Looking For A Holiday Runaway

Mitchell Robert Hughes. Photo from KPD

Reality sometimes intrudes on the happiest of occasions, including the holidays. Thus it is that Kaua’i Police Department is asking for the public’s help with finding a runaway. Mitchell Robert Hughes was last seen Nov. 1 when he left his residence without permission. He has not made contact with his family since and is believed to be staying in the Lihu’e or Kilauea Park area. Hughes, age 17, is 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs roughly 135 pounds. He has brown hair, brown eyes, a fair complexion and a medium build. He is of Caucasian descent and has an Australian accent. Anyone with information about Hughes is urged to call KPD Dispatch at 241-1711, Investigative Services Bureau, 241-1696 or CrimeStoppers, 241-1887 …

On a happier note: MidWeek Oahu columnist Tom Moffatt reported that the famous Hollywood family of Will Smith celebrated Thanksgiving here on Kaua’i, with daughter Willow catching some waves and wife Jada looking fabulously fit in her rainbow print bikini …

Mayor Carvalho, Cindy Rapu, Dave Spanski and Aaron Knapp. Photo from Beth Tokioka

It was well-deserved when the county proclaimed Nov. 29 Dave Spanski Day. Spanski was honored last week for his nearly two decades of voluntarily coordinating blood drives for the Blood Bankof Hawai’i on Kaua’i. Beth Tokioka characterizes his dedication as “phenomenal,” as only this year the blood bank officially has taken over coordination of the drives (allowing Spanski to “retire”). The day was proclaimed “Super Donor Dave Spanksi Day” in thanks for all the work he has done since April 1993, including signing up county employees, arriving early at the drives to deliver ice, juice and snacks, and for soliciting donations of these items from local businesses and county employees for more than 35 drives. Mahalo nui, Dave! …

The National Tropical Botanical Garden and Women Artists of Kaua’i present the fourth annual Winter Fine Art Festival Dec. 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at NTBG’s South Shore Visitors Center in Po’ipu (across from Spouting Horn). NTBG’s Jon Letman says the event promises holiday fun, food, live music and art by some of Kaua’i’s favorite local artists. Shop for gallery-quality works (paintings, photography, mixed media) in a beautiful garden setting. A portion of the proceeds will help support the garden. For more information, call 742-2433 or visit womenartistsofkauai.blogspot.com

The 12th annual Kaua’i Hawaii Homegrown Music Festival – Homegrown For The Holidays will feature local music, food, art and a craft fair Saturday (Dec. 15) from 2 to 10 p.m., and Sunday (Dec. 16) from noon to 9 p.m. The festival will be held in the outdoor amphitheater at Church Of The Pacific in Princeville. Musical artists include Bill Kreutzmann, Steve Kimock, Reed Mathis, Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz, Lukas Nelson, Jeff Caldwell Band, Santiago Soto, Hang Time, Sudeeka and Kalalea Fire. Admission to the all-ages event is free for youths age 15 and under, and costs $35 for a day pass; $60 for both days. Tickets are on sale at Papaya’s Natural Food store, Kaua’i Music and Sound, Healthy Hut, Progressive Expressions, and Strings and Things. Tickets also can be purchased at dovepresents.com. To learn more, go to freshjamradio.com or call 635-5556 …

(from left) state Sen. Suzanne Chun-Oakland, teachers Lori Carl and Ashley Newton, and UH faculty Bobbie Yee, Diane Masuo and Michael Cheang. Photo from Dyan Kleckner

Two Ele’ele Elementary School teachers were recognized Nov. 30 at the University of Hawaii Federal Credit Union in Honolulu for their commitment to the Hawaii Kids Savings Project, which teaches young children the importance of saving money to invest in the future and helps them overcome obstacles to doing so. Ashley Newton and Lori Carl, both third-grade teachers at Ele’ele, developed Akamai Money, a game kids play in teams that teaches them important economic and financial literacy concepts and helps them to think more broadly about planning for goals they have and ways to have fun as a family that don’t cost money. Two teachers from Kuhio Elementary School on Oahu also were honored. The Hawai’i Kids Savings Project was initiated in 2008 with one Oahu elementary school and 88 students. Today 1,827 students – first- through fifth-graders from 28 DOE elementary schools statewide – have saved a total of $259,563, with an average savings of $115 per child per year. When Newton and Carl were approached to start the project on Kaua’i, there was no funding available for it, but the teachers were so committed that they initiated the project anyway. They subsequently were funded for two years, and after the money ran out they successfully applied for their own grants to be able to keep the project going. Mahalo nui, ladies. Way to take the initiative and lead by example …

Mahalo to the Westin Princeville, which recently completed a successful food drive, raising 1,244 pounds for the Kaua’i Independent Food Bank. The Westin Princeville’s Associate Council, according to a prepared statement, organized the food drive. The organization is comprised of associates from various departments within the resort to encourage staff engagement in the hotel and the community, hosting themed food drive days, including “Carb Friday” and “Tuna Tuesday,” encouraging associates to bring in some of the food bank’s most popular items during the 20-day food drive. Although the food drive was the first collective effort by hotel staff, the resort also contributes a weekly donation of roughly 100 pounds of unopened, non-perishable food items left over from villa owners throughout the year to the organization. For more information about The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, visit westinprinceville.com

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