Alexander & Baldwin to split into two separate companies

Alexander & Baldwin Inc. said today its board of directors has approved a plan to split the company into two separate companies, one focusing on real estate and agriculture and the other on shipping.

The two companies would be independent and publicly traded, the company said in a news release.

Under the plan, A&B shareholders will own one share of both A&B and Matson stock for each share of company stock owned. The separation is expected to be completed in the second half of 2012.

The announcement was made after the market closed. A&B’s shares rose $1.50 to $39.56 in after hours trading.

“Over the past decade, Alexander & Baldwin’s board of directors and management have periodically conducted strategic reviews, including an evaluation of the merits of separating into two companies,” said Walter Dods, A&B’s chairman. “After thorough evaluation, we have concluded that the increased size, capabilities and financial strength of both our land and transportation businesses now enable these operations to independently execute their strategies to maximize shareholder value.”

Honolulu-based A&B has grown substantially over the past decade. Its commercial real estate portfolio has increased by almost 50 percent to its present size of 7.9 million square feet, comprising 44 properties in Hawaii and eight mainland states. The portfolio of commercial properties generates a significant and stable source of cash flow for the company, and is an important source of capital for A&B’s real estate investment and development activity.

Funding approved to continue fight against Guam’s brown tree snake

It appears the effort to eradicate the notorious brown tree snake on Guam and keep it from infesting Hawaii will not fall victim to congressional budget tightening – at least for now.

The program was on the verge of being canceled this week because the fiscal year is ending and Congress has imposed a moratorium on the type of earmark funding that has kept it running for years.

At the last minute, the Defense and Interior departments agreed to pitch in $2.9 million to rescue the effort to secure ports and kill off the snakes for the next nine months, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The brown tree snake was introduced on Guam following World War II and has since decimated native bird species and plagued the island with electrical blackouts caused by snakes infesting transformers. Meanwhile, scientists fear the pest could be accidentally imported to Hawaii and severely damage the island environment and cost hundreds of millions of dollars – or even billions – in economic losses.

“We don’t want a break in service, obviously, and so that’s why there was very much concern over the budget situation,”

East-West Center to help Pacific islands cope with climate change

A federal agency has awarded $3.8 million to the East-West Center to help Hawaii and several Pacific island nations cope with the effect of climate changes.

The five-year grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will help to bring together scientists and decision-makers to help Pacific communities respond to changing climates, East-West spokesman Derek Ferrar said.

The areas included in the Pacific Regional Integrated Science and Assessment program are the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Palau, and American Samoa.

East-West Center to help Pacific islands cope with climate change – Hawaii News –

New USDA State Director Visits GCC, Brings News of $2.25M ARRA Loan – Guam News

Guam – At the same time Guam Community College officials were meeting the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development’s new state director for Hawaii and the Western Pacific Region this week, the college received formal word that it had been awarded a $2.25 million Community Facilities direct loan by the federal agency.

Dr. Mary Okada, GCC president, and Joseph Diego, Guam’s U.S.D.A. Rural Development area director, along with Doris Perez, GCC’s assistant director of Planning and Development and several other officials, met with Chris Kanazawa, the newly appointed Hawaii/Western Pacific Region state director for U.S.D.A. Rural Development, on Tuesday. At the meeting, Mr. Kanazawa announced that GCC was one of 145 government entities across 37 states and territories just awarded American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for projects.

Coqui frog discovered in Hawaii plant shipment

by Heather Hauswirth

Guam – Department of Agriculture Wildlife Biologist Diane Vice confirms that customs officials discovered a Coqui Frog inside a live plant shipment that came in from Hawaii yesterday.  This is the fourth Coqui Frog spotted on Guam.

The frog is of particular concern to biologists like Vice because she says it can rapidly reproduce and that they are notoriously loud. The coqui frog is a proving to be an expensive problem in the state of Hawaii where there are efforts underway to try to curtail their growth, which have cost Hawaii millions of dollars.

Said Vice, "It’s really important we don’t get the coqui frog on Guam because they really make loud noises, which can affect our every day life, our sleep as well as economically it has been very detrimental in Hawaii."

Coqui frog discovered in Hawaii plant shipment – News: On Air. Online. On Demand.