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LETTERS for October 1 issue

By Staff | Oct 1, 2009


I am just astounded that the Olowalu project was approved, given so many issues. At the Planning Commission meeting, testimony was given that we already have twice as much development on the books as we have water, with no known means of doubling the existing water supply. Then there is the issue of the roads to and from the West Side being only two lanes, getting shut down for accidents up to four hours — they are going to add a development with more homes and no bypass? What logic went into this decision, save the money in the pockets of the developers and jobs?

Yes we need jobs, but smart growth, infill and senior housing projects — especially projects that have water supplies contained within their own property — are what should be approved. Having sat on the Maui County Health Initiative Task Force as chair of the Home and Community-Based Services Committee, I know that we are already in trouble because of the “Tsunami of Aging” that is occurring. But numbers will triple over the next 20 years. We do not have communities for elders to age in place, and many of us cannot depend on family to care for us. Some are already moving to the Mainland. Intentional communities, such as Oahu and the Mainland, have what is needed on Maui for all levels of income. Hale Mahaolu has waiting lists of hundreds for each of their sites.

Piiholo South next to Makawao has offered 60 acres to build 200 units dedicated to seniors and yet cannot achieve approval. Now it is the Catholic Church’s opportunity to approve the project.

When the glaring need in Maui from the priorities of the task force is for more senior housing, we should be encouraging development of these projects island-wide, especially when sufficient water is onsite. 

How do these commissioners decide, and how does the County Council decide, when water is in such short supply? Maybe it is their own shortsightedness ruling their decision-making abilities.



Sept. 3 marked the two-year anniversary of the passing of my husband, Warren Hirschson. He was a loving and generous man to all he came in contact with, and there are no words to describe or even color the depth at which he will be missed.  Sorry, I realize it is a sad way to start a letter. It gets better.

Before Warren was taken by his three-and-a-half-year battle with brain cancer, we ran the Maui Half-Marathon to raise money for UCLA Brain Cancer Research. It was very successful, and we were thanked profusely by Dr. Linda Liau and Dr. Marvin Bergsneider of UCLA. 

This taught me a good lesson. People are willing to give to a good cause, and if running a race can shift funds to places that are valuable and noble in what they do, then I have done a service to my community and honored Warren all at once. So that is what I am going to do.

I ran the Maui Marathon on Sept. 20 with my good friend, Krysta Lorenz/Bradly. She joined me to raise funds for Hospice Maui and Hale Makua Health Services.

A little story about how these two organizations helped us:

When Warren was on his last legs, so to speak, Hospice Maui and Hale Makua Health Services came to our aid. There was a huge gap between being able to care for him at home and him ending up passing away in the hospital. It was an enormous task caring for Warren those last months, but I was blessed to have the chance to be there with him. I could not have done it alone.  Our family and friends all came to help in amazing ways I am still in awe over. 

Even with all this, I was lacking in basic knowledge and equipment to do what this important job entailed. With the help of Hospice and Hale Makua, that was no longer a problem I had to deal with. They came each week to help. Toward the end, they came each day bringing nurses, volunteers, equipment and God only can remember what else. Hospice sent a special man to communicate with our children, Zoe (ten) and David (six), about the process of death and grieving. He tended to their hearts. 

The kind souls involved in these two wonderful organizations not only hold a special place in the community, but they also hold a special place in my heart. They are amazing, and I would be doubly insane today if it weren’t for their help and kindness. Yes, I said doubly insane…

The journey of a caregiver is a challenging, but blessed one. I feel this beautiful article describes my journey with Warren exactly: http://www.hospicenet.org/html/carejourn.html.

If you are in a position this year to donate to either Hospice Maui or Hale Makua Health Services, or both, please contact them. These two organizations are separate, but are intertwined and work together in so many ways. With their joint efforts, they provided the help our family needed to take this journey together. This is why I chose to support them both. Visit http://www.halemakua.org/ and  http://www.hospicemaui.org/ for information.

Thank you for taking time to read this, and thank you for your support!



For the second time in three months, the Maui Humane Society Animal Control person, Marty, came by my house to deliver my “fixed” male cat to me.    

Unfortunately, the first time didn’t teach him anything. Hopefully, the second time did.

He has lived in this house for seven years and typically stays in our driveway or cul-de-sac, unless he is walking the dog with me, and we always stay within a few houses of home. He was a rescue cat and has a “tattoo” to identify him.

I always have my animals neutered, so as not to add to the increasing problem of unwanted kittens on Maui, and also to keep them close to home. I am a responsible pet owner and always keep them up-to-date on all meds and flea treatments as well.

My cats are fed hard food, as the moist food isn’t recommended on a daily basis for their overall health. This I give as a “treat” once or twice a week.

We have a neighbor, two streets away, unhappy about by cats in their yard. I understand you can trap any animal once it’s in your yard — that is your right. But if you don’t want an animal there, does it make sense to “lure them” with canned cat food? 

Cats are nocturnal by nature and typically don’t like water or wetness, so if this is a problem for you, I recommend watering well in the evening so your grass and flower beds are wet. This is a good time to water anyway, so there isn’t much evaporation. This should deter them from entering your yard. 

Putting cans of yummy cat food out isn’t the answer, as cats can be lured from a mile or so away to enjoy the treat. Why would my fixed cat travel two streets away to come and defecate in your yard? I have a clean cat box available at our home and an empty lot just steps away… it doesn’t make sense.

As a dog owner as well, I walk her three times daily. It is rare that I ever see cats at all. There are a few but they are lazing in their yard, like mine, content to soak up the sun. It’s not like we’re overrun with feral cats here, as some neighborhoods are.

A natural repellent for cats is citrus — they don’t like the smell of lemon or orange scents. Essential oils placed around, or even banana peels in the soil by plants (a natural compost) will also repel them. Cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes are other inexpensive deterrents. You can look online for “homemade cat repellent” ideas.

Please think about giving this a try and help the Maui Humane Society use their limited resources in a more useful manner. Thank you for listening.

Many mahalos, Marty, for your kokua in returning my baby to me.



On Saturday morning, Sept. 12, the Lahainaluna Invitational Cross Country meet was held at the historic Lahainaluna High School campus. 

Some 133 runners from ten Maui high schools started and finished the three-mile course run under perfect conditions. Maui High School dominated the boys’ and girls’ divisions to take home team trophies.

The event was the result of the work of many people, a few of whom are included here.

Mahalos to Lunas staff: Athletic Director Scott Soldwisch, Athletic Trainers Jon Conrad and Mikala Mejia, and Boarders’ Foreman Allan Yamamoto. For their work in preparing the course and at the meet, mahalos to Lunas coaches George Watson and Dan Skousen.

For providing the delicious free food served to athletes, coaches and officials after the meet, mahalos to the parents of Lahainaluna and Maui Prep runners, Hula Grill, Kimo’s, and Moose  McGillycuddy’s. Mahalo to Karen Bloss for providing drinking water. Mahalo to head chef Karin Watson for her terrific work running the food tent. Mahalo to Jayne Armijo for her efforts in the fund-raising tent. 

Finally, a big mahalo to MIL Cross Country Coordinator Jame Sparke for his work as announcer and timer. 

Congratulations to the winning teams, medal-winning individuals and all the competitors!

RANDY YAMAMOTO, Cross Country Coach, Lahainaluna High School