‘Taking back the community’

WAIMEA — Joanne Watanabe of Kekaha said they are taking back the community, Tuesday near the Gulick house in Waimea.

“There are a group of men out there working with chain saws,” Watanabe said in a phone conversation. “They’re working to clear that overgrown lot. Craig Snyder, the youth minister for the Waimea United Church of Christ, lives across the street from the lot and is leading the effort.”

Snyder is working with the agriculture students at Waimea High School who recently put in a variety of plants to landscape the area behind the Gulick house.

“But the lot is overgrown and a haven for drug dealers,” Snyder said. “I live across the street and I can see them do it. We need to clean the place so this type of activity doesn’t happen — especially so close to a school.”

Watanabe said they have been trying to contact Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. as well as Theresa Koki of the Life’s Choices program under the mayor’s office about the group’s efforts.

Aletha Kaohi of the West Kauai Visitor Center said the property is owned by the Kikiaola Land Company, and the group must have secured permission to proceed with the work.

“They were trying to get the school students to help as well,” Kaohi said. “But Wednesday is the first day of spring break so I doubt any students will come out.”

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