When Rains Come, So Does Kokua

Sue Kanoho. Amanda C. Gregg photo

There’s been little respite from this rain lately, but what’s more impressive is all the kokua it’s brought out among residents.

That includes Sue Kanoho, executive director of Kaua’i Visitors Bureau, and Gina Kaulukukui, executive director of Life’s Bridges, both of whom consistently lend a hand to residents and visitors alike in the wake of tragedy. Such was the case recently with the death of 58-year-old visitor Sansan Sheng from California. Sheng was witnessed attempting to cross Hanakapiai stream when she was swept into the ocean. Kanoho, president and co-creator of Visitor Aloha Society of Kaua’i, has been a tireless advocate for visitors and for water safety for more than a decade, and along with Kaulukukui added a human touch to the case.

Kanoho also made headlines recently when she reached out to visitors at the airport who had been kicked out by security during one of our recent torrential rainstorms earlier this month. She saved the day by sending her husband, off-duty fire captain Solomon Kanoho, to Lihu’e Airport to help out. Of course, when I mentioned to her how great her effort was, she immediately redirected the focus off herself and lauded Department of Parks and Recreation director Lenny Rapozo, who helped out displaced visitors by manning Lihu’e Neighborhood Center and acquiring cots and blankets for them. Amazing. Keep up the good work! …

Sen. Kouchi with Librarian of the Year Karen Ikemoto

Speaking of amazing, I remember talking with Dr. Dileep G. Bal in the months prior to the free health care from the project Tropic Care Kaua’i. Bal said at the time he just hoped enough people would show up to take advantage of everything from eye exams to dental work, and any other kind of health care imaginable. Show up they did, in droves. Following two weeks of nearly $1 million in free health care services, it was particularly poignant when Col. Jerry A. Arends, mission director of the Innovative Readiness Training Medical Deployment program responsible for the free health care, presented Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho with a coin …

Lots of recognition for Kaua’i wahine last week at the state Capitol. First, on Monday, Karen Ikemoto was honored as state Librarian of the Year. The branch manager of the Hanapepe Library is the first Kaua’i librarian to receive this honor.

Says Sen. Ron Kouchi: “Karen has gone to extraordinary lengths to upgrade facilities and services at the Hanapepe Public Library to better meet the needs and interests of the local community. Her humility, kindness and passion for the profession make her more than deserving of this honor.”

The senator introduced her on the Senate floor …

And on Tuesday it was Miss Kaua’i 2012 Lei U’i Kaholokua‘s turn. She was congratulated at the state Capitol by our entire delegation. Next up for her is the Miss Hawaii pageant, June 9 in Honolulu. You go, girl! …

Rotary Club of Kapa’a has announced a call for entries for its sixth annual 2012 Kaua’i Green Innovation Awards, which honor local businesses, government agencies and individuals on Kaua’i who have shown leadership in developing environmentally aware practices over the past 12 months. This year’s awards will be judged on a combination of innovation, environmental impact and overall effectiveness, and the three criteria will apply equally to businesses, agencies and individuals.

Miss Kaua‘i Lei U‘i Kaholokua with (from left) Sen. Ron Kouchi, Rep. Dee Morikawa, Rep. Derek Kawakami and Rep. James Tokioka. Photos from Se. Kouchi

Entrants must describe in detail the most innovative green initiative taken over the past year, how it broke new ground for the organization or the community, and how it has benefited the environment.

Winners will be honored April 18 at an awards luncheon. Interested? Use the entry form located at kapaarotary.org. Deadline for entries is March 31. For more information, go to the aforementioned web-site or contact Judah Freed at 822-0545…

Anyone curious to have a look-see at the draft Kaua’i Multimodal Land Transportational Plan presented recently at public workshops held around the island can view a summary of the comments and results of the “voting” exercises on the project online. Doing so also will allow you to see which proposed programs and action items from the plan Kaua’i residents ranked as highest priority for near-term implementation. This and other comments received can be viewed at: https://movekauai.net/?page_ id=367…

The Alcohol and Drug Administration will host a Harm Reduction Conference titled “Understanding Drug-Related Stigma” from 8:30 a.m. to noon March 30 at Wilcox Memorial Hospital, Conference Room A. Presenters aimed at building a network of support include Katie Burke, MPH, and Narelle Ellendon, RN. The conference is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Malama Pono Health Services, The CHOW Project and the Harm Reduction Coalition. Registration is limited to 20 participants, and substance abuse counselors, social workers, mental health specialists, HIV/hepatitis prevention staff, physicians and nurses are encouraged to participate. The workshop is free, and includes lunch. To register, call 246-9577 …

Graduations, anniversaries – they’re all special, but it is always particularly cute when either involves keiki under 5. Such was the case at Koloa Early School, which just celebrated its 27th anniversary of teaching Kaua’i keiki on the South Side. It was during that event that teacher Jan Armstrong donated her skill and time to the face painting table for the preschool’s Art Faire, and where Koloa Early School Board president Ronalee Eckberg enjoyed creating with Annabella Thompson using some paint and golf balls. What fun! …

While it was troubling to learn last month from Project Censored that the U.S. Department of Defense was named the second largest polluter worldwide, it’s at the very least pleasantly surprising to learn that Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands won the FY11 CNO Environmental Award, a designation given by the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) as one of the best installations in the Navy for environmental and cultural stewardship. PMRF won in two categories, Natural Resources Conservation-Small Installation, and Natural Resources Conservation-Team. Of the recognition, Capt. Nicholas Mongillo, commanding officer of PMRF, said, “to be recognized with these awards was truly a team effort, and we are dedicated to the continued proactive stewardship of Barking Sands and the deep history and importance of the surrounding area.” …

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