Melisa Uchida
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Friday - June 10, 2005

Award winners Eddie Kamae, David
Kamakahi and his dad, Dennis, are all
smiles at the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards

The Na Hoku Hanohano Award ceremony is always a star-studded event, but this year young stars shined as brightly as the old. Twenty year - old Raiatea Helm swept top honors, taking four awards — more than any other winner. Adorned with lei, KSSK’s Sweetie Pacarro presented her with the “Female Vocalist of the Year” award onstage. Offstage, fans looked to congratulate the young Molokai starlet, who managed to slip past the Green Room where most of the winners celebrated. Another young winner, 16- year-old Brittni Paiva, beat out American Idol’s Jordan Segundo for “Most Promising Artist of the Year.” She says Jake Shimabukuro is one of her role models … Flashback: Crash Kealoha, Jacqueline Rosetti, Kimo Kahoano and Ronnie Hope started “The Hokus” as a KCCN-AM promotion in 1978. Today, these awards are the Grammys of Hawaii — and the women knew it! They wore jeweled gowns and stilettos. Everyone looked glamorous. Three Mrs. Hawaiis (past and present) table-hopped — making sure to say hello to everyone. They were stunning in black and rhinestones. Some of the men, however, went more casual — Island 98.5’s Makani pulled his long hair back into a ponytail and wore his signature kukui nut lei. He walked onstage to present “Best Reggae Album of the Year,” but forgot two things: 1) to leave his beer in the Green Room and 2) the winner’s envelope. After a little confusion, he announced Ekolu’s win for Back to the Valley – the 3Rilogy. Akoni Dellomes, Lukela Keala and Makapuu Hoopii could hardly believe it! Their first album, Down in the Valley, was nominated for a Hoku years ago, but this is their first win … Gregg Hammer and wife Shawnee attended. Shawnee looks radiant. Mommyhood is good for her — Shawnee’s skin is flawless! She says she’s decided to hit the books and get her degree. She’s about halfway through and says she’s had fun the last few years, but having that piece of paper will bring her a new level of satisfaction. So no more husband-and-wife morning show team. But her replacement, “Tasha,” is quite a handful. There aren’t many people who can out-talk Gregg Hammer, but she may be the one. Mornings, Hot 93.9FM … Star 101.9’s Scotty B. presented “Best Rock Album of the Year.” Scotty thinks he’s responsible for my recent engagement — maybe he is. Here’s the story: Scotty referred me to Randy Chang (Aloha Academy of Golf) for golf lessons. Randy introduced me to Sean Lunasco, 808 Golf TV producer. Sean hired me to co-host 808 Golf TV with Dave Vinton and Scotty B. Scotty’s theory is that 808 Golf TV helped me land a job reporting at KHNL — which is how my fiancé found me. Drew and I were college sweethearts at Boston University. We met in radio journalism class. But once we graduated and moved to Manhattan — we fell apart quickly and I fled home to Hawaii. That was in 1998 and we didn’t speak to each other until last fall when Drew moved to Hawaii. (Random!) He was having dinner with friends, turned on the news … and there I was reporting on some car accident or something. He called the station and left a message. Seven months later, we’re engaged. Now should I be sending Scotty some flowers and a thank you? … Let’s talk food: Congrats to Aaron Fukuda, new executive chef at Sam Choy’s Diamond Head Restaurant. Fukuda graduated from the Culinary Institute of the Pacific (KCC) and has been sous chef at Sam Choy’s for seven years. He says he doesn’t plan any major changes to the menu, but you may see more foie gras on it. It’s one of his favorite ingredients … Former Exec. Chef Elmer Guzman hasn’t gone far. He’s opening his own restaurant in Waipahu! The grand opening is just a few weeks away…

Meanwhile, the tallies are in for other island chefs who helped fight hunger by feeding thousands on the lawn of Restaurant Row — $13,000 was raised for the Hawaii Foodbank thanks to chefs Chai Chaowasaree (Chai’s Island Bistro), Darryl Fujita (Halekulani) D. K. Kodama (Sansei) and nearly a dozen others. Roy Yamaguchi made a surprise appearance at the “Great Chefs Fight Hunger” event, although his head chef Ronnie Nasuti had everything under control. Star-Bulletin columnist John Berger and MidWeek columnists Susan Page and Jerry Coffee attended with 400 others … Movin’ on — Fiji, Lanai, reggae star Ra Sun, model Juliet Lighter with photographer Russell Tanoue were just a few of the VIPs at Skyline’s one-year anniversary party. Jordan Segundo, promoter G-spot, Russ Inouye (Vertical Junkies) and Qbert also made the list. Everyone was supposed to wear white … and many who didn’t were turned away at the door. Good thing Banana Republic is just around the corner …

There is a benefit at the Ocean Club
June 15 for Roz Makaula, who is battling
breast cancer

some Skyline fans made a quick stop to shop and got in free and clear … Now it’s time to think pink! My very good friend Roz Makaula was diagnosed with breast cancer recently. Roz is just 32 years old. You may know her from the The Rick Hamada show on KHVH, which she produced before becoming KHNL’s morning show associate producer. She’s also worked with talk-radio host Mike Buck. Roz writes for MidWeek and other publications. She’s smart, young, sassy and has a huge heart. She’s the kind of woman who doesn’t give up or give in when things get tough. “I used to think my best assets were my boobs and long, blond hair,” she said. “In one swoop of fate, both were taken from me — or altered. Now I know my best assets are my family and my friends. Without breast cancer, I would have never known how much I am loved. Everything has a time limit. I intend to use my life’s time to hug longer, listen closer, laugh louder and love a whole lot more.” Help us help Roz by coming to The Ocean Club June 15, 5-10 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Hoku nominees Inoa‘ole and Vaihi will perform along with Gregg Hammer and the Flashback Band. There’ll be lots of raffle prizes too! Donations can also be made to “Friends of Roz Makaula” at any Bank of Hawaii branch. Call Sunny Lee-Oshiro for more information at 368-3699 or contact me at

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