Letters for Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

‘A Green Flash’Kaua‘i, learn from Florida’s dead coral reefsSchools need better securityMulti-million-dollar white elephant

‘A Green Flash’

The sun burst upon the beach for two straight hours at sunset.

Hanalei boasted its first northwest swell in some time.

Bumbling onto decaying sandbars, and rotting reefs.

Makana glistened

and I smiled at strangers who lease moments shorter than mine.

And after such humbling downpours and blowing winds

I am again  reminded … of just who’s da boss.

Not that rented Hummer, or Datsun dulled and rusted.

Not the lava walls, wire fences or rented tents in the sun.

Not the gas wars or greed or need for fiscal cliffs that teeter to topple

or  rifles of sorrow.

We all simply smiled together

For the briefest of green flashing moments.

Betcha I won’t feel that way tomorrow.

Andy Melamed



Kaua‘i, learn from Florida’s dead coral reefs

I listened with interest and a sense of deja vu to Dr. Greta Aeby and Sean Callahans (from Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology and UH Microbiology) briefing on the cyanobacteria that is killing the Montipora corals and may be spreading to other species.

Having lived in Miami and the Florida Keys for 30 years and teaching diving/running my own dive boat, I observed the relentless decline of the reefs over those years. When I  left in 2003, there were over 27 diseases affecting the coral reefs. Dr. Aeby did post-doctoral work in the Keys and she stated the demise of those reefs is final — no coming back.

Why can’t we on Kaua‘i learn from that environmental disaster to give our reefs the very best chance for survival? Coral reefs are the foundation of our marine ecosystem and when we destroy them we lose an  irreplaceable precious resource. The coral animals need clean, non-silted, warm water to thrive.

Yet, shockingly, the county still allows cesspools to operate as an  acceptable waste treatment, when they are nothing more than a hole in the ground with excrement and pollutants running out of them and into the groundwater and on to the sea.

The meeting following the coral disease briefing illuminated the pollutants affecting the North Shore watersheds, and it was disgusting to hear that there are still 177 cesspools in use in Hanalei, many of them on Weke Road.

All the properties on Weke Road are worth multi-millions and it is absurd to argue that the owners could not afford to put in a more environmentally sound system like a septic tank. It was pointed out that systems with new technology are able to aerobically treat waste and produce water suitable for irrigation.

Why does the county not have a sewage treatment plant in the works for Hanalei? Too expensive and impractical, the council says, but what is  the price of losing our reefs?  The run-off into Hanalei Bay from fertilizers used in the taro fields and on the Princeville golf courses is another pollutant that needs to be addressed.

Why can’t we on this small piece of paradise find a solution to these problems, before it is too late and we are facing the demise of our reefs, just like the Keys?

County Council members and all ocean lovers, I urge you to act responsibly to stem the tide of this disease before it is out of control!

Jane E. Schmitt


Schools need better security

Gun control won’t stop shootings at our schools. Security would be much more successful.

The government spends billions and billions every year on TSA for our airports. It’s time they started looking at securing the schools more and airports less.

Schools don’t generate income like airports so I guess they don’t feel like putting any more money into them.

Just having a presence at our schools will make a difference. The cowards that do these things aren’t looking for a fight. They are looking to cause the most damage with the least resistence.

The last gunman shot himself as officers approached. Proof that they are cowards and schools with no protection are the easy target.

Responding officers will always be too late. Officers or guards should be at the schools full-time.

If we can have full body scans at airports, we can have federally funded security for our schools.

Jay Perreira


Multi-million-dollar white elephant

Why aren’t our County of Kaua‘i officials listening to the concerns of the public? This walking or bike path is used by a small amount of residents of Kaua‘i.

The County of Kaua‘i department heads and the mayor, also the council, should try using this path to show the money is well spent ($5 million a mile).  

The money should be spent on our county roads which are in need of repairs. When was the last time someone checked on what roads need to be resurfaced? If they need help, go to each community to see what needs to be resurfaced or repaired.  

The multi-million-dollar white elephant is used by a small amount of people versus all the others that use their cars on our roads.

The same people that use the walking and bike path also use our roads, so they should be speaking up also to have our roads repaired.  

Speak up, people, don’t just let a few speak up for us. We need to stand up to be heard.

Gilbert Nobrega



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