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Maui Jim, the Traffic Isle and the Continent 

By Staff | Jul 16, 2015

From left, Leah Lambros, Tera Paleka and Sandy Schneider now head Lahaina’s afternoon, morning and evening Rotary Clubs.

LAHAINA – How many people who now live on Maui do you think are descended from soldiers who fought or others who were associated with the American Revolution? More than you might think. Susan Nealy, a friend, reports that there are at least 14.

The group Daughters of the American Revolution, made up of women with a connection to the War for Independence, allows communities to form a local chapter when they can find 14 women who fulfill the requirement. Susan, herself a descendent who did much of the research to find them, splits time between Maui and Portland, where her husband lives. Both have led fascinating lives. For years, he has been associated with NASCAR and knows all of the stock car and Indianapolis 500 greats. Now, he is onto other things (more on all of this in a future column).

MAUI’S NEW “JIM” – After 20 years, EA Sports has given up sponsorship of the Maui Invitational Basketball Tournament to be replaced by Maui’s own Maui Jim, the sunglasses people. So, the Lahaina Civic Center location will now be known as the Maui Jim – at least during Thanksgiving week. Maui Jim is on a big sponsorship roll these days. In June, it hosted its first annual, highly successful OceanFest featuring 200 ocean sports athletes, swimmers and paddle boarders, including one Olympian from Australia, competing for big prizes on Kaanapali Beach. Free catamaran rides were also offered. The columnist (not known for loving to be in the water) was told to board the first seat and got totally dunked by a huge wave, fortunately only for a few seconds. The iPhone had just been put away.

“THE TRAFFIC ISLE” – The columnist thinks that calling us a “Neighbor Island” is a bit condescending. Solutions? Start calling Oahu our Neighbor Island. Better yet, rename it the “Traffic Isle,” since that now seems its most prominent feature aside from Diamond Head. Chicago traffic can be a bit much but doesn’t even compare with Oahu (19 tour buses and local buses seen on a recent visit in just a three-block stretch in gridlock, going nowhere, on Waikiki’s main drag, Kalakaua Avenue).

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “WHAT STATE?” There are Hawaiians who rejoice in their culture, and there are Hawaiians who are still fighting the overthrow of the Hawaiian government in 1893. When an elderly kupuna visited a friend’s spectacular garden of Native Hawaiian plants, he was shown a yellow hibiscus and told it was the state flower. “What state?” he asked, implying Hawaii is not even a state. Furthermore, he said, the 49 states should be referred to as the “Continent,” not the Mainland. Good point. To him, calling it the “Mainland” implies that it is more important than Hawaii. Maybe this column, which sometimes refers to the Mainland (the editor puts it in capital letters), could break new ground by calling it the “Continent” from now on.

MADAM PRESIDENTS – Rotarians had quite a month of June, with the Sunrise Club holding a dance party at the Sheraton with an 18-piece band that played for three hours, and the inauguration of three new presidents with an unusual twist. All three Lahaina clubs have women presidents – a huge turnaround for clubs long dominated by males. Women were not admitted to Rotary membership until 1989.