homepage logo

LETTERS for December 26 issue

By Staff | Dec 26, 2013

Suggestions to improve traffic safety

You may have noticed that pedestrians are being “counted down” at most intersections (telling them when the red blinking light will become steady, and they should not enter the crosswalk anymore).

In a letter I received recently from a county official, he mentioned that installing cameras for speeding cars and/or running red lights is problematic, since for some reason, it “does not work as well as on the Mainland or in Europe.” Plus, judges often threw out the “evidence.” Sad – but in part understandable – when you look at some decisions judges make.

I have another proposal. Why can’t we introduce something that in most countries all over the world has been in use for OVER 40 YEARS? Have the green light start blinking five seconds before it switches to yellow.

Obviously, the technique is there (pedestrian lights), and it would give the drivers a fair warning when the green light is changing, so they don’t have to floor it or make an emergency stop.

Since we have a lot of visitors from outside the U.S., it would help them, too, because they would not face a completely different situation in approaching an intersection.

If harmless pedestrians are “warned,” why not drivers? Are people who walk across an intersection second-class citizens?

And while we are at it, the police are still NOT monitoring especially notorious intersections enough, and they do NOT enforce the law there. (I am talking Honoapiilani Highway from Kapalua all the way to Lahainaluna.)

Money from tickets for violations could be used to finally modernize our traffic lights. It would be for the benefit of all, and I doubt that judges would throw out blinking traffic lights.

Are we SO behind in Hawaii, Maui, West Maui? Maybe 2014 will bring some much-needed improvements.



West Maui Hospital won’t treat major, life-threatening conditions

Supporters of the proposed West Maui Hospital have been termed “life savers” by the promoters of the hospital. But the major, life-threatening conditions (heart attacks, strokes and accidents) require treatment by specialty teams of physicians, nurses, technicians, cardiac cath labs, hi-tech operating rooms, stroke teams, ICUs and blood bank available 24/7 for lives to be saved.

The fact is that the proposed small West Maui Hospital with limited beds/staff could not provide this care. Definitive critical care is required and must be given within or close to the “golden hour” to be life saving.

The “standard of care,” nationally and internationally, is to send patients to medical centers like Maui Memorial Medical Center, which can provide the full and necessary critical care, not delay them in hospitals that cannot provide that care.

This report is not just a “different opinion” as has been said, but this comes from my experience as a general, vascular and trauma surgeon caring for patients with critical, life-threatening conditions for over 50 years in combat, the military and civilian medicine.

Heart attacks occur when a coronary artery that supplies blood to the heart becomes blocked. When someone has chest pain and a possible heart attack, the paramedics are called, and an EKG is obtained and sent wirelessly to Maui Memorial Medical Center.

If the EKG shows a heart attack, the cardiac cath lab is made ready, and the team is called in. This takes about 30 minutes – nearly the same as the time of about 40 minutes required to transport the patient to MMMC from West Maui in ambulances (which always get through).

On arriving at the hospital, the patient is taken directly into the cath lab to open the blocked coronary artery and prevent death. Since the time for transport from West Maui nearly equates to the time for the cath lab to be available, the procedure is done nearly as rapidly as if the heart attack had occurred across the street from the hospital. Delay in a hospital that is not able to do this has been shown in many studies to increase the mortality greatly.

Strokes occur when an artery to the brain is blocked, usually by a blood clot or cholesterol. The clot may be dissolved by medicine placed into an arm vein or through a catheter placed directly into the artery in the brain, similar to that for a heart attack. But this must be done within three hours from the last time that the patient was normal to stop or reverse the stroke and lessen the risk of death or serious disability.

The national timeline requirements once the patient arrives in the hospital is for initial evaluation, calling the stroke team, and ordering a CT of the brain (to rule out bleeding that would prevent dissolving the clot) all within ten minutes after arrival in the hospital; evaluation by the stroke team and obtaining the CT within 25 minutes from arrival; reading the CT by 45 minutes from arrival; and initiation of treatment by one hour from hospital arrival.

Bearing in mind that there is often delay before the paramedics are called, and the time for transport to the stroke center, further delay in a hospital that is not a stroke center – and cannot do the full management – results in loss of brain cells. Every minute of delay can erase or greatly lessen the chance of recovery.

Vehicular and other accidents can result in death from bleeding that causes shock with low blood pressure and decrease in blood flow to vital organs. To prevent death, in addition to replacing the lost blood, the bleeding must be stopped. This often requires complicated emergency surgery by teams of surgeons.

If the shock lasts more than the “golden hour,” it may not be able to be reversed, and the patient is not saved.

Once again, delay in a small hospital without a large specialty staff available 24/7, and the needed and complex capabilities of a medical center, can prevent the saving of lives, not be “life savers.”

It is my understanding that the public has already donated well over $1 million for the West Maui Hospital, and is now asked to donate up to $5 million.

It is only right for the public to know, regarding donations and expectations, the true capabilities of the proposed hospital.

A West Maui Hospital was approved as a “critical access hospital” – meaning it is remote, and payment is increased to compensate for a lower volume of patients – but it was not approved as a “critical care hospital.”

The hospital could provide a clinic and beds for short-/long-term care, but not lifesaving measures – as the public has been told and wants.



Spiritual transformation is the key to happiness

The bells are ringing, the choirs singing joy to the world.

Not all hearts are glad – too many are heavy and sad.

If this is a time when your spirit is low, dwell on the blessing only God can bestow.

To the world He gave his only Son – no greater gift came from anyone.

God called us to be a people set apart; what that means is a transformed heart

Spiritual transformation is the KEY to joy, good health and prosperity



Lahaina Bypass is now open!

If you are going north from South, Central or Upcountry Maui, and you do not need to go into Lahaina Town itself, you can enter the Lahaina Bypass from Hokiokio, which is opposite Puamana.

The bypass will allow you to “bypass” all five streets and all five traffic lights in Lahaina, and you will exit on Keawe Street and be facing Long’s Drugs and Lahaina Cannery Mall.

If you are commuting to work in West Maui every day, you should take the bypass, as it will make your trip easier, faster and less frustrating.

If you are in West Maui and are going south to “the other side,” you can enter the bypass off the highway by taking a left on Keawe Street at the Lahaina Gateway Shopping Center. You will exit at Hokiokio, and you will have “bypassed” all of Lahaina Town.

Enjoy the ride! The views from the bypass are spectacular!

BOB PURE, Former President of Lahaina Bypass Now


Buy the land for sale at Launiupoko

After looking at the conundrum of whether to purchase the Launiupoko property for the negotiated price or try to renegotiate based on a lower appraisal, I have come to these thoughts:

1) The following were good purchases: the Island of Manhattan by John Minuet for $24 worth of beads and wampum in the 17th Century, the 19th Century Louisiana Purchase by Thomas Jefferson from the Napoleon Government of France for $3 million, the 19th Century Alaska purchase from Russia for $3 million, and the 19th Century Gadsden purchase from Mexico.

2) All of the above were bad deals for the sellers.

Sure, I would like the public to pay less for this extremely critical piece of land, but trust me – in the future, this will look like pennies on the dollar. Sure, I hope the sellers make good money on the deal, because right this minute, they are the ones keeping this land in trust for us. These guys own the land, and we will want other land before this is all over.

Let’s live by our deals; let’s communicate better. And Councilman White, to me, you saw a discrepancy and investigated it. To me, that is what you were hired to do. Thank you. Now let’s all ho’ohui back up, imua, buy this and move on.

PAUL LAUB, West Maui


Thanks for supporting Breakfast with Santa

There is no brighter light on this Earth than the light from a small child’s smile. Well, the room was lit up on Saturday! What an amazing day! Breakfast with Santa at Sacred Hearts School was a huge success, and we want to thank, with all our hearts, those who made it possible.

A big mahalo to our donors: Ron and the chef at Lulu’s, Buff at Koa’s, Anne at Starbucks, Juan at Penne Pasta, and the folks at Safeway and Costco.

Thank you to our “worker bees”: Susan Hendricks, Bradley Mason, Jan Pasamonte, Yvette Richard, Beth Goldsmith, Dani Haney, Nelson Fuentes, Brianda Gonzalez, Dawn Boote, Mele (Scheimer), Monica Matzek, Marina Rodriquez, Siu Whitehead, Simone Donohue, Eileen Perry, Christi Vehikite, Michelle Han, May Tamayo, Vivien Delos Reyes, Wanda Sobel, Sheila Long, Rosa Wegner, Joe Devane, David Jenkins, Miyuku Schlaugh, Romeo Alba and Joanna Stockham.

Thank you to Alexis Lasco for creating the banner.

Thank you to the keiki who worked hard to make this a fun day: Jolie Jenkins, Loleini Scheimer, Chiarra Clark, Makana Boote, Neysha Fuentes, Teisa Vehikite, Hannah Sheveland, Hannah Long, Makena Cowan, Alexander Rodriquez, Dominic Donohue, Brooke Whitehead, Alexis Tamayo, Venus Schlaugh, Sophia Sobel, Grace Devane, Madison Perry, DJ Johnson, Kamryn Perry, Lexi Cowan, the eighth-graders and any other keiki who helped out.

Thank you to Ms Lori Ulman and the Sacred Hearts Honors Choir.

Thank you to Mr. Barry Wurst (the best Santa ever!) and his main helper, Mrs. Claus (Patty Wurst).

Thank you to Hopsing Coon, Kyle Campbell and Nicole Okada for the wonderful photos.

Thank you to Mark at Lahaina News.

Thank you to all who helped! It is said that a child’s smile is a little piece of heaven. Because of you, we had a lot of heaven on Earth this past weekend. Mahalo nui loa!