Big Island Robotics Team Wins Sportsmanship Award at 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Championships

Na Paniolo, a robotics team from Kohala High, took home the Sportsmanship Award at the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championship.

Na Paniolo, a robotics team from Kohala High, took home the Sportsmanship Award at the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championship, photo credit: Art Kimura

Robotics teams from Sacred Hearts Academy and Pearl City High School won their respective competition “Excellence Awards” at the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championships, qualifying both to participate in the 2018 VEX World Championships to be held next April in Louisville, Kentucky. Seventy-nine teams from Hawaii, California and China participated in the weekend tournament sponsored by the Hawaiian Electric Companies and Okinawa Enetech with the support of the Engineers’ Council – University of Hawaii and Hawaii Space Grant Consortium.

The Excellence Award is the highest award presented in the VEX Championships, and is presented to a team that exemplifies overall excellence in building a high quality VEX robotics program.

In the VEX IQ Championships comprised of student teams in grades 3-8, the all-girl Sacred Hearts Academy team 2437A entered the finals with their sister team 2437B as the top seeded alliance. Ultimately, team 2437A took home the “Robot Skills Champion Award” and won the “Excellence Award.” According to organizers, team 2437A’s skills score has them ranked fourth in the world after the tournament.

In the VEX VRC Championship comprised of middle and high school students, Pearl City High School’s team 4142A earned the “Design Award” for their organized and professional approach to the design process, project and time management, and team organization, which are all program elements that helped them win the “Excellence Award.” This is the second consecutive year that Pearl City High School qualified for the VEX Worlds through their win at the Pan Pacific VEX.

Other top awards were handed to the Kailua-based Huakailani School for Girls and an independent team (Phoenixbots) from Mililani, which together earned the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX IQ Teamwork Champion Award for their two-team alliance.

A three-team alliance of Molokai High School, Waialua High & Intermediate School and the Rolling Robots from Rolling Hills Estates, California was named the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX VRC Tournament Champions.

Full results of the 2017 Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championship can be found at www.robotevents.com.

Internet Service Down at Big Island Public Libraries

The Hawaii State Public Library System reports that the internet is down at all public libraries on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Library locations on the Big Island.

Equipment and technical staff are being flown in for repairs.  It is not known at this time when the internet will be back up and running.

UPDATE: “Earlier today, the high speed fiber network that provides internet connectivity to all Hawaii State Public Library System staff and public computers on Hawaii Island went down. Limited internet connectivity has been temporarily restored to some Hawaii Island branch staff. Internet connectivity for all public access computers remains down island-wide until further notice.  Equipment and technical staff are being flown to Hawaii Island for repairs.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our Hawaii Island library patrons and thank them for their patience.”

Pacific Aviation Museum Providing Free STEM Program to Hawaii Island Schools

The FREE STEM outreach education program, allowing students to explore science through flight, will be presented to 6th graders in Hilo, Pahoa and Pahala.

More than 500 sixth graders on Hawaii Island will learn about the science behind aviation when members of Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor’s Barnstorming Program travel to Hawaii Island for the first time, October 16-27, 2017. The term “barnstorming” refers to a style of stunt piloting that was performed in the 1920’s to showcase pilots’ skills and the sturdiness of the planes they flew.

Barnstorming photos of a previous session at Benjamin Parker Elementary School on Oahu. Photo credit: Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor

Pacific Aviation Museum’s Barnstorming Program was developed in 2008 by staff at the Museum in collaboration with educators and science advisors from University of Hawaii at Manoa, and since its inception, has reached over 26,000 sixth graders in their classrooms on Oahu, Maui, and Kauai. The 90-minute curriculum is aligned to the Hawaii State Content Standards for Grade 6, and uses:

  • Table-top experiments where students are introduced to the two most important concepts in the science of aviation – Newton’s Third Law of Motion and Bernoulli’s Principle;
  • A portable wind tunnel that allows students to manipulate an airfoil inside a working wind tunnel via remote control. Students see the effects that airflow have on a wing, and how different velocities of the airstream can change a wing’s reaction to their controller inputs. Students discover how scientists and engineers use wind tunnels to design and test objects people use daily, from aircraft and cars, to homes; and
  • A P-40 flight simulator that serves as the culmination of the Barnstorming experience, where after learning the basic concepts through table-top experiments and the wind tunnel, students take the controls of a flying machine. The flight simulator allows students to operate the control surfaces (rudder, elevators and ailerons) that they learned about in the initial presentation, and decide what stick or pedal inputs they will need to obtain their desired movements. Student aviators fly the P-40 through several scenarios, including takeoff, landing, basic control familiarization, as well as pursuit and dogfight maneuvers.

Costs incurred to bring the program and equipment to Hawaii Island is being underwritten by a $5,000 grant from Boeing.

“Aviation plays such an important role in our everyday lives, from an economic and social point of view, to protecting our nation from harm,” said Shauna Tonkin, Director of Education, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor. “Our Barnstorming Program is designed to incorporate all elements of science, technology, engineering and mathematics through interesting and hands-on activities that not only help students understand the scientific principles of flight, but also introduces aviation and aeronautical engineering as a viable career. We hope to continue taking this program on the road to students throughout Hawaii. Our ability to do this is based on the generous support we receive from businesses and foundations, such as Boeing.”

Beginning October 16, Pacific Aviation Museum will bring its Barnstorming program to the following schools:

October 16: Ernest Bowen DeSilva Elementary, Hilo
October 17-19: Waiakea Intermediate, Hilo
October 20: Hawaii Academy of Arts & Science, Pahoa
October 23: Ka’u High & Pahala Elementary, Pahala
October 24: Pahoa Intermediate, Pahoa
October 25-27: Waiakea Intermediate, Hilo

On the evening of October 23, Pacific Aviation Museum will also host a free community outreach event at Ka’u High & Pahala Elementary School called Discover Your Future in Aviation (DYFA). Mirrored after the Museum’s annual DYFA on Oahu, the event is designed as an interactive fair that provides youth with information and resources related to the aviation and aerospace industries.

With a special emphasis on young women and underserved populations, DYFA’s goal is to generate interest and present STEM career opportunities by having exhibitors in the field of aerospace and aviation at the event, coupled with interactive STEM-related activities. The event will also feature keynote speaker Z. Nagin Cox, a NASA Mars Rover engineer who has held leadership and system engineering positions on interplanetary robotic missions including the Galileo mission to Jupiter, the Mars Exploration Rovers, the Kepler exoplanet hunter, InSight, and the Mars Curiosity Rover. In 2015, Asteroid 14061 was named after her by its discoverers.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. Its mission is to develop and maintain an internationally recognized aviation museum on Historic Ford Island that educates young and old alike, honors aviators and their support personnel who defended freedom in The Pacific Region, and to preserve Pacific aviation history.

Hawaii Electric Light’s Energy Fair on Oct. 21

Hawaii Electric Light invites the community to its energy fair on Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Keauhou Shopping Center.

The free, family-friendly event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and feature educational displays, demonstrations, and interactive activities on electrical safety, energy conservation, electric vehicles and fast charger stations, renewable energy, and our plan to reach a 100% renewable energy future.

Fun activities will include games as well as building and racing a model solar boat made with recycled products. Enjoy live, local entertainment by Kahakai Elementary School, The Humble Project, Kealakehe High School Dance Team, Mauka Soul, and Solid Roots Band.

For more information on the energy fair, visit www.hawaiielectriclight.com/energyfair or call 327-0543.

Hawai‘i Telehealth Summit Moves State Toward Increasing Access to Healthcare Using Innovative Technology

More than 150 healthcare and information technology professionals from throughout the state will gather for the Hawaiʻi Telehealth Summit this week to explore ways to improve access to care for Hawaiʻi residents through telehealth technology.

The two-day Hawaiʻi Telehealth Summit, co-sponsored by the Hawaiʻi Department of Health (DOH) and the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, will be held at the John A. Burns School of Medicine and the Dole Cannery Ballrooms on Oct. 12 and 13.

“Today, we have technology capable of improving access to healthcare services for Hawai‘i residents who are homebound or living in rural areas, including the neighbor islands where there is a shortage of specialists,” said Dr. Virginia Pressler, director of the Hawai‘i Department of Health. “The Department of Health has adopted telehealth for adolescent psychiatric counseling and has piloted teledentistry for West Hawai‘i residents, but as a state, we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface.

The event will feature exhibits and hands-on demonstrations of the latest telehealth technologies, equipment, and services.

On the first day, summit attendees will hear a keynote address, “Telepresence Skills: How to build and maintain authentic and effective provider-patient relationships when practicing telemedicine,” by Dr. David Roth of Mind and Body Works.  The second day of the summit will feature keynote addresses from Gov. David Ige and Congressman Brian Schatz. The event will culminate in facilitated discussions to establish a statewide telehealth strategic plan.

Hawai‘i has adopted new payment models to keep pace with advances in telehealth technology. In July 2016, Gov. Ige signed a law that allows healthcare providers to receive the same reimbursements for patient care, whether it is through a telehealth consultation or a face-to-face office visit. These types of changes are expected to further accelerate telehealth’s popularity in Hawai‘i.

“It is exciting that the telehealth law paves the way for tremendous opportunity for providers and communities in Hawaiʻi, but there is still a lot of work to be done,” said Denise Konan, the dean of the UH Mānoa College of Social Sciences. “The university is fully supportive of the summit and committed to bringing people together to keep the momentum going.”

Currently, about 15 percent of Hawaiʻi physicians use electronic communications to deliver health care, according to the Hawaiʻi Physician Workforce Assessment Project’s 2017 report to the state legislature.

“Telehealth is changing the way providers interact with patients,” Dr. Pressler said. “Telehealth is particularly convenient for our island state, where many segments of our population face challenges in accessing quality healthcare due to geographical constraints. Telehealth can be a cost-effective alternative to the more traditional face-to-face way of providing medical care and provides greater access to healthcare.”

For example, the state’s physician shortage often forces neighbor islands residents to fly to Oʻahu for treatment. These patients — or government programs such as Medicaid — must absorb the added cost of travel and patients must endure long wait times. With telehealth, medical specialists on Oʻahu can treat patients at smaller, neighbor island hospitals that lack such specialists.

Pressler added, “We look forward to working with our partners in the community to develop a strategic plan for telehealth and ultimately improve the way we deliver healthcare for Hawaiʻi’s people.”

For additional information on the summit, call the DOH Office of Planning, Policy and Program Development at (808) 586-4188.

Asteroid Named After Hawai’i County Traffic Engineer

Ronald Thiel (Courtesy Photo)

Hawaiʻi County Traffic Division Chief Ronald Thiel knows lights.  Much of his work focuses on keeping local streets safe with street lights, traffic lights and hazard lights.

He also knows where lights are not helpful – when light pollution interferes with the work of astronomers and the lives of native wildlife.  For Thiel’s work preserving “dark skies” in Hawaiʻi County, an asteroid was recently named in his honor – 9923 ronaldthiel.

The asteroid naming ceremony took place on September 28, 2017, presented by Dr. Richard Wainscoat of the University of Hawai’i at a meeting of the Mauna Kea User’s Committee in Hilo.  The asteroid was first discovered by astronomer Bobby Bus on March 7, 1981, with an orbit of 1,723 days around the sun.  It has a diameter of 2.55 miles.

Over the years, Thiel has doggedly pushed for innovation, sometimes going against the flow of traffic.  Industry naysayers said it could not be done with Light-Emitting-Diode (LED) lamps, so he waited for technology to catch up, and he searched for the right manufacturer.

In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act made it possible to take small steps with the purchase of the first LED street lamps.  Subsequent County investments and a partnership with the State of Hawaiʻi resulted in the installation of 11,000 LED lamps on County and State roadways across Hawaiʻi Island.  Hawaiʻi County, which is nearly the size of the state of Connecticut, became the first county in the nation to convert all of its street lights to LED lamps.

The LED lamps support the Island’s $58.4 million astronomy industry’s needs for dark skies.  Island observatories scan the heavens to improve our understanding of the far reaches of space, including asteroids like the 9923 ronaldthiel.

The lamps use filters to remove the LED’s blue spectrum, resulting in improved visibility, safer roads, and reduced eye fatigue by cutting glare.  The filtered lamps have also proven to be far less of an attraction for Hawaiʻi’s endemic threatened and endangered birds and bats.  The highly-efficient lamps have also reduced electrical and maintenance costs by over 50 percent, so the new fittings, lamps and installation expenses will pay for themselves in five years.  An added benefit is that the LED lamps have a life of 20 years.  The low-pressure sodium bulbs they replaced typically lasted just over four years.

Senator Hirono Secures Federal Funding for Clean Energy Research and Development in Hawaii

Kampachi Farms and Makai Ocean Engineering Receive $1.5 Million to Harness Power of Seaweed as Potential Energy Source

Senator Mazie K. Hirono today announced that two Hawaii businesses will receive $1.5 million in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funding to develop offshore seaweed as a potential clean energy source. The funding was awarded through DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) program.

“These grants recognize the innovative work being done in Hawaii to research and develop renewable energy resources,” said Senator Hirono, member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. “This funding will assess the viability of developing seaweed as an energy source, and explore how to use local resources to meet Hawaii’s renewable energy goals.”

Under the grant, Kampachi Farms in Kailua-Kona received $500,000 to develop an offshore seaweed production farm and test harvesting techniques for future use in renewable energy production.

“Marine agronomy – the culture of limu (seaweed) in oceanic conditions – offers potential for increased production of food, feeds and fuel,” said Neil Sims, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Kampachi Farms. “Using the power of the ocean’s primary production, we can increase availability of healthful food for people, feeds for fish and other animals, and biofuels for a carbon neutral planet, with minimal use of land, freshwater or artificial fertilizers. Offshore culture of limu connects innovative aquaculture with Hawaiian culinary traditions. It also offers – in our estimation – the only possible means of harnessing entrepreneurial resources to create incentives for countering ocean acidification.”

In addition, Makai Ocean Engineering in Honolulu will receive $995,978 to create a model that simulates the ocean to help researchers determine the proper design and estimate costs of offshore seaweed farming systems.

“Makai is thrilled to be selected for award alongside Kampachi Farms by ARPA-E under this innovative program,” said Duke Hartman, vice president of business development at Makai Ocean Engineering. “In addition to advancing the state of the art in macroalgae cultivation, Makai will be strengthening our expertise in technologies with many other applications, such as autonomous and underwater robotics, biological and oceanographic numerical modeling, and offshore engineering. This project builds on our 44 year track record of developing cutting-edge technologies and bringing high-paying, high-tech jobs home to Hawaii for our kamaaina.”

Senator Hirono continues to advocate for ARPA-E funding. Earlier this year, she wrote a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee urging for continued funding for ARPA-E after the President threatened to slash the program by $20 million in an effort to wind it down.

Hawaii Governor Proclaims October ‘Cyber Security Awareness Month’

As part of Gov. David Y. Ige proclaiming October 2017 “Cyber Security Awareness Month,” the Hawaii Department of Defense Office of Homeland Security, in partnership with the Hawaii State Public Library System and local nonprofit Cyber Hui, will be offering cyber safety public awareness sessions led by cyber professionals throughout the month.

On Oct. 4, 2017, the following gathered in the governor’s office to support local Cyber Security Awareness Month efforts: (from left) Brig. Gen. Kenneth Hara, Deputy Adjutant General, Hawaii Department of Defense; Marya Zoller, Acting Director, Hawaii State Library; Dennis Gibson, Chairman, CyberHawaii; Todd Nacapuy, Chief Information Officer, Office of Enterprise Technology Services; Stacey Aldrich, State Librarian, Hawaii State Public Library System; Reynold Hioki, State Cybersecurity Coordinator, Hawaii Department of Defense; Rachelle Mansilungan, Acting President, Collegiate Cybersecurity Student Clubs; and Roland Yee, representative of Hawaii Cybersecurity Professional Associations. (Courtesy of the Office of the Governor, State of Hawaii)

“Cyber security and safety is a shared responsibility in which each of us has a critical role,” Gov. Ige said. “Awareness of computer and online best practices will improve the overall security of Hawaii’s information, infrastructure and economy.”

The community-focused sessions will be held at local public libraries, shopping centers, and other locations statewide. Presentations will provide basic cyber best practices, also known as cyber hygiene. The range of topics will include malware protection, passwords, wifi usage, online shopping and banking, scams, safe email habits, phishing, data backup, and social media. Most sessions are scheduled to run approximately one hour and include an informal question and answer portion.

The schedule of sessions is available at the state Office of Homeland Security’s newly launched Cyber Awareness website (ohs.hawaii.gov/cyber), which will also offer additional information to assist in awareness and understanding of cyber issues faced by the local community. The website will provide cyber safety tips, information resources, information on other events and announcements, awareness training/education, community engagements and other cyber-related areas.

“It’s very exciting to see our community actively engaging the many cyber safety challenges we are confronted with today,” said Maj. Gen. Logan. “From this summer’s student CyberStart program to our planned Cyber Security Awareness Month safety sessions, Hawaii is becoming a safer place to be connected.”

State Librarian Stacey Aldrich added: “Educating our community about cyber security issues and how to protect themselves in our technology-driven world is vital. The Hawaii Public Library System is happy to be a part of this important learning opportunity.”

State Commits to Strengthening Cyber Defense, Workforce

Gov. Ige proclaimed Cyber Security Awareness Month in Hawaii on Oct. 4 in recognition of the state’s role in identifying, protecting its citizens from, and responding to cyber threats that may have significant impact to individual and collective security and privacy.

In July 2017, Hawaii joined a multi-state cybersecurity compact signed by thirty-eight governors to enhance state cybersecurity and develop the cyber workforce; the “Compact to Improve State Cybersecurity” is part of the National Governors Association’s “Meet the Threat: States Confront the Cyber Challenge” initiative and makes recommendations to better secure states’ cyber infrastructure by building cybersecurity governance, preparing and defending the state from cybersecurity events, and growing the nation’s cybersecurity workforce.

“The State of Hawaii has already taken proactive steps toward the compact’s goals, including establishing a state chief information security officer, reclassifying IT security positions to align with modern industry best practices, offering cyber internship opportunities, and implementing a state workforce awareness program,” said state Chief Information Officer Todd Nacapuy, who leads the Office of Enterprise Technology Services, the agency responsible for securing state government information resources and infrastructure.

Cyber Security Awareness Month in Hawaii coincides with the national observance, recognized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (www.dhs.gov/cyber), the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (www.cisecurity.org/ms-isac), and industry partners which collectively encourage all citizens to learn about cybersecurity to put that knowledge into practice in their homes, schools, workplaces, and businesses. The Stop.Think.Connect.™ campaign serves as the national cybersecurity public awareness campaign, implemented through a coalition of private companies, nonprofit and government organizations, as well as academic institutions working together to increase the understanding of cyber threats and empowering the American public to be safer and more secure online.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Launch Online Tool to Streamline Solar Application Process

Customers submitting new applications to install private rooftop solar can now complete the process entirely online using a new tool launched by the Hawaiian Electric Companies.

The Customer Interconnection Tool (CIT) is believed to be the first of its kind to provide a seamless, start-to-finish online solar application process that allows customers of Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light to check the status of their applications. The tool provides a user-friendly interface to guide contractors and customers through all steps of the Customer Self-Supply program application process, from submittal to finalizing the agreement.

“We’re excited to offer a streamlined electronic process to our customers,” said Jim Alberts, senior vice president of customer service. “The tool is able to show customers exactly where they are in the application process, which eliminates guesswork. This is one more way to make interacting with our companies as smooth and as easy as possible.”

CIT allows applicants to submit all of their information, including electronic documents, online. For convenience, customers and their designated representatives will have the ability to submit electronic signatures as well.

Applicants are prompted to provide required documentation, reducing the potential for delays caused by errors of omission. The tool also automatically calculates the system size based on four design guidelines, which simplifies the procedure.

Customers will receive regular status updates by email as various milestones are reached, keeping them informed every step of the way.

For more information, visit:

www.hawaiianelectric.com/DistributedEnergyResources

www.hawaiianelectric.com/CITonline

Hawaii County Displays Portable Shelter to Raise Awareness of Need to Help Homeless

The County of Hawai’i is displaying a portable shelter on its lawn this week as a way of raising awareness of the need to join hands to help the homeless of our community.

The 20-foot diameter fiberglass dome was loaned to the County by the First Assembly of God in Moanalua on O‘ahu following a faith-based summit to address family homelessness in Hawai‘i on Wednesday.  The congregation led by Pastor Daniel Kaneshiro shipped the dome at its own expense to Hilo for the summit, and is lending it to the County to display for a week.

Photo via intershelter.com

The dome is one of 10 that the O‘ahu congregation uses to house homeless families on its church property.  County Public Works crews on Thursday assembled the dome, which is a series of interlocking panels complete with windows, on a platform within an hour and a half.

“This is a great concept,” said Mayor Harry Kim as he inspected the dome. “The County is developing a master plan to address our homeless crisis, and this concept is one of the options that we are looking at to provide temporary shelters.”

The County is working on a comprehensive, multi-pronged plan that addresses not only houselessness, but also mental health issues, workforce development, health and hygiene, financial literacy and education in an effort to tackle the many causes of homelessness.  A broad coalition of the County, State, churches, non-profits, businesses, and other concerned citizens is rallying to help.  The ultimate goal is to graduate the people who are helped into affordable housing, jobs and a better future.

Dome developer Captain Don Kubley of Juneau, Alaska, was on hand to explain that the dome can sleep a family of four, with 12-foot ceiling capable of accommodating a loft for sleeping or storage space.  Kubley said that he is negotiating an order for 40,000 domes from FEMA, to house hurricane victims in Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico.  The price per 20-foot diameter standard white unit for humanitarian purposes, with two windows and a door, is $9,500.

Kubley said that when Hawai’i needs his InterShelter domes: “You will be put at the front of the production queue.”

Hawaii State Energy Office Schedules Community Meetings on Utility Model Study

The Hawaii State Energy Office (HSEO) will host a series of community meetings across the state next week to solicit community input for a study being done on future models for utility ownership and regulation in Hawaii.

HSEO, a division of the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), is undertaking the study at the request of the Hawaii State Legislature to evaluate the costs and benefits of various electric utility ownership models, as well as the viability of various utility regulatory approaches to help Hawaii in achieving its energy goals. The study will examine scenarios for each of Hawaii’s counties.

HSEO has contracted with Boston-based London Economics International (LEI) to carry out the study, which is expected to be completed by January 2019. LEI and subcontractor Meister Consultants Group will lead the community meetings for Oct. 9-13. The meeting schedule is as follows:

Maui County:

  • Wailuku, Oct. 9, 5:30 – 7 p.m.. Wailuku Community Center, 395 Waena St. RSVP Link
  • Kaunakakai, Oct. 10, 5:30-7 p.m. Mitchell Pauole Center Main Hall, 90 Ainoa St. RSVP Link
  • Lanai City, Oct. 11, 5:30-7 p.m.  Lanai Community Center, Eighth St. and Lanai Ave. RSVP Link

Hawaii County:

  • Kailua-Kona, Oct. 9, 5:30 – 7 p.m. NELHA Research Campus, Hale Iako Building, 73-970 Makako Bay Drive. RSVP Link
  • Hilo, Oct. 10, 5:30 – 7 p.m.  Waiakea High School, 155 W Kawili St. RSVP Link

Kauai County:

  • Lihue, Oct. 12, 5:30 – 7 p.m. Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, 4431 Nuhou St. RSVP Link

Honolulu County:

  • Waialua, Oct. 11, 5:30 – 7 p.m. Waialua High & Intermediate School, 67-160 Farrington Highway. RSVP Link
  • Honolulu, Oct. 13, approx. 6 – 7:30 p.m. Hawaii Foreign Trade Zone #9, Homer Maxey Conference Center, 521 Ala Moana Blvd. Suite 201, Pier 2. RSVP Link

Next week’s meetings will focus on the topic of utility ownership and the role the utility plays in achieving community and state goals, including achieving 100 percent renewable energy in the electricity sector and minimizing costs. There are two additional rounds of statewide meetings scheduled. The second round of meetings slated for next spring will focus on utility regulatory models, while the third round of meetings next fall will be used to gather community input on draft findings of the report.

Community members planning on attending the meetings are encouraged to RSVP at the link above. Light refreshments will be served. Those unable to attend a meeting in person can view a copy of the material presented, which will be posted on HSEO’s website after the meetings, and may participate by submitting feedback via email to: dbedt.utilitybizmodstudy@hawaii.gov. Questions about the meetings or the study can be emailed to the same address.

Hawaii Launches New Online Workforce Tax Credit Application

Tax Credits for Hiring Vets Can Be Just a Click Away

Businesses applying for tax credits for hiring veterans and others can now do it online the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations announced. The Workforce Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a federal program that makes tax credits available to employers who hire veterans and individuals with significant barriers to employment.

“Making these requests available online is part of my effort to make government more effective and efficient while also facilitating the employment of our veterans and other job seekers,” said Gov. Ige. “I especially appreciate the department using special federal grant monies to develop the eApplication without State funds.”

Using the WOTC eApplication service, employers fill out online forms and their requests are immediately entered in to the processing queue. The WOTC eApplication also centralizes the processing of requests and serves as a repository for supporting documentation, all of which results in improved efficiency in processing.

“The department receives nearly 400 certification requests a month for the tax credit,” said DLIR Director Linda Chu Takayama. “This service enables employers to monitor the status of their requests via a personalized dashboard, which is a level of service we could not provide before.”

The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) Workforce Development Division developed the WOTC eApplication service as part of the eHawaii.gov State Portal Program (portal.ehawaii.gov). The department strongly recommends that employers use the new electronic system, but anticipates lag time before the federal government updates its website. Businesses seeking to use the new system may inquire through the following methods:

Email: dlir.workforce.develpment@hawaii.gov
Phone: (808) 686-8877
Mail: Workforce Development Division
Rm 112
830 Punchbowl St
Honolulu, HI 96813

About the Workforce Development Division
Workforce Development Division (WDD) is a customer-driven workforce development system that assists job seekers, workers and industries. WDD provides a free referral and placement service that links qualified job seekers with employers. WDD also strives to develop and maintain various partnerships with the private sector to identify emerging employment trends, technological advances, declining industries and economic issues. The division develops grant proposals in coordination with other agencies to carry out employment and training program activities and services.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Fights to Prevent the FCC From Dismantling Broadband Internet Standards

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) signed a bicameral letter to urge Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai not to relax Internet broadband standards for millions of Americans across the country which would most adversely affect rural, tribal, and low-income communities. The FCC announced in a Notice of Inquiry that it would consider lowering the standards of broadband Internet access speeds from 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload to 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload, while also classifying a mobile Internet connection as a suitable replacement for home broadband.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said:

“It is indisputable that high-speed broadband Internet access is essential to succeed in today’s economy, and that rural, tribal and low-income communities already face significant obstacles to accessing 21st century jobs, training programs, and educational opportunities.  According to the FCC’s own 2016 report, 39 percent of rural Americans and 41 percent of tribal communities lack access to acceptable internet speeds, creating significant obstacles that often inhibit them from doing things like promoting their business, communicating with their families, and accessing education tools.  I’ve heard this firsthand from constituents in my district who live in very rural communities.  Often, the only access to the Internet for kids in school was through a parent’s wireless hotspot signal.

“The FCC should be looking at how to expand and strengthen the infrastructure and high-speed Internet in America’s rural, tribal and low-income communities.  By opting instead to lower the bar and redefine what constitutes an acceptable Internet connection, the FCC continues on its current trend towards favoring corporate interests over American consumers.  Should the FCC’s proposals move forward, they will create more obstacles for working Americans by putting them behind the technology curve.

“I firmly support the expansion of high-speed Internet access to rural and tribal areas, which is why I cosponsored H. Con. Res. 63, which calls for the availability of high-speed Internet for all Americans.”

NBA Stars Help Open a Newly Refurbished Computer Lab for Students

Stevenson Middle School and the L.A. Clippers Foundation dedicated a newly refurbished computer lab earlier today before students, teachers and special guests, along with members of the L.A. Clippers Foundation and the Hawaii Tourism Authority. The Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan also joined the dedication ceremony with a special appearance by the team’s mascot, Chuck the Condor.

Blake Griffin of the L.A. Clippers with students on new computers in the Stevenson Middle School lab.

“Our students are so thankful for the wonderful generosity of the L.A. Clippers Foundation. The new computers will provide technology access to more students,” said Principal Linell Dilwith. “We want to thank the Hawaii Tourism Authority for connecting us with the L.A. Clippers Foundation, and a big mahalo to the foundation and Denise Booth for their hard work in making this new computer lab a reality.”

The Clippers’ mascot, Chuck the Condor, tries his hand (or wing?) on the ukulele with students.

Stevenson Middle received a donation of nearly $40,000 in computer equipment from the L.A. Clippers Foundation, including 30 HP ProDesk desktops, two Canon wireless printers and a 55-inch television for instruction. In addition to converting the classroom into a computer lab, the donation will also provide a new central air conditioning unit for the room.

“These are not just computers,” said Gillian Zucker, president of business operations for the L.A. Clippers, “they’re windows to the world that I hope make learning fun. That’s really what we want to do. We want to make coming to school a better experience for students.”

Students, Gillian Zucker, DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin, VP Sonja Samsonas and Principal Linell Dilwith untie the official maile lei opening Stevenson Middle’s refurbished computer lab.

The computer lab will be accessible to all students for the school’s digital and online programs. Stevenson’s Media/Photography Club will be housed in the new lab and will use the equipment to produce the student newsletter and document school activities. Coincidentally, the computer lab happens to have a special room number — 213 — which corresponds to Chuck the Condor’s jersey number and LA’s area code.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard to Host Live Immigration Telephone Townhall with Hawaiʻi, National Experts

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) will host a live immigration-focused “telephone town hall” on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at 4:00pm HST with local and national immigration experts from the ACLU Hawaiʻi, Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Coalition, and National Immigration Law Center.

The call will provide an update on immigration issues including DACA and federal immigration reform, give constituents an overview of resources Rep. Gabbard’s office can help with including Social Security, immigration and naturalization applications, passports and visas, and more, and provide constituents an opportunity to ask questions related to immigration.

Please note: To protect each individual’s privacy, constituents living in Hawaiʻi’s Second Congressional District with questions regarding a personal claim or casework should contact Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s office directly at (808) 541-1986 or TulsiOffice@mail.house.gov.

How to participate:

  • To call in live at the time of the event, call 888-476-4187 at 4:00pm HST on Wednesday October 4 to be joined in to the call
  • To receive a pre-call reminder to join this event: Text “TULSI” to 828282, OR go to vekeo.com/reptulsigabbard and enter your name, phone number and email. Once you submit your information, you will receive a confirmation email. You must click “Verify” in the confirmation email in order to complete your registration

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the Space Station Tonight

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

Photo via Ignazio Magnani in the Space Station.

It will be visible beginning tonight, Saturday, September 23rd, at 6:33 PM. It will be visible for approximately 6 minutes at a maximum height of 50 degrees. It will appear 11 degrees above the South Southwest part of the sky and disappear 10 degrees above the Northeast part of the sky.

You can view a livestream from the space station here: https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the International Space Station Tonight

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


It will be visible beginning tonight, Friday, September 22, at 7:25 PM. It will be visible for approximately 5 minutes at a maximum height of 54 degrees. It will appear 11 degrees above the Southwest part of the sky and disappear 24 degrees above the North Northeast part of the sky.

You can view a livestream from the space station here: https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive

U.S. EPA Awards $100,000 Innovative Technology Contract to Hawaii Small Business

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded $100,000 to Oceanit Laboratories, Inc., located in Honolulu, to develop a nontoxic coating for use in water pipeline repair. The company is one of 15 small businesses nationwide receiving a total of $1.6 million to develop technologies that will help protect human health and the environment.

“EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research program is awarding funding to these small businesses because they have demonstrated the potential to create technologies that will improve our environment and our economy,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “These technologies are focused on creating cutting-edge products that can help solve today’s complex environmental problems and enhance economic growth.”

Oceanit Laboratories received the funding to develop a corrosion-resistant, nontoxic coating to protect the interior of aging pipelines. The application process for the coating will allow heavily corroded pipes to be retrofitted and refurbished in place.

“Utilizing Oceanit’s family of EverPel repellent coatings, which can be applied in-situ via in-line pigging to previously worn and in-service pipelines, we are addressing the need for rapid, cost-efficient refurbishment of water transport pipelines without the need for full excavation and replacement,” said Matthew Nakatsuka, Senior Materials Engineer for Oceanit. “We look forward to applying and adapting research and technologies from the energy and defense sectors to addressing this pressing domestic concern, and are excited to work with the EPA in developing new ways to promote public health and infrastructure safety.”

EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding boosts local economies by creating jobs and promoting collaborations among small businesses through product testing and research. The funding also supports technologies aimed at creating cleaner manufacturing materials and better infrastructure in communities.

Companies compete for SBIR Phase I awards of up to $100,000 by submitting research that addresses key environmental issues. After receiving a Phase I award, companies are eligible to compete for Phase II awards of $300,000 to further develop and commercialize the technology.

EPA is one of 11 federal agencies that participate in the SBIR Program established by the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982.

For more information on EPA’s SBIR Phase I recipients, visit https://go.usa.gov/xRHhV.

Learn more about EPA’s SBIR program at www.epa.gov/sbir.

Learn more about the SBIR Program across the federal government at www.sbir.gov/

Hawaii Pacific University and Honokaa High Launch Virtual Classroom

Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) and Honokaa High School today kicked off their new partnership that gives Honokaa students access to HPU’s new, virtual college-credit program. The 17 Honokaa students who are enrolled in the program will connect with HPU professors using video technology that allows for real-time learning.

The 17 Honoka’a students who are enrolled in the program will connect with HPU professors using video technology that allows for real-time learning.  Photo Credit: HPU

“This innovative partnership with Hawaii Pacific University helps us equip students for success at the next level, empower them to explore their potential, and inspire them to reach their aspirations,” said Suzanne Mulcahy, Hawaii State Department of Education. “Together, as a community, we can meet and exceed our goal to successfully guide students to become leaders for Hawai’i’s future.”

“We are grateful to HPU for this partnership as it gives our students direct access to a post-secondary education trajectory,” said Rachelle Matsumura, principal of Honokaa High & Intermediate School. “Programs like this encourage our students to strive for their highest potential and provides a valuable head start on earning college credits that will potentially save them time and money.”

This program is the first of its kind for the private university, which provides real-time, distance learning for high school students. To increase access and opportunities for Honokaa students, HPU tuition has been waived so the high school students may earn college credits and experience the university’s rich curriculum.

“HPU is deeply committed to making higher education increasingly cost-efficient, attainable, and expedient for the students in our local communities,” said John Gotanda, HPU president.  “We recognize an opportunity to not only provide our keiki o ka aina with their best chance to attain their desired goals, but also attract and cultivate high achievers within our islands who will one day be leaders of our community making a profound impact on Hawai’i and beyond.”

L to R: Rachelle Matsumura, principal of Honoka’a High & Intermediate; Assistant Superintendent Suzanne Mulcahy; Complex Area Superintendent Art Souza; John Gotanda, president of HPU; Carol Mon Lee.  Photo Credit: HPU

Dual Credit allows Hawaii DOE high school students to take classes that satisfy requirements for both a Hawaii high school diploma and a University degree.

The Dual Credit program is also made possible through generous support from Carol Mon Lee, a retired lawyer and educator.  Ms. Lee’s investment makes higher education more attainable for local students. She noted, “President Gotanda’s vision for educating the youth of Hawaii, especially those in our public schools, is not just inspiring but vital to our state.”

Ms. Lee currently volunteers as executive-vice president and chief operating officer of ThinkTech Hawaii, a non-profit media company. She also sits on the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education and the Board of Governors, UC Hastings College of Law, San Francisco.

The partnership highlights HPU’s expertise as the state leader in online education and expands its services to support public high school students. The university has been providing online education for deployed students in the military and have provided dual-credit programs with high schools around the state. In 2016, HPU became the first school in Hawaii to be approved by a state agency to participate in NC-SARA, a national authorization program to reciprocate online education across state lines.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Submit Plan to Modernize Island Grids

The Hawaiian Electric Companies filed their Grid Modernization Strategy with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) yesterday, providing a roadmap for building more resilient and renewable-ready island grids.

Yesterday’s filing follows the submission of the companies’ draft report in late June. The draft was posted online and presented at four public meetings on Maui, Hawaii Island and Oahu to review the strategy with customers, answer their questions and receive their comments. Dozens of written comments and transcripts of the public meetings are included in a separate document that accompanied the filing.

The plan, “Modernizing Hawaii’s Grid for Our Customers,” outlines near-term initiatives that strengthen the grid through investments in technology to enable more renewable energy resources to be safely and efficiently integrated with the grid, including private rooftop solar.

Longer term, the strategy is to continue to evolve the grid as a platform to enable greater customer choice and support statewide economic development and “smart communities” efforts that rely on robust data and energy management systems.

The Companies estimate it will cost $205 million to update the energy networks of Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light over the next six years. The plan aims to help bring on more renewable resources – customer-sited and grid-sourced – increase reliability, and give customers new choices to manage their energy use.

Highlights of this near-term work include:

  • Distribution of smart meters strategically rather than system-wide, i.e., to customers with private rooftop solar on saturated circuits and customers interested in demand response programs, variable rates or electricity usage data
  • Reliance on advanced inverter technology to enable greater rooftop solar adoption
  • Expanded use of voltage management tools, especially on circuits with heavy solar penetration to maximize circuit capacities for private rooftop solar and other customer resources
  • Enhanced outage management and notification technology

To read the filing, please use the following links:

www.hawaiianelectric.com/gridmod

www.hawaiielectriclight.com/gridmod

www.mauielectric.com/gridmod