Waha Nui

Carol Chang
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February 17, 2010 - MidWeek The Islander
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Sani Fuimaono

Kalaheo graduate Ryan Churchill has risen to the top at Maui Land & Pineapple Co., where the board of directors has just appointed him president and COO. He has “proven leadership skills,” says interim CEO Warren Haruki, “and a deep sense of commitment to our community.” Ryan also has degrees from U. of Arizona and UC-Irvine, and is on the board of Hawaii Nature Center, among others. Good luck, Ryan ...

Count the HSTA among the organizations getting in line to honor Auntie Alice Hewett. The stalwart supporter of Kaneohe sports leagues has been picked for HSTA’s Friend of Youth award, and they’ll honor her at their convention in May ... Speaking of sports, Kaneohe’s Sani Fuimaono has signed on for a full-ride scholarship to the University of Arizona, thanks to his academic skills and talent on the football field and wrestling mat for Punahou. The former King Intermediate student and player for the Kaneohe Knights Midgets also will have a Samoan D-line coach on the UA Wildcats team - Mike Tuiasosopo, nephew of Bob Apisa.


“I told Sani, the key is education, and education is going to set you free,” notes Sani’s proud mom, Ijeva Matavale. (This happy photo is by Barry Markowitz) ... Speaking of colleges, University of Oregon alumni plan a party and silent auction Feb. 26 at Waialae Country Club (800-245-ALUM). It’s a benefit for their scholarship fund. Megan Lum of Kaneohe was a recipient last year ... Another Duck is Kevin Chang (Castle 1990), who won a $10,000 fellowship from the Audubon Society and Toyota, which he’s putting toward plans to enhance Pahua heiau in the middle of Hawaii Kai. He works as Oahu conservation land manager for OHA, which owns the centuries-old heiau ...

The most creative cards in Kaneohe Bay Shopping Center’s Valentine Card Contest came from, ahem, Pualii Zidek of Kaneohe Elementary, Sammi Larson of Maunawili Elementary and Hannah Campbell of Kalaheo High ... Kaneohe’s Paul Weissich, a legendary landscaper, writer and former director of Honolulu Botanical Gardens (he even has a plumeria blossom named after him), was honored last weekend as a Living Treasure by Honpa Hongwanji Mission. Among many other things, Paul worked to establish Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden and is very fond and protective of Hawaii’s oldest trees ... Leonard Leong Wong also made plants thrive at his farm in Kahaluu. Leonard, who died last month at age 98, was perhaps best known for the luau leaves he and his family grow for everyone’s luaus and special parties ...

In last week’s column, I said Ernie Soares is 83, and that he filmed a commercial for Honda Windward. Oops. Ernie actually called to advise me that he’s three years older than that. Also, the commercial was for King Nissan. But the Kaneohe man is still building little doll houses for hospitals, meanwhile. “I have three at my house right now,” he says ... Castle High art students Loseli Vakameilalo and Joshua Lui Kwan won Gold Key awards in the latest Scholastic Art Contest. You can see for yourself what they’ve created now through April 2 at Hawaii State Art Museum ...

Retired UH professor Miles Jackson of Kahaluu was honored last month as an individual who promotes civil rights, diversity and justice at the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Hawaii Friends of Civil Rights Awards. Miles has written and edited several books and articles about the little-known history of African Americans in the Islands ... Congratulations to Washington State’s fall semester President’s Honor Roll students, including Kaneohe residents Sarah Low, Kyle Mendes and Ryan Renio

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