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LETTERS for February 18 issue

By Staff | Feb 18, 2016

The diet of Lent

Last Wednesday marked the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period before Easter, when many Christians abstain from animal foods in remembrance of Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the desert before launching his ministry.

But meat-free Lent is much more than a symbol of religious devotion to Christ. It helps reduce the risk of chronic disease, environmental degradation and animal abuse. Dozens of medical reports have linked consumption of animal products with elevated risk of heart failure, stroke, cancer and other killer diseases.

A 2007 U.N. report named meat production as the largest source of greenhouse gases and water pollution. Undercover investigations have documented farm animals being beaten, caged, crowded, deprived, mutilated and shocked.

Lent offers a superb opportunity to honor Christ’s powerful message of compassion and love by adopting a meat-free diet for Lent and beyond.

After all, it’s the diet mandated in Genesis I-29 and observed in the Garden of Eden.

Our supermarket offers a rich array of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives, as well as the more traditional vegetables, fruits and grains. Entering “vegan recipes” in our favorite search engine offers more products, recipes and transition tips than we can use.



Boaters reminded to be vigilant during humpback whale season

February is peak humpback whale season in Hawaii, and boaters are reminded to keep a safe distance from these annual visitors. Vessel-whale collisions can result in death or injury to whales and boaters.

Whales are now here in large numbers, so it is important for everyone to be extra vigilant for their own safety and for the protection of the whales. Two confirmed whale-vessel contacts have been reported in Hawaii this season. Ocean users may provide information on distressed animals to aid in the sanctuary’s monitoring and conservation efforts.

Boaters are reminded to post a lookout at all times throughout the year and maintain a “safe” speed. Whale calves are especially vulnerable to vessel strikes, because they are difficult to see as they rest just under the surface and surface more frequently.?

Humpback whale season in Hawaii generally runs from November through May, although whales may be encountered in limited numbers during other months.

Mariners are asked to report any collisions with whales, or injured or entangled whales, to NOAA by calling the 24-hour hotline at 1-888-256-9840.

The following guidelines are suggested to help reduce vessel-whale collisions:

Keep a sharp lookout – Look for whales and other hazards.

Watch your speed – Research shows that speeds of 10 knots or less to reduce frequency and injuries of collisions.

Stay at the helm – Always keep your hands on the wheel and the throttle.

Keep your distance – Once you’ve sighted a whale, stay at least 100 yards away as required by law.

Humpback whales are an endangered species protected by the Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Hawaii State Law, and the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. It is illegal to approach a humpback whale closer than 100 yards by sea and 1,000 feet by air.

The sanctuary, which is co-managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the State of Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, was designated to protect humpback whales and their habitat in Hawaii.

MALIA CHOW, Superintendent, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary


Sugar workers can find other jobs

In nearly 50 years since I moved to Maui, I have rarely seen so many help wanted ads in newspapers, bulletin boards and the Internet here. Most are for unskilled labor. Instead of whining and crying about their unemployment in countless letters to newspapers and social media, I say to these unemployed cane workers: “Get a job!”

I used to be a manager at the major tourism beach rental and lessons concession in Lahaina, where I made relatively good money. One day I came to work, and suddenly and unexpectedly, the Lahaina Beach Center was out of business. Unlike the cane workers – who were given up to a year to find a job, while still being paid by the cane corporation (or leaving earlier and getting unemployment pay) – I was given one day to find a job! We had been spending so much money on cars, entertainment, hobbies, dates and eating in restaurants twice a day that we had little money in a bank. We thought our busy great job would last forever.

So, what did I do to pay bills? Instead of complaining and blaming like these cane workers, I saw a help wanted ad in The Maui News, which was one of many for restaurants, cafes, shops and activities centers, for an unskilled job at Denny’s. They hired me immediately, because I was willing to work the all-night shifts. The pay was minimal, yet with tips I made enough to pay all my rent, utilities, food, car expenses and clothing, etc. The restaurant even gave me a daily free dinner of anything on the menu!

This year, there have been dozens of restaurant, caf, coffee shop and kitchen jobs in Maui help wanted ads with unskilled trainable labor. Some of the employees I used to work with at Kimo’s restaurant were career cane field workers who worked the fields by day and the kitchen at night, where I also worked after Omar Surfboards became unprofitable on Maui! I did not whine like cane workers then.

There have been a lot of work-trade ads the last year, on the Internet and bulletin boards, for labor on small local farms! Hey, these people are farmers. Many work-trade for housing and food ads have been posted for babysitting, house cleaning, maintenance on property, land repair work, etc., that are common cane worker jobs. These jobs have also offered payment for all those types of work instead. People with even minimal computer skills can easily get jobs at the dozens of ocean and beach activity booths on Maui, which have huge turnover of seasonal employees.

There are now publicized proposals from cane corporate management and government officials to divide up the vacated cane acres to the unemployed farm workers. That way, they can grow their own food to sell and eat to save money at the market! Smart people can grow crops for bio-fuels and hemp, which are hugely profitable in many nations and states.

The cane management needs to visit Southern California, where there are acres of fruits we import, stretching to horizons, including oranges, lemons, avocados, dates, strawberries and others that grow in a similar climate to our central valley to Upcountry cane fields! Those crops are profitable; so why do we import them and pay the shipping costs at the supermarket? There are many other crops that grow well in Arizona, which has a dry, arid climate and soil similar to the Maalaea cane fields! Instead of losing millions of dollars per year like the cane corporation did recently, they could make millions!