Kokua Line

June Watanabe

St. Jude’s happy to get
old Christmas cards

Question: Can you reprint the address for the St. Jude's Children's Home where we can send old Christmas cards?

Answer: St. Jude's Ranch for Children in Nevada accepts the fronts of used greeting cards for any occasion, not just Christmas cards.

Mail the card fronts to St. Jude's Ranch for Children, 100 St. Jude's St., Boulder City, NV 89005-1681.

For more information, call (800) 492-3562 or check the Web site: .

According to its Web site, the nonprofit organization helps abused, abandoned and neglected children. The children trim and glue the card fronts onto pre-printed 5-inch-by-7-inch card backs and the new cards are sold to the public. The children receive 15 cents for each card they make, with the money split into savings, college funds, spending money, and a fund for group outings.

Closer to home, however, you might want to send your used Christmas cards to Waipahu Intermediate School teacher Merlinda Oania.

Oania continues to carry on the tradition started by the late Helen Daniels of making picture books for hospitalized children using used Christmas cards.

You can either mail your cards to Oania at 98-596 Kaimu Loop, Aiea, HI 96701, or call her at 486-0236 if you wish to make a delivery.

Last year, students in her English as a Second Language classes produced more than 50 books, which were delivered during the Christmas holiday to children at Ronald McDonald House, Shriners Hospital and the Salvation Army.

That compares with "only 20" produced in 2002, the year Oania took up the volunteer project started by Daniels, known as the "Christmas Card Lady of Kailua."

Daniels had been making the books, including writing original poems, for 12 years before she had to stop in 1997 because of ill health. She died in June 2000.

Others took up the task, including Cindy Delgado, the mother of three young children, who herself had to stop the time-consuming effort when her middle child was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in 2002.

Oania then stepped up, saying she believed the project was a good way to help her students learn English as a second language.

"The cards are still coming," she said recently. "But we could always use more."

Students work on the cards in late October and November for delivery in time for Christmas.

Oania noted that Waipahu Intermediate's student government also has become involved in the project and the intent is to open it up the next school year to all English classes, and eventually, to the entire school.

She also credited Pearl City resident Ellen Morishita and her family for volunteering their time in trimming the cards for use by the students.

Q: At the Pro Bowl game, I would like to know why a flashing sign to enter the Aloha Stadium parking lot said "Gate 1 Closed, Passes Only. Gates 3 & 4 Open." However, after getting to Gate 1 with my parking pass, I was told by a policewoman to go to the next gate (at the north side). I had to wait in line for another 30 minutes before getting to the next gate. Then, once inside the stadium lot, I had to drive around the entire stadium to get to my designated parking area near Gate 1. If I had known that we had to enter from the north gate on Kamehameha Highway, I would have gone to the stadium from another route (Kamehameha Highway instead of Salt Lake Boulevard). Why was the flashing sign saying to enter from Gate 1, but the policewoman told me to enter from another gate?

A: Stadium parking officials apologized for what happened, saying they were swamped early on by cars trying to get into the stadium.

Cars were lining up before the gates were opened, said Engel Garcia, the stadium's parking supervisor.

"We don't have any excuse for (what happened) except for the fact that we had too many cars on the road," he said. "When we get into a situation like that, it's very hard for us to catch up."

The game plan was to allow people with passes to go through Gate 1. But the large number of vehicles waiting to enter Gate 1 began blocking the intersection, so the Honolulu Police Department asked that cars be directed to Gate 2, "which was experiencing less traffic at that particular time," Garcia said.

He noted there were 40 police officers directing traffic outside the stadium, another 20 inside, plus 120 other people helping to direct traffic.

"It was tough to get the word down to everybody," he said, so when the policewoman directed you to the other gate, she had gotten the latest word, but the sign hadn't yet been changed.

"I apologize for the amount of hassle that (you) went through," Garcia said. "It was a pretty tough situation for everybody."


See the Columnists section for some past articles.

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