General Assignment

Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

One of Hawai‘i’s oldest and most culturally important native trees is under siege from a mysterious disease. So far more than 34,000 acres of ‘ōhi‘a trees have died, and it's left scientists scrambling for a solution. HPR’s Molly Solomon visited the Big Island forest where it all began.

About 40 minutes south of Hilo, in the Leilani Estates subdivision in lower Puna, is what scientists are calling ground zero for Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death.

Need Help With Your Taxes? Hawaii Offers 36 Free Sites

Mar 21, 2016
Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

The deadline to file your taxes is less than a month away, but it’s not too late to get some help. Programs across the state are busy assisting seniors and people with low income.  HPR's Moly Solomon paid a visit to one and has this report.

Roads in Limbo: Who Owns The Streets in Kakaako?

Mar 16, 2016
Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

With several high-rise condominiums on the way, Kaka‘ako is a place in transition. As many as 30,000 new residents are expected to move in to the developing area over the next 15 years, with Honolulu’s rail project running right through the neighborhood. But there’s a problem with one basic piece of infrastructure: its roads. HPR’s Molly Solomon reports.

Maui Sugar Workers Eligible For Federal Assistance

Mar 15, 2016
Flickr / tavarua
Flickr / tavarua

Federal money is on the way to employees at Hawai‘i’s last sugar plantation. U.S. Senator Brian Schatz announced that the 685 Maui workers who will lose their jobs at the end of this year will qualify for financial help. Benefits include up to $2,000 a month, free tuition and books and other job training support. Schatz says the federal money is in addition to already existing state benefits for unemployment.

Job Center On Wheels Connects Homeless With Work

Mar 10, 2016
Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

A mobile job center is popping up in neighborhoods around O‘ahu. The program is run by the Institute for Human Services and helps connect homeless people with work. HPR’s Molly Solomon explains.

Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

75 years later, a Navy sailor killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor has gotten a proper burial. Petty Officer 1st Class Vernon Luke was laid to rest during a ceremony Wednesday at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. As HPR’s Molly Solomon reports, he was the first to be reburied out of nearly 400 soldiers who were previously marked as unknowns.

Whale Of A Headstand: Rare Humpback Sighting At Sea

Mar 9, 2016
NOAA
NOAA

Scientists are reporting peculiar behavior among this season’s humpback whales. A recent video by NOAA's Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary shows a female humpback standing upside down with her tail sticking out of the water, performing a sort of underwater headstand.

Sanctuary response coordinator Ed Lyman says the rare behavior has a name: tail-sailing. It’s fairly common among right whales in the southern hemisphere, but is rarely observed in humpbacks. So far they’ve seen this in four different whales off Maui and O‘ahu.

Is Hawaii Failing Its Special Education Students?

Feb 24, 2016
Flickr / dcJohn
Flickr / dcJohn

A recent internal audit by the Hawai‘i Department of Education revealed staffing shortages and significant problems in the state’s special education program. Despite nearly a quarter of the DOE’S budget going to special education services, students with disabilities are continuing to fall behind academically. HPR’s Molly Solomon has more.

Hawaiian Monk Seal Vaccinations Begin On Oahu

Feb 22, 2016
Flickr / Robin Wendler
Flickr / Robin Wendler

Researchers say the endangered Hawaiian monk seal population is on the rise. But so is the threat of a fatal virus that could wipe out the native species if it reaches Hawai‘i. HPR’s Molly Solomon reports on new efforts to prevent a future outbreak.

In case you’ve ever wondered how to vaccinate a wild Hawaiian monk seal, the first thing you’ll need is one of these. “This is a pole-syringe,” said Michelle Barbieri, holding up a 4-foot long spring loaded pole. She’s a veterinarian for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Hawaiian monk seal program.

Developers and Builders Raise Funds For Homelessness

Feb 18, 2016
Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

A Hawai‘i nonprofit made up of local builders and developers is working to address homelessness. HomeAid Hawai‘i, in partnership with the Building Industry Association, began last summer and has raised funds to dramatically cut costs for its first three projects. HPR’s Molly Solomon has more…

Thirty Meter Telescope Hawaii Series

Feb 17, 2016
Natalie Kurashima
Natalie Kurashima

Thirty Meter Telescope Protesters Arrested on Mauna Kea

April 3, 2015

Dozens of arrests were made yesterday on Mauna Kea Access Road. Protesters who oppose the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope have been on the mountain for the past week, blocking access to construction crews. HPR’s Molly Solomon has this update.

Construction Of Giant Telescope In Hawaii Draws Natives' Ire

April 21, 2015

Merrie Monarch Without Ohia?

Feb 17, 2016
Merrie Monarch Festival
Merrie Monarch Festival

With Merrie Monarch approaching late next month, hula hālau across the state are beginning to prepare for the upcoming festival on Hawai‘i Island. For some that means gathering plants and flowers that represent the mele, or song. It’s a tradition that’s brought countless hālau into native ‘ōhi‘a forests, where the lehua blossom grows. But a rapidly spreading disease is prompting some to call for an all-out ban this year. HPR’s Molly Solomon reports.

The Eddie Won't Go: Big Wave Surf Contest Called Off

Feb 10, 2016
Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

The saying goes, “The Bay Calls The Day.” But it turns out Wednesday was not that day. Shortly after 6 am, event organizers cancelled the Eddie Aikau big wave contest, after an expected swell failed to arrive at Waimea Bay. HPR’s Molly Solomon was there and has this report.

As the sun rose over Waimea Bay, it was clear to thousands of spectators who packed the beach early Wednesday morning: The Eddie would not go. “Everybody’s down here,” said event director Glen Moncata. “It’s like a party but the guest of honor didn’t decide to show up this time.”

Hawaii Lifeguards: Longer Hours Could Save Lives

Feb 9, 2016
Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

Hawai‘i’s north shore is expecting a huge swell today, bringing waves big enough to hold The Eddie for the first time in six years. The contest is named after the legendary Hawaiian surfer Eddie Aikau, who was also the first lifeguard stationed at Waimea Bay. Today there are three, with more than 25 along the North Shore. But as HPR’s Molly Solomon reports, there’s a renewed focus on their working hours.

Jason Bitzer rushes into the water about once a day. "Today we had one rescue for two people," he said. "So it was an average day."

A Look Inside Honolulu's Latest Homeless Shelter

Feb 8, 2016
Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

A new homeless shelter in Honolulu is banking on the idea that fewer rules could lead to more people off the streets. The Sand Island facility, called Hale Mauliola, has been in business for three months now. HPR’s Molly Solomon paid a visit to see how things are going.

Patricia Thomas welcomes me into her home, a bright blue shipping container at Sand Island’s Hale Mauliola navigation center. "This is for a couple, two beds," she said. "They supply the furnishings, you're not sleeping on the ground."

Hawaii Prepares To Ring In The Year Of The Monkey

Feb 4, 2016
Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

Say goodbye to the Year of the Goat. Starting Monday, we’ll officially enter the Year of the Monkey. Lions and dragons will take to the streets this weekend in Chinatown to ring in the Lunar New Year.

Festival officials say the event brings tens of thousands of tourists and local residents to the area, where everything from good luck charms to char siu jin dui is for sale. Leonard Kam is the past president of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawai‘i. He’s chairing this year’s Chinese New Year Festival.

University of Hawaii
University of Hawaii

Scientists say a disease killing hundreds of thousands of ‘ōhi‘a trees on Hawaii's Big Island is spreading. Recent aerial surveys show the acreage of infected trees has more than doubled in the past two years. State, county and federal agencies collaborated to conduct the surveys by helicopter last month. The fungal disease, called Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death, was found in 34,000 acres of ‘ōhi‘a forest. Rob Hauff is the Forest Health Coordinator with the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Colin Cook
Colin Cook

Surfers and big-wave enthusiasts are flocking to the North Shore this week for one of the biggest swells of the season. One person who won’t be in the water is Colin Cook. The 26-year-old surfer is still recovering from a shark attack last October, and lost his leg in the battle. HPR’s Molly Solomon recently caught up with him and has this report.

Hooked On The High Seas

Jan 27, 2016
SOI / Michelle Schwengel-Regala
SOI / Michelle Schwengel-Regala

A research ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is not the kind of place where you would expect to find artists. But a new partnership is bringing together art and science through a residency program on board The Falkor, part of the Schmidt Ocean Institute. HPR’s Molly Solomon caught up with a local fiber artist who was able to hop aboard.

Ige Delivers State of the State Address

Jan 25, 2016
Governor David Ige
Governor David Ige

Hawaii Gov. David Ige delivered his State of the State address to the 2016 legislature, raising issues that ranged from government spending, affordable housing, homelessness, prisons, and our public hospitals. The following is a transcript from this morning’s speech:

Speaker Souki, President Kouchi, former governors, distinguished justices of the courts, representatives of our congressional delegation, members of the Hawaii State Legislature, county mayors and other elected officials, honored guests, family and friends,

Good morning and aloha.

TMT: Hawaii Telescope Still In Limbo

Jan 25, 2016
Thirty Meter Telescope Corp.
Thirty Meter Telescope Corp.

The future of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Hawai‘i Island’s Mauna Kea remains uncertain. Construction has been halted on the project since protests began last April. And in December, Hawaii's Supreme Court ruled the permit invalid, sending the matter back for a new contested case hearing.

Coast Guard Suspends Search For Missing Marines

Jan 19, 2016
U.S. Coast Guard
U.S. Coast Guard

After a 5-day rescue mission, U.S. Coast Guard captain Jim Jenkins announced that the search for 12 missing Marines off O‘ahu’s north shore has been suspended. “We’ve looked at all search efforts by all agencies. We’ve looked at the data and metrics, developments and particular circumstances of this case,” said Jenkins late Tuesday afternoon. “Based on this careful analysis, I’m announcing that the Coast Guard intends to suspend active search efforts tonight at sunset.”

Search Continues for 12 Missing Marines

Jan 17, 2016
U.S. Coast Guard
U.S. Coast Guard

The search continues for 12 missing marines after two military helicopters crashed late Thursday off O‘ahu’s north shore. Coast Guard Captain Jim Jenkins said there are no plans to call off the mission and still believes there’s hope for survivors. “We’ve been searching 24 hours a day since we were notified and got on scene,” said Jenkins. “We are dedicated to trying to locate and bring back these service members.”

12 Marines Missing After Helicopters Crash Off Oahu

Jan 15, 2016
U.S. Marine Corps
U.S. Marine Corps

A search and rescue mission is underway on O‘ahu’s North Shore after 2 Marine Corps helicopters crashed Thursday evening during a routine training exercise off Hale‘iwa.

The Coast Guard Sector Honolulu received notification of two downed CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters Thursday evening at 11:38 p.m. each with six personnel aboard.  Officials confirmed all 12 people are still missing.

Flickr / Tchami
Flickr / Tchami

Most people in Hawai‘i are familiar with the Hawaiian green sea turtle, frequently spotted on island beaches. Far less common is its cousin, the hawksbill turtle. With only 100 breeding adults left in Hawaii, much is still unknown about the endangered species. But recent research suggests the answers may lie in its shell.  HPR’s Molly Solomon reports.

Could Hemp Be The New Sugar on Maui?

Jan 13, 2016
Rep. Cynthia Thielen
Rep. Cynthia Thielen

It’s been a big week for agriculture in the state: the island’s last sugar plantation announced plans to close this year. But one state lawmaker sees an opportunity for a different kind of crop. HPR’s Molly Solomon explains.

In Hawaii, A Traveling Preschool Serves The Homeless

Jan 11, 2016
Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

One element of homelessness that doesn’t always get a lot of attention: the impact on young children, and in particular their education. There’s a group on Oahu that focuses on providing free preschool for homeless children and families. HPR’s Molly Solomon paid a visit and has this report.

About a dozen families stand in a circle, holding hands as they sing their morning pule, or prayer. They’re by a parking lot for a pair of homeless shelters in Kapolei. That’s where many of these families are living.

Bittersweet End to Cane Plantation Days

Jan 6, 2016
Flickr / Averain
Flickr / Averain

Hawai‘i’s last sugar plantation is closing. Alexander and Baldwin announced Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company on Maui will stop producing sugar by the end of the year. HPR’s Molly Solomon reports...

Once upon a time in Hawai‘i, sugar was king. The industry powered politics, wealth, and helped form the identity of the Aloha State’s population. The closing of the sugar operations of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company signifies the end of an era.

NOAA: No Need To Panic, The Whales Are Still Coming

Jan 6, 2016
Flickr / Bellevue Fine Art Repro
Flickr / Bellevue Fine Art Repro

It seems humpback whales aren’t in any rush to get to the islands. Each winter, more than 10,000 migrate from Alaska to Hawaii’s warmer waters to mate, birth and care for their young. But as HPR’s Molly Solomon reports, the whales are behind schedule.

A couple weeks ago, Ed Lyman got a call about a separated whale calf off Lahaina, Maui. He’s a response coordinator for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. “We responded, motoring to an offshore of Lahaina,” recalled Lyman. “We saw not a single whale the whole run, and then nothing on the way back.”

Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

For many Japanese, early days of a New Year are a time to visit temples. And both in Japan and Hawai‘i, there’s a tradition of having small shrines at home, all year-round. But as HPR’s Molly Solomon reports, in Hawai‘i, that’s changing.

It’s a busy morning for 32-year -old Gina Maeda-Caluya. She lets me into her Pearl City home where she lives with her mom and dad. Flour is tossed on the dining room table, as she prepares to make fresh mochi, a Japanese tradition to ring in the New Year.

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