Digital Government Summit explores Hawaii tech roadmap

Nearly 700 state employees, community leaders and members of the public joined Governor Neil Abercrombie today for the 2012 Hawaii Digital Government Summit at the Hilton Hawaiian Village to engage employees and other stakeholders in the state’s business and information technology transformation initiative. Presented by Government Technology Executive Events and the Center for Digital Government – at no cost to the state – the event featured more than 20 sessions on topics ranging from modernization of public schools to health information technology. “Transformation of state government is about delivering the services people need – anywhere, anytime,” said Governor Neil Abercrombie. “Hawaii’s IT Transformation Plan, launched in October, will accomplish its goals by investing in the state’s greatest asset – its employees. Making government more efficient and effective brings opportunities to those who work in state offices, enabling employees to provide a higher level of service while attaining new skills and playing a role in reshaping the way government conducts business. This will help us to strengthen our economy, sustain Hawaii for future generations and build public confidence in government.” [...]

Navy powers up city’s largest solar facility

An official “Flip the Switch” ceremony and Hawaiian blessing was held today to mark the completion of more than 4,300 solar panels installed at the Pearl City Solar Energy Facility. Capable of generating 1.23 megawatts of electricity, it is now the newest and largest utility-scale solar photovoltaic project on O’ahu. This project marks the fourth utility-scale solar facility that developer Forest City Hawaii has completed in Honolulu, making it one of the largest renewable-energy developers and owners in the state. At today’s ceremony, Jennifer Sabas, chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, praised the project’s vision, and Governor Neil Abercrombie commended the project for advancing the state’s clean energy goals. These sentiments were echoed by other event attendees, including Jerrod Schreck, president of Hoku Solar, and Connie Lau, president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric Industries, chairman of Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. and chairman of American Savings Bank. [...]

‘Walking Dead’ Star to Speak at UH on ‘Chekhov and Zombies’

Film and television actress Sarah Wayne Callies, known for her role on AMC’s hit series “The Walking Dead,” grew up in Honolulu. And she’s now returning to the islands for a special presentation at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, set for Saturday, Dec. 8 at Kennedy Theatre. It’s being described as the final event in the University of Hawaii’s Department of Theatre and Dance’s “undead marathon,” following the conclusion of Kennedy Theatre’s “Uncle Vanya and Zombies.” Callies will come to Kennedy Theatre to offer her insights on the zombie phenomenon and its connection to Anton Chekhov. This public presentation will be presented free of charge; tickets will be handed out at the box office before the event. Callies grew up in Honolulu before attending Dartmouth College, where she majored in Drama and graduated magna cum laude. She received her Master of Fine Arts degree at the National Theatre Conservatory, spending two seasons in principal and understudy roles at the Tony Award–winning Denver Center Theatre Company. [...]

BizGym partners with Hong Kong accelerator

BizGym.com, an online rapid business plan building program based in Hawaii, has formed a partnership with CyberPort, the largest information technology accellerator in Hong Kong. The relationship was sparked by BizGym.com’s recent partnership in “Hawaii Tech Asia,” a business development tour organized by Hawaii Business and Entrepreneur Acceleration Mentors (HiBeam). The two companies will create a Chinese language version of the BizGym online entrepreneur’s toolset, branding it as the “Cyberport Business System powered by BizGym.” It will feature team-matching, collaborative business planning and a direct link to Cyberport’s micro-fund application process. Operations will begin by year-end in Hong Kong and mainland China. Cyberport is a government-owned enterprise, and when breaking news of the partnership on Hawaii Public Radio’s Bytemarks Cafe show last week, BizGym.com founder Steve Sue said that the co-branded arrangement with a prominent Hong Kong organization will likely discourage copycats from diluting the BizGym.com model in Asia. [...]

HECO streamlines solar power installation requirements

It will now be faster and simpler for many residential and some small commercial customers to receive approval for on-site solar photovoltaic installations without worrying about the need for a possible interconnection study, Hawaiian Electric announced today. As of October 1, most residential and some commercial customers of Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light Company can install certified single-phase PV systems up to 10 kW on single-phase transformers and participate in Net Energy Metering (NEM) with no interconnection study. In addition, any customer of the three companies who paid for an interconnection study and system upgrades to install a 10 kW or smaller single-phase PV system will be refunded the cost of the study and any upgrades. [...]

‘Hunger Games’ Sequel to Film in Hawaii

“Catching Fire,” the 2013 sequel to “The Hunger Games,” started principal photography yesterday in Atlanta. The film will then be shot on location in the beaches and jungles of Hawaii before wrapping in late December. According to Lionsgate, “Catching Fire” will be released worldwide on November 22, 2013, and stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Jeffrey Wright, with Stanley Tucci and Donald Sutherland. “We are so excited to be embarking on this adventure with Francis Lawrence, who has already exhibited immense creative vision and resourcefulness in casting the film and planning its look and feel,” Said Lionsgate’s President of Production Eric Feig. “The stakes are raised in every way in this second story, and we are thrilled to get the production underway in these perfect locations, with our excellent returning cast and some world class actors in new roles.” [...]

Omidyar Fellows Program Announces First Class

The Hawai’i Leadership Forum announced today the 13 Fellows selected to participate in the inaugural class of the Omidyar Fellows program. Launched in May 2012, the Omidyar Fellows program was developed to inspire and equip emerging leaders with the skills needed to affect positive, lasting change in Hawai’i. “Omidyar Fellows is a long-term investment in our shared future. We are eager to work with the 2012 class, exploring new ideas and thinking that may benefit Hawai’i,” said Pierre Omidyar, founder, Omidyar Fellows. “Hawai’i’s next generation of leaders will inherit huge challenges – some of them recent developments, some passed down from their predecessors. Effective leaders must address existing challenges and at the same time, create proactive measures that move Hawai’i forward – all while operating in an increasingly fast-paced and transparent world.” More than 150 candidates completed a rigorous application process for the Omidyar Fellows inaugural class, representing a wide range of sectors including government, nonprofit, business, and labor unions. The class was designed to be representative of these sectors. [...]

Hawaii, other states reach antitrust settlement over ebook pricing

Hawaii Attorney General David M. Louie, along with 53 attorneys general in other states, districts and U.S. territories, announced today that they have reached an antitrust settlement with three of the largest book publishers in the United States. Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, and Simon & Schuster have agreed to pay a total of more than $69 million to consumers to resolve antitrust claims of an alleged unlawful conspiracy to fix the prices of electronic books (E-books). They have also agreed to change the way they price E-books going forward. The settlement occurs in conjunction with a civil antitrust lawsuit filed today in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster. The lawsuit alleges that the three settling publishers and two nonsettling publishers, Macmillan and Penguin, “conspired and agreed to increase retail E-book prices for all consumers” and “agreed to eliminate E-book retail price competition between E-book outlets, such that retail prices to consumers would be the same regardless of the outlet patronized by the consumer.” [...]

Five local nonprofits awarded $427,000 from Island Innovation Fund

The Hawaii Community Foundation announced today the final round of recipients for its Island Innovation Fund initiative. In total, five grant recipients were awarded $427,920 to support and develop their proposed innovations. Recipients were selected from a group of eight finalists who presented creative concepts that will affect widespread positive change in the community and transform existing ways the nonprofit sector operates. Applicants from all three funding rounds were also invited to vote for a People’s Choice Award from among the eight finalists. “While grantee selection for the Island Innovation Fund has wrapped up, the Hawaii Community Foundation is committed to opening doors for local nonprofits that are looking at new and innovative ways to address challenges and issues our islands face,” said Kelvin Taketa, president and CEO of Hawaii Community Foundation. [...]