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LETTERS for May 10 issue

By Staff | May 10, 2012

Drivers disregard distracted driving laws

As a West Side resident, occasional cyclist, daily walker/runner and somewhat keen observer of my neighborhood (Honokowai, Kahana, Napili, Kapalua), I’m amazed at the percentage of drivers who disregard the Hawaii distracted driving laws.

Cell phone, text messaging news: all of the State of Hawaii’s counties have enacted distracted driving laws. If you drive in Hawaii, be aware that text messaging and the use of handheld cell phones are illegal.

I would guesstimate that one in three drivers that I see while I’m out in the neighborhood are using their handheld cell phones. There is an almost complete disregard for this law.

As someone who is at risk while riding a bike, driving or even walking along the sidewalk, I wonder what can be done to stop these dangerous law breakers. The law has been in effect for almost two years, and Maui County has written an average of less than three tickets per day! I see two drivers a minute on their phones. Perhaps some of the $197 I spend per year to keep my car registered legally – which by the way is 25 years old and worth less than $500 – can be used to stop these blatant law breakers.



Hats off to the Lahaina Rotary Clubs

Many thanks to the management and staff of The Westin Maui Resort; Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas; Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua; Royal Lahaina Resort; Napili Kai Resort; Hyatt Regency Maui; and Rotary Club of Lahaina New Generations Chair Don Lehman for making the third annual OPPORTUNITY ROCKS! such a success.

Kudos to Lahaina Intermediate School Principal Marsha Nakamura, hardworking Student Activities Coordinator Lori Koyama, staff and volunteers.

This program introduces all the eighth grade students to the venues and the professionals who have chosen the hospitality industry as their career. The hope is that students will have the impetus to set goals and understand how the importance of learning math, English, science and social studies relates to their future success in life. Everyone did an incredible job.

The Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunrise continues in this tradition by sponsoring the Rotary Interact Club, a service club for young people ages 14-18, at Lahainaluna High School.

Along with all their community fundraising activities under the direction of LHS Advisors Shannon Fields and Julie Dicker, the students are participating in mock interviews in preparation for their first job out of high school.

After a series of practice interview sessions, the students are put through their paces by Rotary Club members, who take their job very seriously. Ann Neizman, branch manager of Bank of Hawaii, coordinates the final interview process. I am proud to say that the students have really worked hard. Their goal is to see these words on their evaluation: “You’re hired!”

Mahalo nui loa to all who put so much time and sincere effort into introducing life’s “big picture” to our West Maui students.

DIANE PURE, Volunteer ProjectCoordinator, Lahaina


Earth Day cleanup at Honolua a success

Mahalo to all the volunteers that showed up over the Earth Day weekend for the Honolua Cleanup. On Thursday, the maintenance crew from Kamehameha Schools came down in force and broke out the chain saws, cutting dead and dying invasives in preparation for the 200-plus teachers and administrators from Kamehameha Schools that came on Friday, lining the trails and planting native plants in place of removed invasives.

Half of the group went up to the reforestation project mauka of Honolua.

The sound of that many people singing in Hawaiian right where the kava ceremony was for the first Hokule’a voyage was truly “chicken skin” and made me think of what it must have been like at the old hukilaus with that many people in attendance in the days of Honolua Park.

Saturday, we had about 30 hardcore volunteers that dug through the bushes for trash down at the boat ramp, combed the shoreline and helped me fill another 30-yard dumpster. Aloha Waste picked up the dumpster.

“That was fun” was the statement from one of the Kamehameha Schools teachers, which made the seemingly endless efforts all worthwhile!

LES POTTS, Surfrider Foundation


Maui Chapter Speak out for abused animals

Much of our community reacts with outrage and horror when incidents such as arson killing a dozen helpless dogs and the poisoning of 30 cats. Has anything been revealed by investigators?

Additionally, countless animals on Maui are needlessly neglected and abused daily in spite of county ordinances. We see all manner of animals subjected to illegal environments by absence of food, water or shelter – the basic requirements of law.

Roosters and dogs are forced to fight for someone’s amusement. Horses overworked for years are dumped into poor conditions when they can no longer perform; unsecured dogs bounce around in back of trucks; cats are shot for “target practice.”

We see dogs chained up 24 hours a day, kittens born in the wild and numerous animals killed daily at the shelter because no one will take responsibility for them.

These are living, breathing, feeling creatures like us but have no way to speak for themselves, so it’s up to us to speak out. The mostly all-volunteer nonprofit animal organizations work tirelessly, using various methods to help. Homes are located for creatures without caretakers. Colonies are maintained for feral cats. Free or low-cost spay/neuter clinics are conducted every month to prevent more unwanted cats and dogs. Old, unwanted horses are provided care. No-kill shelters provide sanctuary.

If you can’t help the animals in need, then offer help to the people who are doing it. Call them and ask what you can do to help. It is pono.



Sacred Hearts Auction a great success

Mahalo to all of the friends and community members that made our fourth annual live auction such a success. A big mahalo to the many local businesses that donated restaurant gift certificates, hotel stays, jewelry, crafts and activities! We appreciate the continued support of so many local businesses and welcome all of our newest supporters.

To our parents, parish members and friends who attended the event, thank you. Without you in the seats, there would be no auction. The same can be said for all of the PTG members and our friends from St. Anthony’s, who came out to work behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly.

To our restaurant vendors who served up such ono pupus, we thank you. And to all the staff at the Pioneer Inn – who continue to treat us like family and cheer for our success – another heartfelt mahalo. To our fabulous entertainers, we thank you. And finally, to Ed Ferreira and John Stockham, our last minute auctioneer team MAHALO!

JOANNA STOCKHAM, PAULA KENCE, 2012 Auction Co-chairs


Family appreciates community’s support

On behalf of Olivia Bianco and her family, we wanted to take the time to say mahalo for your support over the past year and to update you on Olivia’s health during her battle with brain cancer.

Olivia was diagnosed last February with Medulloblastoma and was treated for four months in Santa Clara, California. She was able to come home to Maui in July for Home Hospice. Her family decided to try some alternative treatment with Dr. Burzynski in Houston, Texas. Olivia was getting stronger, taller and her speech was improving. She is such a joy to be around! We all knew she was going to defeat the odds and beat this ugly cancer.

In February, Olivia had an additional MRI, and the results were not as we hoped or expected. The cancer had spread pretty drastically. Both the doctors at Kaiser and Dr. Burzynski concurred to discontinue treatment to allow Olivia to not be attached to tubes and IVs and just enjoy her life. Olivia and her family have been doing just that.

During a Make-A-Wish trip to the Disney Aulani Resort on Oahu, Olivia was treated like the Princess she is and had private meetings with Mickey, Minnie and Goofy. The HPU Cheerleaders came and held a rally just for Olivia – 40 cheerleaders! Pretty amazing. Olivia got to watch her family interact with stingrays, and they all floated around in the fun pools. She had a special appointment for a manicure and pedicure and came back with pink and purple nails with Hello Kitty decals.

Back home in Maui, Olivia, Momoko, Alex, Julia and AJ were all baptized in the waters off Baby Beach. What a beautiful celebration! And then Olivia had a special advance birthday party with all her friends and family. A big combination of pink, purple, princess, Hello Kitty and Barbie kind of party complete with hula hoops, face painting, balloon artists and a special visit from her Fairy Godmother.

Continuing the fun at The Sheraton Maui for a two-night stay, unfortunately things came to an abrupt halt, as Olivia started experiencing extreme pain in her back and had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance. The doctors say possibly the lesions along her spine are pinching a nerve. After two nights in the hospital and managing the pain, Olivia was allowed to go home. It was a difficult few nights there trying to find comfort and a new normal.

Both Momoko and Alex have again taken a leave of absence from work and are spending all their time caring for Olivia. This is basically financially impossible without friends and the community pitching in. So, we are humbly seeking additional donations to assist Olivia and her family, so they can spend this time with their daughter. Monetary donations can be made payable to Alex Bianco and sent to: Friends of Olivia Bianco, P.O. Box 12661, Lahaina, HI 96761.

Also, please continue to keep Olivia, Alex, Momoko, Julia and AJ in your thoughts and prayers. We appreciate all the love and support you have already shown.