Judge Kobayashi confirmed by U.S. Senate

Judge Leslie Kobayashi

Judge Leslie Kobayashi | Courtesy Photo

The U.S. Senate has confirmed President Obama’s nomination of Leslie E. Kobayashi, currently a federal magistrate judge in Honolulu, to serve as a district judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii.

Judge Kobayashi, 53, was confirmed on Saturday on a voice vote of the Senate. She is expected to receive her commission shortly and will fill a judgeship vacant since June 30, 2009, when U.S. District Judge Helen W. Gillmor took senior status.

Judge Kobayashi has served as a magistrate judge for the District of Hawaii since Aug. 2, 1999. Prior to her appointment to the bench, she engaged in private practice as an associate then partner and managing partner at the law firm of Fujiyama, Duffy and Fujiyama from 1984 to 1999. She served as a deputy prosecuting attorney for the City and County of Honolulu from 1983 to 1984.

Judge Kobayashi received her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College in 1979 and her law degree from the Boston College School of Law in 1983.

Judge Kobayashi serves on the Ninth Circuit’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee. She served on the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference Executive Committee from 2008 to 2010, and as vice-chair of the circuit’s Magistrate Judges Executive Board from 2006 to 2008.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii had 1,024 case filings in 2009. The court is authorized three permanent and one temporary judgeships.

Federal district court judges, appointed under Article III of the Constitution, are nominated by the president, confirmed by the Senate and serve lifetime appointments upon good behavior. Their current annual salary is $174,000.

HPU appoints new trustees

Hawai‘i Pacific University officials voted in James Polk, Michele Saito and Stephanie Saito to the University’s Board of Trustees on Oct. 22.

James Polk is a senior executive vice president and manager at Bank of Hawaii in the Hawaii Commercial Banking Division. His experience includes numerous management positions with Bank of Hawaii, such as overseeing the bank’s Corporate Banking Division, Commercial Banking Centers, Dealer Commercial Services and its leasing company. Polk is also a member of the bank’s managing committee. Prior to Bank of Hawaii, he held numerous roles at First Hawaiian Bank, including media finance officer. In the community, he serves as a director for the Boy Scouts’ Aloha Council, After School All-Stars, and The Nature Conservancy.

Michele Saito. Courtesy photo.

Michele Saito. Courtesy photo.

Michele Saito is the president of Farmers Insurance Hawaii, Inc. She has 25 years of experience in the insurance industry and began her career with Farmers Insurance (formerly AIG Hawaii) as an accounting manager. Her accomplishments include improving operational efficiency and performance throughout the company, enforcing fiscal discipline, launching a new technology venture and leading the company through its recent purchase by Farmers Insurance. In the community, she serves on the boards of the Hawaii Property Insurance Association, UH Alumni Association, Aloha United Way, and Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce.

Stephanie Saito is the executive vice president of Bank of Hawaii. She has 37 years of experience in the banking industry, including working for Bank of Hawaii and Bank of America. She is responsible for building relationships with middle market companies and oversees a team that helps streamline financial operations, increase revenues and lower costs for customers. She serves on the oversight committee of the Rural Economic Transition Assistance Hawaii program, which is jointly managed by the U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She served on the boards of the AAA Hawaii, St. Francis Community Health Services, Ewa Villages Community Development Corporation and Biosystems Technology Program.

Hawai‘i Pacific University is the state’s largest private university with more than 8,000 students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. HPU is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the Council on Social Work Education, and the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission.

Chef Ming Tsai to appear at Macy’s Ala Moana

Ming Tsai. Photo copyright Ming.com.

Ming Tsai. Photo copyright Ming.com.

Famed chef Ming Tsai, a member of Macy’s Culinary Council, will demonstrate a few recipes from his new cookbook, “Simply Ming One-Pot Meals: Quick, Healthy and Affordable Recipes,” at Ala Moana next Tuesday.

The new cookbook tackles the four basic needs in everyday cooking: taste, healthfulness, simplicity and affordability. After the cooking demonstration, Mr. Tsai will greet guests and sign copies of his book which can be purchased at Macy’s during the event.

Tsai will appear on Tuesday, November 16 at the Demonstration Kitchen on Level 4 of Macy’s Ala Moana. No reservations are required, but seating will be held on a first-come, first-served basis and will begin at 5:30pm.

Tsai is a chef, restaurateur, author, television and new media host and producer, product developer, advocate, and East-West lifestyle expert.

Macy’s delivers fashion and affordable luxury to customers at more than 800 locations, offering distinctive assortments including the most desired family of exclusive and fashion brands for him, her and home.

Children’s Librarian is Employee of the Year

Curt Fukumoto is 2010 HSPLS Employee of the Year. Photo by Paul H. Mark.

The Hawaii State Public Library System (HSPLS) announces the selection of Curt Fukumoto, Children’s Librarian of Salt Lake-Moanalua Public Library, as the 2010 HSPLS Employee of the Year.

Fukumoto is outstanding in opening up the wonderful world of reading to his young patrons. His weekly story times, which have continued year round since May 2006, routinely draw over one hundred preschoolers and their caregivers. In 2010 alone, Fukumoto’s programs have has drawn an attendance of more than 5,000.

As a tireless worker, Fukumoto’s weekly multi-media experiences involve singing, guitar-playing, read alouds, participatory exercises, shadow board presentations, craft activities, and puppet shows complete with a stage, homemade puppets and a full soundtrack. He is a caring, humble and unassuming professional who is universally liked by his patrons and co-workers.

As HSPLS Employee of the Year, Fukumoto was honored at the Governor’s Awards Ceremony on October 7 in the State Capitol Auditorium, and was recognized during the October 21 Board of Education Meeting at Keoneula Elementary School in Ewa Beach.

Theola Striker, Pre-Audit Clerk III, Administrative Services Branch of the Office of the State Librarian, is the 2010 Sustained Superior Performance Award winner. In spite of staff shortages incurred by the hiring freeze and reduced work hours due to furloughs, Striker continued meeting all demands, requirements and deadlines created by hundreds of fiscal and budgetary activities generated by HSPLS. With constant changes in State fiscal policies and procedures, Striker applied her broad fiscal experience and common sense analytical skills to develop internal forms, supporting documentation and instruction, which yielded quicker payroll processing, more efficient procurement, and faster vendor payments.

In addition, Striker assumed many other tasks and duties as staffing levels were reduced, including monitoring federal LSTA grants totaling more than a million dollars annually. Her dedication and professionalism in taking on these added responsibilities has helped HSPLS continue receiving much needed funding for our network upgrade and other technological enhancements.

Republican Caucus Selects New Leaders

Reps. Gene Ward and Kymberly Pine. Courtesy photo.

Reps. Gene Ward and Kymberly Pine. Courtesy photo.

House Republicans selected Representative Gene Ward Ph.D. as Minority Leader and Representative Kymberly Pine will continue to serve as the Minority Floor Leader. Cynthia Thielen remains the Assistant Minority Leader, Corinne Ching will be the Assistant Minority Floor Leader and Barbara Marumoto will be the Minority Policy Leader. The three freshman George Fontaine, Aaron Johanson and Gil Riviere will serve as Whips.

Minority Leader Representative Gene Ward said, “Our new Caucus is excited and united and ready to do the people’s business, particularly regarding fiscal responsibility and job creation in the 2011 Session. We are very pleased to have grown 33 1/3 percent representing the first net-gain in the size of caucus in 10 years. The tide is changing in the House and we have added three exceptional new members in Aaron Johanson, George Fontaine, and Gil Riviere. It’s an honor to be elected the leader of the Minority Caucus and together we have the privilege and awesome responsibility of being the voice for over 40% of the people of Hawaii who voted last Tuesday.”

“I am so excited that I’ll be working with Gene Ward. He is an amazing leader; and the new freshman are so bright and bring so much to the table,” said Minority Floor Leader Representative Kymberly Pine

The leaders serve as the spokespersons for their party and manage the schedule of the caucus legislative and executive business. House Republicans will rally for an accountable government and better solutions for the challenges that face Hawaii’s citizens and visitors.

Republicans hold 8 seats in the 51-seat House of Representatives. The new leadership will determine what actions they will take to influencing policies and the gain of additional seats in the 2012 elections.