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Hawaii Star Wire

Eisa Drum Festival celebrates Okinawan culture

Kapiolani Community College is hosting the 3rd Eisa Drum Festival on Saturday, May 11 from 5:30 to 9 pm on the Great Lawn at the center of campus. The outdoor festival brings together food prepared by KCC’s culinary program and the spectacular art form of taiko performed amid the beauty of Diamond Head under the stars. The program begins at 6 pm. The event is free and open to the public, with ample parking on campus. Performers include Chinagu Eisa Hawaii, Hawaii Okinawa Creative Arts, Hawaii Taiko Kai, Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Karate and Urizun Minyo Group. This year’s festival also features special guest performers from Okinawa, including Daiichi Hirata, acclaimed producer, choreographer, and musician, as well as members of Requios, the 2012 World Eisa Competition winner. [...]

Early Childhood Education Discussed Using Google+ Hangout

Honolulu– Early childhood education providers and stakeholders from across the State, along with lawmakers, Early Childhood Coordinator Terry Lock and Governor Neil Abercrombie, participated in a roundtable discussion on early childhood education in Hawaii today. Stakeholders from Maui, Kauai, Waimea, Kona and Hilo participated in the discussion via Google+ Hangout, hosted by Senate Committee Education Chair Senator Jill Tokuda. U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono’s Chief of Staff Betsy Lin also linked in, via Google+ Hangout from Washington, D.C. [...]

World’s Oldest Known Wild Bird Hatches Another Chick

A Laysan albatross known as “Wisdom” – believed to be at least 62 years old – has hatched a chick on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) for the sixth consecutive year. Early morning on February 3, 2013, the still-wet chick was observed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Pete Leary, who said the chick appears healthy. Wisdom was first banded in 1956, when she was incubating an egg in the same area of the refuge. She was at least five years old at the time. “Everyone continues to be inspired by Wisdom as a symbol of hope for her species,” said Doug Staller, the Fish and Wildlife Service Superintendent for the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (Monument), which includes Midway Atoll NWR. [...]

Honolulu Theatre for Youth Presents ‘Hold These Truths’

Actor Daniel Dae Kim is part of the team bringing the acclaimed Off-Broadway drama “Hold These Truths” to Hawaii. Dedicated to the memory of the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, the show tells the true story of second-generation Japanese American Gordon Hirabayashi, who resisted the Japanese American internment during World War II in the famous case, Hirabayashi v. United States. Set in Seattle during World War II, “Hold These Truths” follows Hirabayashi, then a University of Washington student, as he fights to reconcile his country’s betrayal with his passionate belief in the U.S. Constitution. President Obama posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Hirabayashi (1918-2012), the nation’s highest civilian honor, in April 2012. Kim said: “I was deeply moved by ‘Hold These Truths’ when I saw it in New York. Having lived in Hawaii for almost nine years now, I recognized how inspiring Gordon Hirabayashi’s story would be to our community.” [...]

Entrepreneur, Deal of the Year awards announced

The Hawaii Venture Capital Association awarded its 2012 HVCA Deal of the Year to Darren Kimura, CEO of Sopogy, maker of concentrated thermal solar collectors. In addition five local entrepreneurs were acknowledged in various categories with the HVCA Entrepreneur of the Year award. The Young Entrepreneur award went to Scott Mercer of Volta Industries, makers of advertising driven free electric vehicle charging stations. Dan Leuck, co-founder of CONTIX and CEO and founder of Ikayzo won the Software Entrepreneur award. Ken Berkun, founder of Labels That Talk won the Inventor Entrepreneur award for his patented invention, Soundpaper. Winner of the Socially Responsible Entrepreneur of the Year award is Elyse Petersen, founder of Tealet, a social enterprise that connects tea drinkers with small tea growers around the world. David Watumull, co-founder of CARDAX Pharmaceuticals and former CEO of Hawaii Biotech was acknowledged for his many years of devoted entrepreneurship in biotech as the 2012 Legacy Entrepreneur. “These entrepreneurs are local heroes and role models. They have worked long hard days, made personal sacrifices and taken extreme risks that prove there are people in Hawaii that have what it takes to build great companies,” said Bill Spencer, President of the Hawaii Venture Capital Association. [...]

Obama praises Sen. Inouye upon his passing

“Tonight, our country has lost a true American hero with the passing of Senator Daniel Inouye. The second-longest serving Senator in the history of the chamber, Danny represented the people of Hawaii in Congress from the moment they joined the Union. In Washington, he worked to strengthen our military, forge bipartisan consensus, and hold those of us in government accountable to the people we were elected to serve. But it was his incredible bravery during World War II – including one heroic effort that cost him his arm but earned him the Medal of Honor – that made Danny not just a colleague and a mentor, but someone revered by all of us lucky enough to know him. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Inouye family.” [...]

Second annual STEM Week in the works

The Hawaii Academy of Sciences (HAS) this week is putting out an early call to the state’s most innovative companies and organizations to help set the stage for the second annual STEM Week Hawaii. STEM Week Hawaii is a multi-day celebration of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) education across the state, organized by HAS and supported by the Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR). The 2013 program will expand upon the first STEM Week Hawaii, held in April. Scheduled to run concurrently with the 56th Hawaii State Science & Engineering Fair (HSSEF), several special events will culminate in a gala awards dinner. These events include an Industry Exposition and Job Fair, which gives local businesses and organizations an opportunity to demonstrate their technology and services, and two fast-paced “Ignite STEM Week” presentations that will showcase some of the cutting-edge research and development taking place in Hawaii. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye was on hand to present the inaugural STEM Week Hawaii awards, which recognized STEM programs at 14 local schools. Mililani High and Highlands Intermediate schools took statewide honors, and Hawaiian Electric Company received the first Daniel K. Inouye Award for Commitment to STEM Education. [...]

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. [...]

Hawaiian Airlines upgrades in-flight meals, hospitality

In the first comprehensive redesign of its domestic onboard service product in more than a decade, Hawaiian Airlines has cemented its signature ‘Mea Ho‘okipa Service’ as the gold standard in domestic air travel and the only authentic Hawaii experience in air travel. Hawaiian’s ‘Mea Ho‘okipa’ (translation: I am host) inflight service philosophy has long been embraced by travelers for its celebration of the culture, people and Aloha Spirit of Hawaii. Reintroduced August 1 on all flights between Hawaii and its 11 gateway cities in North America, Hawaiian has taken its acclaimed inflight service and made it even more enjoyable with enticing new made-in-Hawaii products, Island-style complimentary meals and improved service offerings. The new program was inspired by customer feedback, solicited by Hawaiian to further align its service with the things that customers value most in onboard service and amenities. [...]

Isle startup aims to help utilities reward energy savings

Ikehu Naturals LLC, a Hawaii-based startup, recently won an award in a contest sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. The award was given for its Demand Response Incentive (DRIVE) system. The DRIVE technology gives power companies the ability to offer airline miles to their energy efficient customers. Ikehu said in a statement that it hopes the award generates interest by power companies around the world. “It’s an honor to be selected among the winners in such a prestigious competition” says Ikehu CEO and founder Holland Wood. “Soon, utilities will have the ability to use airline miles to guide consumers towards responsible energy use.” [...]

City unveils web apps for traffic, tsunami sirens, art

Israel Kamakawiwoole, the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Information Technology (DIT) says there are “apps for that.” DIT has partnered with software developers to put key information in the hands of smartphone and computer users. “We are using mobile applications to provide useful information for the public and make them aware of what is happening around them in a timely manner. It’s exactly what a 21st Century city is supposed to do,” said Mayor Peter Carlisle. “The launch of these applications, and the way in which they were developed and implemented, shows how the City and County of Honolulu is leading in its use of technology to work directly with citizens,” said Jennifer Pahlka, Founder and Executive Director of Code for America. “By using lightweight, innovative approaches, reusing existing software, and building deeper connections with residents, Honolulu is creating real value and strengthening the fabric of the city.” [...]

Second Oahu Fringe Festival set for November

The second annual Oahu Fringe Festival is set to hit the stages of Honolulu’s Chinatown November 8-10, 2012. After a successful premiere in 2011, Oahu Fringe Festival returns as a Fringe Festival destination, offering more innovative new works related, but not limited to, theatre, music, dance, improv and comedy. Based in Chinatown, the Oahu Fringe Festival offers local, US and international artists a place to showcase their work in an atmosphere of community and creativity. Shows will run at various venues in Chinatown including Kumu Kahua Theatre, The ARTS at Marks Garage, Ong King Arts Centre and The Loading Zone. [...]

Verizon fires up 4G LTE network on Kauai, Big Island

Verizon has extended its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network on Kauai and the Big Island. The company says that customers on those islands can now use their 4G LTE wireless devices on Kauai to surf the Web, listen to music, stream live video, take advantage of thousands of applications, and stay in touch with family and friends, all with speeds up to 10 times faster than before. On Kauai, Verizon customers who live in or visit areas including Lihue, Puhi, Nawiliwili, Wailua Homesteads, and Kapaa now have access to the Verizon Wireless 4G network. On the Big Island, the service is available in Hilo, Keaau, Mountain View, and Pahoa. With the network expansion, residents in several other areas also have access. [...]

State business website wins international award

The State of Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) was recently honored with two awards for its suite of mobile business applications. The mobile apps are the first of their kind worldwide and the first mobile apps launched by the state. The International Association of Commercial Administrators (IACA) awarded a prestigious 2012 Merit Award for Outstanding Innovation, one of the top international honors for business registries, to DCCA’s Business Registration Division (BREG) last month at the IACA annual conference. “Hawaii’s technological transformation remains a top priority for my administration, and this award is recognition that we are on track to bringing state government where it needs to be in the 21st century,” said Governor Neil Abercrombie. “Through the innovative work now being done by DCCA and others in our state, we are creating technological assets that improve efficiency, expand services and save businesses money.” [...]

Hawaii Apps company to tackle booming mobile business

A new local company has set its sights on no less than the top spot among Hawaii’s mobile app developers. Today, Hawaii Apps Inc. is launching an Island-based business focusing only on the development of mobile apps to help local businesses, government agencies, community organizations and individuals “tap” into the marketing, advertising and entertainment potential of mobile apps. “Mobile apps are where the world is going,” said Melialani “Meli” James, one of four principals who founded Hawaii Apps. “We want to offer Hawaii the chance to get in on the trend, for Island businesses and individuals to be able to create an app that will be developed right here in the Islands, by people who know Hawaii’s culture, traditions and lifestyle.” [...]

Local datacenter launches pay-as-you-go cloud computing service

DRFortress, Hawaii’s leading colocation and cloud services provider, today announced that it has launched “DRFcloud,” which it says is the first local, pay-as-you-use, cloud computing services based in the state. This new service, offered in partnership with Appcore, follows the successful start of the Nirvanix cloud storage service and is available to Hawaii customers as well as clients throughout the Pacific Rim. Both the “DRFcloud” and the Nirvanix cloud storage hybrid node are maintained at the DRFortress datacenter in Hawaii with redundant mainland nodes for disaster recovery purposes. [...]

Blood Bank Calls for Donors Over Memorial Day Weekend

While Memorial Day is dedicated to remembering those who have lost their lives, it also anchors a traditionally dangerous holiday weekend on the roads. Some studies have found fatalities rise by as much as 30 percent on a day Americans set aside to commemorate the fallen. Unfortunately, the holiday also presents a challenge to local blood banks, as donations drop when communities focus their attentions elsewhere. The Blood Bank of Hawaii today put out the call for donors to step up this weekend. “With the upcoming three-day weekend and anticipated low donor turnout, we ask for your help… the need for blood is 365/24/7,” the announcement reads. “Thank you for all your support and effort in helping meet the blood needs of Hawaii’s patients.” [...]

Robotic wave gliders leave Hawaii for Australia, Japan

Liquid Robotics, an ocean data services provider and developer of the Wave Glider — the first wave-powered, autonomous marine robot — launched the PacX Wave Gliders from the Big Island of Hawaii on Monday on the final phase of a first-of-its-kind scientific expedition across the Pacific Ocean. Continuing their record-breaking journey across the high seas with approximately 5000 nautical miles until their final destinations of Australia and Japan, the Wave Gliders have collectively already traveled more than 13,000 nautical miles. This is more than twice the distance from San Francisco to Tokyo, Japan. During their voyage, the Wave Gliders are collecting and transmitting in near real-time, unprecedented amounts of ocean surface data on a scale never before continuously collected across the Pacific Ocean. [...]