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Off the News

For Friday, April 22, 2011


Mamma mia! Another Italian firm hits Hawaii

Hawaii's car market just got a bit more cosmopolitan, thanks to the return of Italian automaker Fiat via a partnership with the Cutter family.

Also known as Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino, Fiat was a fixture in the U.S. for decades before it withdrew in 1984 due to declining market share, including on its own turf in Italy.

Now it's back, and anyone so inclined can rush out to Cutter Fiat Hawaii and buy one of the three models of its Fiat 500 that currently are being featured. As in the old days, the vehicles get high gas mileage, which is a plus in this era of high gas prices.

Fiat joins another Italian company that recently entered the Hawaii market: Ansaldo STS SpA, of Genoa, whose affiliate Ansaldo Honolulu was selected to build and operate the planned Oahu rail transit system.

Anyone up for some pizza?

UH student athletic fee striking out with students

University of Hawaii students pay $50 a semester to support university athletics.

If you're not a sports fan, it might not sound like a good deal. But if you love UH sports, it's a different story: The fee is good for admission to UH home athletic events, including football.

Even so, student representatives want a better deal: rather than exile to student-seating Siberia, they want access to prime seats along the sidelines and center court. In the case of football, those seats can sell from $165-$345 per season.

Perhaps a more equitable arrangement can be found, given that the fee is mandatory and raises $1.7 million annually. But no doubt a harder truth will prevail — you get what you pay for.

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