate. Some of the identified problem areas as [sic] the island of Lanai, West Maui and North and East Maui, from Paia to Hana.”
Come on, island of Lanai, get with it! Hey, Paia, Haiku and Hana, I’m looking at you! And what’s up with West and North Maui anyway? Think you’re better than the rest of us? Think you’ve got housing costs, conditions and issues all squared away?
The good folks at SMS Research and Marketing Services, Inc., are just trying to do their jobs when they call you at home and interrupt your dinner or Call of Duty game. It’s not like they’re asking for your social security number or bank account numbers or your monthly mortgage payments (whoops, scratch that last one–SMS does want to know about your home loans). In fact, so few of you bothered to help out on this one that the mayor himself has gotten involved.
“Please participate so that we know how best to serve the public,” Mayor Alan Arakawa says in the press release.
How pathetic is that? Guy runs the whole county, with all of its myriad law enforcement, land development, infrastructure, health care and economic needs, and now he’s having to shame residents into helping out with a phone survey. I hope you’re all happy.