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The Conversation: Studying COVID-19 in Honolulu's Wastewater

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Honolulu's studies wastewater for COVID; Challenges to receiving housing assistance; People have moved to Hawaii to escape COVID hotspots; Hawaii's broadband initiative; Preparing for Hawaiian independence

  Honolulu's studies wastewater for COVID

Josh Stanbro is the Chief Resilience Officer for the City & County of Honolulu's Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency. When we last checked in with him on plans to launch a COVID-19 wastewater study funded by federal CARES Act money, the city was having trouble getting case info on its dashboard, We spoke with Stanbro about the status of the project and what more it needs to fine tune the research.

Josh Stanbro, Chief Resilience Officer, City & County of Honolulu's Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency


  Challenges to receiving housing assistance

It's been three months since the state kicked off a program to help families with rent and mortgage payments. The counties offer similar CARES money rent relief programs. We check in with Denise Iseri-Matsubara, executive director of the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation. The state's latest number shows it's approved $47 million in applications and has actually disbursed $30.7 million in checks. Duplicate applications have added to the delays, as well as the reluctance of landlords to provide tax information to those processing the applications. The state says its mortgage program has helped more than 400 homeowners across the state.

Denise Iseri-Matsubara, Executive Director, Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation

People have moved to Hawaii to escape COVID hotspots

Some see the recent uptick in people moving to Hawaii as an opportunity for the state. Others view the wave of newcomers as a threat. Civil Beat Reporter Brittany Lyte tells us about the recent influx of people moving to the Islands to escape coronavirus hotspots. Click here to read the story at

Civil Beat Reporter Brittany Lyte

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  Hawaii's broadband initative

Loyal listeners may know Burt Lum as long-time host of Bytemarks Cafe, an HPR program on all things "techy." But his day job is strategy officer for the Hawaii Broadband Initiative for the state Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism. It just released a broadband report - a kind of roadmap for Hawaii to tackled the digital divide.

Burt Lum, Broadband Strategy Officer, state Department of Business and Economic Development

Preparing for Hawaiian independence

The Value of Hawaii 3: Hulihia, The Turning, is a new collection of essays on the future of life on the Islands. They are meant to spur discussions on topics that Hawaii needs to address. Noelani Goodyear-Kaopua is one of the editors of the book, as well as a professor and chair of the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Department of Political Science. Her essay for the book discusses Hawaiian independence in light of the COVID crisis.

Noelani Goodyear-Kaopua, editor, The Value of Hawaii 3: Hulihia, The Turning; professor and chair, University of Hawaii at Manoa's Department of Political Science

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