Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire



>>Sam Choy's Restaurants has appointed Daniel Maio pastry chef. Among the desserts he has introduced to the menu are mango souffle and chocolate manapua. He has more than 10 years of confectionery experience, most recently at Willard Inter-Continental Hotel in Washington. D.C.

>> The Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa has hired Donald D. Chock as director of sales, Dennis Carhart as director of incentive sales and Dylah Hughes as national sales manager. Chock has more than 18 years of experience in the hospitality industry, most recently as director of group sales for the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. Carhart has rejoined the Grand Wailea after taking time off to travel. Hughes will focus on developing new group business in the southwest region of the United States. She most recently served as a senior project manager for Maritz McGettigan in Walnut Creek, Calif.

>> Charter Funding of Hawaii's Downtown branch has hired Mary Grace Delin as a loan officer. She has 10 years of experience in the retail and mortgage industries. 

>>Prince Resorts Hawaii's Asia-Pacific department has hired Arlynne Akemi Norimoto as director of sales and marketing. She will oversee all sales and marketing elements for the Japanese market at Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki and Golf Club, Maui Prince Hotel, Makena Resort, Hapuna Beach Hotel, and Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. She brings more than 20 years of travel industry hotel experience to her position.


>> The Academy of General Dentistry has named Hawaii dentist Joseph H. Yamamoto as a master for 2002. Local fellows named include Candice G. McMullen-Vogel, Marc Ken Nakamura, Michael L. Nishime, James M. Oshiro, Wayne Masao Tamashiro, Irwin Y. Tamura and Gary T. Umeda. Fellows must meet criteria for experience and continuing education, as well as pass a written examination. Masters are required to meet more challenging continuing education requirements.




Mauna Loa makes good on nut payments

ML Macadamia Orchards LP said today it has received the final installment of $3.2 million in delinquent payments owed by exclusive nut purchaser Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corp.

Dennis Simonis, president and chief operating officer of the Big Island grower of macadamia nuts, said that Irvine, Calif.-based Mauna Loa made its final payment of $361,500 last Tuesday.

"Basically, the nut payments are satisfied," Simonis said. "The balance is substantially all paid. It came through in a series of 14 installments. All that's left is some small, miscellaneous amount that we're discussing."

Mauna Loa Chief Financial Officer Darrell Askey said last month that the company fell behind on payments because business became soft after Sept. 11 and some Hawaii vendors were not able to purchase the nut products.

ML Macadamia will report its second-quarter earnings results next week.


Gas prices edge up with isles still highest

CAMARILLO, Calif. >> After a flat summer, gasoline prices nationally edged up nearly 2 cents a gallon in the past two weeks, with Hawaii still the highest and also climbing.

"The low and very, very stable prices throughout the summer did have to end some time," analyst Trilby Lundberg said yesterday.

Despite increased summer driving demand, supplies remained plentiful, she said.

The national price of gas at the pump averaged about $1.46 per gallon on Friday, according to the Lundberg survey of 8,000 stations. That was up 1.68 cents from July 12.

Hawaii's average yesterday was $1.74 per gallon, up four pennies from last month. Honolulu's regular, self-serve price averaged $1.65, about the same as a month ago. Wailuku on Maui, however, saw $1.92, up from $1.76 a month ago, while Hilo was $1.86, up a nickel from a month ago.

Treasury secretary positive on economy

WASHINGTON >> Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said yesterday the economy is fundamentally sound despite the stock market's troubles and the business scandals that have shaken consumer confidence.

"I'm a deep believer in the potential and the reality of the greatest economy ever conceived," said O'Neill, making high-profile appearances on the talk shows following criticism of his travels abroad during the recent economic volatility.

The Bush administration is talking up signs the economy is well positioned for growth despite the increasing reports of companies' accounting problems, which have caused market jitters.

O'Neill said Americans should look at investments over the long term and have faith in the market.

New diet Vanilla Coke poised for fall debut

ATLANTA >> A diet version of Vanilla Coke will debut this fall, an industry magazine reported.

The Coca-Cola Co. is happy with Vanilla Coke's sales since it debuted May 15 and wants Diet Vanilla Coke in stores by October, according to Beverage Digest.

The magazine reported Friday that Vanilla Coke was the top-selling 20-ounce soft drink in supermarkets and drug chains in the four weeks after its launch.


German media group changing leadership

BERLIN >> Bertelsmann AG, the world's third-biggest media company, said yesterday it will replace chief executive Thomas Middelhoff in a clash over corporate strategy.

The privately held German company, whose assets range from broadcaster RTL to Britney Spears' record company, named veteran insider Gunter Thielen as Middelhoff's replacement.

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