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LETTERS for March 19 issue

By Staff | Mar 19, 2015

West Side has a pharmacy shortage

For the longest time, everything was fine. We had Lahaina Pharmacy right downtown, with Sheldon doing a terrific job (even before it was L.P. and called Rite Aid). In addition, there was Longs (now CVS) and the pharmacy at Maui Medical Group on Prison Street.

Then things started to change. Walgreens bought Lahaina Pharmacy and ran it until the main store with a pharmacy was opened at Lahaina Gateway. Lahaina Pharmacy closed. Strike one.

Now Walgreens has closed the pharmacy at Maui Medical Group. Strike two. A very unwise decision, I think. They did brisk business. Practically every patient who got a prescription at MMG filled it right there.

MMG has a lot of elderly patients who don’t drive but use the bus. That bus stops at the Cannery Mall, with Longs/CVS right next door. Walgreens is across the highway, about a ten-minute walk. Chances are that patients will fill their prescriptions at Longs.

There are two consequences: Lahaina downtown is left without a pharmacy, and Walgreens will probably lose at least 50 poercent of the business they did at MMG.

I hope that somebody will buy/rent the space at MMG and re-open the pharmacy. Otherwise, all patients downtown will face strike three, since Kaiser is only filling Kaiser prescriptions – or you have to pay for it in full.

I would like to point out that Walgreens at Lahaina Gateway is doing an excellent job with Bill Robusto as manager.

All of the staff members go out of their way to accommodate customers as quickly as possible.

Still, they were working at full capacity when Walgreens at MMG was still open. Now (MMG) patients will have to face longer waiting times, if they use Walgreens to begin with.

This was, in my opinion, a typical corporate decision by somebody who apparently never has been in Lahaina.

I sure hope that this will be only temporary – that MMG will try very hard to find a new tenant as soon as possible, and that patients will get their medications faster and easier.

We already have a shortage as far as physicians are concerned. We don’t need a pharmacy shortage as well.



Who will staff the new West Maui Hospital?

I have been solidly behind building a medical center with an acute care or emergency department in the West Maui area for a long time. It finally looks like we’ll see it in the next few years.

Some recent developments and news have me asking if an acute care center will happen, or is it even wise to have one here?

In the news recently was a study that determined Hawaii, and especially Maui, is woefully short of doctors in many specialties.

The people setting up the new medical center claim doctors and other medical professionals will be coming out of the woodwork looking for positions.

If there is already a shortage of medical professionals in our established medical systems, why would someone take a chance on an unproven employer?

Dr. George Lavenson has written a number of letters discussing potential problems with the new medical center’s business plan.

In his latest letter, the good doctor lays out a very articulate case for a critically injured patient to avoid the West Maui facility and go straight to Maui Memorial.

It’s not just a matter of very expensive specialists who will be difficult to recruit, there’s also the very expensive equipment required for the very expensive specialists to use.

And don’t forget the very expensive technicians required to keep the very expensive equipment operating. These guys may be even rarer than the specialists.

Finally, I have to ask why Jo Anne Johnson-Winer is on the foundation board.

Back when she was a County Council member, she refused to have anything to do with getting Puukolii Road paved, as the road provided the only access to her condo. She stated that she did not want to be called a “homer.”

Apparently, that means getting something done by others that would benefit you financially. The only homer I know of is Homer Simpson.

Doesn’t trying to get a medical center built in your neighborhood, which could potentially increase your property value, also classify someone as a “homer?”

MIKE SOWERS, Kaanapali


MEO serves an important role

For over 25 years, Hale Makua Health Services has partnered with Maui Economic Opportunity.

We rely on MEO for medical transportation for our clients going to and from Maui Memorial Medical Center and from our Adult Day Health program to home.

In late November of last year, I crashed my bicycle and broke my fibula at the ankle on my right leg. I was told that I could not drive for one to two months.

I knew that one of our Adult Day Health clients was transported daily from Upcountry. I called MEO transportation to see if I could become a rider on a temporary basis.

I was fortunate to be placed on the Ala Hou run that provides transportation to clients from Ka Lima, Maui Adult Day Care and Liberty and Rainbow Dialysis.

The drivers and dispatchers performed their work with compassion, dedication and individualized approach to each rider.

Without MEO transportation, Maui’s elderly, handicapped and disabled would not be able to get out of their homes for health care and their daily social needs.

TONY KRIEG, CEO, Hale Makua Health Services


Legislators voting to desecrate Ewa battlefield

(The following letter was sent to state lawmakers.)

House Bill 1329 is a travesty of justice and bad judgment!

The bill process REEKS of insider political deals and hidden money agendas!

The National Wall of Shame will list them and be distributed to every veterans’ organization nationwide!

This is a National Park Service-nominated, Dec. 7, 1941 battlefield!

The land is owned by the U.S. Navy, and it has a major FAA Instrument Landing System on it to guide planes into Honolulu International Airport!

This is the 2015 Legislature’s worst example of very questionable deals!

JOHN BOND, Ewa, Oahu


Support Kander

I want to introduce you to the newest Democratic Senate candidate for 2016: Jason Kander of Missouri.

We need more people like Jason standing up for our men and women in uniform, and our veterans who have served our country. Jason is a distinguished veteran who served our country as an intelligence officer in Afghanistan.

Now he serves as secretary of state in Missouri and is one of our best hopes for winning a Senate seat in an extremely competitive state.

We know this race will be a tough one, and Jason will need all the time – and support – he can get to win.

Will you join Democrats across the country and me in supporting Team Kander today – and jumpstart our efforts to win back the Senate in 2016?

As a member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services and the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, I am committed to making sure our country supports the men and women who sacrifice so much to protect our democracy.

Jason, a veteran himself, deeply understands – and fights – to protect veterans and their families when they come home. Now, with all of us pulling together, he can join my colleagues and me in the Senate as we fight for these brave men and women.

I am looking forward to following Jason’s campaign. Thank you for joining me.



LAC responds to criticism

LahainaTown Action Committee has been subjected to ongoing abuse and innuendo from Norm Bezane in the Lahaina News and The Maui News, which we have previously ignored with a “consider the source attitude.”

Bezane’s statement in his letter published in The Maui News on Feb. 24, 2015 that “Some nonprofits also are a mess, run as personal fiefdoms by people who have been associated with them for years,” without telling us who, accuses all nonprofits with long-time members.

Bezane says in the letter that LAC “has two family members on its small board.” The fact is LAC has a board of seven members plus a President Emerita, all elected within accordance to the LAC bylaws.

Bezane goes on, saying that he warned of shenanigans at LAC’s Annual Meeting, and that “this is part of a pattern that also has included kicking out board members who challenge financial and other decisions.”

LAC did not “kick out” board members who challenged decisions. It is true that we had some board members resign last year. All decisions are supported by a majority vote.

Regarding the accountant’s statement on the financial report made available at the LAC Annual Meeting on Jan. 29, 2015, which Bezane called into question, this is a formal disclosure statement and is standard in the industry as validated by our accountant. Enough already!

LahainaTown Action Committee is a strong, healthy, well-run organization conducting 17 annual events and four partner events benefiting the whole community.

Bezane finished his letter by saying, “The Maui News needs to devote some space to concerns like this and less to running things that don’t matter.”

are sure The Maui News will heed Bezane’s advice on how to run their newspaper. Bezane seems to have a lot of free time and advice on how things should be run. Here is a bit of advice from us: use your energy in a more positive way to benefit Lahaina as we all do.