LAHAINA - Kapono Gecko, the fictional character who lives in Lahaina Public Library and has not been heard from for some time, decided to offer his own Top 11 list of the biggest news stories of the year (Gecko does not watch David Letterman's Top 10 apparently).
First, though, the Gecko has three holiday gift-giving tips. Keali'i Reichel's Halau Ke'alaokamaile ("Voices of Maui," April 12, 2010) is selling a brilliantly designed 2013 calendar as a fundraiser. It features gorgeous photos of hula and words of Hawaiian wisdom. Calendars available in the Kaanapali Beach Hotel lobby on Sunday mornings come in a special wrap. The calendar ($10) is also being sold by members of the dance troupe.
You can also pick up in the KBH lobby a cool "Aloha in Action" embroidered cap with choice of colors - a perfect sentiment for the holidays and all year (ask for Shara). Books from this columnist are also available at $10 and $15 in the lobby and deli shops.
Gecko's top 11 list:
11. The tsunami (mostly a warning) and minor damage at the harbor, and the Kona storm that sank three boats in West Maui. Hundreds watched one, a million dollar catamaran, break up on Kaanapali Beach.
10. Lahaina hosts Second Friday so-called town parties with the cooperating and reviving LahainaTown Action Committee.
9. Economic Pluses and Minuses: Maui was named the nation's number two tourist destination behind Las Vegas but ahead of Orlando, New York, Chicago and other great places. The state reports visitor numbers and spending at close to pre-recession levels, but merchants and restaurants continue to struggle.
8. County of Maui in negotiations to preserve Lipoa Point at Honolua Bay. Beleaguered Maui Land & Pineapple Co. names land as collateral for pension fund obligations. Community groups fear for its future.
7. A magnificent bronze statue of Sun Yat Sen, Chinese revolutionary with Hawaii and Maui roots, was dedicated at the Wo Hing Temple on Front Street.
6. Lahaina celebrates with record crowds on Front Street for the Fourth of July fireworks and a tasteful Halloween held without much of a fuss.
5. Centennials and Sesquicentennials, including Sacred Hearts School (150 years young), Holy Innocents Church (150), and Lahaina Jodo Mission (100).
4. In a game that will be talked about for years, the Lunas go all the way to the state high school football championship but lose in the final minutes.
3. Fleetwood's on Front Street restaurant and cabaret opens with a grand opening concert by Mick Fleetwood himself and Steven Tyler. Gecko had a hard time keeping from being crushed by the well-dressed, wall-to-wall people.
2. The good, warm, fuzzy feeling story of the year was the $300,000 facelift of the Lahaina Library at no cost to the state by the Rotary Club of Lahaina. Gecko likes the new digs and now feels it is a decent place to raise a family. Thus...
1. Marriage of Kapono Gekkonidae to his longtime significant other, Kala Kuleana, then a long honeymoon (no wonder Gecko hasn't been heard from).
What did not make the list was dancing in the street at Pioneer Inn and subsequent installation of a new dance floor, Shane Victorino's trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers and new deal with the Boston Red Sox, county elections (mostly a status quo locally and no new blood), Linda Lingle's mega-dollar losing campaign commercials, new County Council initiatives (members are improving but still have a long way to go) and the repainting this month of Blackie Gadarian's pink roof to orange.
Another eventful year in a remarkable community - livelier than ever, Lahaina.