WHT at 50: Flu claims 2 lives, snail invades Kona and Bronze Medal for Keakealani

  • Wednesday, Jan. 15, 1969 | Volume II, Issue II

Wednesday, Jan. 15, 1969 | Volume II, Issue II



“Flu Epidemic Claims Two Lives”

By Jim Langdon

An outbreak of influenza cases in West Hawaii has left two people dead since the start of the year, but doctors and health officials here believe the worst may be over.

Victims of pneumonia, resulting from severe cases of flu, were Mrs. Carol Ayoso, 28, of Hawi and formerly of Kona; and Shigeyasu Aoki, 47, of Pahala. Both had been ill with the flu for more than a week before developing pneumonia, doctors said.

According to county health officer Dr. Walter Batchelder, some 451 cases of flu were reported on the Big Island during December 1968. Ka’u recorded 198 cases while Hilo saw 179 and Kona 25. Doctors in South Kohala and North Kohala estimated 125 cases in each district.

“African Snail Invades Kona”

No byline

While all of West Hawaii is battling the flu bug, Kona is under attack from another menace as well — Achatina fulica, or the giant African snail.

Described as “the most serious land snail pest plaguing man today,” the menace eats virtually everything in the garden and anything with succulent vegetation. And, a new infestation has popped up in Kona — in the vicinity of Alii Drive, between Kahaluu and White Sands — that has residents there on their guard.

Driven into the open by the week-long rains that saturated the Kona Coast, the snails were reported to the Department of Agriculture early last week. Most of the snails collected by the entomologists ranged in size from 1 to 3 inches in length, but area residents have picked up several larger specimens. The giant can grow as large as 7 inches.

The snail is a mottled brown and dirty white in color and should not be confused with beneficial snails in the area. The “good” snails are orange-pinkish color and were in fact introduced to Kona in an effort to combat the African snail. The beneficial snails are carnivorous and are supposed to feed on the eggs of the African snail. One African snail is capable of laying 50 to 40 eggs in one cluster. With both female and male sex organs, the snail is a hermaphrodite capable of multiplying rapidly.

“New Kailua Shopping Mart Eyed”

No byline

Plans for a new international type shopping center to be built in Kona have been announced by George Tharp. The new center, to be known as Resort Shops of Kona, will be located across from the Kona Inn. The new building will comprise 12,000-square-feet of space for 18 to 20 shops. Included in the plan will be malls, a restaurant, general shops and gardens on the interior. Construction is expected to start in June and wrap up by year’s end.


“Sgt. R. Keakealani Holds Bronze Star”

No Byline

Sgt. Robert “Sonny” Keakealani has received the Bronze Star Medal for heroism recently while serving with the Infantry Division in Vietnam.

As his company was landing, they received heavy fire from well-fortified enemy bunkers. He immediately set up his machine gun at the point of heaviest contact and ordered his squad to pull back as he stayed behind to cover them, disregarding his own safety. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Keakealani Sr. Before joining the Army, he was a cowboy at Puuwaawaa Ranch.

Weekly deals:

At Mauna Kea Motors: 1969 Toyota Corolla 1100 with radio, white-wall tires, seat harness and lots of extras, $1,995.

At K. Taniguchi Super Markets: Hunt’s tomato catsup, three 20-ounce bottles for $0.89; short ribs, one pound for $0.65; and six-pack bottles of Pepsi Cola for $0.47.

At Kamigaki Market: Bisquick, 60 ounces for $0.79; Dinty Moore corned beef, two for $0.89; and Libby’s tomato juice, two 46-ounce containers for $0.75.

At Ben Franklin: The Big $0.09 sale!

At Sure Save Super Markets: Fresh chilled center cut pork chops, one pound for $0.89; San Francisco Dungeness crab, air flown, one pound for $0.69; and T-Bone Steak, one pound for $1.29.

Featured films:


At Aloha Theatre: “Oh Dad, Poor Dad,” starring Rosalind Russell and Robert Morse; “Cobra” featuring Anita Ekberg and Dana Andrews; and Elvis Presley and Michael Carey in “Live A Little, Love A Little.”

At Kona Theatre: Pe Ying in “Dragon Inn;” Richard Widmark and Henry Fonda “Madigan;” and Zero Mostel in “The Producers.” For adults only, “Bed Of Violence” and “Cool It Baby.”

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