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School drills won’t advance thinking

Having testified in favor of Furlough Fridays because they forced others — parents, siblings, peers — to help with the task of education, I was pleased to learn that seat time in Hawaii public schools, like elsewhere, did not correlate with higher achievement scores ("Schools make strides despite length of day," Star-Advertiser, May 9). But why?

Learning the correct answer via the retention of knowledge through school drills does not advance thinking. To improve learning in Hawaii, we would best invest in effective inquiry beyond the classroom, and allow the teachers to make better use of their skills in less time by socially networking their students with other adults, libraries, museums and community leaders.

Robert Tellander

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The Star-Advertiser welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (~150 words). The Star-Advertiser reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include your area of residence and a daytime telephone number.

Letter form: Online form, click here
Fax: (808) 529-4750
Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

Eliminate ethanol, save on gas costs

Want to reduce the price of gasoline fast?Repeal the federal government’s mandate that requires ethanol in gasoline.

Requiring ethanol as fuel was a bad idea.Ethanol is corrosive — it damages rubber seals and other engine parts. It reduces gas mileage because it’s a less-efficient fuel than gasoline.It’s hygroscopic — it absorbs water from the air — so you can’t use pipelines to deliver it. Ethanol costs more than gasoline so adding it to gasoline makes gasoline more expensive.

The federal government subsidizes ethanol. Imported ethanol is subject to tariff.

Farmers make more money growing ethanol corn so they grow less food corn, which increases the price of food corn. The higher price of gasoline and food corn was the beginning of higher prices for everything.

Eric Terashima

Farms for Nanakuli, not industrial park 

The editors got it wrong ("Project could help Nanakuli," Our View, Star-Advertiser, May 2). An industrial park in Lualualei Valley is not the best way to advance Waianae’s economy.

We grew up in Lualualei, and we remember the farmers who worked the land and employed our young people. They were top vegetable producers, supplying Times and Tamura’s. Just think, if the land had been farmed this whole time, how many people could it have employed?

Lualualei is not the right place for this industrial park — there are more appropriate, unused areas in Waianae that are already zoned industrial. Plus, allowing this industrial park on this farmland now will only encourage more industrial land uses nearby — like landfills — and make it harder for neighboring farmers to be successful.

Alice Greenwood and Elizabeth Stack

3-tiered system better for Oahu mass transit

Alan Higashi’s well-crafted letter brings to mind a consortium solution developed in the early ’90s ("Express buses would save taxpayers billions," Letters, Star-Advertiser, May 7). Private-sector ground transportation professionals proposed an innovative network to provide a three-tier option to Oahu commuters.

The solution proposed to provide various pricing and service levels: Tier 1, park-and-ride from bedroom communities like Mililani and Hawaii-Kai; Tier 2, minibus and van service for neighborhood routes like those provided by TheBus express service; and Tier 3, door-to-door, home-to-office mini-van and limo service.

The solution was well thought out and creative, using private sector vehicles to transport residents during commute times and provide visitor transportation during the workday. The plan was so well developed that Honolulu and Waikiki businesses committed to subsidizing their employees’ transportation costs in lieu of subsidized parking.

Chris Neff

Fireworks smugglers should pay city costs

The fireworks tragedy in Waikele may have been the first time many citizens have heard about what happens to illegal fireworks after they’re confiscated. How much are taxpayers paying to store and dispose of such contraband? Police seize illegal fireworks, fines and/or jail time are imposed, but the costs don’t stop there.

This is smuggling, and like drug smugglers, these people are simply doing it for the money. Convicted smugglers should be forced to pay the costs of storage and disposal of fireworks — perhaps a set dollar amount per pound of fireworks.

Sean Goodspeed

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