Letters for August 11, 2016

• Navy no friend of ocean • Recognition appreciate

Navy no friend of ocean

Ni’ihau’s co-owner Keith Robinson, according to a TGI Aug. 6 front page story, is concerned that expansion of the Papahanamuokuakea reserve might interfere with military operations. He states “Russia and China are becoming quite aggressive in the Western Pacific.” He also says “The Navy has never caused any environmental problems.” He prefers environmentalists not be able to use “expanding the reserve” as an excuse to cripple Navy operations now that we have the Russian and Chinese aggression.

Let’s start with China. Yes they have been aggressive especially in the South China Sea but the US Navy invited them to participate in our RIMPAC exercises. Perhaps if we didn’t practice with as many as 26 countries at RIMPAC we might not need such a large portion of the Pacific to run this month-long drill. Not only does it include Hawaii’s waters but it extends to Southern California. If that’s not a large enough area then reduce the participating countries downward till they can fit into the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and the mainland.

As far as the Navy never causing any environmental damage, I don’t know where to start. How about the past decades of dumping munitions, chemical weapons including mustard gas and nuclear material into almost every ocean on the planet. This can be confirmed by multiple sources if looked up.

One interesting and award winning story by the Tampa Bay Times called “The Atomic Sailors” from 2013 documents thousands of tons of radioactive waste purposely dumped into the Atlantic from the USS Calhoun County and what later happened to those sailors who were exposed to the material.

Perhaps Mr Robinson is concerned that increasing the size of the Papahanamuokuakea reserve may cause increased fishing pressure around Ni’ihau. A few years ago I supported the proposed fishing ban for anyone other than Ni’ihau residents in Ni’ihau waters, because the island residents depend on what they grow, raise and catch for survival. The ban was never implemented.

Most of us want plenty of sea food but it’s diminishing along with pristine marine habitats which need to be protected. Of course we need the Navy for defense, but the Navy has not been protecting our oceans with these huge drills, scuttling “clean” ships for target practice and blasting sonar into the marine environment.

To say we must not exclude a small area of the Pacific from military exercises needed to thwart Russia and China when China is participating with us in those exercises does not hold water.

Paulo Tambolo, Wailua Homesteads

Recognition appreciate

The Board of Growing Our Own Teachers on Kauai (GOOT) wants to thank Superintendent Bill Arakaki for recognizing the important contribution our organization has made to minimizing the teacher shortage on Kauai.

Although GOOT was started by the Hanalei Bay Rotary, it quickly grew into its own islandwide program supported by donations from several Rotary Clubs, with substantial donations coming yearly from the Hanalei Bay Rotary and the Poipu Beach Rotary Club.

We also depend on support from individual donors and companies. the Kauai Marriott and Kukuiula Development Company have been important corporate sponsors of our yearly concert fund raiser.

We have always specialized in helping aspiring local students become elementary school teachers. Since our beginnings in 2006, we have helped 69 students get their teacher’s certificates and 66 are still teaching. That is a 95 percent retention rate, which is much higher than the state’s average.

If we can attract additional community support in the form of donations or volunteer service, we hope to expand our focus to include attracting high quality locally based teachers for our secondary schools.

For more information or to make a donation to GOOT, a 501(c)(3) organization, please visit our website at www.growingkauaiteachers.org.

Jonathan McRoberts, Vice President of Growing Our Own Teachers

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