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Hawaii Residents Can Spot the Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

international-space-stationIt will be visible beginning tonight, Friday, October 21 at 6:41 PM. It will be visible for approximately 6 minutes at a maximum height of 75 degrees. It will appear 10 degrees above the Northwest part of the sky and disappear 12 degrees above the Southeast part of the sky.

Updates From Mayor Billy Kenoi Trial

Hawaii News Now Reporter Chelsea Davis is at the Hilo Courthouse and she is live tweeting the Mayor Kenoi trial.

Here is what she has posted so far from day 2 of the trial and you can follow her here https://twitter.com/ChelseaDavisHNN:


Testimony will resume Monday, Oct. 24th at 830am


Wilson’s response to prosecutor is that she didn’t write the email, she received it. Pros. passes the witness to the defense

Earlier, prosecutors showed receipts showing wine and alcohol purchased at the luncheon

5m5 minutes ago Hilo, HI

Pros. asks Wilson about Kevin Dayton’s farewell lunch held at Hilo Yacht Club, which was categorized as an office strategic planning meeting

Court back in session

Court in recess for lunch. Reconvene at 1pm

Hawaiian Electric Companies Offer Customers a Lower-Cost Daytime Option With Time-of-Use Rates

The Hawaiian Electric Companies are offering an optional Time-of-Use rate program that will charge customers less for power used during the day – when solar energy production is highest – and more at night.

Developed under the direction of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, these rates encourage customers to use electricity when solar power is abundant and enable cost-effective integration of renewable energy.

This program will provide customers with an opportunity to save money if they shift their energy use to daytime hours. For example, customers who do laundry, cook, or heat water during the day may be able to save. Customers who charge electric vehicles or energy storage systems in the day may also benefit. The amount of any savings will depend on how much a customer changes their usage. As a result, this program may not fit the needs of all customers.

Here’s how the rates will compare with current residential rates for October 2016 (all prices in cents per kilowatt-hour):


As directed by the PUC, this program will run for two years and these rates are only for residential customers. Participation will be voluntary and limited to the first 5,000 customers who enroll.

Participating customers will receive information on their bills that compares their costs under this program and the normal residential rate for electricity. Customers may opt out of the program at any time if they feel it isn’t the right fit for them.

To enroll or for more information, go to www.hawaiianelectric.com/timeofuse or call:

  • Oahu: (808) 548-7311
  • Maui: (808) 871-9777
  • Molokai and Lanai: 1-877-871-8461
  • Hilo: (808) 969-6999
  • Kona: (808) 329-3584
  • Waimea: (808) 885-4605

Editors Note On Lost Posts

Sorry folks… the mainland server that my website sits on had a “major meltdown” last night.

Posts for the last few weeks were lost.

At least we are back online.

Hawaii Health Centers to Receive $753K for IT Enhancements

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard announced today that 14 Hawaiʻi Health Centers will receive a total of $753,064 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support health information technology (IT) enhancements. The funding is part of more than $87 million provided by HHS to 1,310 health centers in every U.S. state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Basin. The funding will support health IT enhancements to accelerate health centers’ transition to value-based models of care, improve efforts to share and use information to support better decisions, and increase engagement in delivery system transformation. This is the first significant investment directly awarded to health centers to support the purchase of health IT since 2009.

health-center“Health centers across Hawaiʻi provide high-quality health and wellness services that our communities depend upon. Yet, in Hawaiʻi and in states across the country, remote locations, lack of funding, and staff shortages make it difficult to keep up with rapidly changing healthcare technology,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “Investing in our local health centers will increase information sharing, improve electronic healthcare record systems, and expand access to comprehensive, quality care for people in every county across the state.”

The following organizations are the Hawaiʻi recipients of the HHS health IT enhancement funds:

  • Hilo – $66,682 for the Bay Clinic
  • Wailuku – $52,900 for the Community Clinic of Maui
  • Honokaʻa – $46,535 for the Hamakua Health Center
  • Hana – $42,428 for the Hana Community Health Center
  • Līhuʻe – $46,320 for Hoʻola Lahui Hawaiʻi
  • Honolulu – $73,739 for the Kalihi-Palama Health Center
  • Honolulu – $54,075 for Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services
  • Kahuku – $48,198 for the Koʻolauloa Community Health and Wellness Center
  • Lanaʻi City – $41,749 for the Lanaʻi Community Health Center
  • Kaunakakai – $42,884 for Molokaʻi Ohana Health Care
  • Waiʻanae – $81,237 for the Waiʻanae District Comprehensive Health and Hospital Board
  • Honolulu – $55,087 for the Waikiki Health Center
  • Waimānalo – $46,056 for the Waimānalo Health Center
  • Kailua-Kona – $55,174 for the West Hawaiʻi CommunityHealthCenter

For a list of all fiscal year 2016 Delivery System Health Information Investment Awards recipients, visit: http://bphc.hrsa.gov/programopportunities/fundingopportunities/dshii/fy2016awards/index.html

To learn more about HRSA’s Health Center Program, visit: http://bphc.hrsa.gov/about/index.html

To find a health center in your area, visit: http://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/

Hawaii Hunter Education Program Offering New Online Option for O’ahu

Beginning in October 2016 on O‘ahu, the Department of Land and Natural Resources Hunter Education Program will expand certification options for the public by offering a Hybrid Hunter Education Course which can be partially completed online. This Hybrid course will consist of two parts: (1) online course and (2) a one-day In-person conclusion course with final exam.

DLNR Hunter Card

Completion of both the online course and in-person conclusion course are mandatory for certification under the Hybrid course. Students must complete and pass the online course prior to attending the in-person conclusion course. Completion of the online course alone will not result in certification.

The online course is available at: https://www.hunter-ed.com. Interested students should visit this site, select “Hawai‘i” as their state and follow the subsequent prompts in order to complete the online course.  The course covers nine units including high definition videos, cutaways, interactive simulations and animations. There are unit quizzes and an online exam.

After passing the online exam, students will be charged $19.50 by the online course provider in order to access their voucher to attend the In-person conclusion course. Students will be required to present this voucher to Instructors when signing in for the In-person conclusion course. Students without vouchers will not be admitted into the class.

The In-person conclusion course will be approximately four hours. This session will cover a review of the online course and additional units specific to Hawai‘i. Students will end this course with a final written exam.

In-person conclusion courses will be offered on O‘ahu with limited availability in October and December 2016 and expanded availability in the state in 2017. Therefore, students interested in the Hybrid course are encouraged plan ahead and register for the in-person conclusion course well in advance as spaces will fill up.

The minimum age to take Hybrid and traditional Hunter Education Classes is 10 years of age. Vouchers through https://www.hunter-ed.com/hawaii/ for the in-person conclusion course are valid for one year from the date of issue. Students who pass the online course but fail the in-person conclusion course will not be required to recomplete the online course; however, they will be required to reregister for and recomplete the in-person conclusion course.

This Hybrid course is offered in addition to the regularly scheduled traditional 12-hour classroom course. Students interested in obtaining their Hunter Education Certification may choose from either option. Course schedules for both Hybrid and traditional courses are available at: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/huntered/classes/. Call: 808-587-0200 to register for courses.

For more information on the Hybrid course, please contact the Hunter Education Program at: 1-866-563-4868 or by email at: hawaiihuntered@hawaii.gov.

Big Island Amateur Radio Emergency Service Districts Activate to Support Possible Hurricane Response in Hawaii

ARRL Pacific Section Emergency Coordinator Clement Jung, KH7HO, has announced the activation of all four Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) districts on the Big Island of Hawaii, to support each other and served agencies as two hurricanes — Madeline and Lester — threaten. A hurricane watch remains in effect for Hawaii County.

amateur radioA SKYWARN net activated on August 31 as Hurricane Madeline approached the Big Island, and KH6SW went on the air from the National Weather Service (NWS) Honolulu Forecast Office on HF, VHF, and UHF. A second SKYWARN activation for Hurricane Lester will begin on September 2 at 10 PM (0800 UTC on September 3), continuing until Monday, September 5 at noon (2200 UTC).

As of 1200 UTC, Madeline, now a category 1 storm, was located about 200 miles east of Hilo and 410 miles east-southeast of Honolulu, with maximum sustained winds near 90 MPH. The storm is moving to the west at 12 MPH.

As of 0900 UTC, Hurricane Lester, a much stronger category 4 storm, was some 1160 miles east of Hilo, with maximum sustained winds of 140 MPH and moving to the west at 12 MPH. NOAA has advised interests in Hawaii to monitor Lester’s progress.

ARES teams were set to initiate local repeater nets, holding 146.52 MHz simplex in reserve in case repeaters go down. Plans call for using HF (7.180 and 3.975 MHz) to relay traffic via Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) nets to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency Emergency Operations Center (EOC). SKYWARN traffic will use Fldigi MT63 1KL or voice on 7.080 MHz (USB), with 3.888 MHz (LSB) as an alternate frequency, and 7.095 MHz available to support informal and tactical traffic.

Jung said that if Hawaii Emergency Management Agency RACES is activated, it will monitor 7.088 MHz (LSB) for voice and Fldigi MT63-1KL. Until then, SKYWARN will be the statewide HF net control station on 7.080 MHz (USB) for voice and Fldigi.

Hawaii Gov David Ige has declared a state of emergency in the state, with the Big Island under a hurricane warning for Madeline. The National Weather Service has indicated that hurricane conditions could occur on the Big Island within the next 24 hours. Public schools in Hawaii have been closed, and the governor was urging residents of the Big Island to take steps to protect people and property. A dozen schools have been designated to serve as emergency evacuation shelters.

In addition to HF, KH6SW will operate on these repeaters:

  • 146.660 (EARC, Windward Oahu)
  • 146.760 (DEM RACES, Peackcock Flat, North Shore Oahu)
  • 146.800 (EARC, Manakapu, Oahu)
  • 146.880 (DEM RACES, Diamond Head)
  • 146.980 (DEM RACES, Downtown Honolulu)
  • 147.060 (State RACES, Diamond Head)
  • 444.350 (State RACES, Diamond Head)

Hundreds Accept Hawaii State’s ‘Code Challenge’

Approximate 220 coders and innovators answered the call to apply their collective creativity to improving Hawaii state government today.

HACC CodersGov. David Ige and state Chief Information Officer (CIO) Todd Nacapuy today welcomed participants to the state’s Hawaii Annual Code Challenge (HACC), kicking off the month-long competition and showcase of local tech talent.

Participants formed teams and selected from diverse challenges, some personally presented by state officials and staff, to tackle over the next several weeks. Among the presenters were state Coordinator on Homelessness Scott Morishige and staff representing the Departments of Accounting and General Services, Agriculture, Health, and Public Safety, and others.

HACC IgeThe HACC coder teams will return on Sept. 24 to present their solutions for judging and winner selection. Awards will go to top participants, and outstanding projects will be considered for implementation.

Presented challenges included the following:

  • Campaign Spending Profiles (Department of Accounting and General Services)
  • Family Visitation and Scheduling (Department of Public Safety)
  • Farmers’ Market Locator (Department of Agriculture)
  • Made in Hawaii Products (Department of Agriculture)
  • Jobs for Disabled Citizens (Department of Health)
  • Institute for Human Services (Non-Profit)
  • Homeless Outreach and Services (Office of the Governor)
  • Age Friendly Initiative (University of Hawaii and City and County of Hawaii)
  • Open Challenge for Schools

“With roughly 220 in attendance today, I’m impressed by the great interest shown in helping to improve how state government engages and serves the public,” CIO Nacapuy said. “We’re grateful for the support from the professional and non-profit community, who likewise see the value of developing our local IT workforce.”

The HACC is the result of collaboration across public and private sectors. In coordinating the event, the CIO-led Office of Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) partnered with the Hawaii Technology Development Corporation, DevLeague, Empowered Presentations, Hawaii Open Data, Blue Startups, Sultan Ventures, and XLR8UH. Award prizes are being underwritten by sponsors such as Hawaiian Electric, Kaiser Permanente, KPMG and Verizon. Additional support is being provided by DataHouse, eWorld Enterprise Solutions, Socrata, Uber, Unisys, DRFortress, and Hawaiian Telcom.

For more information and updates on the progress of challenge projects, visit http://HACC.hawaii.gov.

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

International Space Station

It will be visible beginning tonight, Friday, August 19th, at 7:55 PM. It will be visible for approximately 3 minutes at a Maximum Height of 75 degrees. It will appear 21 degrees above the Northwest part of the sky and disappear 40 degrees above the South Southeast part of the sky.

NEHLA and County of Hawaii Host Energy Storage Conference

The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA) announced today that it is partnering with the County of Hawaii to host a conference on energy storage trends and opportunities in Kailua-Kona on Sept. 12 and 13.

The NEHLA Plant from above

The NEHLA Plant from above

”As the state works to reach its 100 percent renewable energy goal by 2045, energy storage will be necessary to address increasing amounts of variable resources brought into the grid,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria. “This conference will bring together experts from U.S. National Laboratories, academia, government and industry to present energy storage technologies and applications and consider opportunities and challenges.”

“We are excited about the caliber of the speakers that will be presenting,” said Gregory Barbour, NELHA’s executive director. “This conference brings together experienced scientists, engineers, and policymakers to discuss energy storage and microgrid initiatives, issues and projects. This is an area that is not only at the forefront of renewable energy but also critical to widespread implementation of intermittent renewable technologies such as solar and wind technologies.”

The conference, which is supported in part by the County of Hawaii, includes presentations and panel discussions as well as visits to site demonstrations. It aims to have the latest information presented by leaders in energy storage technology, particularly on the economics of energy storage. Meeting participants will also discuss opportunities as well as regulatory and policy issues.

“We are pleased to partner with NELHA on this conference in an effort to bring leaders in the field of energy storage to the Island of Hawaii to share their insight and explore opportunities” stated Mayor Billy Kenoi. “Hawaii Island is already generating 50 percent renewable energy and grid-scale energy storage is certainly part of the equation for building towards our 100 percent goal”.

Attendance to the conference is open to the public.

Registration information is located at: nelhaenergystorage2016.hawaii-conference.com/.

Tax System Modernization – Limited Service August 11-12, 2016

The Department of Taxation will be transferring taxpayer data to the Department’s new tax information computer system on August 11-12, 2016, as part of its Tax System Modernization program. Taxpayer services which require access to the current tax information computer system, including the processing of tax clearance requests, may be temporarily limited August 11-12, 2016.

Department of Taxation

All of the Department’s District Tax Offices will be open and continue to serve the public during regular office hours of 7:45am to 4:30pm on August 11-12, 2016. The Kona Office has new office hours of 8:00am to 4:00pm.

Taxpayer information and services that do not require Department staff to access the computer system will continue throughout the data migration on August 11-12, 2016. Services that require access to taxpayer accounts, including the issuance of tax clearances, will be temporarily limited during these dates. The Department is unable to process any new requests for tax clearances August 11-12, 2016.

We apologize in advance for the inconvenience this may cause taxpayers. The new tax systems will ultimately result in better taxpayer service and improved enforcement of tax laws.

For more information about Tax System Modernization, please visit our website at tax.hawaii.gov

Hawaiian Electric Companies Launch Improved Mobile Websites Optimized for Smart Phones and Tablets

To provide customers with greater convenience, the Hawaiian Electric Companies have made it easier to use smart phones and tablets to access and update electric account information and to use an online tool to decide whether rooftop solar power is right for them.

Helco new site“More than 30 percent of our customers who use our website access it from mobile devices. As technology evolves, we want to provide our customers with more options and ensure they have the best possible experience,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of customer service.

The Online Customer Service Center, which customers use to access their electric accounts, has been updated to improve navigation and viewing on any mobile device. Rather than designing one size for all mobile devices, the new sites are responsive and will scale to fit the screen of any smart phone or smaller tablet, such as an iPad Mini, without having to zoom in and zoom out. When viewing the site on a full-sized iPad or similar device with larger displays, customers will still see the full desktop version of the website.

The websites also feature a streamlined log-in process for customers to access their accounts or to sign up for a new online account. The improved mobile sites also make it easier than ever to start and stop service and sign up for services such as Automatic Bill Payment and paperless billing.

To access the sites, use any mobile web browser and navigate to:

Online solar tool optimized for mobile access

To help customers make informed decisions about rooftop solar energy systems, the free WattPlan® calculator for rooftop solar has also been updated to be fully mobile-responsive. WattPlan can help customers considering rooftop solar to estimate electric bill savings based on their electricity use, current rates, and available rebates and tax credits.

Customers may also compare outright purchase to financing a solar system to understand the long-term impact on household budgets. Customers can find this tool at hawaiianelectric.com/WattPlan.

Internet Connectivity Restored to County of Hawaii

Internet connectivity has been restored to the County of Hawai’i, and all impacted services are once again available. Mahalo for your patience and understanding.

County of Hawaii Experiencing Internet Difficulties

The County of Hawai’i is experiencing difficulties with its internet connection this morning.

The following services are still available, but may experience longer than usual wait times:

  • early walk-in voting
  • real property tax payments
  • building permits

The following services are unavailable until connectivity is restored, however, the offices remain open to answer any questions.

  • vehicle registration, new and renewal
  • driver licensing, new and renewal

Crews are working to restore connectivity as soon as possible, and an update will be issued once systems are up. Mahalo for your patience and understanding.

Hawaii State Judiciary Website Voted #1 in the Nation

The Hawaii State Judiciary’s website has been voted number one in the National Association for Court Management’s (NACM) Top 10 Court Technology Solutions Awards for 2016.

judiciaryThis year’s awards were presented during the organization’s annual conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The awards are given each year to courts that make the best use of technology to improve court services and access to the public.

Entries from across the United States were reviewed by the COSCA/NACM/NCSC Joint Technology Committee, a panel of judges appointed by the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA), National Association for Court Management (NACM), and National Center for State Courts (NCSC).

Joint Technology Committee Co-Chair Kevin J. Bowling, J.D., explained that the panel of judges used a variety of criteria for comparing the award submissions, including: interactive capabilities; ease of access to public records; user interface; optimization for mobile devices; and accessibility. He noted that in their assessment of this year’s nominees, the nine committee judges were uniformly impressed with the Hawaii State Judiciary website.

“In part, the success of the Hawaii State Judiciary’s website was due to the innovations Hawaii has used to significantly improve access to the courts – especially for self-represented litigants and those with limited English proficiency,” said Bowling. “Hawaii certainly includes information in more languages than the majority of U.S. courts and the website is easy to navigate. While some sites have lots of ‘bells and whistles,’ Hawaii’s website is clear, concise, and information is easy to find.”

In addition to the significant range of court process information, the community outreach information contained in the Hawaii State Judiciary’s YouTube Channel impressed the judges.

“I’d like to thank the members of the Joint Technology Committee for this honor. Their expert feedback will guide us as we continue to improve our website and our access to the courts,” said Rodney Maile, Administrative Director of the Hawaii State Judiciary. “I’d also like to thank the Judiciary’s Communications and Community Relations Office, the Office on Equality and Access to the Courts, and our partners at the Hawaii Information Consortium for the many hours of work they put into the website. Their dedication reflects the Judiciary’s commitment to providing meaningful access to court processes and services to all persons, including those with limited English proficiency (LEP), those with disabilities, and self-represented litigants.”

Big Island Customer Grid-Supply Approaching Capacity Limit for Big Island

Customers who want solar still have options even as the capacity limit for rooftop solar systems that send excess power to the Hawaii Island grid is almost reached.

The Customer Grid-Supply program is approaching the 5-megawatt capacity limit set by the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for Hawaii Island. As of this week, the capacity of approved systems under the grid-supply program totals over four megawatts. However, customers will still be able to buy rooftop systems that don’t export to the grid but still offset a substantial part of their electric bill.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Under a Customer Self-Supply option, households are able to generate their own electricity and potentially store energy for use after the sun goes down. The PUC created the self-supply program as an alternative to the grid-supply program.

“On Hawaii Island, renewable energy is at an all-time high and comprises almost 50 percent of our generation mix,” said Jay Ignacio, Hawaii Electric Light president. “Rooftop solar power is an important part of our plans to get to 100 percent renewable energy and we’re continuing to develop more options for customers to support our state’s renewable energy goals.”

Solar providers are developing a variety of self-supply systems that meet the technical specifications set by the PUC. This will ensure continued safe, reliable service for all customers and provide opportunities for more customers to enjoy the benefits of solar energy.

For more information, go to https://www.hawaiielectriclight.com/distributedenergyresources.

Customers on Oahu may continue to apply for the Grid-Supply program. Customers should choose a system that’s the right size for their household, meaning the system matches their actual energy use. Buying a system that is larger than necessary will cost more upfront and will not necessarily save more money than a right-sized system. In addition, customers who install right-sized systems help leave room on the grid for more customers to have rooftop solar.

Self-Supply Solar a New Option for Homeowners

A new kind of rooftop solar system that enables households to generate their own electricity and to potentially store energy for use after the sun goes down is now being approved by the Hawaiian Electric Companies and installed on island homes.

Tesla Solar PaneThe new systems, believed to be the first of their kind in the U.S., are being installed under Hawaiian Electric Companies’ Customer Self-Supply Program, an alternative to the popular Customer Grid-Supply Program.

The systems are being developed specifically for the Hawaii market and use new inverter technology to provide power to the home but prevent any excess electricity from being exported to the grid. That’s important because, unlike the interconnected power grids on the mainland, there’s a physical limit to the amount of electricity that can be put on island grids at any given moment.

A growing number of these self-supply systems, including products sold by SolarCity, Sunrun, Vivint Solar and RevoluSun, now meet the specifications set by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Hawaiian Electric has been working with these companies to develop standard technical specifications that will qualify systems for an expedited approval and potentially faster installation.

The PUC created the Customer Self-Supply Program as an alternative to the grid-supply program, especially once the grid-supply capacity limits established by the commission were met.

The island’s first approved self-supply rooftop system was recently turned on at a home in Honolulu. Sixteen others on Oahu have been approved by Hawaiian Electric. Maui Electric has approved seven self-supply systems that are awaiting installation.

“Generating electricity, storing it, and using the energy on-site is the new normal. This product will help make the grid stronger and more reliable,” said Jon Yoshimura, director of policy and electricity markets for SolarCity, which recently installed a self-supply system with batteries at a home in Manoa.

“Hawaiian Electric has been an effective partner, working with us to streamline the approval process for this new product. We look forward to bringing more Smart Energy Home solutions to Hawaii, which will help the state achieve its goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045.”

The Customer Grid-Supply program, which credits customers for the excess electricity they send to the grid, is still available on Oahu, though space is going fast. Maui Electric recently reached the capacity limit set by the PUC and Hawaii Island is nearing the limit, but self-supply is available.

For Oahu customers who choose the grid-supply program, Hawaiian Electric recommends a “right-sized” system calculated for the household’s actual energy use rather than an oversized system designed mainly to sell electricity to the grid.

Oversized systems cost more and can potentially export more electricity than the homeowner will receive credit for on their electric bill, since credits expire at the end of each month. Also, the more large systems that are installed on each island, the less room that will be left on the grid for customers who may want to install solar in the future.

“It’s been five years since rooftop solar really took off in Hawaii and more than 77,000 customers have made the choice to use it,” said Jim Alberts, senior vice president of customer service at Hawaiian Electric. “The shift to self-supply is an important evolutionary step to ensure that the rooftop solar option remains sustainable, cost-effective and available to some of the 85 percent of customers who don’t have it.”

For more information, including how to right-size a system, go to https://www.hawaiianelectric.com/clean-energy-hawaii/going-solar

HTDC Awards More Than $3 Million in Grants to Hawaii Companies

The High Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) recently awarded $3,273,533 in funding from two grant programs to 13 Hawaii companies to help support development of new products to solve critical issues. In addition to state funding, the federal government awarded nearly $20 million in research and development grants to the same companies.


The projects receiving funding include: developing next generation 5G technology; enhancing the immune response of inactivated dengue fever vaccines; developing methods for marine fish that can eat invasive algae; and increasing the efficiencies in the design of aerospace vehicles.

Hawaii Small Business Innovation Research Program (HSBIR)
The Hawaii Small Business Innovation Research program (HSBIR) provides funding to companies developing new technology products. There are four phases to the program, with each progressive phase allowing for more extensive funding. Six companies were awarded Phase 1 grants, which funds projects through the earliest stages of product development; and seven companies were granted Phase 2 funding to accelerate getting their products into market. The companies include:

HSBIR Phase 1 Grants:

  • Diagenetix, Inc. ($49,000)
  • Hawaii Biotech ($30,000)
  • Kampachi Farms, LLC ($30,000)
  • Nalu Scientific, LLC ($74,548)
  • Oceanit Laboratories ($40,000)
  • Spectrum Photonics ($49,985)

HSBIR Phase 2 Grants:

  • Hawaii Evolutionary Development, LLC ($346,750)
  • Hawaii Fish Company ($146,250)
  • HNu Photonics ($350,000)
  • Makai Ocean Engineering ($325,000)
  • Spectrum Photonics ($350,000)
  • Studio Kinection ($320,000)
  • Terasys Technologies ($162,000)

Hawaii Office of Naval Research (HONR) Program

  • In addition to the HSBIR grants, HTDC awarded $1 million in matching funds to three companies through the Hawaii Office of Naval Research (HONR) program, a two-year pilot effort to develop energy projects funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research.

HONR Grants:

  • Makai Ocean Engineering ($400,000)
  • Navatek, Ltd. ($300,000)
  • Oceanit Laboratories ($300,000)

“In today’s competitive global landscape, these grants help to support our local businesses as they create new and unique products,” said Luis P. Salaveria, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, which oversees HTDC and promotes Hawaii’s innovation economy. “We are committed to supporting entrepreneurs and small business owners who help drive Hawaii’s economy.”

“We’re thrilled to be able to support these local companies in their research and development efforts through HTDC’s grant programs,” said Robbie Melton, executive director and CEO of HTDC. “Coupled with federal grants, these companies will have resources to continue to develop their technology from concept into a product. Only 20 percent of companies applying for Federal Small Business Innovation Research grants receive funding. The fact that these companies were awarded Federal SBIR grants is a testament to the important research they are doing.”

Blue Jay Wireless to Pay $2Million, Ending Investigation Into Its Tribal Lifeline Reimbursements in Hawaii

The Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau announced that it has reached a settlement with Blue Jay Wireless to resolve an investigation into whether the company improperly enrolled several thousand Hawaiian customers as eligible for enhanced Tribal support reimbursements from the FCC’s Lifeline program.

blue jay

The Lifeline program provides a discount on phone service so that low-income consumers have access to the communications tools necessary to connect with jobs, family, and emergency services.

Qualifying low-income consumers who reside on Tribal lands, which include Hawaiian Home Lands in the State of Hawaii, are eligible for higher support from the Lifeline program (up to an additional $25 per month).

Under the settlement, Blue Jay will reimburse the Universal Service Fund approximately $2 million and adopt substantial compliance procedures. “The Lifeline program is vital to millions of consumers in cities, rural areas, and tribal lands who rely upon it every day to connect with loved ones, interview for jobs, and contact emergency services,” said Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc. “This settlement makes clear that no Lifeline provider should turn a blind eye to potential fraud on the program.”

The Enforcement Bureau’s Universal Service Fund Strike Force conducted the investigation of  Blue Jay, which is headquartered in Texas and is eligible to participate in Lifeline in 17 states and Puerto Rico. The investigation found that Blue Jay had incorrectly requested and received Lifeline Tribal reimbursements for enrolled consumers who did not reside on Hawaiian Home Lands.

In 2014, Hawaii Public Utilities Commission staff informed Blue Jay that the number of Tribal consumers it was claiming appeared to exceed the number of households on Hawaiian Home Lands. Despite knowing that Blue Jay could be improperly claiming enhanced Tribal support reimbursements, Blue Jay continued to seek reimbursement for those improper consumers while it sought to gather more accurate information about its Hawaiian Home Lands Tribal consumers.

This settlement ensures a total of $2,002,000 in reimbursements by Blue Jay to the Universal Service Fund, including the company’s forfeiture of $918,010 in Lifeline disbursements that the Commission has already frozen. Blue Jay also will develop and implement a compliance plan to ensure appropriate procedures are incorporated into its business practices to prevent the enrollment of ineligible Tribal consumers, including the use of an approved software tool to identify and verify the accuracy of consumers’ self-certification of their residency on Tribal Lands.

Last year, the Commission sought public comment on whether to require additional evidence of \residency on Tribal lands beyond self-certification and how carriers should provide proof of eligibility to prevent waste, fraud and abuse of enhanced support. More information can be found here: http://go.usa.gov/xcHNT.

This is the second Lifeline enforcement action this year. In April, the Commission announced that it planned to fine Total Call Mobile $51 million for apparently enrolling tens of thousands of ineligible and duplicate consumers in the Lifeline program. A copy of the Total Call Mobile Notice of Apparent Liability can be found here: http://go.usa.gov/xcH5R.


Hawaii Residents Can Spot the Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

International Space Station

It will be visible beginning tonight, Sunday, July 24, at 8:11 PM. It will be visible for approximately 4 minutes at a Maximum Height of 62 degrees. It will appear 11 degrees above the South Southwest part of the sky and disappear 30 degrees above the East Northeast part of the sky.