'FBI' Chain Letter Scheme Entraps Hawaii Republicans and Libertarians
Sen Karl Rhoads Closing Barn Door after the Trump Escapes?
Enviros: Honolulu is Primed for Carbon Pricing
Video: Massive Waves Rip thru Kwajalein Base
Applicants Wanted for State Ethics Commission
Miske company manager implicates Miske in kidnapping
HNN: … The men decided that Lee didn’t have any money to pay and at Miske’s instruction, Kimoto met with his customer at a nearby park.
“She said how much would it be to kill him. She made a slashing motion across her neck. I told her absolutely not,” Kimoto told the jury, adding that he brought the request back to Miske. “I told Mike that they wanted to kill the accountant, he said ‘No, because other people might have to follow’.”
Kimoto took that to mean he or others could be killed to cover up the crime.
He said Miske later told him to ask for 10% of the amount they’d attempted to collect.
The family agreed and Kimoto said he collected $90,000 in cash in four separate meetings that he placed in a drawer in Miske’s desk at the office….
He said from his observations, Miske’s Kamaaina termite business often fumigated homes without using chemicals meant to warn of the danger. He also said he was responsible for paying cash for controlled chemicals from the back of a pickup truck instead of from a licensed dealer.
Kimoto was also involved in Miske’s used car business, which he said bought cheap cars at auction and then masqueraded as a private seller to move the cars on Craigslist.
He said Miske used men he called “the dummies,” including his half-brother John Stancil, to assault and intimidate bidders who competed with him.
ILind: Trial testimony began with Count 11, a “conspiracy to commit kidnapping” | i L i n d
SA: Testimony shifts to alleged kidnapping in Miske trial | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)
read … As Miske trial continues, former company manager implicates alleged crime boss in kidnapping
Judge Backs Out Of Honolulu Corruption Case At Last Minute
CB: … Just weeks before a high-profile corruption trial is set to begin, the federal judge who has presided over the case for years is bowing out.
U.S. District Court Judge Michael Seabright filed a one-sentence order on Wednesday morning declaring his recusal from the case against former Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro and local businessman Dennis Mitsunaga. Kaneshiro, Mitsunaga and several co-defendants have all pleaded not guilty, and the trial is slated to start on Feb. 27….
Seabright’s recusal comes amid a flurry of motions this week from prosecutors and defense attorneys about which evidence should and should not be presented to the jury….
read … Judge Backs Out Of Honolulu Corruption Case At Last Minute
City Council approves federal agreement -- votes to build more Honolulu rail with mystery cost
SA: … HART board member Natalie Iwasa, who testified as a private person at the meeting, remained concerned over this agreement.
“The financial plan underlying the full funding grant agreement, in my opinion, has revenues that are just too aggressive,” Iwasa said, noting project costs could overtake what she believed were underwhelming rail revenues. “The costs are at a probability of 65% … when the recovery plan was in process we were looking at 90%, and I feel more comfortable with a 90% cost projection rather than 65%.”
Moreover, she noted the contract for the Kakaako project — the City Center Guideway and Stations — “has not been let.”
“So, that’s budgeted at $1.3 billion,” said Iwasa. “We do not know whether that will come in on cost or not. And we are paying for this project with general excise taxes — taxes on food, rent, medical services — and I am just so concerned about that. In my opinion, there are just too many open questions, too many areas of the financial plan we’re going to run into problems down the road. I hope I’m wrong, but we’ve seen in the past where that hasn’t been the case, so I’m very cautious about this.”
And prior to casting his dissenting vote, Council member Augie Tulba offered his concerns over building more rail line.
“By moving this forward we are still obligating ourselves to use $8.2 billion of the state and local taxpayer money to a rail project when we should be reevaluating … so that we can take care of the needs of our community and the things that are important for the people in this state,” Tulba said. “A ‘no’ vote, sorry.”
After the meeting, the city Department of Transportation Services — tasked with operating Skyline — could not be immediately reached for comment over questions regarding rail-related farebox revenues or expectations of city rail operations into 2024.
But during a December news conference inside Honolulu Hale, DTS Director Roger Morton did note Skyline’s ridership numbers had fallen since the start of operations last summer….
SA: Letter: Let’s see true subsidy costs of operating rail
read … City Council approves federal agreement to fund Honolulu rail
City council approves measure to help struggling businesses along Dillingham rail construction
HNN: … Some financial relief is on the way for business owners impacted by rail construction along Dillingham Boulevard -- even though for some, the help is too late.
In a 7-2 vote, the Honolulu City Council approved Bill 40, which says qualifying businesses could get up to $10,000 a year from the city.
“These businesses have been suffering for years, and there’s not doubt about that,” said council member Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, who introduced the bill along with council budget chair Radiant Cordero….
SA: Honolulu City Council OKs aid to businesses near rail construction | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)
CB: Honolulu Businesses Hurt By Rail Construction Could Get Relief But Hurdles Remain - Honolulu Civil Beat
read … City council approves measure to help struggling businesses along Dillingham rail construction (hawaiinewsnow.com)
Help more keiki access school-choice options
SA: … This past weekend, hundreds of families flocked to Windward Mall for the Hawaii K-12 Parent and School Expo — the first time in recent memory so many different school types came together for a school fair. More than 35 schools were represented, including traditional public, private, public charters, and others. The event coincided with the start of National School Choice Week (Jan. 21-27), a national effort to raise school choice awareness and promote a variety of education options.
At the school fair, parents met with schools, learned about their unique programs, and explored which school might fit their child’s needs. I spoke with several parents who were grateful for the opportunity to learn about their education options. One parent shared how he just moved to Hawaii and is looking for a school for his special-needs ninth-grader. And while some families were there to visit with specific schools, others weren’t sure if their child is ready for a new school, but they wanted to see what’s available….
When it comes to school choice, Hawaii recently received an “F” grade in the American Legislative Exchange Council’s 2023 Index of State Education Freedom. It’s not hard to see why. Hawaii has no programs available to help families send their children to the best school for their child. While other states have educational savings accounts, tax credit scholarships, and other programs to make it easier financially for families to provide their children with a personalized education, Hawaii has none.
Unfortunately, the lack of school choice programs most negatively affects low-income families. For families with means, Hawaii’s diverse education landscape provides dozens of open doors for their keiki’s education. For many others, the state-assigned public school is the only option….
Jan 8, 2024: Escape the DoE: Hawai‘i School Choice Week lays out options
2023: The ALEC Index of State Education Freedom: A 50-State Guide to Parental Empowerment
2022: School Choice: Hawaii Ranks Dead Last
read … Column: Help more keiki access school-choice options | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)
Many 'emergency hire' teachers brought in to fight Hawaii's teacher shortage
HNN: … Green said his administration has helped reduce the state's teacher shortage by more than 50% in the past year.
In his state of the state address earlier this week, Green said this is because of last year's new 4-year contract agreement with the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA).
Within a year, this initiative took the number of 736 teacher vacancies in November of 2022 to around 200 in November 2023.
However, the President of the HSTA, Osa Tui, said most of the new hires were “emergency hires” which means many teachers lacked some qualifications….
read … Many 'emergency hire' teachers brought in
Lahaina Fire News: