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By Dave Donnelly

Wednesday, August 16, 2000

No HMO bashing here

TODAY might not have special significance for you, but it does for me. It was six years ago today, while having a routine checkup at Kaiser in Moanalua, that I began coughing up blood and was rushed to the emergency room ("Just like on T.V.") for the first of two operations. My heartfelt thanks to Dr. John Falzarano, who did the first operation, and Dr. Peter Abcarian, who conducted Mug shota complicated procedure 10 days later. Together, the two saved my life despite my losing 60 units of blood which Kaiser replenished. So people who make jokes about HMO's had best not lump Kaiser in with those programs they deem insufficient. I owe them my life ...

EVERYONE, it seems, lives to eat, and the folks who are members or guests at Waialae Country Club are in for a treat. Longtime Waialae chef Bobby Hirasa is retiring at the end of the month, and his replacement will be Tom Wong, for the past seven years exec chef at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel ... Chef Ivan Pahk of Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar at Kapalua, will prepare his award-winning Maui Onion Festival recipe Sunday on "Hawaii's Kitchen." The KHON show is hosted by Brickwood Galuteria, the guy whose name sounds like a yuppie shopping mall. Entertainer Moe Keale calls him "Driftwood Cafeteria." ... Maybe it's because her office is so close by L'Uraku, but Emme Tomimbang just loves the food served up there by Chef Hiroshi Fukui. The chef is one of her guests Saturday and will have his work cut out, preparing goodies for Emme's other guests, former sumo star Konishiki, known locally as Saleva'a Atisanoe, and singer Martin Nievera. The show airs Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on KGMB and is repeated Sunday at 1 p.m. ...

North to Las Vegas

YES, I know Las Vegas is more East than North, but real estate facilitator Joe North is heading that way after living here for many years. North located a spot for Niketown and Cheeseburger in Paradise, plus having a key role in establishing many neighborhood shopping centers around town. Despite his serious job, North is something of a resident wit, and though few knew much about him when a "Stir Fry" took place at the Hawaii Theater to mark my 30th year of writing this column, North -- one of the fryers -- had the place in stitches. And when he finished, emcee Don Robbs said, "What are you doing in real estate -- you should be a stand-up comic." Maybe now that he's Vegas bound, he'll do just that. He'll keep his local real estate license alive, however, and will be scouting potential clients wanting to expand to Hawaii ...

JUST a week ago we itemed that ex-UH Ocean Engineering Department chairman John Craven was the James Bondian hero in the book, "Blind Man's Bluff," about American submarine espionage, and how he was now writing his own true story, "The Silent War." On the CBS morning news yesterday, Craven was an expert guest commenting about the Russian nuclear sub sunk near the Arctic Circle ...

King once again

THE July 31 issue of Time magazine has a feature on a Hawaiian musician I'd not heard of. King Benny Kawahi played with a group called the Red Devils back in 1931 on the mainland and only now has a CD been issued featuring his artistry. Time's Richard Corliss went nuts, saying he deserved his royal honorific "as much as jazz gents named Duke and Count." High praise indeed ...

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

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