Daily Archives: December 13, 2012

“Hawaii Monitor” on CivilBeat.com

My regular (hopefully) weekly “Hawaii Monitor” column appeared on Civil Beat yesterday (“Demise Of Community Recycling Bins A Policy Failure“).

Here’s my lede:

You probably haven’t worried about this little-noticed impact of Honolulu’s daily newspaper monopoly.

The merger of the two formerly competing newspapers can be blamed, at least in part, for the demise of the city’s popular network of white community recycling bins, according to a recent city report.

The report released last month by the Department of Environmental Services said the shift to a single monopoly newspaper, coupled with the continuing drift of readers to digital access, reduced the amount of newsprint being deposited into the white bins, leaving more space for lighter cardboard boxes, often unflattened.

The result was a reduction in the average weight of a full bin by 50 percent or more, from two to three tons a decade ago to one ton. There was a similar decline in recycling revenue, the city says.

In any case, check it out if you haven’t read it already.

Sad details of Tuesday accident in Hauula

The “breaking news” item in the Star-Advertiser was quite brief and “just the facts”: “Two hurt in Hauula motorcycle-pedestrian accident“. This is just a few miles up the road from us, so we notice these news reports.

A 32-year-old female motorcyclist struck a 66-year-old male pedestrian in Hauula Tuesday, seriously injuring him.

The motorcyclist was traveling about 30 mph to 35 mph Kahuku-bound when she struck the man at 6:15 p.m. at Kukuna Road and Kamehameha Highway.

Emergency Medical Services paramedics said the woman was driving behind her boyfriend when he swerved to avoid the pedestrian. The woman was unable to avoid the pedestrian.

The pedestrian was in serious condition; the woman was in stable condition, and both were taken by ambulance to a hospital, an EMS email said.

But there’s more to the story, as I learned from a friend of the victim.

The pedestrian, Frank, is a retired physician’s assistant, a Vietnam War vet, who had moved to enjoy the country life in Hauula with his dog, who was his constant companion.

The two lived across from the beach on Kukuna Road, and were on their way to or from an early evening walk on the beach. The sunset was at 5:50, and twilight ended at 6:15, according to data from the U.S. Naval Observatory. That means it would have been dark at 6:15 when the accident happened.

According to his friend:

…a car slowed/stopped to let him cross. Two motorcyclists behind the car thought the car was going to turn and crossed into the oncoming traffic lane. The first bike was able to miss Frank as he emerged from the blind spot created by the car but the second hit him, injuring him terribly and killing his dog.

He worries about his friend’s serious injuries and about the threat of hospital diseases like MRSA and pneumonia.

Then he added:

What worries me most, ‘tho, is the death of his dog. Frank doesn’t know yet that he was killed and I’m afraid that, when he does, it will just finish him off, destroying any will to live he has left.

This is all so sad.

We walk along Kamehameha Highway in Kaaawa early every morning. At this time of year, it’s dark when we leave, and it’s getting light by the time we get to the far end of Kaaawa. It’s a two lane road with shoulders that are narrow (if they exist at all). We try to be careful, cross the highway only when there are no cars, but are mindful that there have been similar accidents here as well.

And then there’s the dog. So very sad.