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Letters for Tuesday, May 6, 2008

• Buying an EIS pass

• When will the stoplight start?

• Big Island recycling

• Older EPIRB signals to become obsolete

Buying an EIS pass

I found it revolting and dismaying that the Superferry spent $380,000 (“Superferry underreports 2007 expenses,” A4, May 4) lobbying our state government representatives in 2007 for the Superferry not to be required to complete an Environmental Impact Statement.

This amounts to approximately $5,000 per Legislature member. How was this money actually spent? A knee-jerk answer might be that it was used to buy a favorable vote for the Superferry — maybe wineing and dining? However, we citizens deserve to know how it was actually spent to influence the Legislature.

This $380,000 would have paid for a significant part of an EIS study. Was the Superferry afraid of what an EIS might disclose?

Also, for the ethics director to dismiss this as a simple mistake seems somewhat naive; again a knee-jerk reaction. It would be good to have an explanation of why it was an honest mistake and not a deliberate misrepresentation.

Peter Nilsen


When will the stoplight start?

I can’t help but wonder what is delaying the final connection of the traffic signals at the ‘Ele‘ele Shopping Center intersection.

They were installed more than six months ago but so far have not been “connected.”

Will there be a “warning” before they actually are operational so that those of us who have become accustomed to driving through that area without the signals won’t be caught unaware?

Graceleanor Baird


Big Island recycling

Having moved off the beautiful Garden Island to purchase an affordable house for our son’s future has us sad that we had to leave such a beautiful place, our friends and what was our normal way of life.

We are settling in nicely and adapting to our new surroundings.

Having made several trips to the transfer station here as we unpack, I must commend Big Island residents for their incredible recycling efforts.

Each transfer station has several bins for cardboard, greenwaste, plastics (non-HI5), newspaper, glass, junkmail, tin cans, aluminum and other types of cardboard. There are HI5 recycling centers located at the transfer stations and they also have a reduce, reuse, recycle store that will accept all types of donations (even unused/leftover building materials) for resale at dirt cheap prices. How convenient is this?

They don’t have the convenience of free trash pickup like Kaua‘i does; which by the way, you are paying for with your tax dollars anyway, so it’s not really free. But the transfer stations here are conveniently located around the island and with their set-up, only promotes more recycling efforts by its residents.

I would suggest that Kaua‘i Mayor Bryan Baptiste send some of his Public Works people here to take some notes and implement some of their recycling methods on Kaua‘i.

The mayor needs to leave office with some type of accomplishment under his belt and hey, this would sure be better than being known as the mayor who created another landfill.

Francine Grace

Hilo, Big Island

Older EPIRB signals to become obsolete

Starting Feb. 1, 2009, boaters who have the older model EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons) that transmit a distress alert on 121.5 MHz or 243 MHz will not be heard. The activation of an EPIRB is like making a 911 call to search and rescue authorities. After Feb. 1, 2009, the older model EPIRBs will no longer be monitored by satellite, and are likely to go completely undetected in an emergency. Only distress alerts from 406 MHz beacons will continue to be detected and processed by search and rescue satellites worldwide.

Although Feb. 1, 2009, is still a long time from now, the traditional start of the 2008 boating season is just a couple of weeks away and while preparing for the season the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary recommends that the new EPIRBs be part of the season start-up shopping list.

Although recreational boaters are not required to carry an EPIRB, they are strongly recommended for all boaters, including kayaks and other paddle craft, along with a VHF-FM marine band radio. The 406 MHz signal sent by the newer EPIRBs when a mariner encounters distress are picked up by the COSPAS/SARSAT satellite constellation, which determines the EPIRBs position through triangulation. EPIRBs with embedded GPS are even more helpful in quickly finding a distressed boater. With GPS coordinates, the position of distress is pinpointed almost immediately. Without GPS, it may take two or three satellite passes to come up with a good, triangulated position.

As long as the new 406 MHz beacon has been registered (which is required by law), search and rescue authorities can quickly confirm that the distress is real, who they are looking for and a description of the vessel or aircraft. This means an effective search can be initiated even before a final distress location has been determined for non-GPS EPIRBs. It also means that a false activation may be resolved with a phone call to the beacon owner, saving resources for actual distresses.

Registration is free and can be done on the Internet at: or it can be mailed/faxed to NOAA by dialing 888-212-SAVE. Beacon registrations must be updated at least every two years or when information such as emergency contact phone numbers and other vital information changes. This registration information is only available to authorized search and rescue personnel. It saves lives.

William Georgi



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