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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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Nine Hawaii students win awards at international science fair

Nine Hawaii students earned recognition, over $7,500 in cash awards, and even an overseas travel opportunity this week at the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), the world’s largest international student science competition.

The premier pre-college science event culminated today at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. In all, two dozen high school students from Hawaii public, private, and home schools represented the Aloha State.

At today’s Grand Awards ceremony, three Hawaii students were recognized for their work in life sciences. Danielle Lyn Keahi, 18, of Kamehameha Schools at Kapalama on ‘Oahu, tooksecond place overall in Medicine and Health. She received $1,500 for her work on mutated cells in mice.

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Wally Amos Returns to Cookies with ‘WAMOS’

Nationally renown, Honolulu-based entrepreneur Wally Amos is returning to the business that made him “Famous Amos.” He posted the announcement on Facebook, where he’d accumulated the maximum 5,000 friends, asking them in turn to spread the word.

“I am re-entering cookie business,” Amos wrote. ” I will sell three flavors from my original recipe; chocolate chip, butterscotch chip pecans, [and] chocolate chip pecans.”

Amos launched the “Famous Amos” brand of cookies in 1975, starting with a cookie store in California and growing to find space on supermarket shelves across the country. His name and likeness became so synonymous with success that he found a career in public speaking and authoring books. Amos even appeared as himself in an episode of the ABC sitcom “Taxi” in 1981.

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Offshore Fish Farm Receives Key Permit

Hawaii Oceanic Technology, Inc. has been issued permit HI-0028140 in accordance with the provisions of the Clean Water Act, Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 342D; and Hawaii Administrative Rules as administered by the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH).

In a letter dated March 30, 2012, the DOH stated that it has “reviewed the (company’s) application for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, and that after consideration of the expressed views of all interested persons and agencies, pertinent Federal and State statutes and rules regarding the discharge, the DOH hereby issues the NPDES permit effective April 30, 2012.”

This comprehensive process took the company more than a year of effort and required a thorough public review and response to comments from the public and several NGOs.

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City Smartphone Apps Gaining Steam in Honolulu

The City Department of Information Technology (DIT) partnered with local developers to enhance public service by providing key information to campers, bus riders, and those interested in reporting problems to the City and the public is making good use of the new services.

“We are pleased that the public has embraced the City’s newest online services as well as other services such as the NIXLE notification system and our Facebook and Twitter accounts,” said Mayor Peter Carlisle.

The successful online camping registration program allows campers, who formerly had to wait in line for hours—and sometimes days—before camp registration deadlines, to now register online for campsites. More than 1,300 users have already taken advantage of the new registration system.

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Student Excellence in Science, Engineering Celebrated

Hawaii and the nation have seen renewed focus on the fields of science and engineering as key to future success. But the Hawaii State Science and Engineering Fair has been committed to the cause for more than half a century.

The HSSEF is the oldest and largest science education program in Hawaii, today reaching more than 7,000 students across the state. Over 600 students — representing public, private and home schools — participate in the premier event, competing for significant prizes and awards.

“It’s exciting to talk with students about the work put into their science fair projects, as these kids are bright, inquisitive, and our future leaders,” said Kerry Kakazu, President of the Hawaii Academy of Science. “In this age of global competitiveness it is reassuring to see our young students embracing science and tackling tough problems.”

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Middle schoolers off to MathCounts nationals

The Hawaii MathCounts Committee has announced the winners of the 29th Annual State MathCounts Competition held Saturday, March 3. The top four students — David Chang and Jion Kato of Washington Middle School, Mark Klein of Punahou School and Jesse Doan of Seabury Hall — will now comprise the Official Hawaii State MathCounts team and represent Hawaii at the National Competition in Orlando, Florida on May 11, 2012.

The team will be led by Washington Middle School math coach Mr. Sung Park, whose team captured first place honors at the Oahu Chapter and Hawaii State competitions.

In addition to winning the state competition, the Washington Middle School team placed first in the Oahu Chapter competition on February 25.

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STEM Week to celebrate Hawaii education efforts

The fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are critical to the future of Hawaii and the U.S., with major initiatives launching nationwide to ensure that today’s students become tomorrow’s innovators and leaders.

Next month, the inaugural Hawaii STEM Week will bring together a wide range of local stakeholders to highlight these critical areas of education, and encourage greater community support and industry engagement.

Scheduled to run concurrently with the Hawaii State Science & Engineering Fair (HSSEF), STEM Week will feature events to recognize excellence among Hawaii’s schools, connect students and practitioners with relevant employers and careers, and award local institutions for their work in advancing STEM education.

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Governor: Invest now for Hawaii’s future

There was no way for us to have balanced our budget and achieved today’s fiscally favorable outlook without the commitment of everyone. To all of you who came to work each day bearing the burden of cuts and slashes to your programs for the past three years; and to those of you who gave up furloughs because of your commitment to serving Hawaii’s people, I thank you. Mahalo plenty to each and every one of you.

Together, we are moving forward. And moving forward means leaving behind the drama of the recent past.

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Algae demonstration commissioned at West Oahu refinery

Kuehnle AgroSystems, a producer of specialized algae strains and bulk concentrated algae designed to meet the diverse needs of the animal nutrition, specialty chemical and biofuels markets, has announced the commissioning of an algae demonstration project at the Chevron Hawaii refinery.

The demonstration project, funded by the Hawaii Renewable Energy Development Venture and the Office of Naval Research, produces algae using recycled CO2 waste streams and wastewater by-product from Chevron’s refinery to cultivate algae in specially designed closed growing systems.

Chevron’s role in this project is to serve as a host site and a source of recycled CO2 and wastewater for KAS to conduct its research.

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Isle Realtors help Habitat for Humanity

“Realtor Raise: Project Playhouse” was held recently on the Big Island, a fun event to boost home ownership in Hawaii. Hawaii Life was one of four playhouse contributors, raising thousands of dollars to support the Habitat for Humanity mission.

The playhouses were generously donated, including the “Life Boat” from Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers. Wildly imaginative and solidly constructed, the playhouses were then given away to the lucky key holders. Leading up to and on the day of the event, key-chains were sold to raise money for Habitat for Humanity. The key-chains qualified the contributors to try their keys in the playhouse doors, and if they opened, they won the playhouse.

The Hawaii Island Board of Realtors (HIBR) also donated a playhouse to the fundraiser. Mealoha Kraus, who works in public relations with HIBR, “was overwhelmed by the number of people who came and waited for their turn to see if they had the right key.”

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President: We salute the veterans and survivors of Pearl Harbor

We salute the veterans and survivors of Pearl Harbor who inspire us still. Despite overwhelming odds, they fought back heroically, inspiring our nation and putting us on the path to victory. They are members of that Greatest Generation who overcame the Depression, crossed oceans and stormed the beaches to defeat fascism, and turned adversaries into our closest allies.

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OTEC International chosen for NELHA demonstration

OTEC International LLC (OTI) was selected to build a one-megawatt demonstration plant by the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA) to test the full power cycle of ocean thermal energy conversion for electricity.

Baltimore-based OTI has built its OTEC design on decades of innovation, combining proprietary technology with off-the-shelf components. Privately funded OTI has not relied on government money and expects to be first-to-market with a commercial plant.

OTI is currently negotiating a power purchase agreement with Hawaiian Electric Company for a 100-megawatt (MW) plant and with Caribbean Utilities Company and others for 25 MW plants.

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Niu Valley playground gets $15,000 online boost

Last week, non-profit group KaBoom! and Let’s Play, a community sponsorship program led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group, announced that NiuValleyPlayground.com had won $15,000 in a social media contest, competing against 50 other communities around the country by garnering the top five votes on a Facebook page.

“Hawaii has again shown that it has a vibrant social media network that will flex its muscle to get behind a good cause,” said Peter Kay, the Association’s Vice Chair. “This is not the first time that Hawaii’s online community has won an online contest and it’s gratifying that as a community, we can successfully compete at a national level.”

NiuValleyPlayground.com is raising $100,000 to purchase playground equipment and is asking the community to visit their website to donate an online contribution.

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Isle marine base testing new trash technology

At Camp Smith above Halawa, the military is testing a high-tech trash disposal system that can reduce a standard 50-gallon bag of waste to a half-pint jar of harmless ash.

Called the Micro Auto Gasification System (MAGS), the unit is currently undergoing evaluation by U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific in partnership with the Office of Naval Research as a possible solution to help Marines win their daily battle against the increasing trash at remote forward operating bases.

Lt. Col. Mike Jernigan, a Marine combat engineer who recently commanded a logistics battalion in Afghanistan, said waste disposal in the field is a problem.

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Kakaako Street Festival Coming Oct. 22

Fusing all the things we love– food, shopping, music, art, cocktails and fun– Eat the Street (ETS) presents ‘Nonstop Kaka’ako’ street festival, an urban multi-interactive total pop-up retail, food and entertainment experience.

Brought to you by StreetGrindz.com, in partnership with Kamehameha Schools and Nonstop Honolulu, the event is set for Saturday, October 22, from 4:00 – 10:00 p.m in Kaka’ako.

“Attendees will be able to satisfy all their senses at this street festival,” said event organizer Poni Askew. “Plus, we are excited to have this event designed by TLC’s Trading Spaces very own host and designer Lauren Makk.”

Food vendors nominated on the ‘Best of Nonstop Honolulu’s Best of’ list will be featured, along with many of ETS’ most ono food trucks and street food vendors.

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Kauai utility smart grid project approved

The state Public Utilities Commission last week approved Kauai Island Utility Cooperative’s request to commit funds to participate in a national smart grid demonstration project, which will bring advanced meter technology to every household on Kauai.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s national demonstration project is designed to assist rural utilities like KIUC, implement technologies that make the electricity grid more efficient and reliable. The total cost of the project is approximately $11.9 million, half of which will be funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA).

In the application, filed late in October of 2010, KIUC requested commission approval to commit approximately $6 million in funds to participate in The Smart Grid Project which the utility explained was part of a demonstration project “involving 27 electric cooperatives throughout the nation,” but the project also represents a key component of KIUC’s own longterm strategic plan.

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First Oahu Fringe Festival in November

Following the rave success of the Fringe Bites event series in September 2010 and January 2011, organizers of the Oahu Fringe are proud to announce the first ever Oahu Fringe Festival, a cut-loose performing arts spectacle.

With 15 acts in 4 venues over 3 nights held November 10, 11, 12 at The Arts at Marks Garage, ARTSmith, Ong King Arts Centre, and theVenue – Honolulu will be goin’ off.

Based on the original Edinburgh Fringe with its open access policy, performers have signed up and are raring to go with acts in circus art, theatre, music, improv, dance, puppetry, and more. Expect the unexpected as no restrictions are made as to the nature, style or theme of the performances. So get ready for an action packed three days of the zany, dramatic, quirky, poetic, musical, comedic and toe-tapping fantastical shows all over Chinatown.

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