Mourn for the tree
A small community in a picturesque part of Puna is in shock, reeling from the loss of a majestic monkeypod tree, its lacy leaves and 100-foot-tall branches having graced this area for decades.
It was cut down and reduced to chips on conservation land, where the road meets the sea in Opihikao, along Highway 137, locally called the Red Road.
The property owner wanted to build, as the law allows. Since this is conservation land, he needed to consult the Department of Land and Natural Resources about his plans to clear the area of this expansive monkeypod tree. The DLNR’s policy is to encourage the removal of “invasive” species, so the property owner had the green light to cut it down.
You would think that the purpose of having conservation lands was to protect our precious natural resources, such as beautiful trees like this monkeypod. But to the DLNR, non-native species are all invasive, and therefore have no resource value.
Monkeypod trees are now defined as invasive, regardless of their beauty, or how many people value and enjoy them. It is a black and white judgment, prejudicial against non-natives, made by bureaucrats in Honolulu, and affecting people, plants and animals throughout the islands.
Residents watched in horror, crying for their loss, some wanting to chain themselves to the tree to save it from destruction. But the die was cast.
Now, sunshine beats down on this sleepy shoreline stretch of road where had once been a muted shadow from this fine tree. It looks like a big piece has been removed from a jigsaw puzzle of a tropical paradise.
A nearby monkeypod, an equal companion of the one just killed, stands nearby. Residents pray for its survival past this time of destructive environmentalism.
Sydney Ross Singer
No ‘butts’ on beaches
My name is William Coppernoll, and I am a Boy Scout from Troop 135 on Hickam Air Force Base.
I am working on my communications merit badge, and one of my requirements is to right a letter to a newspaper editor.
I am really happy about the new law that you can’t smoke on beaches. It smells really bad, is bad for your health, and it is really nasty to find cigarette butts in the sand.
Thank you for editing the newspaper, and thank you for reading this.