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JOHN BERGER / JBERGER@STARADVERTISER.COM FREITAS, SANDBERG WIN AT PEARL | 1. An enthusiastic wall-to-wall crowd saw Nick Freitas, center, and Julie Sandberg, with sash, take top honors in the Mr. and Miss Beautiful Contest Sept. 24 at Pearl. Celebrity photographer Russell Tanoue, left, the creator of the "Beautiful" parties at Pearl, joined contest tabulator Donna Chun and Pearl general manager Dan Punch in congratulating Freitas and Sandberg on their success.
JOHN BERGER / JBERGER@STARADVERTISER.COM CINEMA ITALIANO JURORS HONORED | 5. Cinema Italiano in Hawaii founding director Margherita Balbo Parrent, left, welcomed festival jurors Ron Nagasawa, Bonni Lee, Franco Amurri and Edgy Lee to the private VIP Jurors Reception Sept. 21 at the Kahala Hotel & Resort. The event marked the opening of the Eighth Annual Cinema Italiano in Hawaii festival and four solid days of hard-to-find contemporary Italian films.
JOHN BERGER / JBERGER@STARADVERTISER.COM 4. Danny Couch, left, and Paul Shimomoto were two of the featured performers. Couch entertained the audience with a beautiful rendition of "Have You Seen These Islands." Shimomoto sang a hapa-haole "Maui Medley" and then closed with a jazzy take on "Let's Fall in Love."
JOHN BERGER / JBERGER@STARADVERTISER.COM MEETING PROFESSIONALS SALUTE MATSU MOTO | 3. Stuart Kotake, second from left, was a keynote speaker when the Meeting Professionals International Aloha Chapter honored Kika Matsumoto, founder of Kika Inc., third from left, "for her dedication and service to Hawaii's meetings and events industry" at the group's Fourth Annual Awards Gala Tuesday at the Kahala Hotel & Resort. Kotake preceded Matsumoto to the podium, conveyed her reminder "that this is a tribute, not a roast" and then praised her as "an advocate, a visionary." In accepting the honor Matsumoto described herself as "so fortunate and so blessed" and asked the audience to support no-kill animal shelters. Ash and Kimi Matar, seen here with Matsumoto and Kotake, were among her close friends who attended the event.
JOHN BERGER / JBERGER@STARADVERTISER.COM 2. Pearl manager Michael Norton talked with May Caneso, Tiffany Rogers, pageant judge Yvonne Midkiff and emcee Valerie Joseph as the crowd was dispersing. Joseph had a great time emceeing the action and may have found herself a new career as a pageant emcee.