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Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Tuesday, February 6, 2001


Firecrackers at Heco
plant caused panic
at pet clinic

Question: Can you help prevent an occurrence that's happened every year for the past three years? At the Hawaiian Electric power plant in Waiau, employees set off a string of fireworks at the plant again, well before Dec. 31. The plant is near my Leeward Pet Clinic and not only is it hazardous just because of where it is taking place, but also it sent the sick and boarded pets at my clinic into a panic. Since the incident, I've called Hawaiian Electric, the police, the Fire Department, the Humane Society, and the mayor's office, and nothing gets done. I want this prevented from happening again. The perpetrators should be disciplined. Can you help?

Answer: Hawaiian Electric confirmed that fireworks were set off at its Waiau facility on Dec. 29. Heco spokesman Fred Kobashikawa apologized for any anxiety that caused you and your clinic.

"Any use of fireworks on company property is strictly prohibited and we are determined to identify the person(s) responsible," he said.

Heco officials have been in contact with police and fire officials and Kobashikawa promised Heco would keep you informed of its investigations.

"This kind of behavior is not acceptable and we intend to take appropriate actions to stop this activity," he said.

Auwe

From the middle of Mililani, looking west toward the Waianae Mountains, every day for about 10 days, there were bright plumes of smoke. We were told it was an agricultural burn, that Del Monte was burning Field No. 1. It is incomplete combustion and creating great clouds of smoke. It's a real community disservice. -- D.D.

We asked Del Monte to respond to your complaint and to explain the process of its field burns, which, it says, happens only once every four years, to coincide with the growing cycle for pineapples.

"Given the comparatively high cost of farm land in Hawaii, it is essential to 'quick cycle' our fields in an effort to compete against foreign producers," a spokesman said. "This is accomplished with some burning before replanting."

Del Monte takes several steps to mitigate the direct impact of the burning on immediate neighbors, "including slow, smaller-scale burns," he said.

The size and location of fields where burning takes place is "constantly evaluated to avoid direct impact to others," he said.

The state Health Department also "stringently regulates the activity," he noted, requiring Del Monte to meet conditions set in a permit and monitoring specific activities, such as a "no burn day" prior to the scheduled burning.

Del Monte also monitors meteorological conditions, stopping burning if conditions change; and has "extensive fire management teams" on site, he said.

Del Monte hopes that neighbors like you "can balance their judgment of burning a field once every four years with the green, wide-open spaces and sense of 'country' those same fields provide," he said.

Mahalo

To Ben and his family, who stopped to help me do a speedy tire change when I had a blowout on Moanalua Highway as I was taking my daughter to Tripler Army Medical Center on Friday, Jan. 5. My spare was almost flat, so Ben took my wife and daughter to Tripler in his van. I "limped" to Rex Tire & Supply in Mapunapuna, where Craig Nakamura personally did a speedy repair, enabling me to join my family at Tripler.

Mahalo nui loa, guys. My daughter's OK now and you are what Hawaii is all about. -- Larry Esheleman





Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Email to kokualine@starbulletin.com




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