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Funeral for a newsroom reunites friends, rivals


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POSTED: Sunday, December 13, 2009

Former KHNL-TV anchors Diane Ako and Paul Drewes staged what may have been a first for Honolulu last night: a funeral for a newsroom.

The friends, who lost their jobs to the shared services agreement between KHNL, sister-station KFVE-TV and formerly cross-town KGMB-TV, got to talking about some sort of gathering. She half-joked that it should be a funeral.

Her husband, Claus Hansen, owns The Affordable Casket Outlet LLC and Moanalua Mortuary, and he chimed in that he was set up for that sort of thing.

“;People were concerned that we are going to be, like, all negative and stuff. ... That wasn't the intent,”; she said.

“;Please join us to celebrate the life of our beloved news department as we knew it, a newsworthy string of careers that passed through these doors, and 14 years' worth of great friendships that extend beyond the newsroom,”; the electronic invitation read.

“;I invited people from all the stations, both newspapers, MidWeek, radio people, it's a small media town,”; Ako said.

Other party guests included people she interviewed with whom she's still in touch, “;producers, cameramen, editors, some people who worked at KHNL but I don't know what they did,”; PR professionals and former media types who moved on to a different sort of public life (read: politics).

“;I have to admit, Paul and I know a lot more people, but we were both so scattered, trying to pull ourselves together after the layoffs, we weren't very thorough,”; she said.

Some 56 invitees had confirmed their attendance by Friday afternoon.

Drewes is currently reporting for KITV, so “;he pretty much turned over co-hosting duties to me,”; Ako said. He planned a brief appearance but had to be up at 3 a.m. today for Honolulu Marathon coverage.

Ako assembled 230 photos of colleagues from her 1996-to-2009 KHNL career into a 20-minute slide show to run as a continuous loop. Those pictured included Marvin Buenconsejo, Barbara Wallace, Guy Hagi, Lee Cataluna, Heidi Umbhau, Vince Gerasole, Julie Ogata and Rod Antone, who went on to become a Star-Bulletin reporter.

Ako and former co-worker Cindy Paliracio edited a collection of bloopers for the party, some of which aired by accident.

“;One unnamed reporter said (the F-word) on the air, another said (the S-word) on the air,”; she said. Another that surely drew a loud response last night was, “;I have Russell Yamanoha getting spiked in the (naughty bits) with a volleyball.”;

Budget breakfasts start with new year

The announcement that McDonald's will roll out $1 breakfast items might have confused some Hawaii consumers, since many Hawaii locations have offered $1 sausage McMuffins and $1 sausage biscuits at breakfast since 2002.

The McDonald's corporate announcement will expand the dollar-menu options on Jan. 1 at participating Hawaii restaurants to include sausage burritos, hash browns and small coffees for $1 each. Additionally, $1 parfaits of fruit and yogurt are available all day, as are two-for-$1 apple pies or $1 specialty pies, when offered.