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LETTERS for August 28 issue

By Staff | Aug 28, 2014

Council seeks to advance Hawaiian education for Maui

The Maui Island Council of the Native Hawaiian Education Council (NHEC) is diligently working to further Hawaiian education programs for Maui this new fiscal year.

Our goals include building capacity of the island council membership through establishing partnerships with various programs that serve the Native Hawaiian community, as well as outreach efforts to engage our community in the work of the education council. We believe that Maui has great potential to bring more federal funds to our island to support current grantee programs, as well as inspire individuals, organizations, non-profits and others to compete for grant funds under the Native Hawaiian Education Act.

Please join us at an island council meeting this year at the Kaiao Student Success Center on UHMC’s campus in Kahului. For more information, please visit nhec.org or contact Lisa Beardsley at Lisa@nhec.org or (808) 523-6432.

The dates for the upcoming meetings are: Oct. 21, 2014 and Jan. 26, April 20 and July 27, 2015. Meetings are scheduled from 5 until 6:30 p.m. Mahalo, and we hope to see you there!

KAPOLEI KIILI, Maui Island Council Chair


Family appreciates community’s support

We want to thank Nicky Ressa, Jim and Becky Lennon, the Pioneer Inn and our many friends in the Maui community for their prayers and help during the last four months. Thank you for the fundraiser and the many shops and businesses who donated to the Weed Family Fundraiser held on May 30 at the Pioneer Inn.

Michael is continuing treatment on Oahu for mantle cell lymphoma and will be going to the City of Hope in Los Angeles for a bone marrow transplant.



Safety record for GE crops is impeccable

The letter by Rick Morse (Aug. 14) is a perfect example of non-experts in agriculture giving advice while ignoring the vast amounts of agricultural research. The hyperbole in his letter is clear with the alleged threat of GE (genetically engineered) crops being greater than nuclear holocaust. Thankfully, the reality of this technology is quite different.

GE crop technology has been around for approximately 30 years and is the most tested type of crop breeding in the history of agriculture. Every GE crop is tested 10-50 times that of crops made by other methods. GE crop breeding is by far the most precise method we have ever used to create new crops.

After 20 years of commercial GE crops, and over three trillion meals containing ingredients derived from these crops, there is not a single documented case of harm. No food is absolutely safe, but the record for GE crops and derived food is impeccable. GMO critics have been looking for problems for over 20 years, and they still cannot find one.

The European Academies of Science Advisory Council’s 2013 report (Planting the Future) said this about the Precautionary Principle: “The misuse of the precautionary principle has led to restrictive legislation and both a political and market mistrust of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)… This has had a profound chilling effect on both public and private investment for European agricultural research.”

They also state: “There is abundant and accumulating evidence from extensive worldwide experience for benefit, and lack of evidence for environmental or human health risk associated with GM crop technology… It is vital that sustainable agricultural production and food security harnesses the potential of biotechnology in all its facets.”

ROBERT WAGER, Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, Canada


Help sponsor local surfers

Aloha! My name is Alfy Basurto. I’m the owner of Lahaina Town Surf Co. We are a company dedicated to helping the surf community of Lahaina. So much talent here, but not enough opportunity. One-hundred percent of our profits go back to the Lahaina surf community.

We are currently sponsoring Eric Casco, a Lahaina boy, to fly to the MSA Classic in September. We look for homegrown talent that needs financial support. That’s where we come in. We provide financial assistance to Lahaina surfers that can’t further their career without some financial assistance. I’m Tongan and Peruvian, but my heart belongs to Lahaina. This is my way of giving back to the town that stole my heart years ago.

We are currently looking for a short-boarder and a standup paddler to help. We are not only looking for talent, but our surfers have to be upstanding citizens of the community and show they have a need (meaning they can’t afford to further their surfing career without help).

We would like to get the word out that we are here to help. Please contact me at (808) 740-8337 with any questions.



A train from OGG to West Maui?

Just when I thought I heard it all, I read the editorial in The Maui News on Aug. 14. Transportation Director Jo Anne Johnson-Winer (who usually has her head on straight) and Rep. Angus McKelvey are proposing a train from OGG (Kahului Airport) to Kapalua!

While Johnson goes all the way, McKelvey supports a train from Maalaea to Kapalua to eliminate or reduce the accidents on Highway 30 on the Pali and the consequential closures after the accidents. Right now, traffic is barely squeezing through the tunnel.

Pray tell – where would you put the tracks for the train?

If there is room, then that space should have been used to widen and/or build a wider detour for Highway 30 through the Pali a LONG time ago. McKelvey was quoted as saying, “it is long range… but doable.”

Also, The Maui News urges people to raise $25,000 to “save the assets of the Sugar Cane Train;” – $25,000 would not even last a month. The tracks of the SCT are believed to be torn up in September. So, we will remove the tracks and then build a new railroad?

With all due respect to Director Johnson-Winer and Rep. McKelvey, this is as harebrained an idea as I ever heard. The whole thing strikes me as a desperate and pathetic attempt to, maybe, somehow by a miracle, “save” the SCT or delay its demise. So tourists are supposed to rent their cars not at the airport but in West Maui? I wonder what all the car rental agencies at OGG have to say about that. There would be a lot of jobs lost right away, and that’s just the start. Roads were built and re-routed to have better access to OGG by car, and now we want to build a train?

Where would the money come from? And again, WHERE would you build the tracks through the Pali? Not exactly a well-thought-out proposal in my humble opinion. Or is the whole OGG-Kapalua train just a smoke screen? To give Johnson-Winer and McKelvey the benefit of the doubt, I sure hope so. They can’t be serious!

To add insult to injury, The Maui News urges people to donate money to raise the $25,000 for the SCT. I would rather pay to make sure that there is no more train, be it just in West Maui or from OGG to Kapalua.

It seems to me that Rep. McKelvey is (ab)using his position as a politician to pursue personal interests. After all, his father founded the SCT. I, for one, certainly know that he will never get my vote again. Ever. And Director Johnson-Winer? PLEASE get real. We have a lot more pressing issues to solve than to chase a pipe dream.

We finally have an almost perfect public transportation system on Maui with the bus – affordable, effective, accessible and a with a convenient schedule. That bus was, for a change, a very good idea and is very well-operated.

So, don’t rock a boat that is perfectly working for residents and visitors alike.

I hope the two politicians mentioned will eventually see the folly of this “train idea.” I would like to ask every reader – and voter – to contact both and voice their opinion. I am pretty sure that the vast majority must think this was published at the wrong time, and it is April 1.

To Johnson-Winer and Rep. McKelvey, don’t take your position for granted. Stranger things than kicking out politicians that seemed to have a lock on their position have happened.

For Rep. McKelvey, I have a suggestion. Since you are representing West Maui, why not use your influence and check on the performance of the West Maui Police Department, which is pathetic. I would love to FINALLY hear from you! After leaving a number of messages over a period of a few months at your office – and not even ONE call back – I wonder how real your connection with West Maui is?



GMO initiative could put hundreds out of work

First, I strongly urge the residents of Maui County to vote no on the anti-GMO (genetically modified organisms) initiative. Why? Basically, the ballot initiative, if passed, will not allow any planting of GMOs in Maui until a study is completed. And who knows how long that will be. The effect of this initiative moratorium study will put some 600 workers on Maui and Molokai out of a job until the study is complete.

Second, there have been over 2,000 different safety studies done by the seed companies, universities and independent agricultural researchers proving the safety of GMOs. Plus, consider the fact that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the EPA and the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture have approved the growing of GMO crops.

Is there someone on Maui that is more knowledgeable about GMOs than these organizations? Or doesn’t anyone on Maui believe in scientific research done by reputable and recognized scientific organizations?

Third, who on Maui has the scientific credentials to re-evaluate GMOs after the federal government has approved them? And for what reason?