By Lee Cataluna
Georgia Mossmans column had it all. There was tragedy, violence, great human drama ... and lots of loose farm animals.
For more than 20 years as a reporter for the Garden Island newspaper, Mossman checked out the daily Kauai Police Department blotter and printed just about everything she found. "I would say that every time I thought I heard it all, I hadnt," she said.
There was the theft of a case and a half of Spam from the Wailua Golf Course, a bunch of kids busted joyriding around Lihue with an iguana (thats with, not on, but its still weird), a gambling operation that got so rowdy, police had to break in and tell the gamblers to keep the noise down, and lots and lots of reports of loose cattle, or, in that wonderful police vernacular, "estray bovines."
Mossman retired a few years back and got to work on putting together a book, sort of the best of the blotter. The self-published project, "Police Blotter Kauai Style," hit bookstores just before Christmas.
In her column, Mossman printed the names of everyone who got arrested, from felony charges to leash law violations. On such a small island, chances are on any given day you knew at least a couple of names on the naughty list. She balanced that tell-all coverage by following each case through court.
The book doesnt mention names the way the column did, but the stories are classic tales of human weakness, strange coincidence, and the wacky accidents in life that defy explanation.
Theres the story about the dispatcher radioing the report of a horse galloping through the Kekaha Gardens subdivision. The officer radioed back, "Did they say which side of the street its on or what color it is?"
Then there was the drug addict who held up a pharmacy with a pair of pantyhose over his head. Trouble was, he had the hosiery on his head like a hat, not over his face.
Some of the log entries just sounded funny, like the line that said a vehicle in Kapaa was being driven in an "erotic" manner, or the one about the woman who called police when her husband was unresponsive (I think they meant unconscious).
Thats not to say that the book, or the police department, is all about amusing anecdotes. Mossman describes some of the more tragic, shameful and shocking entries that leapt off the pages of the blotter and were the talk of the town for months. And there are stories of everyday heroes and neighbors just trying to do the right thing.
Over the years, Mossman has also compiled files of Kauais unsolved crimes, a collection coveted by writers who have heard of her work. "Every new reporter that comes to town calls and says, I understand you have a list and I say, Yeah, and Im not gonna give it to you."
That list may soon become a second book. And, yes, chances are there will be bovines mentioned in that one as well. After all, its Kauai.
Lee Catalunas e-mail address is email@example.com.
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