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Randy Iwase, veteran of the state Senate and one-time gubernatorial candidate, has left politics but hasn’t strayed that far. He chairs the state Tax Review Commission, a panel assembled periodically to recommend tax-code changes to help the state cover its bills.

The past week — the past two years, really — the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, more officially called Leaders' Week, has consumed Peter Ho's attention, given his post as chairman of the APEC Host Committee.

The Hawaiian stone altar in the courtyard of Bachman Hall was built during a protest that had nothing to do with faculty contracts. Still, it was a reminder that sacrifices were made by the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly in 2009 to strike its six-year accord with UH administrators whose offices are right upstairs.

Carl Bonham had a choice to make after receiving his doctorate in economics from the University of Texas at Austin in 1989: Accept an assistant professorship at the University of Hawaii at Manoa or go with one of the offers from mainland universities.

The Charter School Administrative Office looks pretty big on paper, when you count up all the people who work in the schools it oversees. So don't be deceived by its tiny physical presence, said Roger McKeague, 44, its new executive director.

Dwight Kealoha is a man who has had a close-up view of a lot of trouble spots. First there were the two tours in Vietnam and three decades in the Air Force, retiring after 29 years as a brigadier general and putting in 2 1/2 more in the National Guard.

It's more than a little ironic that Terry Ware, a man who has spent the last few years helping Honolulu devise redevelopments centered around a new rail system that promises to make commuting easier, must himself commute between Hawaii and Denver in order to spend time each month with his wife and family.

Mike McCartney admits he likes to talk a lot, but that isn't surprising since his job as executive director of the Hawaii Tourism Authority is to promote the state as a premier visitor destination.

At 39, Blair Collis is younger than most anything in the Bishop Museum’s myriad collections on Hawaiian culture and natural history.

As news director at KUMU, Jessica Lani Rich functioned as the dispassionate chronicler of events, good and bad, but that's certainly not how she ended up.

Barbara Kim Stanton is still younger than most of the "retired persons" that AARP represents: She's 61. But in 2003, only a few years into the organization's 50-plus membership age range, she got a preview of what frail elders endure.

At 85, George Ariyoshi still relishes coming in to work at his old law firm, now known as Watanabe Ing LLP.

In Vicky Cayetano's full life — even before United Laundry Services, which she still heads, even before her years as Hawaii's first lady — there's always been music. At her childhood home in San Francisco, she played the flute, sang in choir, among parents and siblings who also are musical.

Cheryl Kakazu Park, a graduate of Leilehua High School and the University of Hawaii law school, has kept up her local-girl cred in the nearly two decades that she's lived elsewhere.

Richard "Dick" Rowland was 71 when he set up the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii with the goal of educating isle residents about individual liberty, the free market and limited government.

Kathryn Matayoshi still can lean on her background in managing large agencies — she was director of the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, for starters — but after only a year as schools superintendent, her heart is now clearly in education.

Tim Lyons came to Hawaii on a lark in 1974 and by 1976 was selling memberships for the Hawaii Business League. That, says Lyons, was when he "really started to understand" what small business owners have to go through to operate in Hawaii's tough economic climate.

Marc Alexander, 53, has found a new home for himself among people who have none. It's tough for anyone to change careers, but landing as an inactive priest after being vicar general — the No. 2 post in the Catholic diocese — was an especially big leap.

After Gov. Linda Lingle declined last year to set up a task force on medical marijuana as provided by the Legislature, Senate Public Health Chairman Will Espero took it upon himself to create a private study group, co-chaired by Pamela Lichty, president of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, to do the job.

It’s been the year of the Amazing Shrinking Budget. The size and scope of this one is far larger than the Maui County ledger that Kalbert Young once oversaw — and though at 41 he’s among the youngest in the state budget and finance director job, he’s sanguine about the challenge. Budget balancing is, he said, like chasing a moving target.

These have not been the most peaceful of times in the cemetery of Kawaiahao Church, but the Rev. Curt Kekuna believes his congregation ultimately will prove to be on the right path all the same.

Nikki Love has studied up a lot on this stuff — her university creds so far include a B.A. in political science from Stanford and an M.A. in public policy from Georgetown.

Is the third time the charm for Toru Hamayasu? Hamayasu, general manager of the city rapid transit division, watched the failure of the previous two attempts at developing a Honolulu rail system, first in 1981 and then 11 years later.

Randy Perreira doesn't think Hawaii's public sector unions are endangered — at least not the way they are in Wisconsin, where a newly-elected Republican governor and House majority are driving union-busting legislation.

Before he officially takes the helm of Hawaii Pacific University in July, Geoffrey Bannister will travel to Boston to welcome his daughter's second child. Then he's Honolulu-bound to take custody of another child of sorts: the masters-level university that for 40 years has been the province of its founding president, Chatt Wright.

From his glass-walled office on the 29th floor of the First Hawaiian Center in downtown Honolulu, Don Horner can see almost forever. While not known as one to pay attention to such things, the view from the top provides Horner a daily reminder of how far he has come and the heights to which he has risen.

Michele Carbone, director of the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, has acquired a reputation for a love of cooking -- but for now, the production he's overseeing with the most relish is not a dish at all but the building that's finally under construction near his offices and lab in Kakaako.

Kevin Chong Kee knew this moment was coming. For the past seven years, as chairman of the Aloha Stadium Authority, he has occupied a 50-yard-line seat as the 36-year-old facility's day of reckoning drew nearer.

Punana Leo means "nest of voices," and at its start, the infants-to-preschool education program conducted all in Hawaiian was seen as that kind of a haven — a place where tots immerse themselves in the language at the feet of their elders.

David Henkin knew early in life that he wanted to protect the environment. As a child in Los Angeles, he would pick up pieces of trash during walks with his mother and wonder aloud how people could be so thoughtless.

At 56, Mufi Hannemann's professional life has taken him in a huge circle, from the visitor industry, through politics and back to tourism again. Of course, being president of the Hawaii Hotel & Lodging Association, a long-established trade organization, is a far loftier post than the former Honolulu mayor's entry point.

Manuel Mollinedo had an interest in animals when he first started coming to Hawaii years ago. Unlike the creatures in his custody now, those were all underwater.

Kat Brady has been involved in community issues since arriving at the North Shore from her New York City roots 25 years ago.

Stationed on the front lines of despair—at what Maj. Edward Hill calls "the point of need"—Salvation Army workers across Hawaii have seen dramatic increases in poverty, homelessness and hunger this year.

Lynn Finnegan's life has rapidly switched tracks, but the fact that both tracks have run in parallel for so long through her career makes that change less of a jolt. No sooner had the dust settled after the Nov. 2 general election than the news came out: Finnegan, 40, former state House minority leader and Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, was tapped as executive director of the Hawaii Charter Schools Network.

On Christmas Eve, the nationally 24th-ranked University of Hawaii football team goes after its 11th victory of the season when it faces Tulsa in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl at Aloha Stadium.

U.S. Attorney Florence Nakakuni starts her days with a spectacular view afforded by a bank of windows on the federal building's sixth floor, overlooking Honolulu Harbor. It's probably the kind of visual uplift that the human soul might need when facing a full-time job contending with some fairly harrowing crimes.

Maybe it's fitting that Sam Slom will be the only Republican in the state Senate when the 2011 session is gaveled to order in January. In some ways, he has always been a party of one.

One would think that an assignment in paradise would be a balmy breeze, but that's just not how Peter Lenkov works. The Waikiki sun was setting gloriously, the steel guitar slid into the jazzy opening of "On a Little Street in Singapore," the grill was fired up, a margarita's on its way ... and the executive producer of "Hawaii Five-O" was STILL working, finishing up one last cell phone set of instructions.

Mark Anderson needs a sign on his desk that says, "The buck stops here -- but only briefly." Anderson's business card lists his title as "State Lead ARRA Coordinator," which means he keeps strict records of spending under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Last month, a study by the Josephson Institute of Ethics said half of all high school students in the United States admitted to bullying someone in the past year, and nearly half reported they had been victims of bullying. Sadly, says Antonia Alvarez, the results came as no surprise to her.

Fetu Kolio gets a reminder of why he committed to the job as president of his tenants association every time he turns on the faucet.

Life takes odd twists and turns, and for Robert Harris it was the twists and turns of his jogging route.

The Dole Cannery office of the Hawaii International Film Festival, even though it's at street level on Iwilei Road, is a bit hidden from view -- but once people find it and wander inside, the joint is really jumping. There's good reason for that, with the annual event celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and more than 170 screenings slated to run through Oct. 24. And though the festival began as a rather quiet local event, Chuck Boller, its executive director for the past decade, has witnessed much of that rise in international stature to a cinema showcase now distinctive for its Asia-Pacific brand.

Fun fact: Doug Chin has a perfect sense of pitch. "That means that if you play a song, then I know exactly what all the notes are," says Chin, Honolulu's acting prosecuting attorney and Mayor-elect Peter Carlisle's nominee for managing director.

You've got to hand it to D.G. "Andy" Anderson: He keeps coming up with big ideas. They're not always big with the neighbors, though. People scratched their heads at the notion of John Dominis, the upscale restaurant built in the midst of a hot industrial zone, facing Kewalo Basin. That turned out well.

It's a little ironic. One of the perks of riding your motorcycle to work is that finding an accommodating parking space is a little easier than it is for the car-dependent majority. And yet, what is it that's been bedeviling motorcyclist Anthony Ching these days in his job as executive director of the Hawaii Community Development Authority? It's a community protest over a parking lot.

You must be used to being outnumbered here by now, but what's the gameplan going in when it's 24-1?

It ain't over till it's over," Yogi Berra said of baseball. Three weeks after falling short in the championship game of the Little League World Series at Williamsport, Pa., and nearly two months since they left Hawaii on the first leg of their quest for the title, manager Brian Yoshii and the all-star team from Waipio find themselves still in extra innings.

Todd Apo, you've served in the City Council for about six years, after a career in law and business. What are you going to do now? Apo is going to Disney World, in fact, but not in the manner of that iconic advertising series.

"When it comes down to it," the city's website says, "the Department of Environmental Services takes care of everything we don't want anymore ... " These days, that's a lot.

Nestled in the cool Koolau foothills is the Kaneohe Ranch Management Ltd. office where Mitch D'Olier occupies one of the hottest hot seats in Kailua.

A decade ago, when he was on the team of state lawyers that prosecuted Bishop Estate trustees for misconduct, Hugh Jones was no stranger to public outrage and controversy. These days, as president of the Hawaii State Bar Association, he finds himself back in the fray.

When Jim Donovan finally got the call in March 2008 to tackle the top job of University of Hawaii athletics, it was immediately clear he'd be handling cleanup duty. Except for the windfall the football team scored with the Sugar Bowl berth, he said, the UH Athletics Department had been running a fairly consistent $2 million annual deficit.

Denise Wise walked into her new post as director of the Hawaii Public Housing Authority and confronted a full in-box.

Dr. Jerris Hedges now has two years under his belt as dean of the University of Hawaii's John A. Burns School of Medicine. Besides taking the helm of the full complement of existing research and education programs at a relatively young medical school, the job presents him with challenges unique to Hawaii, as well as problems he shares with counterparts across the country.

YOU'D NEVER suspect from the job title—assistant superintendent for facilities and support services—that its bearer would have a target painted on his back.

Gene Awakuni has put in five years as chancellor of the University of Hawaii-West Oahu.

Walea Constantinau still remembers the date—June 23, 1993—when film offices in each county, including the one she's headed ever since, were created.

Hawaii state librarian Richard Burns' own summer reading list includes the state budget, at least the sections specific to a system that he is optimistically awaiting the release of funding for to officially end furloughs that closed libraries for 15 days last school year.

Health care reform has made it easier for people who are abusing drugs or alcohol to get treatment, but fear keeps many people from walking through the recovery center doors.

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