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Wednesday, January 27, 1999


Charter school concept can work on Valley Isle

The charter high school envisioned for Maui, as described in your Jan.11 issue, is a terrific idea. It appears to be oriented toward both current needs and future trends.

The alarm bells set off by discipline problems and the F-rating for atmosphere tell us we must start thinking about what skills and understandings are most needed. If we don't have people who understand the world as it is, the future unravels.

For too long, the emphasis in education has been on competitive measures and social conformity -- to the detriment of true learning. Fear-based methods need to be replaced with a nurturing attitude. If learning is not joyful, something is wrong.

I hope the future school will embrace not just technical skills but the whole human potential: intellectual, emotional and moral. It takes courage, caring and vision to create a community that advances each individual learner. Are we brave and wise enough to move in that direction?

Kelly Arbor
Pukalani, Maui
(Via the Internet)

Gambling is only thing that can save economy

It is time for our governor and Legislature to get down to the serious business of turning our economy around. Recent news coverage blames the record low hotel occupancy on the fact that repeat tourists aren't coming back.

This is where gaming comes in. Gambling, if done right, can be that "hook" to bring back the repeat tourist along with many more new ones. It will also keep our gambling population at home, "donating" millions of dollars annually to Hawaii's economy instead of Las Vegas'.

"Soft-core" gambling such as the lottery, bingo, horse racing, shipboard gambling and slot/video machine halls should be legalized to turn our economy around.

All the supposed "blue ribbon" task forces could not come up with viable solutions without mentioning that dreaded "T" word: taxes. We already pay the highest taxes and we have the highest cost of living in America.

If this issue were put to a vote, we all know the citizenry would overwhelmingly approve gaming. It is time for our elected officials to take positive action on this issue. Since the elections are over, there should be no fear of retribution by the very vocal but misinformed anti-gaming minority.

Steven T.K. Burke
Pearl City
(Via the Internet)

Once gambling is allowed, it pervades entire state

Dalton Tanonaka's Jan. 8 column disturbs me. I hope that he is open to reading the data we have been gathering for the past few years.

It is well known that once any form of gambling is allowed in a state, all other forms follow. To say that gambling could be offered on a limited basis, only to a selected group or only in a well-chosen spot, is very naive.

There is plenty of illegal gambling in Hawaii and lots of folks who go holoholo to Las Vegas. Most of those who visit Nevada go as much for the trip and to "get off the rock" as to gamble. Many of them tell me that they would NOT want to see gambling introduced here, even though they are avid gamblers.

I wish it would be possible to set in stone a well-regulated, carefully monitored formula that would help Hawaii avoid some of the inevitable pitfalls that gambling produces. But look at the Ewa Homes fiasco as well as the Bishop Estate affair, not to mention other areas of our society in which supposedly ethical, upright citizens have fallen victim to greed and the desire to accumulate more and more.

Frankly, I do not for a minute think that it would be possible to put an ironclad gambling system into operation in this state. No way.

Judy Rantala
Co-Vice Chairwoman
Hawaii Coalition Against
Legalized Gambling.
(Via the Internet)

Celebrate from end of '99 to the beginning of 2001

I am puzzled by the continued lack of clarity in the media on the issue of when the 21st century actually begins. This is not debatable; it is matter of simple mathematics. The year 2000 with be the last year of the 20th century and the second millennium of the Christian era. The 21st century will not begin until Jan. 1, 2001.

If anyone doubts this, it helps to remember that there is no Year Zero in the calendar system used by most Western countries. The year 1 B.C. was followed by A.D. 1, which represents the start of the first century and first millennium. The second millennium began in A.D. 1001 and the third millennium will begin in A.D. 2001.

Given the public fascination with round numbers, it is certainly understandable that people want to celebrate the coming of the year 2000. Perhaps the best way to strike a compromise between public myth and mathematical reality is to declare a two-year celebration starting on Dec. 31, 1999 --marking the end of the 20th century in 2000 and the beginning of the new millennium in 2001.

Bryan C. Klum
(Via the Internet)

Aquarium will provide sea snakes with a home

Susan Scott's Jan. 18 column on sea snakes was very informative. She ended with a hope that "one of these yellow and black beauties will survive long enough to be admired in a Hawaii aquarium."

In fact, the Jan. 4, 1984, edition of the Star-Bulletin reported on several sea snakes captured in Hawaii and displayed here at the Waikiki Aquarium. The first snake was obtained in October 1982 and survived three years. During that time, nearly 500,000 visitors to the Waikiki Aquarium had an opportunity to see and appreciate these rarely observed animals.

To echo Susan's comments, if you find a sea snake, don't handle it or kill it. Call the Waikiki Aquarium and we will find a secure home for it here, where everyone can appreciate it.

Bruce Carlson
Director, Waikiki Aquarium
(Via the Internet)

Permits should be issued in lottery for fireworks

I would like to propose a fireworks' lottery. The state could sell one million tickets at $5 each. Out of this million tickets, 1,000 would be drawn, allowing those ticket holders to have a fireworks permit that would have to be displayed prominently at the site. The same would go for suppliers.

This would give the state or county more power to regulate smoke emission and the police would be able to identify legal fireworks. It would also help replenish the state budget.

This could help keep our tradition.

Godfrey K. Kaonohi

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