Aloha lives, in the City by the Bay
Former UH head football coach June Jones, Aloha Airlines
and two local students will be honored Hawaii-style in San Francisco tomorrow.
The 6th annual Five Star Aloha Gala, by the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce of Northern California, will be at the Westin St. Francis and will be staffed and attended by a host of ex-pat local folks. KGO-TV sportscaster Larry Beil, a former KGMB-TV sports director and ESPN anchor, will be the MC.
The chamber had long planned to honor Jones this year, and "the fact that he didn't renew his contract (at UH) didn't change our minds," said President Eric Tao, a Hilo-born real estate developer living in San Francisco.
The chamber honors people with its Kulia I Ka Nu'u Award "for what they've done, not for what they will do," he said.
Jones put Hawaii in the national limelight and was an inspiration, Tao said.
"He increased recruitment of local players, encouraged the Polynesian culture and respect for that, for Hawaiian ways and all of that. That's what this award is all about -- embracing the culture, the heritage ... and using it as a strength, to succeed on a national level."
Big Island Candies founder and President Allan Ikawa will present Jones the award at the black-tie-optional affair.
The chamber's board has also decided to honor the stunninglydefunct Aloha Airlines, one of its business members, with a special award.
"As a company, they really ... inspired people from Hawaii to dream big and grow beyond the islands to the national level, while still embracing the community," Tao said.
Chamber director Leimomi Hall, Hawaiian Airlines' regional representative in San Francisco, will present the special award. Hawaiian Air is also a chamber member.
Two Hawaii students attending college in the Bay Area will receive scholarships this year. They are Roosevelt High School grad Mary Guo, now a sophomore at UC Berkeley, and Bryanna Tatupu-Leopoldo, a Farrington High School graduate and sophomore at Notre Dame De Namur University.
Hawaii ex-pats will perform in more ways than on the stage, as will Kapena Delima's Kapena Unplugged. Among those performing culinarily will be Kelly Degala, who was opening chef at Gordon Biersch in Honolulu. He is now chef and partner in Pres A Vi at the George Lucas Center. The 10,000 square-foot, high-end wine bar and restaurant is the anchor eatery in the "massive office building."
Akamai diners will discern Degala's local roots via Pres A Vi's Sunday brunch menu -- it offers a loco moco.
A few tickets are still available for purchase online at $150.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: email@example.com