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The Conversation: Rent a Big Concern for Hawaii Businesses

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Wikimedia Commons

Business leaders discuss rent relief; Maintaning mental health during the COVID crisis; Rail CEO still wants public private partnership; What's on Kauai's voters minds?; Local author on Hawaii as vegan paradise

Business leaders discuss rent relief

Our economic recovery is still on shaky ground. Local businesses are struggling to stay afloat. This week, companies shared their experiences as part of a panel hosted by ProService Hawaii. It provides human resources services to local businesses, including Hawaii Public Radio. The conversation focused on what businesses need to recover right now. We take a listen to a discussion on a common challenge for business owners - paying rent and negotiating with your landlord. Click here for a synopsis of the webinar, and click here for a link to the full video.

Monica Toguchi Ryan of Highway Inn; Ben Godsey of ProService Hawaii; and Paul Kosasa of ABC Stores
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Maintaining mental health during the COVID crisis

The United Nations marks Mental Health Awareness Day internationally and here in Hawaii, it's no different. Isolation, loneliness and drastic changes to our way of life brought on by the COVID-19 crisis has taken a toll on our collective mental health. The National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, has been working to help Hawaii residents work through the psychological ups and downs. Executive Director Kumi Macdonald tells us about speaking up and getting help.

Kumi Macdonald, executive director, National Alliance on Mental Illness Hawaii
Credit Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Rail CEO still wants public private partnership

Despite strong opposition from Honolulu's mayor and other top city officials, rail's executive director says he'll still try to salvage a deal out of the latest effort to award the project's last, major construction contract. Civil Beat Reporter Marcel Honore tells us more about the ongoing drama with the state's largest public works project. Click here to read his story at

Civil Beat Reporter Marcel Honore

What's on Kauai's voters minds?

For Kauai voters, their ballots should be in the mail today, so we check in to see what they're thinking these days. The second congressional district race is on the ballot, and folks will be electing a representative to fill Tulsi Gabbard's seat. In the primary, Kai Kahele received several times more votes than his nearest rival. All the county council seats are up as well - it's an open race without party affiliations. A field of over twenty candidates has been winnowed to 14 for the seven council seats. 

HPR Reporter Noe Tanigawa
Credit Courtesy Mutual Publishing
Hawaii: A Vegan Paradise by Lillian Cumic

Local author on Hawaii as vegan paradise

Chef Lillian Cumic teaches cooking classes, hosts her own online cooking program and most recently authored a new cookbook, "Hawaii: A Vegan Paradise." This native of Australia has been in the food industry for over 30 years, spending the bulk of her career in Sendai, Japan, before moving to Hawaii in 2018. Cumic naturally gravitated to the food scene and started tweaking recipes to add her unique spin to local favorites like SPAM musubi and the loco moco.  Click here to learn more and purchase the book from Mutual Publishing.

Chef and Author Lillian Cumic

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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
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
Jason Ubay is a news editor at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Send your story ideas to him at
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