BY HAWAII REPORTER

Foie Gras Bill on Menu at Legislature Again

A bill that would outlaw foie gras in Hawaii has been re-submitted to the legislature after failing last year.

The measure, HB77, would prohibit the possession, sale, trade or distribution of foie gras in the state starting in July 2012.

An effort to pass a similar bill was unsuccessful last year after the measure died in committee. Animal rights supporters have opposed the production of foie gras – French for “fat liver — a pate that is traditionally made from duck and geese liver.

Activists say much of the foie gras is produced by forcing food down the throats of the birds to produce an enlarged liver in a short period of time. Organizations against foie gras include People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Humane Society of the United States.

California is set to ban foie gras next year. Chicago banned foie gras for two years before its City Council overwhelmingly overturned the prohibition in 2008, responding to critics who said the city was micromanaging.

More Fuel Surcharge Increases; This time for Air Fares

Higher oil prices are translating into higher ticket prices. Qantas is raising its international fuel surcharges by $20 Australian on flights to Honolulu.

On Feb. 19 the surcharge will increase from the current A$55 one-way to A$75.

“Year to date average prices for both West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil and Singapore Jet Fuel are at their highest since FY08, and second half FY11 prices are forecast to be around 20 per cent higher than in the first half,” said Alan Joyce, Qantas chief executive officer.

Last Week Matson Navigation Co. announced it will hike its Hawaii fuel surcharge to 26.5 percent beginning Feb. 27 because of higher crude prices. The surcharge is currently 21.75 percent.

Abercrombie Appoints Rep. Morita as PUC Chair

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has appointed state Rep. Hermina Morita as chair of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, noting the Kauai legislator has been a key figure in Hawaii’s progress on energy issues.

Morita is replacing Carlito Caliboso, who has headed the PUC since 2003. Morita will fill the remainder of Caliboso’s term, which ends in 2014.

The PUC is considered a key agency in the state’s drive to increase use of renewable resources for energy. The state has set a goal of getting 70 percent of its energy from clean energy resources and conservation by the year 2030.

The PUC, comprised of three members, is a rate-setting agency for franchised or certificated public service companies that operate in the State.  The PUC also determines the allowable rate of earnings and issues guidelines concerning the management of utility businesses.  It also acts on requests for the acquisition, sale, disposition or other exchange of utility properties, including mergers and consolidations.

Abercrombie said he will be appointing a replacement for Morita’s seat.

House Bill calls for new License Plate for Familes of the Fallen

State Rep. K. Mark Takai has submitted a bill that would designate a new Gold Star Family license plate for the children, spouses, parents, spouses, and siblings of fallen soldiers.

Currently 47 states including Guam have Gold Star plates.

“The Gold Star not only represents the selfless sacrifice made by the deceased, but was intended to give their family a measure of pride and consolation,” Takai said.

The proposed design for the license plate includes the symbol of the Gold Star pin to the left of the license plate numbers with the words “Gold Star” and “Family” above and below in purple, respectively.

Honolulu Receives $8.64 Million for Homeless Programs

The City and County of Honolulu said it’s received $8.64 million in federal grant funds to keep 22 homeless assistance programs operating for the next fiscal year.

The City said it received the funds through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Continuum of Care programs, which provide funding for transitional housing; for services such as job training, health care, mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment, and child care; and for permanent supportive housing for homeless persons with disabilities.

Continuum of Care grants are awarded competitively. The City’s grant application was prepared by the Department of Community Services, culminating a year-long process that included an annual Point-in-Time Count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons in January 2010, a comprehensive inventory of shelter beds and services, identification of gaps in homeless services, and establishment of Continuum of Care funding priorities.

Punahou School Carnival Runs Friday and Saturday

Punahou School’s annual carnival that helps support the school’s financial aid program is set to kick off at 11 a.m. Friday and run to 11 p.m. that night.

The annual event that attracts thousands of people will also operate during the same hours Saturday. The carnival traces its roots back to 1932, when students held a Friday afternoon carnival that lasted into the evening and benefited the school’s yearbook. Today it features rides, games, crafts and food.

Park

Kaulana Park named Senior Vice President at American Savings

Kaulana Park, former director of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and chairman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission, has been appointed senior vice president of community and business development at American Savings Bank.

The bank said Park will work with its executive team to expand the bank’s community development programs, identifying investment and lending programs as part of its Community Reinvestment Act efforts, and defining and implementing the bank’s strategy for providing clean energy financing, among other responsibilities.
As head of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Park managed more than 140 employees statewide.  He negotiated the transfer of the balance of lands (800+ acres) owed from the state and developed Kaupuni, the first net-zero sustainable community in the nation.

Central Pacific Financial Shares Down

Shares of Central Pacific Financial, the parent company of the Hawaii’s fourth-largest bank, fell by 13 percent in their first full day of trading after a one-for-20 reverse stock split.

The shares fell $4.04 and closed at $26.16. Central Pacific Financial undertook the reverse stock split as part of a turnaround and recapitalization plan.

Department of Health Does Another Recall List Revision

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

The list is the sixth 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 three times this week.

The department said it had difficulty getting accurate information from First Commercial and that it has revised the recall list as businesses come forward with documentation and evidence of product safety.

The revised recall list now includes:

Arturo’s

Hot Sauces: Pineapple Salsa, Hot Hawaiian Savory Sauce, Phitias Hot Sauce, Pineapple Pepper Salsa

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

Shelf Stable Salsas: 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

Mom’s Recipe Sauce

Pacific Poultry: Huli-Huli Sauce

Table Boss Safari Sauce

Wing Coffee Company: Thick Soy Sauce, Sweet & Sour Sauce, Plum Sauce, Hoisin Sauce, Black Bean Garlic

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