Book ’Em, Ryleigh and Gee Gee

Ryleigh Hernando has read 850 books this summer. Photo courtesy Carolyn R. Larson

Congratulations to Lihu’e Public Library Summer Reading Program participants as well as winners, as the keiki read an astounding 11,364 books this break, according to Lihu’e Library branch manager Carolyn Larson, who explained the accomplishment in visual terms: The number of books, if stacked up, would reach the height of a 40-story building. More impressive is that 850 of those books were read by Ryleigh Hernando, who came to the library with her mother to check out bags of books at a time, and read many of the books aloud to her mom while she was housekeeping. Daughter of JoMarie and Rolly Hernando, Ryleigh, a fifth-grader at Wilcox Elementary School, is a “reading machine,” according to children’s librarian Lisa Kiuchi.

Congratulations also go to Evangelina “Gee Gee” Taguas-Savage, who read 15 books over the summer and was the teen winner of the islandwide grand prize drawing for an iPod Touch. (Only participants in the teen summer reading program were eligible for the iPod Touch drawing). The daughter of Terry Savage and Marlo Taguas Savage, Gee Gee lost her mother to cancer 13 months ago. “She would have been so proud,” she said. (See page 4 for a photo.) …

We’re reminded daily of how small this island is, running into each other with a lack of anonymity at every turn one of the perks of a true rural community.

Gee-Gee Taguas-Savage receives an iPod Touch from John Ishii, Kalaheo Pizza Hut manager, for reading the most books in the teen summer reading program. Photo courtesy Carolyn R. Larson

But it’s fun to realize how small the outside world is, too. With that in mind I’d like to bid aloha to my former graduate school professor from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Sandra Fish, and her husband Jim Charlier, a transportation planning expert, who returned to Boulder, Colo., last week. Jim took part in the islandwide series of public meetings along with “Uncle” Teddy Blake, and has been consulting as part of the Kaua’i Multimodal Land Transportation Plan, a county project funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation and coordinated with the help of state DOT Land Transportation Plan for Kaua’i, which is guided by the Kaua’i General Plan.

And, yes, the operative, repetitious word in here is “plan,” as it’s one of those rare times when the public not only has a say, but can affect change. For those who missed the meetings, there’s still a chance to be accounted for online (and also a chance to win a $100 grocery gift card) by visiting and clicking on the “August survey” link. Mahalo again to Jim for his time and perspective from one of the most walkable, healthy counties on the Mainland: Boulder. A hui hou! …

Kristin Leikam. Amanda C. Gregg photo

Speaking of a lack of anonymity, it was so lovely to be approached about an upcoming event while at Papaya’s Natural Foods & Café when I was picking up some Lotus Live chocolate and an ono Chai Coco Yum smoothie. The organically inclined grocery store will have its second Community Appreciation Day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, (last year they gave away 450 plate lunches) and this year Papaya’s will not only offer free food, but will be joined by GMOFree Kaua’i, which will be raising funds in preparation for the GMO-free month promotion in October. Aimed at giving a little back to a community to which it’s grateful, Papaya’s representatives say the entire day is focused around giving free services and samples. Interested vendors should register by Sept. 1 by email to with name, phone number and requested hours. For more information, call Chelsea at 823-0190 …

Having given a nod to healthier food choices, here’s some good news for those out there with a loudmouthed sweet tooth. It seems the heavens have parted and a new pastry boutique has opened. It’s just in time, too, as I was sad to see Icing on the Cake close. So I’m pleased to say e komo mai to Cakes by Kristin (which took over the former Icing on the Cake location), run by au courant pastry chef Kristin Leikam (married to 22 North’s chef de cuisine Aaron Leikam).

Making a splash with champagne and fluffy slices of buttery cake at her grand opening Aug. 14, it makes sense that among the guests were 22 North’s Restaurant and Bar general manager Todd Oldham and wife Hue, along with the newest addition to the Leikam family, the adorable Gabriella Sage, who will be 1 year old next month hau’oli la hanau, little one! Also at the tasting was Andrea Quinn, former owner of Icing on the Cake, bidding adieu before moving with her family to California.

Declan Myers. Photo courtesy Gregory Meyers

The new boutique-chic bakery (which uses Taterware, not Stryofoam, hooray!) not only specializes in wedding and birthday cakes but offers its lilikoi, carrot, coconut rum and chocolate-Kahlua confections by the slice. They pair nicely with an iced Kona rain forest coffee, ground and made fresh by the cup, using a pour-over steeping system. Ginger congo bars (coconut and pecan with Hawaiian sea salt), snickerdoodle cookies, lemon lavender shortbread, mango crostatas, and my personal favorite, chocolate cupcakes with pink vanilla buttercream, also top the list of reasons to stop by and say hello to Leikam (and goodbye to your diet) between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday in Kinipopo Shopping Village in Kapa’a. For more information, call 823-1210 …

Glad to see small businesses are still opening and growing despite all the craziness recently with Wall Street a good indicator of a buoyant local economy and with that I would like to give a proverbial shout out to Bobby V’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria, my favorite little place for a slice of “za,” not just because they’re fellow Red Sox fans but because of the homemade crusts and cheesy goodness they create. The little trattoria recently expanded to serve breakfast, and offers a buffet from 7 to 10:30 a.m. daily ($8.99 for full buffet or $6.99 with a “Bobby V’s kamaaina card”) …

Congratulations to attorneys Gregory and Emiko Meyers, who brought home a new addition to their family Aug. 18: Declan Azi Ryan Meyers, who weighed a healthy 8 pounds, 2.8 ounces and was 21.25 inches long. Older sister Lea couldn’t have looked happier to have a little buddy brought into this world just for her …

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