Town Square

Thursdays at 11am on HPR-1 with a rebroadcast at 7pm

Town Square, hosted and produced by Beth-Ann Kozlovich, is one of the oldest of Hawaii Public Radio's public affairs programs. Since its inception in 1999, Town Square has provided an interactive forum for political, social, educational and cultural issues of local, national and international importance. Often the conversation includes guests and participants from outside Hawaii, giving access to newsmakers and those yet to make news. Discussions are lively and almost always, civil.

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contemplativechristian / Flickr
contemplativechristian / Flickr

  Last month, the Giving USA report touted American charitable giving at an estimated $358.38 billion in 2014 - the highest total annual amount in the report's 60-year history.Tonight, a comparison of national and Hawaii giving, pre-recession to now. In studio: Kelvin Taketa, President and CEO of Hawaii Community Foundation and Lisa Maruyama,President and CEO of the Hawaii Alliance of Nonprofit Organizations.

  Today on Town Square, the phrase “It takes a village” usually refers to raising children, but what about other people in the village? In about a week, “The Generations United” conference will be held in Hawaii. And our panel will consider why generations, related or not, need each other now more than ever. Today at 5 on HPR-2.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

  You would figure that two countries with democracy and open-market economies would be able to work closely together. But that’s not the case between Japan and South Korea. And although they have specific values in common, how they deal with one another and the U.S. deals with both is often a case of national identity. We talk to two scholars who call for a grand bargain in their new book. That’s today at 5 on HPR-2.


Former Governor Neil Abercrombie sits down with Guest Host Colin Moore to reflect on his legacy and discuss current policy challenges that face the state.  They will discuss his biggest achievements during his time in office and the decisions he regrets.

Flickr / lotzmana
Flickr / lotzmana

Most want to live in a people-friendly environment with open space, affordable quality housing, and even preserved farmland for sustainable agriculture. Urban design can be a grassroots activity, with communities participating with design professionals. In Honolulu, that doesn't always seem to happen. Join us as we look at who is shaping Honolulu. Panelists: Jennifer Darrah, UH Lecturer and Graduate Faculty Affiliate,  UH Department of Urban and Regional Planning Prof. Luciano Minerbi, and from the same department, PhD Candidate, Annie Koh.

Kris Coffield / Twitter
Kris Coffield / Twitter

 The contentious HSTA election is over. We talk with HSTA's newly elected president Corey Rosenlee and his leadership team about what they plan to do in this transition period and how they plan on moving HSTA in a different direction.

Jen Russo / Flickr
Jen Russo / Flickr

  A special annual look at some of the Maui Film Festival's crop of documentaries. They all ask viewers to look at issues through a different lens and are driven by changes or would be changes in public policy. That's today at 5 on HPR2.

  The TMT project is often characterized as Science versus the Hawaiian Community. What that simplification doesn’t show is the varied and nuanced perspectives with in the Hawaiian Community. We’ll talk about them this week on Town Square with Annelle Amaral, Peter Apo and Williamson Chang.  

  Host Beth-Ann Kozlovich talks about prostitution in Hawaii with guests Kathryn Xian and Dr. Melissa Farley.

  15 years after its medical pot law, Hawaii has a legislatively approved system for dispensaries. Chances are good the Governor will support it. But what happens after the dispensary bill becomes law? Our panel looks at how the plan is made real this week on Town Square.

  Hawaii is getting some input from experts in crafting its strategy to help the homeless. This week on Town Square, State Homelessness Coordinator, Colin Kippen and Lloyd Pendelton, Director of the Utah Homeless Task Force look at how Utah has significantly decreased its homeless population - and how Hawaii might emulate its success.

Walk back through the years and the headlines about the University of Hawaii, and clearly the school has had a boatload of issues. But the UH system is still the state’s only public institution of higher education.  And it's the school that will continue be the only affordable choice for many Hawaii' families. So what do you want from the U? We'll talk it over with David Lassner president of the 10-campus University of Hawai‘i System, UH Board of Regents Chair Randy Moore and UHPA incoming Executive Director, Kris Hanselman

  HB145 has gone through a handful of revisions since its introduction, making supporters, opponents - and spotlighting issues of gut and replace and special funds creation. We look at those issues with Janet Mason of The League of Women Voters, Tom Yamachika head of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii and the leader of the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaii, Jessica Yamauchi.

  You’ve heard the message, but maybe you’re not paying enough attention to it.  There’s a good chance you or someone you love will need a caregiver. Next on Town Square we look at care-giving in Hawaii.  What you can and cannot expect from the state, and what help is available to navigate to the best solution for you and your family. Join our panel. Guests: Founder & Executive Director of the Caregiver Foundation, Gary A. Powell; Private pay caregiver,  Karla Kral; and Ramon Sumibcay, carehome operator and officer of the Alliance of Residential Care Administrators. 

 On this episode of Town Square... The farmers' views of what's happening at the Legislature. Our panel looks at the agriculture bills still in play and growing attention- and what they could mean in practice for those on the front lines, Hawaii's farmers. 

A chat with the front line in Homeless assistance.  Bill Hummel, HPU Professor of Social Work, and Heather Lusk, of the C.H.O.W. project which provides statewide needle exchange. 

Colin Moore and Neal Milner take a look at the bills are crossing over this legislative session.

  We hear so much about STEM education, but what makes it effective? According to the National Science Foundation, it's connecting STEM to real life questions. The NSF-funded  Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER) project does that. Our panel tonight explores what's happening with partner schools and how  Hawaii could become a SENCER model state. Guests: Amy Shachter, co-principle SENCER investigator; Denise Konan, Dean of the College of Social Sciences at UH Manoa and SENCER Fellow; and Robert Franco, Director, Office for Institutional Effectiveness at Kapiolani Community College.

Many bills dealing with medical marijuana are still on the move at the Legislature. Proponents hope that this is the year when lawmakers finally pass measures to create a system of functional dispensaries and associated laws to support access, transport, and use 14 years after Hawaii got its medical marijuana law. Our panel looked at what's still alive as crossover is just a few weeks away. 

What’s in it for Hawai‘i ratepayers if the NextEra purchase of HEI actually happens? Part of the answer is we don’t know, but panelists Ted Peck, President of Tian Shan Renewable Energy, Blue Planet Foundation Executive Director, Jeff Mikulina and Life of the Land Executive Director Henry Curtis consider the possibilities on this edition of Town Square.

  Rev. Lorenza Andrade Smith is an ordained minister who took her vow of poverty and put it into action. She spent the past four years living with the poor, the marginalized and the homeless. She lived for three years in the U.S. “under the stars” and for the past year has been on a global journey. She's in Hawaii to consider the plight of the homeless here - and with us on Town Square.

For parents of autism spectrum kids nationwide, the big issue after diagnosis is where to get treatment and how to pay for it…and Hawai‘i is no different in that…with this exception: Hawai‘i is NOT one of the 38 states with legislation to make sure autism diagnosis and treatment are covered by insurance. That may change if one of a pair of bills moves to a successful conclusion this session. Our panel tonight: Big Island Sen. Josh Green MD, Lorri Unumb, the head of state government affairs for the New York-based non-profit Autism Speaks. And Neurodevelopmental pediatrician Ryan Lee from Honolulu’s Shriners Hospital.

  Should the UH jettison fossil fuel investments from its endowment fund? That’s the question a task force appointed by the UH Regents will consider…and so will our panel.

  The 2015 legislative session opened for  business this week - next on Town Square our annual look at the issues that Neal Milner, Colin Moore and I will be watching. So what's on your list?

Credit Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation / Credit Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation


On this Town Square, a progress report on Honolulu's rail project with Mayor Kirk Caldwell and HART Executive Director & CEO, Daniel Grabauskas. 

Climate Change with Stuart Scott (Deputy Director General of the International Ecological Safety Collaborative Organization and Founder of the United Planet Faith & Science Initiative), John J. Marra (NOAA Regional Climate Service Director, Pacific Region; East-West Center Adjunct Fellow), and Eric Enos (co-founder and Executive Director of Ka‘ala Farm, Inc., a Wai‘anae based community organization that has operated the Cultural Learning Center at Ka‘ala for nearly three decades.)

  Tonight another run at a difficult conversation: race and justice in America - and in Hawaii. Our panel looks at a new study now underway to measure conscious bias. It's a project of UH law professor Justin Levinson. He and other guests consider what few of us want to imagine: that we all may hold some deep seated prejudice.

On this edition of Town Square we take another look at the affordable housing issue.  We’ll discuss Rent Control with Jenny Lee from the Hawaii Appleseed Center, and Civil Beat Deputy Editor Eric Pape. 

The weekend that started with Black Friday, brought Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, then ended with Giving Tuesday. So how much  does Hawaii benefit from a named day to give and does it impact what charities receive the rest of the year?  Our panel takes on those questions on this edition of Town Square.

  You may know his ever changing menu and the spot on King street that his restaurant has occupied for well over a decade…but how much do you know about Chef Mavro? You will this week when we take a Thanksgiving break and talk about the food of life and the life of food with George Mavrothalassitis.