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Tuesday, July 25, 2000


More on young victim of landmine blast

An article on Ouey Sok, the young Cambodian landmine victim now being treated at the Shriners Hospital in Honolulu, was featured in your July 11 issue. As might be expected when both miles and time separate the event from the reporting, there are a few important additions to the story.

Sok was one of five boys injured by the landmine. One boy was killed instantly; two others had "minor injuries" and were hospitalized in Anlong Veng at a district hospital supported and operated by MSF (Medicins san Frontieres). They were discharged some time ago and are doing quite well.

Sok and another seriously injured boy were transported to the Angkor Hospital for Children by MSF in a four-wheel-drive ambulance. These two boys had an eight-hour ordeal over roads with mud holes and craters large enough to lose a truck. Unfortunately, the other boy died en route shortly before reaching our emergency room.

Sok's treatment was initiated by a Sri Lankan pediatric surgeon, Dr. Mathievathaniy Muthucumaru, and a Cambodian surgeon, Dr. Sar Vuthy. Their skill, dedication and the advice of Dr. Gunther Hintz of Medicorps, kept Sok's legs in a condition that made him a viable candidate for surgery in Honolulu.

While this was going on in Siem Reap, further south, people were mobilized in Phnom Penh. Maj. Ralph Skeba, the American embassy's military attaché, processed the red tape for Sok's visa. At one point, he personally flew to Siem Reap with the visa application.

Meanwhile, MSF's Phnom Penh office was busy at the Cambodian Ministry of the Interior, trying to get Sok a passport -- not an easy thing for common people to obtain in that country.

Bangkok Airways also deserves recognition for transporting Ouey Sok and registered nurse Kazumi Sakima from Siem Reap to Bangkok, free of charge.

Jon F. Morgan, R.N.
Executive Director
Angkor Hospital for Children Siem Reap, Cambodia



"This isn't a Boy Scouts camp or Girl Scouts camp. It's for tourists. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it's a duck."
Steve Holmes
Concerned about a proposal to use agricultural land on the North Shore at Pua'ena as a permanent camp site for tourists and residents

"Everything, everything, whatever it was, I appreciated it."
Merrell Frankhauser
On life after surviving a near-fatal heart attack in 1987

Crosses on state land were inappropriate

Your July 21 editorial asserts that the state should "restore the crosses" removed from Sacred Falls Park because "the memorial was being maintained and (relatives) object to the removal."

Except in cemeteries, the law does not allow for private installation and maintenance of memorials on state property. They are eventually removed, especially after the state Department of Land and Natural Resources receives notification or a citizen's complaint.

State regulations "prohibit the installation of any memorial" on public property and mandate the removal of any "property left unattended for 24 hours."

Out of respect for the victims, the state allowed the eight crosses to remain for more than a year. I myself waited more than a year before issuing the request for removal. How long were the crosses to remain? Two years? Ten years? In perpetuity?

Had the state refused to remove the eight decorated white crosses, then we would have moved forward on the issue of separation of church and state. But since the crosses were removed, there is no constitutional controversy.

Mitchell Kahle
Citizens for the Separation of Church and State

Ezra deserves thanks for reconsidering

It's great that Judge David Ezra has reconsidered his decision. His original ruling on longline fishing in Hawaii waters was impractical and would have done more harm than good.

I am in favor of saving the leatherback turtles, but the way this would have been accomplished under the judge's ruling was quite severe and brash.

In actuality, the turtles wouldn't have been the ones to suffer -- it would have been the longliners, their families, consumers and the economy.

Chris Schmicker
Age 14
Punahou School

Don't give DOE more time on Felix decree

Judge David Ezra should not extend by 18 months the deadline for the Department of Education to obey the special education Felix consent decree. The DOE has already had six years to comply and, for most of that time, has made no effort.

As a special education teacher, I have experienced the DOE's resistance to action. Last fall, when I reported an administrator for abusing a handicapped student, the department closed ranks. not only have officials violated the contract by failing to do anything about my complaint, thus permitting unprofessional treatment of students to continue, but they have allowed harassment and blackballing.

The DOE's self-protective ethos will not change in 18 months or 18 years. Judge Ezra needs to use his authority to put a progressive agency in control of Hawaii's special education.

John Mussack

Incentives needed to comply with ADA

As a real estate and business consultant, I am painfully aware of the high costs of running businesses in Hawaii. Yet I am also someone who takes care of a handicapped, elderly parent.

My mother broke her hip two years ago and needs a wheelchair to get around. When we go places, however, we often cannot get around without moving furniture, people or store displays.

Outside, some ramps and curbs are so steep we need to wheel around to another area. Many doors don't have automatic openers so I have to push them open with my okole while pulling her through. Handicapped parking stalls are inevitably full.

Government wants businesses to make life easier for the handicapped and I am all for that, too. But government must provide the stimulus for them to make those changes.

To mandate codes and decrees without some type of compensation -- either through tax incentives or reduction of fees -- just raises costs that much higher for businesses, and creates resentment toward disabled people.

Stephany L. Sofos

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