Letters for Thursday, March 15, 2007

• Family of ‘Helicopter Joe’ offers mahalo

• No one listened at meeting about Superferry

• Helicopter response incredible

• Worry about freedom n at home

Family of ‘Helicopter Joe’ offers mahalo

By Andrew Sulak and family

The family of “Helicopter Joe” Sulak would like to express our sincere appreciation for the heartfelt condolences and prayers that have been pouring in from around the world. The memories and stories shared of Joe have brought us great comfort along with some much-needed smiles during this devastating time. We have always believed that Joe was the best helicopter pilot in the world, and to hear everyone’s experiences with him reinforces this belief.

Joe was a hero not only to us, but to the thousands of people he rescued and their families during the span of his career as an air ambulance pilot.

To the O’Donnell, Scholtz, and McCarty families, we share in your loss and sorrows. Our prayers and thoughts are with you. Please know that if there were anyone who could have safely landed that helicopter, it would have been Joe. He dedicated his life to flying and saving people’s lives.

While we mourn for the loss of Joe, John, Margriet, and Teri, we are so thankful that Veronica, Cornelius, and James were spared in this tragic event that has changed all of our lives forever.

Please join us in celebration of Joe’s life and listen to the music of Norman Solomon at an informal get-together at the Hanalei Bay Resort’s Happy Talk Lounge, Thursday at 6 p.m. Any and all are welcome to attend.

Andrew Sulak and family

No one listened at meeting about Superferry

I’m not usually given to cynicism, but last night’s “informational meeting” about the Superferry at the Chiefess school went a long way to changing my mind.

What a sad event it was. “No one listens,” as one long-term resident of the island said at the meeting’s end. What happened was that the representatives of Hawai‘i state government and the Superferry presented an hour-and-a-half PR presentation that was scrubbed, vague and totally ignored the questions and concerns that they know members of the community have been voicing for some time. When the officials were done, members of the community tried to pressure, and at times browbeat, them into answering those questions, which of course, the officials were not willing to do.

The powers behind the Superferry have clearly made a very cold calculation. They know they hold the winning cards. They can count on the Hawaiian newsmedia to ignore the story. These organizations are resource poor and lack true investigative capabilities (or perhaps they lack the willingness, given expected advertising revenue from the Superferry).

The powers behind the Superferry also know that they can bulldoze past community opposition in the courts. After all, they have the funding, political connections, and legal resources to better their much less well-funded, less organized and less connected adversaries.

The powers behind the Superferry know that the legislature doesn’t have a good track record of standing up to the Lingle adminstration. No fears of setbacks there.

For these and other reasons, the powers behind the Superyferry have calculated that they can win simply by withholding the information which could sink them. For example, they must have some calculation about the numbers of whales that will be struck by their vessels. They won’t share that information. They won’t speak to the particulars of the security methods they’ll use to prevent the transport of illicit drugs (and by the way, it is possible to give the community concrete information about interdiction methods without enabling criminals to circumvent the system. ) They won’t talk about the amazingly excess fuel capacity of the vessels they’ve designed or the calculations about expected pollution as a result.

I could go on, but the point is clear. The powers behind the superferry know that there’s no one who will make them share the real information with the community. So they dutifully trot out their bright-eyed fabrications knowing that after the launch , it will be too late.

How sad is that?

Dave Rosenberg


Helicopter response incredible

As the crew working at the Hanalei fire station on Sunday it was our duty to respond to the helicopter crash that occurred at the YMCA Camp Naue.

In the midst of a chaotic situation many members of our community came forward to help and keep a tragic event from becoming even worse.

We would like to express our gratitude to all the off-duty police officers, doctors, nurses, firefighters, medics, lifeguards, good Samaritans … the list goes on and on. As firefighters, we respond to tough situations daily but rarely do operations on scenes of this magnitude go as smoothly as it went that day.

Under the circumstances the pilot could not have brought his aircraft down in a better place. Retired firefighters, medics and off-duty medical personnel were in the area and on the scene within seconds of the aircraft coming to rest and many people in the Ha‘ena community helped assist those with training to remove and safely stabilize the crash victims.

We cannot express what a relief it was to show up on scene to see the level of care the patients were receiving. It was a bad situation but a lot of good was done by many people, there are too many to name but you’re all heroes in our book.


Our prayers and condolences go out to all the victims and their families.

A‘ohe hana nui ka alu‘ia.

Hanalei Firefighters, 1st Battalion

Capt. Kurt, F.A.O. Bruce, firefighters Adam, Chauncey, and Makali‘i

Worry about freedom n at home

In the Saturday issue of The Garden Island, a writer rang the alarm bell about the number of Muslim babies born and he feared that Muslims would take over the world’s religions. He connected this to our need to worry about our freedoms.

As to the takeover, let me just say that being afraid of another religion’s taking over our religion is a sign of weak faith. If you are strong in your faith you can laughingly disperse every attempt to transform your’s into another belief.

And if we are strong in our beliefs whatever those might be, it is our responsibility to strengthen the faith of our brethren of the same belief, who are not so strong. This applies to politics too. I have seen many protests and rallies in this country, but they were all anti-war.

ow, if the supporters of the war are strong in their beliefs, why didn’t they organize their own pro-war rallies or anti-Muslim protests and show their faces to their neighbors whose children they are trying to recruit for the war instead of sending their own.

The figures in the letter are also off. “The Muslim world is creating babies five times the rate of the free world.” My first question is “Where is that free world???” OK, let’s compare the Muslim Afghanistan with its 4.8% annual rate of population growth with that of the USA, which is a mere 0.91 percent; the statement is true, but we are comparing a country with 31 million people with a nation of almost 300 million.

So, are we there to act as a contraceptive? But if we take the most populous Muslim country, Indonesia with its 231 million people and its annual population growth rate of 1.3 percent, that puts the published letter into the “poor generalization” category.

The letter forgot to mention the reasons that you may not like to hear. Muslims are much less promiscuous than the rest of the human race; therefore AIDS, infertility and venereal diseases are not as frequent guests with them as in non-Muslim countries. Another reason is that Muslims put much more emphasis on the family and on the common-sense education of their children than we do. Perhaps we can learn something in this area.

And worry about our freedoms? Our freedoms are curtailed by a Christian man in the White House, not by a Muslim in the Middle East. And yes, we really have to worry about him.

János Samu



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