Maui crops are lost down storm drain
State officials are still compiling the level of damage in hopes of obtaining federal aid
» As HECO restores power, golfers decide to play on
KULA, Maui » Kula farmer Chauncy Monden estimates he lost more than $100,000 in crops and equipment in last week's storm -- one of the worst on the Valley Isle in 27 years.
"It just kind of wiped us out," said Monden, who grows strawberries, zucchini, corn and green onions.
Residents continued to mop up yesterday from the storm that dumped 14 inches of rain on Maui in three days, assessing the damage and wondering how they can rebuild their homes and businesses.
Maui County officials are still gathering information about the storm damage in hopes of receiving aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Several homes sustained damage, including one in the Waiohuli Hawaiian homestead area that was destroyed Wednesday when it was swept 100 feet by a flash flood, county officials said.
The flooding also took away soil from house lots and county parks and damaged at least three major segments of county water pipelines in Kula. The last waterline break in Kula was repaired yesterday. Water service remained out in the rural areas of Kanaio and Ulupalakua last night.
Classes resumed at Lahainaluna High School yesterday, after a 2 1/2-day shutdown mainly due to the lack of water service.
The sometimes cloudy weather with occasional rain has hampered drying in some areas of the Valley Isle.
Haleakala National Park roads have been cleared for visitors, but the facilities at the summit remain without power, and back-country trails have been closed due to severe storm damage, park officials said.
Other park facilities are opened, including the headquarters' restrooms and visitor center and Hosmer Grove campground and trail.
Several county facilities remain closed, including Baldwin Beach Park, Kalama Park, Keokea Park and Community Center, Kalepolepo Park, Waipuilani Park and Kamaole I and II beach parks on Maui. On Molokai the Kilohana Community Center was closed due to water-damaged electrical components.
While major sugar cane and pineapple growers reported little damage, a number of vegetable and herb farmers were hard hit by the high wind and heavy rain.
Maui County Farm Bureau president Warren Watanabe said some farms were severely affected by the weather. He said the bureau is working with government officials to assess the damage and hope to have an estimated total in farm losses by next week.
Among those affected by the storm were Tom and Shirley Watanabe of Watanabe Vegetable Processing Inc.
"Our product is history," said Shirley Watanabe. "We're trying to salvage something."
She said the family business also processes other farmers' produce, and the storm affected them as well.
Kula farmer Jack Banks Jr. said the storm, which at one point produced five inches of rain in an hour, caused at least $10,000 to $15,000 in damage. "This rain and wind set us back quite a bit," he said.
Banks said he was worried about the revenue shortfall he will experience in about six weeks and the possibility he will have to lay off employees. He said some of his field sustained significant erosion.
Farmer Edward Evonuk also estimated he lost about $10,000 worth of basil and lettuce crops because of the storm. "The storm essentially destroyed more than half of it," said Evonuk, of Kula.
Evonuk said his recovery will depend on the future weather. "If we get sunny weather, we can be back in production in a month from now. If we get another storm, it compounds the problems."
As HECO restores power, golfers decide to play on
Golfers were back on the course at Hawaii Country Club yesterday, but the clubhouse was without electric power for the sixth day.
The Kunia Road golf course is one of the last three Hawaiian Electric Co. customers to be without electricity since heavy wind and rain toppled power poles and lines Wednesday.
Power was restored yesterday to the last pocket of residential customers at Poamoho in Central Oahu, said HECO spokesman Darren Pai. A locked access gate to the area on former Kunia pineapple land kept HECO crews from restoring power Sunday, he said.
The electric company brought in an emergency generator to Hawaii Country Club yesterday. Club general manager Karen Maddox said the generator is keeping the pro shop open, and the food service vendor used a generator to keep refrigeration units in service.
"They're bringing in cold sandwiches" because the kitchen is closed. With no electricity, the golf course's water pumping system is not working, so they had to bring in water to use in the toilets, she said.
The golf club is used mostly by local residents, and they are taking the hardships in stride, Maddox said. The course was reopened Sunday after crews spent two days clearing debris, including toppled trees and fallen fences.
Pai said they expect power to be restored today to the golf club, a seed farm operation and a Board of Water Supply station.