A Great Time To Help The Red Cross

(from left) Paula Goldsberry, Elaina Omana and Cheri Donnelly

Given the ongoing tragedy in Japan, what could be more appropriate than mentioning that March is American Red Cross month, and the beginning of April marks the Kaua’i chapter’s annual fundraiser? Those wanting to help people in Japan by giving a donation can Text RED-CROSS to 90999 to give an automatic $10 to the earthquake and Pacific tsunami relief efforts. As of this writing, the American Red Cross has raised $7.75 million for the Japanese tsunami/earthquake effort, of which $1.1 million is from a text-to-give campaign. To donate online, go to https://american.redcross.org.

Kaua’i Red Cross director Laura Burman says the nonprofit is seeking volunteers to man the booths for this year’s Hats Off Fundraiser, which under the umbrella of United Way gathers volunteers from the community from organizations such as the Amateur Radio Club, Boy Scouts of America and Big Brothers Big Sisters. It will take place from 4 to 7:30 p.m. April 1, and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 2 and 3 at Walmart; from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 2 at the Eleele Big Save, Kapa’a Safeway and Hanalei Big Save, and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Kukui Grove Shopping Center. This annual statewide fundraiser also includes emergency services personnel from the Kaua’i Fire Department, Ocean Safety Bureau, Kaua’i Police Department and Red Cross volunteers, and aims to raise $5,000 in funds for Kaua’i disaster relief efforts (last year it raised $3,500). The money goes to local emergency needs such as the recent fires in Kalaheo and Koloa, as well as the recent tsunami evacuation on-island. Burman says evacuations – even when we’re not struck by actual disaster – require a collaborative effort. Mahalo, Red Cross, for being on hand with equipment and supplies ready …

To learn how to prepare for disaster (and have a “gobag” in the event of a tsunami, earthquake or hurricane), take one of several free classes Kaua’i Red Cross offers to businesses and residents (provided there are at least 10 people enrolled). Other classes include child and infant CPR, first aid and community disaster education. To sign up to volunteer or for a class, call 245-4919. …

So many birthdays and cultural anniversaries have taken place this month, including this Friday’s birthday celebration of Kaua’i-born Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana’ole. Preceded by a week of festivities, it not only coincides with the beginning of spring but is a reminder that Prince Kuhio would have been in line for the throne had the overthrow not occurred, and that he was instrumental in establishing the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act. This week Kaua’i’s celebration includes ukulele lessons, hula kahiko and a seminar on writing the Kanani American Doll Stories at Grand Hyatt Kaua’i Resort and Spa, a how-to on pa’akai (the art and culture of Hawaiian salt-making) at Salt Pond, and a “Taste of the Islands” at Kukui’ula Village

On an island full of watermen and waterwomen, there aren’t many who fear what lies beneath our gorgeous azure waters. In fact, mano (sharks) are aumakua to many, and associated with a positive, protective experience for those who hail from that ancestry. Of course, the B-movie world wouldn’t be any fun without preying on the fears of some, and just such a movie is being made on-island with the intention of creating fear of the unknown.

It’s a sci-fi horror amalgamation of fantasy and the absurd so rife with ridiculousness its premise could be considered funny rather than scary. Producer Roger Corman (creator of Dinocroc and Sharktopus) is in production on the Garden Island with the help of director Jim Wynorski (Chopping Mall). The venture into the formulaic-but-entertaining mutant subgenre will likely make Piranhaconda (a half-piranha, half-anaconda creature with “razor sharp teeth and 100 feet of constricting power”) a cult classic for years to come. Stars include actor Michael Madsen of Kill Bill 2 and Reservoir Dogs, and Aussie model Rachel Hunter

Those who prefer a taste of Broadway culture that supports local youths can get it thanks to Kaua’i’s Pono Players, part of the Hawaii Children’s Theatre, which is putting on Godspell, a musical by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak. Dubbed a Broadway and off-Broadway success, the show about a community that finds faith despite conflicting messages features 10 young actors, directed by

Ed Eaton with musical direction by Morris Wise and updated music by Alex Lacamoire performed by Hank Curtis, Cary Valentine, Michael Odo and Paul Koulbanis. Proceeds go toward the educational production about bullying titled One Big Family. Godspell opens tomorrow (March 24) and runs through April 10 at the Puhi Warehouse. All shows start at 7 p.m. For more information, call Steve Whitney at 651-3509 …

It was all about empowerment and helping others connect for Cheri Donnelly, who recently launched a new group for wahine: Women Empowering Women, designed as a tool for networking and newfound sisterhood. Wine, pupu and door prizes (along with wearing pink) were just part of the fun March 9 at Wailua Marina Restaurant. Donnelly, who began a similar group in 2007 in Portland, Ore., got right to it in terms of getting her group up and going here, as she moved to Kaua’i in October. The next event is from 5 to 6:30 p.m. April 13 at the Wailua Marina Restaurant (next to Fern Grotto Tours). Cost is $15. To learn more, go to www.wewnetwork.com. …

And kudos to Midori Fernandez of Na Wahine O Kawaikini Canoe Club and sponsors Kama’aina Surf & Sport, Oasis on the Beach, The Grand Hyatt Resort and Spa, Captain Andy and Colors by Johnie for trying something new this year for the long-distance canoe paddling season. The event, the Kawaikini Kalabash at Wailua River, featured tennis-ball relays, standup paddling grotto runs, mixed half-mile races and just an overall mixture of craziness (as in crazy-good). Congrats to women of the Niumalu Canoe Club for winning the OC-6 Kalabash Relay with a time of 3:42:29, the half mile mixed crew with a time of 3:40:64 and the OC-6 Kalabash half mile “Best of the Best,” wahine with a time of 3:28:01, along with Kukui’ula men for winning the OC-6 Kalabash Relay with a time of 3:25:26, the OC-1 3-Mile being taken by Kenny Denton with a time of 25:59:04, and to standup paddling winners Miguel Graham and Kristie Nagao. …

And finally, to all the aspiring young talent out there: The Jam Room is hosting its Colors of Hope Youth Jam Festival with 12 of the island’s best youth singers and dancers slated to perform from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 26 at Kukui Grove Shopping Center. It’s free and open to the public.

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