Ryan Finnerty

Government and Public Policy Reporter

Ryan Finnerty is Hawaiʻi Public Radio's award-winning Government and Public Policy reporter focusing on state and county politics, business, economics, the military, science, and the environment. Before that he was a producer and reporter on HPR's local public affairs talk show The Conversation. His work has been featured nationwide on NPR programs Morning Edition,  All Things Considered, and Here and Now, American Public Media's Marketplace and C-SPAN Radio's View from the States project. Before coming to Hawaiʻi Public Radio, Ryan was an officer in the U.S. Army stationed at Schofield Barracks on Oʻahu. He graduated from the University of Vermont with a degree in economics.   

PXHere

Drought has caused millions of dollars’ worth of damage in Hawaii in the past 20 years. A particularly severe event from 2007-2014 was especially damaging to ranching in the state.

Puna Geothermal Venture / Facebook page

Hawaii’s only geothermal power plant is still on track to resume operations before the end of the year. Puna Geothermal Venture has been shuttered since the 2018 Kilauea volcanic eruption.

Screenshot from Twitter

An unverified Twitter account has closely copied the appearance of the official Thirty Meter Telescope account and is sending out derogatory and culturally insensitive posts.

Provided by the Office of Governor David Ige

Top state leaders are denouncing threatening social media posts directed at Hawaii law enforcement officers involved in the standoff over the Thirty Meter Telescope. Organizers of the anti-TMT demonstration also condemned the language. 

Courtesy of the Foodbank of Hawaii

Fewer Americans are struggling with hunger than at any point since 2007, according to federal statistics. But local anti-hunger organizations say that data doesn’t tell the full story.

PXHere

A new report finds that Honolulu has more potential for micro-mobility than any other American city, primarily due to the prevalnce of car trips measuring less than 3 miles.

Casey Harlow / Hawaii Public Radio

A former University of Hawaii regent plans to sue over what he calls an unconstitutional reduction of the university’s governing board. State lawmakers cut the number of regents by more than 25 percent in the 2019 legislative session.

University of Hawai'i / University of Hawai'i

Around 20,000 people work or attend school on the University of Hawaii’s flagship Manoa campus. There are only 5,000 parking spots on that campus, setting up a classic scarcity problem.

Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard / Facebook

A historic dry dock at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard turned 100 years old this week. But to last another 100 years, it will need billions of dollars in upgrades.

Ryan Finnerty

Anyone who has driven on Oahu’s south shore has likely seen a large white dome floating in Pearl Harbor. The Golf Ball, as it’s known to Oahu residents, is actually a sea-based ballistic missile radar that is capable of transoceanic travel. HPR was recently given a tour of the massive ship.

TheMacadamia

Macadamia nuts are one of Hawaii’s most valuable agricultural products. This year’s harvest is estimated at more than 42 million dollars,  a 22 percent decline from the previous year.

Sen. Mazie Hirono

Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono is leading an effort to ratify a 40 year old U.N. treaty establishing international rules for global maritime activity. The U.S. signed the pact in 1994, but Congress never gave approval.

Ryan Finnerty

The City and County of Honolulu will enforce its new vacation rental law, despite an ongoing legal challenge. That was the word from Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Tuesday.

Suuuuumer / Flickr

Recently released data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority shows that Chinese visitor arrivals dropped 25 percent in the first half of 2019. It was a on a downward trend before President Trump’s trade war.

Phil Uhl / Wikipedia

The biennial long-distance sailing race has been sending yachts from Long Beach, California, to Honolulu since 1906. This year, for the first time, one of the competing ships never returned to port.

W. M. Keck Observatory

The telescopes on Mauna Kea are billion-dollar instruments that require daily maintenance to stay in good working order. As access restrictions continue for a third week, many are developing serious problems.

Ryan Finnerty

Around 300 people gathered at the Hawaii State Capitol on Thursday evening to express their support for the Thirty Meter Telescope. Many said they felt the anti-telescope actions underway on Mauna Kea were obscuring broad support for the project.

Wikipedia

Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim says “he has no authority to intervene or make any kind of deal regarding TMT.” Instead, Kim says his role is “to work with all sides to find a better way forward for everyone concerned.”

Courtesy Hawaii County Civil Defense

Hawaii is largely relying on solar panels and battery storage to achieve its 100 percent renewable electricity goal. But geothermal power offers the possibility of carbon-free energy without the inconsistency of solar and wind.

Wikipedia

There are 12 observatories operating 13 telescopes on Mauna Kea. Astronomy workers, who are members of the local community, are struggling to find a balance between pursuing scientific discovery and acknowledging cultural concerns.

Ryan Finnerty / Hawaii Public Radio

A complex network of donations is keeping anti-TMT demonstrators well supplied with food, cold weather clothing, medical supplies, and even sanitation services. The system is making it possible to sustain the protest into the coming weeks.

Ryan Finnerty/HPR

On Hawai’i Island Friday morning, preparations are still underway to begin moving construction equipment up Mauna Kea. That follows an emergency proclamation by Gov. David Ige.

Police and protesters are awaiting the arrival of construction equipment for the planned Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea, a day after more than 30 opponents of the observatory were arrested by state law enforcement.

There were no arrests and no movement of construction equipment Tuesday, the second day of demonstrations against the building of the Thirty Meter Telescope.

U.S. Army / Flickr

It’s estimated that more than 65 million people are displaced by conflicts worldwide. To help resolve those conflicts, the United States is rolling out a new strategy, one that puts diplomats in the lead, rather than the military.

Matt Barton / University of Kentucky Ag Communications

Gov. David Ige announced vetoes of 18 bills passed in 2019, including one that would have loosened the restrictions on growing hemp in Hawaii. Farmers are frustrated, but the governor says patience is required to stay in line with federal rules.

Ryan Finnerty / HPR

Updated July 9, 5:07 p.m.

As he signaled earlier, Gov. David Ige announced on Tuesday that he has vetoed a bill passed by state lawmakers to restrict the ability of law enforcement to seize private property and sell it at auction. Ige said "sufficient safeguards are in place" to prevent abuse of the practice.

Wikimedia Commons

Leaders in the state Senate and House of Representatives announced on Friday that lawmakers will not attempt to override any vetoes issued by Governor David Ige. 

U.S. Census Bureau

Although printing of the 2020 census questionnaire has begun without a controversial citizenship question, President Trump has renewed his commitment to include it in the once per decade survey. Either way, the data stands to have a major impact on public policy in Hawaii.

Flickr

Leaders in the Hawaii Legislature are discussing whether or not to call a special legislative session for the purpose of overriding executive vetoes by Gov. David Ige.

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