Tailor park hours to public need
Most neighborhood parks and mini-parks are nestled by community homes or businesses and have the least amount of acreage ("Closing parks 12 hours a day is not a reasonable solution," Our Opinion, April 11
). These tiny gems are usually favored by area residents for their close proximity.
Community parks, which are larger than neighborhood and mini-parks, have more amenities such as lighted basketball courts, ballfields, recreation centers and programs for various groups and individuals.
District and regional parks are the largest areas for recreation. These areas play host to large events and activities.
Operational hours for each of these parks should vary. Seasonal sports require special practice and game times. The number of teams or individual players for various sports might require an extended play schedule. Working individuals, who look forward to exercise or a relaxing stroll, could be locked out of our parks. Depending upon the location and activity, close review is needed to set reasonable closure hours for each park.
Urban growth, crime and drug use have created new challenges for our city parks. Innovative ideas and technology could offer reasonable solutions.
Let's take better care of 'Falls of Clyde'
Has anyone else noticed the "Falls of Clyde" sailing ship lately? She is in a sad state of disrepair. Whoever is in charge of her maintenance should be ashamed of themselves for letting the stately vessel languish in the harbor.
This wonderful landmark, which adds so much ambiance and character to the Aloha Tower area, should not be left to deteriorate.
Unless some private or government organization provides funding to paint up, clean up and fix up the "Falls of Clyde," it appears she'll be heading for the scrap heap soon.
Recycling really cuts down household trash
Having read the April 10 article
about Mililani residents trashing the city's proposed recycling program, I felt compelled to respond. I am a former Wahiawa/Mililani resident and moved to Canada from Maui (where we were allowed seven trash containers once a week) in 2005.
When we first arrived on Vancouver Island I was shocked to learn that we would only be allowed ONE normal-size trash can and that trash is picked up once a week. I thought, "How on earth am I going to compact our family of four's trash (plus three dogs' wastes) into one can?"
The city of Courtenay has several areas where residents take their recyclables (bottles, cans, newspapers, cardboard, plastics), and I make about one trip a week to this location.
Believe it or not, it can be done and often my can is only half full. I cringe when I think of how much I sent to the Maui dump. People need to be more aware of and take an active approach to recycling. It's not too late to start.
More crosswalks, not fewer, will add safety
In light of the recent influx of pedestrian fatalities, some crosswalks are being removed because they are too dangerous. Others are being removed to make the traffic flow better. Removing crosswalks will not remove pedestrians and will not lessen the pedestrian fatalities. If anything, the jaywalking and accidents will increase. Most pedestrians are in a hurry and will cross wherever it is convenient if there is no crosswalk within a short walking distance.
A better way to prevent accidents involving pedestrians is to add more crosswalks rather than removing them. If more crosswalks are built, people will be more likely to cross in a crosswalk rather than jaywalking.
On Kainalu Drive in Kailua, there is a one-mile strip with no crosswalks. Pedestrians are not going to walk a half-mile just to get to a crosswalk to cross the street.
This is just one example of many to show that if the city wants a simple solution to curb jaywalking and pedestrian deaths, more crosswalks are needed. Although this would not keep all pedestrian deaths from occurring, it would create a safer alternative.
Little butts add up to a lot of trash
I am really concerned about the amount of trash I can see just lying along the sidewalks. All the cigarette butts lying everywhere aren't only litter, but also could have been something more: They could have started a fire where they were flicked away when someone was too lazy to put them in an ashtray somewhere.
I even got hit by one of these stray cigarettes when someone was driving by once. Luckily I didn't get burned; it just hit part of my clothes.
We all need to take that extra minute and start respecting our home. Not only is it a problem for people, but it's a problem for our fragile ecosystem as well. If we keep throwing our trash on the roads and beaches, then we'll eventually destroy our environment and our home.
WAITING FOR PAYDAY
STAR-BULLETIN / 2005
The pay dispute between substitute teachers and the state has been festering since 2000. Merri Hofherr, left, and Carol Kettner were joined by other substitute teachers in 2005 at the state Capitol to alert the public about their salary ordeal.
Back pay owed substitutes will only keep going up
The back pay owed to part-time teachers and substitutes from November 2000 to June 2005 would have been about $22 million. Now it would be about $65 million. The delay in doing the right thing is getting more costly!
I hope the Legislature follows Judge Karen Ahn's 2005 ruling and resolves the issue. Is our state so rich that we can wait another year and owe even more?
Lawmakers have moral obligation to substitutes
Put yourself in the shoes of a substitute teacher. You have been underpaid by thousands of dollars every year for the past 10 years. Your pay was cut twice in the space of a few months. Your employer exempts himself from providing health insurance, although you work most of the school year. You have no right to grievance, since you do not belong to a labor union. You are prevented from joining a union. And now, even though a judge has ruled in your favor, the state is saying that state workers cannot sue for back pay.
Substitute teachers ask the governor, the legislators and everyone involved for your intervention in expediting the settlement of this terrible dispute. Hawaii's students, teachers and public school system alike are being hurt by all of this legal haggling. The DOE is losing more and more experienced, qualified subs each day. Consequently, some students must remain in the cafeteria without any instruction, since there are not enough subs to go around.
The law is our only protection. We plead with our legislators to remember that it is your moral obligation to uphold the laws that you have passed and to pay substitute teachers what the law has provided.
Future schools will need more teachers -- and money
Peter Garuccio (Letters, April 11
) is right on the button with his observations regarding the governor's disregard for adequate pay for public school teachers. We are losing good, seasoned teachers to the mainland and new education graduates from our local universities are looking away from Hawaii for their initial teaching employment (also, teachers recruited from the mainland seldom stay for more that two years); inadequate pay combined with facilities in ill-repair being the primary reasons.
Each school year usually begins with a shortage of about 600 teachers. With a combination of teacher loss and little prospect for new teachers, how are we going to staff the many new schools that are promised for the massive subdivisions now included in plans for Ewa Beach, Ewa Makakilo/Kapolei and other areas?
Planning for the future rather than "knee-jerk Band-Aids" is becoming more critical but seems to be nonexistent when it comes to current support for education. Just where is the governor's support to public education was a plank in her platform when running for office?
Bernard G. Judson