POSTED: Monday, February 09, 2009

State's oldest lighthouse goes solar

LAHAINA » The oldest lighthouse in Hawaii has been converted from electric to solar power.

The “;Lahaina Light”; off West Maui is the third lighthouse in the state to undergo the conversion, the Coast Guard said yesterday.

Lahaina Light overlooking Lahaina Harbor was established in 1840 during the whaling era, when King Kamehameha III ordered a 9-foot wooden tower to be built as an aid to navigation.

A man was stationed at the lighthouse to ensure an oil lamp was lit at night. The tower was increased to 26 feet in 1905 and rebuilt with the present tower in 1916.

Senior Chief Petty Officer David Garrett said new developments in light-emitting diode technology have made these solar projects possible.

“;The energy saving is one part, but the continuity of operations is the main goal,”; Garrett said. “;If power goes out, these lights will not.”;

Garrett said changes in navigation aids to LED technology are being evaluated throughout the state.

The Coast Guard has a tentative plan to convert 30 lighthouses in Hawaii to LED technology.

The cost of converting the Lahaina Light was $1,500, according to the Coast Guard.


Registration for kindergarten opens

The state Department of Education has opened registration for kindergarten and junior kindergarten for the 2009-10 school year.

Children who will be 5 years old on or before Aug. 1 may enroll in regular kindergarten, while children who turn 5 between Aug. 2 and Dec. 31 may enter junior kindergarten.

Kindergarten is not mandatory in Hawaii.

Parents interested in enrolling their children are encouraged to register for the full-day classes at their neighborhood schools during the dates below. Parents can call their district office to determine which school their child should attend.

» Honolulu District, 733-4950, through Friday
» Central District, 627-7478, through Friday
» Leeward District, 692-8000, through Friday
» Windward District, 233-5700, through Friday
» Hawaii District, various dates in February and March. Hilo, Laupahoehoe, Waiakea, 974-6600; Kau, Keaau, Pahoa, 974-6602; West Hawaii and Honokaa, 327-4991.
» Maui District, 984-8001, through Feb. 28
» Kauai District, 274-3502, various dates in February and March

To enroll a child for the first time in public school, parents need to show proof of residency, the child's birth certificate, release records from the last school attended (except for kindergarten applicants) and required health and immunization records.

More information is available online at doe.k12.hi.us/ parents.


Funds go toward energy efficiency

WAILUA, Kauai » The state announced it has released $250,000 to install more energy-efficient lighting and appliances at more than a dozen state parks and offices across the state.

The project, which includes installing more energy-efficient street lamps and lighting controls, as well as water heating and rental cabin appliances, will begin this month and is scheduled to be completed next February.

The improvements are expected to cut electricity costs by 20 to 30 percent, state officials added.

The affected parks and Department of Land and Natural Resources facilities include Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area and Baseyard, Kalopa State Recreation Area and the Wailoa River State Recreation Area and Baseyard on the Big Island; Kokee State Park, Lihue Baseyard, Wailua River State Park and Waimea State Recreational Pier on Kauai; the Kahului Baseyard and Waianapanapa State Park on Maui; and Kahana Valley State Park, Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area, Malaekahana State Recreation Area, Ruger Baseyard, Sand Island Recreation Area and Wahiawa State Freshwater Recreation Area on Oahu.