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Tuesday, January 18, 2000



Breathing exercise can teach empathy

I've been sitting back, reading all the letters to the editor about banning fireworks. I'd like those who oppose a ban to try this simple exercise to see what it is like to live with a life-threatening respiratory disability:

First, get one of those little plastic stir sticks from a fast-food resturant, the ones with the small openings in them.

Next, exhale completely so there is no air left in your lungs. Pinch your nose and breathe through the small openings in the stick for about five minutes.

Do you feel the panic of not being able to breathe? This is exactly what it is like for about 20,000 of us in Hawaii.

However, in your case, you will be able to breathe normally afterward; we will not.

B.A. McClintock
Via the Internet

Elected officials must deal with fireworks

This year our governor said, "Fireworks is a violation of every health standard you can think of." Last year he said, "Hawaii's Legislature needs to act responsibly and end this utter madness." What will he say next year?

Our counties had a fireworks permit system until 1994 when the state took fireworks control away from the counties. Now permits are not required and things have gotten continously worse.

It seems that even when our elected officials all agree, nothing gets done. And sadly someone had to die because of their dereliction of duty. This year the rhetoric will start again.

Thankfully, this is an election year. Our elected officials need to be reminded to do what is right and pass legislation to protect the health and safety of this state. Sometimes, as in this case, the right thing to do is not the most popular.

Thomas Suster
Ewa Beach
Via the internet


Story on Kauai general plan update was slanted

As a member of the Citizen's Advisory Committee for Kauai`s general plan update, I refute statements made in a Dec. 6 Star-Bulletin article. This article was slanted and did an injustice not only to the project team's hard work, but to the level of involvement of many diligent members of the committee.

The article summarized nearly two years of work as "endless piles of photocopied government data -- all of which was photocopied and obtainable for free -- without asking the committee for a single recommendation."

Untrue on two counts:

First, the committee has worked hard to reach general agreement on a number of recommendations ranging from agricultural lands and zoning to water quality and drainage as well as critical issues on future resort development.

Second, most of the material presented to the committee (and made available to the public) is original research and analysis.

Working together, the Kauai County Planning Department and the consultant, Plan Pacific, have prepared and published 20 "working paper" research reports, five sets of color maps covering the entire island, a draft 2020 vision statement, six task group reports proposing General Plan policies to the CAC, and reports on 19 committee meetings and 10 Planning District meetings.

Rob Culbertson
Lihue, Kauai
Via the Internet



"The only reason I was able
to survive was through my sense of humor.
I have this voice inside me that keeps
laughing when things
are very bad."

Margaret Cho
On her roller-coaster career


"Even if I get real good, I know
I would drop fast if I don't
keep working.
It's the same in life."

Jesse Placourakis
The youngest American to win a title at last
year's prestigious All-Japan
Junior Championships

Many to thank for turtle population

Mahalo for your Dec. 20 feature, "Green turtles making rally." Indeed, they are! In the last three decades, these splendid animals -- known as "honu" -- have been pulled from the brink of extinction to a point where they now greet the next century in much greater numbers.

True, the honu still struggle with Fibropapilloma tumors but we're encouraged by the advances made in understanding the disease over the last decade.

Much of this world-class research was conducted right in the islands.

We wish to thank George Balazs of the National Marine Fisheries Service for the expertise and dedication he brings to the honu.

Mahalo also to the dedicated researchers and volunteers who've assisted him in this recovery vision.

Lastly, a special mahalo to the people of Hawaii. That their waters are graced with so many friendly turtles is the direct result of the aloha spirit.

Ursula Keuper-Bennett Peter Bennett
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Via the Internet

Paradise is being paved over with concrete

It's no wonder tourists aren't flocking to the islands, especially Oahu. They can't find it under all of the concrete.

Gone is the scenery which used to be typically Hawaii. So much "remodeling" has been done, that only small sections remain.

For example, the last, lovely section along the Ala Wai is being ruined by a modern walkway.

When will all this "remodeling" stop, so that some of our beautiful islands are left intact?

Anne Graven

Doctors: Don't buckle under like dentists did

I applaud the efforts of island physicians in their stance against the Hawaii Medical Service Association (Star-Bulletin, Jan. 8). Perhaps this will lead to an investigation of the entire health-care insurance industry here.

Although held up as a model state to the rest of the nation, Hawaii is unique: Nowhere else in the nation is there a virtual monopoly in health insurance by so few big players.

The exact situation faced the dentists about five years ago and we let them get away with it without any unity and without so much as a whimper.

Don't make the same mistake, physicians!

Because we all desire to make a living, health-care providers have allowed the insurance industry to be the dictators and have not made any attempt to rectify the situation.

Fight on, physicians! Stand up for what is fair and just.

Kerry Ishihara, DDS
Via the Internet

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