Solar Power Proposed For Wallops Facility

WALLOPS ISLAND — NASA has proposed the installation of up to 80 acres of solar panels on the Wallops Flight Facility Main Base in coastal Virginia just south of Assateague Island through an environmental assessment of alternative energy at the facility.

The Alternative Energy Project at Wallops would generate renewable electricity to assist NASA as an agency in meeting or exceeding the requirements of the 2005 Federal Energy Policy Act and various executive orders. The project would also be expected to stabilize Wallops’ growing utility costs and provide educational outreach regarding renewable energy technologies.

Under the proposed action-preferred alternative in the final Environmental Assessment (EA), NASA would install up to an 80-acre system of solar panels at the main base that would be capable of generating 10 gigawatt hours per year of electricity. In addition, 2.4 kilowatt residential-scale wind turbines would be installed near the NASA Visitor Center and the security guard station at the entrance to Wallops Island.

At full build out, the electricity generated annually by the project would equate to approximately 850 average American homes. Given the large capital investment required for the project, the proposal would not be implemented immediately, but rather it would be built in multiple phases over time.

Salisbury To Celebrate Awards

SALISBURY — The city of Salisbury today is celebrating a pair of recent awards and honors including its All-America City designation and its designation as one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People for the fourth straight year.

The National Civic League named Salisbury an All-America City for 2010, while America’s Promise Alliance named Salisbury and Wicomico County one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People for the fourth straight year last year. The city and county are coming together today to celebrate the two designations.

“We are thrilled to have finally won the title ‘All America City’ after four years of working tirelessly to win the award,” said Salisbury Mayor Jim Ireton. “On April 15, we will have our city-wide celebration marking the achievement our team deserves.”

Ireton and County Executive Rick Pollitt will be presenting the awards to winning entries for the “Celebrate Your Community” contest sponsored by All-America City at 6 p.m. this evening on the steps of the Government Office Building. The two elected officials will also be present at a Youth Summit sponsored by America’s Promise Alliance in the City Center Building on the plaza to give young people a chance to have their voices heard concerning their needs in the community.

“I am absolutely delighted to join Mayor Ireton in celebrating our fourth selection in five years as one of America’s 100 best communities for young people,” said Pollitt. “While it is wonderful to receive awards and recognition, the best thing about this is that our community is consistently giving our youth the essential resources they need to succeed in life.”

Next Lifestyle Balance Program Dates Set

OCEAN PINES — The Worcester County Health Department’s next Lifestyle Balance Program will be held in Ocean Pines beginning in May.

The Lifestyle Balance Program is an evidence-based program that effectively reduces the risk for type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases, assists in weight loss and maintenance of a healthy body weight, and decreases the risk for heart disease and stroke. Participants learn how to eat healthier, to become more physically fit, and to lose weight or maintain a healthy body weight.

The free fitness program taught by a certified exercise physiologist, certified nutritionist, and a health educator, will be offered Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3-4:30 p.m. beginning on May 17 for 16 weeks at the Tidewater Physical Therapy, 11022 Nicholas Lane in Berlin. To learn more about the free program or to enroll, please call 410-632-1100.

Fee Free Week At Assateague

ASSATEAGUE — Assateague officials announced this week as part of National Park Week, the entrance fees at the Assateague Island National Seashore will be waived starting tomorrow through next Sunday, April 24.

The fee waiver applies at both the Maryland and Virginia districts of the National Seashore. Ranger-led programs are scheduled throughout the fee-free week at Assateague in both Maryland and Virginia. For example, aquarium talks, beach walks, arts and crafts, GPS activities and many more are being offered through the week starting tomorrow and ending next Sunday.

The waiver of entrance fees applies not only at Assateague but at all other National Park System areas that typically charge entrance fees. This year’s focus, Healthy Parks, Healthy People, highlights the connection between human and environmental health and the vital role America’s national parks play in both.

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