Letters to the Editor: October 7, 2020

Put Hawaii on the astronomical pedestal

The most recent Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to three scientists for their work on black holes. Today, astronomers agree that the universe is speckled with monstrous black holes, including beasts lurking in the hearts of most galaxies that are millions and billions of times more massive than the sun. They’ve even taken a picture of one in a galaxy some 55 million light-years away.


Working independently, Dr. Genzel and Dr. Ghez, and their teams, have spent the last decades tracking stars and dust clouds whizzing around the center of our galaxy with telescopes in Chile, home to the “Giant Telescope,” and Hawaii, where the Thirty Meter Telescope is proposed, trying to see if that dark dusty realm does indeed harbor a black hole. The Giant Telescope in Chile views the Southern Hemisphere while telescopes on Maunakea look at the Northern Hemisphere. While the telescopes in Chile are in operation presently, hopefully, Hawaii will be the home to the Thirty Meter Telescope putting Hawaii high on the astronomical pedestal. What an opportunity for the young generation growing up in Hawaii, and hopefully it will not slip away.

Ted Johnson


Let the people decide what they want

All voters need to be aware that the League of Women Voters of Hawaii County is against legalized gambling. In 2016, they signed-on as being a member of the Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling.

If adults are against gambling, no one has the right to deny the option of gambling to those in favor of it.

Just to be clear, I am staunchly against gambling. Why? Because I think it is dumb to throw your money for a chance to win anything. I love to go to Las Vegas to see the flavor and livelihood of the city; the entertainment, the restaurants, the night life, and yes, even the gambling. But I would never think for a moment to give my money, willingly no less, for a chance to win big.

Two years ago, I was involved in a game of chance, and I won. Why am I not against this form of “gambling”? Because there was no cost to play.

Gambling is dumb, but let others decide what they want in life. Free of government intervention.

Michael L. Last


How to travel safely during COVID-19

As a retired infection control expert, I would like to share a few ideas to improve air travel safety. On Sept. 29, I returned to Hawaii from a trip to California where my mother died.

While on the plane, I observed a man sitting across from me who slept for two hours without a mask.

Nothing was done. I heard coughing and sneezing on occasion. There were three unoccupied rows of seats set aside for an extra fee. Meanwhile travelers were not spaced even 2 feet apart below and above that vacant section of the plane.

After deplaning at Kona International Airport, I was greeted by a Hawaii representative who expected me to touch a contaminated stylus and sign on an iPad. There was no disinfecting protocol between passengers for the stylus. Not all passengers were standing 6 feet apart in line and there was no temperature taking.

Unless required to do otherwise, the airlines are going to cram people into seats without regard to spacing and they are not going to consistently enforce the wearing of masks. People are going to travel as they always have even when feeling unwell. Hawaii needs to take temperatures of all arriving passengers as some may have taken Tylenol prior to boarding the plane.

So, what can you do in such an unregulated environment? First and foremost, wear your mask. Second, carry wipes with a 60-second contact time for killing coronavirus and other infectious agents. Most alcohol wipes used on plane surfaces do not stay wet long enough to kill coronavirus. So, bring your own wipes on the plane and make sure they wet the surface long enough to kill flu and coronavirus. Refuse to touch any contaminated surface without a barrier (e.g. glove). Stay 6 feet away from others while standing in line.

Dr. Renee Joy Dufault


Letters policy

Letters to the editor should be 300 words or less and will be edited for style and grammar. Longer viewpoint guest columns may not exceed 800 words. Submit online at www.westhawaiitoday.com/?p=118321, via email to letters@westhawaiitoday.com or address them to:


West Hawaii Today

PO Box 789

Kailua-Kona, HI 96745