Thursday, March 14 2013

Among the bills still alive in the legislature is a measure concerning the labeling of food that contains genetically modified organisms—or “GMO’s.” But some organic grocers are taking the matter into their own hands.

Down to Earth Organic and Natural will require food labeling on all products containing genetically modified ingredients by 2018. This decision comes after a similar announcement by Whole Foods last week.

CEO and Chief Organic Officer Mark Fergusson says this is a move in the right direction and hopes they can pave the way for other natural food stores. Down to Earth currently has four stores on Oahu and one on Maui.

 

 

 

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(Molly Solomon / HPR News)

Wednesday, March 13 2013

Google has agreed to settle a case brought by 38 states over its collection of personal data…And Hawaii is one of them.

The Internet search giant will pay a fine of $7 million --- with $106,179 going to the state of Hawaii.

The data was collected and stored while Google cars drove around the island for its Street View mapping project. Bruce Kim is the Executive Director of Hawaii’s Office of Consumer Protection. He says this was a clear violation of people’s privacy. 

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The information may have included URLs of requested websites, emails, and any other private communication being transmitted at the time Google cars were driving by.

The company has since disabled or removed the software that allowed the Street View cars to collect information.

You can read the full Assurance of Voluntary Compliance here.

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(Molly Solomon / HPR News)

Wednesday, March 6 2013

After five sold-out screenings in Honolulu, the film The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawaii is making its way to Hilo.

While the story of Japanese internment on the mainland has been well documented, this will be the first full length film to chronicle the internment experience in Hawaii.

The Untold Story was produced by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i. President and Executive Director Carole Hayashino says she wants future generations to understand this important chapter in Hawaii’s history.

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The Untold Story will screen at the Hawaii Japanese Center in Hilo on Saturday, March 23 at 10 am and 1:30 pm. Tickets are available for purchase at the Book Gallery and at KTA Super Stores Puainako. You can also find more information online at www.jcch.com.

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(Molly Solomon / HPR News)

Tuesday, March 5 2013

As policy makers in Washington continue to struggle with budget issues, Hawaii residents are still wondering what the precise impacts will be on the state. One important area of federal spending for Hawaii: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—or NOAA. As HPR’s Bill Dorman reports, the specific cuts to Hawaii’s NOAA operations are still not clear. 

Tuesday, March 5 2013

Gas prices across the state are continuing to rise this week.

The website GasBuddy.com says the average price at the pump is now $4.39 a gallon.

That’s up 27 cents from last month.

Some analysts believe at least part of the increase may be related to the shutdown of the Tesoro refinery.

That includes Patrick DeHaan, a senior analyst at GasBuddy.com.

He thinks prices in Hawaii will soon taper off and begin to come down.

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Governor Abercrombie has created a 29 member task force that is currently looking into the impact Tesoro’s closure will have on Hawaii.

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(Molly Solomon / HPR News)

Friday, February 22 2013

The U.S. Department of Labor has slapped seven Big Island coffee businesses with fines totaling more than $100,000.

Terence Trotter, director of the Honolulu District Office, was shocked to find widespread labor violations at some of Kona’s best-known coffee farms.

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Trotter says farm owners failed to pay workers the Federal minimum wage. Violation fees add up to more than $63,000 in back pay. Several farms mislabeled coffee pickers as independent contractors, denying them proper pay.

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The Department of Labor is working with the Kona Coffee Council to make sure these violations are not repeated.

The coffee farms in violation included Gold Coffee Company, Greenwell Farms, Koa Coffee Plantation, Bird Feather Hawaii, Mountain Thunder Coffee and Kona Blue Sky Coffee. Farm labor contractor Tomasita Farm Service was also named.

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(Molly Solomon / HPR News)

Thursday, February 21 2013

A new set of advertisements may cause you to reconsider your beverage.

Governor Neil Abercrombie and the Department of Health have launched the “Rethink Your Drink” campaign. It’s a new series of advertisements targeting teen and childhood obesity. It urges kids to put down the soda and start making healthier choices.  

Department of Health Director Loretta Fuddy says that too often ads   promote unhealthy, sugar-sweetened beverages. 

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The anti-obesity campaign ads were created using input from Hawaii students.  Fuddy says in order for the ads to be effective, they need to resonate with younger viewers. 

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Governor Abercrombie continues to urge lawmakers to pass a bill that would place a tax on soda…which would generate funding for obesity prevention programs. The Senate Bill recently passed its second reading.

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(Molly Solomon / HPR News)

Wednesday, February 13 2013

Scientists are investigating a coral disease that’s quickly spreading across the North shores of Kauai.

Large areas of reef are covered with a type of cyano bacteria … and its killing coral at an alarming rate. 

Local biologist Terry Lilley first alerted scientists of the outbreak last year, photographing the spread of the bacterial disease.

Experts say it’s still unclear why this is happening… but are working with state and federal agencies to learn as much as they can about this growing epidemic.

Dr. Bernardo Vargas-Angel is a coral disease specialist at NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

He’s organizing a team of scientists to investigate the outbreak and looks forward to collaborating with UH Manoa researchers.

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Vargas-Angel plans to return to Kauai to lead a full investigation starting in April.

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(Molly Solomon / HPR News)

Thursday, February 7 2013

Honolulu’s Kaka’ako neighborhood is buzzing with anticipation for the return of POW WOW.

The week-long art festival brings a splash of color to Honolulu.

POW WOW co-founders Jasper Wong and Kamea Hadar say they anticipate as many as 100 local and international artists. They’ll take to the streets starting Saturday, using blank warehouse walls as a canvas to share their cultural stories.

Jasper and Kamea say none of this would be possible without the strong support of the community.

Every POW WOW, artists work on a wall-sized collaborative piece.  And on the last day, they paint over it with black paint---or black it out.

Kamea explains how this tradition has come to symbolize that POW WOW is more about the process than the end product.

POW WOW 2013 continues through February 16th. You can find a full list of events online here.

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(Molly Solomon / HPR News)

Tuesday, February 5 2013

If you’ve walked by Kaka’ako lately, you might’ve noticed the closed sign and the papered over windows of Interisland Terminal’s R&D. The multi-use space has been home to a bookshop of art, design and culinary books, as well as providing open workspace for collaboration. It’s been closed for more than a month, and is on the verge of revealing its makeover look later today.

Wei Fang is part of the R&D team and has overseen the remodeling.

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R&D’s large windows shine light on the noticeably bigger space and loftier heights.  Beams of wood from the old ceiling were repurposed to create a wood counter bar that now lines the side of the café.

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Christian O’Connor is one such regular who popped by to check out the new space.

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You can see the new space for yourself at R&D’s re-launch party. It takes place tonight at 6:30 and you can buy tickets to the event here or submit a donation here.

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(Molly Solomon / HPR News)

Monday, February 4 2013

UH West Oahu is offering a free summer math program that adds up to one unique experience.

15 students will be selected to participate in the Ethnomathematics Summer Institute --- a curriculum that combines math with the culture and history of Hawaii.

Students take what they learn in the classroom and apply it to real life situations. Field studies range from learning how to sail with the Polynesian Voyaging Society to studying the site of Oahu’s last Hawaiian fishing village.

UH West Oahu’s Dr. Linda Furuto heads the program that’s now in its 5th year. She has fond memories of last year’s group and is hoping for another transformative experience.

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The deadline to apply to the Ethnomathematics Summer Institute is March 1st. To learn more, you can attend a workshop on either Thursday, February 14 from 5 - 6 pm at UHWO Lab Bldg. E109 or Friday, February 15 from 11 - 12 pm at UHWO Lab Bldg. E132.

For further questions, please contact Dr. Linda Furuto at lfuruto@hawaii.edu.

Full audio available here:

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(Molly Solomon / HPR News)

Thursday, January 31 2013

The national debate over gun control has led Hawaii legislators to introduce a handful of stricter gun laws, including a proposal to buy back guns.

The Gun Buyback program, or Senate Bill 69, would give Hawaii police departments a budget of $100,000 to exchange cash for people’s unwanted handguns and rifles. 

State Senator Will Espero is one of four lawmakers backing the bill.

He acknowledges that Hawaii already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. But after President Obama’s proposed gun legislation, he began to think about what could be done here in Hawaii…without infringing on the rights of gun owners.

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A public hearing on Senate Bill 69, will take place today at 3 pm in Conference Room 224 at the State Capitol building.

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(Molly Solomon / HPR News)

Wednesday, January 30 2013

Future missions to Mars may see some local grinds in space. 

A team of researchers from UH Manoa and Cornell University is inviting the public to submit their favorite recipes for a four-month simulated mission to Mars.

The project is called HI-SEAS and its part of a NASA study to figure out how to keep astronauts well-fed on future trips to the red planet.

UH Manoa’s Kim Binsted is looking forward to the recipe contest and is hoping to see some local favorites.

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Recipe submissions are being accepted online now through March 8th. The HI-SEAS simulated mission will begin in April. To learn more, visit the HI-SEAS website at www.hi-seas.org.

Full audio available here:

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(Molly Solomon / HPR News)

Monday, January 28 2013

It’s been forty years since the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the United States.

But a woman's right to choose is still up for debate.

A bill is being brought before Hawaii’s legislature today that could determine hospital protocol when it comes to sexual assault victims.

The Compassionate Care Bill would stop hospitals in Hawaii from denying sexual assault survivors information about what is called Emergency Contraception. And it would insure access to that care if it is needed and wanted.

Katie Polidoro of Plannned Parenthood of Hawaii is doing everything she can to make sure it passes this year.

Polidoro says a 2010 survey of local hospitals found that most did not have a clear policy about Emergency contraception in cases of sexual assault.

Currently, the decision is often left to the physician...and not to the individual.

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A public hearing on the Compassionate Care Bill will take place today at 1:15 in Conference Room 229 at the State Capitol building.

Full audio available here:

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(Molly Solomon / HPR News)

Friday, January 25 2013

Once a year, communities around the country count the number of homeless in their midst.

It’s called the “Point-In-Time Count.”

Service providers and volunteers will take to the streets around the islands tonight to document the level of homelessness.

The survey helps form a snapshot of Hawaii’s homeless population, and is used for everything from determining government grants to planning future outreach operations.

One group expected to increase this year is unaccompanied homeless youth. Last year only eight were reported. Connie Mitchell, Executive Director of the Institute for Human Services, believes we need to focus more effort on locating homeless youth…a group previously undercounted.

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The Count continues through Tuesday, January 29th and is still looking for help from the community. If you are interested in volunteering on Oahu, please call Kanui at 389-5829.

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(Molly Solomon / HPR News)

Thursday, January 24 2013

Extreme drought is pushing one of Maui’s most unusual plants into a dangerous decline.  Once on the road to recovery, recent climate change has left the Haleakala Silversword struggling to survive.

UH Biologist Paul Krushelnycky blames global warming patterns. With rising temperatures and increasingly dry conditions expected to continue … the future of the Silversword doesn’t look good.

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Krushelnycky recently co-authored a paper on the decline of the Haleakala Silversword in the journal Global Change Biology.

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(Molly Solomon / HPR News)

Monday, January 21 2013

A unique opportunity on the North Shore is bringing students outside the traditional classroom. Kamehameha Schools and UH Manoa's Department of Anthropology have come together to establish the first North Shore Field School. It's a place where budding archaeologists can gain first hand experience on one of Oahu's most sacred ancestral lands.

Every Saturday over the next 14 weeks, twenty students will gather at Kupopolo Heiau to identify and document archaeological artifacts and practice mapping and excavation techniques.

UH Associate Professor Ty Kawika Tengan says this project has been in the works for the past five years.

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Jason Jeremiah, Kamehameha's senior cultural resource manager, believes that in order to gain a better understanding of the land, you have to build a relationship with the people in the community.

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The Field School is looking for volunteers to help clear debris at Kupopolo Heiau. If you live in the North Shore community and would like to get involved, send an email to northshore@ksbe.edu.

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(Molly Solomon / HPR News)

Thursday, January 17 2013

As Hawaii’s 2013 legislature gets underway, one focus for Governor Abercrombie is early childhood education. That’s raising hopes for a number of non-profit groups, including one called IM4U. This group is working with UH Mānoa’s College of Education to fight bullying among young students. Twenty Leeward Coast teachers are testing the nonprofit’s anti-bullying curriculum….one that founder Jim Mayer says uses music to deliver its message.

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Mayer has been working with early education professor Ellen Booth Church on a series of lesson plans.

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Jim Mayer and Ellen Booth Church will spend the next two weeks visiting Hawaii classrooms, holding seminars and getting feedback about the program. They’ll end their trip with a workshop next Saturday at the Rotary Peace Forum.

Full audio available here:

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(Molly Solomon / HPR News)

Wednesday, January 16 2013

30 middle school girls from the Big Island have the opportunity to soar at Pacific Aviation Museum’s Flight School for Girls. For the next three days, students from Ka'u High and Pahala Elementary School will learn the basics of flight. The girls will explore the history and technology of aviation and take to the skies using flight simulation software.

Museum Director of Education, Dr. Shauna Tonkin developed the program, specifically with young girls in mind.

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The Big Island students are the first class outside of Oahu to participate.  The Pacific Aviation Museum hopes to continue collaboration with other neighbor islands in the future.

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(Molly Solomon / HPR News)

Monday, January 14 2013

If you want to make the world a better place, you could start with a local beach. A week from Saturday, the Hoakalei Cultural Foundation is organizing a clean up at One`ula Beach.

Last year, community members removed more than 100 tons of rubbish from the Honouliuli shoreline. Kepa Maly heads the nonprofit group behind the work. While most of the day is devoted to clearing debris, Kepa hopes volunteers take away larger lessons.

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If you are interested in participating in the clean up, meet at the West side of One`ula Beach Park at 8 a.m. Following the clean up, volunteers will be rewarded with pizza and shave-ice. For more information, please call 563-0787.  To pre-register for the service project email kepa@hoakaleifoundation.org

Full audio available here:

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(Molly Solomon / HPR News)