Letters for Tuesday, January 20, 2015

• Duke and Earl are dearly missed • Clean air a basic right • Let’s invest in education

Duke and Earl are dearly missed

An open letter to anyone that finds an animal – do the right thing:

You may come across a cat or dog someday. Perhaps it’s behind a business, perhaps he/she wanders to your yard, perhaps it’s beside the road. You might think, “What a nice cat or dog, that will be a nice addition to my family, or maybe to a friend or relatives, or that looks like a good hunting dog.” 

Whatever the thought, what should always be done first is to try to find its owner. Maybe the animal looks ragged and skinny and you think, “Well, they didn’t take good care of it, I don’t want to return it to them.” But perhaps when the animal disappeared, it was well taken care of and beautiful and has gotten scraggly while lost and not taken care of. 

If the pet doesn’t have a collar and tags, many animals today have microchips. Most hunting dogs and all animals adopted from Kauai Humane Society have chips (and they’ll chip pets for a very cheap price). This is a reliable way for an animal to find its way home to its owners if their collar or tag may have fallen off while lost. Any vet, or KHS, can scan the animal for a microchip and get the owner’s contact information. 

You can call KHS to pick up the lost animal and they can scan it at that time. If you find a dog in Kokee, always check the hunter check-in station’s lost dog postings. Craigslist also has community lost and found and pet categories and you can check Facebook’s Kauai Lost and Found Pet page. Ron Wiley has reunited many pets and owners, call KONG and they can broadcast what you found. If the animal is chipped and owners contacted, if you really want the animal, say that you’d be willing to keep it if they don’t want it back, at least you know you did the right thing and tried to reunite the animal and its owner and get it home. Know that people are heartbroken when they lose a pet and the right thing to do is return it.

I know because I’m missing my two dogs, Duke and Earl, and I really need them back!

Diann Hartman, Omao

Clean air a basic right

For Beth Tokioka to say that she does “not believe that the county has the expertise to link air quality to the poor health of individuals” sounds like an excuse to me to not take seriously a very serious health issue (“Airing their grievances,” TGI, Jan. 13).

There is plenty of evidence out there which shows how dangerous it can be to be exposed to wood smoke for prolonged periods. Like cigarette smoke, it is a carcinogenic, with components like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and dioxin, as well as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which can depress the immune system and scar lungs. For individuals with asthma, like Lori Abbey-MacDonald, it can be downright dangerous. The EPA estimates that a single wood fireplace burning for an hour will produce 4,300 more PAHs than 30 cigarettes — 4,300!

I don’t think anyone would want to deny Kauaian families the right to practice their cultural activities. But they can be practiced in a way that minimizes the impact on others. Surely, we can agree that when it comes to the health of our citizens, that should take precedence? I sympathize with Mr. Gonsalves and his wife’s health issues, but shame on him for not accepting the generous offer to have his wood-burning fireplace replaced with a gas-powered one.

I commend councilman Hooser for his efforts in addressing this issue. Lori Abbey-MacDonald, like everyone else, has the right to breathe clean air.

Steven McMacken, Lihue

Let’s invest in education

Programme for International Student Assessment released its educational rankings in 2012, and ranked the United States as having the 36th best educational system in the world. It’s apparent that our K-12 educational system needs to be reformed.

One solution to improve America’s educational system is for every legislator to become a part-time substitute teacher. Legislators should be more directly involved within our educational system, in order to draft a plan that would fix the problems teachers face. Teachers should collaborate amongst themselves and decide upon inefficiencies that need to be eliminated. Once inefficiencies are eliminated in Hawaii’s Department of Education, additional resources will instantly be available to put to best use. 

The national trend among all 50 states is that increased spending in education directly correlates to increased test scores. Investing in our educational system as efficiently as possible will lead our nation toward a positive change of direction.

Alexander Haller, Haiku

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