December 21, 2011 | 11:45 AMSOLAR CITY POWERS MACC
It was windy on the bluff overlooking the Maui Arts and Cultural Center (MACC) and Kahului Harbor last week when Governor Neil Abercrombie spoke of the nearly 2,000 solar panels installed there by SolarCity of Oahu.
"The volatility of prices for oil and fossil fuels and our dependence upon them creates vulnerability in our economy," Abercrombie said. "Alternative energy is our future."
The MACC designated the parcel of land that sits between its parking lot and Keopuolani Park as its alternative energy corridor. SolarCity installed the 463 killowatt system there at no cost to the MACC, and the MACC will pay for the solar power the panels produce at a rate lower than they currently pay for electricity.
This is one of SolarCity's first commercial projects in the state. The project that started around July of this year was built in accordance with the Public Utility Commission's 15 percent cap on solar systems, a limit that was recently dropped.
"We have over 1700 events in a year and all of them require electricity," said MACC CEO Art Vento. "As a non-profit we have to find ways to reduce our overhead." Vento added that the project will reduce their energy costs by as much as 25 percent.
Hokulani Holt-Padilla, Cultural Programs Director at the MACC, led the blessing and chant at the property.
"We want to recognize that our environment provides for us," Holt-Padilla said. "We utilize what the environment provides. We will chant and honor the sun. We need to thank and recognize the sun that allows all living things to exist."
After the chant, everyone signed a solar panel set aside by SolarCity and gnoshed pupus of shoyu poke, tako poke, sushi and cut veggies.
HIGH-TECH FAIR COMING SOON
This December, kama'aina job seekers living or going to school on the mainland will have a perfect opportunity to meet with employers from top Maui high tech companies. The 10th annual High Tech Maui Career Fair is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 29 at the Maui Economic Development Board's Ke Alahele Center from 10am to 3pm. Upcoming attendees will find a high demand for Information Technology IT and GIS/GPS professionals, as well as engineering and research positions.
The popular event helps job seekers learn more about tech employers on the island, as well as discuss job requirements face-to-face. At the same time, Maui-based companies have the opportunity to relay information to skilled kama'aina attending mainland colleges, former residents and current residents. The networking can lead to lucrative internships or even permanent positions.
Companies that have regularly participated in the fair include: Akimeka, Boeing, Workforce Development Division, Maui High Performance Computing Center, Ardent MC, Oceanit and the Pacific Disaster Center. Interested job seekers are invited to pre-register online and/or upload their resume for employer review at www.hightechmaui.com.
Since the Holiday Career Fair began in 2002, nearly 800 applicants have submitted resumes, resulting in a growing number of success stories over the years. For more information, contact Mapu Quitazol at 808-875-2343 or email email@example.com.
TOYOTA SPONSORS DREAM CAR CONTEST
Dream a new dream car for Toyota Hawaii and you could be $100 richer, or win a trip to Japan, but you have to be a student artist. The idea is to dream big.
"The main criteria that I determined in my mind for selecting the 5th Annual Dream Car Contest Akira Toriyama Award was 'the dream cars that only children can imagine and draw,'" said Akira Toriyama, TOYOTA Dream Car Art Contest judge for the final competition. "Needless to say, good-quality art and eco-consciousness are wonderful aspects. However, more importantly, I do want them to have their own fantasy world in their childhood. I believe that it doesn't matter even if the fantasy world seems to be small or useless, or that no one else can understand the dream. Putting their own fantasies into the cars, and completely enjoying drawing the picture, that's the most wonderful thing ever!"
Last year's winners included a car that would turn into a handbag via remote control (created by Kata Szonja Szollosi a seven-year-old from Hungary), a car that transformed pollution into clean air (by 13-year-old Pipat Tunkrathok from Thailand) and an automatic noodle truck (by 11-year-old Porndanai Wattanapraditchai, also from Thailand).
In February, the judges will choose 15 finalists from the Hawaii submissions for the international competition. Each finalist will each receive a $100 U.S. Savings Bond. If any of the Hawaii entries are chosen as finalists in the world competition, those students will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Japan for the final awards judging in August 2012. There are three age categories: under 10, 10 to 12 and 13 to 15.
"This is a chance for Hawaii students to be as imaginative as they can be in coming up with a Dream Car idea," said Glenn Inouye, Senior Vice President for Toyota Hawaii. "Last year's international winners were incredibly creative, and I know Hawaii students can definitely compete on this level."
Applications are available at Maui Toyota (Parts Counter, 320 Hana Hwy., Kahului, HI 96732 808.877.2781 Hours: M-F 8-6pm, Sat 9-4pm, Sun closed) or at toyotahawaii.com for the 6th Annual Dream Art Car Contest. Entry deadline is Jan. 31. Entries can be dropped off at any Toyota dealer in the state or mailed to P.O. Box 2788, Honolulu, Hawaii 96803-2788.
Maui's Intrepid Food Taster: Will Eat and Drink Anything
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