February 2012 Newsletter

The February 2012 issue of The Lana’i Connection is online! Browse our blog for individual articles, or if you prefer, download the PDF files below:

Although these sign-up forms are available in the file above, here are links to the individual forms. Please download and complete the sign-up forms if you are interested in attending any of these upcoming events:


A Visit with Alehandro “Ale” Arao

By Bob Kinoshita

A couple of weeks ago, I was informed by a LACA member that Alehandro Arao had been medivaced to Queen’s Medical Center (QMC) for open heart surgery that was done on February 7, 2012. I decided to go visit him on Tuesday afternoon after my weekly work out at the Honolulu Club. Upon arrival at QMC, I made inquiries and went to the heart surgery recovery room and found Ale sitting up on a chair with pillows propped behind his back and on his lap. Ale looked uncomfortable and in some pain moving to and fro. When he opened his eyes and saw me, I whispered “Howzit Ale.” Ale responded immediately and said “Gitcho.” I was relieved that he recognized me right away.

Ale spoke about his private physician on Maui recommending that he undergo open heart surgery right away instead of waiting when the heart condition worsens and/or the risks increase with age. Ale is recuperating well and taking his doctor’s directions to heart.

Ale and I go way back to Lana’i plantation days when we worked in the same gang during World War II in the pineapple fields after school was over. This goes back to when we were 12 years old! During the summer, Easter and Christmas breaks, we were at the base yard by 5:30 a.m., gathered in our gang before loading up on the trucks and heading out to our assigned fields. Our work ranged from weeding to picking pine (crown cut off and pine boxed for pick up) to spraying the fields with five-gallon cans of weed killer. This was all manual labor until modernization took place and picking machines were brought in. With the picking machines, the gang would follow the boom as we picked the ripe pineapples and dropped it in so the conveyor belt would transport the pineapples into the truck bin.

In reminiscing about the past, I recalled how Ale and several others were good hustlers and as a result the rest of the gang caught on and worked as a team and took on the offers of the field supervisor to grant approval to the Luna (foreman) to allow the gang to go home once we had finished picking all the pineapples for four blocks of pineapple field. We all would eat our bento lunch prepared by our mothers first before starting work. Then we would all go into our separate lines and face the boom with the truck driver driving and we would hustle picking pine and often yelled “Mon-so” (hurry up) to finish our work and meet our quota then head home.

Later on as we grew older, Ale took to music and was often strumming his guitar and singing – which he continues to sing and play today.

Looking back, I can tell you that Ale had a tremendous life growing up because he enjoyed whatever he did. And as I reflected and looked at him sitting on a chair at QMC, I thank God that Ale is still alive and the same caring guy I have known since we were kids. Most people have some negativity, but I cannot recall Ale ever showing any negative flaws in his actions. Ale’s laughter is always personable. I pray to God that his health is greatly improved with this surgery and that he continues to be the kind of Lanaian that we all admire as being kind and respectful to everyone.

Class of 1960 Update

For any reason, big or small, or for no reason at all, the Class of 1960 will find an excuse to get together to eat, laugh, talk story and laugh again. We just love seeing each other. Our latest reason was yesterday on February 6, 2012 as the regular lunch bunch went to the Royal Palace at the stadium mall. We have tried many different places, but seem to frequent here because it’s centrally located as well as the food is good and ono loa! We pigged out on the sesame-covered mochi balls with azuki beans! Some of the girls (not going tell you who) ate three or four balls!

At this gathering, we talked about some activities coming up this year, such as:

  • the Lanai Culture & Heritage fundraiser on March 25th at the Mamiya Theatre on O’ahu,
  • the Maui-LACA connection on Memorial Day weekend in May on Maui, and;
  • the upcoming Class of 1960 birthday celebration in Vegas the first weekend in November. Classmate

Angie Perez volunteered to spearhead the November event and has come up with the idea of taking a side trip to Laughlin on Friday. We did that as a class a long time ago and had so much fun on the bus eating, laughing, eating, laughing (repeat all the way)… the bus driver couldn’t believe how crazy we were but he enjoyed it nevertheless.

Anyway, back to yesterday’s lunch, Gloria Obado Reyes was a guest of ours and shared details on the upcoming Maui-LACA connection for this May 25-27. Her follow-up email said, “Thank you for inviting me to your class luncheon. Thanks Lloyd for the TREAT! and Rita for the tip. I felt like a freeloader today… ate till I couldn’t move (my first time to that restaurant), received gi’s galore – Kakimochi packages from Carolyn, Energy Bars from Myrtle, Chinese Fortune Cookies from Rita in celebration of Chinese New Year. I wonder if Kemoi’s cookie message really said ‘he’s
going to win a trip to Vegas soon!’ He sounds like the class clown… enjoyed listening to him, and his beautiful wife Debbie saying how young we all look! Must be the pineapples in us! Also Maggie gave us Wood Roses that she picked from her sister Apol’s yard. Brought back memories, last time I saw wood roses was on Lana’i in our younger days.”

Yep, by the way Gloria, Lloyd treats us often… he will even rearrange golf plans just to feed us! We love you, Lloyd! We knew electing you class president in high school would be a lifetime benefit. A hui hou till next time!

Lui Obado Wins 1st place Gold Medal in the Art Division National Veterans Creative Arts Festival

By Gloria Obado Reyes

In October 2011, CW3 Dwight Lui Obado, Retired, won a gold medal in the art division at the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival in Fayetteville, Arkansas. His winning entry was a leather saddle that he made adorned with his custom artwork.

The Festival is the celebration and grand finale stage and art show, which is the culmination of talent competitions in art, music, dance, drama and creative writing for Veterans treated in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national health care system. I must say he does beautiful work with leather. I am not saying this just because he’s my brother but WOW! I know music is his specialty like my Dad, but he can now add “art on leather” to his long list of talents. You go, Lui!

Lui is the son of Soledad Obado.

Happy New Year 2012!

by Suzanne Damian

I’d like to thank all who participated in 2011 LACA Las Vegas. Thanks to the Pagays for the beautiful quilt, Miss Fukuda for her generous monetary gift, David Lebby (California Hotel V.P. & General Manager) for the annual donation of the 1st grand prize (5-day stay at Boyd properties which Tony Sanchez won) and dinner for two at Pasta Pirate. Pictures of Lanai City and Sweetheart Island donated by Suzanne Damian, favors donated by Judy Nitura (Jerky Shop 3rd St.), pineapples and candies by yours truly.

The Ninth Isle Serenaders (Kimo Wong, Joe Binabese & Roy Rapanal) provided the music. A total of 75 guests attended including the class of ’61 (19) celebrating their 50th reunion. Thanks to Gerald Sakamura (contact person) who co-chaired their program on the 16th floor on October 1, 2011. There were plenty food, good music and lots of long-time friends.

Thanks to all the Blazing 7’s machines which contributed to my LACA award and yearly scholarship. The year 2011 was a good year for me. I won two free trips thanks to Channel 2 Vacation Hawaii Morning Shows.

Thank you, LACA members, for the support you’ve given me whether to the scholarships or operational expenses all these years. We have over 1,000 members and I wish everyone could give at least $5 or $10 annually. We, on the board of directors, do not get paid. We volunteer our time and many hours planning every year to make LACA work. Please kokua.

This will be my last chairmanship of LACA Las Vegas. I’ve enjoyed all the years going to Las Vegas, donating my time, meeting new friends, old friends and the wonderful people in Vegas. Vegas has been my second home and I never tire of traveling. This past year brought me to Vegas January, March, October and December. I had fun shopping, exploring new casinos, new restaurants, new machines and exploring new places.

As of January 5, 2012, classmate Martin Esteban (class of ’52) passed away 1/3/2012 and Ted Perez was hospitalized. Condolences to Edie Esteban and family of Hilo and get well to Ted of Las Vegas. I’d like to personally thank the BOD for all their kokua throughout the years. We hope we can get new members on board.

Remember our annual meeting on April 15, 2012 at Pearl Country Club. We need your donations and anything to offset LACA operational expenditures.

Please continue to support LACA and the BOD whether they’re on Maui, Lanai or Oahu. Next Vegas reunion well be held the 2nd weekend in October in 2013.

Thanks again to my Las Vegas co-chair Joy Enfield, California VP David Lebby, Executive Secretary Sandy Gres, Plaza Hotel executive casino host Nathan Young for 4-day complimentary stay and dinner for 6.

Class of 1981

by Russ Gima

The Class of 1981 celebrated their 30th class reunion on Lana’i in early July with the theme of “Bash 3.” The Bamboo Garden bed & breakfast house (next to “Mustache” Tsumura’s house) was their home base for three fun-filled eventful days. A stunning thirty-four (34) classmates returned to Lana’i with some whom they had not seen since their high school graduation thirty years ago. It was very heartwarming that four classmates who now reside on the mainland made it to this reunion: Audrey (Baldeviso) Morrill, Tessa (Billena) Olsen, Will Cabiles and Wayne Benanua.

A few of the 81’ers welcoming their classmates’ home.
(L-R): Robbie Sanches, Alex Bueno, Russell Gima, Mickey Felipe and Owen Kaopuiki.

Highlights of the three day festivities included the class of 1981 at:

  • The Throwback Dance Party III,
  • The Pineapple Festival at Dole Park,
  • Picture taking in front of the Lanai High & Elementary School and at Ko’ele, and;
  • Honoring their three fallen classmates (Magno Magaoay, Miles Sandi and Conrad Kawasaki).

The Class of 1981 is already planning another reunion in July 2013 when they will gather to celebrate
their 50th birthdays and also host the next Throwback Dance Party. Stay tuned!

Planning Committee for the 30th reunion
(L-R): Alex Bueno, Lydia (Barsatan) Rodriguez, Grace (Miyamoto) Poei,
Norine (Yamasato) Liem, Stan Oyama, Annette (Niibu) Tijerina, and Russ Gima. 

Photo taken by: Butch Gima

Sitting (L-R): Audrey (Baldeviso) Morrill, Grace (Miyamoto) Poei, Tessa (Billena) Olson, Lydia (Barsatan) Rodrigues, Nancy (Agtarap) Brines, Ping (Degamo) Joyce, Frances Alvarez, Chris (Ramil) Mirafuentes, Alison Bularon, Tammy (Gabriel) Sanches, Verna (Plunkett) Fernandez, Eva (Caberto) Batoon, Sarah (Masada) Cadiz, Faith (Amby) Thornton, Malia Locquiao, Annette (Niibu) Tijerina, Norine (Yamasato) Liem, Lynne Oshiro, Diane (Amaral) Preza

Middle row (Standing, L-R): Ed Magaoay, Owen Kaopuiki, Robbie Sanches

Back row (behind sign, L-R): Will Cabiles, Michael Felipe, Duane Ozoa, Alex Bueno, Russell Gima, Shane Saiki

Photo taken by: Butch Gima

Front row (sitting, L-R): Lynne Oshiro, Norine (Yamasato) Liem, Diane (Amaral) Preza, Grace (Miyamoto) Poei, Alison Bularon

Middle row (L-R): Nora Ballesteros Etrata, Chris (Ramil) Mirafuentes, Sarah (Masada) Cadiz, Nancy (Agtarap) Brines, Verna (Plunkett) Fernandez, Ping (Degamo) Joyce, Frances Alvarez, Eva (Caberto) Batoon, Tammy (Gabriel) Sanches, Faith (Amby) Thornton, Annette (Niibu) Tijerina, Malia Locquiao, Lydia (Barsatan) Rodrigues, Tessa (Billena) Olson, Audrey (Baldeviso) Morrill

Back row (standing, L-R): Wayne Benanua, Duane Ozoa, Owen Kaopuiki, Robbie Sanches, Alex Bueno, Michael Felipe, Will Cabiles, Shane Saiki, Russell Gima, Ed Magaoay

Lanai-California Ohana Picnic

by Sally Cadiente

A delightful atmosphere of laughter and excitement started from the parking lot before arriving at our picnic site at Doheney State Beach, Dana Point California held on August 24, 2011.

Doheney State Beach was again the site of our annual summer ohana picnic. On a beautiful sunny day a crowd of nearly 150 were in attendance. Upon arriving at the venue, picnic tables were decorated with pineapples and beautiful flowers. The musical sounds by Joice & Glen Alapag, Jane Garalde, Ben Dalde, several participation from the crowd serenaded us all day. Hula dancing, singing, telling jokes was enjoyed by all.

Food was absolutely plentiful & ono. Our ever popular face painting for the kiddies, arts & craft kept them busy while raffle kept the adults occupied. There was many activities at the beach with swimming, bike riding, strolling along the beach or just relaxing & talking story with Lanaians & making new friends. Visitors from Northern Calif, Las Vegas, San Diego, LA, OC area and from back home joined us. Our big surprise was when Gloria & Vince Reyes arrived. They just returned from a visit with their daughter Sharon in Denver, Colorado & was enroute back to Hawaii. Gloria made an announcement that LACA Reunion 2012, will be held on Maui during the Memorial day weekend. Gloria & Vince spend several hours with us and off they went to catch their flight home at LAX.

After another successful picnic it was obvious majority rules of having Lanai California Ohana Picnic every year. A heartfelt mahalo in coordinating our picnic event goes to the following: Joice & Glen Alapag, Ben & Lei Dalde, Ben & Carol Asuncion, Ron & Jane Tabura, Jane Primicias, Lori Gaboya, Gloria Rivera Pszyk, Bobbie Mizuno, Glenda Obado Ito, Nora Raboy, Pat Oshiro, Eleanor Robles, Irene Seawright and Roy & Sally Cadiente.

Honoring All Our Educators

By Jean Piena

The Lana’i alumni and Community Association (LACA) cordially invites you to the Annual Membership Social on Sunday, April 15, 2012. The event is designated in appreciation and in honor of all educators in our school system. Gathering place will be on Oahu at Pearl Country Club from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. Featured speakers will be Sakae Nakama Loo and Hatsue Higa.

Sakae Loo, a 1947 Lana’i High School graduate, attended the University of Hawaii and majored in Elementary Education. Her first job was at Kinoole Elementary School on the island of Hawaii. She taught at Lana’i High and Elementary School for two years and was an exchange teacher in St. Louis, Missouri. Other educational roles she assumed included being supervisor of student teachers, the Vice Principal and Principal of various elementary schools in Windward Oahu. She was appointed as Windward Deputy Superintendent and retired in 1991 as the Windward District Superintendent. After retirement, Sakae assisted in the Leadership Training Program up to the year 2000.

Hatsue (Hattie) Higa, LHS class of 1952, attended the University of Hawaii and the University of Oklahoma. She received her master’s degree in educational counseling from Ohio University. She will share what influenced her to become teacher and her 32 years of teaching experiences via the Department of Defense Dependent Schools. Prior to teaching at elementary schools in Okinawa, Germany, Ethiopia and Korea, Hattie taught four years in California. In 1992, Hattie returned to Hawaii, was hired by the Department of Education and assigned to Nanaikapono Elementary and later to Pearl City Elementary School. When she retired, she taught adult education at Farrington.

Call your friends, bring your ohana and spend an enjoyable time, fellowshipping, bidding on raffle items and grinding on the savory buffet and desserts. Delightful entertainment will be provided by John Kauwenaole, class of 1968, and fellow musicians.

Please submit the enclosed sign-up form with payment of $35 payable to LACA. Mark your calendar.

Co-chairs Jean Piena and Mona Cockett welcome volunteers in carrying out the activities. Call Jean at (808) 845-8651. We look forward to seeing you on April