Feds will try to raise wind's juice
Getting more electricity from Hawaii's windmills to homes will be the challenge facing national researchers planning to work in Hawaii.
Officials with UPC Wind Partners' Kaheawa Wind Farm on Maui and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory signed an agreement for the research project yesterday.
The goal is to increase the integration of wind energy into Hawaii's utility system as the state attempts to move away from reliance on oil.
"This state can lead the nation in developing how one goes about doing dramatic changes in the energy system to get to levels of renewable energy adoption that are only a dream in other parts of the country," said Dan Arvizu, director of the Golden, Colo.-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The Kaheawa Wind Farm will be the first partner site for the lab's wind technology program outside of Colorado.
The research will try to find ways to store wind energy when it is not blowing and distribute it throughout the power grid.
"So many things are coming out of this little 200-acre site," said Paul Gaynor, president and CEO of UPC Wind. "We're trying to make the state more competitive, and we're trying to do that with lessening dependence on oil."
The partnership grew out of Hawaii's agreement with the federal government in January to attempt to make the islands a national model for how power from the sun, wind, waves and earth can be harnessed to light homes and fuel cars.
Hawaii is aiming to produce at least 70 percent of its own energy by 2030. The state imports 90 percent of its energy and suffers from the highest gas prices in the nation.
"There's nothing sacrosanct about all production happening at one place and all production coming out from one place," said Gov. Linda Lingle. "We need a broader perspective."
Experts also have been working to identify barriers to adoption of renewable energy, improve energy transmission and distribution, increase efficiency and examine transportation technologies such as biofuels.
Bankers group helps food bank
The Hawaii Bankers Association will be collecting food and donations for the first time to help with the Hawaii Foodbank drive today through May 16.
The association will become part of a newly formed coalition that includes food and beverage companies and a group of lawyers, among other industries.
American Savings Bank, Bank of Hawaii, Bank of the Orient, Central Pacific Bank, First Hawaiian Bank, Hawaii National Bank, HomeStreet Bank, Ohana Pacific Bank, Pacific Rim Bank and Territorial Savings Bank make up the association. A total of 279 branches in the state will become collection sites for canned food and monetary donations.
The canned goods most needed are meats, tuna, meals (chili, spaghetti, etc.), soups, vegetables and fruits.
The Hawaii Foodbank's goal this year is to collect 550,000 pounds of food and $450,000 in funds, according to Foodbank President Dick Grimm.
"With the rising fuel and food costs, the food bank's need for donations is greater than ever," he said.
The food bank collects, warehouses and distributes perishable and nonperishable foods throughout the state. A $10 donation will feed 25 people in need. For more information, contact Polly Kauahi at 836-3600, ext. 226.
Guide explains dyslexia challenge
The Hawaii Dyslexia Association has published a resource guide about the learning disability to help schools, medical and social service professionals, educators and families.
The 125-page book, "A Resource Guide About Dyslexia for People in Hawaii," was written by Kathy E. Ferguson, a professor of political science and women's studies at the University of Hawaii, in response to years of request from educators, parents and dyslexic people for more information about the issues surrounding the condition.
People diagnosed with dyslexia have difficulty recognizing and spelling words. That could lead to problems in reading comprehension that can impede vocabulary growth and background knowledge, according to the guide.
Every year, 120,000 students are found to have learning disabilities, a diagnosis now shared by 2.4 million U.S. schoolchildren. But many children are never properly diagnosed or treated because they are not deemed eligible for services, according to the association.
The dyslexia guide was supported by the Donald C. Brace Foundation, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the International Dyslexia Association Branch Council.
For more information, visit www.dyslexia-hawaii.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the guide.
Police, Fire, Courts
Home destroyed by electrical fire
A malfunction in a tankless electric water heater caused a fire Thursday that destroyed a Niu Valley home, firefighters have determined.
Honolulu Fire Department inspectors found the origin of the blaze in a crawl space under the home at 440 Puamamane St., according to Capt. Earle Kealoha.
Damage was estimated at $300,000 to the wooden building and $50,000 to contents.
Kamehameha Schools trustee Nainoa Thompson and his wife, Kathy Muneno, lived in the house but were not home at the time.
Sweepstakes check is scam, police say
A Big Island woman reported yesterday that she received a letter claiming to be from Fantastic Worldwide Sweepstakes and Lotteries.
The letter claims the recipient has won $250,000 in a lottery drawing held in Las Vegas. Included in the envelope is a bogus check for $3,950, supposedly so the recipient can pay for "insurance fees."
Police have confirmed that the letter is a scam.