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Our current president, Ruth Bernstone, gave the following report at our general meeting:
2016 has come and gone, and as I went through the minutes, expertly prepared by our secretary Kathleen McCann, to refresh my memory, I was astounded at how many activities we participated in this year, and how many new volunteers we were able to attract who will contribute to our long term success.
In January, our own Representative Cindy Evans was awarded the Legislator of the year Award by the Friends of the Library of Hawaii and asked me to come and share this occasion with her. The Governor and Mrs. Ige were present, along with Stacey Aldrich and Keith Fujiyo from the State Librarian’s office, several legislators, Amy Asselbaye from the State Board of Education, and FLH affiliates. I was approached by many affiliates who wanted to learn all about our activities, and everyone was duly impressed! Even Nainoa, the Executive Director of FLH spoke of our organization as the most active in the state.
While the Bookmobile has become an institution in our neighborhood, and our dedicated volunteers (Derry Morris our chairwoman, Dan Reimer, Gloria and Larry Drinen, Melody Hills, Lynne Mclaren, Kaye Hegrenes and Elna Pendleton) keep the bookmobile looking topnotch every day, we have had our challenges this year with vandalism by some youngsters, including setting off fire extinguishers, scratching the woodwork with profanities, and generally making a mess. It’s a shame that respect for property is sometimes lacking, but we have decided to add a nanny cam to the bookmobile in order to try to prevent further damage. And, of course, regular maintenance is also required. Bette and Bob Green rotate the wheels on a regular basis, we repaired and repainted the pergola, replaced the battery and will be making repairs to the countertops and cushions in the near future as well. We are lucky to have Paula Kamiya, retired librarian to clean and organize the children’s books that are donated. And this year, we purchased books for the bookmobile for the first time in order to add books that encourage interest by girls in science and math.
This year, we continued our participation in programs such as Foodland’s Give Aloha in September and Amazon Smile, our co-sponsorship of the Waikoloa Talk Story nights, participation in the Mauna Lani Charity Trees event (we won second prize), the 5K Walk/run for Literacy chaired by Bette Green and Mali Mueller (116 participants), Silent Auction chaired by Cindy Kennedy and Stephanie Stearns (over 70 items), quilt drawing (thank you, Waikoloa Sew N Sews), the wonderful interactive Health Fair put together by Alexandra Bernstein, who also does P.R. for FL-WR, and sponsorship of our Newbery Quiz Bowl team. Thanks to all the many volunteers who are needed to make these events happen. And Chef Stephen and owner Abraham Go of Under the Bodhi Tree restaurant prepared another delicious fundraising dinner for us this November which sold out quickly. Financially, it was good year and we will have the funds we need to provide continuing literacy programs.
We purchased 10 more Kindle Fires for the Waikoloa Elementary and Middle School this year, a program arranged by Vivian Green, and are continuing discussions with both Waikoloa and Kealakehe High School librarians as to further contributions we can make to enhance their students access to ebooks and resource materials. We also purchased books for Waikoloa School that were missing for accompanying use with their audiobooks.
The Joseph E. Spadaro Memorial Scholarship is going strong, thanks to the generous support of Luella Spadaro and family. Our first student graduated last year with honors. We now have 2 students in their second year at Hawaii Community College at Hilo studying auto mechanics who will graduate in June and three students in their first year. In July, we had a get-together with students and their families at the Waikoloa Villas cabana. Their Kealakehe High School auto mechanics teacher, Chris Ibarra, a real mentor to these kids, also attended, as did Mary Spadaro, who talked about her father Joe. It gave the students an opportunity to share their experience with each other, and we enjoyed spending time getting to know them better too. And in March and April we will again be soliciting and reviewing more applications for students for the 2017-2018 school year.
As if they don’t do enough for our community, Luella Spadaro rewarded our board members with a great dinner in January. We all enjoyed the meal and the chance to socialize with each other. Luella celebrated her 98th birthday in February and enjoyed the flowers we sent her. I took the opportunity while I was in Honolulu in January to visit Luella at her assisted living facility. She invited Mike and I to join her and Mary for lunch while she told us stories of their 35 years living in Waikoloa.
We met several times for coffee with the outgoing and incoming presidents of the Honoka’a Friends when they came to Waikoloa for doctor appointments. They were very interested in our programs and these discussions led to a meeting in Hilo of all Big Island Friends which Alexandra and I attended and where we all had a chance to talk about our activities and challenges.
Thanks to volunteers Pat Cassel, Stephanie Stearns, Elna Pendleton, Shar Crawford, and Leann Cohen, we participated in the WV Ohanafest and gave away lots of children’s books.
We are in our second year of Baby’s First Book project, chaired by Mali Mueller, and thanks to a grant from Margaret Willi’s Discretionary Fund, we will continue to provide all newborns at NHCH with this beautiful book and get them started on a lifelong love of reading for another year.
This year we are again a sponsor of the Newbery Quiz Bowl, organized by our past school librarian Paula Kamiya, which will take place on March 29th at the Prince Hotel. We provide volunteers and this year we are excited to be sponsoring, along with a generous donor, the 2015 Newbery winning author, Kwame Alexander. His winning book, Crossover, is one of the 40 books the students will be reading this year, and he will act as Quizmaster. I’ve read the book and it is wonderful – full of rhythmic prose and an engaging story. We are also providing 100 student participants with a copy of his new book coming out in February called The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life, that will be signed by him. And we have a wonderful FL-WR team, led by our very own Lynne Mclaren.
We have been invited to participate in the Wiliwili Festival on January 28th. If anyone is interested in spearheading this effort and handing out pencils, bookmarks and books, please let us know and we can help recruit volunteers to assist you.
Today is a bittersweet day for me as I leave the office of the president and become a past-president on the FL-WR Board of Directors. I will continue as cochairwoman, along with Bette Green, of the scholarship program. I’m looking forward to having more time for cooking, baking, art, music and attention to good health, but it has been a real pleasure to work alongside so many wonderful volunteers – every one of whom contributes to our success each year.
We will miss Sandra Martin, who was our IT VP since we started and who is going off our BOD. She maintained our website, sent out our emails, taught us how to use the Square, and was always there when we needed her. But we are thrilled to have a new VP of IT and webmaster, Jessica Grinnell who will add her own talents and enthusiasm to our group.
We are also losing Mali Mueller, our VP of Programs and Activities for the last five years, and the organizer of our Baby’s First Book project. Another strong asset on our board of directors, we appreciated her professionalism, sense of humor and strong organizational skills, and hope that she will continue to volunteer as her time allows. Several people have indicated a willingness to help with the Baby’s First Book project and we are looking for a place to store the books beginning in February. Please let me know if you are interested in helping with the delivery of the books or of starting a new literacy project.
Thank you, Cathi Keene, Finance VP who has kept us on the financial straight and narrow for several years and Lynne Mclaren, our Executive VP, for continuing your participation on our Board.
And now, the plan was to present a musical trio of Kathy Fraser on cello, Marilyn Bernhardt on recorder and Brian Nakasone on guitar. Until, that is, Kathy broke 2 fingers this week! So instead, she will introduce Brian who will play us some guitar songs and we will play some of her recorded cello music while we enjoy cookies and sparkling cider.
The FL-WR 7th annual general meeting will be held on Thursday, January 12, 2017 in the WVA community room by the WVA offices at 7:00 p.m. The general public is invited to come and hear our year in review by our President, Ruth Bernstone.
We will have some musical entertainment and cookies after the meeting.
Our current president, Ruth Bernstone, gave the following report at our general meeting on January 15:
It’s hard to imagine that 2015 could be more adventurous than 2014, but it was! With many new programs and the continuation of old ones, all of us were kept very busy.
I’d like to start by telling you about my trip to Honolulu this week. Representative Cindy Evans was to be awarded the Legislative of the year Award by the Friends of the Library of Hawaii and asked me to come and share this occasion with her. It was held at Washington Place, currently considered the Governors house, but it has a long history and was home to Queen Lili’okulani before her arrest. I was fortunate to get a tour of the place following the award ceremony.
The Governor and Mrs. Ige were present, along with Stacey Aldrich and Keith Fujiyo from the State Librarian’s office, several legislators, Amy Asselbaye from the State Board of Education, and FLH affiliates.
In her speech, Cindy told the story of the beginning of her love of libraries. She was a latchkey kid growing up in the Midwest – her mother being one of the few that worked at that time, and the library was a safe and interesting haven for her where she spent many hours looking at the pictures in books. She spoke of how we came to acquire the bookmobile and bring it to Waikoloa, how the WVA donated land to put it on and hooked it up to electricity for us, and what an asset is has become to our community. She mentioned the many programs we have developed here to enhance literacy, such as the scholarship program. She introduced me as the President of our Friends affiliate and I was approached by many affiliates who wanted to learn all about our activities, and I have to say proudly, that everyone was duly impressed! Even Nainoa, the Executive Director of FLH spoke of our organization as the most active in the state. Waikoloa was the talk of the town that morning!
This year, we continued our participation in programs such as Foodland’s Give Aloha the month of September and Amazon Smile (if you log onto Amazonsmile.com and choose Friends of the Library – Waikoloa Region as your charity, a donation will be made to us), our co-sponsorship of the Waikoloa Talk Story nights, participation in the Waikoloa Christmas parade, the Walk/run for Literacy and sponsorship of our 5 member Newbery Quizbowl team.
In February, we sent two of our board members, Lynne Maclaren and Alexandra Bernstein, to the FHL Affiliates conference. This was their first opportunity to meet the FHL staff, other affiliates and important State personnel, a time to make valuable contacts and collect information.
In April, Cathi Keene was at the Kealakehe Senior Awards Night to present two more Joseph E. Spadaro Memorial scholarships to needy students to earn a Certificate of Achievement or an Associate of Applied Science degree in the Transportation and Applied Technology or Construction Technology Department of the Community College of Hilo. Bette, Cathi and I had a chance this month to get together with two of the 3 students and their families now being sponsored, and to get to know them a little better. It is always so rewarding to hear how appreciative they are for this opportunity for their children and grandchildren.
While I was in Honolulu this week, I stopped in to see Luella Spadaro in her care center. She will be 98 in February and is quite frail but still speaks her mind. She told me of how she and Joe built their house here in Waikoloa – the family still owns it – and of her warm memories of her years here. I showed her pictures of all of our students and told her how grateful we are to her and her family for providing the funding and how happy we are to be able to assist in the selection of the students, add a little to the money pot, and administer the scholarships – and we learn more and get better at this each year thanks to Cathi Keene’s clear vision. We are proud of the students’ achievements – our second year student, Joel Duhaysod was named first in his class of automechanic students, and we try to help them succeed as best as we can.
We also volunteered again at the 26th Newbery Quiz Bowl, co-chaired by Paula Kamiya since it’s inception. I was Quizmaster- and probably won’t be asked to do it again as I messed up one of the questions, and Bette, Norma Edelman, Lynne and Alexandra were also there helping out. Our team didn’t win a prize, but had fun participating. This April it will held on the east side at Kamehameha School and we have five students participating. Lynne is following our team’s efforts by attending their meetings, and we plan to take over the leadership of the team for the 2016-17 Quiz Bowl since the current leader will be retiring.
In June, Stacey Aldrich, the newly appointed Hawaii State Librarian and Keith Fujio, Acting Special Assistant to the State Librarian, who has worked on our future library project for the last five years, paid a visit to Waikoloa Village at the invitation of State Representative Cindy Evans. Ms. Aldridge, who served as state librarian of California and as deputy secretary for the Office of Commonwealth Libraries of Pennsylvania, holds a master’s degree in library science.
After a presentation by Roger Wehrsig, WVA General Manager, on the demographics of the rapidly growing Waikoloa Region, a visit to the Bookmobile and lunch at Banji’s, FL-WR volunteers had an opportunity to describe the history of the Bookmobile and our efforts since 2010 to support community literacy and promote our future library. Needless to say, she was very impressed with the wide range of our activities, and appreciated the value of our community’s donation of WVA land to attain a library for the Waikoloa Region. Her visit ended with a tour of the future library site near the stables, of the village and the Waikoloa region, and a visit to Thelma Parker library. She now understands the need of our growing region for a large library and supports our desire for a facility that can be a community gathering place.
In September, we launched two new projects. After meeting with the Kealekehe HS librarians earlier in the year, Vivian Green established the need for e-books readers for students who don’t have their own, to be able to access the Hawaii BOE free e-library. The schools have to pay to have access to this, but if students don’t have a device, and many of our Waikoloa students don’t, they have no way to access it. Vivian wrote a grant, applied to the FLH and received a matching grant to provide 6 Kindles and accessories to the HS. These were delivered in September, much to the delight of the two librarians. Vivian will be following up on the results of this program and, if successful, we will apply for another grant to fund more of these devices.
The Waikoloa School has also expressed an interest in having us provide more e-readers to their library since they are also paying to participate in the DOE program. Vivian will be following up on this in the next few weeks.
Also in September, after weeks of acquiring the materials and frustrating efforts at communicating with hospital personnel, Mali was successful in delivering to the NHCH Birthing Center the first 100 of the 500 board books called On the Day the You Were Born by Debra Frazier that we purchased to be given to each new baby. The new PR person at the hospital put an article about this project in the Queen’s newsletter, as well as the WHT, and it seems that other hospitals are expressing an interest in having us provide it for them as well! Many thanks to Mali Mueller, our VP of Programs and Activities for creating this program and her persistence in putting it into motion.
In October, in the process of soliciting a donation of a gift certificate for our first silent auction, Darien Gee got more than she hoped for. Under the Bodhi Tree restaurant owner Abraham Go offered to name us as their organization of the month. They provided a delicious vegan dinner outside the restaurant for 25 people that sold out so fast we didn’t even have time to organize it. They also collected donations for us that month in the restaurant and raised over $1000 in total. In gratitude, we helped out at their food and drink booth at a PATH race at Cindercone National Park. We urge you try a meal there at the Mauna Lani Shops whenever you’re thinking of where to go out to eat, and be sure to thank them for helping us.
The 6th annual Walk/run for Literacy in November was the best ever. We had over 100 runners and walkers, twice that of last year. Our increased PR was obviously successful, and our inventory of leftover T-shirts is the lowest ever, almost none! And Under the Bodhi Tree restaurant provided drinks and snacks for the runners. We are the only 5K in Waikoloa and we’re already planning how we can make it better for next year.
In conjunction with the walk/run and the WOC plant sale, we had our first silent auction led by Stephanie Stearns and Darien Gee. Sandra Martin provided us with instructions on using the Square to process all our transactions and kept us on the right track the day of the event. The Waikoloa Sew N Sews donated a beautiful quilt and we ended up with over 50 items, all of which were bidded on and sold. It was a huge job, but also a huge success, raising almost $5000. And Darien left us with an organizational trail that will make our next one so much easier. We will be planning our event for next year soon and welcome all volunteers who wish to help in planning this event.
Also in November, as if that weren’t enough, Cindy Evans hosted a Wine and Pupu fundraiser at her home for 20 people. It was a lot of fun and a great success, raising another $650 for FL-WR.
Now we will be planning on how to spend these funds to further enhance literacy in our community members in the coming year. If you have ideas that you would like to share, please contact one of us and let us know. We have thrown out the ideas of a toddler reading to me program, and adult ESL class for parents of Waikoloa ESL students, and an art and writing contest for Waikoloa children to celebrate National Library Week April 10-16. We need volunteers to accomplish any of these or other ideas so please sign up to volunteer and help out.
We were unable to participate in the Mauna Lani Charity Trees again this year because we won last year, but are looking forward to participating again in 2016.
Thanks to Bobbie and Dick Walker, their cute white convertible, and some new young volunteers who walked and handed out bookmarks, FL-WR participated again in the Waikoloa Christmas Parade.
Everyone is always asking me, “what is the status of our future library”. Since Cindy Evans is unable to be with us tonight – she had an airline reservation to return on Wed. night but had to stay for a caucus meeting on Thursday and couldn’t get another flight until Saturday – I will bring you up to date. The State Librarian’s Office and DAGS (Dept. of General Services) had identified the site off of Waikoloa Road at the stables as their preferred site. In the last few months they finally started evaluating the cost of providing infrastructure (water, electricity, roads) at that site and discussing what would be required with the County Planning Dept. The county is indicating that they will require a septic system that will accommodate all three sites, as well as a turn lane – all of which changes the expected costs of infrastructure from $1 million to almost $4 million. Based on that, the DAGS is now discussing all options, including a traffic study on Waikoloa Road and other possible appropriate sites where the total acquisition infrastructure costs will be minimized. In addition, Cindy is facilitating a meeting with the State Librarian’s Office staff and the Hawaii County Planning Director to discuss these issues.
Once the site is decided upon, Rep. Evans and Sen. Inouye will go to the legislature in 2017 to obtain the funds for this phase. Funding for the design phase is already in place.
On the positive side, the State Librarian’s Office is optimistic that these issues can be resolved this year so that the DNLR can review acceptance of the site into the state’s inventory and the title can be transferred in the next year or so and we can stay on track to start building in 2018.
Of course, we couldn’t have accomplished any of this without the support of our legislators, Governor Ige, the WVA, our dedicated Board of Directors, our members and the Waikoloa community. I thank you all!
My name is Ruth Bernstone and I am currently serving as President of Friends of the Library – Waikoloa Region (FL-WR). I guess you could call me a “professional” volunteer. I started volunteering in high school as a candy striper at our local community hospital. After finishing college and getting married, I continued to volunteer – taking an elderly couple, and the grandchild they were raising, and stand in line for them at the food stamp office, lobbying in the State and Federal legislatures on issues relating to children, and on professional and governmental boards.
After retiring and coming to Waikoloa, the volunteer opportunities were plentiful. I started in the emergency room of our beautiful new North Hawaii Community Hospital, where I made several good friends and felt useful. I initiated the Waikoloa Art center group and the Tai Chi practice group – after several moves, both groups are still active at the WVA Community room. As a retired CPA, I was asked to serve on the WVA Finance Committee. Helping to balance the budget for 3 years was a challenge, as I’m sure it continues to be. During those years, a new well had to be built and the first solar panels and electric golf carts were added.
For the last 5 years, FL-WR and our future library have been the focus of my volunteer efforts. It’s been a pleasure to work with a wonderful group of volunteers, legislators and the WVA, whose enthusiasm, good cheer and hard work have brought so many benefits to the community – the bookmobile, scholarships, Newbery Quiz Bowl teams, Kindles for the Waikoloa School, a health fair, and progress toward the future library. Our annual Walk/run for Literacy brings together Waikoloa residents of all ages, and many members of our community contributed their thoughts and art to our self-published book “This We Believe – Waikoloa Region”.
Volunteering has so many benefits to both the volunteer and the community – making new friends, building character and confidence by helping others, having fun, building community cohesion, in addition to just plain getting needed things done. It has been a great source of pleasure to me all my life and I encourage everyone to find their niche and passion too.
When I do have time, I love to cook and entertain our friends, take care of my veggie gardens, do needlepoint, solve crossword and Sudoku puzzles, play the piano and try to play the ukulele.
I am so blessed to live in Waikoloa Village, a town with the most generous, caring people of any place I have ever been. We love the quiet, rural feel of the village, and its central location to Kailua, Kona, Waimea and Hilo. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to be near the nicest beaches on the Big Island as well as the best scuba sites in the State of Hawaii!