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Protesters marred welcome to troops

To the officers and crew of the USS Abraham Lincoln: Thank you for the opportunity to show our appreciation during your brief visit to Pearl Harbor. We hope your next visit is longer so you can more thoroughly enjoy our beautiful islands.

I also hope the unseemly peace demonstration in Waikiki did not leave you with the wrong impression (Star-Bulletin, April 27). Most of us deeply appreciate your recent service in Iraq. We all know that it is the sacrifice and courage of brave men and women like you that ensure the precious rights exercised by even the misguided thumb suckers and profoundly ungrateful among us. Fortunately, their numbers are small and their voices weak. The rest of us salute you.

We wish you a safe journey home. For all that you have done for our country, mahalo nui loa and aloha.

Robert R. Kessler

Passengers come first at Hawaiian Airlines

In response to the letter by Curtis Rodrigues ("Maybe airline should turn in its wings," Letters, April 26): At Hawaiian Air we do care a great deal about our passengers. Their safety and comfort are the utmost of our concerns. Our new airplanes were not obtained impulsively when passenger travel was at an all-time low. Replacement of our aging aircraft was conceived well before the economy started to falter in the late 1990s. A great deal of forethought and planning went into their selection to ensure our continued service for years to come. During this unprecedented downturn for the airline industry, we try our best to deliver the best possible service.

That includes a remarkable on-time performance often near 100 percent. This is in part due to the reliability of the new airplanes, but mostly because of the dedication and concern of Hawaiian's employees. Yes, there are times a crew runs out of time to fly. Indeed, it's an FAA-mandated limitation, not an "excuse." Any airline can be beset with weather delays, and yes, even new airplanes sometimes get delayed, but that's the exception not the rule.

Our passengers are truly our No. 1 concern.

Marian J. Kuzma
Hawaiian Airlines pilot

Have a little mercury with that sandwich?

I love a tuna sandwich, and I have one for lunch almost every day. Following the accepted heart-healthy advice of the day, I choose fish over meat almost every time. When my daughter became pregnant last year, her doctor told her not to eat fish because of the risk of elevated mercury. Recently I was tested for heavy metals. The mercury level was 13 parts per million.

The FDA, EPA and National Academy of Sciences have set an accepted safe level of 1 ppm of methylmercury for seafood.

Like lead, mercury is a reproductive and neurological toxin. A new study from the Philippines suggests that elevated mercury levels in mothers can cause learning disabilities in their babies. A Finnish study relates levels of 7 ppm to a doubling of one's risk of heart attack. The Hawaii State Department of Health has not issued any guidelines and there is no testing of mercury levels in fish sold here.

Apparently the primary source of mercury is from offshore oil rigs and coal-burning factories, which put methylmercury into the water and the food chain, delivered up to us with the ono. Yet another reason to get off fossil fuel, I say.

I have given up fish and my next car is going to be a hybrid. You might want to get your mercury level checked.

Carol Wilcox

Bail for escapees is silly, but harmless

I would like to respond to Bud Weisbrod's letter to the editor regarding bail for the prison escapees ("Why did judge set bail for prison escapees?" April 28): Relax, Bud! All three are already serving between 10 years and life in prison. Even if someone did have enough money, which I highly doubt, they can't be bailed out. The are already sentenced felons. Take a breath, relax. The whole legal system is screwed up. Have some faith, man.

Amelia Woods

Survival kits offered with no pressure

I would like to comment on the distribution of Christian "survival kits" on Hawaii school campuses. I have one daughter at Mililani Middle School and another at Mililani High School. The students were offered the materials by other students as a gift with no pressure to accept the offer. The materials were honest and straightforward. My daughters were pleased to receive these materials and to share them with their friends.

As a parent, I wish to thank the Department of Education and school administrators for their cooperation and for ensuring that the rights of all the students were protected.

Jim Tweedie

Young people need positive messages

As the parent of two teenagers, I feel tremendously grateful for any scrap of positive help I can get to influence my kids toward a healthy value system. Thank you to all the churches and hundreds of volunteers (especially the young people!) who helped distribute the "Student Survival Kits" to the campuses this week (Star-Bulletin, April 24). You made a positive difference!

Mike Palompo


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The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (150 to 200 words). The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.

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Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

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