Grant puts free Wi-Fi in all public libraries
Friends of the Library of Hawaii said Wednesday that a $582,000 Opportunity Online hardware grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and an additional local match of $388,000 have made it possible for Hawaii public libraries to provide free Wi-Fi and increase the number of computers for public use to 758 in the next year or so.
Wi-Fi was added to all state libraries this year and is available to anyone with a library card. The local match for the upgrade came from the Friends of the Library of Hawaii; the Omidyar Ohana Fund through the Hawaii Community Foundation; and Alexander & Baldwin Foundation.
Molokai Health Center gets $1M to expand
Molokai ‘Ohana Health Care Inc., which operates as Molokai Community Health Center, received a cash infusion of more than $1 million this week through a federal new market tax credit program.
The health center raised more than $7 million in addition to the tax credit to renovate the old Pau Hana Inn on 5.9 acres in Kaunakakai and expand services in the rural town. The money will also go toward a community garden, farmers market and health food outlet. Some of the money will go into a reserve fund for the center, which serves a total of 3,850 patients.
The expansion will allow the nonprofit to provide services at one location and improve access to basic medical care in addition to creating additional jobs. Previously, services were scattered through the small town.
Hawaii gets top honors for energy savings
Investments made by the state in energy savings earned Hawaii top honors in the 2012 national "Race to the Top" competition. The state invested $132.25 per capita in energy efficiency projects at government buildings and facilities, the most of any state, according to the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Ohio was second with a $108.58 investment per capita.
Hawaii’s investment of $171.3 million will result in an estimated savings of $306 million over the life of the projects, according to DBEDT. The Race to the Top awards are presented by Energy Services Coalition, a national nonprofit organization made up of energy efficiency experts.
Verizon Wireless expands faster network
Verizon Wireless customers in certain areas on Oahu and Hawaii island will be able to access the company’s expanded 4G LTE (long-term evolution) service beginning Oct. 18. The service will be expanded in Honolulu and Makaha on Oahu, and in Hawi, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Ninole and along Highway 19 from Waimea to Honokaa on Hawaii island.
The company’s 4G LTE service is available on Oahu, Hawaii island, Kauai, Maui, Molokai and Lanai.
Housing lifts growth in most U.S. regions
WASHINGTON » Stronger housing markets helped boost economic growth at the end of the summer in nearly every region of the United States, according to a Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday.
The Fed said growth improved in 10 of its 12 regional banking districts from mid-August through September, while leveling off in one region and slowing in another.
The report, known formally as the Beige Book, also cited an increase in auto sales in most parts of the country. Still, consumer spending was flat or up only slightly in most districts. Manufacturing activity was mixed, with half of the districts reporting slight improvement since the previous Fed report. Hiring was unchanged in most districts.
FedEx details major cost-cutting plan
NEW YORK » FedEx Corp., the world’s second-largest package delivery company, on Wednesday detailed its plan to boost profit by $1.7 billion annually by shedding jobs, aircraft and under-used assets. FedEx aims to reach that goal within three years through cost cuts and efficiency improvements. The much-anticipated restructuring is a response to a shift by customers to slower, less expensive means of delivery as the global economy struggles to grow.
Founder and CEO Fred Smith said most of the cost cuts will come in the company’s Express and Services units, which have been hurt the most by the global economic conditions. Smith said a voluntary buyout program announced in August should reduce "fixed head count by several thousand people."
New book digs into Netflix’s evolution
SAN FRANCISCO » Netflix is probably hoping a new book about its early history never gets made into a movie. The book, "Netflixed: The Epic Battle for America’s Eyeballs," tries to debunk a widely told tale about the company’s origins and paints a polarizing portrait of its star CEO Reed Hastings.
Set to go on sale today, the book arrives at a pivotal time for Netflix Inc. The video subscription service is still recovering from a customer backlash triggered by Hastings’ hasty decision to raise U.S. prices up to 60 percent last year.
ON THE MOVE
HawkTree International has announced the following:
» Neil Murakami as its new director of operations for Island Movers. He was previously a director of operations at Roberts Hawaii.
» Bryan Kubo as head of operations at Pacific Courier Inc. He was previously a workforce excellence manager for HawkTree International, PCI’s parent company. Kubo also has 34 years of banking, which include procurement and IT experience.
» Elana Kopelevich has been named communications analyst for Island Movers as well as for other affiliated logistic companies that are under HawkTree International.
RIM Architects has announced Jonathan Sim as an architectural designer. He was previously working for Aedas in Hong Kong as well as Foster + Partners in the UK for five years and at Gensler (DC office).