Much to be said this week about Lahaina beauty, Lahaina heritage, Lahaina artists and peculiar island law.
THE BAD AND UGLY - On our beautiful island, shouldn't the county embrace and enhance island beauty? Seems it often does the opposite.
Crews have put up new, ugly, white five-foot plastic posts to prevent parking in no parking zones alongside Pioneer Inn and the Banyan Tree. Wouldn't it be better to put in small concrete islands and add planters?
Even worse is the entry to Lahaina driving from Kaanapali. Obscuring what would be a beautiful ocean view is an ugly concrete block county building, where there has been a lot of construction activity lately. The structure should be torn down. The county needs to live up to Hawaiian tradition and malama the land.
LUCKY TO HAVE LRF - "The Lahaina Restoration Foundation (LRF) is strong." With that introduction, President David Allaire opened a lively milestone annual meeting breakfast for the 50th anniversary of the foundation.
Allaire - who knows how to be funny but also can be serious - noted that "we have lots of assets, most of which are old buildings. We have a pretty good stockpile of money, too."
Theo Morrison, latest of three dedicated executive directors, noted that no place in the state has all of the important historical sites that cover pre-contact, the monarchy, whaling, missionary and the plantation eras all in one community.
LRF has spent nearly $1 million the last five years maintaining structures and restoring the smokestack. It is installing 207 more commemorative bricks around the stack.
Every year, Lahaina's six schools employ 40 new teachers. LRF wants to be sure they know there is history in our backyard, so it can trickle down to students. Some 200 teachers the last few years have been trained on our history.
Since 2010, the business community has joined in. An LRF "History in Our Front Yard" program has trained scores of managers, sales clerks and waiters, so they can respond to visitors' questions about Lahaina history. Many employees had no clue what Lahaina is all about, according to the foundation.
Seniors aren't being ignored, either. Minimal walking tours (they use mini-busses, too) also spread the word. One senior recently said, "I have lived here for 60 years, and I didn't know our town had so much history!"
Some of the foundation's newest initiatives include a plan to restore a plantation house near the Old Prison and project IMAGINE, designed to spearhead improvements at our congested harbor front area. LRF will showcase new ideas developed at community forums at an Aug. 23 event.
What this adds up to, according to Allaire, is "we don't want to lose our cultural connection. Without the past, we have no connection to the future."
Allaire is fond of saying how lucky we are to live in Lahaina. Indeed. And how lucky we are to have the LRF doing great things for 50 years.
GOOD NEWS FOR ARTISTS - Maui's artists haven't been exactly starving in recent years, but they have not been prospering either.
Sales are up at Jim Killett's Lahaina Galleries as well as the Gallery 505, after artist/owner Belinda Leigh had enough confidence to move and build a beautiful art showplace near Pacific'o Restaurant.
At Lahaina Galleries, Dario Campanile has had great success introducing "aluminum art" - painting on polished aluminum. Approach one of his new paintings, and it glimmers and is transformed as you walk by.
Dario became acquainted with the technique at the gallery through the work of Lori Wylie, who layers reflections of light on the metal to give skies and ocean depth.
In older art news, art aficionados are mourning the death in February of Darren Hill, called one of the finest living bold impressionists, who was associated with Lahaina Galleries for many years.
Darren had the fastest brush in West Maui when he painted en plein air a number of times in an annual invitational event cosponsored by Lynn Shue's Village Galleries, the West Maui Cultural Council and artist Ronaldo Macedo.
DANCERS FRUSTRATED - The county's archaic Liquor Commission frustrated would-be dancers at a Kahana pub recently, when the fabulous Fred Garage Band performed. Patrons clearly wanted to dance but couldn't because of commission rules. Isn't it about time someone start a campaign to change Liquor Commission policies? Send your comments and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.