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Inaugural gala celebrates Palama agency, supporters

By Ben Wood

LAST UPDATED: 2:37 p.m. HST, Oct 25, 2013

The first Malama Palama Gala will be held Nov. 9 from 5:30 to 10 p.m. at The Modern Honolulu. Being honored are Cecilia Blackfield and Skippa Diaz, longtime supporters of Palama Settlement, the nonprofit, community-based social service agency serving the Kalihi and Palama neighborhoods.

Diaz was a standout athlete at Farrington High who later became head football coach at the Kalihi public school. In later years, he was deputy director of the city's Department of Parks and Recreation and was a community volunteer. Blackfield, who is 98, still attends Palama events. She created the Blackfield Youth Activity Center in honor of her son, Leland, who died in 1989. She also initiated an scholarship program in 1999. And, she has her friends donate to Palama Settlement, now in its 117th year, instead of giving her gifts on her birthday.

The gala event committee is chaired by Paula Rath, granddaughter of Palama Settlement founder James Arthur Rath. Cha Thompson will provide entertainment from Tihati Productions. Tihati was founded by Cha and her husband, Jack Thompson, both Farrington alums. Kimo Kahoano and Taimane Gardner will take part in the program. Cha is high on a quartet from New Hope Christian Fellowship called Dukes of Surf that will perform. The group sounds like the Beach Boys, she said. Tickets are $250. For more info and tickets go to or call 848-2501 by Monday ...

IT'S BEEN TOUGH lately for Paula and Cha. Paula lost her mom, Jacqueline Rath, 92, on Sept. 21 and brother, Robbie Rath, 69, on Sept. 24. Cha had to have brain surgery after she was injured in a fall the first week of September. What's more, on Oct. 1 a car trunk lid hit her on the head. Cha, a toughie from Kalihi, said last week: "Getting hit any other place would be serious, but on the head, naaah" ...

BOO! Diane Ako and Paul Drewes' Halloween party was held Saturday night at Affordable Casket & Moanalua Mortuary, co-owned by Di's husband, Claus Hansen, honorary consul of Denmark. Drewes is morning anchor at KITV and Ako, who works at Halekulani in P.R., is a former KHNL anchor. Many of their past and present TV colleagues attended, including Jill Kuramoto, morning anchor at KITV; Terry Hunter, film critic for Hawaii News Now; Barbara Wallace, former KHNL anchor; Beth Hillyer, former KHNL reporter; and Tracy Arakaki, OC16 show host and exec producer for "PunishUM Motorsports." Psychic Melissa Kurpinski gave psychic readings. Handmade lollipops by Candy Art Hawaii, owned by Nathan and Chika Tanaka, were a hit. The Tanakas also brought their new photo booth service. Obake Hunter, stage name for a paranormal investigator, shared ghost stories and experiences. His assistant was Lea Akiona, former KHNL employee. Ako's Halekulani friends were in the mix. Cameraman Sisto Domingo captured it all. The party drew 109 adults and 33 kids ...

BROTHERS Nathan, 8, Zachary, 6, and Alex Godsey, 3, presented a check for $426 to the Kapi'olani Children's Miracle Network Oct. 14. Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children CEO Martha Smith acknowledged some of the hospital's youngest philanthropists. The money was raised at the boys' homemade limeade stand, stationed along Kalanianaole Highway to refresh marathon trainers. The boys were inspired to donate to Kapiolani when retired pediatric nurse Jo Malmstrom-Okita happened by on her Sunday walk and explained how the sick children at the hospital could use a donation for the playroom. That was all the boys needed to hear. Instead of a one-time event, the stand was set up for four consecutive Sundays. On the last Sunday, after the boys surpassed their goal of $200 by $13, the limeade was free. Dad Ben Godsey took a break from his post heading up ProService Hawaii to make good on his promise to match the funds. He and his wife, Yvonne, joined the boys at the hospital along with Tucker the therapy dog. Tucker celebrated his eighth birthday at Kapiolani on Saturday. I'll be celebrating my 82nd today and Saturday with some charming young ladies ...


Ben Wood, who sold newspapers on Honolulu streets in World War II, writes of people, places and things. Email him at

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