to the Editor

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Monday, August 20, 2001

Okinawan drought teaches conservation

In 1971, when I was stationed on the island of Okinawa, we had a severe water shortage that began in the spring. On the U.S. Navy base at Naha, there were barrels placed outside our offices that were filled with water. Whenever you needed to use the restroom you came outside, dipped a bucketful of water and carried it inside to the restroom for flushing.

At our home, which was north of the base, we had the water turned on for only 12 hours every other day, and then later it was changed to every third day. Everyone would fill up their bathtubs, and every container that they could lay their hands on would be used to save up water.

One of my co-workers lived at the top of a hill and he told us that it took about six or more hours for the water to reach his home, so he only had water for six hours or less instead of 12 hours.

The authorities even tried seeding the clouds, but by the time it rained the clouds would be out over the ocean. This condition continued throughout the summer.

Believe me it was no fun and it made me a believer in water conservation. I was quite relieved when I found out that I had orders to leave in August for Hawaii.

John Heatherman

Growth outpaces Ewa road capacity

The traffic along Fort Weaver Road in Ewa Beach has reached a crisis situation. Every day motorists spend at least 30-45 minutes just to get to H-1, and it's getting worse instead of better. What had been a long-promised widening of of the to three lanes in and out has turned out to be a widening from two to three lanes, but only 1,000 feet before and 1,000 feet after each intersection. This has created hazardous situations where speeders get into the third lane and then challenge the motorists in the second lane to merge within 1,000 feet through the four intersections to be widened.

The Wiki Wiki Ferry, another promised solution to our traffic woes, in reality turns out to embark at Barbers Point deep draft harbor, 10 miles and 20 minutes away from Ewa Beach and is just a substitute for TheBus, not taking any vehicles off Fort Weaver Road.

A north-south road promised for more than 25 years is now not even to be through its design phase until 2004.

More than 20,000 people have moved into the Ewa Plain in the last seven years. The people in Ewa Beach are being held hostage by poor planning and indifferent politicians who waited until an unbearable situation existed before thinking about appropriating funds for Band-Aid solutions.

The people of Ewa Beach have been quiet long enough. There is a grassroots ground-swell calling for a moratorium on all building in the Fort Weaver corridor until the infrastructure catches up to the runaway building in this area. It is a step that may be necessary to restore some order to the explosive traffic situation on Fort Weaver Road.

Pam Lee Smith
Ewa Beach


"I needed him in the spring to help me grow as a person and a quarterback. Seeing him back here Thursday night was the best for me."

Tim Chang,
University of Hawaii quarterback, on seeing Head Coach June Jones back on the practice field after the coach was seriously injured in a car accident earlier this year.

"Our people are from 7 feet tall all the way down to different sizes and weights."

Bob Nagatani,
On the challenge of furnishing the Nagatani Academic Center, a one-stop shop where University of Hawaii athletes can study, meet with counselors and tutors and deal with admission, housing and scholarship needs. The center, named for Nagatani's parents, was established with funding from the Chika Y. Nagatani UH Foundation.

Money to combat 'invaders' is scarce

I wanted to thank Annette Kaohelaulii for her Aug. 8 letter on invasive species problems and her support for our state efforts. She is correct in identifying invasive species as a huge problem with inadequate funding. However, she greatly overestimated the amount of funding going into invasive species control, stating that $7 million was going into invasive species annually.

The actual figure is closer to $1 million. The department currently receives about $500,000 in state funds and an additional $350,000 in federal funds for invasive species projects.

Kaohelaulii is correct in her concerns that this level of funding is inadequate to deal with the rising tide of invasive species such as Miconia, brown tree snakes, and Caribbean frogs and that we can expect more environmental, economic and social problems as a result.

We support her calls for increased, and rapid, government and citizen action to combat these threats before it is too late.

Gilbert S. Coloma-Agaran
Department of Land and Natural Resources

Schools are at mercy of malasada cravings

A while ago my second-grade son asked me if I could help his school get playground equipment. He told me he was bored because the only thing they had to do during recess was to chase girls. I told him I would see what I could do.

I checked around and learned that the schools in the area were removing playground equipment because of the legal liability associated with children playing on old equipment. It seems that someone somewhere sued someone's school for something.

As a result, there has not been outdoor playground equipment at Kaumana School for more than two years. To solve this problem, the Kaumana PTA is attempting to raise money to fund playground equipment for the children to play on. If all goes well, the Kaumana PTA will be able to raise $20,000 selling malasadas at the County Fair Sept. 20 to 23.

The delayed replacement of playground equipment at Hawaii's grade schools concerns me. I would like to think there is a silent majority of parents who share my concern. I am also troubled by the apathetic attitude the Hawaii state government and our elected state representatives have demonstrated toward solving the school playground equipment problems.

I am wondering what it will take to get funding for our children's playground equipment. I guess I will have to eat a malasada and think about it. Care to join me?

Donald M. Millard
Hilo, Hawaii

You shouldn't be able to give kids away

It has been four years since Peter "Boy" Kema disappeared from the face of the Earth.

We are told that Peter was given away by his father to a person about whom nothing is known. What is even stranger is the fact that in the four years since he disappeared, the Legislature has not seen fit to pass a law that would make it illegal to give a child away without some government regulation.

Now I have been told that giving away a child is a cultural thing and that the government cannot mess around with it.

Which culture allows the disposal of children in this manner? Is there a blood quantum required to belong to this culture? Is it a religious thing? Or do you just join up when the mood comes upon you or when the kids get too noisy? Do you offer a bill-of-sale when the child changed hands?

If you sell your car, the government has a handful of papers to fill out. Apparently child disposal is much easier.

For years I have heard the phrase "keiki o ka aina" and "we are doing it for the kids." Well, it took two legislative sessions to pass a bill to raise the sexual consent age so that adults cannot misuse anyone under 16. How many sessions will it take to provide basic human rights to a child in Hawaii? And why are the religious and governmental institutions so obviously silent?

Arnold Von Fossen

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