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Tuesday, December 16, 2003



Lanakila rehab center
needs help after rains


Lanakila Rehabilitation Center is seeking help to replace about $110,000 in equipment damaged by heavy rains this month.

An office building, a storage building, vehicles and equipment were flooded after a blocked drainage ditch in Aliamanu caused water to rise to 4 feet deep on Dec. 7.

The water damaged a tractor, industrial power equipment, a wood chipper, two trucks and three vans, said Jimmy Wakafuji, Lanakila's director of asset management.

The private, nonprofit center's work-force program trains mentally and physically challenged adults to learn work skills and uses the equipment to maintain the grounds at Aliamanu Military Reservation.

Workers and client trainees have been using equipment borrowed from other sites to perform emergency cleanup.

"It puts a great strain on our other contract areas," Wakafuji said. "They'll fall behind on their work because we're pulling everything on that one site."

For example, the tractor has sweeper equipment, which cleans a concrete drainage canal. Without it, everything must be done by hand, Wakafuji said.

"Without the proper equipment, it makes their jobs a whole lot harder," he said.

Since the vehicles and equipment are older, Wakafuji doubts insurance will cover the replacement costs. New lawnmowers cost $20,000 each and a wood chipper costs $10,500.

The center is seeking donations of money or industrial yard service equipment. Those interested in donating can call Marlena Wilette 356-8572.

Donations are tax-deductible.

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