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The Conversation: Travelers Take Wait and See Approach to Booking Trips

Jan Vasek from Pixabay

People optimistic with travel plans; Pacific Islander translators; City trying to keep public transit safe; The Long View with Neal Milner: the continuing rural and urban political divide; Water buffalo return to Kauai to work rice fields

Credit AP Photo/Marco Garcia

Survey gauges travelers' confidence

Hawaii's tourism has been slow to rebound following the rollout of the Japan travel bubble and the pretest Safe Travels program to avoid the 14-day quarantine. Many hotels have just announced plans to welcome guests back - some not until next month. We talked to Chris Kam of the Omnitrak Group, which regularly surveys travelers to Hawaii. So, just how confident are people to get on a plane amid the spiking COVID-19 numbers across the country?

Chris Kam, President and COO, OmniTrak Group

Pacific Islander translators

Pacific Islanders in Hawaii continue to see the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 - making up nearly 30 percent of the state's coronavirus cases but only 4 percent of its population. For the thousands of Pacific Islanders who don't speak English, access to health care under the pandemic has been largely dependent on access to a language interpeter.

HPR Reporter Kuuwehi Hiraishi

Credit Surf100ify/Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons 3.0 License
Creative Commons 3.0 License

  City trying to keep public transit safe

The City and County of Honolulu is trying to keep public transit safe as more bus drivers test positive for COVID-19. Most of the drivers' positive tests were attributed to factors outside of work. Three drivers, however, have filed workers' compensation claims. Civil Beat Reporter Marcel Honore gives us an update on TheBus and Handi-Van drivers, which reported its 21st positive COVID-19 case on Monday. Click here to read his story at

Civil Beat Reporter Marcel Honore

The Long View with Neal Milner: the continuing rural and urban political divide

There is still a lot to learn about voters in the 2020 election, but a couple of important things show up if you look at the presidential vote, county by county. And that has big implications. Click here to read an article from Brookings Institution, "Biden-voting counties equal 70% of America's economy. What does this mean for the nation's political-economic divide?" Click here to read an article from, "America's Ever-Widening Urban-Rural Political Divide."

HPR Contributing Editor and political analyst Neal Milner

Credit Catherine Cruz/HPR

  Water buffalo return to Kauai to work rice fields

Kauai farmer Don Heacock planted rice to feed the native birds about five years ago. He says that caught the eye of the National Park Service officials with the Hanalei Heritage Wildlife Refuge. Heacock still has rice growing on his farm to keep the birds from his taro. He also scaled a hurdle last year, bringing in water buffalo, which was considered the workhorse during the reign of rice. We visited Heacock to check on his herd of eight water buffalo just before the shutdown this year and his journey towards an integrated farm.

Kauai farmer Don Heacock

Manu Minute

Missed the Manu Minute? Click here to see today's post and learn more about Hawaii's native birds.

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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
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