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POSTED: Monday, August 24, 2009

Snarled traffic expected today

Oahu motorists can expect heavy traffic this morning as fall classes open for 20,000 students at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and thousands more at four community colleges.

To ease traffic, the state will not close lanes for major highway construction projects during daylight hours through Friday.

The state Department of Transportation recommends that drivers avoid rush hours and keep vehicles in good condition to avoid breakdowns.

Commuters are also urged to use alternatives such as biking or walking to work or riding TheBus. High-occupancy vehicle lanes require at least two people in a vehicle, while three people are required for the H-1 zipper and Nimitz Highway contra-flow lanes.

Stranded motorists can call the Freeway Service Patrol at 841-HELP (4357) for free emergency service on the H-1 and Moanalua freeways between Waipahu and Kalihi from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays.

Storm slowly moving toward Hawaii

Tropical Storm Hilda, with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph and higher gusts, was slowly moving toward Hawaii yesterday and was expected to intensify, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said.

However, at 5 p.m. yesterday the storm was still 875 miles east-southeast of Hilo, posing no immediate threat.

Forecasters said Hilda was moving west at 12 mph, a pace that it should maintain through today. But that rate still put the storm at least 72 hours, or three days, away from the Big Island.

The storm is expected to pass south of the islands beginning Friday.

NASA is using a fleet of satellites it calls the “;A Train”; to track Hilda and Hurricane Bill in the Atlantic. The five satellites, which pass in close succession over the tropics, comprise Aqua, which takes cloud temperatures from space; CloudSat, which uses radar to cross-section clouds; CALIPSO, which uses a laser to determine the distribution of aerosols and thin clouds; PARASOL, a French satellite that also studies clouds; and Aura, which examines water vapor in the upper atmosphere.

Community college educator honored

Kenneth Kato, vice chancellor of administrative services at Honolulu Community College, has received the 2009 Willard Wilson Award for Distinguished Service.

He has been with HCC since 1986 during his 33-year career. His colleagues describe him as the “;best of the best”; and a frequent volunteer and problem-solver, a release said.

He will be honored with other University of Hawaii award winners at the annual convocation ceremony in the fall at the Manoa campus. For more information, visit http://www.hawaii.edu/about/awards.

HPU student receives a Fulbright

Andrew K. Abordonado, a Hawaii Pacific University student and Roosevelt High School graduate, has received a Fulbright scholarship to study political science in Japan, the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board announced recently.

Abordonado will study the Ainu minority in Hokkaido and Tokyo during the 2009-2010 academic year, said HPU.

He is one of more than 1,500 U.S. citizens selected to travel abroad through the Fulbright program, based on academic or professional achievement and demonstrated leadership in their fields, the news release said.

AlohaCare helps nonprofit agencies

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AlohaCare has awarded $40,000 to eight nonprofit agencies in a program established last year to honor the Rev. Frank Chong, community advocate and founding board member of AlohaCare.

Chong was AlohaCare's manager of government and community relations until his death March 8, 2008.

Receiving $5,000 each from the AlohaCare Community Conscience Award Program are Five Mountains Hawaii, Maui Economic Opportunity, National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii, Special Olympics Hawaii and the Young Men's Christian Association of Hawaii.

Hawaii's community health centers founded AlohaCare as a nonprofit health plan in 1994 to serve the most vulnerable populations.

Mayor hopes to use sewage to grow fuel

LAHAINA » Mayor Charmaine Tavares has set an ambitious long-term goal of eliminating Maui's 18 injection wells and instead using treated waste water to grow algae as a biofuel.

Tavares favors making use of the nitrogen-rich byproducts of human waste rather than injecting the treated effluent into the water table, where, critics of the system contend, it chokes fish and kills reefs, the Maui News reported yesterday.

The county's gravity-fed wells dispose of nearly 9 million gallons of treated waste water each day via steel pipes that run some 385 below the island's surface.

“;Why not just get rid of it for good?”; Tavares told the newspaper in an interview. “;My goal is to get 100 percent diversion from injection wells countywide.”;

While the plan might take 10 years, Tavares said she first wants to find a way to find a way to take the treated waste water that the Lahaina waste-water facility puts into four injection wells, which are placed downstream of potable water tables, and use the water to grow algae in lined holding ponds.