Want to know more about Oahu’s Second City? What restaurants to eat at, what malls to shop in, what issues are plaguing our community and who are the movers and shakers? The Voice of Kapolei gives you answers to all your questions and more!
In March of 2005, Kapolei was in its infancy and development was sprouting all around us; thus, my wife, children and I embarked upon a new journey and created Kapolei’s first community newspaper, The Voice of Kapolei. We weren’t sure about the layout or features, but we did know that we wanted to keep it focused on positive news, growth and daily living.
We did have a few things going for us, such as: 1) History – My parents, Frederick and Frances Duhaylonsod, were one of the first to move into Honokai Hale (one of the communities that make up Kapolei), back in 1963; thus, have been rooted here for over 53 years; 2) Publishing Experience – with the knowledge of fishing and diving, started a magazine called “Hawaii Skin Diver.” In five years, what started as a challenge from my dad (I complained that there was no fish at West Beach), became a magazine enjoyed by all island families, from people in thirty-seven countries, and now a local television favorite; and 3) Family Support – we all sat down, spoke of our new endeavor and agreed to do whatever it took, to make it succeed.
Like any fledgling business, the first five years was tough, but with continued support from family, friends, businesses and elected officials we kept our nose to the grindstone and kept going. On March 20th, 2009, we were recognized by Senator Mike Gabbard and the Twenty-Fifth Legislature for our time and efforts in sharing the news of Kapolei with its residents and to the state as a whole.
It’s been eleven years now and our small, family-owned business, still operates out of Kapolei. And, I’m humbled by saying that our online issue is supported by all our elected officials and a household name for news and events surrounding our city.
Through it all, we’ve reported on hundreds of events, snapped thousands of photos and slowly documented all the changes that happened around us.
But, this is only the beginning, as another 1.4 million-square-foot mall (Ka Makana Ali’i) with more than 150 exciting shopping, dining and entertainment offerings with two hotels are slated to open in 2016; Makaiwa Hills, zoned as residential and commercial, will feature over 4300 residential units, parks and cultural areas; and the rail transit which begins and ends in Kapolei, will bring locals and visitors to our growing city. Kapolei is now in full developmental swing and The Voice of Kapolei will be there, reporting, documenting and taking photos, each and every step of the way.
Lots have changed since then and many changes will soon follow, but I am up for the challenge. After all, I grew up in a time when our community hardly had much…only one little store in Makakilo; West Beach (Ko Olina) was covered in sugar cane and Kiawi trees; and Barber’s Point was a thriving Naval Air Station.
I look forward to meeting the many new faces, families and businesses that will shape the next fifty years of our growing community and I’m sure one day, like myself, they’ll call the leeward side of Oahu, home.
Damon J. Duhaylonsod