weather icon Clear

Sending aloha from Nevada to Hawaii

My plan when writing a column is to try and be lighthearted and focus on Boulder City-related issues or fond memories from my past growing up here.

This is the exception.

While Boulder City has always been “home” to me, my second home is Hawaii. I lived on the Big Island from 1999-2012, the longest I’ve ever lived in one place. So, watching the devastation this past week and tremendous loss of life on Maui, which I visited several times, has saddened me greatly.

In addition to that, my amazing 21-year-old niece, Kayla, has lived on Maui since January of this year and is living her best life. Thankfully we heard from her early on and were able to communicate with her throughout this terrible ordeal.

At the time of me writing, the fires had claimed 96 lives, making it the deadliest wildfire in modern U.S. history. Gov. Josh Green said those numbers will sadly continue to rise with every passing day.

I told Kayla I was writing this column and asked if she could share her thoughts on what this past week has been like for her.

In terms of evacuating, she said, “It was terrifying. I had to get me and my cat out of there and the road I normally use was closed. I was preparing myself that I may lose everything. It was really scary.”

Fortunately, she had friends to stay with and once she was able to return to her home, it was still there.

As for Lahaina, she added, “It’s devastating to see. So many people lost everything they had. But it’s also heartwarming to see how people have pulled together to help one another.”

It’s that pulling together that makes Hawaii unique in some ways. When there are natural disasters in states on the mainland, there is obviously lots of support to help your fellow neighbor. But in Hawaii, the word ohana, which means family, is so very true. Whether it’s because Hawaii is so isolated that residents have always had to rely upon one another or the fact that since it’s so generational, many residents are related to one another in some way, Hawaiians have always pulled together in times of need.

During my time in Hawaii, I experienced the threat of hurricanes, tsunamis, wildfires, massive earthquakes and even lava. And while Hawaii is an amazing place to live, during natural disasters, that isolation is brought to light even more. Where do you go? Options are limited.

In watching the news coverage, it brought tears to my eyes seeing the utter devastation of how a prideful and historical community like Lahaina can be wiped away in such a short amount of time.

First and foremost, I mourn for those who lost their lives. Hearing stories of people having to jump into the ocean to avoid the flames … it’s almost hard to comprehend.

While officials will be trying to figure out a cause and whether or not more could have been done to prepare for, or prevent, this horrific tragedy, there is talk about rebuilding. But where do you start?

If, say a school burned down, you could put all your manpower and resources into that one project. But when you lose an entire community, how do you pick and choose?

Not only that, but Maui’s construction workforce is limited, not to mention getting enough supplies there these days. And say if you brought 1,000 workers from Oahu to help, where do you house them?

I started thinking about the people who lost their homes and all of those people now without a job. From a tourist standpoint, Lahaina is Maui in many ways.

With all the restaurants, shops, galleries and tours, it was the place to go when visiting Maui. The financial impact to the island is going to be felt for years, if not decades.

In the Hawaiian language, the word aloha has many different meanings, from hello, goodbye, a general feeling as well as love. So, to Maui, I send lots of aloha, as I’m hoping everyone else will do. Maui Strong.

A story of reconciliation amidst division

I keep going into the week when it is time for me to write a column with an idea that I know I want to write about but events keep pushing that idea further out into the future.

Who did more for veterans?

Did President Joe Biden or President Donald Trump do more for America’s veterans? It all depends how one keeps score: Introduce laws? Pass laws? Do large things, or many small things? Important things, or things that were not so important?Below are two examples according to Military.com.

Holy smokes!

Two weeks ago on June 25, I received messages from panicked individuals at the Elks Lodge RV Park stating that the Boulder City Fire Department had been conducting a controlled burn that had gotten out of control.

July is PR Month

For nearly 40 years, the nation has celebrated Park and Recreation Month in July to promote building strong, vibrant, and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation.

July 4 safety and awareness checklist

As we celebrate our great nation’s birthday, let’s run down this safety and awareness checklist so we can have a blast this 4th… but only the good kind.

“Be Kind, Be Boulder” this Fourth of July

Happy Birthday, America! Today, we celebrate an act of autonomy and sovereignty that happened in 1776, nearly 250 years ago: the Founding Fathers signing of the Declaration of Independence established this great nation. (It would be another 155 years before Boulder City’s founders arrived to construct Hoover Dam!)

Ensuring fire safety at Lake Mead

At Lake Mead National Recreation Area, our mission extends beyond preserving the natural beauty and recreational opportunities.

Independence Day in Boulder City

I was elected to the Boulder City council long ago. Believe me, there were more exciting events that occurred during city council meetings in the mid-to-late 1980s than there are at present. We had Skokie Lennon who arrived in the council meetings while standing at the back of the room. When he had something to say he would erupt with the statement “can you hear me?” Of course we could since he was the loudest person in the room. He would say what he had to say and then leave.

Nothing to fear

A June 13 letter by Norma Vally claimed Pride Month in Boulder City is an example of identity politics that will cause divisiveness in our safe, kind, and welcoming town. I cannot disagree more.

Save me some confetti eggs

In last week’s edition, I wrote a preview of the upcoming July 4 celebration and described Boulder City’s biggest day of the year as if a Norman Rockwell painting had come alive and jumped off the canvas. I had a few people praise me for that description, saying it’s the perfect way to do so.