STAND-UP PADDLER STAND-UP GUY
And the winner of this week’s Who’s The Gutsiest Person On Maui? contest is Mr. David Peterson, 55, of Pukalani. By now everyone on Maui knows about Peterson, a stand-up paddler, and his Oct. 18 encounter with a 6-8 foot shark about 300 yards offshore of Kanaha Beach Park.
Did you guys read the Oct. 19 Maui News story on this guy? Peterson’s out there on his board, paddling away, when the shark knocks him off his board. What happened then is straight out of a movie. Here’s Peterson, quoted in the story:
“I didn’t see anything,” he said. “I landed on the back of the shark. It had a hold on my board… It wouldn’t let go. I started beating it over the head and yelling at it.”
Peterson eventually pushed the shark away and climbed back onto his board. He was, to put it mildly, extremely lucky. Not only was he uninjured, but his board wasn’t too badly damaged, allowing him to paddle back to shore. And then, just because he’s a great guy, Peterson apologized to other surfers for the beach closure that inevitably followed the attack.
It’s easy to forget that sharks–which are revered by the Kanaka as ‘aumakua or “family gods”–are all around us. Usually the first question asked by someone arriving on a Maui beach (usually about the time they’re applying sunscreen) is, “Are there sharks out there?” The answer, of course, is yes.
Sharks rarely attack people (we apparently don’t taste good to them), but rarely also doesn’t mean never. The last fatal shark attack on Maui (indeed, in Hawaii), took place at S-Turns in Kahana back in 2004.
A fisherman friend of mine once told me about an evening spear-fishing trip he took on the Westside, and the adventure of sorts he had while trying to drag his prize back to shore while a shark tried to take it away.
Sharks are ancient, fascinating creatures that deserve respect, not fear. Though if you want to see something really cool, watch the 2011 National Geographic documentary The Whale That Ate Jaws. The title pretty much says it all.
MAUI COUNTY COUNCIL STANDS UP FOR LAND DEVELOPERS
Man, was I ever naive. When I first heard that the Maui County Council General Plan Committee was (again) taking up the proposed Maui Island Plan, and that said plan would include “urban growth boundaries”–a new tool used by mainland planners and land use advocates to keep development at sustainable levels–I thought that maybe Maui was finally entering the 21st century.
On Oct. 18, the committee not only voted to eliminate greenbelts from the plan’s proposed maps, but they also voted to remove parks and open space designations from the proposed maps.
“Our council’s efforts to ‘direct’ growth… appears to be directed just where landowners want it!” smart growth activist Lucienne de Naie emailed me shortly after the council vote. “In many cases, citizen review groups tended to support a project being included in the urban boundary because preservation area were included. The maps showing preservation areas were reviewed and okayed by several past planning directors as well as the Office of Corporation Counsel.”
For de Naie, who has worked on and studied the proposed Maui Island Plan for years, the votes were beyond bitter.
“Suddenly, at the eleventh hour, it appears that word had come to the Council from Corp. Counsel that showing preservation areas on the directed growth maps is not desirable,” she continued. “All of our community plans have ‘park’ and ‘open space’ areas indicated. Municipal governments are allowed to designate lands for future preservation without it being a ‘taking.’”
Oh, I almost forgot: Councilmember Don Couch’s motion to remove Makena Resort’s 390-acre development parcel from within South Maui’s growth boundaries failed, which amounted to a big snub of the Kihei community.
“The Council’s General Plan Committee did NOT listen to the request by the Kihei Community Association to leave the 390 acre area mauka from the Makena Resort out of the Urban Growth Boundary on the Maui Island Plan,” activist Dick Mayer emailed shortly after the vote. “The Councilmembers who rejected the KCA request and sided with the developer were: [Gladys] Baisa, [Mike] White, [Mike] Victorino, and [Joe] Pontanilla.”
Of course, there’s still a possibility that all the General Plan Committee’s work on the Maui Island Plan may ultimately come to nothing. The last Maui County Council failed to pass the plan in the two years it was seated, and the current council has until Dec. 31 to finish the job.
AT LEAST UH IS STANDING UP FOR NEWSPAPERS
You’ve probably already heard something about newspapers being in tough times these days (nobody enjoys whining about the sorry state of news these days more than a news guy), so I’ll spare the details. Like the music and pornography industry, many in the news media are suffering because so much of their content is freely available on the Internet (MauiTime, like all alternative weeklies, doesn’t suffer from this problem because we’ve always been giving it away for free).
So it’s not too surprising to read headlines these days about how Newsweek will cease print publication and go Internet-only at the end of the year or how Clark Kent is so fed up with the state of the mainstream media that he’s quitting The Daily Planet (seriously–look it up!). So it’s doubly nice to see a story about how the Internet is helping newspapers. Well, newspapers that are nearly a century old.
“The UH Manoa Library has received $265,018 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to digitize and upload the predecessor newspapers of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on the Chronicling America website,” stated an Oct. 18 press release. The papers include the Pacific Commercial Advertiser (1856-1921) and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin (1917-1922).
When done, the Chronicling America website (chroniclingamerica.loc.gov) will contain “historically significant newspapers from all U.S. states and territories published between 1836 and 1922” and will be completely free to access. Maybe there’ll be hope for Superman yet.