Wood Craft

Ben Wood

Leed says hospital
bill almost gave her
a heart attack

Melveen Leed said the doctor and nurse on the Pride of Aloha "saved my life" when she suffered a heart problem after entertaining on the cruise ship in the L.A. area June 12. They gave her medication to slow her racing heart, she said. The ship docked at San Pedro and she was taken to a hospital. George Applegate from the HVB in Hilo accompanied her. She was moved to a hospital in Torrance, where a heart specialist was on the staff. After five days she was allowed to come home. "Before letting me go, they wanted me to pay a hospital bill of $20,000," said Melveen, who has no medical insurance. "I almost had a heart attack." Melveen will never lose that sense of humor. The 20 grand is only for the Torrance hospital bill. There are more. Tihati Productions' Cha Thompson is organizing a fund-raiser to cover the medical bills. Right on, Cha! ...

Ruth's Chris has a rousing 15th birthday party

Randy Schoch, who has the Ruth's Chris Steak House franchise in Hawaii, says he may open more restaurants here. He said he is looking at Ala Moana Center as a site for one of his Thaifoon Asian concept eateries and on the Big Isle for a Ruth's Chris. Randy, wife Cherie and their children Randall, 12, and Victoria, 10, came from Scottsdale, Ariz., for the 15th anniversary of Ruth's Chris at Restaurant Row. The Schochs, along with operations chief Paul Ah Cook, his wife Robin, and the Ruth's staff, put on a swell party Monday night under large tents outside the restaurant. The Honolulu Jazz Quartet -- bassist John Kolivas, pianist Dan Del Negro, drummer Adam Baron and Tim Tsukiyama on sax -- helped make the blast a success. Danny Kaleikini sang "Almost Like Being in Love" and "Nearness of You" with the guys ...

Chewing on: Hibachi Pork Chops is the "In the Kitchen With Robin" entree Saturday at Palomino with Chef Robin Uyeda, 3:30 to 6 p.m. Following the cooking class, the class members eat a three-course dinner with wine pairings. Cost is $50 and guests will receive a $20 Palomino dining card and a T-shirt ... OC16's "Hawaii Goes Fishing" host and former restaurateur Ben Wong landed a guest role as a detective on "North Shore." Ben was at Hy's 24 years and was the concept architect for Century Center's Bistro ...

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Ben Wood, who sold the Star-Bulletin in the streets of downtown Honolulu during World War II, writes of people, places and things every Wednesday and Saturday. E-mail him at


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