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LETTERS for the June 17 issue

By Staff | Jun 18, 2021

Mahalo to the Napili Fire Station crew

To the men and women of the Napili Fire Station, my family and I would like to express our deepest gratitude for your kindness in helping us last Thursday, June 3.

With my wife’s hand bleeding from an inch-and-a-half incision caused by a large fallen rock, acute care centers closed and the hospital an hour away, we needed help and didn’t know where to turn. 911 directed us to the fire station.

We didn’t know the severity of her wound, just that it was bleeding badly. We later learned that she had several broken bones, and were told that the way you had cleaned her wound and set her fingers made all of the difference.

What we will remember most is your warmth and kindness. I had used my T-shirt as a makeshift tourniquet, and had nothing to wear to the hospital. One of you — whose name I can’t remember — gave me a shirt to wear that had been a gift from his daughter. It’s hard for me to express how much that gesture meant.

We arrived back in Chicago yesterday, saw an orthopedist and were told my wife would recover without additional surgery. Had we not received your care, I suspect the outcome would have been different. Thank you so much for your kindness and your aloha.

In Chicago, our way of saying “thank you” is with pizza. Please enjoy an upcoming shipment of a half-dozen pizzas from Chicago’s Lou Malnati’s — which humbly describe themselves as the best in the world! — pre-cooked and packed in dry ice.


A Global Fight to battle COVID-19

Governor David Ige announced on Friday that Hawaii will drop all COVID-19 restrictions once 70 percent of its residents are fully vaccinated. With the “Hawaii Got Vaccinated” incentivizing campaign, this goal seems within reach.

But what does this look like in other places?

In low-income countries, campaigns like our own are unavailable. COVID-19 cases continue to climb, vaccines are not expected to roll out for several years, and goals like ours in Hawaii are far from anyone’s reach. However, with an investment in global health security, Congress can provide funding and international assistance to fight COVID-19 globally while simultaneously furthering U.S. national security.

As retired Admiral Stavridis and General Zinni state, “No matter how successful we are in fighting the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic at home, we will never stop it unless we are also fighting it around the world.”

The Borgen Project, an organization that works to end global poverty, believes supporting the COVAX initiative is important and can provide relief for countries with limited resources. As an ambassador of this organization, I feel that the fight against the pandemic at home is just as important as the fight abroad, and I hope you do also.


Energy independence now

America can become energy self-sufficient, weaned from most fossil fuels and enjoying affordable clean energy within a generation.

The U.S. Navy can lead the way by developing safe Small Modular Reactors known as SMRs. It is important to note that the United States military has been the source of many modern day, high-tech resources, including the Internet. SMRs are generally defined as producing 250 megawatts (MW) of electricity or less and can be sequestered safely, even underground.

SMRs are designed to easily shut down, not melt down. Two-hundred-and-fifty megawatts of electricity can provide enough electricity for thousands of homes. The United States Navy already operates the safest form of energy in the world: nuclear propelled submarines and ships. More people have died in one coal mine or oil rig accident than in all the history of nuclear energy in America.

We are proposing to have the Navy utilize their resources to build and deploy Energy Ships. The Navy does not have to endure the ten-year, multimillion dollar-plus expense of licensing from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Energy ships would also have additional benefits. At night, excess capacity would energize electric vehicles for ground transportation, and if need be, desalinate water. All this at no additional cost because nuclear energy is 24/7 firm capacity. An Energy Ship could produce energy for decades.

Besides affordable electricity, an Energy Ship would also provide the military with base security and independence. At current electricity costs, an Energy Ship would pay for itself quickly. Energy Ships could be easily deployed to bases around the world. An Energy Ship would also become very handy when the Navy is involved in humanitarian missions. Electricity and clean water are usually in dire need after a natural disaster.

The United States Navy would prove once again that nuclear energy is the solution to our energy and environmental woes. Our nation then could follow the lead of the Navy to develop SMRs for civilian use.

Most of the world’s existing nuclear plants are dinosaurs. They are large, and if they go offline. it creates a massive shortage of electricity. They need to be replaced. SMRs are the answer.

SMRs can be redundant and built incrementally without the multibillion capital costs of a large nuclear plant. Several SMRs at one site would also provide for redundancy. One SMR could be shut down for maintenance while the others continue to produce electricity. Local independent energy production with inter-connections could be a reality.

Abundant affordable electricity would also put the American automobile industry on the fast track to develop electric cars. That would put America back in the driver’s seat of the global automotive industry

Enlightened thinkers see the wisdom in SMRs, because SMRs would solve the carbon emission problem. Yes, wind and solar power are great, but they are expensive and not firm capacity. Safe nuclear energy is cheaper than wind and solar, and it’s more reliable.

We foresee the day when individual neighborhoods and large buildings will have totally sealed and safe SMRs for generation of all of their electricity. SMRs would last for a long time and would simply be replaced, rather than refueled. They would be small and self-contained.

All of this can begin with the United States Navy creating Energy Ships for deployment sooner than later.

The boldness and genius of American enterprise can help lead the world to abundant, clean and safe energy.

FRED HEMMINGS, Hawaii State Senator, 2000-2010

Thanks for supporting Lahaina students

This year has been difficult for both teachers and students. We made the best of it, and we were still able to learn, have fun and make friends.

One Monday, Banyan Treats (thanks Jen) gave the kids free cookies. On Tuesday, we had pizza and played with water balloons. Then on Wednesday, we helped Uncle James (from the Lahaina Restoration Foundation) harvest the kalo by the Lahaina Library and had a free lunch from Cool Cat Cafe (thanks Danielle).

The kids had a great time, and it was a good way to end this “Covid year.”

Thanks to the generous businesses.

STEPHANIE NUNEZ, Grade Five Teacher, King Kamehameha III School