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StarBulletin.com

Oh baby, tree lighting at Kahala was special


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POSTED: Wednesday, December 10, 2008

O CHRISTMAS TREE: I was invited to turn on the lights of the Kahala Hotel & Resort's beautiful 21-foot Christmas tree Friday. It was a big night that really got me into the Christmas spirit. And it could have been an even bigger night. Earlier in the evening, little Raya Rojales, a cute 6-year-old first-grader at Kahala Elementary who was to stand along side me with Santa during the big lighting up moment, was introduced to me by her mom, Geraldine. Dad is Redentor Rojales. I saw that Geraldine, the Kahala's marketing services manager, was pregnant and I asked her when the baby was due. Anytime now, she said. That sent a bolt of electricity through me and would have sent a shock wave through the people in the luxurious lobby if that had happened. Resort G.M. John Blanco and his staff put on a festive evening with beverages and pupu. The well-trained 56-member Na Keiki O Manana Choir from Manana Elementary, under the direction of Aaron Paragoso, sang Christmas carols. Stewart Kotake was emcee. Guests brought canned goods for the Hawaii Foodbank. Blanco gave Foodbank Prez Dick Grimm a check. As of yesterday, Geraldine was still expecting. She said if the baby does not come before the Kahala's "Three Faces of Japan" Food and Wine Classic Friday and Saturday, she will work through that, then take leave ... Geraldine may still be expecting but the Star-Bulletin's Sherri Yoshioka gave birth to a girl, Miya, Nov. 18. Papa is Justin Yoshioka ...

Moving on: The staff of the city's Liquor Commission is not going to let bad economic times ruin Christmas. The theme of their Christmas tree at Honolulu Hale is "The grinch that couldn't steal Christmas 2008!" Trees from the other departments had nice Christmas decorations, but the tree decorated by Liquor Commission employees emphasized friendship, love, ohana, music and food. It was decorated with Hawaiian music CDs, lollipops with photos of ohana and candy kisses with tags of kindness, love and hugs. A cutout of a 3-foot-tall Grinch held a poem reading that with times being so hard, music and aloha with many good friends will be fine for Christmas and that he, the Grinch, will not in any, way, steal Christmas. Employee Cookie Isaacs, known for helping others, said that two years ago the liquor panel staff adopted and invited a Papakolea grandmother and her three grandchildren to their Christmas party. They gave the kids backpacks and other gifts and gave tutu $300 for food ...