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Sunday, December 31, 2023
December 31, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:21 PM :: 1147 Views

Restaurants Getting Cooked

Bissen Picks New Administrator for Maui Emergency Management Agency

It might be called Hawaiian, but it isn’t Hawaii-owned

VIDEO: Tulsi Gabbard Slams Maine’s ‘Dangerous’ Removal of Trump from Ballot

Plea Deal By Miske’s Ex-Business Partner Leaves Only 3 Defendants In Upcoming Trial

CB: …A last-minute guilty plea by a former business partner of accused racketeering boss Michael Miske Jr.’s means the upcoming trial of the former Honolulu business owner and his remaining co-defendants will be strictly a family affair.

Jason Yokoyama, 37, appeared before Judge Derrick Watson Friday to plead guilty to a new charge, a single count of wire fraud conspiracy, as part of a deal with prosecutors.

In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop the racketeering conspiracy charge Yokoyama was facing in the upcoming trial. They also agreed to recommend several downward adjustments when he is sentenced later this year.

Yokoyama is the 10th of Miske’s 12 co-defendants to plead guilty. Most, including Yokoyama, have agreed to testify against Miske and other former associates when their trial begins on Jan. 8.

Only three of the original defendants remain: Miske, 49; his half-brother, John Stancil, 36; and Delia Fabro-Miske, 29, who was married to Miske’s son Caleb. The only child died in March 2016 as the result of injuries received in an high-speed car crash several months earlier….

Ilind: A look back at my reporting on the Miske case-Part 5

read … Plea Deal By Miske’s Ex-Business Partner Leaves Only 3 Defendants In Upcoming Trial

Customers could feel impacts of minimum wage increase

KHON: … Currently, a typical 40 hour work week employee earning $12 an hour makes $1,920 a month before taxes.

With the $2 increase, that same employee will be making $2,240 a month before taxes.

The raise amounts to about $3,800 more annually for the worker (before taxes); but for owners who have 20 employees it will cost them about $77,000 more a year.

“You can’t just raise $2 to one person or in one category, it’s a kind of trickle up effect, because your supervisor can’t be making less money than the people that they’re supervising,” explained Tina Yamaki, Retail Merchants of Hawaii president.

Many business owners are also still reeling from the pandemic and lack of visitor spending.

“Minimum wage at $14 is going to have an impact on just about every restaurant owner, whether it’s finding a way to shift around scheduling or increase menu prices or a combination,” explained Ryan Tanaka, KAI Hawaii CEO, which has several restaurants across Oahu….

Health insurance will also increase for employers.

None of the business owners said they want to cut employees, but Yamaki said customers could see some places closing one or two days a week or cutting hours….

“We saw a lot of restaurants and smaller mom and pop local businesses close their doors,” Yamaki said.

Others said artificial intelligence could be seen more at restaurants soon….

read … Customers could feel impacts of minimum wage increase

100% renewable for Oahu is bad law

SA: … Eight years ago, Hawaii’s Legislature passed a bill mandating 100% renewable energy by 2045. Our view is that this is a good law for the neighbor islands, but not for Oahu.

The neighbor islands have abundant land relative to energy needs. Kauai, with its nimble utility and pumped hydro, will be the first to consistently achieve 100% renewable on sunny days. The Big Island, with geothermal energy, will follow. Maui will be next, but with significant cost concerns for ratepayers.

But the much greater energy demand on Oahu — think of powering all of Waikiki, downtown, government offices, University of Hawaii-Manoa and the military bases — presents a vastly different challenge. The ratio of energy demand to land potentially available for solar and wind farms is nearly 10 times greater than any of the neighbor islands — see a stark depiction at www.practicalpolicy.org.

read … 100% renewable for Oahu is bad law

Here’s The Forecast For Legislative Reform in ’24

CB: … Versions of all these suggestions — and much more — were contained in a Bill of Rights proposed by that special reform commission that generated so much hope for sunshine ahead of the last legislative session.

It was killed by a committee chair after a public hearing but before the rest of the committee could even discuss it in public….

read … Here’s The Forecast For Legislative Reform in ’24

Hawaii’s COVID-19 death toll surpassed 2,100 in 2023

SA: … The year 2023 is closing out with nearly 300 additional COVID-19-related deaths, bringing Hawaii’s total COVID-19 death toll as of Wednesday to 2,104.

While the total is a dramatic drop from last year, placing COVID-19 much lower among leading causes of death in the state this year, it still affected parts of the state population significantly.

For kupuna over age 65, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and Filipinos, COVID-19 was among the top five causes of death in Hawaii from 2018 to 2022, along with heart disease, cancer and stroke, according to a recent report by the Hawaii Health Data Warehouse.

Pandemic emergency or not, infections are still derailing lives for those sickened prior or during the holiday season. An uncounted number of Hawaii residents are still suffering from long COVID, or long-term effects that often include brain fog for weeks and sometimes years after their infections have cleared.

On Wednesday, the state Department of Health reported one more death, bringing the total reported to 2,104 in the last available metrics of the year. The man in his 80s was hospitalized, and died on Oahu….

read … Hawaii’s COVID-19 death toll surpassed 2,100 in 2023

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