Letters for for Tuesday — March 28, 2006

• Caring thoughts from Ohio

• Commission cronyism?

• Don’t relate such different events

• Beware of leptospirosis

• Concerned with ‘flawed’ bill

Caring thoughts from Ohio

I have been keeping up on your flooding and am impressed with the fast response that your governor and road workers and employers have showed. Flooding is not unusual for us due to the fact that we have a large state lake about 3 miles from us. We also have a small creek about 200 feet from my home. This is a normal yearly event and sometimes twice a year. Last winter we have flooding and ended up with a large ice mass that covered about eight miles of state highways. This lasted for around 10 days.

I am very relieved that there was no more loss of lives than there were. My sympathy goes out to the family of those killed and missing. God will help heal the grief that is felt.

Keep up your faith in your God and things will begin to get better with each passing day.

Love all the people on Kaua’i and especially Kekaha.

  • Jeane Wright
    Frazeysburg, Ohio

Commission cronyism?

“Three vote to charge Lum.”

I cannot believe that these three people could charge Chief Lum.

Commissioner Leon Gonsalves uses racial slurs when discussing county executives. Our County Council did not take the use of the slurs seriously. Hasn’t Mr. Gonsalves voted YES on the hiring of other Chiefs, which he later voted to remove from office? Maybe Mr. Gonsalves does not have the character and the skills required to hire employees.

Vice Chairman Russell Grady was appointed to the board the day of the vote. During an interview with Councilwoman Iseri-Carvalho, Mr. Grady was asked, do you think the requirements to hire a Chief of Police are sufficient? Mr. Grady said he was not up to speed on the specific requirements, but noted that the question “could be addressed.” Mr. Grady isn’t up to speed on what the requirements of the chief’s position are. Yet, on his first day as vice chair he voted to charge a chief. His myopic approach may come from his close relationship with the troops. He recently stated, “I have always been involved with the Kaua’i Police Department via sports and athletics.” He has worked as a referee and umpire for basketball and softball tournaments sponsored by the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO).

If he were an independent commissioner he would have taken the time to do his own investigating.

Mr. Grady replaced Commissioner Rev. Thomas Iannucci on the day of the vote. Rev. Thomas Iannucci voted to charge the chief.

This is cronyism at best.

  • Carlos Buhk

Don’t relate such different events

I was wondering why we are calling the area destroyed by the recent dam devastation “Ground Zero.” I am originally from New England and was in college in Worcester, MA, about 180 miles from New York City, when the terrorists attacked the World Trade Centers.

I feel that the devastation of that event should not be paralleled with the events we have experienced here. 9/11 was caused by terrorists and ours was caused by natural disaster. Those events are so very different — please let me clarify that I feel each have affected us in a big way and each have pushed us to take action to do what we need done to hopefully never have either happen again! However, why can’t we leave it at that and move forward? Let us not relate the two, but look at both as separate events that have created a stronger awareness of what we need to accomplish to have a safer community and environment.

  • Marla Bissonnette

Beware of leptospirosis

In the aftermath of recent flooding on Kaua’i, it is important to take precautions to avoid direct exposure to freshwater sources that may be contaminated with Leptospira. If, during the course of your work or recreational activities, you come into contact with overflowing streams, moist vegetation or soil that has been contaminated by the urine or tissues of infected animals, you may be at risk for acquiring leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that can enter the body through the eyes, nose, mouth or broken skin.

Wear protective clothing such as gloves, boots, long sleeves and heavy pants when you are working in mud or water, gardening, clearing vegetation, or wading through standing water. These protective measures are especially important if you have cuts or abrasions.

Onset of symptoms can occur anywhere from two to more than 20 days after exposure. Severity of illness is variable, with mild symptoms resembling a flu-like illness: sudden onset of fever, headache, chills, body aches, rash, and/or red eyes. More serious manifestations can include delirium, meningitis, myocarditis, pulmonary problems, kidney damage and liver failure.

If you suspect you may have symptoms of leptospirosis, see your physician right away and inform him or her about any recent exposures you’ve had to freshwater, animals, moist vegetation and/or storm debris. Early intervention — i.e., treatment with antibiotics — shortens the course of illness.

To obtain additional information, such as brochures or fact sheets about leptospirosis, please call the Kauai District Health Office at 808/ 241-3563.

  • Lisa B. Gelling, MPH
    Epidemiological Specialist
    Kauai District Health Office

Concerned with ‘flawed’ bill

As a clinical psychologist for 10 years and a Navy psychiatrist with 11 years of clinical experience, currently at Pearl Harbor, I see daily the obvious need to improve access to quality care for our islands’ mentally ill. However, the attempt to address this problem through current legislation (HB 2589) completely misses the mark. This bill (currently in the Senate) proposes to expand psychologists’ practice by allowing them to prescribe psychotropic medication — medication traditionally prescribed by psychiatrists alone. Psychiatrists’ extensive knowledge of drugs and their effects on the body is based on years of extensive study and clinical practice. However, this bill has many flaws, both in its logic and facts.

The bill presumes that there are an insufficient numbers of psychiatrists able or willing to provide services to federally qualified clinics. This assumption is totally inaccurate, as national statistics indicate there is a relative shortage of psychologists compared to psychiatrists. As for Hawai’i, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the number of psychologists practicing in our state falls below even the national average. By allowing psychologists to prescribe psychotropic medications, HB2589 diverts the already limited time and resources psychologists have from serving our community.

  • Kenneth A. Hirsch

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