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LETTERS for June 30 issue

By Staff | Jun 30, 2016

Help Protect Pe’ahi

In honor of the annual celebration of International Surf Day on June 21, Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter would like to highlight a critical new campaign: Protect Pe’ahi.

Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter supports the community-based effort to acquire, protect and manage 267 acres of the Hamakualoa Maui Coastline from East Kuiaha Gulch to West Kaupakakalua Gulch in Pe’ahi. This commitment is consistent with our role as an advocate for public coastal access and the protection of special places.

In support of this goal, Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter has pledged to support the ongoing care and management of this coastline by launching our Protect Pe’ahi Campaign to lend support to cultural groups and lineal descendants of the area who are directing efforts to care for the land.

Protect Pe’ahi Campaign Manager Mike Ottman says the first goal of the campaign is to work with the many families and cultural practitioners connected to the lands, who are urging the county administration to begin negotiations with Alexander & Baldwin to acquire the 267 acres.

The acquistion plan may be divided into two distinct phases – the first phase focusing on lots 1, 3, 4 and 5, and the second phase focusing on the Oili lot. The campaign also plans to help raise funds for land management costs and be a part of community outreach, mobilizing volunteers to care for the land once it is preserved.

Surfrider gratefully acknowledges the Maui County Council’s unanimous decision to allocate $9.5 million from the Open Space Fund to purchase Kuiaha Lots 1, 3, 4 and 5, and Mayor Arakawa for signing the budget.

Surfrider is part of community effort to protect this historically significant part of the North Shore. Malama Hamakua Maui, a nonprofit group formed by lineal descendants and cultural practitioners of the area, is partnering with Surfrider Maui, Waikikena Foundation, Haiku Community Association, local schools and youth centers, Hawaii Farmer’s Union-Haleakala Branch, equestrian and biking groups, and other community groups to advocate for protection and plan management of the coastal lands and culturally significant gulches.

The World Surf League is also willing to kokua as part of continued access for their annual big wave contest. The groups have a shared vision of the land as a place of cultural use and education, recreational access, local agriculture and open space vistas.

Surfrider will organize and sponsor a community-galvanizing event in October to raise awareness, funds and community momentum in support of this vision to “Protect Pe’ahi.”

For more information, or to join the cause, please contact us directly. You can also find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SurfriderFoundationMauiChapter/) and online at maui.surfrider.org.



Focus on men’s health and safety

In June, we celebrated Father’s Day, Men’s Health Month, and National Safety Month. These separate observances have a common theme – we can use them as an opportunity to focus on the health of the men in our lives.

Men die from accidents at a rate averaging about 40 percent higher than women – these higher rates begin in infancy. Accidental deaths include car accidents, overdoses, falls, fires, poisonings, drowning and other unintentional causes.

According to NIH’s Medline Plus Men’s Health page, “most men need to pay more attention to their health. Compared to women, men are more likely to smoke and drink, make unhealthy or risky choices, and put off regular checkups and medical care.”

There are also health conditions that only affect men, such as prostate cancer and low testosterone. Many of the major health risks that men face – like colon cancer or heart disease – can be prevented and treated with early diagnosis. Screening tests can find diseases early, when they are easier to treat. It is important to get the screening tests you need.

Men could live longer and healthier lives if they would change some key behaviors. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) can assist with these behavior changes. Preventive care benefits for adults (as part of the Essential Health Benefits in Marketplace plans) allow men (and women) to get preventive care services to catch diseases in their early stages or to prevent them entirely.

Services such as alcohol misuse screening and counseling, tobacco use screening and cessation interventions, immunizations, diet counseling, and colorectal cancer, cholesterol and diabetes screening are just some of the offerings in these plans. The best present men can give themselves and their loved ones is to take care of their health.

Summer activities often begin in June and summer safety should, too. Drowning and other outdoor accidents, including encounters with dangerous wildlife, become more likely. Taking precautions such as hiking with a buddy, swimming only in designated areas, and avoiding alcohol while engaging in summer activities can prevent or minimize many accidents.

According to The Facts Hurt: A State-by-State Injury Prevention Policy Report, Hawaii ranked fifth lowest for the number of injury-related deaths in the state. This is great news. But drug overdoses have become the leading cause of injury in 36 states, including Hawaii, surpassing motor vehicle-related deaths.

Summer sunburns can be extremely painful and can lead to skin cancer down the road. Males are less likely to use sunscreen, and skin cancer is the most common form of cancer.

When the weather is overly hot, everyone should drink plenty of water and take measures to keep cool. Heat is especially hard on very young children, older adults and those who are chronically ill, but it can affect anyone, especially if they exercise or work in the heat. As temperatures rise, stay well hydrated and keep an eye out for heat injuries.

As June draws to a close, many people purchase and shoot off fireworks, with males sustaining about three-quarters of the fireworks-related injuries, according to the most recent report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. When celebrating, follow safety advice from the Fireworks Information Center – or better yet, visit a community fireworks display instead.

As we celebrate the men in our lives, let’s ensure males are as healthy as possible.

MELISSA STAFFORD JONES, Regional Director, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Region 9


Respect and restore during wind energy projects

We believe that developing renewable wind energy brings real benefits to rural communities across the nation. To ensure these benefits aren’t realized at the expense of landowners and community members, wind energy projects must address the challenges presented by the construction process.

The Center for Rural Affairs recently released a report entitled “Respect and Restore: Reassessing Local Wind Energy Standards,” that examines issues being overlooked in county and township wind energy ordinances.

Ordinances often require developers of wind energy projects to limit noise and shadow flicker that impacts local residents, as well as establish setback distances from neighboring residences. But they often leave out requirements for access roads, post-construction restoration or ensuring public roads are repaired after a project is complete.

All of these issues are commonly mentioned by stakeholders, but are rarely addressed through local regulation. In fact, most restoration requirements focus solely on the decommissioning of projects at the end of their life, providing very few guidelines for prior restoration or local infrastructure and adjacent land and property that may be needed.

“Respect and Restore” describes different typical elements in the construction process of wind farms, and lays out potential problems landowners and communities might face. Additionally the report reviews county regulations for commercial wind energy systems. Finally, the report provides recommendations for future development of wind energy systems.

To view the report, visit: www.cfra.org/respect-restore. Feel free to contact me at lucasn@cfra.org to discuss some of the challenges you’ve seen in your community.

LU NELSON, Center for Rural Affairs


County should have informed community about water tank

I’m writing to thank Louise Rockett for her excellent article about the county’s stealth attempt to drop a 1,000,000-gallon recycled water tank into our neighborhood.

One of the neighbors just happened to ask surveyors what they were doing; otherwise, no one would have known about this monstrous tank that will sit near the gateway to our community. I believe county Director of Environmental Management Stewart Stant was hoping 900 homeowners wouldn’t notice until construction was underway.

In short, the community has not been informed, made aware or allowed to respond to this mammoth eyesore coming our way. Letters were sent to elected county officials and Stant. He responded in a condescending manner, stating, “I do not know where this information came from but can assure you it is inaccurate or downright false.” If the director had been up front with us, then inaccuracies would not have been generated.

Any large project requires an Environmental Impact Statement be produced and posted. Unfortunately, Environmental Impact Statements are posted on an obscure state website that very few people know about. We know about it now. Anyone can access the site at oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov/default.aspx. Click on “Environmental Notice” to view the latest notice. There’s also an archive folder.

Other than the quote taken from his terse response letter to our neighbors, there are no statements made by Stant in the Lahaina News article. We can only assume that he is feeling some heat from the multitude of letters sent to all elected county officials and himself. We’d like some clarity. We’d like him to correct what he calls inaccuracies or falsehoods.

Let’s be clear. We respect the county’s efforts to recycle water and capture it for irrigation purposes, rather than pollute our environment. But, let’s respect our neighborhoods and treasure the beauty of this island. Let’s find an appropriate location for this eyesore.

MIKE SOWERS, Kaanapali