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Saturday, September 4, 2021
Letters to the Editor September, 2021
By Letters to the Editor @ 2:49 AM :: 2591 Views

Protester Camp Damaging Mauna Kea

Dear Editor,  Sept 2, 2021

Senators Fevella, Acasio, and Representative Kapela just sent DHHL Chairman William Aila a letter urging him not to remove the Maunakea Access Road TMT protest site.  The legislators are advocating granting the remaining protesters a right of entry, and signing a MOA. This would allow them to lawfully stay there.

I believe this a mistake on several levels. Firstly, the Thirty Meter Telescope project likely won’t resume construction anytime soon.  They’re seeking additional funding due to project cost overruns. The TMT is banking on receiving funding from the National Science Foundation.

This funding will require additional environmental review on Federal level (Section 106 consultations, NHPA review). There is no guarantee the TMT project would survive another round of public comment.  As a result, I believe it would be mistake to allow these protesters to remain at Maunakea Access Road indefinitely.

The ongoing environmental damage to the sensitive environment of Maunakea is another concern with legalizing this encampment   In short, this area will never be the same if and when the encampment  is removed.  There will be long lasting environmental damage, which is pretty ironic.  The TMT protesters have done the same damage the environment they allege the existing Maunakea telescopes have done to the summit area.

I strongly the three of you to retract your letter to Chairman Aila and allow HHL to remove the last remnants this eyesore.

Aaron Stene

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

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September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Dear Editor:  Sept 1, 2021

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. This is a time for each of us to reach out to those around us and take steps to prevent suicide. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's theme for the month is "Together, we can help #StopSuicide."

I didn't plan on getting involved with the Hawaii Suicide Prevention movement but when I lost my baby brother Michael to suicide, I didn't know what else to do. We lose someone to suicide every 2 days in Hawaii! By joining together we can help make suicide safer communities. I don't want one more family to go through losing their loved one to suicide. Suicide is preventable.

One action I'm taking this month to help #StopSuicide is contacting my public officials and urging them to prioritize funding for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and our local crisis call centers. In July 2022, the new 988 number will be fully operational as the universal phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. This easy-to-remember three-digit number will increase access to vital mental health and suicide crisis supports. Calls are also projected to increase substantially when the 988 number goes fully live. NOW is the time to provide the funding to support our local crisis centers to meet the needs of more 988 callers.

Together, we can ensure that everyone in crisis has access to care should they need it.

Together, we can help #StopSuicide.


Kathleen Merriam

Kaneohe, Oahu


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