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POSTED: Wednesday, February 25, 2009

HAWAII

Hoku amends Idaho plant contract

Hoku Scientific Inc. said yesterday that it will delay engineering and construction of the trichlorosilane production area of its planned Idaho polysilicon plant until April.

As part of the delay, the Honolulu-based alternative energy company will reassign construction management services to JH Kelly LLC, Hoku's general construction contractor, from Stone & Webster Inc.

Stone & Webster will continue engineering and procurement required for Hoku to commercially operate the plant using third-party trichlorosilane.

 

Hawaiian rolls out 'fare guarantee'

Hawaiian Airlines said yesterday it has started a fare guarantee program that locks in a $43 fare for any available coach seat on its interisland flights during the next three months.

The 'Kamaaina Guarantee' program allows customers who sign up at http://www.hawaiianairlines.com to purchase up to 40 interisland trips at $43 each. Travel must be completed by May 15. Customers must sign up by March 11 to be eligible to purchase the tickets online.

Mokulele Airlines, meanwhile, is offering a coupon booklet of five one-way tickets for $267, which is available for $245.15 for Ali'i members.

 

Attorney tapped to oversee Ilikai

A Circuit Court judge approved this week the replacement of the court-appointed receiver of the troubled Ilikai hotel, a move intended to prevent a complete closure of the circa-1960s Waikiki icon.

Receiver Joseph Toy, who also was appointed commissioner to auction off the landmark property in foreclosure, was replaced Monday in both positions by local attorney George Van Buren.

The property's lender, iStar FM Loans LLC, has so far been noncommittal on whether it will fund continuing operations under the new receiver, but sources familiar with the situation say that iStar intends to keep operations alive.

 

State encourages E-filing of taxes

The state Department of Taxation said it is urging taxpayers to file their state income tax returns electronically.

Resident taxpayers who make less than $100,000 a year, whose income only includes wages, interest, ordinary dividends and unemployment compensation, and who do not itemize deductions can file the N-13, Individual Income Tax Return.

To file the N-13 electronically for free, go to http://www.hawaii.gov/tax and click on “;EServices.”; Next, click on “;Register for E-file.”;

 

CBRE changes pay formula

CB Richard Ellis is changing commission splits and reducing salaries for a year beginning next month for employees nationwide, according to sources familiar with the situation.

The amount of reduction will vary, though workers making $50,000 or less are exempt from the cuts, according to a company source.

CBRE Hawaii principal broker and president Joseph Haas declined comment. Steven Iaco, company spokesman, said CBRE is not commenting publicly on its compensation policies.

The commercial real estate firm has 160 employees statewide at offices in Honolulu, Kailua-Kona on the Big Island, Kahului on Maui and Lihue, Kauai. It employs more than 21,000 employees worldwide.

CBRE brokered more than 470 lease and sales transactions in Hawaii last year. Those sales were valued at more than $647 million, according to the company's Web site.

 

Analyst: Boyd buy may make sense

LAS VEGAS » An analyst said yesterday that Boyd Gaming Corp.'s offer to buy Station Casinos Inc.'s assets may make sense, as the Las Vegas locals market could be closer to a recovery than the Las Vegas Strip.

Late Monday, Boyd, which in Honolulu operates the Vacations Hawaii charter service to Las Vegas, told fellow Las Vegas-based casino operator Station that it was interested in buying its assets after, or as part of, a bankruptcy reorganization.

 

Isle agriculture work force drops

Hawaii's hired agricultural work force totaled 6,000 workers during the January 11-17 survey week, down 6 percent from a year ago, the state Department of Agriculture reported yesterday.

Pineapple and sugarcane workers totaled 900, which does not include mill or cannery workers, during the survey week, down 22 percent from the same period a year ago, as layoffs continued at Maui Land and Pineapple Co. and Gay & Robinson Inc. on Kauai.

Other hired workers showed a 3 percent decrease from a year ago at 5,100 during the survey week in January 2009.

Hawaii's total farm workforce is estimated at 10,500, unchanged compared to a year ago.

The number of self-employed operators totaled 3,500 during the survey week, up 9 percent from a year ago.

The average wage paid to all hired workers during the survey was estimated at $12.69 an hour. This was 3 percent lower than a year ago as wage rates for supervisors declined.

Hawaii farms employing up to nine workers paid an average of $10.71 an hour, while the combined average wage for field and livestock workers was $10.36 an hour.