Thursday, February 19, 2009

This is a great thing for Saipan Southern High School and the CNMI.

Officials consider alternative energy for schools
Thursday, 19 February 2009 00:00 By Junhan B. Todeno - Variety News Staff
E-mail Print PDF

STUDENTS, school and government officials witnessed yesterday how the wind turbine operates at Saipan Southern High School and expressed confidence that this alternative energy will reduce the school’s monthly power bills.

The wind turbine stands tall on the campus of Southern Saipan High School yesterday. Photo by Junhan B. Todeno

The wind turbine stands tall on the campus of Southern Saipan High School yesterday. Photo by Junhan B. Todeno
Calling the project as a CNMI milestone, both Education Commissioner Rita Sablan and Board of Education Chairwoman Lucy Blanco-Maratita are hoping that all schools will soon have renewable energy sources.

“This is one of the ways we can conserve energy,” Sablan said.

The wind turbine will not only minimize the need for Commonwealth Utilities Corp.’s power, it will also show that the school cares for the environment, Blanco-Mararita said.

She said BOE members have discussed adapting alternative energy sources to reduce the schools’ power bills.

SSHS vice principal Craig Garrison acknowledged the efforts of the Allied Pacific Environmental Consultant for installing the wind turbine on campus.

Robert Jordan, Allied Pacific Environmental Consultant program manager, said the wind turbine is still in the system test stage.

“This is a first in the Pacific and first time the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved a supplemental environmental project that utilizes renewable energy as a pilot project,” he said.

Jordan said the project was proposed to the school by the now defunct Concorde Garment Manufacturing Co. of Tan Holdings as an alternative means of settling the fines it owed to EPA for violations of its rules.

Senate President Pete P. Reyes, R-Saipan, said the project is highly recommended.

He attended yesterday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for the $90,000 Skystream 3.7 wind turbine and nine Kyocera 18V solar panels.

SSHS administrators, he said, should start thinking now where to install another wind turbine on their campus.

Reyes said he is hoping to see SSHS to have nine more wind turbines so it can entirely operate on renewable energy.

Tom Polevich, Allied Pacific Environmental Consulting president, said the project in CNMI a major step forward toward the future of alternative energy use in the commonwealth.

SSHS student government president Janina Maratita said the students are looking forward to seeing similar projects on campus.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Golden Rays

A friend of mine shared this with me and I think this is so incredibly amazing I just had to share it with you. the sea, thousands of Golden Rays are seen here gathering off the coast of Mexico. The spectacular scene was captured as the magnificent creatures made one of their biannual mass migrations to more agreeable waters. Gliding silently beneath the waves, they turned vast areas of blue water to gold off the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. Sandra Critelli, an amateur photographer, stumbled across the phenomenon while looking for whale sharks.

She said: 'It was an unreal image, very difficult to describe. The surface of the water was covered by warm and different shades of gold and looked like a bed of autumn leaves gently moved by the wind.

'It's hard to say exactly how many there were, but in the range of a few thousand'

'We were surrounded by them without seeing the edge of the school and we could see many under the water surface too. I feel very fortunate I was there in the right place at the right time to experience nature at its best' Measuring up to 7ft (2.1 meters) from wing-tip to wing-tip, Golden rays are also more prosaically known as cow nose rays.

They have long, pointed pectoral fins that separate into two lobes in front of their high-domed heads and give them a cow-like appearance. Despite having poisonous stingers, they are known to be shy and non-threatening when in large schools.

The population in the Gulf of Mexico migrates, in schools of as many as 10,000, clockwise from western Florida to the Yucatan.