Island Inc. briefs


go! offers lift to Pacific Wings passengers

go! airlines recently announced that it will offer space-available accommodations at no cost for Pacific Wings ticket holders affected by the carrier’s shutdown.

“We have always been committed to helping the people of Hawaii get where they need to go, and we will do everything we can to support Pacific Wings passengers and minimize any inconvenience and disruption,” said Jonathan Ornstein, go!’s chairman and CEO.

Passengers who show a printed confirmation of a Pacific Wings booking at a go! ticket counter may fly standby at no cost on their original scheduled day of departure and route. This offer applies for routes served by go! operated jet flights, and does not include flights operated by Mokulele Airlines.

For more details, go to iflygo.com/pacificwings.

HMSA profits down

Hawaii Medical Service Association members paid less than what it actually cost to cover their health care benefits in the first quarter of 2013. HMSA ended the quarter with an operating loss of $9.5 million dollars.

“Simply stated, the money we’re collecting from members and businesses for their premiums is not enough to keep pace with the rising cost of health care,” said Steve Van Ribbink, HMSA chief financial and services officer and treasurer. “Fortunately, carefully placed investments are helping to ease some of the burden.”

Investment income from the HMSA reserve and other income of $5.9 million helped offset more than half of the first quarter operating loss, bringing the net loss after taxes to $3.6 million. HMSA’s contracts with physicians, other health care professionals, hospitals and pharmacies are also helping to control some of those costs.

“The health care providers in our network have made major advances using tools and programs that help make their patients healthier. This helps everyone by reducing the need for expensive treatments and procedures,” Van Ribbink said. “The challenge now is to motivate patients to take an active role in their health care. People need to understand there are both health and financial benefits to taking control of their own health and well-being.”

For every dollar it collected in the first quarter, HMSA spent 92.3 cents paying for members’ health care. The remaining 7.7 cents was not enough to cover administrative expenses without using investment income and funds from the HMSA reserve.

At the end of the first quarter, HMSA had 721,676 members and the HMSA reserve held $459.3 million, or $636 per HMSA member. The reserve is up $37.1 million over the same period last year. The HMSA reserve protects members, employers and providers from financial losses and emergencies, and is used to fund special health care initiatives.

Contest offers agricultural lease, cash prizes

Kamehameha Schools and Ke Alii Pauahi Foundation recently announced the Mahiai Match-up — an agricultural business plan contest dedicated to decreasing the state’s dependence on imports to create a sustainable Hawaii. Winners will receive an agricultural lease up to five years of waived rent from Kamehameha Schools and a cash prize from Ke Alii Pauahi Foundation to help make their winning agricultural business plan a reality.

“The Mahiai Match-up agricultural business plan contest will provide a fun, competitive venue for talented farmers and entrepreneurs to compete for access to, and leasehold interest in, some of Kamehameha Schools’ most valuable agricultural lands,” said Thomas Kaeo Duarte, Kamehameha Schools’ West Hawaii director of strategic initiatives.

With stewardship for roughly 90,000 acres of optimal agricultural land statewide, Kamehameha Schools began implementation of its strategic agricultural plan three years ago. Since then, Kamehameha Schools has invested millions of dollars toward infrastructure improvements such as roads, irrigation, fencing, and security gates in areas, such as Kawailoa Plantation and Punaluu Ahupuaa Farms on Oahu’s North Shore and Pahoehoe, Hilo, in order to prepare its priority agricultural areas for the success of new farmers.

“Mahiai Match-up is an exciting way for Ke Alii Pauahi Foundation and Kamehameha Schools to partner with other generous supporters of the sustainable agricultural movement in Hawaii, such as the Ulupono Initiative, to move our community closer to food security,” said Keawe Liu, Ke Alii Pauahi Foundation’s executive director. “We look forward to being able to extend our reach and benefit the entire state of Hawaii by providing agricultural scholarships and grants.”

All farmers, entrepreneurs, aspiring farmers or anyone with a fresh, innovative idea are encouraged to submit their initial business plan proposal by July 1. The first round of selections will be made by Aug. 1, then the finalists will have three months to develop their comprehensive agricultural business plan. Winners will be announced in February 2014 at an awards gala.

To apply or for more information, visit pauahi.org/mahiaimatchup.

Small business workshop to teach start-up basics

The Hawaii Small Business Development Center will present a “How to Start a Business in Hawaii” a workshop June 5 at Kanu o ka Aina at 64-1043 Hiiaka St. in Waimea.

The free workshop will start at 5 p.m. and end at 7:30 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to show up at least 15 minutes prior for registration.

Participants will learn about entrepreneurship, forms of business organization, key ingredients for business success, steps involved in starting your own business, sources of capital and services offered by the center, as well as other resources for the start-up business.

Registration is required by June 4. For more information or to register, call Jackie at 327-3680 or visit hisbdc.org.

Panda Restaurant Group raises more than $108K for hospital

Panda Restaurant Group Inc. wrapped up its biennial Leaders Conference with the presentation of a gift of $108,786 to Kapiolani Children’s Miracle Network, in support of Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children, Hawaii’s only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. One hundred percent of the donation will stay in Hawaii supporting critically ill children.

Every other year, Panda Restaurant Group assembles more than 1,500 managers from around the nation at its Leaders Conference, this year held at the Hilton Hawaiian Village during the first week in May. The gifts were raised via personal outreach to each conference attendee as Kapiolani patient families and staff manned the popular Panda Cares giving booth, offering limited edition Panda gifts and an exclusive signature kukui nut lei .

John Zhang, concept leader of Panda Restaurant Group, said his team is always mindful of the crucial role Kapiolani plays in the lives of nearly every Hawaii family.

“Whether it’s our own Team Panda members, our guests or the visitors to these islands, Kapiolani touches each one of us profoundly,” he said. “We are proud to support it.”

— Movers & shakers —

Kona coffee farm earns gold medal

Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation won the gold medal for the second year in a row at the May 1 prestigious SIAL Gold Bean Cupping Contest.

Last year was the first year Kona had won an international contest. After Mountain Thunder won the first national award for Kona in 2011 as a winner at the Good Food Awards in San Francisco, SIAL devised a standard judging format system to be transparent and fair.

Using the Specialty Coffee Association of America coffee cupping and evaluating system, which is industry approved and acknowledged, this is one of over a dozen awards won with the company’s Famous Cloud Forest Estate Coffee. It is the coffee grown at the highest elevation in the state and from one of the state’s largest organic coffee farms. The farm and mill gives complimentary tours daily, and has in-depth VIP tours and roastmaster sessions by appointment.

For more information, call 414-KONA or visit mountainthunder.com.

Kaiser promotes Kashiwabara

Barbara Kashiwabara has been promoted to executive director of ancillary services for the state’s largest integrated health care organization. In her new role, Kashiwabara will provide strategic and operational leadership for the ancillary health services including laboratory, diagnostic imaging and pharmacy, according to Kaiser Permanente Hawaii.

“Ancillary patient services are an important component of Kaiser Permanente’s integrated and coordinated care delivery system, which supports quality, access, continuity of care and better patient involvement,” said Bill Haug, Kaiser Permanente’s chief operating officer of care delivery. “Barbara brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and leadership in the area of ancillary services, and we’re pleased to announce her new role with the organization.”

Kashiwabara has been with Kaiser Permanente Hawaii for the past 25 years and most recently served as senior director of pharmaceutical services for the region. Prior to that, she served in several management positions within the organization in pharmaceutical services. She started her career with Kaiser Permanente in 1987 as pharmacist-in-charge of inpatient pharmacy. Prior to joining Kaiser Permanente, Kashiwabara was a pharmacist with Little Company of Mary Hospital and Torrance Memorial Hospital and Medical Center, both in California.

Barbara is a 2005 graduate of the Kaiser Permanente/University of North Carolina Advanced Leadership Program and a member of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, American Pharmacists Association and the Hawaii Pharmacists Association. A past recipient of the Hawaii Pharmacist of the Year Award, Kashiwabara also serves as an advisory board member for the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and advisory committee member for the State of Hawaii’s Regulated Industries Complaints Office. She earned her doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy and her bachelor’s in microbiology from UH-Manoa.

Hull recognized for culinary service

Chef Jean Hull received the American Culinary Federation Western Region Cutting Edge Award at the recent ACF conference in Coeur d‘Alene, Idaho.

The award recognizes ACF members who volunteer on behalf of ACF, while noting exemplary service to the culinary profession. The ACF Western Region has 29 chapters and named five Cutting Edge recipients this year.

Hull has been an active member of the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Association since 1989. Since 1990, the Kailua-Kona resident has proposed and coordinated community programs and events raising over $50,000 annually. Beneficiaries of Christmas at the Fairmont-Dining with the Chefs and ‘Q’uisine of Hearts include culinary scholarships for students, continuing education support for members, plus funding for West Hawaii Chef & Child Foundation programs. Most recently Hull has spearheaded the Equip the Kitchens campaign for the future Hawaii Community College-Palamanui campus.

“Jean’s tireless service on behalf of the entire community has given all ‘culinarians’ a foundation on which we can work to provide education to our children, delightful experiences to our visitors and strengthen the bonds we share across Hawaii,” said Ken Love, Kona Kohala Chefs Association president. “Jean’s selflessness has enriched all who are lucky enough to work with her.”

Hull is a long-time champion of culinary arts on the Big Island. She served as associate professor of Culinary Arts at HCC-West Hawaii for more than 14 years. She is credited with bringing higher education to West Hawaii in the early 1990s by designing the food service curriculum approved by the University of Hawaii accreditation committee. The effort laid the foundation for a two-year, A.S. degree program at HCC-West Hawaii.

Since Hull’s retirement from college education, she continues to teach Hawaii’s children about making wise food choices. She and her Chef & Child Foundation team reach more than 1,000 children annually, going into classrooms and teaching keiki how to make Healthy Fruit Kabobs and Smart Sandwiches. Hull presently chairs the Equip the Kitchen Campaign to raise $1 million to outfit the culinary kitchens with state-of-the-art equipment at HCC-Palamanui. She reports the effort has achieved 25 percent of the 10-step campaign. A network of campaign team players, called the Kit Committee, assist at community benefits to raise campaign monies.