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• Swimmer search one mile inland? •
Kaua‘i leaders due patronage capital •
Tagging on Rice Street
Swimmer search one mile inland?
Let me preface this letter by stating that I have nothing but respect for the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard and their sometimes super-human efforts in rescuing stranded and injured people. I also happen to be an avid pilot myself and don’t mind aircraft flying over or near me.
On Tuesday, I was working at my home office during much of the morning. I operate a veterinary clinic on Ko‘olau Road. For roughly an hour or so, there was a USCG helicopter flying all over the area, much of the time even farther inland than where my home is located. There were also a couple of smaller helicopters at times. These smaller helicopters landed on the field between my home and the ocean. I don’t know if the USCG helicopter landed or not.
At one point, the USCG helicopter flew directly over my clinic heading toward the ocean at approximately 200 to 300 feet above the ground. This didn’t bother me. I actually enjoyed seeing the helicopter up close, but it was a big problem for the horse in the stall with the steel plate and screws in its broken leg. Fortunately, while the horse did panic in the stall, it apparently did not reinjure itself.
In an effort to get the helicopter to make its low passes somewhere else, I called the flight service office of the FAA in Honolulu. They referred me to the military and gave me a phone number to call. I called that number and was told that it was “a Coast Guard helicopter and it (was) looking for a missing swimmer.”
I am in favor of looking for missing swimmers and want some of my tax dollars to support such activities, but my home is over a mile inland — 1.18 miles according to Google Earth — and is 300 feet above sea level. There are no missing swimmers anywhere near my house. What on earth a rescue helicopter was doing anywhere near my home is beyond me.
I have several problems with what happened.
First, and most importantly, a search helicopter should confine itself to searching where it is likely to be successful. If this was indeed a search-and-rescue mission, there was no possible reason to fly low over my clinic scaring the horses. In this particular case, the horse’s increased activity caused by the helicopter could have easily resulted in failure of the surgical implants and euthanasia.
To be fair, the pilots would have no way of knowing about this particular horse, but the point is that there was no reason to be where they were in the first place. Perhaps the helicopter was coming to land on the field between my place and the ocean, where the other helicopter landed. It’s a reasonable place to land with access to the beach. But why unnecessarily fly over livestock?
The approach to the landing area could have been from the ocean side where there are no homes or livestock. It would even have been safer for the helicopter, as there are no power lines on that side of the field. Why take an inferior approach away from your search area?
If it wasn’t a search and rescue mission, what was the helicopter doing in this area at all, and why tell me that is was?
Secondly, I like flying. I do a lot of it, and I try very hard not to bother people on the ground. I have taken great pains to make sure my airplane is exceptionally quiet and I try not to fly low over people or their homes, not only because it is against the rules, but because I want to keep enjoying flying and want to be a “good neighbor.”
Having a large and very loud helicopter fly low over livestock and houses is likely to make people mad at aviation in general and thereby put pressure on the FAA to add even more restrictions on an already highly restricted activity.
I applaud the activities of the USCG, but I beg them to confine their work to areas where they are so desperately needed.
Scott Sims, DVM Moloa‘a
Kaua‘i leaders due patronage capital
I received the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative’s “Currents” magazine several days ago and saw there were more than 4,400 people to whom KIUC had not returned their patronage capital. In reading the list, I saw Tim Bynum, Derek Kawakami and Charles Wichman Jr.
I find it very difficult to believe KIUC does not know our councilmen, State Representatives or the head of the National Tropical Botanical Garden. Perhaps one of the four people in advertising and promotion could get on the phone and call these folks to let them know they had money due them. Or better yet, hire an unemployed person to make the calls and give them a 10-percent commission on the money returned to the rate holders.
How many thousands of dollars are being withheld from rate payers because someone at KIUC will not use the phone?
JoAnne Georgi, ‘Ele‘ele
A certain individual has gradually spray painted the tag “KPS” on both public and private property all along the length of Rice Street. This person is a vandal, plain and simple.
With no respect for the property of others or the ‘aina of Kaua‘i, this person needs to be caught and held to the letter of the law. If this person is a minor, the guardians need to be held financially accountable for the extensive damage.
Eduardo Valenciana, Lihu‘e
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