The Conversation

Radio Reading for the Blind

Apr 20, 2018
Catherine Cruz

Throughout the week, The Conversation looked at various volunteer opportunities across the state. To close out the series, The Conversation's Catherine Cruz looked into the Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled; which provides services for only a fraction of the thousands of people across the state who are either born blind, or have lost their vision later in life.

Financial Relief for Flood Victims

Apr 19, 2018
Catherine Cruz

Promises of additional flood relief are pouring in from the government as well as private donors. Facebook mogul Mark Zuckerberg pledged a million dollars and eBay Founder Pierre Omidyar already donated $200,000 in disaster relief. Residents of East Honolulu and Waimanalo may also be eligible for federal state and county assistance after those communities were declared disaster areas by Governor David Ige yesterday.

Tension High Over Airport Rideshare Pilot Program

Apr 19, 2018
Wayne Yoshioka

Long simmering tensions between the local taxi companies and transportation network companies, Uber and Lyft, erupted again. The spark was a public hearing to discuss a pilot program that allows the ride sharing companies to pick up and drop off passengers at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu. The state quietly extended the program until September, and yesterday was the first time taxi and limousine drivers had a chance to vent before the Small Business Regulatory Review Board.

Hundreds Rescued from Kauai's North Shore

Apr 17, 2018
DVIDS / U.S. Coast Guard

Following the weekend flooding, the Hanalei District - including Wainiha and Haʻena, faced heavy damage. The Hanalei River became swollen, and many neighborhoods and farmlands flooded. Emergency rescue crews evacuated 152 people by helicopter, 121 by bus and others by water. Currently, it is an active search and rescue effort.

TMT Still Committed to Hawaii, For Now

Apr 16, 2018
Thirty Meter Telescope

The board of the legally beleaguered Thirty Meter Telescope deferred on a decision to relocate the project to the Canary Islands. The announcement came last week following the passage of a Mauna Kea construction ban by one house of the state legislature. Bute a move is not off the table.

Albatross Colony Under Threat from Unlikely Predator

Apr 5, 2018
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A remote atoll within the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is home to an extraordinary collection of seabirds. More than 3 million converging on a tiny space: some 1500 acres. It’s the only nesting ground for two seabird species that face an imminent threat from an unlikely source: invasive house mice that attack and kill nesting Black-footed albatross and Laysan albatross.

Tobacco Restrictions Considered at the Legislature

Apr 5, 2018
ECig Click / Flickr

Lawmakers are taking up two bills today, one making the University of Hawaiʻi a tobacco-free zone and another to restrict access to e-cigs to those under 21. The Hawaii Public Health Institute supports both measures.

Jay Parasco / Office of the Mayor

The failure of counties to enforce zoning codes has added to the state's housing crisis with a staggering number of runaway illegal vacation rentals. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is proposing to try and fix that broken picture by legalizing Bed and Breakfasts, with operators paying higher taxes and penalties for violations.

Little Agreement Over Toxoplasmosis Solution

Apr 3, 2018
5459357 / Pixabay

Toxoplasmosis is a parasite-borne infection that can wreak havoc on wildlife, humans with compromised immune systems, and pregnant women. The parasite that causes toxoplasmosis comes from cats, specifically their faces. It has been blamed for the death of at least eight Hawaiian monk seals, the endemic Hawaiian crow, and several other vulnerable bird species. However, there is little agreement over a solution to the problem. The debate largely boils down to one question: should feral cats be eradicated?

Wikipedia

Paʻulaʻula o Hipo, the site of Fort Elizabeth, the fort built by Russian trading interests in the early 19th century, is best remembered as the setting for the brief alliance between the Russian-American Company and Kauai's High Chief Kaumualiʻi. But there's more than one story behind what is now a National Historic Landmark.

Wildfires: Hawaii's Overlooked Threat

Mar 30, 2018
National Park Service / nps.gov

Hurricanes and tsunamis get a lot more attention, but wildfires are one of the state's most common threats. Hundreds of wildfires break out across Hawaii every year. The vast majority of them are human-caused.

Shipping Company Prepares for the Next Disaster

Mar 29, 2018
Joseph Boivin / Young Brothers

The vast majority of food and vital goods arrive in Hawaiʻi via cargo ship. The big ships dock in Honolulu Harbor where Young Brothers Shipping then distributes their cargo to ports around the state. A "just-in-time" delivery model means that most shipments go directly from a ship to store shelves, rather than a warehouse. Young Brothers knows how vulnerable island communities are to a disruption of its services and is constantly on alert for the next disaster.

Buonasera / Wikimedia Commons

In Hawaiʻi, there is a lot that ties the state to the Asia-Pacific. Part of that is geography, but it's also culture and economics. Although Hawaiʻi doesn't export much in the way on physical goods, the trade policy set in motion by the Trump Administration could have ripple effects for the Aloha State. Dr. Adam Posen, President of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, shared his perspective on trade issues with The Conversation.

Hawaiʻi's Disaster Vulnerability: Healthcare Challenges

Mar 28, 2018
Maui Memorial Medical Center
Maui Memorial Medical Center

What happens to patients in dialysis centers when there isn't water or power, and they can't stay open? How do patients get their medicines if pharmacies are closed? What about our stockpile of medical supplies? Those scenarios and more were posed to Chris Crabtree, Director of Hawaiʻi Healthcare Emergency Management as part of The Conversation's ongoing look at Hawaiʻi's vulnerability and resiliency during a disaster.

Hawaiʻi's Disaster Vulnerability: Honolulu Harbor

Mar 27, 2018
Daniel Ramirez / Flickr

Hawaiʻi needs to import 3,000 tons of food per day to keep grocery store shelves stocked around the state. All of those goods come into one place: the Port of Honolulu. If damaged, it could take weeks to reopen the harbor after a disaster event. That could leave Hawaiʻi residents in big trouble.

Hawaiʻi's Disaster Vulnerability: Electrical Grid

Mar 27, 2018
Denise Emsley | NAVFAC / Flickr

Hawaiʻi's position as the most remote population center in the world leaves the islands uniquely vulnerable to a disaster. This week, The Conversation explores the vulnerability of Hawaiʻi's people and infrastructure. The first installment of the five-part series takes a look at the electrical grid - where 60% of power plants lie in an inundation zone.

Spearheading Cesspool Issues with County Task Forces

Mar 27, 2018
Septic Advisor

There are almost 90,000 cesspools across Hawaiʻi releasing 53 million gallons of untreated sewage into the ground each day. The State of Hawaiʻi is trying to wean residents off them, and part of that effort could be the creation of County-level task forces to spearhead the transition.

A New Strategy for Combating the Opioid Epidemic

Mar 26, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

President trump delivered strong words about how to approach the opioid epidemic across the nation. Some 2 million people are estimated to be addicted to the drug. It is a public health crisis, but the question is how to best deal with it. However, Hawaii's rate of opioid prescriptions is one of the lowest in the country. The U.S. Surgeon General and the CEO of a local rehab clinic shared a national and local perspective on the crisis.

Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency's New Administrator

Mar 23, 2018
Hawaii Emergency Management Agency

January's false missile alert laid bare flaws in training, procedure, and leadership at the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency. Last week, a new Administrator was appointed to the agency after Major General Verne Miyagi resigned from the position in late-January. 

USDA / Flickr

Strategy for Opioid Epidemic; New HI-EMA Leadership; Future of Social Security; Saxophonist Boney James

Former Hawaiʻi Governor Defends OHA

Mar 22, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

A critical management audit of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is continuing to ripple. The office has no comment about a possible FBI probe. The OHA Board met in an executive session earlier today to talk about the employment contract of CEO Kamanaʻopono Crabbe. 

State, Counties Weigh Options for Abandoned Vehicles

Mar 21, 2018
Frank Schulenburg / Wikimedia Commons

Complaints about junked cars in neighborhoods across the state hit a crescendo last year. The eyesore threw light on a dilemma over automobiles left on the sides of roads. State lawmakers have been hearing measures to try and solve the complaints. One bill to require removal of cars within 10 days is getting push-back from the counties. The real issue is lack of space to store derelict and abandoned vehicles.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region

Invasive species have been corrupting Hawaiʻi's environment since the first human contact, but recent generations have seen new invasive species arriving at an ever-increasing rate. To date there's been no single statewide agency to deal with the problem, which is why state lawmakers are considering Senate Bill 2399. The measure would create a "Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Authority."

Snorkel Safety Workshop

Mar 19, 2018
Tom Hart / Flickr

The recent spate of drownings across the state has brought together key people from the state and the counties to try and to address what if anything we can do to keep our visitors and residents safe in the water.

New Sprinkler Laws for Honolulu

Mar 16, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

Honolulu has a new sprinkler law in place - 8 months after the deadly Marco Polo fire. Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed two bills into law yesterday afternoon. They do not mandate sprinkler installation but do provide tax breaks to encourage installation.  At the signing, Mayor Caldwell expressed his desire to one-day see a mandatory sprinkler law.

Wikimedia Commons

New Sprinkler Laws; City Council Shake-Up; Snorkel Safety; From Bach to Bowie

Hawaiian Group Clashes with State Over Waimanalo Land

Mar 15, 2018
Catherine Cruz

A group of Native Hawaiians claiming to be descendants of King Kamehameha I is headed for a clash with the state -- the second time in two years.  The group had been evicted from a 5 acre parcel in Waimanalo, after a judge threw out their claims and blocked them from filing frivolous suits. The land is in an Agricultural park which the state has unsuccessfully tried to lease out for almost a decade and when the group moved in.

Local Students Walkout in Support of Shooting Victims

Mar 14, 2018
Ryan Finnerty

Wednesday was National Walkout Day at schools across the country. Thousands of students left class at 10 AM to remember the recent victims of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Students here in Hawaii organized events at their own schools. University Laboratory School students organized a walkout at their school and shared their motives and hopes for the event with HPR's The Conversation.

State Relaxing Animal Quarantine Rules

Mar 13, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

For decades, Hawaii had some of the strictest animal quarantine rules in place, in an effort to keep the islands rabies-free. However, the rules are relaxing with restrictions being front-loaded avoiding months of quarantine. 

The Challenges of Temporary Vacation Rentals

Mar 12, 2018
Pixabay

Unpermitted vacation rentals have been blamed for everything from sky-high housing prices to overcrowded hiking trails. But what is really going on with Hawaii’s short-term rental market? How many properties are permitted for vacation rentals? And how many are actually being used that way?

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