Thursday, November 26, 2015         


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Ewa Beach woman puts her skin to a chilly test

By Ben Wood


SANDRA KAILANI OKAMOTO of Ewa Beach seems to be a cool gal, but on New Year's Day she was downright cold. She took part in the Polar Bear Dip in the Atlantic at New York's Coney Island. The temperature was in the 40s and the ocean was 38 degrees. It certainly wasn't Waikiki Beach. Sandra got into the swim by being found online at by Vaseline Intensive Rescue officials, who were looking for "real women" to try their dry-skin product. She is now part of a women's Dry Skin Patrol, putting their skin to the test under harsh winter conditions. Besides the Polar Bear Dip, there is dog sledding in Duluth, Minn., and skiing in Aspen, Colo. ...

THE READERS WRITE: Concerning a song's name in a previous column that Mihana Souza and Puamana always sang for the late Judge Samuel P. King, who died Dec. 7 at 94, Anna Derby Blackwell e-mails the song's full name: "I think that possibly the song Mihana sang to Sam P. was 'Aloha, ku'u home a e Kane'ohe, me na pali ka uliuli o na Ko'olau.'" Puamana sang it the last time for the judge at his memorial service Dec. 29 at St. Andrew's Cathedral. Anna, who attended UH with me in the 1950s, said it was the campaign song for Judge King's dad, former territorial Gov. Samuel Wilder King. Anna sang with the choir during the memorial. She added, "Sam P. never got around to it, but he said that one day he would show me a home movie he took of my grandma Sophie Judd Cooke and her daughters, my mother Dora Derby and Auntie Phee FitzGerald, dancing that hula for Gov. King at the aha 'aina my grandparents ... had on Molokai to celebrate their Golden Wedding in April 1956." She said it was the last of the great old-time parties, with people from all the islands arriving by plane instead of by steamer, as in the past. ...

THE DEC. 22 death of former Star-Bulletin chief photographer Robert "Bob" Ebert at the age of 98 brought back memories. Bob was married to the late Charlotte King, sister of the late Judge King. He was nominated for a Pulitzer for his photo of Iuemon Kiyama tearfully embracing his son, 442nd Sgt. Howard Kiyama, on the soldier's return from Europe after World War II combat. Bob was always ready to talk about the old days at the Bulletin and the historic events he covered. ...

OSCAR WORTHY: "The King's Speech" ranks with the best pictures I have ever seen. Colin Firth as stuttering King George VI and Geoffrey Rush as his speech therapist are brilliant. Helena Bonham Carter stands out as Queen Elizabeth.

Ben Wood, who sold the Star-Bulletin on Honolulu streets in World War II, writes of people, places and things Fridays. E-mail him at

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