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Voices of Maui

By Staff | Nov 8, 2012

LAHAINA: Watch for a grand reopening and blessing of the Lahaina Public Library on Nov. 18 from 4 to 6 p.m. The head of the Hawaii State Public Library System will be here. Late-arriving bookcases delayed the project but were assembled in one day, Oct. 23, by 12 volunteers.

TRANSITIONS: Sad to say talented master chef David Paul closed his large and wonderful restaurant, David Paul’s Island Grill, on Front Street. David was a big promoter of Women Helping Women, holding a number of Diva parties with proceeds going to WHW.

And, just catching up with very old news, octogenarian Joan McKelvey closed the last of her three South Seas Trading Post shops. Joan started the business years ago after touring south sea islands with her late husband, Mac McKelvey, onetime British spitfire pilot in World War II, executive with the predecessor to today’s Kaanapali Land Management Corp. and founder of the Sugar Cane Train. Joan is still making good progress on getting to age 98, when she says “it goes downhill from there.”

LITERATE LAHAINA: Our town has long respected the written word, printing grammars and Bibles up at Lahainaluna High School since the 1830s and home to authors ever since.

The newest is West Maui’s Danielle Bergan, who just self-published a provocative memoir, “Always OK To Be Me,” in which she describes her transformation. At seven, Bergan writes, he knew something was wrong. He felt like a girl in the body of a boy. He became a pretty good football player and had a girlfriend in college but wanted to be a pretty woman. After an operation, Dan several years ago became Danielle. Now as a she, Danielle dresses and looks the part.

As Dan, Bergan was membership director of the Maui Chamber of Commerce. He recruited us to the group some years ago, and one day showed up at a Business After Hours meeting as Danielle. It was one of those moments. “Who is that person? He looks familiar.” How tough that inaugural coming out appearance must have been. Luckily, we finally figured out the transformation and managed to continue a conversation with a minimum of embarrassment to all.

The new Danielle switched jobs and later lost the new one after the company was sold, freeing time to write about his/her lifetime struggle. A great salesperson, Danielle is looking for a new gig. The book is available at Barnes & Noble.

Another budding author has had a much easier time of it, finding you don’t need two advanced college degrees (which he has) to write children’s books. Kahu David Kapaku, profiled in my book “Voices of Maui” along with Joan McKelvey, one day was reading children’s books, of all things, at Lahaina Public Library while waiting for a computer.

Inspired, he went home and within 20 minutes dashed off a little children’s story, “I Love You More.” Within two days of mailing it to a Christian publishing company, he had a contract back by e-mail. Kahu’s next book will be about a dragon challenged to lift a stack of outrigger canoes, uproot a tree and perform other feats. Might take him an hour or two instead of 20 minutes. If only authoring a book would be that easy!

PEOPLE TALES: This columnist has a new book out, “Maui for Millions: Tales of Remarkable People of Aloha,” based on the idea that two million people come here each year. The prototype book, which is available exclusively at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel deli, is in want of a publisher who can give it wider distribution.