Biz Quickies: Manta Ray Learning Center Opens

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The Manta Pacific Research Foundation and Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa opened a new Manta Ray Learning Center this week at Rays on the Bay at the Sheraton Kona Resort.

The Learning Center is designed to inform visitors and residents about “these amazing creatures that live just a few feet from our shoreline,” said Matthew Grauso, the resort’s general manager. Hāhālua (manta ray), with wing spans up to 16 feet, make their nightly appearance just offshore feeding on plankton that gather under evening light sources.

The Center is at the entrance to Rays on the Bay and includes photos of the manta rays, video footage and the latest research and scientific information. At 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday, there will be a free “Manta Talk” at the Learning Center to share stories and information. Visit or call 930-4900.

Booch Owner Opens New Cafe
Kela Cosgrave from the Big Island Booch Elixer Bar has opened a new cafe in downtown Hilo. The Conscious Culture Café at 110 Keawe Street specializes in “organic, living, local and healthy foods and drinks,” (i.e. kombucha) she said. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.


HPA Names Two To Campus Posts
Mike Donnelly, an HPA alumnus and US Army retiree after 26 years, has been named assistant director of admission at Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Waimea. Donnelly will be responsible for grades 9-12 admissions, focusing on the Hawaiian islands and greater Asia-Pacific region. Also, Aaron Schorn has been named webmaster at HPA. Schorn previously was director of business development and government relations at the Wall Street Fund for African Development (WSFAD) in Washington, DC.

Big Wave Golden Ale Wins
Kona Brewing Company’s Big Wave Golden Ale was decorated with a medal at the 2014 US Open Beer Championship held in Atlanta, Ga., where judges blind-sampled more than 3,000 beers in 81 different categories. Big Wave Golden Ale earned the bronze medal winner in the Sessions Beer category, marking the fourth time Kona Brewing has medaled at the US Open Beer Championship. Recently named brewmaster Billy Smith said he was “psyched to see the team at Kona accomplish this again in my first few months here in Hawaii.” Session beers have a lower alcohol content so that multiple beers may be enjoyed over a session. Now available in 40 states. Visit

New Executive Chef At Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
Hans Lentz is the new executive chef at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, overseeing the Hotel’s food and beverage operations, including the Manta & Pavilion Wine Bar, Number 3, Hau Tree, and Kaunaoa Bar & Grill, the twice-weekly luau, Saturday night clambake and in-room dining. Lentz recently served as executive chef at Africa’s leading luxury five-star hotel, the Villa Rosa Kempinski Nairobi, and has had assignments at Hyatt, Sheraton, and Hilton hotels throughout Egypt, Turkey, Guam and Puerto Rico. In 2005, Lentz accepted the top culinary position at InterContinental Chicago, where he managed the hotel’s banquet and catering departments. “Hans brings a wealth of worldwide experience and an undeniable passion for food that will surely enhance our culinary program,” said Phyllis Branco, hotel manager.


Kings’ Shops Welcomes Rip Curl
Rip Curl, one of the world’s leading lifestyle brands for surfing and snowboarding sportswear, has been added to the Kings’ Shops collection of luxury brand and boutique stores, including Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton, Sasha Hawaii, Tori Richard, and Macy’s Resort Store. Rip Curl’s motto for surf wear: “You can give surfers boards, wetsuits and eight-foot barrels … and they still need something to wear when they get out of the water.”

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