BY HAWAII REPORTER
Michele Bachmann Coming for Wednesday Talk in Honolulu
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, a founder of the House Tea Party Caucus and sometimes mentioned as a potential presidential candidate, will give her insight into the 2011 Congress during a talk Wednesday.
Bachmann will make her address at a Grassroot Institute Hawaii luncheon at the Ala Moana Hotel.
The Minnesota congresswoman also has been an advocate for earmark reform and tax relief. She also advocates against wasteful government spending.
She also has become a controversial figure in recent years as she offered criticism of Barack Obama and Democratic Party actions along with becoming a public face for the Tea Party movement. She recently gave what was billed as the Tea Party response to Pres. Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech.
The Grassroot Institute luncheon is scheduled for 11:30 to 1 p.m. in the Plumeria Room, with seats costing $35. Reservations are through the Grassroot Institute office at 591-9193.
The Grassroot Institute was formed in 2001 and says its mission is to promote individual liberty, the free market and limited accountable government. Hawaii Reporter Editor Malia Zimmerman serves on the organization’s board of directors.
HECO Makes History with Biofuel Test at Kahe Power Plant
Hawaiian Electric Co. this week fired up a petroleum oil-fired steam turbine at its Kahe Power Plant on Oahu using 100 percent renewable biofuel in what may have been a groundbreaking test.
“We believe this is the first time a utility-scale steam unit has fired on 100% biofuel at 100% capacity,” said Robbie Alm, Hawaiian Electric executive vice president. “This successful test confirms that biofuels – locally grown to the greatest extent possible – can be an important part of Hawaii’s clean energy future, along with energy from the sun, wind, ocean, and waste-to-energy, hydro and geothermal.
The tests found that using biofuel reduced opacity (visibility of emissions) and emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOX) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) compared to using low sulfur fuel oil.
The test used imported crude palm oil blended with palm stearin, an inedible by-product of palm oil refining usually used to make candles and soap.
HECO said testing will continue and be expanded to evaluate continuous 24-hour operation on Hawaiian Electric’s energy management system. Results will assess the possible use of sustainable biofuels in Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light companies’ other steam generating units.
Central Pacific Financial Corp. reported it narrowed its fourth quarter net loss from a year earlier when non-operational costs contributed to wider losses.
The holding company for the state’s fourth-largest bank reported a net loss of $2.1 million, or 14 cents a share for the recently ended quarter. That compared to a loss of $98.8 million, or $3.33 a diluted share, a year earlier.
Central Pacific has been taking losses for non-performing loans and obtaining new capital to reverse losses. In the past year the bank brought in John Dean, a turnaround specialist, to help it obtain new investors and return it to profitability.
“We are encouraged by our improved financial results, including significant reductions in credit costs, nonperforming assets, and our overall credit risk exposure,” Dean, Executive Chairman of the Board. “We anticipate closing our recapitalization transaction within the next month assuming all closing conditions are met, including the receipt of the requisite regulatory approvals.”
State Rep. Cynthia Thielen said she wants more regulation of large-scale dog breeders as well as providing more for buyers of the dogs from pet stores and commercial breeders.
“Unfortunately Hawaii is one of the few states where puppy mills are allowed to flourish because of lack of permitting and buyer recourses. Just recently there has been several media reports of large scale breeders who continue to raise hundreds of puppies in unsanitary and substandard conditions,” said Representative Thielen.
“I have been told that some breeding facilities are facing animal abuse court cases and are also a being fined daily for zoning and permitting violations, yet they remain in operation.”
Thielen has authored two bills to be considered by the state legislature. HB 1148 would require pet stores and large scale breeders to provide dog purchasers with written medical histories and allows purchasers to return dogs within a limited time frame.
Another bill, HB 1192, would mandate that large-scale dog breeders to be permitted on an annual basis.
Matson Navigation to Raise Fuel Surcharge to 26.5 Percent
Matson Navigation Co., the largest cargo shipping line between the Mainland and Hawaii, will raise its fuel surcharge for its Hawaii service by 4.75 percentage points to 26.5 percent on February 27.
Matson said it is the first time the surcharge has been increased since last February. The shipping line noted fuel prices had been rising. It made the announcement as crude oil prices jumped because of unrest in Egypt. The cost of a barrel of oil for March delivery closed at $89.34 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Maui’s Grand Wailea Ownership Changes Again
Ownership of Maui’s Grand Wailea resort has changed again as CNL Hotels & Resorts, which owns it and seven Mainland resorts changed hands.
CNL Hotels was taken over Friday at a foreclosure auction by a group of lenders that includes Paulson & Co., Winthrop Realty Trust and Capital Trust.
Bloomberg reported the Paulson group now will negotiate with the trustees overseeing a $1 billion securitized mortgage on the lodging properties, according to David Broderick, a partner with Allen & Overy LLP, who represents the winning investors.
“The plan is to speak to all of the senior creditors and restructure all of the debt,” Broderick said in an interview with the news service after the auction.
The properties are the Doral Golf Resort and Spa in Miami; JW Marriott Grande Lakes and Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes, both in Orlando, Florida; the Claremont Resort & Spa in Berkeley, California; the La Quinta Resort and Club and adjacent PGA West golf course in La Quinta, California; the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa, both in Phoenix; and the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel and Spa in Maui.
Waikiki one of Top Neighborhoods for Restaurants Per Capita
Waikiki is in the top 10 zip codes in the nation in terms of the number of restaurants per capita.
Data compiled by Pinpoint Demographics, a demographics research firm.
Pinpoint said New York City topped the list with its TriBeCa neighborhood logging 496 restaurants per capita. Five other neighborhoods within Manhattan placed in the top 10 listing.
Other cities making the list were San Diego, San Francisco, Waikiki (No. 8) and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Pinpoint noted that most of the cities making the list were tourist destinations attracting millions of visitors each year.
Former Lingle Administration Official Joins Starwood Hawaii
Marsha Wienert, who worked for more than seven years as the State Tourism Liaison during Gov. Linda Lingle’s administration, has joined Starwood Hawaii as Regional Director of Public Relations.
Starwood said Wienert will be responsible for all aspects of public relations including campaign development and implementation, crisis communication and public affairs. She will be focused on the Sheraton, Westin, Luxury Collection and St. Regis brands in Hawaii.
The Save Sandy Beach/Ka Iwi Coalition has been named the recipient of the third annual Astrid & Donald Monson Community Action Award by the Honolulu League of Women Voters Education Fund Board.
The group was credited as raising public awareness for the preservation of undeveloped areas and using the power of a grassroots campaign to change land use policies in the state of Hawaii.