Monday, December 14, 1998

Reporter, editorial
assistant win awards for
outstanding year of work



Business writer Rob Perez won the Star-Bulletin's annual Kilohana Award for Outstanding Achievement, and administrative editorial assistant Laureen Kodama won the award for Unsung Hero. Both awards carry prizes of $1,000.

"Rob Perez had the kind of year for the Star-Bulletin that Sammy Sosa had for the Cubs," said Managing Editor David Shapiro.

"Any discussion of Rob's work this year would have to start with gasoline prices," Shapiro said. "Rob doggedly broke one exclusive story after another on how Hawaii consumers are being ripped off by artificially high gasoline prices in a falling oil market. His reporting laid the foundation for a state lawsuit against the oil companies."

Perez also was cited for his work in covering the state's Economic Revitalization Task Force, in revealing nonbid state contracts in Kapolei and as one of the lead reporters in the Star-Bulletin's State of the Unions series.

Shapiro recounted a recent incident when Kodama turned a scraggly little Christmas tree into a perfect specimen by stapling fallen branches from other trees onto its trunk.

"This scene tells you all you need to know about Laureen," he said. "It shows how she sees the possibilities in a situation rather than the problems. It shows how she sweats the small stuff and isn't afraid to get her hands dirty. It shows the lengths she'll go to make this newsroom a more pleasant place to work."

He called the newsroom manager "the epitome of an unsung hero -- quiet, gentle, humble and more interested in giving credit to others than in receiving it herself. It's about time she got some of the credit."

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