Kaua‘i’s Awesome Robotics Kids

Robyn Ijima and Tresten Nakashima with County Councilman Jay Furfaro. Amanda C. Gregg photo

It’s always inspiring for me to see people in love. Whether they’re newlyweds aglow because they’re about to have their first baby or longtime sweethearts showing those sweet signs of romantic courtship, it’s a lovely sight to see. I witnessed samples of both Sept. 2 at the Aloha ‘Ike Fundraiser, where dignitaries abounded but the guest list also included average folks such as Katie and Vince Gallo, who are expecting their first baby congratulations! And Tom and April Shigemoto, who met in high school years ago and are now married but still holding hands …

It also was inspiring that the event, which included student displays from all four island high schools, lacked rivalry and instead demonstrated a shared sportsmanship and camaraderie for the sake of innovative robotics projects. Congratulations to teams Bronson Griep and Lansen Ito of Island School, Lexa MinkFlacco and Marina Tangelder of Island School and Kapa’a High, respectively, Rilen Loo, Cheyann Fujii and Riley Gokan of Wilcox Elementary, Benymar Tapucal, Danika Viluan and Hokulani Iseri of Koloa Elementary, and Robyn Ijima and Tresten Nakashima of Waimea High School, for all the exceptional creativity …

Hokulani Iseri and Danika Viluan with their climate change project. Amanda C. Gregg photo

Speaking of accomplishments, it was a bit of poetic justice that the first female first finisher of the full Kaua’i marathon Sept. 4 is a resident of Iwaki City, Japan, the county’s most recent sister city that was devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Rumi Otani made a course record with her time of 3:10:5. Omedetoh gozaimasu! Otani was followed by 2010 winner Becki Lassley with a time of 3:25:17. Congratulations also to Tyler McCandless, 24, of Boulder, Colo., who took the Kaua’i Marathon by storm with a time of 2:23:19. McCandless was trailed closely by the marathon’s 2010 winner, Michael Wardian, 38 of Arlington, Va., who finished with a time of 2:26:19. It’s amazing to learn that the island hosted 1,723 participants from 47 states and 13 countries 1,204 ran the half marathon, with 424 running the entire 26.2 miles. Not bad for an event only in its third year. Hope to see even more folks at the finish line Sept. 2, 2012! …

It’s hard as a journalist to read the newswire, especially when you’re on deadline and all you’re reading is disheartening headline after headline. That’s why I was so beyond pleased when I learned that the public’s kokua to the Kaua’i Police Department helped locate 70-year-old Mary Reeves, who had been reported missing Sept. 2. Turns out she was just fine …

Winner Tyler McCandless on the way to the finish line. Photo courtesy Robin Jumper

Mahalo to the woman behind the County RSVP project, “Kaua’i’s 1,000 Acts of Kindness,” who encouraged the public to volunteer last weekend in tribute to 9/11 victims and heroes. What a giving idea, conceived of by RSVP director Linda Nuland-Ames, whose intention was to engage the community in reaching out to others, whether by starting a walking group, organizing a neighborhood cleanup, donating airline miles to the Make-A-Wish Foundation which needs more than 2.5 billion miles every year to grant wishes for children with life threatening conditions or giving gently used books to Operation Paperback, a nonprofit that sends books to American troops overseas. Of course, the suggestions were just a starting point and can be done any time of the year. Nuland-Ames also said the program, sponsored by the Agency on Elderly Affairs, will assist anyone or any group with developing project ideas. RSVP offers seniors 55 years and older the opportunity to give back to the community by sharing their time and talents with nonprofit and government agencies. To participate in Kaua’i’s 1,000 Acts of Kindness project or for more information, call 241-4479. For more information about the MakeA-Wish Foundation, Operation Paperback, neighborhood cleanup, or starting a walking group, go to wish.org, operationpaperback.org, handsonnetwork.org or serve.gov/toolkits/walkseniors/index.asp, respectively …

Mayor Carvalho with a flag given to him by Rumi Otani, a runner from our county’s sister city Iwaki City. Photo courtesy County of Kauai

I’ve got a unique casting call to announce, stemming from a World War II documentary being produced by L.A.-based Imageworks. Sheridan Hill, a local videographer who is voluntarily assisting filmmaker Louis Asbury (who will be on-island Sept. 19-29) is seeking to video-interview a veteran who fought on Japan’s side in WWII. Hill is asking readers who may know such a veteran who lives in Hawaii to call her at 639-6560. For more information, go to: https://vimeo.com/27702411

For readers wanting to “up” their fitness level and glow from within, health guru Jane Riley says she is launching her long-standing nutrition business on-island. Riley, whose clients range from those who are obese to professional athletes, is known for factoring in the crucial component that makes a fitness plan work: approaching it as a lifestyle choice. Determining her clients’ aerobic capacity, flexibility, upper-body strength, abdominal strength, body fat/body lean ratio, body mass index and balance, Riley says she individualizes wellness and fitness goals. A certified Pilates and yoga instructor and nutritional coach, she specializes in sports nutrition and eating disorders. For more information, call her at 212-1451 …

Jane Riley. Photo courtesy Jane Riley

Congratulations to Karissa Jonas, who was recently promoted to the role of chief financial officer and vice president of finance of Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative. Jonas began her career with the utility in 2005, when she was hired as the co-op’s controller. Her duties will include managing the finances of the cooperative and supervising all accounting, financial and warehouse personnel. Jonas began her career at Ernst & Young as an auditor, where she earned her CPA in California in 1992. Her career continued as an assistant vice president at Foothill Capital Corporation, a commercial finance company providing asset-based lending and money management services to companies in financial distress or in highrisk industries. Jonas graduated summa cum laude in 1989 from the University of Arizona, where she earned her bachelor of science degree in business administration. She lives in Koloa with her husband Paul, son Coleman, 13, and daughter Sierra, 11 …

With this week marking the 19th anniversary of the most powerful hurricane to strike the Hawaiian Islands in recorded history, it seems appropriate to mention outreach coordinator Marcie Grabowski for the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawaii is looking for file footage of Hurricane ‘Iniki and other severe weather that has impacted the state. Email queries to mworkman@hawaii.edu or call her at 956-3151.

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