It's a new year - anyone up for a few rounds of musical chairs? A couple of women I've been working with for a while are changing jobs or at least, hats.
Kathy Collins, the brains, guiding spirit and nuturing Mama Bear of Mana'o Radio - and the person who makes my weekly on-the-air contribution to the station bearable to listen to - is joining The Maui News as a weekly columnist.
Her "Sharing Mana'o" made its debut this week, and will appear every Wednesday on Page A3.
Considering that her amazing array of talents as a performer is matched by a phenomenal work ethic and saintly sense of responsibility, Kathy's greatest gift is probably her really big heart. And, as everyone who read yesterday's column already knows, she's one great writer.
Besides tying stronger bonds between the people who listen to Mana'o Radio and the people who read The Maui News (which has been a part of her life for her whole life), this is one of those win-win-everyone-wins arrangements that we need more of in our lives - individually and as a community.
I've been getting to personally talk with Kathy on the air 15 minutes a week for the last few years. Now everyone else can get their 15 minutes a week with her and get the little jolt of pure happiness that comes along with it.
Another friend, Benita Brazier, has been the county's film commissioner since 2002, the last time Alan Arakawa was mayor. She wasn't asked to be part of his next administration, which is consolidating her old job into a new office coordinating sports and recreation with entertainment.
Rather than second-guess this decision after Benita's very good year bringing some $63 million in film production revenue into Maui County in 2010, I'm savoring fond memories of all the times she called over the last 18 months or so with scoops that often resulted in Page A1 stories for me.
Maybe it was the announcement that the ABC's "Modern Family" -which would go on to win last year's Emmy as TV's best comedy series - was coming to the Four Seasons Resort Maui to film an episode. Maybe it was a call from a set on Lanai, where visionary director Julie Taymor was filming her version of "The Tempest" by William Shakespeare with an awesome cast led by Oscar winner Helen Mirren.
Maybe it was Benita's invitation last January to attend the brunch blessing for the Warner Bros. team led by Clint Eastwood that had arrived in Kaanapali for three days of Front Street location shooting on Eastwood's "Hereafter." Or the invite a few months ago for the cast-and-crew premiere of the elegant result of their work.
Last spring, it was a casting call for hundreds of extras for the Adam Sandler-Jennifer Aniston comedy "Just Go With It," that would film in Wailea in coming weeks.
The list goes on and on. Benita was a key supporter of the Maui Film Festival, and the made-on-Maui comedy "Get a Job" that's coming to the Historic Iao Theater for a weekend of screenings Jan. 27 to 30.
She's been a champion of turning the Maui Land and Pineapple Co. cannery in Kahului into film production space. Through it all, Benita was not only helpful and professional, but always a pleasure, and great fun, to work with.
Benita brought a lengthy resume in film production to her job here. Her old friend, actor-turned-hit-comedy-director Betty Thomas, presented a series of workshops here at Benita's request.
Now she may be returning to that end of the business. She's looking at possible projects in Chicago and New York, Louisiana and Canada, and may do some freelance work for a national publication, she confirmed earlier this week.
"I wanted to thank Mayor Arakawa for allowing me to work with the people of Maui County, and to Mayor Tavares for letting me continue," said the recipient of the County's Manager of the Year award for the Mayor's Office in 2010.
"We all know from watching movie credits that it takes hundreds of people to make a movie," she went on, "and I am proud of small part I played in exposing Maui County and its citizens to feature films.
"In this day and age, with movies being made all over the world, we're lucky to have been involved. I hope the Maui residents who were fortunate enough to be employed, or were able to just watch these productions happening, enjoyed it."
While projects might take her away, Maui will remain her home base, she says.
"I'm looking forward towards the future. Who knows - I may be bringing film to Maui in a new role as a producer."
* Contact Rick Chatenever at firstname.lastname@example.org.