Business Wrap: New Art Gallery in Waikoloa; Radio Station Loses Tower
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by Denise Laitinen
There were bright spots in business news around the island this week.
Unemployment on the Big Island is continuing to decline, down almost 28% from this time last year.
And while new businesses continue to open, such as Wishard Gallery in Waikoloa, others, like KAHU 97.1 FM in Pahala are still reeling from the recession.
Art Gallery Grand Opening in Waikoloa Dec. 8
Wishard Gallery will hold a grand opening celebration tomorrow from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. at the Queens Marketplace in Waikoloa.
Artist Harry Wishard, himself a well-known painter, brought together a select group of artists to showcase in the gallery, which features oil paintings, photography, woodwork, and sculptures.
The artists include Brad Lewis, Patrick Ching, Kathy Long, Victoria McCormick, and Tai Lake to name a few.
At the grand opening, attendees will have a chance to meet Harry Wishard and several of the artists, including Waimea-based photography Ethan Tweedie. Pupus and drinks will be provided.
This is the second gallery for Wishard, who also has a shop in the Parker Center in Waimea. For more info on Wishard Gallery call 769-5077.
Big Island Unemployment Continues Downward Trend
Statewide initial unemployment claims decreased by 23% this week when compared to the same week a year ago.
All counties in the state saw a decrease in initial claims, with the largest drop in Maui County, which had a 40% decrease in filings.
On the Big Island, there were 292 claims this week, compared to 405 to the same week last year, a decrease of almost 28%.
KAHU 91.7 FM Radio Tower Dismantled Due to Lack of Funding
Ka’u Community Radio Inc., which operates KAHU 91.7 FM in Pahala, is in the process of dismantling its only tower site in Na’alehu due to the station’s increasing operational expenses and lack of consistent funding.
The downsizing will reduce the overall budget and allow for more focus on funding acquisitons, while ensuring a reduced but consistant FM Broadcast from their transmitter in Pahala.
In a released statement, Christine Kaehuaea, station general manager of KAHU 91.7 FM, said had the station not downsized, they would have been faced with a permanent closure by the end of this month.
The management team is pursuing consistent public, local business and corporate funding to rebuild the station.
People can still listen to KAHU live via mobile devices or computers. KAHU 91.7 FM is the only radio station heard from Volcano to Naalehu.
Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa Adds Executive Chef, Two Sales Directors
The Pyramid Hotel Group has selected Viktor Schmidt as Executive Chef at the 22-acre Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay. Donna Meyers is the resort’s Director of Group Sales and Alana Miranda has been appointed Director of Leisure Sales.
In addition to his chef duties, Schmidt is involved in the Hawaii Community College West Hawaii culinary arts program. Through his efforts Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa has proudly sponsored a student culinary team that will travel to Oahu with Schmidt as their mentor to compete in the Hawaii Culinary Competition Expo.
Meyer’s responsibilities include group lead generation, sales negotiations and proposal development, account management and building client relationships. Most recently, Meyers represented Great Wolf Lodge in Washington.
Miranda returns to Hawaii after having worked in California, Tahiti, and Mexico. A fluent Spanish-speaker, Miranda enjoys music, hula, international travel and the outdoors.