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State has funds for Ke‘e Beach lifeguards

HA‘ENA — The County Council will discuss renewed state funding of the Ke‘e Beach lifeguard tower at today’s meeting.

The state defunded the tower last year due to COVID-19-related budget cuts, and the county has maintained service at the tower ever since, according to Dr. Monty Downs of the Kaua‘i Lifeguard Association.

Now, $344,962 in state money is on the table.

Kaua‘i Fire Department Chief Steven R. Goble requested the council accept the new Ke‘e Beach funding in a July 28 memo, which states the money will pay for lifeguard services from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022.

The county must submit quarterly reports of Ke‘e Beach rescues as a condition of the appropriation, according to the memo.

“Due to availability of funds, it is important to submit the quarterly invoice and reports in a timely manner,” Goble wrote.

Downs emphasized the need for lifeguards at Ke‘e Beach in a letter published in The Garden Island this past spring.

“This is a beach where prior to lifeguards we had drownings take place regularly — due to very heavy usage in an often-placid-appearing lagoon, but a lagoon which harbors a subtle rip current that pulls unsuspecting visitors and snorkelers to their death in the open ocean,” he wrote.

The county council meeting will be streamed online beginning at 8:30 a.m., at kauai.gov/Webcast-Meetings.

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Scott Yunker, general assignment reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or syunker@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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