The Conversation

Hawaiʻi's Disaster Vulnerability: Healthcare Challenges

Mar 28, 2018
Maui Memorial Medical Center
Maui Memorial Medical Center

What happens to patients in dialysis centers when there isn't water or power, and they can't stay open? How do patients get their medicines if pharmacies are closed? What about our stockpile of medical supplies? Those scenarios and more were posed to Chris Crabtree, Director of Hawaiʻi Healthcare Emergency Management as part of The Conversation's ongoing look at Hawaiʻi's vulnerability and resiliency during a disaster.

Hawaiʻi's Disaster Vulnerability: Honolulu Harbor

Mar 27, 2018
Daniel Ramirez / Flickr

Hawaiʻi needs to import 3,000 tons of food per day to keep grocery store shelves stocked around the state. All of those goods come into one place: the Port of Honolulu. If damaged, it could take weeks to reopen the harbor after a disaster event. That could leave Hawaiʻi residents in big trouble.

Hawaiʻi's Disaster Vulnerability: Electrical Grid

Mar 27, 2018
Denise Emsley | NAVFAC / Flickr

Hawaiʻi's position as the most remote population center in the world leaves the islands uniquely vulnerable to a disaster. This week, The Conversation explores the vulnerability of Hawaiʻi's people and infrastructure. The first installment of the five-part series takes a look at the electrical grid - where 60% of power plants lie in an inundation zone.

Spearheading Cesspool Issues with County Task Forces

Mar 27, 2018
Septic Advisor

There are almost 90,000 cesspools across Hawaiʻi releasing 53 million gallons of untreated sewage into the ground each day. The State of Hawaiʻi is trying to wean residents off them, and part of that effort could be the creation of County-level task forces to spearhead the transition.

A New Strategy for Combating the Opioid Epidemic

Mar 26, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

President trump delivered strong words about how to approach the opioid epidemic across the nation. Some 2 million people are estimated to be addicted to the drug. It is a public health crisis, but the question is how to best deal with it. However, Hawaii's rate of opioid prescriptions is one of the lowest in the country. The U.S. Surgeon General and the CEO of a local rehab clinic shared a national and local perspective on the crisis.

Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency's New Administrator

Mar 23, 2018
Hawaii Emergency Management Agency

January's false missile alert laid bare flaws in training, procedure, and leadership at the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency. Last week, a new Administrator was appointed to the agency after Major General Verne Miyagi resigned from the position in late-January. 

The Conversation: Friday, March 23nd, 2018

Mar 23, 2018
USDA / Flickr

Strategy for Opioid Epidemic; New HI-EMA Leadership; Future of Social Security; Saxophonist Boney James

Former Hawaiʻi Governor Defends OHA

Mar 22, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

A critical management audit of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is continuing to ripple. The office has no comment about a possible FBI probe. The OHA Board met in an executive session earlier today to talk about the employment contract of CEO Kamanaʻopono Crabbe. 

State, Counties Weigh Options for Abandoned Vehicles

Mar 21, 2018
Frank Schulenburg / Wikimedia Commons

Complaints about junked cars in neighborhoods across the state hit a crescendo last year. The eyesore threw light on a dilemma over automobiles left on the sides of roads. State lawmakers have been hearing measures to try and solve the complaints. One bill to require removal of cars within 10 days is getting push-back from the counties. The real issue is lack of space to store derelict and abandoned vehicles.

Legislators Consider Tougher Invasive Species Control Measures

Mar 19, 2018
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region

Invasive species have been corrupting Hawaiʻi's environment since the first human contact, but recent generations have seen new invasive species arriving at an ever-increasing rate. To date there's been no single statewide agency to deal with the problem, which is why state lawmakers are considering Senate Bill 2399. The measure would create a "Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Authority."

Snorkel Safety Workshop

Mar 19, 2018
Tom Hart / Flickr

The recent spate of drownings across the state has brought together key people from the state and the counties to try and to address what if anything we can do to keep our visitors and residents safe in the water.

New Sprinkler Laws for Honolulu

Mar 16, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

Honolulu has a new sprinkler law in place - 8 months after the deadly Marco Polo fire. Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed two bills into law yesterday afternoon. They do not mandate sprinkler installation but do provide tax breaks to encourage installation.  At the signing, Mayor Caldwell expressed his desire to one-day see a mandatory sprinkler law.

Wikimedia Commons

New Sprinkler Laws; City Council Shake-Up; Snorkel Safety; From Bach to Bowie

Hawaiian Group Clashes with State Over Waimanalo Land

Mar 15, 2018
Catherine Cruz

A group of Native Hawaiians claiming to be descendants of King Kamehameha I is headed for a clash with the state -- the second time in two years.  The group had been evicted from a 5 acre parcel in Waimanalo, after a judge threw out their claims and blocked them from filing frivolous suits. The land is in an Agricultural park which the state has unsuccessfully tried to lease out for almost a decade and when the group moved in.

Local Students Walkout in Support of Shooting Victims

Mar 14, 2018
Ryan Finnerty

Wednesday was National Walkout Day at schools across the country. Thousands of students left class at 10 AM to remember the recent victims of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Students here in Hawaii organized events at their own schools. University Laboratory School students organized a walkout at their school and shared their motives and hopes for the event with HPR's The Conversation.

State Relaxing Animal Quarantine Rules

Mar 13, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

For decades, Hawaii had some of the strictest animal quarantine rules in place, in an effort to keep the islands rabies-free. However, the rules are relaxing with restrictions being front-loaded avoiding months of quarantine. 

The Challenges of Temporary Vacation Rentals

Mar 12, 2018
Pixabay

Unpermitted vacation rentals have been blamed for everything from sky-high housing prices to overcrowded hiking trails. But what is really going on with Hawaii’s short-term rental market? How many properties are permitted for vacation rentals? And how many are actually being used that way?

The Conversation: State of Social Work

Mar 9, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

March is national social work month. It’s one of the toughest jobs out there: high stress, low pay, and long hours. Here in Hawaii, the Child Welfare Services program just received failing grades across the board for the second time. Today’s panel examines the state of social work in Hawaii.

Judge Rules in Red Hill Lawsuit

Mar 8, 2018
Commander, Navy Installations Command

A recent court decision is casting new light on what to do about Red Hill. It's where the military has 20 massive underground steel tanks; one, which leaked 27,000 gallons. A circuit court judge ruled that the state Department of Health improperly gave the military an exemption from underground fuel storage rules. The Sierra Club hopes the ruling will now give state health officials more reason to press for an expedited schedule to upgrade the facility.

State Auditor Discusses Reviews of OHA, HTA

Mar 7, 2018
Catherine Cruz/Hawaii Public Radio

The State Auditor’s most recent report flags a failing documents system and short-staffing at the Public Utilities Commission. Another flagged a communications breakdown in the Department of Health as well as problems with the state energy office. But it’s the findings of two agencies - the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Hawaii Tourism Authority that Les Kondo is particularly concerned about.

Regulating Emotional Support Animals

Mar 6, 2018
Molly Hayden / U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs

Dogs in service vests are an increasingly common sight in public spaces. But it may surprise you to learn that there is little legal regulation over the training and certification of service dogs and emotional support animals. Lawmakers here in Hawaiʻi are considering a bill that would begin to change that.

Molly Hayden / U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs

Dogs in service vests are an increasingly common sight in public spaces. But it may surprise you to learn that there is little legal regulation over the training and certification of service dogs and emotional support animals. Lawmakers here in Hawaii are considering a bill that would begin to change that.

Hawaiʻi a National Leader in Captive Insurance Plans

Mar 5, 2018
Creative Commons Images

Even for those fortunate to hae it, health insurance can still be a significant monthly expense for many families. The same goes for the employers who provide coverage. But what if you no longer had to deal with co-pays and premiums? That is the reality for workers whose employers use a type of coverage called captive insurance.

Changing Workplace Etiquette

Mar 2, 2018
U.S. Army

Many of the sexual harassment scandals that have surfaced through the #MeToo movement have occurred in the workplace. The movement shows no signs of going away, and that means workers of both genders need to refine a kind of workplace etiquette that can't be misunderstood.

Hawaiʻi's First Sanctuary Church

Mar 1, 2018

Harris United Methodist Church began exploring the idea of being a sanctuary church more than a year ago. Its congregation voted on it last spring, but it was only until this past fall that it openly talked about its new ministry. It includes lending supporting to immigration cases like the one of Maui resident Tania Venegas who was facing deportation.

Using Dogs to Track Invasive Chameleons

Feb 28, 2018
Wikipedia

Scientists charged with protecting our endangered species are turning to man’s best friend to ferret out rats, slugs, and Jackson's Chameleons. Those invasive species threaten endangered snails but are often very difficult to locate.

Honolulu, Kauai Counties Ban Lying Down at Bus Stop

Feb 26, 2018
Surf100ify/Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons 3.0 License

Bus riders have long complained about homeless turning those shelters into their bedrooms or worse bathrooms. Last week, Honolulu Mayor Kick Caldwell signed a ban on sleeping at bus stops into law. Kauai County enacted a similar ban that took effect last week. 

Biki Eyes Expansion

Feb 22, 2018
Casey Harlow

Biki is tapping into matching federal funds to expand its bike stations this summer. Bikeshare Hawaiʻi runs the Honolulu-based bike rental program that launched last summer. And program officials want public suggestions on the location of potential stations.

Wayne Yoshioka

On Tuesday, Governor David Ige released a road map for reforming the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency. Failures of management, protocol, an technology came to light following an incoming ballistic missile alert issued in error by that agency on January 13th. 

Samuel King Jr. / U.S. Air Force

Following the deadly mass shooting at a Florida high school, there is a lot of attention on school safety. The number of gun incidents in Hawaiʻi schools has actually dropped. Last year there were 21 incidents all involving air guns.

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