ClimbHI's 2019 LEI Event
Monday morning, I joined Governor David Ige, First Lady Dawn Ige, and HTA President Chris Tatum in addressing hundreds of high school students interested in pursuing futures in hospitality at ClimbHI’s 8th annual LEI event. LEI, which stands for “Lead, Expose, and Inspire,” is an HTA-sponsored workforce development project, led by Julie Morikawa, President & CEO of ClimbHI, and is intended to encourage local youth to work towards careers in the visitor industry.
During my speech, I presented two new initiatives for the students to take advantage of: the first, that HLTA will be inviting a group of (15) students to attend our brand-new Hawai’i Hotel and Restaurant Show on May 29th and 30th at the Hawai’i Convention Center! The second was to remind these future industry leaders that HLTA, in partnership with the Hawaii Tourism Authority, is still taking applications for our new Ho’oilina Scholarship. This new initiative provides several four-year scholarships to students who are pursuing a Travel Industry or Hospitality degree, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hawaii Pacific University, or Brigham Young University-Hawaii.
My staff followed up by handing out information on this new endeavor, as well as HLTA’s many other scholarship opportunities, at the LEI Career Fair later that day. For those who are interested, the Ho’oilina Scholarship applications are due on April 29th: for further information, please visit our website at http://www.hawaiilodging.org/scholarships.html.
Hawaiian Music Walk of Fame Dedication
It was also my pleasure this past week to emcee the Hawaiian Music Walk of Fame Dedication & Blessing at 2500 Kalakaua Avenue, as a favor to Margaret Bukatz, President of the Hawaiian Music Walk of Fame.
The Hawaiian Music walk of Fame honors Don Ho, Alfred Apaka, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, Gabby Pahinui, Chick Daniels, Hilo Hattie and Alice Namakelua.
Margaret has coordinated and by in large funded this project over the last several years. Her idea began when the palm trees that had adorned the sidewalk became diseased- she then facilitated the placement of seven bronze plaques cast in the likeness of the Hawaiian Music Legends into the new sidewalks at the corner of Kalakaua Ave and Kealohilani Ave.
This Dedication and Blessing featured tributes to the legends from family members or their friends. One of the highlights was the Aiea State Representative Sam Kong, who grew up and went to school with Bruddah Iz in Palolo. Nearly 200 people were in attendance, including friends and family of the honorees, as well as members of the press.
The ceremony featured a blessing from Pastor Shon Kihewa of New Hope Oahu, and hula performances by Maile-Anne Daniels, granddaughter of Chick Daniels; soloist Dora Kawahinepo’aimoku Yamamura; Bianca Kulia Kaleinani Foster, granddaughter of Don Ho, and the halau Ka Hale I o Kahala Halau Hula, led by Kumu Hula Leimomi I-Maldonado. The reception that followed was generously hosted by ABC Stores.
Though you'd never suspect at first glance that what looks like a very large Cheeseburger in Paradise is also home to the Hawaiian Music Walk of Fame. And if you take a second look, you’ll see not only the faces of these fabled performers in the stone, but you can also find QR codes and the images of these famous musicians along the external wall of Cheeseburger in Paradise.
I hope that the next time you find yourself on Kalakaua, you’ll stop by and take a moment to honor and learn more about these exceptional musicians who shared the spirit of aloha with the world. Mahalo Margaret!
Register Now for Hawaii's 1K Slippah Walk!
It was recently brought to my attention by Joe McNamara (former General Manager of KITV4 News) and the Wounded Warrior Ohana that the 2018 Guinness World Record for most walkers in thong flip-flops belongs to a small run club in Cary, North Carolina.
The nOg Run Club’s record was subsequently broken in September by the UMOM New Day Centers in Tempe, Arizona. Their participation, which has recently been reflected in the Guinness Book of World records, is 1,587 walkers.
Now my question is this: how can we possibly let that stand, when Hawaii is home to the rubbah slippah? Waikiki is a slippah town: and at any given moment, we have thousands of flips flops on our sidewalks and streets worn by residents and visitors alike.
So we thought that this year, as a warm-up to our traditional Charity Walk, we would organize Hawaii’s first-ever 1K Slippah Walk around Ala Moana Beach’s Magic Island! For just five (5) additional dollars, we encourage our Charity Walk participants to come out and support the Wounded Warrior Ohana as we try to break the Guinness World Record!
I hope that you’ll come out and join us in your slippahs for this special event. We then ask that you donate your pair to our slippah drive, as you change into sneakers for our Charity Walk, and make a day of walking for a great cause! I’m already looking forward to May 18th – see you at Magic Island!
To register online, please click here. To register via paper form, please click here.
Homelessness Matching Funds Distributed Statewide
Top left: Kaua'i allocations. Top right: Maui allocations. Bottom left: Oahu allocations. Bottom right: Hawai'i Island allocations.
This week, HTA President & CEO Chris Tatum joined me in presenting over $360,000 to 44 nonprofit organizations across the state.
We were accompanied by special guests at each event: On Kaua'i, Chapter Chair Paul Toner was joined by Mayor Derek Kawakami, HTA board member Fred Atkins, and members of his board; on Maui, Chapter Chair Fred Findlen was joined by HLTA Chair Emeritus Gregg Nelson, venue host Maui Beach Hotel General Manager Greg Peros, and MHLA Executive Director Lisa Paulson; and on Hawai'i Island Chapter Chair Craig Anderson hosted us at the Mauna Kea Resort. At the Oahu allocations, we were joined by Lieutenant Governor Josh Green, House Tourism Chair Representative Richard Onishi, Senate Tourism Chair Senator Glenn Wakai, HLTA Executive board members, and HLTA Chairperson Glenn Vergara.
These beneficiary organizations have been carefully vetted; not just at the county level via the HLTA Chapters, but were also subject to final approval by the State. These grants are the result of a productive public-private partnership between the State, HTA, and HLTA.
Though it has been a long process, I could not be more pleased to announce that we have indeed begun disbursement of the Act 86 (2018) $1 million dollars. These monies are particularly earmarked for homelessness efforts in tourism-impacted areas, and matched dollar-for-dollar, by funds raised by the private sector.
7 nonprofits joined us at the Kauai Marriott Resort on Monday. The Boys & Girls Club of Hawai‘i, Kaua‘i Division; Catholic Charities of Hawai‘i, Kaua‘i Office; Hawai‘i Foodbank, Kaua‘i Branch; Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank; Kaua‘i North Shore Food Pantry; ‘Ohana Christian Fellowship; and Salvation Army Hawaiian & Pacific Division – Kaua‘i Corps all received their checks.
On Tuesday at the Maui Beach Hotel, the 9 recipients were Catholic Charities of Hawaii, Maui Division; Family Life Center; Feed My Sheep; Habitat for Humanity; Hale Kau Kau; Ka Hale a Ke Ola Homeless Resource Center; Keiki Cupboard; Maui Food Bank, and The Salvation Army Hawaiian & Pacific Division, Maui Corps.
Thursday morning, the Oahu Allocations were held at the Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger. 21 organizations received their additional funds: Corvette Center Ministries; Surfing the Nations; The Salvation Army Hawaiian & Pacific Islands Division; Hawaii Foodbank; Aloha Medical Mission; People Attentive to Children (PATCH); Mental Health Kokua; Hale Kipa; Legal Aid Society of Hawaii; Family Promise of Hawaii; Aloha Harvest; United Church of Christ Transition House; River of Life Mission; Young Women’s Christian Association of Oahu; Hawaii Youth Services Network; Project Vision Hawaii; United States Veterans Initiative – Hawaii; Friends of the Children’s Justice Center of Oahu; Hawaii Arts Alliance; Ho’oala Na Pua, and The Institute for Human Services.
Then, Thursday afternoon we jetted off to Hawaii Island, where we presented checks to the last seven philanthropic groups. Catholic Charities Hawaii; Habitat for Humanity; Hawai‘i County Economic Opportunity Council; Hawai‘i Food Basket; Hawai‘i Island Home for Recovery; Hope Services Hawaii, and The Salvation Army gathered at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel for their monies.
This would not have been possible without the efforts of Representative Richard Onishi, and Senator Glenn Wakai, as well as our wonderful partnership with HTA. While it has taken some time, it warms my heart to meet with these groups and hear about the impactful work they are doing in their local communities.
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