Letters for Wednesday — March 01, 2006

• Not so special treatment

• Wal-Mart welcomes disabled

• Article gave the chills

• Clinton v. Bush, take 23

• One dog saved

• Wake up people

Not so special treatment

I resent your front-page article on Sunday (The Garden Island, Feb. 26) lambasting Wal-Mart over its restroom facilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted to guarantee access to the handicapped, not to make them superior to everyone else.

In Wal-Mart’s restrooms the size of the handicap stall means there are only two toilets in a space large enough for three. While an inconvenience, this seems a worthwhile accommodation to make for the few wheel-chair bound men who might use the facility from time to time. I too shop at Wal-Mart and frequently use the rest rooms — and I have yet to see a wheelchair. If there are five people waiting to use the toilet it makes little or no sense to leave one empty on the off chance that a wheel-chaired person might show up.

There are many people with problems requiring fast access to a toilet — non-wheel-chair bound diabetics, people with acute or chronic diarrhea, etc. Does this mean that these people should have a toilet dedicated only to them? No doubt if there is a waiting line, a polite request (not a demand) would let them go to the head of the line.

Perhaps Mr. Lopes should have a little consideration for others rather than demanding special treatment.

  • Stan Godes

Wal-Mart welcomes disabled

We were distressed to hear of Mr. Lopes’ difficulty with wheelchair access to a restroom stall at our store, as reported in the newspaper (The Garden Island, Feb. 26). We take great pride at Wal-Mart in our service to customers with disabilities. We sit on the board of the National Organization of Disability, work with the National Center for Disability Services, and consult extensively with local disability employment councils in the many communities we serve.

We have an abundant number of mobility devices and electric scooters available to our customers at the Kaua’i store (just as we do across the U.S.). We also offer a personal shopping service for customers with disabilities, and special assistance for job applicants with disabilities (in fact, Careers and the Disabled Magazine last year once again recognized Wal-Mart as one of the nation’s top companies for opportunity and positive working environment for people with disabilities).

Our restrooms have recently been remodeled at the Kaua’i store for ADA compliance. It is clearly marked as wheel-chair accessible and the stall itself is readily identifiable as a wheelchair accessible restroom stall. We are sorry that some people chose to use the accessible stall, but it would be unrealistic to station an associate in the restroom four hours a day to police this use. I would encourage our customers to respect the needs of customers with disabilities and refrain from using the accessible stall.

We appreciate that Mr. Lopes is a frequent customer and hope that we can continue to serve him.

  • Janie Whitehead
    Store manager, Kaua’i Wal-Mart

Article gave the chills

Did other readers of the Feb. 27 issue of The Garden Island get a cold chill when they saw the front-page story about the hitch-hiking, stowaway bird that arrived on our shores?

That is exactly how bird flu will arrive here and create a health and economic disaster.

Another way is via infected supermarket imported chicken, turkey, duck, game hen, and so on.

Only geography keeps us safe, way out here 2,500 miles from land. Officials statewide led by Gov. Linda Lingle should be developing a plan to isolate the islands from all incoming fowl, much more aggresively than the brown snake program.

Can you imagine when our feral jungle fowl (the wild chickens and roosters which abound by the hundreds of thousands all over Kaua’i) get infected? And what is the risk created by our beautiful albatross, or the golden plover, that patrol the wide Pacific as far as the bordering mainlands?

The bird in that front-page article shows clearly how easy it is for them to get to Hawai’i. Your next step, Governor? Mayor? County Council? Health Officials?

  • Tom Price

Clinton v. Bush, take 23

Every president of this great country takes this oath of office: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of the president of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States.”

Every loyal and patriotic American watches in horror as our Constitution and rights as citizens are ripped and shredded before our eyes. George has made the statement that the Constitution is nothing but a piece of paper.

To consider a lie under oath about an adulterous act more egregious than the deliberate destruction of this precious document the President has sworn to uphold is a most curious concept.

  • Bettejo Dux

One dog saved

We are hopeful that a case of animal neglect/abuse which happened in our neighborhood Saturday, Feb. 25 will get regular citizens with concerns about miskept animals to call their legislators: the mayor, County Council, or state.

After years of problems with a pig hunting operation across from us here in the Homesteads, and many police and Kaua’i Humane Society reports, but no law to back us up except the useless leash law, we witnessed, and thereafter rescued, a dog we could see hanging from its chain over a corrugated fence structure.

Things had gotten so bad for him he tried to get away. The dog’s reward was seconds from death by strangulation. My husband lifted the 60-pound-plus Labrador up and we both worked to free his locked collar while dialing 911 for help.

KHS came as soon as they could get here. But had it not been for the luck of looking over as all 40 other inhabitants were screeching and howling, not even the person who finally came out after we had the dog breathing again — the guy clueless — could have helped him. Thanks for your help.

  • Su Haynes

Wake up people

Let us not go quietly into the night.

Where is the Alarm? … the Outrage? … the Opposition?

The Planning Commission met yesterday in what may be the final act of approving this hideous and egregious development here on Kaua’i. If no one will stand in opposition, there will be four new properties coming online within a half mile of each other in the Waipouli / Kapa’a area in the next two years.

Kaua’i is like a frog in a pot of cold water and it does not know it is slowly being boiled to death. I was not born here, but I am of Kaua’i. I plan to have my haole face down there and speak, however inadequately, in protest. I challenge every concerned resident to be there and voice their opposition. I challenge the FACE of Kaua’i not to go silently into the night.

  • Stephen Haray

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