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LETTERS for April 10 issue

By Staff | Apr 10, 2014

Hoerl was a gem

Christine Hoerl was tough as nails but with a soft heart. My wife and I were looking through the March 27 Lahaina News, saw the letter about Christine and realized there was even another part of her to be added.

Christine helped the homeless – yes, she helped the homeless. Years ago, when Teen Challenge was in Olowalu, she would wash their clothes for free. Here in Lahaina, of the homeless, she used to say, “Them Bums – they should get a job.” And, she used to tell me, “Those bums are going to drive you crazy, Victor.”

So, I would ask her, “Christina, why do you help them out?” She would say to me, “Because nobody but you and I seem to want to help them.”

She had a laundry business and white van. The homeless used to sleep there. She became a payee for a couple of them, so they wouldn’t drink all their money away. Christine not only bought food for them, she would take them to the Veterans’ Clinic on the other side, and the State Building for food stamps and getting their paperwork in order. Just to drive to the Kahului-Wailuku area from Lahaina was 45 minutes one-way.

I loved the way she told Polish jokes in her own accent. She was outspoken about many things and set in her ways. She was a true gem to the community, and I thank God I knew Christine. We will miss her mightily. She has left a standing legacy in the hearts of many.

VICTOR & MARY BELLAROSA, Light Bringers Mission, Lahaina


Ban commercial activities at Hanakao’o during canoe season

We are in the midst of the whale season on Maui. Schoolchildren, visitors and residents are happy to welcome the whales back to their winter playground. The setting is peaceful as we watch the whales breach, paddlers skim across the calm West Maui waters and our local children splash along the shoreline.

It is such a wonderful time of the year for Na Kupuna, as our politicians have banned thrill-craft operations to protect the whales and their babies in our sanctuary waters.

Na Kupuna questions why the politicians do not extend their protection of rights to our children and cultural practitioners. Specifically, Na Kupuna would like to see a ban of all commercial activity at Hanakao’o Beach Park (Canoe Beach) during canoe season.

The conflict of uses at that time is preposterous, with jet ski and parasail operators picking up passengers on the same beach in their motorized boats by the hour, with children playing in the same area unaware of the inherent dangers of multiple uses.

Hanakao’o is home to numerous canoe clubs hosting island-wide and statewide regattas. Children spend their afternoons learning how to paddle. Opio and makua enjoy the healthy activity as well.

Na Kupuna has been very patient, as conflicts in the past between motorized vessels and swimmers have been fatal or maiming.

We do not ask for a total ban all year long. We are flexible and willing to compromise. We humbly ask our elected officials in Wailuku or Oahu to consider relocating these operations to other areas during canoe season only.

There are so many commercially designated areas on the West Side that would be more appropriate and safer.

We must not forget Uncle Billy.



Cats, cats and more cats

There are too many cats in Lahaina, and things are getting worse for both the cats and the people who live with them. How to deal with the feral cats is a very controversial issue, and the topic is bound to be met with mixed responses.

Two groups of people come to mind. One group just wants them gone. How that happens does not matter to them. The others are supporters of trap-neuter-return. While debating on how best to approach the issue, the cats continue to reproduce at an exponential rate. A single female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 cats in seven years. We have to come up with a solution

Studies have shown that when 75 percent of the cat population in a localized area is spayed and neutered, the population growth stabilizes. Until that number is reached, we will continue to see growth in the number of cats in Lahaina and surrounding areas.

The alternative is eradication on a large scale. The idea is inhumane, unrealistic and horrific to visualize. Furthermore, studies have shown that it does not work – Google it; there is tons of information. Our only hope of decreasing the cat population is to stop their ability to breed – hence, the trap-neuter-release method.

People ask why they can be trapped and released and not trapped and euthanized. The Humane Society is required to house any animal taken into the facility for a certain time before this can be performed, resulting in a cost of more than $100 per cat to house and euthanize. Fixing a cat costs about $35. The cost to humanely euthanize the feral cats (even if we could catch them all) would be exorbitant. There are bound to be owned cats trapped, and we cannot arbitrarily set up a program that just puts cats to sleep indiscriminately.

Trap-neuter-return (TNR) is a program where the cats are trapped, sterilized, ear tipped (for easy identification as fixed) and then released back to the same location that they were trapped at. Some homeowners are reluctant to see problem cats placed back into their yards. Aside from the obvious, there are benefits to fixing the cats: their behavior changes. They tend to fight less, the loud cries of a female in heat are eliminated, and the marking behavior and offensive odor of an intact male’s urine is significantly lessened.

Successful TNR programs in cities such as San Francisco, San Diego and New York have shown less complaint calls to shelters and city officials due to the changes in behavior. The significant reduction in kittens is immediate, and with ongoing trapping of intact cats in the neighborhoods, the numbers of cats eventually go down.

Why is it not effective to trap and remove the cats? There is a universally recognized phenomenon called “the vacuum effect.” Cats tend to be territorial, and they keep other cats out of their territory. When they are removed, it provides a space for new cats to move in – and move in they will. Removing cats from an area is a temporary solution at best. The only feasible chance we have at getting a handle on the problem is to TNR, and to do it as a whole community with an intentional goal of controlling the problem.

How does it get accomplished? A high-volume, low-cost spay and neuter service on the West Side. With community support, volunteers, donations and funding – of course, there is always the funding – we can get it done. Please show your support with the County Council for a cat management program on the West Side.

The longer we wait, the bigger the problem. If you would like to find out more, or if you would like to help out in any way, please e-mail toomanycatslahaina@yahoo.com. We need to get started.



Thanks to all who volunteer

In honor of National Volunteer Week, I’d like to thank all those who give of their time and effort as volunteers. You’ll never know how much you are appreciated.

I’d like to share my experience in receiving urgent help from two extraordinary volunteers. Recently, after falling and breaking my hip (I’m 87), I also experienced severe burns down my other leg, requiring a visit to the doctor every day for over a month. With no one else to take me there, most days, two volunteers from Neighbors Helping Neighbors – Kim Gayner and her partner, Tim DuBois – over and over again, with a loving and caring attitude, saw that I got there. I labeled them my “angels from Heaven.”

I soon discovered that I’m not the only one who has received their gracious help. Kim has been a regular volunteer for Maui Friends of the Children’s Justice Center and Hospice Maui. She received a Special Congressional Recognition Award for driving more miles than any other person – 4,200 driven in volunteer service in 2013 (with over 1,000 documented volunteer hours).

Tim, in 2013, also gave over 1,000 hours helping Neighbors Helping Neighbors.

As an advocate of volunteering, Kim’s book, “Reality 101: A ‘Must Have’ Guide to Life and Life Skills Survival Manual,” includes specific sections dedicated to that subject.

Now, seeing a real need for it, they’ve started a business named TLC Maui Nui (Maui Angels). They offer non-medical quality-of-life and end-of-life care and assistance to elders and the disabled.

Is there any wonder why I think of Kim and Tim as “angels from Heaven?”

May God continue to bless them – and all volunteers!



Kana’iolowalu detrimental to the strength of Hawaiians

While it is difficult to work for years and to try every avenue in order to achieve justice for Hawaiians, and not see the kind of concrete results that spell true progress to form a recognizable nation for today’s world, I believe that the State of Hawaii’s/Office of Hawaiian Affairs’ Kana’iolowalu roll is detrimental to the strength and well-being of Hawaiians.

While bringing Hawaiians together to stand tall in themselves to form a visible nation is a noble enterprise, I feel that signing on to Kana’iolowalu is a substitute for the careful preparatory work that a legitimate government must do to ensure government-to-government diplomatic interaction.

Who calls the shots anyway? The legislators of the State of Hawaii invented this roll.

Does the so-called convention coming up in the fall go back far enough to the statutes of Hawaiian Kingdom law that spelled out clearly the way back home to an Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary system of government?

I commend the Lahaina News for providing information that has made me stop and ponder the merits of the latest takeover of Hawaiian nationality.



Contact county officials on Kahoma Village

I would like to comment on the “Kahoma Village a done deal?” letter written by David Hayden Drown in the Lahaina News. The question is not answered until it gets approved by the Maui County Planning Department. We, the People, still have a say, and if we want to save Baby Beach and Mala Wharf, and provide space for a future Lahaina park, then now is the time to speak up. In case you are unclear, this property is located by Lahaina Cannery Mall between the highway and Front Street.

I was in attendance at the County Council meetings and spoke out against the proposed project. One of my contentions is that the project is located in the Coastal Zone Management Area. Mala is important for public recreational activities, but also for commercial diving and Hawaiian cultural practices. Recent studies show that Puuanoa Beach (Baby Beach)/Mala is already at its pollutant load; therefore, the stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces caused by the new construction will only add to a problem that needs to be addressed.

The coastal area being affected is considered Class AA; thus, it is federally protected. Why are those laws and county and state laws being ignored? State and county laws state that infrastructure must precede development. There is no guarantee of water supply. Though the county is pursuing water sources for West Maui, it is only speculative and not definitive. The Lahaina District public schools are over capacity and have been for years. The Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility (sewage plant) uses injection wells to process the sewage and is now directly affecting the coastal waters. The county is not taking into consideration all the pending and approved projects that will be overloading that sewage system even more. The coastal waters being affected are the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary that is federally protected; thus, it is a breach of the Public Trust Doctrine not to protect it.

The West Maui Community Plan is a law that designates the project area as “Multi-Family or Park.” The park designation is a more environmentally and culturally acceptable use of the property. Recreational areas are greatly needed in the congested Lahaina District. It would be wonderful to have a park with picnic pavilions for graduation parties and baby luaus. Imagine tree-lined biking and walking paths with open space for games and activities. The park could feature a small amphitheater for Hawaiian music and hula and entertainment. It could have restroom facilities with shower areas and fountains for the kids to play in. It would be nice to have a volleyball court, horseshoe pits and playgrounds that encourage friend and family outdoor recreational activities. Recreational areas meet requirements for state and county laws.

There are thousands of homes already zoned on the West Side of Maui. Though the project will bless 203 families with housing, it would bless thousands upon thousands of families if developed into a park. There is no guarantee that local families or longtime residents will be the beneficiaries of these homes, but it will be providing opportunity for more people to live on Maui by providing housing for those looking to relocate or have a vacation home in paradise. The property’s proximity to Mala Wharf and Baby Beach would greater serve the entire community and island if it is developed into a community park.

The Weinberg Foundation is developing this property “for-profit” as a means to fund other benevolent projects. Why not here? The Weinberg Foundation is legendary for its philanthropy, so the park designation would meet their objectives and goals in providing desirable living conditions for all, since the lack of adequate infrastructure and negative environmental impacts should prohibit the housing that is being proposed.

What will you do? There is opportunity for you to contact the Maui County Planning Department, Mayor’s Office and Weinberg Foundation to save this land. Please contact them before it is too late. It will take an act of God, but we must do what we can and pray His will be done. The Constitution of Hawaii, Article XI, Sections 1 and 9, provide for a clean and healthful environment. I ask you to invoke your Constitutional Rights and call, write, Facebook, petition, or do whatever you can today to save this land for you, your families and for future generations.

Contact Mayor Alan Arakawa, 200 S. High St., Kalana O Maui Building, Ninth Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793, phone (808) 270-7855 or fax (808) 270-7870; Maui County Planning Department, William Spence, Director, Michele Chouteau McLean, Deputy Director, 2200 Main St., One Main Plaza Building, Suite 315, Wailuku, HI 96793, phone (808) 270-7735 or fax (808) 270-7634; and the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Craig Demchak, Director of Community Affairs, 3660 Waialae Avenue, Suite 400, Honolulu, HI 96816-3260, phone (808) 924-1000, fax (808) 922-3975 or e-mail cdemchak@hjweinberg.org.

A hundred letters, e-mails or phone calls are only a whisper; it will take thousands for them to hear our voice, so please act today. Everyone can do something to make the world better; let’s do it together and make a difference. If you have never done something like this before, today is your day, because your voice does matter. All it takes for bad things to happen is for good people to do nothing.