Maui residents and visitors, along with other Americans planned to gather at cemeteries, memorials and monuments nationwide to honor fallen military service members on Memorial Day, at a time when combat in Afghanistan approaches 12 years and the ranks of World War II veterans dwindles.
Across Maui, the state and the nation, state and U.S. flags will fly at half-staff until noon – then be raised to full-staff to show support for those still serving in harm’s way around the world.
On Maui the annual honoring of war fallen begins at 9:30 a.m. at Veterans Cemetery on Baldwin Avenue in Makawao today. The event draws military, community and political leaders and a huge throng of veterans dating back to World War II service. Speeches include the day’s keynote speaker, U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono. Music is always stirring at the Maui event, played by area high school orchestras. A 21-gun salute to the fallen is followed by the playing of Taps and a helicopter drop of thousands of red, white and blue carnations. Potluck lunch follows with typically amazing, locally-prepared food.
Veterans and volunteers have been preparing lei and flag presentations since Friday. Members of the vaunted 442 RCT from World War II will gather – for the first time – without fellow 442 member, the late U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye.
President Barack Obama was expected to lay a wreath today at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery across the Potomac River from Washington. Earlier in the morning, he and first lady Michelle Obama planned to host a breakfast at the White House with “Gold Star” families of service members who have been killed.
In one of several ceremonies honoring Americans killed in Afghanistan, the city of South Sioux City, Neb., planned to unveil a statue honoring Navy Petty Officer 1st Class John Douangdara, a dog handler for the SEALs killed in a 2011 helicopter crash. His service dog was also killed in the crash and is memorialized beside him in the statue.
At the American Airpower Museum on Long Island, N.Y., a program was planned to honor Women Air Service Pilots, or WASPs, who tested and ferried completed aircraft from factories to bases during World War II. Thirty-eight died during the war, including Alice Lovejoy of Scarsdale, N.Y., who was killed on Sept. 13, 1944, in a midair collision over Texas.
“It’s very important that we recognize not only their contribution to American history, but women’s history,” said Julia Lauria-Blum, curator of the WASP exhibit at the museum. “These women really blazed a path; they were pioneers for women’s aviation. And most important, they gave their lives serving their country and must be honored like anyone else on Memorial Day.”
Another wreath-laying ceremony was planned at Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island in New York City. The park is a tribute to President Roosevelt’s famous speech calling for all people to enjoy freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.
In Atlanta, a dedication of the History Center’s redone Veterans Park was scheduled for early evening. Soil from major battlefields will be scattered by veterans around the park’s flagpole.
In suburban Boston, veterans gathered in a park to mark Memorial Day this year rather than hold a parade because of failing health and dwindling numbers. The city of Beverly called off its parade because so few veterans would be able to march. The parade has been a fixture in the town since the Civil War.
The holiday weekend also marked the traditional start of the U.S. vacation season. AAA, one of the nation’s largest leisure travel agencies, expected 31.2 million Americans to hit the road over the weekend, virtually the same number as last year. Gas prices were about the same as last year, up 1 cent to a national average of $3.65 a gallon Friday.
On Maui, gas prices have inched back to $4.59 per gallon – the highest in the nation…again.
WAILUKU, Maui, Hawaii – Maui County Councilmember Michael Victorino late Friday announced he has proposed legislation granting a partial waiver of water system development fees to applicants added to the Upcountry water meter priority list between Nov. 1, 2001 and Oct. 5, 2012.
His proposal would give partial protection to approximately 1,250 additional applicants by granting them reduced fees for water meters on up to three lots. The fees for qualified applicants would be those in effect on Oct. 5, 2012 – the date on which higher fees were formally proposed to the Council.
Under Councilmember Victorino’s legislation, an applicant with appropriate status on the list who receives a 5/8-inch water meter would pay $6,030 instead of $12,060.
“It is only fair that the development fees in effect on Oct. 5, 2012 apply to applicants who were placed on the meter list between Nov. 1, 2001 and Oct. 5, 2012,” said Victorino, who chairs the Council’s Water Resources Committee.
“Those applicants have been waiting patiently for water meters and have sacrificed a great deal of time and money. They shouldn’t be penalized because the County wasn’t able to provide an adequate supply of water before the fees rose so significantly,” said Victorino.
Applicants for water meters who were on the Upcountry water meter priority list as of Oct. 31, 2001 are already shielded from any fee increase, based on a previously enacted ordinance, Councilmember Victorino said. He noted that about 250 applicants benefit from that provision.
The proposal is scheduled to be considered at the Council meeting on Tuesday, when the Fiscal Year 2014 budget will be heard on first reading. Water system development fees are set to double under the proposed budget, which takes effect July 1.
Visit www.MauiCounty.gov/councilmeeting to view the agenda.
“Ask the Mayor”
Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.
Q: When Tropic Care Maui County begins in June, will the program give me free health insurance?
A: No, it will not provide insurance. However, Tropic Care Maui County will offer free health care services by military personnel participating in a rapid deployment exercise. The free services will be performed at six locations throughout Maui County by approximately 400 uniformed personnel including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, ophthalmologists, dentists and others from active and reserved ranks of the armed forces from around the United States. The free health care services will include physical examinations, vision checks (and single-lens glasses), basic dental care and nutrition counseling, among others. The clinics will not accept advance appointments and participants will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis. Identification will not be required, and no fees will be charged. Non-citizens, individuals with no local address and those with no health insurance are welcome to attend. Please keep in mind that participants will probably need to wait in line, so come prepared with your own water, snacks, supplies and other comforts in case seating and shade are not available at a particular clinic. Tropic Care Maui County is a partnership between my office, the County of Maui, the State Dept. of Health, and the Innovative Readiness Training Program of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. For more information on locations, dates and times, visit www.mauicounty.gov/TropicCare or call 270-7855 and ask for the Tropic Care hotline.
Q: My question pertains to the maintenance of the roadway near the entrance to Lahaina. Who is responsible for maintaining the landscaping of the median of the highway and the 1 foot wide grass band between the sidewalk and road curb? And why are they doing such a terrible job? The ground cover is overgrown and trees require trimming. The grass band between sidewalk and curb is overgrown and full of weeds, with sections dead due to irrigation problems. Surely government planners knew that with this design, the area would require maintenance every week or two and made arrangements for this, correct?
A: The portion of Honoapiilani Highway you refer to belongs to, and is maintained by, the State Department of Transportation (DOT). DOT Highways has indicated that a contract will be finalized soon to provide
improved maintenance in the area.
Q: When will the Sakamoto Pool reopen?
A: The Coach Soichi Sakamoto Pool is scheduled to reopen at the end of June. An official announcement and exact date will be announced next month. Our Department of Parks & Recreation has done a great job repairing the pool and getting it back into shape.
Want to Ask the Mayor?
Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email: AskTheMayor@mauicounty.gov, phone: 270-7855 or mail: 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.
HONOLULU – In observance of Memorial Day, Gov. Neil Abercrombie has ordered that national and state flags be flown at half-staff at state offices and agencies as well as the Hawaii National Guard from sunrise to noon on Monday, May 27, 2013.
President Barack Obama today issued a proclamation declaring Memorial Day, May 27, 2013, “as a day of prayer for permanent peace” and requested that the governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, direct that the U.S. flag be flown at half-staff until noon, and for the people of the United States to display the flag at half-staff from their homes for the customary forenoon period.
The President also designated the hour beginning in each locality at 11 a.m. as a time to unite in prayer, and further asked all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance beginning at 3 p.m. local time.
Gov. Abercrombie will deliver the keynote address at the annual Governor’s Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery in Kaneohe.
The smile of Dr. Beach still shines on Hawai’i as well as the Sunshine State as three Florida beaches made his annual Top 10 beaches in the U.S. list. Likewise, three Hawai’i beaches also made the Top 10 – including spectacular Hamoa Beach near Hana, Maui.
Dr. Beach is Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman and he’s Director of Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research. He’s been doing the list for 23 years.
The top beach in the nation this year was Main Beach in East Hampton, New York.
The complete top 10 for 2013 is as follows:
— No. 1: Main Beach East Hampton, New York
— No. 2: Kahanamoku Beach Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii
— No. 3: St. George Island State Park Florida panhandle
— No. 4: Hamoa Beach, Maui, Hawaii
— No. 5: Waimanalo Bay Beach Park Oahu, Hawaii
— No. 6: Barefoot Beach Bonita Springs, Florida
— No. 7: Cape Florida State Park Key Biscayne, Florida
— No. 8: Cape Hatteras, Outer Banks of North Carolina
— No. 9: Coast Guard Beach Cape Cod, Massachusetts
— No. 10: Beachwalker Park Kiawah Island, South Carolina
A magnitude 8.2 earthquake rumbled off Russia’s east coast in the Sea of Okhotsk Thursday night.
The epicenter sits between Russia and Japan. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there is no Pacific wide tsunami generated.
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