Here’s to the next 50

Then came 51.

All parties must end, after all, and after today, West Hawaii Today’s 50th birthday year will be pau. We’ve been celebrating the anniversary since last summer with a specialty front page banner and a weekly Wednesday article that looked back at WHT’s headlines from 50 years ago.

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For us, it was joy seeing the stories and store deals from five decades ago.

While the prices for goods and groceries were certainly from a different era — 10 cans of soda for $0.89, or how about a three-bedroom home on 5 acres for $66,000? — a lot of the issues and community spirit weren’t all that different from today.

Stories about developing the airport read just as true then as they do today, even if the location of the flight facility has shifted. The Milolii community, 50 years ago, pushed back against the military using their fishing village neighborhood for bombing practice. That sounds a lot like neighbors rallying against military using the terrain in similar fashion around Pohakuloa Training Area.

There are more examples, fun ones, too. A man 50 years ago received an award for his daring rescue of a young swimmer in distress. It was but months ago, the paddling community in Waikoloa helped bring a shark attack victim to shore after the paddler’s vessel was thrashed about by the beast. Both made WHT’s front pages.

But our 50th birthday began July 31, 2018, so the weekly celebration unfortunately ends today.

It’s not to say the headlines showed that island is blindly repeating history, either. Far from it. The news stories showed us that the community cared about the issues it faced and got involved in them to create a better version of Hawaii as they saw it.

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Just like today.

We’re looking forward to crossing the next milestone year where we’ll celebrate again by looking back. Is 60 too soon? Because a snapshot of then is a good reminder of who we are today.