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Cleaning up after the rains

WAIPOULI — Healing Horses Executive Director Samantha Henriques was hoping for a break in the weather Sunday as she led a group of several dozen volunteers through the various mounds of hidden opala at the Healing Horses facility located adjacent to Kuhio Highway across from the Coconut Marketplace.

“If the weather holds up for at least a couple more hours we can get some work done,” she said. “Who would’ve thought we would be having all this weather when we planned it?”

The Healing Horses community work day was just one of several cleanup efforts taking place following the overnight storm Sunday that spawned flood warnings from the National Weather Service.

“We gotta cut it up so people can pass,” said Sonny Ibaan of the county’s Department of Parks &Recreation as he fired up his gas-powered chain saw on South Leho Drive just north of the Wailua Golf Course. “We saw this tree (and lots of broken coconut fronds) on the way to work.”

The fallen tree blocked a portion of Leho Drive northbound.

County officials added that the Department of Public Works Roads Division removed mud and a boulder off Akemama Road in Lawa‘i.

Officials also advise the public to stay off the Waimea swinging bridge until crews finish assessing the extent of its damage from the storm.

“There was a lot of wind when the thunder and lightning hit around 5 a.m.,” said Mike Rosa, a Healing Horses volunteer manning a tractor.

“You could feel the whole house shake,” said Henriques. “And did you see the utility pole near the former Cost-U-Less? It’s flattened.”

The NWS reported that Mt. Wai‘ale‘ale rain gauges reported 3.34 inches of rain, with the bulk of it, 3.25 inches, falling Sunday morning. That was the highest rainfall for Kaua‘i registered. Hanalei reported 1.50 inches, all falling in the early Sunday morning hours, and Hanapepe reported 1.79 inches.

Henriques said trash has been accumulating on the Healing Horses property for many years.

“There are guard rails back there,” Henriques said. “This was a Hale Kaua‘i bulk-concrete plant at one time, and there are all kinds of concrete piles, and even portions of highway. We’ve gotten some debris from Hurricane ‘Iniki, even a complete house that’s caved-in, and all kinds of stuff.”

Getting to the point of the community work day has taken a long time.

“All of this has to be properly disposed of before the heavy machinery can come in,” Henriques said. “Mr. Farias has started to work on the area, but you know what happens when a shredder finds a mounted wheel? The shredder gets destroyed. It took us more than two years to get funding for new fencing, a Mule and the tractor so we could prepare for the heavy machinery to work. The ultimate goal is to get this area so it’s safe for horses.”

Future workdays are planned.

The NWS forecasts a gradual drying trend starting today, with winds becoming light. These light winds will combine with a stable island atmosphere by midweek, with fewer showers expected.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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