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LETTERS for September 12 issue

By Staff | Sep 12, 2013

Hosts sought for XTERRA athletes

On Sunday, Oct. 27, the Ritz-Carlton and West Maui will have the honor of hosting the XTERRA World Championship Mountain Bike Triathlon. Over 700 amateurs and professionals, men and women, Olympic athletes and first-timers, will start at 9 a.m. at Fleming Beach with a mile swim, then a transition onto mountain bikes, some worth $10,000, for a grueling, 18-mile ride, and then a finish with a seven-mile run at the Ritz-Carlton’s lawn.

If this event was held in Europe, at least 25,000 spectators would attend, showing support for athletes from all over the world. Arrive early to see the pre-race activities, marvel at the fit bodies, and bring your children for their inspiration to live a healthy lifestyle.

If you desire to host an athlete in your home for this event, please contact me at mauistyl@maui.net or (808) 268-1393. West Maui will see athletes from all over the world, as many of these racers will train all year just for this race. With a roundtrip international flight, bike transport, rental car and Maui prices, many need our help in accommodations. Your family would benefit by assisting and having an athlete share his or her culture from Europe, Asia or South America. Of course, the U.S.A. and Canada will be well-represented at the XTERRA. Thank you.



Foley spent his career saving lives

Congratulations to Sean P. Foley, who retired Aug. 31, 2013 after 25 years of service as an ocean safety officer.

Sean spent his career saving lives on the west and north shores of Maui. He was a volunteer rescue ski operator for the past 20 years and has the sore back to prove it. He will be remembered in the tower for his easygoing attitude, faith in God and friendship to all.

We all wish him the best of luck as he continues his education at U.H.-Maui College and spends more time with his family. Aloha and mahalo until we meet again.



Bathers shouldn’t harass turtles

My name is Jolie Jenkins, I’m 12 years old, and I attend Sacred Hearts School. On a beautiful Saturday morning, my friends and I were jumping off Black Rock. When we swam into shore, a gigantic sea turtle was swimming around, but many people were surrounding it.

Tourists were touching its shell and taking close-up pictures of it. The turtle was clearly being harassed. It was swimming around in circles because it was confused and scared. It was not coming up for air, which was a sign that the turtle was scared, and I started getting worried. Every time the turtle swam somewhere different, people chased it, trying to get a better picture.

It’s understandable that tourists don’t know better, but they need to use their common sense. It’s partially the hotels’ fault for not getting the word out. They need to do this before these magnificent creatures go extinct. Hotels should put up signs in the rooms, on the beach or even by the entrances to the beaches. Even the locals should tell visitors about this problem if they see visitors touching turtles.

Turtles are living creatures like us. Put yourself in the turtle’s shoes. What if you were the turtle and people were touching you and harassing you? How would that make you feel? If people touch or harass turtles, the turtles get scared, won’t come up to the surface to breathe and then they will eventually drown. That’s why I’m writing this letter; to help make sure this cruelty stops.

So if you go to the beach and see a turtle, don’t touch, feed or harass it. Take a picture from a reasonable distance away, and let it be. Let these beautiful creatures live. Think before you act.

JOLIE JENKINS, Seventh-grader, Sacred Hearts School


County must address sewage treatment issues

We just returned from a visit in Maui and stayed at a resort in West Maui directly across from the sewage treatment facility. Somehow, we missed this little bit of information on the resort’s website, so we didn’t find out there was a problem until we were driving up to the resort.

As a visitor to Maui, I was so looking forward to the sweet smells of your beautiful island, but instead, received a real dose of reality as we drove into the area on Sunday, Aug. 18. The worst was as we arrived, but then at various times, especially in the evening, we were periodically blasted by that awful sewage smell. It had such an impact on our enjoyment. It gets to the point where just the anticipation of bad smells affects your ability to enjoy walks/runs up and down the beach and sit outside during the evening.

As a tourist, I would like to summarize my feelings about this issue. If the county doesn’t listen to its own taxpayers, maybe tourists might impact the priority put on this issue.

1) As a visitor to your island, I question whether I should return. Collectively, it appears tourists are putting more of a burden on your system than the county is able or willing to manage. This isn’t fair to permanent residents. I feel guilty as a tourist, imposing this on your community.

2) I think the county should better manage this problem and should not allow more development until they can handle the sewage for the existing population. No more hotels until the problem is better managed!

3) How is this impacting your water and marine life? I don’t trust that there isn’t some seepage into the ocean. The only information I could find was a recent newspaper article that seemed to confirm the sewage is being managed in an inappropriate manner and is affecting marine life.

3) I was shocked that the management at the hotel seemed so little informed about the issue. The resort manager I complained to either played dumb or actually knew little about the issue. Don’t the local resorts have a vested interest in getting involved to push the county to better manage this problem?

4) I was also shocked to find out the problem has apparently been going on for years.

The sewage has to go somewhere, but if the county can’t handle the burden, it should be acting quickly to resolve the issue.

MICHELLE MacKINNON, Vancouver, B.C., Canada


A theory on the rise in shark attacks

While everyone is understandably concerned with the recent shark attacks on Maui and the other islands in the state, I can’t help but wonder why we didn’t foresee this event happening earlier.

About 20 years ago, when green sea turtle populations were dwindling, and tiger shark populations also were much smaller, we didn’t have a “shark problem.”

A concerned group of people started the successful task of bringing the populations of green sea turtles back from the brink of extinction to a booming overpopulation of the favorite food source of the tiger shark.

We know that when nature has a population explosion of a food source, predators begin to reproduce at a much higher rate to handle the boom. With mice, the owls and raptors start to produce more eggs in their nests, and fewer in the lean years. There is always a balance.

The green sea turtles haven’t just come back on Maui alone, but on all the other islands as well. Twenty years is long enough for a tiger shark to grow to be 10-12 feet in length – about the size that people are witnessing in these attacks.

We can hardly act surprised when people are mistaken for a sharks’ favorite food source while people are swimming offshore, just a short distance from a dive spot called “Turtle Town.”

The danger of the green sea turtles’ dwindling numbers is long gone, and maybe the program is too successful. I think it’s time to start selling harvesting lottery licenses for local fishermen to go back to the old practice of harvesting turtles for our own food source.

Maybe we can kill two birds with one stone. Fever turtles, fewer tiger sharks.



Support students in Read-For-a-Cure

The fight against cancer goes on, and I know we’re going to win this thing! Hardly anyone I know can say they DON’T have a friend or relative that has battled this terrible disease. I’m asking for your help in raising funds, because I think it’s important that we all join together to help win.

My first grade class at King Kamehameha III Elementary School has pledged to help the fight against cancer. We are raising funds by participating in Read-For-a-Cure.

Read-For-a-Cure is a read-a-thon to help promote the love of reading. It will raise funds for American Cancer Society research, education, prevention, advocacy and patient services.

Each student in my class has set an individual reading goal to help increase his or her reading stamina. The combined goal of all 23 students is 3,650 minutes. They will have only 14 days to accomplish this. The read-a-thon runs from Sept. 6 to Sept. 19.

We will be dedicating Read-For-a-Cure to all the people in our community who are currently battling cancer and in remembrance to those who have lost their battle with cancer.

I am asking the Lahaina community and businesses to help us in our fight against cancer. If you would like to sponsor our class, donations for the American Cancer Society can be sent to: King Kamehameha III Elementary School, c/o Read-For-a-Cure. Together, we can make a difference.

ABBY MARKULIS, First Grade Teacher, King Kamehameha III School