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KAUAI, Hawaii (The Garden Island, Jan. 13) - Kaua'i Island Utility Cooperative's Samisoni "Soni" Tupou and John Ludington are en route to American Samoa to help rebuild that country's electrical system in the wake of Cyclone Heta.

Both are with KIUC's Engineering and Operations branch. Tupou, who left yesterday, is KIUC construction coordinator. Ludington, of Koloa, who leaves today, was recently promoted to primary troubleshooter.

As of yesterday, half of American Samoa's residents and businesses were still without power after the Jan. 4 cyclone, the first of the season and first to brush Samoa in over a decade, ravaged the island.

Gregg Gardiner, KIUC's board chairman and member of the board of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, will also be heading out today, along with Cliff Humphrey, NRECA legislative assistant.

"This is part of being a cooperative," said Alton Miyamoto, president and chief executive officer of KIUC. "If a member of the co-op community needs assistance, another co-op lends a hand. It's part of what makes co-ops work, and we're proud of the cooperative spirit demonstrated by these employees."

Tropical Cyclone Heta lashed American Samoa and neighboring Western Samoa with gusts over 100 mph, forcing coastal residents to move inland as extreme high tides overcame homes and swept them away.

As happened on Kaua'i during Hurricane 'Iwa in 1982 and Hurricane 'Iniki in 1992, power to much of the island was disrupted as power poles and lines were snapped by the high winds.

January 14, 2004

The Garden Island: www.kauaiworld.com/news


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