Letters for Tuesday, December 30, 2014

• Lifesaving a Top 10er • Community farms boost local economies

Lifesaving a Top 10er

 I enjoyed the Garden Island’s list of Top 10 2014 Kauai stories. Any one familiar with me won’t be surprised that my personal Top 10 list has 2014 ocean rescues at the very top. 

Because of our Kauai programs, dozens of people are alive and walking around today and dozens of families have been spared disaster. I’ve been very fortunate to meet some of these people and I pass their eternal gratitude onto all of you.

An incomplete list of these programs goes as follows, starting from the bottom up: Beachgoers putting on their fins and grabbing rescue tubes to save people in distress; surfers reaching out a hand and their board; Police dispatchers coordinating all involved parties and agencies; my beloved lifeguards; firefighters; paramedics; hospital staff; and most recently, in the waters far off Hanakapiai, the Coast Guard. Last and not least, every single one of us — from concierges, to check-out clerks, to waiters and waitresses and busboys, to lifeguards and junior lifeguards, to radio DJs, to newspaper reporters, to our programs’ supporters and donors, to seamstresses who repair damaged rescue tubes, to visitors’ friends and family — to everyone who takes a prevention moment and tells someone, “Be careful.” Congratulations and heartfelt thanks to all of you/us. We did good. It takes a village.

Sadly, on the other side of the ledger, as of Monday, Dec. 29, we did suffer seven drownings this year. Causes ranged from suicide, trying to cross a swollen stream, falling off a cliff into a stream, getting caught (and then panicking) in a rip current, surfing and suffering a fatal head injury versus the ocean floor. I have bitterly learned that we will never have zero drownings. There are so many of us who enjoy the ocean and it is a place with inherent risks, just like our highways.

But keeping our guard up will lead to fewer drownings and tragedies than if we ease up on this issue, and I wish us all a safe and mostly happy 2015!

Monty Downs, M.D., President, Kauai Lifeguard Association

Community farms boost local economies

If we are going to spend billions every year on health care and food assistance programs, then we need to start investing more of that money into sustainable projects that are nearly free or can pay for themselves over time.

Community farms on every block would boost every local economy in this country. 

I do not think it makes sense that we pay farmers to not grow certain crops while people go hungry. Farmers should be paid for their surpluses instead. Until we meet the needs of our own people, we are a poor example to the world. 

Not for long though — this generation is here to unite us.

This is how we put people back to work. We just need a New Deal that will allow us to build the food system in this country block by block just like we built up the roads and bridges. It is our most pressing need. Any initial costs would be made up after harvests and sales in the first year. 

It will change our society when there is a local food system for every person. God willing, the people will eat and no one will go hungry. Everyone and everything will be free to live in social harmony when our basic needs are met.

Garrett Collins, Orange City, Fla.


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