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LETTERS for May 23 issue

May 23, 2013
Lahaina News

Boats, jet skis don't come in at Canoe Beach

As the owner/operator of Pacific Jet Sports Inc., I'd like an opportunity to respond to some recent letters and some misconceptions about our business. We have been in business since 1982. It is our mission to operate a safe, fun business for all.

A boating accident occurred on Dec. 29, 2011, as William Kalanikai "Uncle Billy" Gonzales was preparing regatta lanes in Lahaina for high school paddling crews to practice on. This unfortunate accident occurred on the ocean fronting Hanakao'o Beach Park. Gonzales was hit by a prop from a recreational boat and was critically wounded. At this time, the jet ski business was closed due to the whale season ban (Dec. 15 to May 15) on all personal watercraft. We feel for his family and friends, as well as Maui's close paddling community.

At Hanakao'o Beach Park, no vessels are allowed to be fronting the shoreline of the beach park, PERIOD. For 33 years, Pacific Jet Sports has been located on the south side of Kaanapali, beach side of the Hyatt Regency Maui. Any commercial water sports boating must use the ingress-egress boat-loading zone in front of the Hyatt's beach center. We pick up customers using a small inflatable boat operated by licensed captains. We have an additional shoreline employee to watch and assure safe loading. In this zone, boats have a no wake speed regulation of 5 mph. This loading zone is 100 feet wide and extends 300 feet offshore. In the 32 years of jet ski operation, we have NEVER had a citation, and thankfully never had a boating injury. During the high north swells, all the charter sailing boats in Kaanapali use this same area to load.

We have a platform over a quarter-mile offshore where we train and start the personal watercraft rentals. Jet skis are NOT to be operated anywhere near the beach - only in open ocean towards Lanai. It is the job of our instructors to monitor our rentals to operate safely and keep them away from the coastline.

In the 1980s, Kaanapali Beach fronting the Hyatt had eight commercial water sports businesses: two catamaran sailboats (Kiele IV and Deja Vu), a parasail business (Parasail Maui), a sailing center (South Bay), a water ski company (Lahaina Water Ski) and two jet ski companies (Pacific Jet Sports and Island Jet Ski). The total number of jobs was over 40. Today, 32 years later, there is only one jet ski company, one parasail company, a stand up paddleboard company and a diving center. Two of the businesses are only active seven months of the year! This amounts to a loss of 25 good jobs for locals. Commercial boating in this area has drastically decreased over 30 years. The Hyatt beach back in the 1980s used to be a 100-foot-wide, beautiful sandy beach. In 2013, that same beach is only 20 feet wide with brown sand and littered with river boulders.

Today's personal watercrafts use a four-stroke motor - the cleanest, quietest engine on the water. The same engine in our Honda jet ski is in the Honda Civic. To compare today's watercraft to yesterday's watercraft is like comparing the iPad to the big desktop of the '80s (or cell phones). Sound travels underwater 1,500 meters per second, and in the air 340 meters per second. Jet propulsion is the quietest motorized vessel; no prop in the water. Jet propulsion is safe for whales, dolphins and people. You simply cannot get cut up with jet (water), period. Jet propulsion should be embraced, not banned.

Let's keep this in perspective. Our boats and skis do not come in to Hanakao'o Beach Park. We have a lot of local customers (we offer a 30 percent discount to residents). The tourists enjoy what we offer, making wonderful memories of Maui. We are a family run business. We employee ten people who have their own families. It's our duty to run a safe and respectful business, and we have been doing it for 33 years. We are always trying to improve our activity for everyone.

CAPT. THEO KING, Pacific Jet Sports Inc.

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Congratulations for passing Honolua funding

Congratulations to our lawmakers and our community members that testified and got House Bill 1424 passed and funded, clearing the way for the state to purchase the Honolua area! There is still a long way to go, though, and what matters now is what shape the closing will take.

Best case scenario is the state deeds the property to the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust. This way, we have more liability protection from the shoreline protection law and we can avoid the need for stairways and paving. The reef is in decline from too many users already, and we do not want to increase usage by commercialization.

The area should be a natural preserve or passive park and not an active park.

Most important is a conservation easement on the whole parcel.

What was discussed in public meetings was having the land trust create a 509(a)(4), a subsidiary of the land trust's 501(c)(3).

The county could help out by re-appropriating the million dollars set aside for the purchase of Honolua and donating it to an endowment fund for area management. It will be expensive to own this property.

LES POTTS, Napili

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Mahalo for cleaning up the Honolua area

I'd like to give a big mahalo to the visitors who helped at the cleanup at Honolua/Lipoa Point for Earth Day. This shows how important and special this place is, not only for us, but for the whole world.

B.P. NOUD, Lahaina

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Government fails to care for its veterans

Armed Forces of wars past and present are honored with monuments and memorials. They are symbols to remind us freedom is not free - it is paid for in blood. Those who served wrote a blank check to our country payable at any cost, to include the giving of their life in the name of freedom.

The month of May is when we honor those who served in remembrance of the heroes who fought the battles.

For many, the battle is not over. The wars of Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan burn deep within us. Many are laden with PTSD and diseases caused by agent orange dioxin exposure and dust inhalation caused by explosives. We battle with our legislators for equality. This addresses only a few of the battles we deal with today. For the most part, we appear healthy, unlike those with loss of limb and paralysis.

On those special days in May, there are parades. The streets are lined with flag-waving Americans to honor the fallen and those of the living. Politicians gather on the steps of government buildings making speeches of praise and glory that are soon forgotten. Those who fought the battles and their survivors never forget.

Soldiers, sailors and airmen submit hundreds of pages of required evidence for claims to Veterans Affairs benefits in order to prove their disability - a demanding effort for the veteran.

The VA offers little assistance in how to locate the evidence required. For the most part, the veteran is on his or her own. Many are denied benefits, only to learn the injury or disease is not on the VA's list or not enough evidence was presented.

Some who served were on covert missions. Where they were and what they did in time of war does not exist. Personnel records are sealed as classified. These are the unlucky vets who cannot prove their very existence on a mission and are sick with diseases. These records should be made available to the veteran for their VA claim.

What does our Congress do about these discrepancies? Nothing. Legislative bills are introduced to afford VA benefits for better quality of life. All too often, these bills fail because of expenditure. We who served are not worth the dollars. Yet there are dollars available to give to harboring terrorist-active nations, and government grants to study how high a grasshopper can leap.

Aren't our veterans deserving?

It is not easy to accept what our government fails to do in caring for its veterans. Many of us have and will go to our graves thinking that our government did not care enough for we who fought the battles.

Yes, during the month of May, the politicians will offer praise, glory and promises to help our veterans, only to forget their offerings in months to follow. All we ask for is that our legislators to do their job and pass legislation to help our veterans in need.

JOHN BURY, Via E-mail

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Thanks for making test day run smoothly

On April 23, 2013, the Department of Education mandated that all of Hawaii's secondary schools offer concurrently the following exams: ACT to grade 11, ACT PLAN to grade ten, and the ACT EXPLORE to grade nine students. In compliance and in administering the exams across grade levels, Lahainaluna High School shut down the school for about four hours, as all teachers were involved in the proctoring of the exams. As the freshmen, sophomores and juniors took their respective exams, two groups of seniors went to Princess Nahi'ena'ena and King Kamehameha III Elementary schools, respectively, while the rest of the seniors remained on campus engaged in memorable activities in the new cafeteria. Students who volunteered to go to the elementary schools engaged in reading to students, playing games with them, tutoring them and simply talking story with the youngsters. Such interfacing and interacting with the elementary students proved to be not only fun but also meaningful to all concerned.

On behalf of Lahainaluna High School, I would like to thank Principals Lynn Kaho'ohalahala (Princess Nahi'ena'ena) and Steve Franz (King Kamehameha III) and their staffs; Claire Tillman, King Kamehameha III School's PCNC; LHS PTSA and Cecilia Balinbin, retired teacher, for donating granola bars; Lahainaluna Cafeteria Staff; Lahainaluna Security; LHS' Administration; faculty who helped to either chaperone or proctor the exams; students for their positive behaviors; and to our Counseling Department, who not only organized the day but also prepared for all involved to take the ACT exams in an expeditious manner. You all made the day run smooth, special and without incidents. Mahalo a nui loa.

Indeed, it takes a village to educate a child, and we thank the community of Lahaina, our ohana, for their contributions.

ERIC BALINBIN, LHS Counselor, Class of 2015, ACT Coordinator

 
 

 

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