Business Round-Up: 01-06-20

Hamakua Coast Realty joining Hawaii Life

Hawaii Life announced that boutique firm Hamakua Coast Realty will join Hawaii Life in early 2020.

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Founded in 2001 by Principal Broker W. Augustuz “Gus” Elliott, a Big Island resident and Realtor since 1992, Hamakua Coast Realty has been serving Hawaii Island residents for almost two decades, achieving approximately $123 million in real estate transactions in that time, a press release announcing the acquisition stated.

“We’re so excited to welcome this group of professionals to Hawaii Life and to have the depth of market knowledge and insight about the Hamakua Coast that they bring,” said Hawaii Life CEO and Principal Broker Matt Beall in the news release. “It provides additional expertise and resources that will enable the expansion of our property management services on Hawaii Island.

A statewide brokerage headquartered in Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii Life was founded by Matt Beall and Winston Welborn in 2008. Hawaii Life has been serving Hawaii Island residents for 10 years from their Hawaii real estate offices in Kona, Hilo, on the Kohala Coast, and now on the Hamakua Coast.

Julie Keller will serve as broker-in-charge and will lead Hawaii Life’s Hamakua Coast team.

“We are proud to serve Big Island residents with personalized service and local expertise. Our team of knowledgeable agents will operate from our newest office on Mamane Street in Honokaa. Our team offers a full range of real estate services, including long-term property management,” said Keller.

Hawaii Life is locally owned and operated, with close to 400 real estate agents specializing in local markets across the state.

Businesses adapt to sunscreen restrictions now in effect

The Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has issued new requirements for all Kealakekua Bay special permit holders of new reef-safe sunscreen and human waste requirements as of Jan. 1.

Only reef safe sunscreen that does not contain oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, avobenzone, octocrylene, homosalate, and nano particles shall be allowed to be used by all commercial vessels permitted to operate in Kealakekua Bay. (Reef Safe sunscreen containing the active ingredients zinc, zinc oxide, and/or titanium dioxide shall only be allowed). DLNR encourages that the wearing of sun protective clothing be utilized instead of sunscreen where practical.

Additionally, DLNR has issued requirements for all motorized vessels permitted to operate in Kealakekua Bay to have a self-contained human waste system on board their vessel for use by passengers.

“We applaud the new sunscreen restrictions and self-contained human waste requirements for Kealakekua Bay,” said Fair Wind Cruises executive vice president Mendy Dant in a statement on the rule changes. “These are important steps the DLNR has taken towards helping mitigate and manage some of the stressors on the near shore marine environment in Kealakekua Bay. These new rules will help to improve the water quality at Kealakekua Bay for everyone.”

Kealakekua Bay is far from the only location at risk – nor the only location where extensive monitoring and education is necessary.

For more than a decade, Cindi Punihaole Kennedy, director of the Kahaluu Education Center, has been teaching at Kahaluu Bay with her Reef Teach program. She and her dedicated team of volunteers have educated thousands of visitors about the impact on the ocean and taking responsibility of their own towards protecting our fragile reefs.

Haereticus Environmental Laboratory executive director Craig Downs has been a leading proponent in advocating for coral reef protection from various sunscreens for years noting that oxybenzone-sunscreen pollution can result in the loss of coral reefs.

“Oxybenzone causes coral DNA damage, causes fatal larval deformities and prevents coral reefs from recovering from storms, sedimentation and climate change events,” Downs said in a news release.

Surfrider Foundation Hawaii, Downs, Bob Richmond along with local scientists from the Hawaii Reef and Ocean Coalition spread awareness to local communities highlighting the harm sunscreen is having on coral reefs leading to legislation and a statewide ban on sunscreens.

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Local businesses have ramped up their efforts as well. All five Hawaii island KTA Superstores have agreed to set up reef-safe sunscreen displays with educational information to help customers easily choose the best choice for our environment – along with the Kona Target store which has already created a display with reef-safe sunscreens for easy access.

Research shows that coral reefs in Hawaii are exposed to over 6,000 tons of sunscreen lotion every year.

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