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Tapia doesn’t let bum hip get in way of birthday jam

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    Bill Tapia and Jeff Peterson are seen jamming. Bill's belated 102nd birthday party was held Sunday at the home of Mihana and Chuckie Souza in Kailua.

YOU CAN’T KEEP a good man like 102-year-old Bill Tapia down. The musician-singer planned to fly in from California last January to celebrate his 102nd birthday at Mihana and Chuckie Souza‘s Kailua spread, but he fell and broke a hip. So he flew in late July, not too long after a New York gig with Mihana, and they held a birthday bash Sunday at the Souzas’ home. Some of Hawaii’s top entertainers turned out to perform with Bill, who played uke and sang. A Hawaiian jam session got things under way with Puamana’s Mihana, Aima McManus and Luana McKenney, joined by Bill, Eddie Kamae, Pat Enos, Cookie Among, Sam Henderson and Owana Salazar. Slam poet Kealoha also took part. Then Bill got things swinging with a hapa jazz jam, featuring singer Jimmy Borges and musicians Byron Yasui, Benny Chong, Jeff Peterson and Ernie Provencher. The day was a rare treat for the 150 people under the luau tent in the Souzas’ backyard. …

LAST WEEK was a great sports week for Hawaii, highlighted by the Waipio Little Leaguers, who battled their way to the U.S. championship. Even though they lost the World Series game to Japan, they won the hearts and cheers of Hawaii’s people for their never-say-die standout play. …

WINNING SWING: Michelle Wie‘s victory in the CN Canadian Women’s Open was big. We all knew she had the goods but this was only her second tour win. Let’s hope this opens the door to more. … Jack Nicklaus was on Kauai Aug. 20 to review the renovation project at Kauai Lagoons Golf Club. "It’s great to be back here in Hawaii and at Kauai Lagoons, which has always been one of my favorite golf courses," said Nicklaus between signing autographs. The renovation of the Kiele Ocean back nine includes the addition of another ocean hole. Eighteen of the 36 Nicklaus-designed holes are still in play during the renovation. … Palama Settlement’s fundraising golf tourney will be held Sept. 24 at the Kapolei course. It’s a three-person scramble and entree is $200 per golfer. Honolulu Ford is donating a Ford Fiesta for a hole-in-one on the 16th hole. Call 848-2502 for more info. …

FOR SAN FRANCISCO 49er fans, and there are many here, the Niners 28-24 preseason win over the rival Oakland Raiders on Saturday was important. Two former UH gridders played key roles: Speedy Travis LaBoy was a terror at defensive end and knocked the Oakland quarterback out of the game with a sack, and Isaac Sapoaga started at defensive tackle and was in the middle of much action. …

A LARGE CROWD of supporters and those who participated in ProjectFocus Hawaii attended an exhibition of photographs Sunday at Alan Wong‘s Pineapple Room in Macy’s. Besides viewing photos, guests devoured snacks and enjoyed music by Roland Cazimero and Sean Tiwanak. Photographers Laurie Callies and Lisa Uesugi are children’s photographers who founded ProjectFocus. Working in partnership with a nonprofit organization each year, they conduct a 12-week photographic internship for 14 at-risk kids, ages 10 to 18. The youngsters are both subjects and photographers. This year’s nonprofit partner is HUGS. …

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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