Elliott Campbell, a professor in the School of Engineering at the University of California at Merced, has received a $407,588, five-year grant from the National Science Foundation to study production of biofuels on abandoned agricultural lands.
Campbell will begin by calculating the total area of abandoned agricultural lands in the United States and Brazil. He then will use field tests, historical crop figures and remote-sensing data to estimate how much biofuel could be produced using these lands. Finally, he will determine the amount of greenhouse gases emitted during the production and transportation of the biofuels to help determine the environment's net gain.
The study will analyze the potential production of several biofuel applications -- cellulosic ethanol, corn ethanol, sugar cane ethanol, dedicated biomass electricity facilities and biomass co-firing with coal -- on these abandoned ag lands and will determine the most effective locations to limit the greenhouse gas emissions created in production.
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The Stanislaus County Fair received four first-place awards and a second place from the Western Fairs Association during its January conference in Reno. The association serves the fair industry in 14 Western states, plus Canada. The Stanislaus fair won for:
Generational marketing: Sponsored by the Covenant Village retirement facility, the 55-plus relaxation station offered a place where seniors could take a break from walking the fair, enjoy entertainment, cool down from the summer weather and talk about senior-related topics.
Innovative marketing: A promotion involving a radio station and credit union
New idea: A free shuttle program from parking lots at California State University, Stanislaus, and Pitman High School to the fairgrounds.
Rain forest adventure video
The fair took second place in the new featured exhibit category for the rain forest adventure exhibit.
Modesto resident Jeremiah Williams has been elected lieutenant governor of Kiwanis' Cal-Nev-HA Division 46, which includes 17 clubs from Modesto and Merced, east to Sonora, southeast to Mariposa and west to Los Banos. His duties will include visiting each club four times a year to provide leadership and motivation, attend educational meetings and participate in events in those communities.
Kathleen S. Morse has been selected as chief of planning for Yosemite National Park. She joins the National Park Service after a 20-year career in the U.S. Forest Service, where she worked at all levels of the agency in Montana, Alaska, California and Pennsylvania. In her most recent assignment, she supervised Lassen National Forest.
Justin Graspointner and Cuc T Vu received the Ray Kroc Award, an annual performance-based award that recognizes the 141 top performing McDonald's restaurant managers in the country. Named after McDonald's corporate founder, Ray Kroc, the award was established in 1999 and includes a cash award, trophy, pin and trip to Chicago for the presentation.
The Calvary Comforters, a group from Calvary Lutheran Church, makes quilts and sews clothing for homeless shelters, the Modesto Gospel Mission, and Red Cross orphanages in China and the Philippines.
The group, which made 2,000 quilts and robes for nursing homes last year, meets at the church at 547 Rose Ave. five times a month to sew. It needs donations of cloth and other material. Meetings are scheduled Thursday, Feb. 24 and Feb. 25 from 9 a.m. to noon. Call 577-4811 for more information.
Nominations for Stanislaus County's 2010 Senior Awards are being accepted. One person, 60 or older, from each of the five supervisorial districts will be honored in May for volunteer work in community service, humanitarianism, leadership, political advocacy or being a good neighbor.
May has been designated Older Americans Month.
You can obtain a nomination form by calling the Stanislaus County Area Agency on Aging at 558-7825 or 800-510-2020, or from the agency at 121 Downey Ave., Suite 102, in Modesto.
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