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The Conversation: Music Glory Days in Chinatown, Joining the Citizens' Patrol

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Noe Tanigawa/Hawaii Public Radio
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Chinatown Citizen's Patrol on Mayor Blangiardi's intiatives; New approach to policing Chinatown's unsheltered population; Moloka?i Arts Center offers free classes; Downbeat Diner and Lounge; Manifest cafe-bar back in business; Wo Fat Building restoration

Chinatown Citizen's Patrol on the state of the neighborhood and Mayor Blangiardi's intiatives

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Credit Noe Tanigawa/Hawaii Public Radio

At the Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board meeting, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi told attendees to hold him accountable for a list of initiatives spanning most, if not all, city departments. Members of the board including Chair Kevin Lye were joined by HPR's Noe Tanigawa for stroll down Bethel Street. 

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Kevin Lye, Chinatown Neighborhood Board Chair; Christa and Dottie Bona

New approach to policing Chinatown's unsheltered population

The City is starting a new approach to policing Chinatown's unsheltered population. The new program would send health and social workers to 911 emergency calls instead of police officers. Anton Krucky, head of the Mayor's Office of Housing and Homelessness, and Alex Kozlov, head of the Department of Design and Construction, talked about the program.

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Anton Krucky, head of the Mayor's Office of Housing and Homelessness, and Alex Kozlov, head of the Department of Design and Construction
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Credit Molokai Arts Center/Facebook

Moloka?i Arts Center offering free art classes for all | Full Article

Artist Kim Kai, who flew to Honolulu with work from the Moloka‘i Arts Center, told us about a program called Pana‘i Aloha—Giving Back to Moloka‘i. The goal? Helping the island cope and revitalize in light of the pandemic. Maui County and the Atherton Foundation are funding free classes for residents and visitors alike. 

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Artist Kim Kai, Moloka'i Arts Center

Downbeat Diner creating a new era in Chinatown

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Credit Noe Tanigawa/Hawaii Public Radio

Guitarist Joshua Hancock has been part of the Chinatown scene from the early 2000s. In 2010, he and a partner opened Downbeat Diner and Lounge on Hotel Street, a rock and vegan music venue that helped create an era in Chinatown. Now, he's the Director of Food and Beverage at the Honolulu Museum of Art.

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Josh Hancock, Director of Food & Beverage at the Honolulu Museum of Art

Manifest cafe and bar clawing their way through the pandemic

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Credit Noe Tanigawa/Hawaii Public Radio

Hotel Street can feel pretty homey, especially once you know Nicole and Brandon Reid of Manifest Cafe-Bar. They opened at the height of the Great Recession in 2009 with art and music as their business plan. They thrived hosting music, poetry and art shows until March last year. They’ve somehow clawed their way through the pandemic with key staff members and are looking forward to what’s next.

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Nicole and Brandon Reid, owners of The Manifest Cafe-Bar

Restoration of Wo Fat Building underway

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Credit Noe Tanigawa/Hawaii Public Radio

The iconic Wo Fat Building with its scalloped roof sits at the corner of Hotel and Maunakea streets. Facade preservation work is underway right now for a project that’s seen as pivotal for Chinatown’s future. Former University of Hawaii coach and project partner June Jones flew back to Honolulu for the blessing and start of renovations. 

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June Jones, partner of the Wo Fat Building renewal project

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If you have any comments or feedback, let us know by calling the Talkback Line at (808) 792-8217, or recording a voice memo on your smartphone and sending it to talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.

Noe Tanigawa covers art, culture, and ideas for Hawai'i Public Radio. Noe began working in news at WQXR, the New York Times' classical station in New York City, where she also hosted music programs from 1990-94. Prior to New York, Noe was a music host in jazz, rock, urban contemporary, and contemporary and classic Hawaiian music formats in Honolulu. Since arriving at HPR in 2002, Noe has received awards from the Los Angeles Press Club, the Society of Professional Journalists Hawai'i Chapter, and an Edward R. Murrow Regional Award for coverage of the budget process at the Hawai'i State Legislature. Noe holds a Masters in Painting from UH Mānoa. She maintains an active painting practice, and has recently returned from a 2015 residency with the U.S. Art in Embassies program in Palau. Noe is from Wailupe Valley in East O'ahu.
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