Miracle on Merchant Street | PBS Sell Its Land | ERS Continuing Troubles | Coaches Fired

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BY SAM SLOMSorry Kauai, O’ahu Is Catching Fire! Last week I wrote about the new blockbuster movie, “Hunger Games II-Catching Fire” and erroneously attributed a sizeable portion of the movie to filming on Kauai. Fortunately, Renee Confair Sensano, Production Supervisor, wrote to correct me and said the dramatic scenes were filmed on O’ahu, after scouting all Islands. Renee said Hawaii beat out Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and Florida as the filming destination and the crew was 70% local. Specifically, filming took place at Kawela Bay, various jungles on the Windward side and Waimea Falls area. Thanks so much Renee, and congratulations.

Rep. Coffman Resigns. In a surprise move Monday, Rep. Denny Coffman (D-5th-Kailua-Kona, Captain Cook), announced his resignation effective December 20 because of serious family medical issues. Coffman, a three term State Representative, will move to California. The Governor will get to make another (his 5th) legislative appointment to fill the vacancy. We wish Rep. Coffman and his family all the best.


Abercrombie Announces “Surplus.”  Gov. Neil Abercrombie recently announced the state has an $844 million surplus. Good news? It means you have been overtaxed. Even with tax increases we have had in recent years, the state expects to spend more of your money. The public unions, always nipping at taxpayers’ heels, want all of that surplus – and more – in current contract negotiations, while the Gov wants to put the surplus towards his Early Education state subsidy scheme. There will be battles for even more of your cash during the 2014 Legislative Session, which begins January 15. Hold onto your wallet.

Neil & Newt on CNN?  Gov. Neil Abercrombie made a brief appearance Monday on CNN’s “Cross Fire” with former House Speaker and Republican Presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich. They sparred over unemployment and the Obamacare exchange, the Hawaii Health Connector.

Coaches Fired. On Tuesday, UH Football Head Coach Norm Chow released two coaches: Defensive Thom Kaumeyer and linebackers coach Tony Tuioti. UH finished 1-11 this season.

UH Review Continues. The legislature’s ongoing scrutiny of management and fiscal policies at the University of Hawaii continues on December 20 at the Capitol.

ERS Continuing Troubles. The State Employee Retirement System (ERS) has billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities, along with the EUTF, the employees’ health fund. The ERS is the subject of a Senate briefing on Thursday at the state Capitol.

Obamacare Costs: Just 574 people have signed up for the Hawaii Health Connector, about one half of one percent of the state’s 1.4 million people. So far, the federal government allocation for each successful sign-up comes to about $348,000 – each. Although the number of people who have signed up through HawaiiHealthConnector.com – and 30 partner agencies – is an increase from the Nov. 15 enrollment of 257, it’s a long way from the hundreds of thousands that were expected to enroll in the Obamacare exchange. The House will hold a hearing on Thursday on the Health Connector. See the full story in Hawaii Reporter>

Gottliebs in Town. Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for The Right to Keep & Bear Arms Founder, Alan Gottlieb, and wife Julianne, were in Honolulu briefly over the weekend for a series of meetings and television appearances on Malia Zimmerman’s “News Behind the News” series, which airs tonight (6:30 pm) on O’lelo, Channel 54. Alan is one of the most frequently interviewed spokesman for gun rights in America. Julianne is active in both 2nd Amendment organizations, publishes the monthly Women & Guns magazine, and represents American 2nd Amendment rights on a United Nations panel.

Another Successful Marathon. The Honolulu Marathon held Sunday was a great success: More runners, more security and more revenues for the State of Hawaii. This private organization accepts no government funding, pays all costs and does a terrific job or marketing, organizing and cleaning up with minimum disruption.

He Makana. Last Friday at the State Foundation of Cultural & Arts reception, The Gertrude Mary Joan Damon Haig Collection of Hawaiian Art, Paintings and Prints, was presented to the State of Hawaii in honor of the life of Mary Joan Damon Haig. It is a distinguished collection of traditional Hawaiian crafts, paintings and prints. The collection is called, He Makana, “a gift,” and consists of 43 works of art collected over decades by an anonymous donor. A cloth bound publication, He Makana, was written by David Forbes and designed by Barbara Pope.

PBS Sell Its Land. PBS Hawaii closed the sale of its Waikiki property several days ago for $3.5 million. The 28,761-square-foot land parcel, located at 1812 Kalakaua Ave., was sold to local developer MW Group, which plans to build the Plaza @ Waikiki, an assisted living facility for seniors. The transaction marked the conclusion of an 18-month process that involved rezoning and infrastructure credits. Hawaii’s only public television station acquired the property in November 2003 for $2.4 million from the bankruptcy of Indonesian financier Sukamto Sia. With the proceeds of the sale, PBS Hawaii has reached nearly $22 million of a $30 million NEW HOME campaign goal to build the station’s new facility at 315 Sand Island Access Road.

Miracle on Merchant Street. Murphy’s, at 2 Merchant Street, will host a Christmas dinner and toy-raiser benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities of Hawaii families on Wednesday, Dec. 11 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. It has been a Christmas tradition for over 20 years and often referred to as the “Miracle on Merchant Street.” The event will include dinner, a toy drive for keiki staying at the Ronald McDonald House, trolley rides to the Honolulu City Lights at Honolulu Hale and an appearance by Santa Claus. The event is free and open to the public. (Merchant Street will be shut down at the corner of Nuuanu Avenue for the event.)

SBH 38th Annual Business Conference. Reminder to save the date: Wednesday, February 19, 2014, 9 am – 2 pm, for the 38th Annual SBH Business & Investment Conference at the Ala Moana Hotel. A great line up of exciting and informative speakers and issue topics (agenda to be published soon), networking, business exhibits and more. Sponsorship and booth exhibit opportunities still available. Contact Malia (306-3161) or Susan (396-1724) for details.

January 30 SUNRISE Features Medved. While there is no monthly SBH SUNRISE Networking Breakfast forum in December. SUNRISE returns Thursday, January 30, 2014 in the Ala Moana Macy’s Pineapple Room with national radio talk show host and author, Michael Medved. To reserve your seat, call 396-1724.

Reagan Dinner February 6. The Hawaii Republican Assembly will hold its first annual Ronald Reagan Freedom & Liberty Dinner, on February 6, 2014. Special guest speaker will be heavyweight American Conservative Union chairman Alberto Cardenas who headlines the annual CPAC in Washington, D.C. Tickets $75.

Latest Business News. Former Rep. Barbara Marumoto, a member of the Smart Business Hawaii board of directors, and I appeared on News Behind The News to discuss Bettering Your Business in Hawaii.

Hundreds Turned Out for “Lone Survivor.”  Hundreds of patriots turned out for last night’s debut of the new Mark Wahlberg film, “Lone Survivor,” thanks to the generosity of Tanya Leverault of Universal Pictures. The new war film based on The New York Times bestselling true story LONE SURVIVOR was shown at Regal Dole Cannery.

Hawaii Reporter.com, Hawaii’s first electronic daily newspaper launched in 2002, has all the breaking news and unlike other publications in town, is still free. Award winning Hawaii Reporter and Malia Zimmerman report daily (M-F) on the Rick Hamada Show heard on KHVH radio on 830 AM at 7:05 am. Malia will share the news behind the news.

Tune in to Panos Prevedouros. SBH Director and UH Engineering Professor Dr. Panos Prevedouros is a weekly guest on Rick Hamada’s morning radio show every Tuesday from 7:05 a.m. to 8 am. Tune in!

Read SB NEWS. Don’t forget to read your current (November) monthly SB NEWS by PDF attachment or link. More expanded news and views for the Hawaii business community. A limited number of printed copies are available for mailing if you call SBH (396-1724).

Want More Business? JOIN SBH! Is YOUR business a member of SBH? No? Lots of benefits. Strong networking organization. Call 396-1724 or go online to  www.smartbusinesshawaii.com.





  1. […] Latest ObamaCare + Hawaii, News  Hawaii Dec 122013   Share Miracle on Merchant Street | PBS Sell Its Land | ERS Continuing Troubles … Obamacare Costs: Just 574 people have signed up for the Hawaii Health Connector, about one half of one percent of the state's 1.4 million people. So far, the federal government allocation for each successful sign-up comes to about $ 348,000 – each. Read more on Hawaii Reporter […]

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