Finish Saddle Road
The newly christened Daniel K. Inouye Highway is a huge improvement over the old Saddle Road — 40.27 miles out of 45.97 miles have been upgraded to federal highway standards. The remaining 5.7 mile-stretch, which is located above Hilo, is on hold.
The acquisition of the right of way is stalled, and there isn’t any funding allocated for this phase. Both of these facets go hand and hand. This project can’t be funded unless the right of way is fully acquired.
The Hawaii Department of Transportation asked the Land Transportation Division of the state Attorney General’s Office to start condemnation proceedings against the three holdout landowners in 2012. The AG’s office hasn’t heeded the DOT’s request except to ask for more information in July 2013.
I’m deeply frustrated by the lack of urgency in this matter. The last Daniel K. Inouye Highway phase should be on a fast-track, but its stuck in bureaucratic hell instead. The Department of Transportation needs to expedite the land acquisition so this much-needed project can proceed and Sen. Inouye’s vision fulfilled.
My wife and I were fortunate to be in attendance for a concert in Waimea on Nov. 10 given by Honokaa’s High School Jazz Band.
In my over 40 years in education as a teacher, principal and superintendent, I have attended many school concerts. This one was exceptional. The focus, passion, talent and community spirit were impressive. A commitment to excellence on the students’ part and their teacher’s part was apparent. Integrating guitar, violin and the variety of percussion instruments was especially powerful. The choices and variety of music was also delightful.
For a high school of roughly 350 students, I was expecting no more than 10 who would have the talent and dedication that was demonstrated. To see nearly 30 young people work together was impressive. They have not only attained a high level of musical skill, but also have learned about geography, math, culture and history. I hope they realize that they could not have done this without an exceptional teacher.
Mr. Gary Washburn is a master of music who has the ability to communicate those skills and a love of music to his students. That he chose a career in public school teaching, when he so clearly could have done many other things, is a credit to him and a gift of aloha to Honoka‘a and the students he serves. His passion for music, his understanding of students as individuals, and his ability to connect the two, make him a master teacher.
It would be wonderful if all schools understood the importance of music and were lucky enough to hire such a talented teacher. For any of these students who want to follow in his footsteps, they could not have a better example. The world needs more Mr. Washburns.
John M. Daggett
Former superintendent, Ashland Public Schools