Business briefs


POSTED: Friday, November 20, 2009


Parker Ranch lays off 5 workers

The Big Island's Parker Ranch, which was founded more than 160 years ago, is laying off five more employees because it closed its real estate and visitor operations.

Three employees in the ranch's visitor and tour operations were notified Tuesday that Dec. 31 would be their last day at the ranch. Two employees who worked for the company's real estate brokerage also have been laid off as part of the ranch's second major shuffle in less than a decade.

The closures have been imminent since Parker Ranch Inc.'s board of directors eliminated jobs for two vice presidents in October and announced that it would refocus its efforts on livestock production and land resource management. The board cited difficult economic conditions and continued operating losses as reasons for the changes.


Fish-food sales halted to protect reefs

Several Hawaii retailers, including chains such as Wal-Mart and Longs Drugs, have joined an effort to protect coral reefs by halting sales of fish food used by recreational snorkelers.

Liz Foote of the Hawaii office of the California-based Coral Reef Alliance and Carlie Wiener, researcher at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, have spearheaded the “;Take a Bite out of Fish Feeding”; campaign. It discourages the feeding of reef fish by tourists and tour operators. The alliance says feeding reef fish can keep them from eating algae that can smother reefs if allowed to flourish.

“;The majority of people do not want to do harm to our oceans, but are unaware that their (fish-feeding) behaviors have potentially dangerous impacts,”; said Foote.

The retailers have joined the Fish-Friendly Business Alliance, which lists on its Web site the names of retailers and dive companies that have joined the effort.


FHB Kapolei completes expansion

First Hawaiian Bank's Kapolei branch was blessed yesterday after an expansion that more than doubled its size to 5,491 square feet.

The expansion at the Kapolei Shopping Center location allowed for a tripling of the number of safe deposit boxes, the addition of a walk-up ATM and three additional teller windows, including one dedicated to business clientele. To mark its grand reopening, the bank will offer refreshments in the lobby, prize giveaways and discounts on selected products and services the week of Dec. 7.


Wells Fargo shutters 3 isle offices

Wells Fargo Financial, which employs 40 people in Hawaii, is consolidating its operations by closing two offices on the Big Island and one on Kauai next week.

The company cited the economy as it announced it will close its offices in Hilo, Kailua-Kona and Lihue.

Steve Carlson, an Iowa-based spokesman for Wells Fargo, said yesterday that the company remains committed to serving Hawaii and is hiring to fill spots in its remaining stores in Wailuku, Maui, and in Aiea and Waipahu, Carlson said.

While all employees were offered the chance to transfer to another Wells Fargo office, seven elected not to relocate and accepted severance packages, Carlson said.



;  Hawaii National Bank has promoted Kai Austin to assistant vice president and manager from assistant manager of the Bishop Street branch. Also, Thomas Ishida was promoted to assistant vice president and manager of the new Kapiolani branch from assistant manager of the main branch on King Street.

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living has awarded the Step 1 Quality Award to Ka Punawai Ola, a skilled nursing and rehab facility. The award is given to organizations that demonstrated a commitment to person-centered mission, defined their principal customers and expectations and indicated how they strive to meet customers' needs.

The Hawaii Bankers Association has announced the following Hawaii bankers receiving Pacific Coast Banking School graduate certificates at a recent ceremony on the University of Washington campus: Gregory M. Knue, Bank of Hawaii vice president; Pauline PL Loh-Sakashita, American Savings Bank first vice president; Jeffrey M. Murata, First Hawaiian Bank branch manager; Bard E. Peterson, First Hawaiian Bank assistant vice president; Morris D. Rabinko, First Hawaiian Bank vice president; Thomas M. Slover, Territorial Savings Bank vice president; and Scott K. Yoshihara, Bank of Hawaii vice president.