Kokua Line

Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Wednesday, March 24, 1999

Cutting trees
helped renew
taro patch

Question: Who authorized the cutting of all the trees on the site of the Hawaiian language immersion school in Palolo Valley? It looks like they are cutting down every tree in sight. I complained to the police department, and they investigated and reported they were just going to cut down a few trees to make way for a garden. But this has been going on now for three months. The area now is just bare vegetation.

Answer: About seven large trees were cut back last summer to allow sunlight to filter in on old taro patches being restored by students and the community, said Lani Kapololu, principal of Kula Kaiapuni 'O Anuenue.

The Hawaiian language immersion school occupies the former Anuenue School buildings in the back of Palolo Valley and is part of the state Department of Education. Professional trimmers were hired to do the job, Kapololu said.

That was the last time any large trees -- many of which turned out to be termite-ridden -- were cut, she said. The healthy wood from those trees was cured and used to make poi boards, she added.

The area in question, on the Ewa/mauka corner of the school property along Pukele Stream, was overgrown with bushy hau trees. The hau trees were cut back to protect the school fence, Kapololu said. That led to the discovery of rock walls along the stream. The school asked a kupuna (Hawaiian elder) to study the walls and was told the area once sustained taro lo'i.

Recently, more hau brush and tall grasses have been cleared away, but there is no denuding of the area, Kapololu said. Instead, in addition to the restoration of seven taro patches, indigenous plants and trees have been planted, and benches set under a large tree to serve as a gathering spot for students and visitors, she said.

"Our middle-school children are working on the restoration of the taro patches as part of their science and social studies classes," Kapololu said. "We are also in partnership with many other schools, who come over to help us maintain the taro patches," including students from the University of Hawaii, Kapiolani Community College, Mid-Pacific Institute and Maryknoll Schools, as well as members of a Palolo community group.

Kapololu said if you have any questions or concerns, call her at 733-8465.


Q: A while back, you had an item about relocating utility poles along Farrington Highway while the road is widened. It would seem that's a perfect time to put the wires underground, safe from water, careening cars and eventual replacement. Why aren't they putting them underground?

A: Basically, because it costs too much, said Keith Kamisugi, spokesman for GTE Hawaiian Tel.

Also, while not every project translates into an increased cost to consumers, the cost of underground lines would have to be prorated among all customers, not just those living in the area, Kamisugi said.



To all the wonderful people who helped my wife when her car overturned on Kalanianaole Highway on Feb. 24. Thankfully, she was not injured, but that was not apparent to the people who responded. We appreciate the heroic deeds of the emergency medical crew and the fire department, especially the man who lifted my wife out of the car and the woman who comforted her and helped her regain her focus after a very traumatic experience. We wish we had the opportunity to thank you personally. -- Robert R. Kessler, Commander, USN Retired

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fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
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