George Okuda

George Okuda

eorge Okuda has been appointed to serve out the term of state Rep. Jessica Wooley, whom Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed director of Environmental Quality Control during the last legislative session. Wooley represented House District 48 (Käne‘ohe to Kahalu‘u).

“George has more than a decade of public service experience and has active legislative ties to the windward O‘ahu community,” Abercrombie stated in a press release. “He will bring stability during this transition period.”

Okuda had been a legislative aide to state Rep. Ken Ito since 2000. In that capacity, he drafted, tracked and analyzed bills and resolutions. He was also responsible for meeting and working with various state department personnel, organizations and constituents on measures before the Legislature. In addition, Okuda worked with school principals in Rep. Ito’s district on capital improvement projects needed at schools. He previously served as a legislative aide to state Sen. Bob Nakata. Okuda was also a member of the Kahalu‘u Neighborhood Board for six years, including two as chair.

Okuda is a licensed civil and structural engineer and previously worked for Hawaiian Electric Company. He earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa.

The 10th Annual Aloha International Piano Festival announced the winners of the 2014 Aloha International Piano Competition, which was held last month at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.

Pianists of all ages from throughout the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan were given the unique opportunity to perform in public and to receive feedback from a top panel of judges. The panel included 1997 Van Cliburn Piano Competition winner Jon Nakamatsu and other noted concert pianists, including Frederic Chiu, John Bayless, Thomas Sauer, Haewon Song and festival founder Lisa Nakamichi.

Prizewinners in select categories earned the opportunity to perform in concert as a featured artist with the Hawaii Youth Symphony, while others received $1,000 special awards.

Shiori Kuwahara of Tökyö won the Concerto Division and will perform with the Hawaii Youth Symphony I on Dec. 7 at the Blaisdell Concert Hall. Kuwahara also won the Young Artist Division (ages 19 to 25) and received a $1,000 special award.

The main purpose of the Aloha International Adult Amateur Competition is to focus on sharing the musical experience with fellow participants and audience members.

Winners in the adult division (ages 25 and up) were Mari Yoshihara of Honolulu and Miho Kiyoki of Japan, who tied for first place, and Arisa Hasegawa, third place. There was no second place winner.

Other winners were Level A (up to age 8): Aimee Okagawa, first place, and Koko Tanaka, third place. Level B (high school, ages 15 to 18): Shandee Teruya.

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