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Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center hosts annual dinner and auction

Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center — in participation with the Hawaii County Bar Association — is hosting its eighth annual recognition dinner and auction in Hilo to help fund the nonprofit human services agency. Founded in 1983 as a program of the Hawaii Island YMCA, Ku‘ikahi became an independent community mediation center in 2005. Everyone is invited to join in the 30th anniversary celebration on Sunday, Nov. 10.

“This year we are recognizing two District Court judges, the Honorable Harry P. Freitas and the Honorable Barbara T. Takase, with ‘Peacemaker Awards’ for all they have done for our community,” said Ku‘ikahi President Andrew P. Wilson.

No-host cocktails will be served at 5 p.m., with dinner served at 6 p.m. The buffet will feature three entrees — prime rib, furikake salmon and shrimp scampi over fettuccini — as well as salad, side dishes and dessert.

Newton John Chu will emcee the event, which features a silent auction, live auction, and door prizes. Items up for bid include rounds of golf, adventure tours, entrance to local attractions, overnight stays, gift cards to restaurants and retail stores, artwork, gift baskets, flower arrangements and more.

“Our annual dinner provides a significant portion of the funds that Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center needs to provide free and low-cost dispute resolution services to the East Hawaii community,” noted Wilson. “Over half of our clients are at or below the poverty level, and many are not able to pay any fees for their mediation sessions.”

Tickets for the Annual Dinner are $85 per person (of which $50 is tax-deductible) and are available from Ku‘ikahi’s board of directors and from Ku‘ikahi’s office in the Hilo Lagoon Centre at 101 Aupuni St., Suite PH 1014 B-2. For reservations, contact Ku‘ikahi Executive Director Julie Mitchell at 935-7844, ext. 116, or email

“The value of the services provided by the Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center cannot be measured in dollars and cents or even in time. What mediation affords litigants is a chance to participate in a confidential process in which a neutral third party helps people work out their differences to reach an agreed upon settlement. This agreement may include issues that would not or could not be dealt with if they decided to try the case in court,” said Takase and Freitas in a joint statement.

They added, “In court, the judge decides, based on the law and the facts which are allowed to be presented pursuant to the rules of evidence; and as participants are often told, most of the time, neither party is satisfied with a decision the court makes. In mediation, participants play an active part in and have a say in the outcome of their case. That is the value that cannot be measured.”

“Family Court could not succeed without the partnership of the mediation center,” said Family Court Judge Anthony K. Bartholomew, who will be honored by the bar association at the event. “I’ve begun thinking of mediation as one of the ‘healing arts’ because it resolves a form of trauma from the existence of the conflict. If you can help people resolve their conflict, it’s like a weight has been lifted, and people can move forward.”


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