comscore Vandals hit irrigation system, harming trees along Ala Wai
Kokua Line

Vandals hit irrigation system, harming trees along Ala Wai

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Question: The palm trees lining Ala Wai Boulevard are dying! Several have been removed already and numerous others are withering. Word is that the contractor who replaced the sidewalk along the canal drove heavy machinery over the irrigation pipes and broke the irrigation system. The Ala Wai corridor is a major transit street for visitors and kamaaina alike. Loss of all the palms will seriously degrade the views and leave the canal looking like just what it is — a polluted drainage ditch. What can the city do to save these palms and replace the ones lost already?

Answer: The city hopes to save the remaining 187 coconut palms on the canal side of Ala Wai Boulevard with watering from tanker trucks, as well as manual watering, until damaged irrigation pipes are repaired.

The exact number of palms that had to be removed because of the broken irrigation system was not given, but we’re told it was fewer than 20.

Although the irrigation system was damaged as a result of sidewalk repairs made by crews from the city Department of Facility Maintenance, vandalism is considered the major factor, said city administration spokeswoman Louise Kim McCoy.

Repairs along the Ala Wai were done "some time ago" to address "voids" beneath the sidewalk. Those voids caused sinkholes to form in the grassy area.

However, pipes that were broken as part of the sidewalk work were immediately repaired and did not contribute to bald spots in the grass or to the dying palm trees, Kim McCoy said.

Instead, frequent vandalism is being blamed.

Nearby residents have reported seeing homeless people who sleep in the area break irrigation valves, kick sprinkler heads and remove water valve box covers and toss them into the canal, Kim McCoy said.

That has necessitated numerous repairs to broken sprinkler heads, risers, pipes and valves, as well as missing valve boxes and valve covers, she said.

The city hopes to reduce the vandalism by adjusting the sprinkler times — basically to not wet the homeless when they’re in the area — while repairs will be made as staff resources become available, she said.

"We are also looking into selecting more sturdy and appropriate plants or trees for this particular area."

Question: Do you have the name and address of the woman who collects Christmas cards every year? I send mine to her every January, but I can’t find my clipping on where to send them.

Answer: Merlinda Oania is the Waipahu Intermediate School teacher who collects the fronts of greeting cards — expanded from only Christmas cards to include other occasions — so her students can make booklets for hospitalized children at Shriners and Ronald McDonald’s house.

Send the cards to her at 98-596 Kaimu Loop, Aiea, HI 96701 (phone 486-0236).


To Naomi T., an angel, for her act of kindness. In December, I went to my beautician in Waipahu for a haircut. When she was done, I searched my handbag for my car keys. At the moment I realized my keys were probably (locked) in my car, Naomi, a friend of my beautician, came by to drop off a package. She saw that my keys were left on the driver’s seat and immediately offered to take me to my home in Pearl City to pick up my spare keys and drive me back to Waipahu. She had a meeting scheduled a half-hour later and ended up being late, but still took the time to help me. — Grateful in Pearl City


Write to "Kokua Line" at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or e-mail

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