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LETTERS for March 14 issue

By Staff | Mar 14, 2013

Help West Maui residents as a volunteer driver

I read an article about a year ago in the Lahaina News regarding a request made for more volunteers to help with the American Cancer Society program called Road to Recovery.

We have many people on Maui that are fighting cancer, and some of them do not have transportation from their homes to Central Maui, where they receive treatments that will hopefully allow them to conquer this terrible disease. This is when Road to Recovery and their volunteers step up to drive these patients to their medical appointments.

I am one of your readers that was motivated to get more involved after becoming aware of this need. I have found the experience to be very fulfilling. The Road to Recovery program still needs drivers from all over the island, but it’s especially looking for qualified drivers that live on the West Side. They must be willing to volunteer a little of their time to help these patients that always appreciate a helping hand.

Please call the American Cancer Society at (808) 244-5554 to get additional information about the fantastic work that is being done by the American Cancer Society through Maui residents that make life better for those who are fighting cancer.

HAL SEIM, Spokane, Washington


Support the Red Cross

March is “Red Cross Month,” and the American Red Cross wants to thank all who help their community by giving of themselves: our volunteers, financial supporters and those who take our safety training classes.

The Hawaii Red Cross is on call 24/7, 365 days a year to respond to disasters and to provide emergency communication between deployed military service members and their families. We also teach critical lifesaving skills like first aid, CPR, baby-sitting and nurse aide training.

Last fiscal year, the Red Cross in Maui County responded to 16 disasters, helping 72 family members from the Maui community get back on their feet and start rebuilding their lives after tragedy struck. We opened one Red Cross shelter due to a civil disturbance, sheltering 43 individuals who needed to evacuate or were unable to return to their residences. Our volunteers served 111 meals to emergency responders and to those affected by disasters. We provided 227 certificates for free disaster training courses to volunteers interested in responding to emergencies and reached 2,707 individuals in the community with disaster preparedness information. We also taught critical skills like first aid, CPR, and aquatics to almost 1,300 individuals in Maui County as part of our mission of saving lives.

Our strong cadre of 126 active Red Cross volunteers care deeply about the community and work to help us to further the humanitarian mission of the Red Cross on Maui. Our Disaster Action Team volunteers are on-call 24/7 and are trained in shelter operations, damage assessment, client services (including financial assistance), crisis counseling and immediate first aid services. All disaster response and training is provided free of charge.

With the threat of an influenza pandemic, terrorist attack and major disasters, the American Red Cross is more relevant and necessary than ever before. It is not “if” but “when” a major disaster in Hawaii will occur, and when it does, we must be able to stand on our own until outside reinforcements arrive. Having trained volunteers on-island ready to respond to disasters is critical.

There are many ways the people of Maui County can support the Red Cross during March.

One way to help is to shop at our Awesome Online Auction at www.hawaiiredcross.org through March 16. Great deals are available for a great cause. You can bid on airline travel to the West Coast and neighbor islands; hotel stays in London, Seoul, Beijing, Bora Bora, San Francisco, Kaanapali, Princeville and Lanai; a Toyota Prius; stand-up paddleboard; restaurants; theatre; golf; jewelry; and more.

From March 13-19, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell have a special promotion where they will donate $1 to the Hawaii Red Cross if you purchase certain items – from Pizza Hut, their nine-piece Pizza Sliders at regular price, and from Taco Bell, the Cool Ranch Doritos Taco Box Meal.

On March 15-17, we will have our annual “Hats Off” event, where off-duty firefighters, police, military, businesses, clubs and individual volunteers take their “hats off” for the American Red Cross and ask the public to fill their hats with donations. Volunteers will be collecting donations at Walmart in Kahului on Friday, Saturday and Sunday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Donations will also be collected at the Maui Mall entrance outside of Whole Foods Market in Kahului, Hasegawa General Store in Hana and Friendly Market on Molokai on Saturday, March 16, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Please kokua and give what you can.

During March and April, Aloha Petroleum will have customer donation canisters at their stores. Circle K Maui will also have customer donation canisters at their stores in March. All collections will go to the Hawaii Red Cross.

The Red Cross would also like to encourage everyone to develop a preparedness plan for their household, to become a volunteer and to sign up for a CPR or first aid class. For more information, to volunteer or register for a class, please visit www.hawaiiredcross.org.

Your donations are much-needed and appreciated, especially in these tough economic times. The Red Cross is not a government agency and relies on the generosity of Hawaii’s people to provide our humanitarian services to our communities. Mahalo for your support!

MICHELE LIBERTY, Maui County Director


County should finally fix the Lower Road

I had to chuckle to myself as I drove down Lower Honoapiilani Road on my way to work the other day. I was stopped by a county truck with a team of four county workers patching the holes in the road. This section of the road has been ignored for way over ten years. It never was repaved when all the rest of the road was done.

So, instead of finishing the long-awaited repaving, the county sends four – yes, I said four – county workers to patch holes that will be back to their original state within 48 hours.

The money spent on this ridiculous task is simply unacceptable. When is the county going to get off their okoles and get this section of Lower Honoapiilani Road resurfaced? Stop wasting our tax money and get this done!



Kihei mall would provide jobs

I am a mother of three children (with one on the way) and a business owner. I am saddened by the fact that the recent decision by the State Land Use Commission about the open air Pi’ilani Promenade in Kihei will continue to fuel our unemployment problems.

Yes, the economy is limping back, but not nearly enough to make sure that families have money for food, rent or a mortgage, car payments, health care and other life needs. It is way past time to stop this fighting over what was done or not done in 1995 and get people back to work.

I live next to the planned promenade. I support the project and look forward to a great shopping experience right here on Maui without having to go to Oahu to find better prices. The bottom line is that we need to strengthen our Maui economy and not lay people off.

I do believe that rules must be followed; at the same token, we must support projects that support the residents and find solutions, instead of dragging companies that can assist us – and our economy – through the mud with our old and difficult policies.



Support GMO labeling bill at the legislature

There is a bill to get labels for Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) foods up now. It will probably be referred to Clarence Nishihara, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. He has already said that he doesn’t plan to hear it.

So, right now, lobbying efforts should go toward convincing Sen. Nishihara, with sheer volume, that he needs to hear the bill.

If you know constituents from his District 17 (Waipahu, Crestview, Manana, Pearl City, Pacific Palisades), they would have the most weight. Think about the Freedom of Information Act – isn’t this the same thing? Everyone who feels it’s important, please call his office

DOT BUCK, Wailuku


Give the Post Office a break

The Postal Service says it’s going to stop delivering mail on Saturdays. This won’t happen until August, but the overseers of our postal workers in Congress are already swooning.

“Outrageous” is the cry rolling through the halls of the Capitol.

Can’t help it, responds Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe. Our postal service is hemorrhaging money, he says, and we have to cut back. Cutting Saturday delivery would save $2.7 billion a year.

I don’t know about you, but my mail consists mainly of bills, circulars and requests for money. I can get by with five days of that instead of six.

Apparently Congress can’t. Many of our lawmakers are fuming. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called it “shortsighted” and a “crippling blow.”

Listen, if the Postal Service were run like Congress, postal workers would only show up on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays – except when they were on vacation, which would be a lot.

Postal workers would repeatedly go overseas on fact-finding missions and come back empty-handed – empty-headed, too, for that matter.

The postal system today is under siege from the Internet. The volume of mail handled by the postal service dropped 22 percent between 2007 and 2011. People complain about the Postal Service all the time. But that’s largely because people these days complain about almost everything all the time.

My own experience with the Post Office has been excellent. The clerks at the office I frequent are polite and helpful. The mail I send gets where it’s going in a reasonable time. And my postman knows my name.

The Postal Service is a strange, hybrid creature. It’s not quite private, but not completely public either. It doesn’t get any money from Congress, but Congress gets to decide how it runs its business.

It’s saddled by our lawmakers, for example, with the obligation of setting aside $5.5 billion every year for future retirees – an obligation that no other entity, public or private, endures.

Meanwhile, we have the cheapest first class rates in the English-speaking world. A first-class stamp in Canada costs 63 cents. In the United Kingdom, it’s the equivalent of 94 cents. Here, it’s 46 cents, and we complain about that, naturally.

The Postal Service is running about a $16 billion-a-year deficit these days. It has some ideas to close the gap, beyond getting rid of the pre-funding of retirement benefits and dropping Saturday delivery.

It would like to reduce door-to door service in favor of centralized neighborhood mailboxes and run its own health care system. But it can’t do all of that without Congress’ cooperation, which seems to have gone on permanent vacation.

Sometimes I think we’d be better off if we let Congress run the mail system and let postal workers run the country.

At least they’d show up for work.