News Bites

Bielman
Bielman

 The three-month holding period for the 31st annual “In Memory of Eddie Aikau” big wave surfing competition begins on December 1st.  The one-day big wave surfing event held in Waimea bay follows strict wave height requirements that mimic conditions Eddie Aikau liked to ride with faces of 40-feet and hold for at least eight hours.

Kim Steutermann Rogers
Kim Steutermann Rogers

The Department of Land and Natural Resources is reminding Kaua‘i residents to be mindful of Albatross breeding season between now and July.  Laysan albatross nest primarily in Hawai‘i - returning to the same breeding areas each year and laying only a single egg.  Their ground level nests make the birds and their young vulnerable to attacks from domesticated dogs and cats.

But the albatross are also vulnerable to a long term threat from climate change as rising oceans cover their nesting areas further up the Hawaiian chain.

Daniel Ramirez / Flickr
Daniel Ramirez / Flickr

Today is Black Friday – a day where many retailers see their margins go from the red into the black.

But this year more and more people are turning to the digital marketplace to gather up gifts.  A Google search on holiday shopping reveals that last year- 40% of holiday shopping occurred online…with more than half of consumers using a smartphone or tablet.

Pixabay Commons
Pixabay Commons

State health officials say the outbreak of Dengue Fever could last for months and are urging the public to take precautions.

The number of confirmed cases on Hawai‘i island has now risen to 88 as the infection hotspot has moved from South Kona to Ka’u.

Beginning this weekend workers will begin spraying insecticide in Kona and Hilo around schools and areas where infections have been reported.  But officials say the real effort begins at home – where people are being advised to wear mosquito-protective clothing and use bug spray.

The Lure of Korean Drama

Nov 18, 2015
Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

From time to time Hawai‘i Public Radio airs commentaries representing different viewpoints on various issues from around the islands. Today, Debra Toy Bressem returns with a perspective on the fervor surrounding Korean Drama in Hawaii.  You can read her companion article to this commentary in the November 2015 issue of Honolulu Magazine.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Governor David Ige’s office has been flooded with hundreds of calls following his statement welcoming Syrian refugees.  

In a statement released earlier this week - Ige said “slamming the door would betray our values of Aloha.”  He added that his first priority is the safety of the American people – and no one would be admitted without being properly screened.

Kapolei Commons
Kapolei Commons

Kapolei is the fastest growing area on O‘ahu – and its mall is expanding to meet the demand.

The Kapolei Commons shopping center announced the addition of an entertainment complex to the existing area.  The new space will add more than seventy-thousand square feet to the current location.  Restaurants from Roy Yamaguchi, Gyu-kaku and La Tour Cafe will add more food options for shoppers. 

Revolution Books
Revolution Books

Honolulu’s oldest bookstore is settling into a new home.

For almost 40 years- Revolution Books has carried literature for UH Students as well as in political science, women’s studies, and workers’ rights. The little store has served as a community center as well – hosting discussions, poetry readings, and small concerts.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

This week we've been looking at part of the legacy of a dozen years of U.S. nuclear testing in the South Pacific.  For survivors of those tests and their descendants, part of the story is medical treatment—and how to pay for it.  In her concluding report, Jackie Young looks at some possible solutions.

Schmidt Ocean Institute
Schmidt Ocean Institute

A research team with the Schmidt Ocean Institute has just finished mapping the world’s largest undersea volcano.

Tamu Massif is an undersea volcano off the coast of Guam which lies 6,500 feet below the surface.  For perspective- it’s about the size of New Mexico. 

Researchers aboard the Falkor research vessel were able to map about 98% of the area – filling in gaps of information about the geography of the volcano.  Scientists also collected almost 2-million magnetic measurements which help to better understand how the volcano was formed.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Hawai‘i 's Department of Human Services projects it will save about 29-million dollars a year by not providing insurance coverage for so-called able-bodied Micronesians of working age.  That group has been shifted to plans under the federal Affordable Care Act.  But healthcare advocates say the economics are more complicated.  Jackie Young has more in her continuing series about the lingering health costs of U.S. nuclear testing in the South Pacific.

Skeeze / Pixabay Commons
Skeeze / Pixabay Commons

There are now 33 reported cases of dengue fever on Hawai‘i Island- and 1 on O‘ahu.

Dengue is not endemic to Hawai‘i- and is spread through mosquito bites.  Now the State Department of Health officials are urging the public to keep safe through the “Fight the Bite” awareness campaign.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

The rising cost of health care is a concern for all Hawai‘i residents.  But one group in particular is facing added medical expenses.  About 10,000 Micronesians live in Hawai‘i.  They're at the center of an issue dating back to U.S. nuclear testing in the South Pacific.  This week, Jackie Young is taking a closer look at some of that history—and how it impacts us today.

James St. John / Flickr
James St. John / Flickr

Rock formations can tell scientists a lot about changes in the earth. Fractures in bedrock affect where drinking water will flow and the path magma will take as it pushes toward the surface.

Now a team of researchers at the University of Hawai‘I, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of Wyoming and elsewhere has created a model that measures horizontal pressure on rock layers.

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

A Sumatran rhino born in the United States has been formally handed over to Indonesian authorities at a sanctuary where he is expected to mate to help save his critically endangered species from extinction.

Ken Lund / Flickr
Ken Lund / Flickr

There’s some good news coming out of the University of Hawai‘i.

According to a report released by the University - graduation rates at UH Mānoa continue to rise.  A campus wide initiative to utilize new technology, an updated student road map called the STAR system, and counseling within individual colleges are being credited with the rise.   From 2010 to 2015 the six-year rate has increased from 48.6% to 57.1%.  The four-year graduation rate has increased from 17.5% to 27.9%.

Hawaii Health Data Workshop
Hawaii Health Data Workshop

Getting a view into Hawai‘i’s current state of health may be a little easier thanks to a new website from the State Department of Health.

The Hawaii Health Data Warehouse is a collection of information gathered from surveys conducted year round.  Today the DOH released a new interactive query tool called the “Indicator-Based Information System” or “IBIS”.  Ginny Pressler is the Director of the Department of Health.  She says the new platform puts Hawaii’s health data at the public’s fingertips.

Jai Mansson / Flickr
Jai Mansson / Flickr

Governor David Ige’s emergency proclamation to deal with the homeless could sweep camps in Honolulu as early as next week.  1.3-million dollars was issued under the emergency proclamation – with a little less than half of that going to help the homeless situation on neighbor islands.

Daniel Ramirez / Flickr
Daniel Ramirez / Flickr

You’re probably familiar with the luxury high-rises going up in Honolulu’s Kaka‘ako neighborhood - but you may not know about the latest addition: an ice skating rink.

The Ward Entertainment complex plans to add an outdoor ice rink into the courtyard of the historic IBM building.  Admission to the 4,200 square-foot outdoor rink will be around fifteen dollars for 1.5 hours – and includes skate rental.

Todd Apo is the Vice President of Community Development from The Howard Hughes Corporation. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr
U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

Last spring, HPR News reported on the state of landfills around Hawai‘i.

One issue of concern on every island is green waste—including food.  In fact, the US Agriculture Department says food waste is the single biggest contributor to municipal landfills across the country.  It’s joining with the Environmental Protection Agency and private sector partners to reduce food waste—with a specific goal.  Just last month, the federal government announced a national target:  to cut food waste in half by the year 2030.

Michael Coghlan / Flickr
Michael Coghlan / Flickr

On this Aloha Friday, you may be looking forward to a variety of weekend activities. But for prisoners, the highlight of a weekend is often visitations from family members.  A year ago, those visits were consistently cancelled - now they take place on a routine basis.

Following Up: Fighting to Dance on Maui

Oct 6, 2015
zen panda photography
zen panda photography / www.zenpandaphotography.com

All this week, HPR News is taking another look at stories large and small that we’ve covered over the past year or so, in a series we’re calling “Following Up.”

J.D.Griggs, USGS
J.D.Griggs, USGS

For the first time in more than thirty years, scientists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory have raised the alert level for Mauna Loa.

The elevation from normal to advisory indicates the volcano is showing signs of activity that are greater than normal levels.  Seismic stations have recorded heightened levels of shallow, small magnitude earthquakes beneath the summit of the upper south-west rift zone.  Janet Babb is a Geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. 

University of Hawaiʻi – West Oʻahu Center for Labor Education and Research
University of Hawaiʻi – West Oʻahu Center for Labor Education and Research

A new documentary is capturing the music of Hawai‘i’s plantation history.

Japanese workers cutting sugar cane passed the time and dealt with difficult conditions by improvising songs called “Holehole Bushi”.

The name roughly translates to “dried cane leaf song”, and they became musical windows into the hardships of early plantation life

But the songs were almost forgotten as workers left the fields for the city.  Their memory was preserved in recordings from a music teacher named Harry Urata who recorded hundreds of examples in the early 80’s.

National Tsunami Warning Center
National Tsunami Warning Center

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has dropped the tsunami advisory for Oʻahu and Maui County as officials saw conditions were no threat to the state.  

Based on all available data, a major tsunami is not expected to strike the state.  However - sea level changes and strong currents may occur along all coasts and could be a hazard to swimmers and boaters as well as to people near the shore.  The threat may continue for several hours after the initial wave arrival. 

Gregory "Slobirdr" Smith / Flickr
Gregory "Slobirdr" Smith / Flickr

The US Navy has agreed to limit its use of sonar and explosive training off the coast of Hawai‘i and Southern California that may harm marine life.

A lawsuit filed in 2013 by environmental group Earthjustice challenged the National Marine Fisheries’ five-year permit for testing. 

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

The proposed merger between Hawaiian Electric and NextEra is generating dialogue about what Hawai‘i’s sustainable energy future should look like.

Pixabay Commons
Pixabay Commons

The muggy weather and soaring temperatures are setting records across the state.  And inside ‘Ewa Beach schools – classroom temperatures hover around 93-degrees and can go upwards of 108-degrees.

Parents of students at James Campbell High School are organizing a drive this Saturday called “Be Cool 4 Campbell” to gather new (or gently used) fans for classrooms.  Fans can be dropped off at the school from 9am till 1pm or the Kapolei K-Mart from 9am till 5pm.

Michelle Barbieri
Michelle Barbieri

An abandoned monk seal pup is now being cared for in Kona.

The emaciated pup was found on Monday during a survey being conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Ni‘ihau.  Rescue workers who discovered the seal waited to see if the seals mother would return.  When it was clear she was gone, they arranged for the seals transport.  The Robinson family and the US Coast guard transported the pup to the Ke Kai Ola monk seal rehabilitation facility in Kona.

ChefSteps / Flickr
ChefSteps / Flickr

Kapi‘olani Community College has broken ground for a new culinary school campus.  The Culinary Institute of the Pacific at Diamond Head is located at the former site of the Cannon Club.

The school will offer students an advanced professional certificate in culinary management.  The 25-million-dollar first phase includes two classroom buildings, parking, and an outdoor cooking area. Future plans include pastry and confectionary classrooms… as well as a teaching restaurant.  John Morton is the Vice President of the U-H Community College systems. 

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