Fair Litter; Grand Hyatt’s New GM

Like clockwork, the annual Kaua’i County Farm Bureau Fair litter-bomb went off last week on the streets surrounding Vidinha Stadium. The aftermath of the festivities is a sad sight indeed. Discarded food containers, diapers and plastic bottles are among the items that get left behind every year, only to eventually get washed into storm drains and out to sea. Nonetheless, I am thankful to Zero Waste Kaua’i and Kapaa JROTC cadets this year for helping the carnival go a little bit greener by having some of the food vendors use compostable foodware and distributing new waste stations around the area, so that people could recycle and dispose of their garbage with a little more ease …

Grand Hyatt Resort and Spa welcomes Jerry Westenhaver as its new general manager. He is filling the role that Doug Sears held for nearly a decade. Westenhaver arrives most recently from Oahu, where since 2011 he served as a general manager of Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach. He also assisted in opening the hotel in the 1970s, when he was employed as a food and beverage manager. He has had a 37-year career with Hyatt and worked at various resorts, including in California and New Mexico.

“The move to Kaua’i is exciting for me,” he says. “I’ve lived in Honolulu for a number of years over the past 40 years, and I’m looking forward to all Kaua’i offers. This will be my first Grand Hyatt, and this hotel in particular is so revered, I am excited to work with the staff and become part of the Grand Hyatt Kaua’i ohana.”

Sears leaves the island for California to work as general manager at Hyatt in Indian Wells.

“The move is bittersweet for my family and me,” says Sears. “We look forward to the new opportunities. As my son nears high school age, we hope to find a good school where he can attend all four years without having to move because of my job, while also enjoying his favorite sport, snow-boarding. The timing is perfect in that respect, but Hawaii will always be our home.”

Wilcox Health Foundation welcomed four new voluntary board members to its team last month – Paula Chihara, Marty Ellis, Michelle Swartman and Gail Weir. Swartman serves as director of Land and Community Development with Ohana Real Estate Investors, Ellis is a member of the Wilcox Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, Weir is president of the Wilcox Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, and Chihara is a community volunteer. The foundation helps raise funds for Wilcox Memorial Hospital and Kaua’i Medical Clinic

Jon Letman of National Tropical Botanical Garden says it’s hosting yet another fascinating free event as part of the garden’s “Around the World of Plants” Kaua’i Community College Public Lecture Series. Joan Yoshioka, coordinator for the state’s Plant Extinction Prevention Program, will speak about Hawaii’s “Plants on the Brink of Extinction” Sept. 10 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in KCC’s campus center cafeteria …

Kaua’i Museum is hosting a slack key guitar and ukulele talk story and performance with Hal Kinnaman and Paul Togioka Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon.

“When I perform slack key, I am able to connect with people from all over the world,” says Togioka. “It’s a wonderful thing. Music shares aloha.”

Admission is free for Kaua’i residents. Call Pamela Brown at 651-3533 or email pam@kauais-tories.net for more information …

More than 100 individuals attended a meeting regarding the results of Kaua’i’s Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and plans for the Kaua’i Community Health Improvement Initiative. Representatives from the county, state, health care industry and several other fields were there to support the cause. The CHNA has five top priorities, including health and wellness, which would address issues such as obesity by providing easier access to healthy food. Improved medical care and education are among the factors on which CHNA is focusing.

“The whole emphasis is to keep Kaua’i’s people healthy and well with everyone’s input,” states Naomi Sugihara. “The recurrent theme is to focus on the ‘upstream’ or policy interventions addressing the social issues, which are the underlying causes of our major killers, the chronic diseases.”

The assessment can be reviewed at hawaiipacifichealth.org/healthassessment. Call Fran Becker at 246-8986 or Sugihara at 652-3040 for more information or to participate …

Congrats to another smart college student, Brooke Tagupa of Lihue, who made Northern Arizona University’s spring 2013 Dean’s List …

Bill Arakaki informs me that the public is invited to attend the Kaua’i Legislative Forum Sept. 12 from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Kaua’i War Memorial Convention Hall. Leolinda Parlin of Hilopaa Family to Family Health Information Center will be the guest speaker at the forum, which includes a panel discussion with Kaua’i state legislators, County Council members, Judge Laurel Loo and Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar about bullying related to individuals with disabilities …

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