Special thanks for supporting my Lahainaluna Senior Project
I would like to send a big mahalo to Mr. Bill Throckmorton at Kaanapali Car Care and Mr. Iolani Kaniho and Mr. Albert Kaina at the Kaanapali Railroad-Sugar Cane Train!
Mr. Throckmorton conducted a donation collection at his shop and at an event at the Maui Raceway Park, where he painted his car pink in memory of my classmate Elmarie Dagupion, who lost a hard-fought battle to cancer. He matched the total amount of money collected and also got his car sponsor, NAPA United Auto Parts, to make a donation. Mr. Throckmorton collected over $1,200 for my event!
I would also like to recognize Mr. Kaniho and Mr. Kaina at the Kaanapali Railroad-Sugar Cane Train. I would like to say thank you for the usage of your facility to hold my final "weigh-in" and awards ceremony. The facility was perfect for hosting my event, and everyone enjoyed the comforts of the surroundings.
Another big mahalo goes out to my parents, Kirk and Joni Togashi. They have always supported me with all of my challenges in life. Thank you mom and dad!
I again thank all my sponsors and the people of Maui for the success of my Lahainaluna Senior Project. It is the reason we live "Maui no ka oi!"
KIRSTI-ANN TOGASHI, LHS Class of 2014
County should buy Launiupoko land
We let Linda Lingle sell us out of North Beach back in the 1990s, when a deal to sell it to the county for public open space was at the 11th hour. Instead, we've got more time shares which, as we all know, we have this incredible need for.
Do NOT let Mike White sell us out of the Pali to Puamana open space with some lame idea that we can get it at a lower price, which all in the know realize will never happen.
Maui's been sold out for private interests to glean profits one time too many. Buy that land, and let's have a beach party.
DOUG KARR, Napili
Love one another
In America, everyone is entitled to their opinion.
Likewise, everyone is entitled to the exact same social advantages and civil rights, benefits, protections and responsibilities afforded by governmental laws regardless of race, creed, gender, sexual orientation or any other determinant.
With passage of SB1 legalizing same-sex marriage in Hawaii, our state's long and regrettably divisive struggle over marriage equality has been settled through landmark legislation. This new law rectifies past injustices that denied a minority of our population full legal recognition, all without depriving the majority of a single right they have long enjoyed.
As a just society, our task now is to find common ground and heal by uniting in basic human decency. We must strive to respect every individual's dignity and right to hold their personal beliefs, values and opinions, no matter how much they differ from our own.
Doing so brings out our better angels and makes our community stronger. As goodness begets goodness, we've nothing to fear but our judgments.
Once we drop our judgments, accepting and respecting others despite our differences isn't hard to do. On the contrary, as the Master Counselor instructed, we need simply "love one another," exactly as we are without trying to change anybody.
Love is about accepting people and not judging them.
The socially intelligent approach to getting along well with people in this wondrously diverse world is to cultivate a mindset firmly anchored in unconditional positive regard and love.
In the end, love is all that really matters anyway.
MICHAEL RA BOUCHARD, Hilo
The pressing need to reform entitlements
After 16 days of political brinkmanship, lawmakers passed a temporary funding plan that raised the debt ceiling and reopened the federal government.
But now, the nation is just barreling toward a new set of deadlines - lawmakers have until Jan. 15 to deal with the budget and Feb. 7 to deal with the debt ceiling. Until Congress sets the country on stable financial footing for the long term, we're bound to play this game over and over again.
As lawmakers begin negotiations, the conversation must start with tax and entitlement reform. This begins with Medicare and Social Security, as they're the most pressing challenges facing our country.
At its current cost trajectory, the Medicare trust fund will run out of money by 2024. Social Security's trust fund will be exhausted by 2033. And by 2022, these two programs could account for well over half of federal spending. Left unabated, this rapid cost growth will endanger the health and security of America's seniors. Legislative inactivity effectively puts our country's most vulnerable in serious danger.
One of the most promising ideas gathering serious bipartisan interest is the transition to a "chained CPI" methodology for calculating Social Security's cost-of-living adjustments. This fix was designed by independent, nonpartisan experts to make the program's calculations more accurately reflect changes in the cost-of-living.
There's also growing support for expanding "means testing," a commonsense reform that would ensure that Medicare and Social Security funds go to those Americans who actually need them. Currently, hundreds of millions of dollars are flowing to many people who are outright wealthy. Means testing would strengthen these programs and allow them to serve those members of society who are truly in need.
Both of these ideas should be included in any serious fiscal deal. But they're still not sufficient to secure Medicare and Social Security for future generations; lawmakers must do more.
One place to start is slowly increasing the eligibility age for Medicare and Social Security.