Letters for Friday, March 16, 2012

In memory of Evelyn Laureta Another Lihu‘e TSA complaint Kepa Kruse eloquent speaker for Koloa Camp

In memory of Evelyn Laureta

How sad. One of the greatest volunteers on Kaua‘i passed away on Feb. 28, 2012.

Evelyn Laureta was every organization’s dream of a volunteer. I know because I was the AARP Information Center manager on Kuhio Highway located behind the Shell station across from Pizza Hut.

Evelyn worked in the center one morning a week answering the hundreds of phone calls, meeting the Kaua‘i AARP members and tourists to help them with their problems. She never missed her volunteer day for AARP. She never complained about things that went wrong and had only nice things to say about everyone. Evelyn was very sad when AARP decided to close the Lihu‘e AARP Information Center last October.

She spoke highly of her family and often expressed her love for her husband, Judge Alfred Laureta. She loved living at the Regency at Puakea in Lihu‘e.

AARP will miss her, I will miss her and the judge will miss her the most.

Stu Burley, Lawa‘i Valley

Another Lihu‘e TSA complaint

I am writing to express my outrage at the TSA at the Kaua‘i Airport.

On March 4, Sunday, at approximately 7 p.m., I requested a pat down when I was returning from Kaua‘i to Maui, where I reside. Kama‘aina since 2004, I was once a Kaua‘i resident, travel back often and am considering returning permanently to work with keiki.  

I did not want to go through the new machines as I’d heard they have radiation. As a woman, I feel that with a yearly mammogram and with additional dental x-rays and such, that’s enough radiation. So I greeted the TSA agent with a smile and was personable as I followed her behind the area with the machine that checks for explosives. She asked if I had any sensitivities. I showed her that near my chest is  a cyst and asked that she please be gentle with me.

The next thing I knew, I was in shock as she proceeded to assault me with her hand. She began to use a forceful gesture toward and upward into my private region, so much so that it hurt. I jumped back.

When I stepped forward, back onto the mat, I told her that’s not a “pat down.” I rambled more things, though I felt traumatized. I explained that she hurt me. I reminded her, “I told you to be gentle.” She then, believe it or not, did the same thing to me again, as if to exert power perversely.

Shocked, I asked for a supervisor. I almost went ballistic. My profession is an author of compassionate communication and I teach yoga and meditation. Though usually clam, I lost it. My past includes no history of sexual abuse. This was not an incident “triggering” a past assault.  

I contacted the director at the main headquarters in Kentucky and have been in touch with the security director at the Lihu‘e Airport. I found out that, “coincidentally,” my good friend’s boss’ wife is the woman that was humiliated by the TSA agent on the very same route. Also, “coincidentally,” when back on Maui,  the cover of the Maui Weekly shows an image of a mishap of the TSA, in an additional bit of “kismet.”  

The Lihu‘e Airport TSA director tells me the results of the investigation are inconclusive. The video was blocked, conveniently. I’m disgusted. Something must be done. Of course, I got counseling the day after.

Today, I spoke to the director and another representative on the phone and requested they think about the seriousness of this. I want this woman fired. Yet, I find out I am not legally entitled to even learn the woman’s name that touched me, nor am I legally entitled to know the supervisor’s name. So I am at a loss. What now? Legal representation? I am thinking about it. I told them I would be following up.

Is this aloha?


Marci Winters, Maui

Kepa Kruse eloquent speaker for Koloa Camp

The Koloa Camp resolution was a long, drawn out affair at the County Council Chambers Wednesday but , as The Garden Island said on Thursday, it was passed and I believe that those long-time families living in that camp were the winners.

Of course, as was pointed out by councilmembers, a resolution has no legal power but is only an opinion. But since this issue was on local TV and in the news, it can certainly put pressure on Grove Farm to go along with the directive of the resolution and let those living in the camp remain in their homes.

Over the years that I have attended council meetings, I have never heard more comprehensive, factual testimonies given than those presented by speakers in favor of Resolution 2012-29.

And, by far the finest, most brilliant testimony given was by Kepa Kruse, who grew up in that camp and where his father still resides.

This young man, who has also testified before the state Legislature, spoke to the council for 30 to 45 minutes without any prepared speech and fielded every question from council members flawlessly.

His preparation for this testimony has to have taken many, many hours, as he had no idea what the questions would be — and there were many good ones — and his answers were methodical and right on target. And even more amazing was the tact and humility he displayed, with his answers never being pedantic or showing egotism.

What a great consumer advocate Kepa would be, and it was a thrill and a pleasure to watch him testify. The people in Koloa Camp are so very fortunate to have a spokesman like him.

Glenn Mickens, Kapa‘a


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