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Laser Eye Center shutting down

Laser Eye Center of Hawaii is closing at the end of the month after 14 years in business.

"The economy has taken a heavy toll on the center," said Dennis Kuwabara, center manager, in a statement. "Despite our best efforts, these factors forced us to make some very tough decisions about the future."

After "considerable discussion," the members of the group agreed they would no longer schedule patients at the center at the Pam Am Building on Kapiolani Boulevard and, instead, offer ongoing care through a network of affiliated doctors at their private practices.

The center’s surgeons, Tyrie Jenkins and Carlos Omphroy, will offer LASIK surgery and other eye procedures at a new surgery center, Aloha Laser Vision, beginning on Nov. 22. Aloha Laser Vision is located at 1100 Ward Ave.

"The governing board, surgeons and staff at LEC are deeply saddened about the decision to close," said Valerie Ishihara, chief executive officer, in a statement. "We will do all that we can to help and to ensure our patients and doctors are taken care of."

The Laser Eye Center of Hawaii is the state’s first laser vision surgery center with a network of more than 135 independently practicing doctors.

HVCB campaigning in Miami

Members of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau and their travel partners are in Miami this week trying to spark new meetings business from financial and insurance companies attending the 2010 Financial Insurance Conference Planners Association annual conference.

The FICP conference, which began yesterday and runs through Saturday, includes the kind of high-end companies that Hawaii targets for corporate meetings and incentive events. The Hawaii sales contingent included 21 partners.

"We are pleased to have such a strong Hawaii presence at this important networking conference for financial and insurance conference planners," said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. "This will be a great opportunity for HVCB and our Hawaii travel partners to highlight the state’s corporate meeting offerings as well as make important connections with key meeting planners that will potentially result in future meetings held in Hawaii."

While most industries have scaled back their travel budgets for corporate meetings and incentives, financial and insurance companies remain a good source of business, said Michael Murray, HVCB vice president of sales and marketing for corporate meetings and incentives.

HECO site to sell homegrown power

The Blue Planet Foundation applauded Hawaiian Electric Co.’s launch of a website that allows Hawaii residents and businesses to apply to sell their renewable energy to the electric utility.

HECO said the website will accept applications of those who want to participate in the program, known as a feed-in tariff, which offers pre-established rates and standardized contract terms to independent energy providers.

The website address is: https://www.hecofitio.com.

"The implementation of the feed-in tariff helps to redefine how power is distributed in the islands," said Jeff Mikulina, executive director of Blue Planet Foundation, a Honolulu-based nonprofit working to establish Hawaii as a leader in energy independence.

Hawaiian Electric Executive Vice President Robbie Alm said the program will help the state break its dependence on imported oil through both large and small renewable energy sources.

ONE THE MOVE

Maui Divers Jewelry has named Mary Beth Brenner as executive vice president. She has 25 years of experience, including managing her own retail consulting business in San Francisco.

Makena Beach & Golf Resort has announced the following new appointments:

» Marc McDowell as executive chef. His experience includes executive sous chef at the Five Diamond Ritz-Carlton and other senior culinary positions at Grand Wailea Resort and Ritz-Carlton Kapalua.

» Bret Scott Pafford Jr. as director of food and beverage. He was previously senior food and beverage manager at the Hyatt Maui Regency Resort & Spa.

Maryknoll School’s director of institutional advancement, Yvonne Morris, was named outstanding professional fundraiser. She received the award for managing Maryknoll’s $21 million Capital Campaign to build the Maryknoll Community Center and Clarence T.C. Ching Gymnasium.

Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties Realtor Patrick Graham has been elected to serve on the Honolulu Board of Realtors 2011 board of directors. His two-year term begins Jan. 1, 2011, and will serve as Windward/North Shore regional director.

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