Ban on bear bile products
HONOLULU - Hawaii's governor has signed a bill banning the sale of products containing bear bile or gallbladders.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed House Bill 2296 into law late last week, prohibiting the purchase, sale, transportation and delivery of any item containing bear bile or gallbladders.
The Humane Society of the United States asked Hawaii to ban the trade of products containing bear bile and parts. The organization said it found imported eyedrops, lotions and shampoos containing bear gallbladders and bile available for sale in Honolulu's Chinatown.
Bear bile can sell for thousands of dollars an ounce. According to the national organization Born Free USA, American black bears are poached for their gallbladders. In Asia, bears are caged with catheters inserted into their gallbladders to drain their bile.
Haleiwa farmers market nixed
HONOLULU - Gov. Neil Abercrombie is putting a stop to a farmers market that operated for three years near Oahu's North Shore, saying the state can no longer allow the farmers to sell their goods along a highway.
Organizers of the Haleiwa Farmers' Market called the move a shock for farmers.
State officials and market organizers have been negotiating alternative sites for the market since last year. The state said alternate locations haven't been accepted by the market organizers, so the state has put up "No Trespassing" signs on the highway.
Market Manager Pamela Boyar said the alternate sites each posed problems. One didn't have enough space, another needed updated infrastructure.
She said the market should be allowed to continue where it is.
Unemployment at 6.3 percent
HONOLULU - Hawaii's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate last month held steady at 6.3 percent.
The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations said May's rate remained unchanged from April's.
Statewide, Hawaii's labor force was made up of about 612,000 employed workers, while 41,400 were without jobs.
Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.2 percent, up from 8.1 percent in April.
Hoku CEO Scott Paul resigns
HONOLULU - Honolulu-based commercial solar power company Hoku Corp. said that its chief executive officer is resigning and that the company is exploring selling subsidiary Hoku Solar.
Scott Paul has been CEO since 2010. He will resign on June 30 and continue as a director and chairman of a newly formed restructuring committee. The five-member committee will oversee and direct the company's efforts to restructure its liabilities.
Paul said that while the company explores the sale of Hoku Solar, normal operations will continue at the subsidiary, which markets and installs photovoltaic systems.
Last month, the company announced subsidiary Hoku Materials would be laying off about 100 employees at an Idaho manufacturing plant. The Pocatello plant was to have made silicon for solar panels. Work at the facility stopped in April.