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The Conversation: UH System to Require Vaccine; Jehovah’s Witnesses on Resuming Missions

AP Photo/David J. Phillip

University of Hawaii system to require COVID-19 vaccine for students; City Councilmember on Honolulu rail; Reality Check with Civil Beat; New York Times national editor shares new immigration book; Jehovah's Witnesses on resuming missions amid the pandemic

University of Hawaii system to require COVID-19 vaccine for students | Full Article

University of Hawaii
Credit University of Hawaii

The University of Hawaii announced it will require students to be vaccinated if they want to attend in-person classes and participate in on-campus activities this fall. The requirement hangs on the FDA's full approval of one of the three vaccines currently offered to adults and teens. We talked to UH President David Lassner to learn more. 

President of the University of Hawai‘i
David Lassner

City Councilmember Brandon Elefante wants the Honolulu rail to reach Ala Moana | Special Series

Credit Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit

In our series about the $12 billion Honolulu rail project, we heard from Councilmember Heidi Tsuneyoshi about her request to pause the project at Middle Street and re-examine all the options. On Tuesday, we spoke to Councilmember Brandon Elefante, vice chair of the council’s transportation committee, who favors completing the rail to Ala Moana as planned. 

Brandon Elefante
Brandon Elefante, Honolulu City Councilmember

Reality Check with Civil Beat: Erosion at Kahana Bay on Maui | Full Article

Honolulu Civil Beat’s reality check Tuesday looked at the severe erosion problem on Maui’s west coast. "The ocean has destroyed condominium pool decks, cabanas, stairs and walkways. Seawalls installed to protect the shoreline have only worsened the problem," reporter Britanny Lyte wrote.

Reality Check for May 18, 2021
Honolulu Civil Beat reporter Brittany Lyte

New York Times national editor shares her literary deep dive into America's immigration | Event Link

Credit Lorin Klaris/Zocalo Public Square

It was curiosity about her family’s immigration story that sent a woman on a journey to determine who she should thank. Jia Lynn Yang’s research into our country’s immigration laws prompted her to write a book titled "One Mighty and Irresistible Tide: The Epic Struggle Over American Immigration, 1924 to 1965." It just won a Zócalo Book Prize and will be featured later this week in a virtual event. We got a chance to talk with her about the book and, in the process, learned of a local connection. 

Jia Lynn Yang
Jia Lynn Yang, author and New York Times national editor

Jehovah's Witnesses on resuming missions amid the pandemic

The pandemic caused the Jehovah's Witnesses to adapt their missionary efforts. But with an increase in vaccinations and travel to and from Hawaii on the rise, we wanted to know if they planned to resume outreach in the Aloha State and beyond. The Conversation’s Russell Subiono talked to Robert Hendriks, a national spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, to find out.

Robert Hendriks
Robert Hendriks, national spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses


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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
Russell Subiono is the executive producer of The Conversation. Born in Honolulu and raised on Hawaiʻi Island, he’s spent the last decade working in local film, television and radio. Contact him at
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