Give Rodrigues a chance at freedom
Paroling Authority Chairman Albert Tufono and the parole board now have the fate of my brother, Shaun Rodrigues, in their hands
. Surely they have gained an intuition of the inmates before them, and can decipher between the ones who deserve parole or release and those who don't. I beg them to look through all of the facts and evidence, and they'll see that an innocent man sat before them. He understands the meaning of remorse, but how does he show such emotion when he isn't the one who committed this crime?
Please review everything. A mistake has been made. Give my brother his life back. Let him raise his son to be the man his father is -- a person who knows the values of respect and compassion for another human life.
I ask Mr. Tufono and the Hawaii Paroling Authority to do the right thing. A wrong has occurred. Please make it right. Free my brother. He is not the Manoa Robber. He is Shaun Christopher Rodrigues -- an innocent man.
Kelly H. Higa
Hierarchy hamstrings charter schools
Despite its mission, the Board of Education is once again doing everything it can to stifle educational progress. This time the BOE has delayed the adoption of a policy about online education, thereby preventing charter schools from using this innovative methodology to teach their students (Star-Bulletin, April 24
Although charter schools are public schools, each has its own board of trustees that determines school policy within the constraints of applicable BOE policy. Some charter schools want to begin offering online education because it enables students to work at a more individualized pace. The U.S. Department of Education endorses online education, and it is becoming more and more popular nationally. But not in Hawaii.
The prohibition by the BOE might be valid if it were running the regular schools successfully -- or even merely adequately. However, Hawaii's public education system is so irrelevant that, according to a national organization, 35 percent of Hawaii's students drop out of the regular public schools. In a macabre confession of sorts, the Department of Education asserted that the figure is only 21 percent.
Whichever the rate, public education clearly needs to be changed. But don't look to the BOE for new ideas.
By denying charter schools the option of offering online education, the BOE seems to be saying that if it cannot run the regular public schools successfully, then charter schools won't succeed either.
New rules won't help Quest patients
The state's new Med Quest "positive enrollment" is anything but positive for Hawaii. The intentions are good -- consumer choice, increase competition, lower health costs -- but the plan will create confusion, chaos and endanger health. It will add layers of bureaucracy, increasing the cost of medical care at our community health center, and for the state as a whole.
Many of our patients are limited English speakers, move often, are homeless, and/or are the families of busy working people with several part-time jobs. Many will assume they are still enrolled in their current plan, and show up in need of health care only to find they have been assigned without their consent to another provider and plan. KPHC will, of course, do everything we can to help, but this will greatly increase our costs as staff work to sort this out with thousands of patients.
We urge the state to keep the current "open enrollment" system which has a proven track record of improving access to health services for Hawaii's most vulnerable citizens.
Doris Segal Matsunaga
Interim associate director
Kalihi-Palama Health Center
Will 2nd District get short shrift?
One wonders if one of the many announced candidates, who live in the 1st Congressional District, if elected will truly represent the people of the 2nd District. It is more likely that we will in effect end up with two elected officials in the U.S. Congress representing issues and concerns of the 1st District, with the rest of us being left out in the cold.
The people of the 2nd District should make certain they elect a candidate from that district, basically saying to the others to keep their aspirations and egos at home!
What is real force behind acts of nature?
A 12-page special report with the heading "Listen to the Rain"
was published by the Star-Bulletin Sunday, April 16. On the last page, Peter Young, director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, said, "Nature reminds us about who's in charge here. In nature, rocks will fall, rivers will rise and the forces are real."
Considering that statement, doesn't it make you wonder what the almighty creator of all things might have been thinking about?
Chorus was inspired by outgoing conductor
The Honolulu Symphony Chorus has been privileged to have Karen Kennedy as conductor for the past four years.
Four years of her gentle cajoling, nurturing, encouraging, prodding and sometimes demanding -- but never demeaning -- insistence that we strive for ever better performance has left its mark on us. Karen's rehearsal and performance style has been an inspiration that will continue to be reflected in our work even in her absence.
As a result of her thorough preparation of the chorus, the Honolulu community has enjoyed some wonderful musical events during her tenure with us: a moving Duruflé "Requiem," a majestic Brahms "Requiem," a memorable Haydn "Creation" (complete with natural rain sound effects due to the leaky roof at the Blaisdell Concert Hall), a triumphant Rutter "Gloria," the revered Handel's "Messiah" -- and much more.
She now moves on to a new faculty position at Towson University in Maryland. While we of the Honolulu Symphony Chorus will miss her, her sense of humor and her awesome talents, we are proud of and happy for Karen.
We give our fondest aloha to Karen as she moves on in her career.
Alex Silver, M.D.
President, Oahu Choral Society
(Honolulu Symphony Chorus)
What's with all the expired safety checks?
I am dumbfounded by the number of expired safety checks on our highways, compounded by the many drivers who are uninsured. Just think, with stricter police enforcement and the restructuring of vehicular fines, maybe Oahu would have fewer cars, and rail would just be a dream!
Paul G. Kempczenski
Ala Moana park has been given new life
Thanks to the decision of Mayor Mufi Hannemann's administration to close Ala Moana Beach Park at night
, which should be permanent, I have witnessed a renewed serene and tranquil park. The huge turnout at the Family Festival, where people expressed that they felt comfortable and safer walking through the park, is testimony that the park was returned to the greater public. Make it safe, and they will come.
Thanks to Lester Chang, director of Parks and Recreation -- and it is not the Department of Parks and Residential, as no one should be living in any park -- I have witnessed a real live extreme makeover, which was a three-day frenzy of bustling activity by his staff. Make it clean, and they will come.
The exit strategy might have been controversial but the true shibai is the many years of all talk and no action. The city's compassion has been stretched for at least a decade with the homeless occupation of Ala Moana Beach Park. Hopefully, this will be the force play to find a solution for all the homeless people throughout the state.
Concessions Surf and Snack
Ala Moana Beach Park