Listening To Neighbors: Life As We're Living It

May 14, 2020

The daily stream of COVID-19 news is unending. In its rigid grip, we can easily miss the Hawaii stories of struggle and quiet heroism that are playing out in our backyard. Here is a compilation of voices we've heard. And we look forward to hearing yours. Call our talkback line at 808-792-8217 or e-mail us at

Regina Chang: Pan Am Espresso Bar

Regina Chang
Credit Casey Harlow / HPR

May 14, 2020: Retail stores in Honolulu can reopen Friday. While retailers have new health and safety procedures to follow, some essential businesses have been operating with them throughout the pandemic. For Regina Chang, operator of Pan Am Espresso Bar, staying open at the height of the stay-at-home order was about providing respite and hope to residents.

--HPR's Casey Harlow

Logan Okita: Nimitz Elementary 1st Grade Teacher, HSTA Secretary-Treasurer

April 19, 2020: The state Department of Education won’t be holding in-person classes for the rest of the school year as part of the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. Many teachers, Logan Okita among them, didn’t realize that when they said goodbye to their students before spring break, that it would for good. Here she speaks at a press conference for the teachers union, the Hawaii State Teachers Association.

--HPR's Ashley Mizuo

Rasa Priya Thom: Respiratory Therapist On The Front Line

April 17, 2020: Dozens of workers and patients have tested positive for the coronavirus at Maui Memorial Medical and the numbers continue to grow. It’s stressful and dangerous for those on the hospital’s front line. HPR’s Ashley Mizuo spoke with one of the hospital’s respiratory therapists about his daily experience. Just a warning: his descriptions may be upsetting for some.

 --HPR's Ashley Mizuo

Howard Higa: TheCab Built Up Over Decades, Coming Undone In Weeks

April 17, 2020: Rideshare services forced the taxi industry to find a new way to do business. But just when cab companies seemed to find a new normal, the coronavirus pandemic struck. HPR's Casey Harlow recently sat down with TheCab owner Howard Higa to talk about the challenges his business is now facing.

 --HPR's Casey Harlow

Shaun Peck: Co-owner of Start-Up Paradise Ciders Facing Uncertain Future

April 14, 2020: Hawaii businesses large and small are feeling the impacts of COVID-19. Paradise Ciders, a local hard cider producer, saw the effects almost immediately as bars and restaurants closed and orders dried up. While the company's future is uncertain, its owners remain hopeful. HPR's Casey Harlow caught up with co-owner Shaun Peck.

  --HPR's Casey Harlow

Dr. Elliot Kalauawa, Chief Medical Officer at Waikiki Health

May 13th: Waikiki Health is a non-profit medical provider offering healthcare services in urban Honolulu. The group says it provides healthcare, regardless of a patient’s ability to pay, and services are priced based on the recipient’s income. Despite physical and financial challenges, Waikiki Health has remained open throughout the pandemic. The organizations leaders say they are proud to not have instituted any staff furloughs or layoffs.

-HPR’s Ryan Finnerty