HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Grace Lee, whose passion and creativity helped launch Hawaii News Now's morning news program in 2007 and propel the show to No. 1 in the Hawaii market, is returning to the islands to co-anchor Hawaii News Now Sunrise with Steve Uyehara this March.
"After an exciting two years in San Francisco, I just felt like it was time to come home," said Lee. "I can't wait to come back and straighten out the guys on Sunrise!"
Grace has spent the last two years at KPIX, the CBS owned-and-operated station in San Francisco as a political reporter and anchor. She began her career in Hawaii at KGMB in 2002. After three years at KCRA in Sacramento, she returned to KGMB in the summer of 2007 to co-anchor the Sunrise morning show.
She will rejoin Uyehara, Dan Cooke, Howard Dicus and Ramsay Wharton as the anchors of Hawaii News Now Sunrise, the state's most-watched morning news program. And yes, her dog Sunny will be returning with her.
"We are excited beyond belief that someone of Grace's caliber is returning to Sunrise," said Mark Platte, News Director. "After Grace left here, she really distinguished herself at KPIX but we are so grateful she is coming back home."
Tannya Joaquin, who moved to Sunrise after Lee left for the Bay Area in November of 2010, will join Keahi Tucker on the news desk and anchor the 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. evening broadcasts of Hawaii News Now.
"Working on Sunrise has been a fun ride, but I am thrilled for this opportunity to reunite with Keahi Tucker, Guy Hagi and the rest of our talented evening news team," said Joaquin. "I recently co-anchored Hawaii News Now's live coverage of the elections and Sen. Inouye's funeral with Keahi, and I couldn't ask for a better partner on the desk."
Joaquin will take the place of the departing Teri Okita, who is leaving the islands to explore new career opportunities in London, England. Okita has anchored the 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. evening newscasts at Hawaii News Now since January 2011.
"Life is all about timing and making choices that best serve certain points in our journey," Okita said. "While I'm going to be so sad to leave my beloved Hawaii (again), this is an extremely exciting time in my personal life. After years of being on the road and living long-distance, I'll finally get to settle down with my fiancé. It has been a real privilege to work with the super talented men and women at Hawaii News Now and a great honor to have been invited into your homes each night. Mahalo Nui Loa and Aloha."
Platte praised Okita's work for Hawaii News Now.
"Teri is an award-winning journalist who covered everything for us from the Royal Wedding in London to the return of our last troops in Iraq," Platte said. "She capped it off with a stellar half-hour special on retiring U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka. She is starting an exciting new chapter of life in London and I wish her the best."
Airing on KGMB, KHNL and KFVE, Hawaii News Now broadcasts more than 40 hours of unique news content each week across three platforms and online at HawaiiNewsNow.com.