Photo courtesy of UHERO

Photo courtesy of UHERO

BY HAWAII REPORTER

Study Says No Need for Task Force to Check Construction Sites

A Hawaii group that looked at creating a task force that would investigate and inspect construction sites for unlicensed contractors and illegal workers has concluded no such unit is needed at this time.

The Construction Site Inspection Task Force recently reported to the legislature that creation of such a task force to address unlicensed activity, undocumented workers and worker safety violations is not necessary currently because collaborative enforcement can occur on an as-needed basis.

It said a task force may be appropriate to address the broader issue of the underground economy or cash businesses. But it said instances where unlicensed contracting, illegal workers and safety violations occur on the same job site are not frequent enough to warrant the establishing of a dedicated task force.

It said such a task force would draw resources away from participating agencies. It said more frequent information sharing and proactive approaches to problematic job sites should occur.

Inouye Announces Earmark Moratorium

Hawaii U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye, who once proclaimed himself the “king of pork,” announced his Senate Appropriations Committee will have a moratorium on earmarks during the next two years.

Inouye had resisted calls to end earmarks but faced opposition from both Congressional Republicans and Pres. Barack Obama, who had said he would veto legislation containing earmarks.

“I continue to support the Constitutional right of members of Congress to direct investments to their states and districts under the fiscally responsible and transparent earmarking process that we have established,” said Inouye in a statement.

“However, the handwriting is clearly on the wall. The President has stated unequivocally that he will veto any legislation containing earmarks, and the House will not pass any bills that contain them. Given the reality before us, it makes no sense to accept earmark requests that have no chance of being enacted into law.”

Inouye had been successful at winning earmarks for Hawaii, with Citizens Against Government Waste last year ranking the state No. 1 in the nation for its per capita earmarks. The group said in 2009 Hawaii attracted $326.1 million of earmarks, or $251.78 per capita. That compared to the national average of $27.36.

Grand Wailea

Grand Wailea among Resorts Placed in Bankruptcy

The new owners of the Grand Wailea and four Mainland resorts said a filing for bankruptcy should have no impact on the management, staff or operations of the resorts.

The hotels owned by CNL-AB LLC were placed into a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in New York as mortgage debt payments came due.

The resorts’ owner said the bankruptcy provides it with the opportunity to further restructure the Company’s debt at the property level and to improve operations during a time of recovering fundamentals in the hospitality industry.

The Grand Wailea is one of a dozen or so major Hawaii hotel properties that experienced financial distress during the recession, some of which went into foreclosure or bankruptcy. The 840-room Grand Wailea was sold just prior to the recession to a Morgan Stanley real estate fund in a multi-billion dollar deal that involved seven other hotels.

CNL-AB LLC is a joint venture consisting of affiliates of Paulson & Co. Inc., a joint venture affiliated with Winthrop Realty Trust, and affiliates of Capital Trust, Inc. The joint venture acquired the portfolio through a foreclosure proceeding on January 28, 2011.

Michael Barr, Portfolio Manager at Paulson & Co. Inc., said, “We and our partners are excited to be owners of some of the world’s most desirable resorts and look forward to providing new sponsorship to maximize the value of these irreplaceable assets.”

Neil Abercrombie, Hawaii's New Governor (Courtesy daylife.com)

Abercrombie says Hawaii will move forward with Health Care

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie said a Florida Federal Court ruling that the health care reform law is unconstitutional won’t stop the state from implementing it.

“States across the nation, including Hawaii, are dealing with an unprecedented fiscal crisis in large part because of rising health care costs. While the courts do their work to resolve legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act, Hawaii will continue to move forward with implementation of this major legislation,” Abercrombie said in a statement released by his office.

“For example, in Hawaii, the Affordable Care Act ensures that 193,000 seniors with Medicare don’t have to pay more for preventive services like mammograms and colonoscopies, and allows for 2,550 young adults to have medical coverage under their parent’s plans until age 26.

The state of Hawaii recently filed an amicus brief in support of the Act in an Ohio court hearing an appeal of another case.

Department of Health Reduces Food Recall list again

The Hawaii Department of Health has revised its list of recalled products made by First Commercial Kitchen LLC because of new information it’s received.

The list is the fourth issued by the state as part of its action against First Commercial, a Waipahu-based company. It originally issued a list with more than 100 products to be recalled, but then reduced it last week and again yesterday.

The department said it is aware that records provided by the company may include inaccurate and outdated information “due to the company’s questionable record keeping practices.”

But it said it is providing businesses the opportunity to remove their names from the recall list if they can show sufficient documentation and evidence of product safety.

The revised recall list now includes:

Arturo’s

Hot Sauces: Habernero Vinaigrette, Pineapple Salsa, Green Flash,

Hot Hawaiian Savory Sauce, Hawaiian Passion Ginger Fire Sauce, Phitias Hot Sauce, Polli’s Hot Sauce, Pineapple Pepper Salsa

Refrigerated Salsas: Maui Onion Sauce, Red, Red Hot, Red Very Very Hot

Shelf Stable Salsas:  Red Mild, Red Hot, Red Very Very Hot

Barb’s Favorite Recipes, Barb’s Local Style Black Bean Sauce, Barb’s Kal-Bi Sauce

Cabais Capital Sweet Wasabi Sauce

Grand Café & Bakery: Dessert Topping, Sherry Vinaigrette

India Café: Curry Sauce for Meat, Sauce for Seafood, Tikka Masala (General Sauce)

Jen-e Tropical Creamy Garlic Dressing

Molokai Roadside Creations Steak Marinades: Original, Mild, Mo’Spicy

Mom’s Recipe Sauce

Pacific Poultry: Huli-Huli Sauce

Soul de Cuba: Mango Salsa, Mojo Marinade

Sunset Sauces: Pacific Pesto – Mac Nut Style, Pacific Pesto – Asian Style

Table Boss Safari Sauce

Toyo Sushi: Sushi Vinegar, Garlic Sauce, Spicy Garlic Sauce

Wing Coffee Company: Thick Soy Sauce, Sweet & Sour Sauce, Plum Sauce,

Hoisin Sauce, Black Bean Garlic

USO Celebrations Sunday at Hawaii Centers

The United Service Organizations, better known as USO, will turn 70 years old this Friday and will celebrate on Sunday.

USO Hawaii will commemorate the anniversary with a Superbowl event at its Hickam AMC Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and its Honolulu International Airport locations. Chili, hot dogs and snacks will be served starting at noon.

SBA to Release Details for Women Participating in Federal Contracts Program

The U.S. Small Business Administration said it will release instructions on how to participate in its Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program on Friday. The SBA said the new program will be fully implemented over the next several months, with the first contracts expected to be awarded by the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2011.

During the ramp up period over the next several months, SBA is encouraging small business owners to review program requirements and ensure their required documents are uploaded to the repository. WOSBs also will need to update their status in the Central Contractor Registration

For more information on the Women-Owned Small Business Program or to access the instructions, applications or database, please visit www.sba.gov/wosb.

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