Letters to the Editor

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Marines' lives weren't sacrificed in vain

Several weeks ago a friend e-mailed me Charles Memminger's column "Kaneohe Marines died for freedom" (Star-Bulletin, Feb. 1). First of all, the column caught my attention because I spent two years at Pearl Harbor during the Korean conflict and I was familiar with Kaneohe Bay. More important were Memminger's words about Marines dying for our country in Iraq. Like most military veterans, we appreciate what the Marines are doing in Iraq. Their lives are not being given in vain.

One day, all those opposed to us being in Iraq will see what good has been done and the role played by the United States Marines.

Larry Hyde
Cartersville, Ga.

Column did justice to fallen Marines

Thank goodness for Star-Bulletin columnist Charles Memminger. His Feb. 1 column concerning our lost Marines was of exceptional quality and written from the heart. I regularly appreciate his serious undertones while focusing on the lighter side of everyday events. I will always think now of his unique perception whenever I hear "Taps" played. Bless Charley and our brave men and women serving in our armed forces.

Bette Berry

City and County should address sewage spills

Sewage spills from Honolulu's aging sewer system seem to have become the norm rather than a rare event ("Untreated sewage spills into harbor," Jan. 22). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Hawaii Department of Health should have long ago taken effective enforcement actions to require the city to prevent these spills. Otherwise, ordinary citizens continue to see beach closures, degraded waters and sewage in the streets while the city continues to mismanage the problem.

Raw sewage contains human bacteriological, viral and parasitic pathogens, as well as other pollutants, all of which cause human illnesses.

But the EPA and the state DOH have not gone to court in years to seek any redress for these spills. That's why our groups filed a citizens' suit last July and are pressing for additional relief from federal court in Hawaii to address these spills.

The suit alleges that the city has repeatedly violated its permits and is causing numerous water pollution problems due to the poor performance of its sewage collection and treatment systems.

The lawsuit seems to be the only way residents living near these sewage collection and treatment systems will be able to get the relief they deserve.

Tiffany Schauer
Executive director, Our Children's Earth
Jeff Mikulina
Executive director, Sierra Club, Hawaii chapter
Donna Wong
Executive director, Hawaii Thousand Friends

Get better firefighters, not sprinklers

Based on two high-rise fires in the past year, Mayor Hannemann is promoting a plan that will put every condominium association in debt, as well as most of the owners of the hundreds of units involved ("Mayor pushes sprinkler measure," Star-Bulletin, Feb. 5).

During the past year there have been many house fires, with many deaths involved. The fire department was not any better at putting out those fires than it was the two high-rise fires in question. Is the mayor going to demand that every single-family dwelling, townhouse and three-story walk-up on the island also be retrofitted with sprinklers?

Some of the older condominiums might do well to be retrofitted due to their construction: lack of firewalls, not sufficient extinguisher/fire hose boxes, insufficient number of fire escapes, etc. This is not the case with the condominium that I live in and serve on the board of directors for. Asking us to go into debt just to make a fireman's job easier is hardly fair.

A friend of mine lives across from the Makiki building that caught fire. She told me, before it even made the news, that she couldn't understand why it took the firemen so long to get to the fire. The Makiki station is a few blocks away. She heard the condo's alarms and saw the smoke in the original unit long before she heard the sirens from the fire equipment, or saw any evidence of water being put on the fire. Could this be the reason that fire took out so many units?

Marijane Carlos

Make everyone take road test again

With regard to the proposal by the state Legislature to require drivers older than 75 to retake the road test, I'd like to take it a step further.

Drivers over age 75 are not the only ones who are potentially dangerous behind the wheel. Every day during my commute, I see idiotic acts committed by people of all ages, both male and female, such as weaving in and out of lanes, driving across two lanes of traffic because they almost missed their exit on the freeway (considering there was a sign a mile back indicating that their exit was coming up), not knowing how to extend their finger just a little bit to turn on their turn signals, or even just knowing how to read street signs such as "no turn on red."

If everyone were required to retake their road test in order to renew their license, I'd bet money that at a minimum, one-fourth of drivers would fail and we'd have gotten rid of some bad motorists, and helped relieve some of our traffic problems. We win twice!

Ken Adams

Insurance can help with long-term care

I am pleased to see the increased media attention to the impending long-term care crisis that our nation faces. It promises to be even more dramatic in Hawaii due to our rapidly aging population. Many believe that future long-term care needs can be met by the family. This is a dangerous misperception, particularly in Hawaii where the sense of ohana is so deeply held.

While it is the intent of many people to care for their loved ones should the need arise, needs often surpass families abilities' to provide the level of care needed. With the cost of living so high, having one spouse leave the workforce to provide the care is often not an option. Families must also be concerned about the health and well being of primary caregivers. Families may or may not be able to deliver the care necessary. Home modifications may also be necessary to allow an individual to remain in the home.

Long-term care insurance can help families with these unanticipated needs. Most policies will cover not only institutional care but other types of assistance that will allow individuals to remain in their own homes. These additional types of assistance may include help with activities of daily living, home health care, respite care, adult day care or care in an assisted living facility.

Long-term care insurance is one way we can plan for our future to help ensure independence and choice.

Terri Byers
Vice president, Long Term Care
Healthcare Association of Hawaii




Seeking state symbols

Hawaii has a state bird, a state fish and a state flower. What other symbols should the Aloha State have? For example, should we have a state insect? If so, what should it be? Or how about a state bento? Come up with your own categories and share them with Star-Bulletin readers.

E-mail your ideas and solutions -- please include your name and address -- by Wednesday, Feb. 16 to: brainstorm@starbulletin.com

Or fax to:
c/o Nancy Christenson

Or mail them to:
c/o Nancy Christenson
500 Ala Moana
7 Waterfront Plaza
Suite 210
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

How to write us

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.

Letter form: Online form, click here
E-mail: letters@starbulletin.com
Fax: (808) 529-4750
Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

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