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The Conversation: Strengthening Social Security in Hawaii

Big Island Veterans Home; Social Security; Reality Check: DOH Shakeup; Hawaii Defense Economy Website; Pandemic Personal Trainer

Big Island Veterans Home

A team from the Veteran’s Affairs arrives in Hawaii later this week to focus on the high death count at the Yukio Okutsu Veterans Home in Hilo. HPR’s Ku`uwehi Hiraishi joins us this morning with the latest.

HPR Reporter Kuuwehi Hiraishi


Social Security, Gary Kubota

Social Security - You probably never paid much attention to it until you were approaching retirement age. Here in Hawaii, such was the case for Gary Kubota. He has joined us over the years as a guest here on HPR. The author and playwright began researching social security and a group called the Grey Panthers which encourages activism. Kubota isn't a stranger to activism and helped to keep a Front Street housing project affordable. Here is part of a conversation we had with him last week about his efforts to organize a Grey Panthers chapter here in the islands.

Gary Kubota

Reality Check: DOH Shakeup

As if dealing with a pandemic wasn’t dramatic enough, we have seen a shakeup at the state Department of Health. Including threats of retaliation to a whistle-blower.That’s the subject of today’s Reality Check. Honolulu Civil Beat’s reporter Stewart Yerton joins us.

Civil Beat Reporter Stewart Yerton

Hawaii Defense Economy Website

Follow the money: Here in Hawaii defense spending is described as one of a three legged stool in our economy. To better understand its impact on the business community. There’s a new tool available. The state Department of Business and Economic Development and Tourism and the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment have  just launched the new Hawaii Defense Economywebsite that analyzes DoD contracts and grants awarded in Hawaii. The state’s Defense Industry Specialist John Greene spoke with producer Lillian Tsang about the online project.


John Greene, State Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism


Pandemic Personal Trainer

As we continue our look at available jobs and who is hiring, we also turn our attention to those who have started their own business. Roy Yamada was working as a personal trainer at UFC Gym in Kakaako when Hawaii’s first shutdown went into effect. The company laid off workers, so Yamada started his own business. He is a member of the Entrepreneurs Sandbox in Kakaako.  He spoke with The Conversation’s Jason Ubay about pivoting during the crisis.

Personal Trainer Roy Yamada


Stay Connected
Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
Lillian Tsang is the senior producer of The Conversation. She has been part of the talk show team since it first aired in 2011. Contact her at ltsang@hawaiipublicradio.org.
Jason Ubay is the managing editor at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Send your story ideas to him at jubay@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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