Hawaii-based research essential for honeybees
We were pleased by the story on Hawaii’s honeybees and the partnership of UH-Hilo with a local restaurateur ("Keeping hives alive," Star-Advertiser, June 29). Although the story stated that UH-Hilo is the only Hawaii campus doing research and education on honeybees, there are two honeybee programs at the Manoa campus. One was established in 1978 by Dr. M.E. Bitterman to study honeybee behavior; this lab continues to investigate their remarkable ability to learn and remember locations, colors and odors.
The UH Honeybee Project was established in 2008 by Drs. Mark Wright and Ethel Villalobos to study the effects of the recently arrived mite, varroa destructor. They test mite treatments, collaborate with beekeepers and farmers statewide, sponsor international experts, and provide workshops for students at all levels. Their work also addresses the newest threat, the small hive beetle. This pest feeds on young bees, excretes a slime that taints the honey, and ultimately destroys the hives. Continuing Hawaii-based research and education is essential for the sustainability of our beekeeping and agriculture industries.
Dr. Patricia Couvillon
Researcher, Pacific Biosciences Research Center, UH-Manoa
Dr. Ethel Villalobos
Director, UH Honeybee Project
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Excessive laws interfere with our independence
Ironically, Independence Day, a day in which we celebrate independence and freedom from a tyrannical government, reminds me of how much freedom has been taken away by today’s government. We can no longer celebrate the day with our own fireworks. We must travel miles away and observe fireworks dictated by what our government deems appropriate and safe.
When we do travel to the government-sanctioned fireworks, we find we can no longer drink an alcoholic beverage on the beach or nearby park. At the park we see a huge sign listing a dozen or so things we can’t do. Each year I cringe when the legislators meet, wondering what additional freedoms they will take away from me this year. To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson: A country that gives up freedom for safety will eventually wind up with neither.
Plastic-bag ban leads to unintended results
Lee Cataluna brought into focus the laws of unintended consequences ("Chores are a little messier with plastic-bag ban in place," Star-Advertiser, Lee Cataluna, July 3). The ban on plastic bags makes pet owners buy plastic bags to pick up poop and somehow these bags are better than the plastic bags given with purchases. Other inconveniences brought on by the plastic bag ban are too many to list.
The plastic bag menace was brought on by another law of unintended consequence. — the movement to save trees by banning paper bags. Remember being asked, "Paper or plastic?" at check-outs?
The plastic bag ban has brought back paper bags. Can I assume that enough trees have been saved?
Beware of the environmentalists trying to change us to their vision of what things should be.
Biodegradable bags better
Nowhere have I seen any discussion about allowing biodegradable plastic bags. Before the Oahu law takes effect, I think it would be wise to consider this option. All the difficulties experienced on Kauai could be eliminated with very little extra cost, and still honor the environment.
Politicians neglect poor quality of roadways
Recently, I drove around Oahu and was disgusted with the neglect the roadways have been through, and the abuse my vehicle had to go through, with the concrete and asphalt potholes and the uneven repairs of previous potholes. This shows the total neglect and disregard our politicians have for the communities they represent. From the governor down, all they do is talk to get the votes but when communities need them to act on their campaign promises, where are they? As elected politicians have neglected the pleas of the people who placed them in office, let all of us voters neglect all the incumbent politicians in the next election.
Safety inspections for cars a scheme to raise money
Every year we are subject to having our cars "safety inspected" by an authorized facility. My question is: To what end?
Some states don’t have this shell game of taking in more revenue. What statistics are there that prove the vehicles in those states are any less safe than those in ours? What proves that an annual inspection actually makes our vehicles safer?
Add to that the great possibility that this whole system is open to fraud. "Braddah so-and-so owns a station and he can get me the sticker." I know of that personally. Also, there is no standardization. I once had a few decals on my back window and was failed by one inspector. I went down the street and was passed, with the same decals.
The safety inspection program is just another way to raise taxes. It is ineffective, not standard and not enforced.
Charter schools take lead in education innovation
Your editorial painted the entire public charter school movement with a very broad brush (“Charter school independence must come with accountability,” Star-Advertiser, Our View, July 5).
Without question, the Hawaii charter school family is in the process of moving to the next level of maturity. However, there is an overriding fairness issue when the decade-long charter school effort is expected to outpace, outperform and outrank the century-old traditional system, which operates with more funding and support.
As the editorial stated, “there are hopeful signs” ahead. Hawaii residents should remember that the Hawaii Charter School Network (HCSN) is committed to quality, innovative schools and educational choice with no cost to the students. We welcome the opportunity to improve our 31 statewide public schools through the Charter Schools Governance and Accountability Task Force.
HCSN will continue to be a beacon of innovation not only in education pedagogy, but also in areas of governance and accountability. We are working day in and day out to create local control by giving power to local school communities instead of following the path of failed policies that handcuffs the Board of Education, Department of Education and school-level staff from delivering quality and innovative education.
Executive director, Hawaii Charter School Network