East Hawaii News

Mayor Will Root for Hilo Pop Warner Team in Person

December 4, 2013, 6:57 PM HST
* Updated December 5, 10:11 AM
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Mayor Billy Kenoi will be on vacation beginning Friday as he will be off to Florida to cheer on his 13-year-old son, Justin, and his Panaewa Ali`i teammates at the Pop Warner Super Bowl.

The Hilo team, consisting of players ages 12 to 15, is the first from Hawai`i to win the Western Region finals and advance to the championship tournament being held this year in Kissimmee, a suburb of Orlando.

The trip for the team was in doubt after it was discovered that the league’s travel funds had been embezzled, allegedly by its former treasurer.

A number of fund-raisers were quickly arranged to try to make up the deficit.

Big Island Pop Warner President William “Bo” Waite told Big Island now the fund-raisers helped raise a large portion of the money needed, and parents of players stepped up to make up the difference.

The league also received some donations from off-island, Waite said.

The Ali`i are scheduled to take on the Greensboro Ravens from North Carolina in the first round of the Midget Division on Saturday. More first-round games are scheduled for Sunday, with semifinal action on Tuesday, Dec. 11, and the following Wednesday.

The national championship games for all four Pop Warner divisions are scheduled for Friday, Dec. 13.

The mayor will remain with the team for the duration of their participation, his office said. Managing Director Wally Lau will be acting mayor until Kenoi’s return.

***Updated at 8:56 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 5.***

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