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    COURTESY POLYNESIAN CULTURAL CENTER Viavia "VJ" Tiumalu, 19, defeated a three-time champion to win the World Fireknife Championship this weekend at the Polynesian Cultural Center.

Florida teen captures fireknife crown

Viavia "VJ" Tiumalu won his second World Fireknife Championship at the Polynesian Cultural Center this weekend, defeating a three-time champion from Laie and a dancer from American Samoa making his first appearance in the finals.

Tiumalu, 19, of Orlando, Fla., last won the championship in 2008.

After performances Friday and Saturday during the intermission of the Polynesian Cultural Center’s night show, "Ha: Breath of Life," Tiumalu was declared the winner over Julian Maeva, 26, of Pago Pago, American Samoa, who made his first appearance in the finals.

David Galeai, 31, of Laie placed third. Galeai won the championship in 1999, 2000 and 2003 and placed second in 2006. Galeai also choreographed "Ha: Breath of Life."

Modern fireknife dancers twirl sharp knives that have both ends on fire, following in the tradition of Samoan warriors who performed the dance before battle to frighten their enemies and afterward to celebrate victory.

Champions were crowned in the Junior Pacific and Open Group divisions on Thursday.

Kauai Council to cast votes on ’12 budget

The Kauai County Council will hold a meeting at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday to vote on a fiscal year 2012 budget that calls for $185.97 million in operational expenses and $83.23 million in capital improvement projects. It would be the largest budget for the county ever, the Garden Island newspaper reported.

A public hearing May 25 will be followed by a special full-Council meeting to vote on the budget before handing it to Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. for final approval.

State to fund North Kohala protection

The state plans to award $2.62 million to Hawaii County and a nonprofit organization for the protection of lands in North Kohala with important cultural, natural and agricultural resources, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.

The county will receive $1.65 million to acquire 76.55 acres at Kaiholena, and Mai­ka‘i Kamakani ‘o Kohala will receive $975,000 to acquire 27.55 acres at Kauhola Point in North Kohala.

“During a time when we are focused on the current economy, it is important to also remember our responsibility to future generations and the sustainability of Hawaii’s agricultural, natural, and cultural heritage,” said William Aila, director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, in a written statement.

The grants are part of a $4.45 million state project that will secure approximately $7.6 million in matching federal, county and private funding toward securing the protection of these lands.

Looking for royalty

Applications to be a member of the 2011 Aloha Festivals Royal Court are available online at Completed forms must be received by the Aloha Festivals office by June 25. Contact Aloha Festivals by mail at P.O. Box 15945, Honolulu, HI  96830-2622; call 391-8714; fax 923-2622; or email

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