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Newswatch

For Saturday, August 27, 2011

By Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 01:40 a.m. HST, Aug 27, 2011



Solar panels installed at Lanikai school

The first Oahu public school to receive state funding to construct a photovoltaic system has completed installation of 468 solar panels.

Lanikai Elementary announced Thursday the new PV modules will save the school about $5,000 a month in electricity costs. The panels will generate an average of 173,000 kilowatt-hours of clean energy per year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 300,000 pounds. The project was made possible by $500,000 in state funding.

Centers get $2.3M for liver cancer studies

Scientists from the University of Hawaii Cancer Center and the Queen's Medical Center have received a $2.3 million grant for liver cancer research.

In a joint announcement Wednesday, hospital and cancer center officials say the five-year grant from the National Cancer Institute will be used to develop methods that can better detect liver cancer.

The researchers say Hawaii's liver cancer incidence and death rates are the highest nationally. People infected with hepatitis viruses are more prone to developing liver cancer.

Wildlife protection proposal up for review

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says a plan to protect endangered and threatened species during the construction and operation of a proposed wind power farm northeast of Haleiwa is ready for public review and comment.

Kawailoa Wind Power LLC aims to build a wind farm on Oahu's North Shore that would include 30 wind turbine generators, a maintenance building and a battery storage system.

The site is next to land used by four endangered water birds: the Hawaiian moorhen, Hawaiian duck, Hawaiian coot and Hawaiian stilt. A threatened seabird, the Newell's shearwater, also uses the area, as does the endangered Hawaiian hoary bat.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is accepting comments on the plan through Oct. 11.

UH shark-monitoring program expands

A University of Hawaii program is helping researchers monitor sharks in Palau waters.

The Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa is using funds it obtained from the U.S. federal government to expand a research project that monitors the sharks with acoustic devices.

The funds will increase the density and geographic range of the devices, giving researchers a more precise and complete picture of shark movement in the Palauan archipelago, UH officials said. The array of devices is the first of its kind in Micronesia.

NEIGHBOR ISLANDS

Rosario wins fire chief post

KAILUA-KONA » Hawaii County has a new fire chief.

West Hawaii Today reported Friday that fire commissioners unanimously elected 44-year-old Darren Rosario after interviewing four finalists.

Rosario is a Papaikou resident with 21 years of fire service experience. He has been assistant fire chief for emergency operations.

Leading the 400-member fire department comes with an annual starting salary of $99,000.

Rosario said his first goal is to understand the department's finances and examine the effectiveness of divisions and operations.

Darryl Oliveira retired at the beginning of the month but has stayed on as a volunteer chief until his successor takes over.

Rosario is expected to assume the post once he passes a physical and drug test and takes an oath of office.

New bus fare lowers ridership

HILO » Bus ridership on the Big Island is down after a $1 fare recently ended years of free rides.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported ridership was down 7.7 percent last month compared with July 2010.

Hawaii County's decision to charge $1 for a ride on Hele-On bus went into effect July 1. For more than six years, it cost nothing to ride the bus.

Mass Transit Agency Administrator Tom Brown said the decline in passengers is partly due to the new fare, but he also said summer is a typically slow period.

Brown said that during the first month of the new fare, there were about 71,000 passenger trips, nearly 6,000 fewer than the previous July.

Those 55 and older, children younger than 5, students and the disabled still ride for free.






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