Coast Guard Implements New i911 Application to Assist Mariners

In the last three years, more than 500 people were saved around Hawaii by the Coast Guard thanks to cell phones, and now the Coast Guard has a new technology available to find you faster through i911. 

The i911 system is a free service developed by Callyo Incorporated. It provides fast and accurate location data to the Coast Guard in a simple web-based interface. The user’s smartphone can provide Global Positioning System information, potentially up to 20-nautical miles offshore if a mariner has recently or actively connected to a cellular tower.

The Coast Guard’s 14th District has followed other districts in implementing the groundbreaking i911 technology to assist mariners in distress on the waters throughout the Pacific. The Coast Guard ran a pilot program from May to November 2019 in the Northeast, and the new application was instrumental in resolving several search and rescue cases in the New England region. It is now an available tool to Coast Guard command centers across the country as of March 20. (U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo/Released)

“An accurate position eliminates the need to search and decreases the time needed for rescuers to get on scene to provide needed assistance,” says Lt. Meagan Bowis, Sector Honolulu Command Center. “I want to emphasize; the Coast Guard is not actively monitoring all individuals by their cell phone and only has access to a person’s position if granted permission.”

No application download is needed. The Coast Guard can send a text message to the mariner’s cell phone requesting permission to access the GPS location information; all the mariner needs to do is enable location information in their smartphone settings and click the link provided in the text message. You can stop sharing your location at any time, although it is recommended to do so only after being safe and not in distress.

The Coast Guard can then utilize the provided positions to direct search assets to the mariner’s location.

“Many distress calls come in via cell phone,” said Sam Gardner, Sector Honolulu Command Center. “From that call, I can send the phone a location-request text. Once the mariner accepts the request, their location pops up on my screen almost immediately”.

Over the past three years, half of the search and rescue notifications received by District 14 have been made by phone calls through 9-1-1 or directly to the Coast Guard. These calls resulted in 534 lives saved, 1,300 lives assisted, over $10 million in property saved, and $33.5 million in property assisted.

This software is already available to first responders at agencies across the country. The Coast Guard ran a pilot program from May to November 2019 in the Northeast, and the new application was instrumental in resolving several search and rescue cases in the New England region. It is now an available tool to Coast Guard command centers across the country as of March 20.

The Coast Guard’s 14th District has followed other districts in implementing this groundbreaking technology to assist mariners in distress on the waters throughout the Pacific. This tool is not a replacement for standard devices known to mariners, such as Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) and VHF radios. However, the Coast Guard now has the i911 technology as an additional tool to provide lifesaving information from a mariner’s cell phone.

For any questions regarding i911, please visit their website at  http://i911.zendesk.com/

TONIGHT: Spot the International Space Station

Hawai‘i residents can spot the International Space Station (ISS) tonight, Thursday, May 19, 2020, (depending on clouds). It will be visible beginning at 8:11 p.m.

ISS will be visible for approximately six minutes at a maximum height of 50 degrees.

ISS will appear 10 degrees above the southwest part of the sky and disappear 10 degrees above the north-northeast part of the sky.

UH Awarded Maui High Performance Computer Center Contract Valued up to $75M

The University of Hawaiʻi has been awarded a four-year contract valued at up to $75 million by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory to operate the Maui High Performance Computer Center (MHPCC) via the Applied Research Laboratory at the University of Hawaii (ARL at UH). 

Maui High Performance Computer Center (MHPCC)

The contract calls for UH to provide essential engineering, research and development capabilities in emerging computer technology and is intended to lower barriers to a modern High Performance Computing (HPC) ecosystem and high-performance computing-backed solutions. 

“The Maui High Performance Computing Center is the largest extramural project in UH history” said UH President David Lassner and principal investigator. “It is the cornerstone of high-tech on Maui and provides some of the best jobs on the island.”

The university has been operating and managing MHPCC since it first won the contract through a competitive bid in 2001.

“We look forward to our continued partnership to support STEM education, as MHPCC scientists and engineers generously volunteer their time as mentors to students ranging from coaching robotics to fostering internships,” said Leslie Wilkins, president and CEO of Maui Economic Development Board.

MHPCC is one of just five Department of Defense (DOD) Supercomputing Resource Centers nationwide. The new project is known as VaCUUMS–Vanguard Center Unified UARC for MHPCC Support. The purpose of the Vanguard Center is to leverage the core competencies of ARL at UH to accomplish research, development, test and evaluation.

“We sincerely appreciate the support and guidance that we received from the Naval Sea Systems Command in developing this new contract with the US Air Force Research Laboratory,” said ARL at UH Director Margo Edwards. “This is important research for our country and it is exciting that it is happening right here in Hawaiʻi.” 

The late U.S Sen. Daniel K. Inouye was the driving force behind the establishment of the MHPCC in 1993. In 2001, when UH won the contract to operate the center, Inouye stated, “It has long been my hope that the university play a greater role in concert with the Department of Defense in Hawai’i in utilizing the supercomputer for the benefit of its faculty and students.” He also said, “ … a world-class supercomputing center offers tremendous opportunities to advance the frontiers of scientific inquiry and positions Hawaii at the forefront of high-tech research and development.”

UH Ventures Accelerator Announces Companies in Spring 2020 Cohort

The UH Ventures Accelerator, powered by the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE), selected five Hawai‘i startups for its spring 2020 cohort. Designed for early-stage, University of Hawai‘i-affiliated ventures across 10 campuses, the accelerator provides tailored mentorship, intensive startup education and seed funding. Four of the five startups selected address challenges associated with COVID-19.

Five startup companies were named to UH Ventures Accelerator’s spring 2020 cohort.

“When we selected the companies at the end of last year, we had no idea that our reality would be so different today,” said PACE Executive Director Peter Rowan. “It’s exciting to be able to assist these promising startups scale their solutions to solve real challenges we’re facing because of COVID-19. The team of instructors, mentors, advisors and speakers we assembled bring together a wealth of knowledge and experience that will help this cohort gain traction and realize their potential.”

“During the application and selection process, we were most encouraged by the diversity of startups being built by students, alumni, faculty and staff across the 10 campuses within the UH System,” said UH Office of Innovation and Commercialization Interim Director Steve Auerbach. “We look forward to supporting more entrepreneurial activity to help our economy get back on track after the current crisis.”

The companies chosen for the spring 2020 cohort:

Hawaii Innovation Lab – Led by Hawaii Natural Energy Institute post doctoral fellow Arif Rahman, the company develops low-cost, liquid metal, optical coating for flexible mirrors. 

Pharmacist First – Led by Shidler MBA alumnus Colby Takeda, the company provides a telehealth service that partners a clinical pharmacist team with primary care providers to better manage chronic disease.

Radial3D – Led by Shidler alumnus Evan Young, the company delivers 3D clinical lab experiences to medical schools online.

RendezView – Led by PhD computer science student Alberto Gonzalez, the company offers an online meeting platform that helps remote workers collaborate, create and edit in sync. 

Selective HA – Led by Honolulu Community College student Zoe Pastorfiled-Li, the startup began in 2019 and aims to utilize fashion waste and other aloha wear fabrics to make reusable, fashionable face masks. 

More information and applications for the next cohort are available at pace.shidler.hawaii.edu/accelerator.

Students & Mentors Collaborate to Create Disaster Recovery Apps

Billed as the Aloha State’s first virtual hackathon, 4 teams of students from the University of Hawaii at Hilo (UH Hilo) and Hawaii Community College (HawCC) competed remotely from home locations as far away as Spain, Mexico, Washington and California to develop app-based solutions for lava recovery efforts from the 2018 Kilauea eruption. Mentors offered advice from remote locations as far away as Bangladesh, San Francisco and North Carolina. The Hawaii Island Business Plan Competition (HIplan) Hackathon took place April 4 – 5, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day and $5,300 in cash prizes was awarded to winning teams.

$2,500 First Place went to Makamae Kamaka-Mauhili, Brian McMichael, Karly Requelman and Zoe Whitney of The Repair Crew for their Home Raisers App, $1,500 Second Place went to Kevianna Adams, Santos Gutierez, Ryen Helzer and Catherine Kane-Paulo of CommUnity Inc. for their Coconut Grove App, $1,000 Third Place went to Luca Checchia Adell, Casey Chow, Kevin Oh and Jena Shidaki of Double D for their Disaster Defense App and $300 Fourth Place went to Alan Cincunegui Corres, Kapaia’alaopuna Earle and Garnett Stone Jr. of Second Responders for their Second Wave App.

“We were all set to run this hackathon live when COVID-19 forced us to either cancel or go virtual. Then the schools shut down and many of the students return home to far-flung places around the globe,” said Jason Ueki, Executive Director of HIplan. “We were set to use BizzyB.com, an online change-based learning system for the hack and soon realized that we could run it entirely remotely with BizzyB. The most surprising thing for me is that our hack turned into a truly global event with both students and mentors collaborating from remote locations around the world.”

Says mentor Phillipe Rosse, “This is a game-changer. With BizzyB, we realized that we can connect students and mentors in deeper and more efficient ways than ever before. The quality of ideas and attention to detail generated concepts that are infinitely more mature than your average hackathon contest. This takes hacks and STEM education to new heights. More importantly, BizzyB represents the future of education.” 

The goal of any hackathon is to challenge students to address real-world problems, in this case, conceptualizing app-based solutions to support Kilauea Volcano eruption recovery efforts facing Hawaii County. By participating in hands-on concept development activities, students learned leadership, collaboration, creative problem-solving and other “Soft Skills” that are increasingly demanded in today’s business world.

“When schools began closing due to Coronavirus, we made BizzyB entirely free for the rest of the school year,” says BizzyB author and Bizgenics Foundation Chairman Steve Sue. “The HIplan Hackathon is a smart, forward-looking application of BizzyB’s Contest Module created to serve in-class challenges, hackathons, business plan competitions and accelerators. We’re happy to support HIplan and other producers of innovation-based learning programs.”

BizzyB’s approach combines self-directed learning, 4Cs learning (Creativity, Critical-Thinking, Collaboration & Communication), STEM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) and SEL (Social Emotional Learning). The result is an online innovation Concept Canvas where student teams collaborate on five essential themes of an innovation project. This canvas supports remote collaboration via sidebar comment channels, built-in feedback surveys, pitch deck builder and showcase presentation functions. Mentors can view team content and advise remotely from anywhere, anytime. Team members also experience corporate leadership roles serving as facilitators of the five themes. 21st Century Soft Skill measurement standards are measured in the system by pre- and post-project user surveys. Outcomes are reported through contest public pages and through individual student portfolios that feature project summaries, awards, certifications, badges and Soft Skill assessments.

A recorded version of the ending Showcase and Awards Ceremony will be published by mid April at https://bizzyb.com/hiplan-hackathon-2020/.

The event was sponsored by Kamehameha Schools, Ulupono Initiative, County of Hawaii, UH Hilo, and HawCC. It is being produced by the nonprofit HIplan and the nonprofit Bizgenics Foundation.

Judges included Melanie Wilson, Dean of Liberal Arts & Public Services at HawCC, tech entrepreneur Steve Sakoman of Steve Sakoman Inc., and Chris Rehkamp, former Program Manager at the Digman Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland. Mentors included Director of Accelerator Operations at Elemental Excelerator Sherrie Totoki in San Francisco, Americas Advisory Learning Leader Louise Lorton of Ernst & Young in North Carolina, Phillipe Rosse from RFP Match, North Carolina, and a team of coders in Bangladesh. Facilitators included local entrepreneur Mike Nakamura, former tech executive Wayne Morris, and retired tech professional Walter McCoy.

Hawaii’s First Virtual Hackathon

Billed as the Aloha State’s first virtual hackathon, more than 45 students from the University of Hawaii at Hilo (UH Hilo) and Hawaii Community College (HCC) will compete to develop app based solutions for lava recovery efforts from the 2018 Kilauea eruption. The hackathon will take place April 4-5, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 5 pm each day and present $5,000 in cash prizes to winning teams.

“While our hackathon was originally planned to take place on the UH Hilo campus, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced what is normally a live invention event to adapt as a 100 percent remote experience,” said Jason Ueki, Executive Director of the Hawaii Island Business Plan Competition (HIplan). “We selected BizzyB.com, an online collaborative invention platform for students to run our hack on. With BizzyB, we’ve realized that we can connect students and mentors in deeper and more efficient ways as well as ensure more comprehensive coverage of innovate on concepts. This takes hacks and STEM education to new heights. I’m convinced that BizzyB represents the future of education, irrespective of the current Coronavirus threat.”

The goal of any hackathon is to challenge students to address real-world problems, in this case, conceptualizing app-based solutions to support the Kilauea Volcano eruption recovery effort facing Hawaii County. Teams will create app concepts with the potential to become real startups. By participating in hands-on concept development activities, students will learn creative problem-solving and other “Soft Skills” that are increasingly demanded in the business world.

“When schools began closing due to Coronavirus, we made BizzyB entirely free for the rest of the school year,” says BizzyB author and Bizgenics Foundation Chairman Steve Sue. “The HIplan Hackathon is a smart, forward-looking application of BizzyB’s Contest Module that was created to serve in-class challenges, hackathons, business plan competitions and accelerators. We’re happy to support HIplan and other producers of innovation-based learning programs.” 

BizzyB’s approach combines self-directed learning, 4Cs learning (Creativity, Critical-Thinking, Collaboration & Communication), STEM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) and SEL (Social Emotional Learning). The result is an online innovation Concept Canvas where student teams collaborate on five essential themes of an innovation project. This canvas supports remote collaboration via sidebar comment channels, built-in feedback surveys, pitch deck builder and showcase presentation functions. Mentors can view team content and advise remotely from anywhere, anytime. Team members also experience corporate leadership roles serving as facilitators of the five themes. 21st Century Soft Skill measurement standards are measured in the system by pre- and post-project user surveys. Outcomes are reported through contest public pages and through individual student portfolios that feature project summaries, awards, certifications, badges and Soft Skill assessments.

Student admission to the hackathon is free, with signups available on a first-come basis. Educators are invited to watch the live showcase via video conference Sunday, April 5, 2pm Hawaii Standard Time. A recorded version of the showcase will be published following the event. For information, visit https:// bizzyb.com/hiplan-hackathon-2020/.

The event is being sponsored by Kamehameha Schools, Ulupono Initiative, County of Hawaii, UH Hilo, and HCC. It is being produced by HIplanand the nonprofit Bizgenics Foundation.

Judges include State Senator Russell Ruderman, Dean of Liberal Arts & Public Services at HCC Melanie Wilson, Associate Professor of Computer Science & Engineering at HCC Shawon Rahman. Mentors include Director of Accelerator Operations at Elemental Excelerator Sherrie Totoki in San Francisco, Americas Advisory Learning Leader Louise Lorton of Ernst & Young in North Carolina, and a team of coders in Bangladesh. Facilitators include local entrepreneur Mike Nakamura, former tech executive Wayne Morris, and retired tech professional Walter McCoy.

Spectrum Announces Efforts to Help Students Learn Remotely as a Result of COVID-19

Hawaiʻi House Speaker Scott K. Saiki today recognized Spectrum for offering free broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription.

“As Chair of the House Select Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness, I acknowledge the efforts by Spectrum to ensure that our students in Hawaiʻi are able to learn and study remotely during this time of uncertainty,” said Speaker Saiki.

“The House of Representatives created this Select Committee to recommend actions that can be taken by all sectors to secure Hawaiʻi’s economy and financial viability,” Saiki said. “We all know that maintaining public confidence during a time like this is essential for Hawaiʻi’s recovery. This Select Committee demonstrates that we are all in this together and that we will be prepared.”

Spectrum will partner with school districts to raise awareness of this program. In addition, Spectrum will open its Wi-Fi hotspots across its footprint for public use, will not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus, and will waive late fees. 

“Today’s announcement is great news. This is an example of private business stepping up and stepping in to secure our most valuable asset in Hawaiʻi—our young people and future leaders,” said Speaker Saiki. “I look forward to reporting more initiatives like this in the following weeks.”

The House Select Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness met for the first time yesterday to prepare the state for the economic effects of the disease. The next meeting is scheduled for March 23 at the State Capitol. 

For information about the committee including agendas, documents and transcripts, go to https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/specialcommittee.aspx?comm=cov&year=2020.

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