Letters | 3-14-14


Give up healthy for the unhealthy?

I read recently that according to a study done by Inrix, a company that collects information from nearly 100 million GPS locator devices, that Honolulu has the second worst traffic congestion in the nation, and the third worst traffic congestion in North America.

I thought about this recently at the transfer station while dumping recyclable paper, plastic and glass into the rubbish container. Traffic here on the Big Island is really bad also. Sometimes I have to pull over for emergency vehicles, stop for school buses, and drive slower around cyclists and pedestrians. I suffer these nuisances only so I don’t get inconvenienced with an infraction, fine or lawsuit.

We should do away with the Ironman World Championship in Kona. The sooner we get rid of the Ironman World Championship on the Big Island, the sooner we can add two additional lanes each way on Queen Kaahumanu Highway. In that manner we can be relieved of the three or four minute delay caused by slower drivers and instead speed by in the fast lane.

Moreover, why would I want my children to be inspired by world-class athletes performing in the most prestigious international event in its discipline? It doesn’t matter that the Ironman was born in the islands, so were my children, and I want them to fit the norm of being fat, ignorant and devoid of any personal accountability for the betterment of the Big Island. I want them to strive for obesity and diabetes, not self-esteem and physical fitness.

Yes it’s time to recognize all cyclists for the deadbeat, second-class citizens they are. It’s time to outlaw bicycling in Hawaii County. After all they are at fault for our roads not being built to accommodate them. Repeal state law 291c-142 that states, “Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle.” We wouldn’t want people to think that “share the road” actually referred to a law and was not just a slogan or bumper sticker fodder.

Lastly, I urge that we Big Islanders strive to be ignorant of other cities and societies that have become less congested and more prosperous by the positive changes that increased cycling is proven to have. We should sneer at people who try to point out these benefits because “aloha” is only for those that we agree with, right? We should ensure a future with more and more cars on our streets. We should eliminate any free on-street parking just like Honolulu. I will be much happier and less stressed as I circle Kailua-Kona searching for an open parking meter without having to be careful for cyclists.

Get rid of the Ironman and outlaw cycling because we on the Big Island do not want to be known as the host of anything as stupid as a world-class event, nor be thought of as a healthy, active community. However, being a close third to Honolulu in the traffic congestion ratings and having rampant diabetes and obesity would be something to be really proud of.

Richard Eckert

Waikoloa

Funding an issue in eradicating little fire ant

I agree with the frustration expressed by Leningrad Elarionoff in the Feb. 27 West Hawaii Today and the question as to why this pest has been able to spread. The short answer is until we have a dedicated funding source and ability to effectively treat a problem that is so widespread, affecting thousands of properties on the Big Island, our best resource is the Hawaii Ant Lab.

When the little fire ant was first reported in 1999, the state Department of Agriculture, through Plant Pest Control Branch, initiated control efforts with nurseries and private property owners. The infestation, however, had already spread too broadly. After three years of trying to combat the ant, it became clear that eradication was not going to succeed.

Since then, state and federal agencies have tried very hard to secure funding to deal with the little fire ant. With the nation’s economic downturn, money for the effort was scarce. The University of Hawaii and U.S. Department of Agriculture conducted research in those early days. In late 2008, a leading expert on the little fire ant was hired to find more effective treatment strategies and the Hawaii Ant Lab was established.

HAL’s funding now comes from a variety of sources, none of which are steady and continuous. Those grants and contracts direct what kind of services and how many of them the lab will provide. Right now the lab has three full-time staff and two part-time research assistants. Much of HAL’s current funding is for teaching individuals and businesses how to use pesticides safely and effectively to get rid of the ants on their properties. Each month, for example, the lab conducts clinics on how to handle infestations.

Currently, there is a bill being considered to appropriate funds specifically to control the spread and eradication of little fire ants on the Big Island. The state controls public lands where we recreate and we want these locations to be safe and enjoyable. For more information on fire ants, visit or call the Hawaii Ant Lab at 315-5656.

Rep. Cindy Evans

District 7, North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala

Residents urged to participate in survey

Hawaii residents have an opportunity this spring to weigh in on a timely and important topic: health care.

For months, the news has been buzzing about changes in our health care system and as millions of Americans begin to take a more active role in their health care, now is an important time for everyone with health insurance to make their voices heard.

Through April, health insurers are conducting a survey called the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, which is mailed to select people with health insurance, including those enrolled in an individual plan, an employer-sponsored plan and Medicare. Responding to the survey by mail or phone is one way you can become part of the broader effort to improve our nation’s health care system. Responses are kept anonymous.

Survey responses help the government and insurance providers identify ways to better serve people and improve the care they receive. The government and insurers want to make sure that people in Hawaii receive good medical care from doctors they trust. The survey is one tool used to achieve this goal.

The survey is an important opportunity for Americans to have a say in how health care changes in the years ahead. I encourage Hawaii residents to respond to the survey, as this one simple step can help improve health care for all of us.

Ron Fujimoto, D.O.

Chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare’s Community Plan for Hawaii