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Sen. Hirono day trips to Kaua‘i

LIHU‘E — Tuesday, Sen.Mazie K. Hirono squeezed out a short day trip to Kaua‘i with several stops, including the Wailua River Bridge Improvement project, a stop at the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i, and the Boys &Girls Club, Lihu‘e before leaving on an afternoon flight.

Work on the $55.7 million Wailua River Bridge project, with $44.6 million coming from the federal government, is scheduled to start this month and last until the end of 2024.

Constructed in 1945, the 424-foot-long bridge is supported by seven concrete piers that are supported by timber piles that were driven into the river more than seven decades ago, states the Department of Transportation.

The wooden piles will be replaced with reinforced concrete piles that are better suited to weathering from heavy rains and flooding.

“The last time I was on Kaua‘i was pre-Covid,” Hirono said, keeping an eye on the heavy contra-flow morning traffic. “It’s been a long time since I got to see Kaua‘i people. I love to meet with the people to see how they’re doing.”

How much pink salmon can you eat?

Hirono listened to Wes Perreira, the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i manager talk about food the senior citizens don’t really like, but get in the pre-packaged food boxes earmarked for the elderly residents.

Perreira provided fodder for Hirono’s upcoming meeting with the Department of Agriculture when he suggested that the food bank could use funds to purchase healthy food that seniors want in lieu of food that’s pre-packaged, and not always welcomed.

Tina Albao, the Boys &Girls Club Kaua‘i director, said she doesn’t recollect any visits from Sen. Hirono.

“I don’t think she’s come here,” Albao said, noting that Hirono and Sen. Brian Schatz co-authored a bill that would send funds for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and wrap-around after school services benefiting the Boys &Girls Club. “Sen. Schatz was here, earlier before COVID shut everything down.”

Hirono was attentive of the barrage of presentations and conversations with not just the Boys &Girls Club leadership, but from students who were enrolled in the program as she fielded questions from the students ranging from anti-bullying to sexual harassment, and the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning.

Hirono broke the serious discussions by suggesting she wanted to see some dance moves, a suggestion that was eagerly picked up by the more than 60 students at the B&G Lihu‘e Clubhouse.

Those moves would have to wait until a future visit by Hirono.
Source: The Garden Island

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