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Business Briefs

For Thursday, December 20, 2012

By Star-Advertiser staff


Aloha State relatively unready for disaster

Hawaii is ranked among the seven states least-prepared for a public health emergency, according to the 10th annual report titled "Ready or Not? Protecting the Public from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism."

The report found significant progress toward improving public health preparedness over the past 10 years, but also found persistent gaps in the country's ability to respond to health emergencies ranging from bioterrorist threats and serious disease outbreaks to extreme weather events.

The study assigned points for state readiness to a maximum possible 10 points, and Hawaii earned four points, putting it in the bottom seven along with Colorado, Georgia, Nevada and New Jersey, all at four points; and Kansas and Montana, with three points each.

The report was prepared by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

PUC OKs HECO's biodiesel buy for airport

State regulators have approved Hawaiian Electric Co.'s request to buy as much as 1 million gallons of biodiesel per year to run an emergency power generation system at Hono­lulu Airport.

The fuel will be supplied by Maui-based Pacific Biodiesel, which makes biodiesel from waste cooking oil. Under the three-year agreement, Pacific Biodiesel will supply HECO with 250,000 to 1 million gallons of biodiesel a year to be burned at a new 10-megawatt power plant being built next to the utility's airport substation.

The $20 million generation facility features four diesel generators and is expected to begin operation next year.

HECO did not disclose the price it will pay for the biodiesel under the contract approved Dec. 13 by the Public Utilities Commission. HECO officials said in a PUC filing that the price would be based on "the average of three markets to arrive at a balanced price."

State DOT funds bicycling lessons

A grant from the state Department of Transportation has made it possible for the Hawaii Bicycling League to offer free Commuter Cycling 101 workshops next year.

The two-hour workshops will be held every weekend during the months of January through May, at UH-Manoa, Kapiolani Community College, Eki Cyclery, Leeward Community College and other locations around the island.

To register and view the full schedule, see

Attendance is capped at 15 students, and each student receives a gift certificate, water bottle, or patch kit from our sponsoring bike shops: BIKEFACTORY, The Bike Shop, Eki Cyclery, Island Triathlon & Bike and McCully Bicycle and Sporting Goods, in addition to safety materials printed by the Hawaii Bicycling League.

Dr Pepper fills out 10-calorie lineup

NEW YORK » When it comes to the calories in diet soda, Dr Pepper thinks 10 is the new zero.

Starting next month, the country's No. 3 soft drink company plans to roll out 10-calorie versions of five of its biggest soda brands: 7-Up, Sunkist, Canada Dry, RC Cola and A&W Root Beer. The drinks are an extension of Dr Pepper Ten, which was launched last year as a better-tasting alternative for men who don't like the image or taste of diet soda.

But the new 10-calorie sodas are being marketed to both men and women.

Unlike traditional diet sodas that use only artificial sweeteners and have zero calories, Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. says its 10-calorie sweetener mix has just enough high-fructose corn syrup to overcome any reservations people might have about the weak or cloying taste of diet drinks. And by taking away most the calories — a can of regular typically has about 150 calories — the company is washing away much of the guilt.

American cars reportedly overstocked

U.S. automakers led by General Motors Co. began December with the most vehicle supply since 2009, which may spur "aggressive" discounting before the end of the year, according to a Bloomberg Industries analysis.

Inventory of U.S.-branded vehicles was 90 days to start the month, which compares with 55 days for Japanese-branded vehicles, Kevin Tynan, an analyst at Bloomberg Industries, wrote in a report Wednesday. Supply for U.S. automakers is the highest since May 2009, data compiled by Bloomberg Industries show.

"While potentially harmful to manufacturer margins, dealers' sales may rise as carmakers intent on paring inventory use aggressive incentives and discounts to bring buyers to showrooms before the year end," Tynan, who is based in Skillman, N.J., wrote in the report.


Bishop Museum has announced the appointment of four new members to its board of directors: 

» Dee Jay Mailer is president and chief executive officer of Kamehameha Schools.

» Randy P. Perreira is executive director of Hawaii Government Employees Association.

» James Polk is senior executive vice president of corporate banking at Bank of Hawaii.

» Bernard Uy is founder and creative director of Wall to Wall Studios.

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