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East // East Oahu Waha Nui
Carol Chang

Waha Nui

Known as a “driven team player” with infectious enthusiasm, Hokulani Elementary computer teacher Marcus Pottenger was honored last month at Washington Place as Honolulu District Teacher of the Year. Marcus, who received a $200 gift card from Aloha Petroleum, software from Smart Technologies and $500 from Polynesian Cultural Center, doesn’t really need the extra fuel. It’s said he’s the fire tender on campus, the one who “believes each child has a unique spark and his job is to nurture that spark into a flame” …

Leilani and Puanani Alama received the 2012 Ola Mau Ka Hula award last month from Hula Grill, highlighting the fact that the sisters are the oldest active kumu hula alive today. Leilani, 87, still runs her hula studio in Kaimuki, as does Puanani, 82, who is the last living judge from the first Merrie Monarch festival. The Hula Preservation Society says “they have touched thousands of lives” over seven decades of teaching and judging … Former Hahaione teacher-turned-author

Frances Kakugawa is in town to discuss, read from and sign copies of her acclaimed books, including her latest, Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer. She’s at the Japanese Cultural Center at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and at the AARP Caregiver Conference Nov. 14 at Ala Moana Hotel. Frances also wrote three books about caregiving for her mother, who had Alzheimer’s disease (534-7070) …

Wilson Elementary fourth-grader Ashlyn Takai earned a spot on the USA Gymnastics National TOPs B Team at a competition in Huntsville, Texas. Ashley trains here with Hawaiian Island Twisters. Next step is a training camp with Marta and Bela Karolyi later this month in Huntsville … Kaimuki’s Erica Neves invites grieving families to join her for a Honolulu Hale Christmas display. Her nonprofit Joshua Neves Children’s Foundation has space available until Nov. 15 for banners in memory of your loved one. For details, email jncfoundation@gmail.com …

Kirsten Fujitani says Jose’s Mexican Cafe & Cantina will be 40 years old in 2013, and celebrations start right now for that milestone with several favorites on special this month. Just say “Happy Birthday Jose’s” and see what happens (386-7323)

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