Celebrating Two Years Of ‘MidWeek’

The winning crew passes China Wall on Oahu. Keizo Gates photo

Time flies when you’re having fun … and working hard. It’s been two years this week since MidWeek Kaua’i made its debut. It’s been gratifying to be part of, and to watch local folks embrace the community-minded publication …

Big kudos to first-place finishing Pa’a ‘Eono Hoe crew Luke Evslin, Justin Watts, Mael Carey, Alex Epling, Alika Guillaume and Makana Denton, who won the 32-mile iron paddle across the Ka’iwi Channel from Moloka’i to O’ahu May 27, with a mind-blowing time of 3:41. The race wasn’t only about athletic prowess and water skill, but heart. Yes, perhaps you could have summed them up as just another ringer crew, as technically they’re a group of stellar all-stars who surfed and pounded through the waves of that treacherous channel in record time. But the race was about so much more than that.

Kaua’i’s own Evslin, who suffered a life-threatening injury during the 2010 Moloka’i Hoe from a motorboat propeller, said it best that morning, describing the contextual importance of the event: “Eighteen months ago I had no doubt I’d never race the channel again. The beautiful, alluring and deadly Kaiwi Channel has now sat festering in a dark part of my mind for a year and a half. It’s always there, darting in and out of comprehension.” Evslin and crewmates, who paddled in a breathtaking steel-colored maiden-voyage canoe that he and fellow crewmates designed and built with his company Kamanu Composites, made sure its design include a manu hope, in an artful homage to the traditional Hawaiian canoe form (also the company’s namesake). Following the race, Evslin said, “This was a whirlwind of a day and it went 100 percent perfectly. None of us could have asked for more.” Well done and congratulations. You do Kaua’i proud …!

Daniel Betsui

Just following Memorial Day, it’s humbling to be reminded of the volunteers and servicemen and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice for this country. It’s with that in mind that I’d like to give mention to two Kaua’i veterans, Daniel Betsui of Hanapepe and Howard Urabe of Kapa’a. The two were among seven heroes honored with posthumous degrees by UH Manoa May 14. The degrees were given to their next of kin at Kennedy Theatre. Known as the Varsity Victory Volunteers, the seven were students and ROTC cadets enrolled at UH Manoa on Dec. 7, 1941, when Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan. In the hours following the bombing, they were told to report to duty, forming the Hawai’i Territorial Guard (HTG), which was assigned to guard military installations on O’ahu.

A month later, members of Japanese ancestry were expelled from the HTG because of their ethnicity. The group wrote a petition to Delos Emmons, military governor of the Territory of Hawai’i at the time. It read, “We, the undersigned, were members of the Hawai’i Territorial Guard until its recent inactivation. We joined the Guard voluntarily with the hope that this was one way to serve our country in her time of need. Needless to say, we were deeply disappointed when we were told that our services in the Guard were no longer needed. Hawai’i is our home; the United States, our country. We know but one loyalty and that is to the Stars and Stripes. We wish to do our part as loyal Americans in every way possible and we hereby offer ourselves for whatever service you may see fit to use us.” Wow …

Howard Urabe

Remember that exclusive MidWeek Kaua’i story we ran about the couches that were stolen brazenly from Jeanette Huttger‘s Salon J? Well, a funny thing happened following that full-page mention of it. People read it, the Coconut Wireless did its thing and, in this case, a wrong was “righted.” The thieves must have been shaking in their boots with all the hubbub, so much so, in fact, that the couches have been returned to the rightful owner.

Following the column, the couches were dumped at another business, and Akamai Towing, which handles much of the hauling for Kaua’i Police Department, took the couches to police evidence storage and tipped Huttger off to the couches’ return. Huttger says she called KPD to learn that indeed yes, they had her couches. Relieved they had been turned in and that she hadn’t yet replaced them, she says she’s grateful. “I do a lot of prayer, and something in me just said, ‘Don’t buy any new furniture yet,'” she says. No word yet on whether the prints on the couches will yield an arrest. Stay tuned …

In lighter news, according to MidWeek O’ahu entertainment columnist Tom Moffatt, new mom Jessica Simpson is planning a Garden Isle winter wedding on 12-12-12. She and fiancé Eric Johnson are reportedly putting together a ceremony on Kaua’i with the help of celebrity party planner Mindy Weiss. Weiss has done the planning for a few of Jessica’s major life events, including her recent baby shower and her 2002 wedding to Nick Lachey

Jeanette Huttger, Kia Kaha and Jackie Lopez at Salon J. Amanda C. Gregg photo

Congratulations to Fred Atkins, owner of Gaylord’s at Kilohana. It’s only been reopened since January, but the restaurant was a recent winner of the OpenTable Diners’ Choice Awards for top Outdoor Dining Restaurants in the United States. Atkins was obviously pleased, as Caroline Potter, OpenTable’s chief dining officer, lauded the restaurant for its “amazing al fresco seating,” and “creative cocktails and delicious food.” Gaylords at Kilohana is open Monday through Saturday at 11 a.m. for lunch and 5 p.m. for dinner. Sunday brunch is available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, go to gaylordskauai.com or call 245-9593 …