The Conversation

Weekdays at 11am on HPR-1

Whether you live in our state or far from our shores, you’ll know what’s happening in Hawaii with a daily hour of locally-focused discussions of public affairs, ideas, culture and the arts. Guests from around the block and around the world provide perspectives on life in the islands and issues that have not yet reached Hawaii. 

Have something to say? Send a comment, conversation suggestion or a Backyard Quiz to talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org. You can also reach us on our talkback line at 808-792-8217. Remember to tell us your name and where you're from. Share your comments about the show in a short 30-second message and then we'll play some of them in future shows.

The production team is Lillian Tsang, Harrison Patino, and Jason Ubay.  

Click the photos for individual stories and their audio!

*Audio and digital content will be posted daily by 2 pm.

Coronavirus Screening at Honolulu Airport; State Green Energy Check-in; Taxpayers Footing Cost for State Lawsuits; Recycling Bottle Caps; Earth Day Essay Contest

Wikimedia Commons

Early education. It’s one of several priorities identified by lawmakers and business leaders this year. They are mounting an ambitious plan to expand access by identifying facilities across the state to house pre-school programs.While many may agree early education is important -- over the past decade there hasn’t been agreement on how to fund it, and who should take the lead. The Department of Education? The Department of Human Services? Should Pre-K classes be in public schools? Should taxpayers help subsidize private programs? Headstart, Preschool Open Doors, Executive Office of Early Learning and now Learning to Grow. All programs meant to provide access to those who can least afford quality childcare programs. What do you think? What’s been your experience?  In studio guests discussing early education:

  • Terry George is President and CEO of Harold K. L. Castle Foundation. He’s with the Hawaii Executive Collaborative. It’s a group of local leaders looking at ways to tackle issues like education, affordable housing, health and the environment.  
  • Deborah Zysman, executive director of the Hawaii Children’s Action Network, a nonprofit that advocates for children’s issues. It supports public policies that help children and their families.

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 Managing Storm water; Keauhou Shelter; Bizarre Space Objects; Canada Consul General

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Leadership tips from the Pelosi family; Frank Delima's Impeachment Song; Lawsuit filed against school after deaths at excursion; Keeping an eye on open government at the Legislature; New approach for homeless count

Public or private school? Today, we focus on the latter. As the Hawaii Association of Independent School marks its 50th anniversary, we talk past present future of private schools across the islands. We have seen several closures of schools struggling to stay afloat in the face of rising tuition and falling enrollments in the past decade. New licensing rules kick in this summer, so what’s the snapshot on the horizon as we begin 2020?

Our guests today are:

  • Dr. Philip Bossert, Executive Director of the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools in Honolulu, Hawaii. He joined HAIS as a project manager in 2008 to manage the five-year HAIS Schools of the Future Initiative and from 2011 to 2017 served as Director of Programs. 

  • Dan White, Founding Head of School at Island Pacific Academy after serving as head of school at three other institutions in California and Hawaii. He served as an HAIS Board member for 12 years and was board President from 2008 to 2010, and was the co-founder of an M.Ed. at UH in Private School Leadership. Prior to coming to Hawaii, he served for six years on the accrediting commission for schools of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, representing the California Association of Independent Schools.

  • And Robert Witt, the founding Executive Director of the HAIS, where he served from 1989 to 2014. He has 45 years of service in the field of education as a teacher and school administrator. During his 25 years as the head of HAIS, he focused primarily upon designing and directing professional development programs for senior level business executives and community leaders.

 

Ryan Finnerty

Opening day at the Hawaii State Legislature; Striking findings from Pew Research Center's 2019 studies; Recycling challenges on Maui; Bringing wasted down to zero

Wikimedia Commons

PRP Kakou App; Oahu Recycling; Resurgence of Hawaiian Hawk; Indigenous Perspectives on Mauna Kea; A Tale of Two Lurlines

Courtesy Cynthia Thielen

What to expect at the 2020 Hawaii State Legislature; Rep. Cynthia Thielen and daughter Sen. Laura Thielen look back at their time in the Capitol; Talk story with a Matson named Lurline

Trashing the Islands, Kauai; Surf & Space; Changes at the Police Commission; Honolulu Zoo Accreditation; Lei Day Celebrations

Edmund Garman

Trash update on Hawaii Island; Getting the State Historic Preservation Division up-to-date; Honolulu rail starting up service this year; Priorities at Iolani Palace

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Maui Trash; Repairs Set For Hawaii Volcanoes National Park; Hawaii Homelessness Compared To Mainland; Face of Charity: Carole Kai; Private Investigator Steve Goodenow

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Oahu trash update; Teaching astronomy with today's technology; Honolulu's Building Permit Woes; Land preservation in Kau on the Big Island

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Trash Series; Sterile Trees; Cyber Espionage Could Benefit Hawaii's Economy; Water Conservation; 'Iolani Grad Named To Forbes 30 Under 30

Courtesy Maui Kuia Chocolate

Wind damage closes Oahu pier to fisherman, scientists; Getting a handle on illegal fireworks; Maui chocolate company wants to raise local cacao industry; Hawaiian theater production goes to New York; The art of Hawaiian quilting

Pixabay

Mauna Kea Deadline Debrief; Astronomy Conference; OHA Review Suspended; Year of the Nurse

Donating Through Digital Ads; Food Agro-forestry; Hawaii Baptist Academy turns 70; Voices of Science: Fishponds

Forest and Kim Starr / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

Judiciary's role in presidential impeachment; Funding legacy forests with tree fees; Future of Koko Crater Stables in limbo; Keeping the coqui at bay; The Hawaii Coffee Book: A Gourmet's Guide from Kona to Kauai

Needpix

Our show today brings a number of female economists to the table to talk about the economy - but specifically: why aren’t more women in this field? What’s in the way of breaking up the “boys club?” We also acknowledge the women who are paving the way forward.

Our guests today:

Studio Incendo/Flickr

Hawaii Businesses affected by Hong Kong protests; Rural Wahiawa hospital tailors services to community; Concerns on birthright citizenship in American Samoa; Kona garden reopens

Courtesy Maximilian Cremer

Disaster at sea turns around with the help of fellow mariners; Hiring Problems at the Honolulu Liquor Commission; Helping Hawaii residents who can't access a bank; Native Hawaiian short film playing at indigenous film festival

Wikimedia

Winter on Oahu's North Shore; Hawaii art scene roundup; Robyn Buntin gallery closes; Christmas music mix by Scott Ohtoro

Flickr - Sue Salisbury

Food Safety. Love to eat? Hate to get sick with a food borne illness? The federal Food Safety Modernization Act was signed into law in 2011 but new rules are expected to kick in in the new year. Are Hawaii farmers ready for the stricter rules? What does it mean for small farmers and for consumers?

Dick Daniels / CarolinaBirds.org

New report shows the effect on short term rentals 3 months after Honolulu's crackdown; Details on the Governor Ige's supplementary budget proposals; Coralie Chun Matayoshi looks back at her career with the American Red Cross of Hawaii. She will retire after serving as its executive director for the past 16 years; How Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park biologists helped bring the nene goose back from the brink of extinction -- but why more work still needs to be done.

Catherine Cruz/Hawaii Public Radio

New study shines light on suicides among active duty military; Trustee talks about the Office of Hawaiian Affairs recent audit; Hawaii lawyer used Georgia consultants to place Micronesian babies; Aquaponics in Waimanalo; Kingston Trio remembers the music

Wmpearl / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Paid Family Leave for Federal Workers Bill Advances; Warnings on new GMOs; Controversial Playground Moves to Kakaako; Light Pollution at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park; Memories of Spalding House

Sandy Honig

Ira Glass of This American Life talks about storytelling and vacationing in Hawaii; US gives more attention to Micronesia, but will it lead to a COFA extension?; IRS warns of scams and gives tips on protecting yourself during the holiday shopping season

ELAINE THOMPSON/AP

Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Josh Green recaps the medical mission to Samoa to address its deadly measles outbreak; U.S. Attorney's office warns of Chinese espionage, especially at American universities; Civil Beat gives an update on protecting native birds from mosquitoes; An interview with Takuma Itoh, composer of Picture Brides, which will be performed tonight as part of the Honolulu Chamber Music Series

Daniel Ramirez / Flickr
Daniel Ramirez / Flickr

Today, we take a trip to the Honolulu Zoo. Its accreditation is up in the air. Its revolving door of zoo directors has been part of its problem. Funding is the other. Its location in Waikiki has long been debated. Today we look back at its history as we look toward its future. The zoo opened its doors in 1915. It  marks its 105th anniversary next year, as a national accreditation team comes to visit. We asked a number of people familiar with its past and present to join us in our studio for a roundtable discussion. The spark for this show was a book about the zoo’s history compiled by the late Paul Breese - the longest serving zoo director in its history. He died a year ago. In our studio we had:

  • Jean DeMercer-Breese. She along with her late husband co-authored and self-published book The HONOLULU ZOO Waikiki’s Wildlife Treasure 1915-2015. She lives in North Kohala on the Big Island;
  • Ken Redman, who retired from the Honolulu Zoo as the second longest serving director; 
  • Marlee Breese, who serves on the board of the Honolulu Zoo Society and happens to be Paul’s daughter. 

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