General Assignment

Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

Hawaiian Electric has announced a proposal that would greatly increase the amount of rooftop solar.  It's all part of a plan that would help the utilities on Oahu, The Big Island, and Maui County triple the amount of solar power by 2030. But critics warn this could come at a price. HPR's Molly Solomon reports.

Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

It's been more than a month since the King Street bike lane opened in Honolulu. And while bike enthusiasts applaud the safer ride, several shop owners in the area are saying the confusion of where to park is killing their businesses. HPR’s Molly Solomon reports.

Flickr / jonnwilliams
Flickr / jonnwilliams

Hawai‘i County residents who smoke e-cigarettes will soon find fewer places where vaping is allowed. Hawai‘i Island Mayor Billy Kenoi signed the bill Tuesday, making it the only county in the state to ban electronic cigarettes from public places where smoking is already prohibited. HPR’s Molly Solomon has more.

Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

State hospitals in Maui are pursuing a partnership with the privately-run Hawai‘i Pacific Health. The state’s publicly-funded facilities have been struggling for years and plan to seek approval from the legislature. HPR’s Molly Solomon has more.

Flickr / lindsay-fox
Flickr / lindsay-fox

Two leading cancer research organizations are calling for stricter regulation of electronic cigarettes. And it’s prompted local health experts to echo those concerns. HPR’s Molly Solomon reports.

Distributed Energy Partners
Distributed Energy Partners

A local ice rink is tapping into the sun to keep its facilities cool. Ice Palace Hawai‘i announced the completion of a rooftop solar power project that could cut down their energy bill by 25%. HPR’s Molly Solomon has more.

USGS
USGS

Lava flowing from Kīlauea’s Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō Vent has left the lower Puna community in a state of limbo. The slow moving disaster has prompted one researcher to look at how residents are coping with the flow. HPR’s Molly Solomon spoke with him and has this report.

USGS
USGS

UPDATE: Malama Market, the grocery store at Pāhoa Marketplace, announced it plans to evacuate and close its doors by Thursday, December 18th at 6 p.m. The store, which opened its Pāhoa branch in 2005, will begin the process of packing up the shop on Tuesday.

The lava flow in Pāhoa on the Big Island has picked up speed again, moving about 300 yards since yesterday. It’s now about 1.2 miles from the intersection of Pāhoa Village Road and Highway 130.

Flickr / jonnwilliams
Flickr / jonnwilliams

A new report released today shows the use of electronic cigarettes among teens is growing in Hawai‘i. The study, coming out of the University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center, shows adolescents are smoking e-cigarettes three times the national average. HPR’s Molly Solomon has more.

The full article published in Pediatrics can be found here.

Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

Students at Momilani Elementary have been spending time this week on the computer. But they’re not playing games — they’re learning to write them. HPR’s Molly Solomon has more.

Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

Oahu’s first protected bike lane opened this weekend. More than 377 cyclists took to the streets at an opening ceremony on South King Street. HPR’s Molly Solomon was there and has this report.

Flickr / Milo Baumgartner
Flickr / Milo Baumgartner

Last December, same sex marriage became legal in Hawai‘i.  The state Department of Health says same-sex marriages make up about 12% of all weddings here, with more than 3000 registered couples in the past year. HPR’s Molly Solomon caught up with a couple of people…who played very personal -- and very different roles in the story of marriage equality in Hawai‘i.

Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

It’s a business deal that will change the face of business in the state. Florida-based NextEra Energy is buying Hawaiian Electric Industries in a $4.3 billion deal. As part of the agreement, American Savings Bank would become a separate publicly-traded company. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more.

NOAA
NOAA

State officials are investigating the suspicious death of a baby Hawaiian monk seal on the east side of Kaua‘i. The 5-month old female was found dead from blunt force trauma at a beach in Anahola. And as HPR’s Molly Solomon reports, authorities are now turning to the public for help.

Authorities are urging anyone with information on these monk seal deaths to call the confidential hotline: 1-800-853-1964 OR 1-855-DLNR-TIP.

Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

Hawai‘i could see its first community supported fishery as early as next year. The concept is similar to community supported agriculture, where customers bypass the supermarket and pay farmers directly for a weekly delivery of fresh produce. Now, as HPR’s Molly Solomon reports, that same idea is making the leap from land to sea.

Flickr / InaFrenzy
Flickr / InaFrenzy

The traditional Thanksgiving dinner holds a different meaning here in the islands. Turkey baked in an imu could share table space with a plate of kalbi short ribs. And as families across the state get ready for the holiday, we checked in with local residents to hear what a Hawai‘i Thanksgiving means to them.

Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

Events in Ferguson, Missouri have sparked a national conversation. Teachers in Hawai‘i are grappling with how to bring that into the classroom. HPR's Molly Solomon has more.

Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

UH Mānoa graduate students saw one victory after staging a student protest on Monday. University officials announced there would be no cuts to teaching assistantships next semester in the College of Natural Sciences. But, as HPR’s Molly Solomon reports, the future remains highly uncertain.

Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

Graduate students at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa are protesting possible cuts to their departments. They’re leading a protest today in hopes of some answers. HPR’s Molly Solomon has more.

Molly Solomon

Five days a week, city workers hit the streets to conduct sweeps on Honolulu sidewalks. It’s part of a controversial ordinance that went into effect last July, that allows officials to clear streets occupied by the homeless and their belongings. HPR’s Molly Solomon was there as one was taking place in Kaka‘ako Thursday morning, where some believe a "Hawaii Five-0" shoot is to blame. 

Flickr / hihousedems
Flickr / hihousedems

A draft report by the Red Hill Facility Task Force is urging the Navy to double line all of its underground fuel tanks in the next 10 years. But navy officials say that timeline is unreasonable. HPR’s Molly Solomon has the story.

Molly Solomon

The lava flow creeping through Pāhoa continues to remain active, claiming its first residential home earlier this week. Many residents have already packed up and left the area, but as HPR’s Molly Solomon reports, some businesses have chosen to stay.

Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

Of the many stories of loss and change that surround the lava flow moving to isolate parts of Pāhoa, few rival the story of the Buddhist cemetery just outside town The century-old graveyard is home to primarily Japanese immigrants, many of whom worked in the sugar cane fields that once bordered the town. HPR’s Molly Solomon visited Pāhoa last week and has this story of one family’s history, forever changed by the lava.

  Last month, Aiko Sato carried a bucket of red ginger to her car. She was heading out to the Pāhoa Japanese Cemetery to pay respect to the graves of her ancestors…part of her weekly ritual…but this time was different. The slow-moving lava heading towards town now had the cemetery in its path. “Something told me, I had to go,” says Aiko.

Hawai‘i County Civil Defense had already blocked the main road. But after hearing Aiko’s story, a state official agreed to drive her out to see the graves. “And he let me take my time,” recalls Aiko. “I was able to place flowers at the family grave. And I felt relief, because I knew that would probably be the final time. And I guess it was.”

The next day, Aiko woke up to find the cemetery has been overrun, taken by lava overnight. “They had national news about the lava going over the cemetery,” she said. “I cried, because I figured probably the Sato grave went.”

“I always thought the cemetery would not be covered by the lava,” says Aiko’s aunt, Eiko Kujiyama, who lives down the street with her son. She remembers the phone call from Aiko that morning, telling her the cemetery was gone. “When she called me, I was shocked to hear it was covered - so sad! Every time I prayed, don’t take the cemetery and please spare Pāhoa."

  The loss means something extra to the Sato family. Aiko’s father, Hiroo Sato, spent most of his life caring for the graves of Japanese immigrants buried at the Pāhoa Japanese Cemetery, filled with people who built the town including his parents and two siblings. He’s also known for writing the book, Pāhoa Yesterday, a historical account of the town’s early years. Evidence of his extensive research on the former sugar cane town, are scribbled on pieces of paper Aiko is carefully packing away. “These are all of his things,” she says. “The last of his manuscripts I sent out. All of his other tidbits of information, that went earlier”

  Aiko clears a pile of papers from the dining room table as movers carry a set of chairs down to the carport. She’s evacuating the family home in case the lava takes a turn. Her once crowded living room is now empty, except for an ottoman and the TV.

At a community meeting last week, a scientist with the USGS approached Aiko and her aunt with news about the family grave.

“Everything was up in the air as to whether the grave was still standing,” she said. “But at the lava update meeting we found out the grave had survived.” Aiko pulls out the photo clearly showing the family tombstone surrounded by black lava. “Sato, the family name, is still distinct. To see the lava completely around the gravestone -- it’s like a miracle.”

I ask Aiko what her father would say, knowing the grave he so diligently cared for had survived. “It would bring him a lot of joy and happiness, knowing that it’s still there.”

And at this point, so is Aiko. With the family grave secure, she hopes to stay in the home her family has lived in for generations.

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

A Maui County ban on genetically modified crops pulled off a stunning turnaround late Tuesday night. After trailing by 19 points in the first two printouts, the ballot initiative took the lead, passing by more than 1000 votes.

The new legislation would put a temporary moratorium on GMO crops, until a study is done to analyze the health and environmental impacts on the county.

Ashley Lukens is the Hawaii program director for the Center for Food Safety, a national organization that supports stronger regulation on GMO’s.

Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

In the age of the selfie, we’ve grown accustomed to documenting every part of our lives, including who we vote for. But as HPR’s Molly Solomon reports, posting a photo of yourself this Election Day, could land you in jail.

USGS
USGS

As lava continues to flow into residential properties in Pahoa, mixed emotions are being felt in the community. Some are anxiously awaiting Pele’s arrival fearing the destruction she may bring. Others view her presence as an honor. HPR’s Molly Solomon is in Pahoa and shares one perspective.

Hawaii County Civil Defense and public safety personnel are working 24/7 in the area to maintain close observations of the lava flow.

Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

While the lava continued to stall over the weekend, USGS geologists stressed the flow is far from over, leaving residents and business owners in Pāhoa preparing for the possibility they may be cut off. As HPR’s Molly Solomon reports, local shops and restaurants are grappling with the decision of whether or not to stay.

Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

The leading edge of the lava slowed to a stall Thursday. The lava, which has not advanced in the past 24 hours, is still 480 feet from Pahoa Village Road. Hundreds of residents attended a community meeting last night seeking answers and information on the lava front. HPR’s Molly Solomon was in Pahoa and has this report.

Molly Solomon / Molly Solomon

Lava flowing from Kilauea Volcano towards the town of Pāhoa has finally arrived, crossing residential property lines early Tuesday morning. Residents have had weeks to prepare for this slow-moving disaster and are now faced with the reality that their homes and businesses could be in danger. HPR’s Molly Solomon is in Pāhoa and has this report.

USGS
USGS

Hawaii County Civil Defense are keeping a close watch on a lava flow that continues to move toward Pāhoa. It's picked up speed in recent days, moving at a speed of 10-15 yards per day. Officials say evacuations may be just days away. 

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