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LETTERS for October 8 issue

By Staff | Oct 8, 2015

A pueo’s S.O.S.

In a field that borders a golf course and my condominium complex lays a patch of strewn boulders dug up, probably by the builder, and left there. All around it, weeds and small trees thrive amid the rubble. It’s an eyesore, as things long ignored often become, but there’s been a change. A new way for me to partially accept it, and I wouldn’t want to disrupt this new development in any way.

For from out of the brush comes a pueo that has a nest, it seems, hidden beneath scrub and grass that’s high and growing higher still. I imagine it’s a comfortable, thatched bed anchored in the low crisscross of street-tossed palm fronds and limbs left there to rot. I picture it, too, nervously vigilant of passing cars, lawn mowers, predators and walkers both day and night. But more critically and much more dangerously, I envision this beautiful creature a victim of sick owl syndrome (S.O.S.) – that dazed, drunken affect that comes from light pollution and the cause of death for many of its breed.

I had almost missed seeing this owl coming home late one night with my husband. And until hindsight slapped me in the back of the head and I blurted, “Stop! That was an owl! A pueo,” I would have.

My husband, equally interested in nature, slid the car into reverse and rolled back to where the beautiful creature sat bathed in the amber streetlight along the grassy strip between the sidewalk and road. He shut down the car as I cooed, “Aloha, little buddy. What are you doing? Are you okay?”

The bird blinked and rotated its head, unafraid and perhaps a bit confused. Then it stretched its beak wide like it was about to respond. Meanwhile, my husband, hearing me gasp, fumbled with his cell phone to catch a picture but was too late. The owl had already puffed out its chest and rustled its feathers. It next locked its rightful eyes on mine.

“I am here,” the message came, “to hunt.” Then it rose and flew low over the grass and away. In awe, I leaned out the window and watched it go.

“You missed it,” I said, knowing that I had not, for the Hawaiians believe to see a pueo is to witness an ancestral guardian. And, although I’m not Hawaiian, I believe I did. It felt miraculous, almost heavenly even, that I would be granted this brief glimpse into the past from something very much alive and very much present.

Our home is above the Kaanapali Resort area, which explains the golf venue, one of two. And the numerous hotels here are particularly sensitive to the environment and their host Hawaiian culture. This insight permeates the air we breathe, lives in the rocks we walk by and rides on our ocean’s current. It is inescapable and something we gladly embrace and certainly wish to maintain.

It was in this vein of empathy and compassion that three days prior, while strolling the golf course at night, I became a little incensed about the area’s latest addition: the brightly-lit, 12-story, 100-unit Hyatt timeshare.

The building’s night radiance rivals that of a small strip hotel and disrupts the entire sightline along Kaanapali Beach. How this building was approved with such brightness is beyond me – so much so that I was prompted to write a letter to the editors of both The Maui and Lahaina newspapers (“Resort should dim its lights,” Sept. 24 issue).

Both papers ran the letter, whereupon several people thanked me for writing it. One woman even followed suit by writing to the newspapers that the lighting actually kept her awake at night. Surprisingly, I had sparked some conversation at the least and some possible action at best.

But what became a greater wonder was the second slap on the back of my head after I saw this pueo out on its nightly hunt and it flew away. Watching it seemed to acknowledge something greater. That my letters were, in fact, meant for the livelihood of this revered, short-eared owl. That it could not change what man had done but depended on man to change that very situation.

This bird, this pueo, was here to hunt, and it can be affected by bright lights. It is not only my, but everyone’s kuleana (responsibility) to respect the environment in which it lives.

It could be costly, then, if we wait for hindsight to hit us much more costly than a slap on the back of our heads. In this case, the cost is the life of a pueo that beautiful spirit representative of a treasured past.

So will this or my previous letters have any impact with the new Hyatt timeshare? I don’t know, but I certainly hope they will, because the management at the Hyatt timeshare surely understands the area where they thrive and might simply need to be reminded.



Cons outweigh the positives for proposed homeless camp

Enough is enough, Michele Lincoln. Your heavy-handed, week after week dominance of the letters section advocating the ill-advised homeless tent city at the entrance to Lahaina is self-righteous.

Yes, our state needs to address this problem. Yes, you are not the only one with empathy for these mentally disturbed and homeless people. Solving a serious problem with the wrong solution will only compound the problem.

The cons of moving forward on this tent city far outweigh the pros. In fact, the only pro is something needs to be done. Moving the Salvation Army from its current location is one positive start. From there, the state needs to look at the problem island-wide and solve the problem island-wide.



U.S. should help feed the hungry

I believe as a nation blessed with abundance, we should can our surplus food and send it to the starving countries around the world. The money we send their governments never reaches them. It is said, “Those who have should help out those who don’t have.”

One would be shocked at the amount of eatable food that is wasted and could be gathered and processed to feed our starving and the rest of the world. We are given much, and much is expected of us.

We need caring leaders who will not only take care of us but will help feed those begging for our help. What goes around, comes around.

The U.S. has a lot of its own problems that should be addressed first, but also I believe in an open heart to those less fortunate. We are so lucky to have all that we have. Giving comes back ten-fold.

We cannot depend on trusting other nations to distribute the food we send to them – sad, but true. I think hunger is one of the most unnecessary problems. It all boils down to leaders who have a generous and humble nature.



Program appreciates philanthropists’ help

West Maui is blessed indeed, with entrepreneur-philanthropists Judy and Mark Ellman on our side.

The contributions they have made to our community can be felt in all quarters; it is truly inspiring.

Over the years, their support of the Hawaiian Language Immersion Programs, including Punana Leo o Maui and Kula Kaiapuni o Maui Ma Nahi’ena’ena, has been steadfast.

This week, Friday, Oct. 9, the Ellmans have opened their hearts and pocketbook once again.

Dine at one of their three Front Street restaurants – Mala Ocean Tavern, Honu Seafood & Pizza or Frida’s Mexican Beach House – and they will donate 10 percent of the food sales to the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program.

Not only will you have an unprecedented culinary experience, you will be helping to preserve the Hawaiian language.

E Ola Ka Olelo; the Hawaiian language will thrive.

Na Leo Ka Lele, the Princess Nahi’ena’ena Hawaiian Language Immersion Program parent group, invites you to join Mark and Judy on Friday night in their quest to help us preserve the culture.



U.S. forces help fight evil in the world

This is in response to the letter “Offended by the truth” by Joe Szymanski in the Oct. 1 issue.

I read your letter to the editor and was very concerned with your reasoning about the “American War Machine.” My question to you and to Adrien is how many innocent people (in Iraq and Syria now) are being killed by people OTHER than Americans? We aren’t there anymore, and they are killing at unbelievable rates.

Sure, many people died in NYC on 9/11, and that is absolutely tragic. Many American and Iraqi forces died in the Iraq war that followed, but what you seem to overlook is what Saddam Hussein was doing in Iraq BEFORE our invasion and the number of his own people he killed. Saddam Hussein, however, absolutely murdered thousands and thousands of his own citizens, purposely, using chemical weapons in one attack. Again referring to Wikipedia at Al-Anfal Campaign, we see that Human Rights Watch puts the death toll up to 182,000 (in just that one campaign).

When people go to war, it is sad, but it must happen. And when the U.S. goes to war, it is to stop evil in the world. Do you remember the people dancing and rejoicing, pulling the statue of Saddam Hussein down in Baghdad? He was an evil dictator (much like what we see in Syria, using chemicals to kill his own people).

Saddam Hussein committed not one but two genocides, gassing the Sunni Kurds in Northern Iraq and killing the Marsh Shia Arabs in the south, in conjunction with draining the marshes these people lived around, committing one of the most egregious environmental crimes ever recorded. It is true that over 100,000 Iraqis died after the invasion, but this was primarily a result of sectarian violence, stoked by both extremists in Iran and Al Qaeda types who came to Iraq in order to kill Shia Arabs, Sunni Kurds and Sunni Arabs who didn’t think like them. American forces, operating under the leadership of GWB, did more to protect the Iraqi people from each other then any other fanatic in place.

The American forces are the FINAL force for good in the world. Never, ever forget that.

So what Adrien Grenier – who likes to spout off from his Hollywood mansion, because heaven forbid he ever had to help protect his country – said was a slap in the face for the U.S. soldiers who were helping to eliminate the evil we were facing in the Iraq Army. If he was alive back in 1941, I am sure he would be speaking about all the poor German people who died at the hands of those Americans.

What you see happening now in the Middle East is what happens when the U.S. sits on the sidelines and does nothing. People are killing each other left and right in Syria, in Iraq, in Afghanistan. The U.S. is doing nothing and letting evil take over, and watching as thousands of innocent people are slaughtered, beheaded, burned, drowned, etc.

Your letter offended me and I am sure many of my fellow servicemen.



Protect ag lands from development

Polluted ocean, contaminated soil, destroyed cultural sites and impaired scenic landscapes are results of man exercising his rights rather than doing what is right. When we humbly pray for forgiveness, change our ways and seek God’s will, God promises to heal the land.

The State Land Use Commission is rezoning agriculture land to urban and rural designations. There’ll be hundreds of homes from Waikapu to Maalaea and Olowalu to Launiupoko through Lahaina with irreversible consequences.

Statutes need to be revised, establishing prudent precedents; employing wisdom from above – GOD. The existing protocol will be detrimental to the future of the Hawaiian Islands.

Agriculture land and scenic vistas will be lost forever. It won’t alleviate the need of affordable housing. “Highest and best use” equates to benefits for the few, not Godly stewardship of the land.

Hawaii’s geographical isolation limits our resources. We should set precedents that protect Hawaiian culture, scenic landscapes for the visitor industry, and agriculture for sustainable employment and food security, with affordable housing in perpetuity.

First, establish agriculture land required for an agrarian economy. Next, factor the housing for our entire workforce, which would be Community Land Trust affordable housing’s percentage for development.

The remainder of “developable” land would be for infrastructure, public and commercial use, market rate residential and luxury estates.

Funding and tax incentives from the county, state and federal government could help compensate developers to make investing in agriculture and CLT affordable housing lucrative.

Trust God’s plan to “heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:12-22). Let the healing begin.