Letters for March 19, 2016
Editor’s note: The following letters were written by eighth-grade students in Philip Steinbacher’s English class at Island School as part of a writing project.
New fees could cure ailing roads
I recently read your letter in The Garden Isle about how we can add an additional charge to car rentals, hotel rooms, and timeshares to fix our deteriorating roads on Kauai. I exceedingly agree with this article. There are a lot of potholes in our roads. People are having trouble having a smooth ride and get irritated. Potholes can lead to damage to your car’s tires, and fixing it can be expensive. The extra money can be used for the construction of fixing our roads.
I also believe that we could use these funds to expand the roads on Kauai. The amount of tourism and population is growing on Kauai and the traffic can get pretty bad some days. I think we should build more two lane roads in places with a lot of traffic. With these roads, traffic would flow more easily especially during rush hour. I also feel that if we add more roundabouts on Kauai it could also help with the traffic flow.
I’m hoping to inspire people to take this action of raising a fund for our roads on Kauai. Thank you for your time.
GMO situation on the westside of Kauai
Before addressing the problem I would like to talk about the difference between GMO and Pesticides. I have heard many people say “GMO is bad,” or “No GMO!” The thing is, everything we eat is a product of some sort of genetic modification. Pesticides are included in GMO but they are not the same things. The point of pesticides is to prevent bugs from eating the crops.
Something many people don’t know about Kauai is that the pesticides that are allowed to be sprayed here are not legal to spray anywhere else in the world but are being sprayed on our 552.3 square mile island. If pesticides are toxic to bugs what makes it safe or healthy for humans to eat it? People have asked for the companies to keep the spraying away from the towns and schools and nothing is changing. Something is wrong with that picture.
I hope that this letter can help people understand the events taking place and help them about the issue of pesticides is on Kauai. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to look at this.
Raising taxes a good idea
Regarding the Feb. 19 letter, I could not agree more with this assessment. Raising the tax on car rentals and putting that extra money to road repair could be extremely beneficial. The road quality on this island is substandard at best. Having an extra rental car tax could potentially help fix that without increasing taxes for most of the Kauai’s residents.
I am hoping that Kauai´s roads get restored so that it is easier for residents and guests of the island to travel around easily.
I am hoping to get a tax on car rentals so that road repairs can begin and are quicker.
I want my son to do well
I agree with the Feb. 20 article and believe that the new decision to not have honors classes in English and certain elective courses at Kapaa High School next year is a poor choice. I feel this is a bad idea because some students progress faster than others and are more enthusiastic about learning, and I do not think it is fair to hold them back. With no honors classes, the more advanced learners may spend more time helping other students learn the material, rather than advancing themselves. With no separate honors class, there is sure to be more disruptions, which may affect the more enthusiastic learners’ system of comprehending the new information. A question I have is, what happens when a group project is assigned? The probability of the higher achieving student doing most of the work is very high. Also, the current honor students may not be continually challenged in these classes which is a key factor in progressively learning.
In the process of research, I have found that Hawaii’s average English score on the ACT is much lower than the average score of Math. Hawaii is also ranked with the lowest average ACT score in English throughout the country. If students in high school have the opportunity to excel in this subject that Hawaii is obviously lacking in, why would we hold them back?
Please don’t get me wrong, I have compassion for learners of every level, yet I feel that this issue needs to be addressed.
I hope I have encouraged everyone to really think about what is going on in one of the high schools on Kauai, and that we can keep the English and elective honors classes functioning at Kapaa High School.
Rebuilding of Coco Palms
Regarding the Feb. 22 letter, I have known about the destruction of Coco Palms by Hurricane Iniki and how many people have wanted to rebuild the hotel, but never have. The decision is rather easy to make I think the county should revoke the permits to rebuild Coco Palms. It would cost over billions of dollars which we could be using to help people in need, the wildlife and marine life, and we could put the money towards more lifeguard stations around the island to keep people safe. We could use the money to build another hospital or animal clinic. There is just a lot other things we could be using money for than another hotel even if that hotel was special to people.
I am hoping to encourage people to try and use their money to help people instead of just building more buildings to make money. Thank you for your time
Matter of feral cats
In response to the Feb. 21 letter, it is a well known fact that even well fed cats kill birds and animals because that is their natural behavior. For “Trap-Neuter-Release” cat colonies to help reduce feral cat numbers they need to be managed very carefully. All the kittens need to be removed and put up for adoption, and all the adults need to have surgery so they can’t have babies. Injured cats need veterinary care and have to be fed regularly. Does anything like this exist on Kauai? I think that people just go out and feed cats and maybe sterilize a few, but the feral cats are not very well managed. All the dead cats that I see on the road tell me that they don’t live a very good life, and that they should instead be placed in a more controlled environment.
Kauai is a small island with many endangered birds that need our protection. Many of our birds that nest on the ground are getting killed by the growing number of feral cats. Animal populations can easily get out of control and we have that problem here on Kauai with feral cats.
I am hoping to inspire people to take action in helping to reduce the growing population of feral cats. Thank you for your time and attention.
Regarding the Feb. 16 letter, I’m aware that in previous years the Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital had experienced staff cuts and reductions in funds. The legislature has always funded KVMH, but with funding comes the responsibility of managing costs and efficient fiscal operations.
KVMH serves many families from Kalaheo all the way to the Pacific Missile Range Facility and is a vital part of the community. I can’t imagine what Kauai would be like with a single hospital. Because of KVMH, the injured and sick on the west side would receive immediate care instead of being transported all the way to Lihue to Wilcox Hospital. This is why KVMH is pivotal in serving the community.
I hope this letter has inspired and motivated you to take this issue into consideration and help efforts to keep KVMH operational for the benefit and well being of our community. Thank you for your time.
Kauai faces future water shortage
I am writing to you on regard that we are using up too much water on Kauai per the Feb. 17 letter. Kauai resident Marge Dente said “Island families need to take a hard look at their lifestyles in order to create a sustainable future.” We, the people on Kauai, need to change our ways and stop wasting water, and to think that our water use has gone up 50% in only 15 years. I believe that if we can reduce the amount of water we use, the price of water will go down, and if we make zero waste facilities to reuse everything, Kauai will be able to sustain enough water for everyone. But if we don’t change, and don’t do something to conserve our water, the price of water will just go up and up.
I am hoping to encourage people to stop wasting and use less water, and reuse all the water they use with this letter. Thank you for your time.
Pesticide buffer zone bill being blocked
Regarding the Feb. 19 letter, I feel that it was not a smart move to block house bill 2564, which, if passed would have restricted seed companies from spraying near five different schools on the island. To me, it is a simple thing to ask, just for some protection from the toxic pesticides sprayed all over the island. Well, apparently it’s not. I agree with Senator Hooser that the House of Agriculture committees are indeed out of touch with regards to community concerns. There may not be enough scientific proof to straight up say that all the people that have gotten sick with things such as cancer and serious allergies were affected by the pesticides near their houses, but what else could it be?
In my opinion, this is the kind of the bill that could have started the end of GMO on Kauai. Just simple little things like this are what lead to major changes in the end. For a while, people have been worried about this issue, but the legislature doesn’t do anything. Despite all of this, representatives from seed companies like Monsanto and DuPont testified against the bill, saying it was unnecessary.
I am hoping to encourage people to understand how unbelievable it is that simple bills such as HB 2564, which would protect children from potentially dangerous materials, don’t get passed.
Better bus system one solution to congestion
I feel that the Feb. 21 letter supports the idea but I also feel the bus system already is pretty good and easy to access. The bus charges a dollar to ride to any place the bus can take you and the routes are the quickest and avoid traffic. I am not saying that this article has little meaning it just needs better ideas. One of these ideas was that by 2035 transit trips from today’s 1 percent of travel would increase to 4 percent and to update fare collection technology, I think this is a good idea but needs to happen quicker.
I am hoping that this response may come to mind when thinking next about this project and totally agree with the changes trying to be made. Thank you for your time.
Kalalau hikers reach safety
I am happy the Feb.19 letter brought to light this issue of crossing the Hanakapiai stream. I enjoy the fact that people from all over the world like to explore the beautiful nature of the Na Pali Coast. I think that people should try to make better decisions when they go, for example when we have heavy rain that is a very dangerous time to go. When Kaua’i has heavy rains for a few days, it’s not the smartest idea to cross the stream. It’s really not that hard to check the weather report before heading out.
We are very lucky that hiker Valeria Gracheva survived, but many have died from this stream. Our island is very lucky to have The Kaua’i County Fire Department always there to help, and save many lives while risking their own. Sometimes I think of it as a very upsetting or stressful situation for me because my own father is a Firemen, and I can’t image him getting into those rough waters to save someone’s life. I personally think the county should build a bridge over the rushing river to prevent people from walking through the water. Building a bridge will keep people from getting swept out and dying.
I hope this letter has inspired others to make educated decisions in life, and understand why the County of Kaua’i puts up warning signs next to beaches and areas like Kalalau.
Free bus rides all year
I do highly agree with the Feb. 26 letter, when the author says that free bus service is a fantastic idea and most certainly encourages people to use bus service in lieu of their gas guzzling vehicles. It will curtail traffic and save residents money on out-of-sight gas prices. One does not have to worry about getting pulled over, having insurance fees, or any vehicle maintenance. Not to mention, it is a wonderful way to lessen the amount of pollution on our beautiful island.
However, I believe that the amount of time that bus fare is free, should be limited to certain holidays and times such as those. I disagree with the author in saying we should continue free bus rides for all people all the time. People who do not work for the county (tourists etc.) should have to pay their bus fee. Also, if we were to continue with free rides full time, what money would go towards the driver and gas and insurance fees? I believe that bus rides should be free to Kaua’i county employees all year long, and free around busy holiday times for those who are not employees.
I am hoping to encourage people to begin a petition on a new plan for bus fees, because I believe it will make Kauai less polluted with gas, traffic, and keep residents from worrying about gas prices, while at the same time maintaining a steady income for bus drivers and insurance bills for the vehicles. Thank you for your time.
Apple and government dispute
In response to the Feb. 18 letter, recently, the iPhone of two shooters was found and the government wants Apple to hack the phone to get more evidence to support the government’s side. This case could change our cell phone privacy rights forever. To many people, this is a very hard decision and in my opinion, I think that Apple should not help the government. I agree with Apple because in this case, the government doesn’t really need more evidence for this case and they are just trying to have an excuse to have a software program to get into criminals phones. Also, when the phone was first found someone at the county reset the password which prevents anyone from accessing any of the cloud back-ups for the phone. The county also could have downloaded software to manage the phone better. Those investigating this case had many opportunities.
I hope that this letter has inspired you to take action or, at least, help you know more about the current debate about cell phone privacy. Privacy is an important American right that should not be compromised. Hopefully we get to keep our cell phone privacy rights.