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Business Briefs

AT&T network congested, not down

Mobile device customers using AT&T in Hawaii reported problems making calls and sending text messages during the tsunami warning Thursday night and into yesterday morning, but there was no outage, according to a spokeswoman.

"We did not have any sort of outage," said Courtney Pendleton. "No sites were down, and the network was functioning normally but with heavy traffic."

The company issued an advisory Thursday night encouraging customers to limit nonemergency calls to keep the network available for emergency personnel.

The company plans to reveal plans for Hawaii network improvements "in the next few weeks," she said.


Go! Mokulele fills more seats

Go! Mokulele transported more passengers last month than it did a year ago despite carrying fewer seats.

The interisland carrier of Phoenix-based parent Mesa Air Group Inc. had 53,974 passengers, a 6.3 percent gain from 50,590 in the year-earlier period. Its load factor, or percentage of seats filled, rose nearly 6 percentage points to 76.11 percent from 70.13 percent.

Available seat miles, or one passenger transported one mile, fell 3.4 percent to 9.1 million from 9.5 million. Revenue passenger miles, or one paying passenger transported one mile, gained 4.7 percent to 7 million from 6.6 million.


Tax cuts move people to shop

WASHINGTON » Americans are using the extra money in their paychecks from tax cuts to buy new cars, clothing, sporting goods and electronics. The reduction in Social Security taxes helped lift retail sales for the eighth straight month in February and by the largest amount since the fall.

Retail sales rose 1 percent last month, the Commerce Department said yesterday. Shoppers returned to department stores after snowstorms kept many away in January. And they flooded car lots to take advantage of deals.

Still, higher oil prices threaten to chip away at consumers’ disposable income over the next few months. Turmoil in the Middle East has sent oil prices surging this winter. Pump prices jumped 9 percent in February to an average price of $3.38 a gallon, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report. They have gone up even further this month. The average price yesterday was $3.54 a gallon.

Tax cuts have helped to ease the shock of higher prices. The reduction in payroll taxes is giving most Americans an extra $1,000 to $2,000 this year.


Ethanol makes a comeback

Corn-based ethanol is the renewable fuel environmentalists love to hate. But as turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa has sent oil prices soaring, U.S.-made ethanol is making a comeback. Plants mothballed during the economic downturn are reopening. Domestic ethanol production hit record levels last year, topping 13.2 billion gallons, according to the Renewable Fuels Association in Washington.


On the move

» Graham Builders has hired Mark Slivka as an architect. He will be responsible for designing homes and guiding homeowners through the process of creating their dream home. Slivka was previously an architect and project manager at Peter Vincent Architects.

» RIM Architects has appointed Dean Takasato as a senior associate/health care architect. He has 17 years’ experience as health care architect and medical planner for new and renovated facilities in California, Arizona and Hawaii.

» Ohana Broadcast has announced Laurie Mizuno as its director of sales. She was previously a promotions manager who became a sales manager of Clear Channel Hawaii.

» Hiolani Care Center at Kahala Nui has announced E. Denise Holmes as director of nursing. She will oversee operations at the Hiolani Care Center Comprehensive Nursing Department. Holmes has more than 20 years of nursing and medical experience.


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