Ryan Finnerty

Government and Public Policy Reporter

Ryan Finnerty is Hawaiʻi Public Radio's 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's All Things Considered, 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.   

Ryan Finnerty

Hawaii is known around the world as the birthplace of surfing. In the Territorial Days, Duke Kahanamoku introduced the Western world to the sport of wave riding at Queen's surf break in Waikiki. Now, under the watchful gaze of the Duke statue, Queens is once again the site of a milestone event in the world of surfing.

The 11th annual Hawaii Adaptive Surfing Championships wrap up today in Waikiki. There are plenty of surf competitions across Hawaii – but this one is unique among them. The big difference? Many of the competitors arrive at the beach in a wheelchair. 

Wikimedia Commons

It’s being hailed as a solution to save Sunset Beach thanks to a private-public partnership. Work began yesterday to take down damaged portion of a bike lane eaten away by beach erosion during high waves. The North Shore Community Land Trust has partnered with the City to complete the Sunset restoration project.

Ryan Finnerty / Hawaii Public Radio

If you’ve ever ordered anything online, you know that shipping to Hawaii can take a while. That is because the vast majority of goods in Hawaii came here on a ship. But the share delivered by air has been growing steadily for almost 30 years.

In fact, Hawaiian Airlines is the nation’s oldest air cargo carrier. It was issued the first-ever certificate for air freight back during World War Two. This week the company debuted a new fleet of inter-island cargo planes

Bill Selak Flickr

2018 Primary Election Debrief; Primary Election Recap, Presidential Authority to Use Military Force; Harmany App

Phil / Flickr

Overfishing is a concern around the world and here in Hawaii. A new conservation law just signed by President Trump stands to significantly change the way commercial fisherman in Hawaii and U.S. Pacific Territories bring their catch to market. 

Harrison Patino

Earlier in the week, a young woman who was severely injured by a lava bomb spoke to the media for the first time. 20-year-old Jessica Tilton and her family were visiting Hawaii from Illinois. The Tilton’s booked a lava viewing boat tour out of Hilo on July 16th.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Adam Montera / DVIDS

The roar of two F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets signaled the start of an assault on Kaneohe’s Pyramid Rock Beach. A multinational coalition was about to launch an amphibious landing in the fictional nation of Griffon. Their objective was to retake an airfield that had been captured by hostile forces in the wake of a natural disaster.

A local nonprofit, Common Cause Hawaii, has created a “Power Ballot” that provides Hawaii voters with information regarding candidates in upcoming elections. Corrie Tanida of Common Cause hopes this project will help Hawaii voters make informed choices on Election Day.

U.S. Geological Survey

The eruption at Kilauea has been disrupting life in Puna for almost 3 months. At present, over 700 homes have been destroyed. Many more have been abandoned due to unsafe conditions and lack of access.

Some residents have been receiving payouts from their homeowners insurance to cover the damage. But others are not so lucky. One Big Island couple is suing their insurer over the company's lack of response.

Ryan Finnerty

  Hawaii’s primary elections are less than 3 weeks away. Yesterday, we highlighted the race for Congressional District 1 as part of an HPR electrion forum. Today we’re putting the spotlight on another contentious race: Lieutenant Governor.

 

Public Domain Pictures

Bill 48, Commercial Parking in Residential, Service Animals, Reality Check, What Exactly Does the Lieutenant Governor Do?, Eat Less Plastic Voyage

Bill 48, Commercial Parking in Residential Areas

The Honolulu City Council says parking is the number one complaint across the island in all the districts. That is why councilmember Carol Fukunaga has cracked down with a bill that regulates commercial vehicles in residential neighborhoods.

Ryan Finnerty

This week several members of the 25 nation coalition participated in a naval gunnery exercise off the coast of Oahu as part of the 2018 Rim of the Pacific. The Conversation’s Ryan Finnerty joined the crew of the USS Lake Erie as they went through live fire training.

Canadian Forces Cpl Trevor Matheson / DVIVDS

Imagine: a devastating tsunami strikes the island of Oahu. Ports are blocked, bridges are damaged, and hospitals are overwhelmed. It’s a nightmare scenario that has been playing out on Ford Island this week. Service members from 10 nations are participating in a disaster response training exercise as part of the 2018 Rim of the Pacific war games.

jdnx / Flickr

The Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation recently released a revised draft plan to make extensive renovations to Ala Moana Regional Park. Public pushback to the initial parking plan triggered the changes.

Courtesy of the State of Hawaii

  

The State of Hawaii has announced a new policy regarding the collection of so-called agency fees from non-members of public employee unions.

 

The policy, outlined in a memo from the State Comptroller, was spurred by last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Janus v AFSCMEThat case, brought by Illinois state employee Mark Janus, overturned a precedent established in 1977 that allowed public unions to collect dues from all public employees, regardless of their membership status in the union.

Friends of NELHA

The process of desalination offers the alluring possibility of a near unlimited supply of water for drinking and agriculture from an otherwise unusable source. But there’s a catch. Current desalination technology requires a lot of energy. Most plants are powered by fossil fuel, generating a great deal of carbon pollution in the process.

Ryan Finnerty / Hawaii Public Radio

A traditional Lion Dance marked the official opening of the Joint Outreach Center – located next to the Downtown Police Substation on Hotel Street. Leaders from government, healthcare, and the non-profit communities gathered to mark its opening.

Pixabay

Do you know where your internet comes from? Yesterday on The Conversation we heard about how next-generation 5G wireless networks will eventually come to communities in Hawaii. But those local high-speed networks aren’t worth much without a high-speed connection to the global internet. And that comes from a vast network of undersea cables crisscrossing the globe.

Wikimedia Commons

App-based services and businesses have fundamentally changed the economic landscape. But their evolution would not have been possible without a high-speed wireless network over which to transmit all that data. That network is known as 4G or LTE.

The next generation of even faster wireless networks is known as 5G, and it’s poised to further change an already dynamic digital landscape… but those networks can’t be built without first developing the infrastructure to support 5G.

Pacific Air Forces

Hawaii has a well-documented problem recruiting and retaining public school teachers. At a meeting of the State Board of Education yesterday, Hawaii State Teachers Association President Corey Rosenlee revealed that teachers are now moving to the mainland at a record-setting rate. One of those teachers who recently left Hawaii is Kellee Kelly. After years of struggling to make ends meet, Kellie made the decision to move her family to the mainland. She now lives in Dallas, Texas.

The Conversation: Volcano Recovery Efforts

Jun 21, 2018
USGS

Today’s program is a discussion of the impacts of the ongoing volcanic eruption on Hawaii Island. Catherine Cruz is off this week and I’m joined in the studio by Conversation producer Ryan Finnerty. Joining us by phone on today’s program are Will Okabe, Managing Director for the County of Hawai’i, and Jessica Ferracane of the National Park Service on the Big Island.

Wikimedia Commons

Given the recent diplomatic thaw between the U.S. and North Korea, it’s easy to forget that those countries’ leaders were threatening mutual annihilation last year. As part of that escalation, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency began exploring the possibility of constructing a ground-based defensive radar in Hawaii.

Ryan Finnerty / Hawaii Public Radio

Hawaii has some of the highest construction costs in the nation. But what if there was a source of cheap, locally produced building material that was also good for the environment? It turns out there may, in fact, be one: wood.  Joseph Valenti is an architect and Project Leader for the Hawaii Wood Utilization Team. He recently completed a prototype structure built entirely from albizia, a fast-growing invasive.  

flickr

Rise in Suicide; Albizia Wood; Manoa Heritage Center; Taimane

The Conversation: Tuesday, May 29

May 29, 2018
US Geological Survey

Kilauea activity raises insurance coverage considerations for businesses; Lava Accident Survivor; National Security vs Civil Liberty

USGS

Economic Impacts of the Volcano; Fast Moving Lava Appears; Agriculture Theft on Hawaii Island; Hawaii Youth Symphony Seeks New Direction

Wikimedia Commons

East Rift Zone Update; Science Behind Volcanoes; Point in Time Count; MVT’s production of Shear Madness

Flikr

East Rift Zone Eruptions; Ala Moana Railing Lawsuit; Medical Aid in Dying; Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe at DKIST; Military Joint Concert

Schatz Pushes for Debt Free College

Apr 23, 2018
Sakeeb / Flickr

$1.4 trillion. That is how much Americans nationwide owe in student loan debt. All of that debt has some policy makers worried, including Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz. He sponsored the Debt Free College Act of 2018 - with the goal of making public higher education affordable without the need for student loans.

Catherine Cruz

Kauai Flooding Recovery; Blue Line Project; Debt Free College; Poetry Out Loud

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