On the eve of Halloween, here's a capitol ghost story from Kendra Oishi, House Majority Staff Office, about Governor John A. Burns. Of all the spirits, the presence of Governor Burns in and around the State Capitol, especially the aroma of his cigar smoke, is perhaps the most well-known. The fact that Governor Burns oversaw the building of the state capitol and became the first governor to have his office in the building, makes these stories even more special. Governor Burns was governor from 1962 to 1973. He became ill before completing his last term; then Lt. Governor George Ariyoshi became acting governor until 1974 and won election to the governor's office that year. Governor Burns passed away in 1975.
The smell of cigar smoke
By Kendra Oishi
dates back to before I began working here (pre-2001), when Glen Grant was still
alive and doing his Downtown ghost tours.
One of the
stops on the tour was the Capitol steps facing the Queen Liliuokalani statue,
where we all sat as Glen Grant spoke. Mr. Grant was telling various
stories related to the area, including how Governor Burns used to walk around
the Capitol, often smoking a cigar. He explained that even after Governor
Burns was long gone, people would sometimes smell a cigar, even though no one
was smoking in the area, and that it is believed that the cigar smell was a
sign of Governor Burns' presence.
Grant was transitioning to another story, I thought I sensed the aroma of a
cigar in the air, but I kept that thought to myself and just brushed it aside
as a figment of my imagination, influenced by the story I just heard.
Then, a young women sitting on the steps behind me leaned toward her friend and
said, "Do you smell that?" Her friend replied,
"What?" The young woman says, "I thought I smelled a
cigar." Then I realized it wasn't just me, and that perhaps Governor
Burns was indeed in our presence.
I've had my share of little strange happenings in
and around the spaces I've occupied in the Capitol. I've been asked if it scares me, it
doesn't. I feel like they are protecting
the area and if I'm in there, they are protecting me too.
My CD player
had a CD player on my desk when I worked in the front office of the Chief
Clerk's Office. If I stayed at work
later than usual, my CD player would stop playing. I couldn't figure it out.
first I thought it was the CD.I changed
the CD, but all the CDs wouldn’t play.Funny thing, the next day they would all play fine – until about an hour
after my shift ended.
had a cheapy CD player – so I figured it was the player – I got a new CD player
– but the same thing would happen. Then
someone told me maybe it's the outlet; I unplugged it and plugged into another
outlet – it would play fine during the day, but at the end of the day my player
would stop playing. Not turned off or
anything – just stop playing. It was
like "enough already -- you're making too much noise – go home." So when my CD player would stop playing, I
would say, "okay, I'm going home."
speculated that it was just the electrical connection in my cubicle, but it
also happened when I moved into the Journal office. I gave up on playing music on my CD player, I
tried my computer. My Computer can play CDs. I
don't do that anymore – that night my computer froze – just stopped, so I went
home. It hasn't happened to me in the
Printshop – but then again I don't listen to music in here – the machines are
and I were in the Printshop during an interim sometime ago – I was using all
four big machines printing up documents.
Josette was in the corner. All off a sudden – and it wasn't a power
surge or anything – but all four machines jammed at the same time. I was like "whoa, somebody's upset. What's going on?" I
went to tend to the machines got them up and running. I later found that about the same time as my
machines were all jamming – there was a stabbing incident up on the Rotunda
level. I guess it was their way of
having Josette and me stay in the Printshop.
In the Printshop, during a special
session, I was printing up the bills and the regular staff was going to come in
and collate. I printed up a bunch of
bills, placed them on the table to get ready for collating. The first time I came back to the table, there were 3 or 4 bills on the floor. I picked them up thinking I must have
brushed the table and some fell off. After that, I was being extra careful not to make the bills go flying, but again when I came
back to the table with another batch of bills -- a few would be on the
floor. After the third time—I said out
loud, "stop it, I'm busy and we have to get this finished" The next
time I came back to the table – no bills were on the floor.
Because October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, on the
next “Kukui Connection” Rep. Marilyn Lee will talk with two advocates of
domestic violence awareness about the month’s planned events, and call-to-action
plans and initiatives for domestic awareness.
Rep. Lee is joined by Veronika Geronimo, executive director
of the Hawaii State coalition Against Domestic Violence (HSCADV), and Ana
Maring, a private consultant working with the HSCADV. Geronimo has previously worked
in Los Angeles with immigrant communities, and Maring has spent 16 year in the domestic
Some of the other topics to be discussed on the show include:
Act 206, a state law that prohibits discrimination by employers
against domestic violence survivors
Domestic violence education and outreach in schools
Community engagement initiative that will give the people the
capacity to respond to domestic violence situations
Rep. Awana to hold Nanakuli Community Meeting on
Low-Incoming Rental Housing Project
WHAT: State Representative Karen Awana will hold a community meeting to address
concerns regarding Hale Makana O Nanakuli, a low-income rental housing project
located in the Nanakuli Homestead.
WHEN: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
WHERE: Nanakuli High and Intermediate School Multi-purpose Building
WHY: Hale Makana O Nanakuli was originally designed to provide transitional and
long-term rental housing for families who earn 40% or below of the adjusted
median income. The project has become a controversial issue revolving
around plans to allow non-Hawaiians to live and rent on Hawaiian homestead
lands. The developers and representatives from the Department of Hawaiian
Homelands will be present.
"The Nanakuli community has questions and concerns
about Hale Makana O Nanakuli, and it is my sincere hope that members attend
this important meeting in order to express those concerns directly to the
project managers," said Rep. Awana. "I am extremely
thankful that the Department of Hawaiian Homelands and developers will be in
I'm hoping to receive a new batch of Capitol Ghost Stories for Halloween. If you have experienced an encounter and would like to share it, please send me a note. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Mahalo!