By Dave Donnelly

Friday, August 29, 1997

Blockbuster 2
for Pun alum?

WHILE I've not yet read Linda Ching Sledge's new book, "A Map to Paradise," it's received some fine endorsements and it appears to have the makings of a stirring tale. Ching gave her fellow Punahou Class of '62 alums a taste of the book at a gathering held at the school's Alumni House earlier this month. She read a chapter which was set at Punahou circa 1880. Sledge, who is married to Reader's Digest managing editor Gary Allen Sledge, is the daughter of Lammy and Connie Ching of Aiea. You may recall Linda's earlier book, "Empire of Heaven," which won the Washington Irving Award and was praised by the New York Times as "a Chinese 'Gone With the Wind.' " As for her latest novel, C.Y. Lee, author of "Flower Drum Song," called it "a fascinating novel about the early days in Hawaii," adding, "I could not put it down." And Alex Haley, who knows about "Roots," called it an "exceedingly powerful, sensitive drama." ...

WATCH for some big news on the investment front. Hotelman Chuck Sweeney, who bought Harbor Court downtown and owns the Kea Lani Hotel on Maui, is about to close his purchase of the Keauhou Beach Hotel. And perhaps the Aloha Tower Marketplace thrown in for good measure? ... ESPN did a long piece on the late Shannon Smith, the UH kicker who died on the Slippery Slide on Kauai while helping to save the life of Cody vonAppen, the 7-year-old son of UH coach Fred vonAppen and wife Thea. There was a long, moving story carried on the Internet's ESPN SportsZone as well ...

FOR as long as I can remember, Casual Aire has been selling sportswear at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. For 40 years, before Hilton even bought the place, in fact. Now it's the end of an era. Joan Langley is moving the operation to Ward Centre, opening Tuesday ...

Handbook 'em, Danno

SPELLING, grammar and factual errors all over the place have led the University of Hawaii to dump its student handbook. But not before over 500 copies were distributed and became instant collector's items. In the recalled handbook you can read about George Vancouver presenting a Union Jack to King Kamehameha I "when he placed Hawai'i under British protection in 1974." Seems like only yesterday. And Hawaii's state motto was translated to mean, "Above all nations is humanity." Whatever happened to "The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness" ...

SPEAKING of which, the fancy invitation put out by the Hawaii Women's Legal Foundation to its fund-raiser with Hawaii's mayors raised some eyebrows. The evening is being called "Over the Reef and Beyond Belief" and the printed prices were just that. An honor table of 10 was listed at $3,500, a patron table cost $2,500 and a sponsor table was $12,500. The ladies had already spent a bundle on the printed invitations, so they merely inserted a black and white paper with "Oops!" written on it and the correct price. Sponsor tables are only $1,250 ...

Bowling them over

THE Hollywood Bowl will be brimming with both beauty and aloha Sunday. Paul Kruck of Show Connection Ltd. and Claire and Koa Johnson of Flower Farm are personally accompanying a half-ton of tropical flowers and greenery that will decorate the stage for a performance in the venerable showplace by the Honolulu Symphony and Keali'i Reichel. And it was just confirmed yesterday that Brook Mehealani Lee, Miss Universe, will perform a hula to the music of George Kuo and Dennis Kamakahi.

Dave Donnelly has been writing on happenings
in Hawaii for the Star-Bulletin since 1968.
His columns run Monday through Friday.

Contact Dave by e-mail: donnelly@kestrok.com.

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