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Lawa‘i still cleaning up from flood debris

LAWAI — When 80-year-old Mrs. Scribner passed by the county-provided green waste dumpster on Sunday, the container was already full of branches and overgrowth in the Lawai Valley Estates.

Instead, she neatly deposited the handful of branches she had been carrying and continued to shuffle toward her home.

“She’s one of the residents who came to help,” said Judi Lenthall, a Lawai Valley Estates resident. “She worked hard on Saturday, just like the picture of the 86-year-old lady who was working in the ditch mud.”

Between 25 and 30 volunteers, including about a dozen from the U.S. Coast Guard came from as far away as Kapa‘a and toiled to clear the two ditches in the Lawai Valley Estates that were originally put in as drainage aids when the land was used for growing pineapples.

During the recent rains that caused flooding in Koloa and Hanalei, the drainage ditches in Lawai also overflowed its banks and caused flooding damage to homes in the Lawai Valley Estates. Some of the damage was severe enough that three homes were deemed uninhabitable, Lenthall said.

“One of those homes is a Coast Guard house where the USCG houses its personnel and their families when they rotate through Kaua‘i,” Lenthall said. “There are about seven Coast Guard houses in Lawai Valley Estates. All of the people in the unlivable houses have since moved out.”

One of the homes was damaged, not from any of the Lawai Valley Estate ditches, but from the ditch located above the subdivision that overflowed its banks and poured onto Kaumuali‘i Highway and damaged the Trading Post.

The flooding from the ditch overflows prompted the neighborhood-inspired and led cleanup effort that aimed to clear the many years of neglect to the ditches.

“I talked to the county about this,” Lenthall said. “They sent me to Allison Fraley, who offered us the use of green waste containers — as many as we need for as long as we need. She’s a real powerhouse.”

Beau Fernandez’s home was not one that was severely damaged.

“I’ve been here since 1984,” Fernandez said. “My father planted that lychee tree, and he was sampling some of the fruit before we had to cut it down.”

Unseen from any of the main streets through the subdivision, Lenthall said the volunteers have been working since the arrival of the first greenwaste containers on Thursday.

Her concern now is how to keep the ditches clear.
Source: The Garden Island

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