Season’s Greetings from Maile & Keani

Season’s Greetings from Maile, Keani, and ‘ohana. Photo courtesy of Westside Stories. Click image to enlarge.

Keala Nunuha Named a Complex Area Teacher of the Year 2021

Keala Nunuha, Nānāikapono Elementary, Nānākuli-Waiʻanae Complex Hawaii DOE 2021 State Teacher of the Year

Keala Nunuha: “I want to impact students the same way my elementary teachers impacted me. There is no greater way to show my gratitude for them and their work but to show how much I am #PublicSchoolProud by continuing to educate the children of Nanaikapono Elementary School.”

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) will celebrate its 15 Complex Area Teachers of the Year and the Charter School Teacher of the Year in a virtual ceremony Friday. During the event, one outstanding educator will be named HIDOE’s 2021 Hawaii State Teacher of the Year and will go on to represent Hawai‘i in the National Teacher of the Year Program. The winner will also receive awards by Servco Pacific and Hawaiian Electric Co.

What: 2021 State Teacher of the Year Virtual Award Ceremony
Where: Hawaii State Department of Education Facebook Live
When: Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, at 3 p.m

SA: ‘Affordable rentals for Hawaiians to rise in Moiliili’

By Andrew Gomes, 10/5/20

A 23-story apartment tower is slated to rise on the former Stadium Bowl-O-Drome site in Moiliili, providing affordable rentals for 277 Native Hawaiian households.

The plan was recently selected by the state Department of Hawaiian Homes Lands, which owns the 1.9-acre site at 820 Isenberg St. and last year solicited proposals from private developers to produce what would be the agency’s first high-rise rental housing project serving beneficiaries.

DHHL determined that a partnership between local homebuilder Stanford Carr Development and contractor Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co. offered the best plan over four other competing proposals.  Continue reading

Rent Assistance for Those at Risk of Eviction

Rent Relief & Housing Assistance Program

Are you a renter experiencing a reduction of income and now facing eviction as a result of COVID-19? This program may be for you. For eligible renters:

Monthly rent payments of up to $2,000 per household residing in the City and County of Honolulu, or $1,500 per household residing in the Counties of Hawaii, Maui or Kauai.

Any applicable financial counseling and assistance with rent payment plans or rent negotiation.

Applications for assistance are currently being accepted for rent payments due between August 1 and December 28, 2020.

The Rent Relief and Housing Assistance Program will end on December 28, 2020.

Residents in HPHA public housing or Section 8 program are not eligible.

Purpose: The purpose of the State of Hawaii’s Rent Relief and Housing Assistance Program is to provide assistance to renters who have experienced or are facing a reduction in income because of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and are at risk of eviction. The program provides renters with monthly rent, as well as financial counseling. Funded by a portion of the Federal CARES Act, the program is administered by nonprofit partners Catholic Charities Hawaii and Aloha United Way.


RRHAP FAQs 9.8.20 KM – HHFDC Rent Relief and Housing Assistance Program FAQs (as of September 4, 2020)

RRHAP news release 9.8.20 KM – Governor Ige Announces Rent Relief and Housing Assistance Program

HHFDCflyer-r11 – Has Your Income Been Impacted by COVID-19? You May Be Eligible for Rent Relief

HHFDC_Support Letter Template 9.5.20KM – [MS Word Document] HHFDC Rent Relief and Housing Assistance Program Support Letter Template to get the word out (as of September 4, 2020)

Program Overview 9.8.20 KM – Rent Relief and Housing Assistance Program: Overview

Renew by Mail Driver’s License Expiring in 2020

Kokua Line: Renewing driver’s license by mail still an option for some motorists
Christine Donnelly, Star-Adv, 7/31/20

Question: Now that the DMV has reopened by appointment, is renewing your license by mail still an option? Or was that only while the DMV was closed?

Answer: Yes, renewing a Hawaii’s driver’s license by mail is still an option, but only for certain motorists — as was also the case during the pandemic closure of Oahu’s driver’s license offices and satellite city halls. As you noted, they have reopened, by appointment only.

Here are the requirements and process for driver’s licenses issued in Honolulu County, according to the Department of Customer Services:

>> Eligibility: A Hawaii driver’s license expiring in 2020 may be eligible for renewal by mail if it was issued on or after May 1, 2014; all of the applicant’s required documents and proof of legal U.S. presence are already on file with the DMV; the applicant has no previously reported medical conditions requiring secondary clearance; and there are no “stoppers” on the license.

>> Process: Even applicants who are sure they are eligible must confirm their status with the city before actually submitting a renewal application.

To confirm eligibility, send a letter requesting to renew your Hawaii Driver License. The letter must contain the following information, and should be submitted no earlier than six months before the expiration date printed on your license:

>> Name as it appears on the license

>> Mailing address associated with the credential

>> Social Security Number (last four digits) or Hawaii Driver License number

>> Date of birth

>> Email address

>> Applicant’s Signature

Submit your dated and signed letter:

>> By mail to: Driver License Section, P.O. Box 30340, Honolulu, HI 96820-0340

>> By email to:

>> By fax to: 768-9096

Once the department receives the request, it will review your eligibility and respond accordingly. If you are eligible, you’ll receive a renewal packet by mail or email with detailed instructions. Complete and return the forms as instructed.

The department emphasizes that this process does not apply to people with temporary lawful status in the United States, or to those who have pending compliance issues in other jurisdictions (“stoppers”), or who have a previously reported medical condition that requires re-evaluation for public safety.

Find more information on the department’s website, at

Hawaii’s Coming Covid Eviction Crisis – 28 July 2020 – 9AM

Please join us for a live conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning sociologist Matthew Desmond.

The Coming COVID Eviction Crisis and How to Stop It

Tuesday, July 28, 2020
9:00 a.m. (HST)
A Free Zoom Event

Hawai‘i residents have long struggled with the elevated cost of housing and high rates of homelessness. Now the COVID-19 recession is pressing more households to the edge. Join us to explore the connections between poverty and housing policy and to find out what we can do to prevent a surge of evictions.  Continue reading

Moonlight Mele Free Livestream – 2 July 2020 at 3pm







Please use the link below to click “Going” in the Facebook Event on the Hawaii Theatre Facebook Page, and you’ll receive a reminder when the concert starts.  If you’re not able to tune in at 3pm, we’ll have a link to a recording of the video for you to enjoy at a later time on our Facebook Page, so be sure to “Like” our page if you haven’t already.  If you’re not on Facebook, we’ve added a YouTube live stream for you to watch as well!

World Oceans Day Free Online 6/13/20, 3-5PM

A Hawaiian green sea turtle and monk seal rest in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Papahanau­mokuakea Marine National Monument. COURTESY MARK SULLIVAN / NOAA

[Mindy Pennybacker, Star-Advertiser, 6/13/20)] – Today from 3 to 5 p.m., Oahu’s Ko Olina Resort, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the City and County of Honolulu Storm Water Quality Branch and community groups, is hosting:

WHAT: Free online to celebrate World Oceans Day
WHEN: Jun 13, 2020, from 3 to 5 p.m.
WHERE: On Facebook page of Oiwi TV

Viewers can learn about sea turtles and other marine life, interact live with a NOAA scientist, take an art lesson from renowned Hawaii artist Patrick Ching, do some cooking and be entertained by Kimie Miner, Nathan Aweau, Paula Fuga, Kawika Kahiapo and others. Continue reading

Haleakala National Park Internship Deadline 6/15/20

Kupu, an environmental nonprofit organization, is accepting applications for a yearlong internship at Haleakala National Park on Maui.

Applicants for the E Ola Koa internship are preferably college students or recent graduates. They must be available to work full-time and will work in the following programs: Wildlife Management, Vegetation Management and Interpretation and Education.

Graduating interns may be eligible for an award that can be applied to tuition and student loans.

Applications are due June 15 and can be completed at .

Waianae Elem Principal Wins $25,000 Tokioka Award

Principal Ray Pikelny, Waianae Elementary

Principal Ray Pikelny, who has turned Waianae Elementary into a thriving hub of learning and caring in just three years, has won the $25,000 Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership award.

The Island Insurance Foundation presents the prize annually to a principal who is “visionary, community-minded and has an entrepreneurial spirit.” It announced her selection Wednesday.

Before Pikelny arrived in 2017, Waianae Elementary had churned through three principals and six vice principals in three years — and a quarter of its teachers left the school each year.

She worked to build a positive school culture and trusting relationships among staff, students, families and community partners, according to her colleagues. The school now has a committed leadership team and teacher turnover is less than 10% annually.

“Ray Pikelny is a leader through and through,” Melanie Pokakaa, grade level chairwoman at the school, wrote in a letter of recommendation. “Through her persistence and ability to motivate and develop a deep sense of pride in others as well as a strong sense of unity, she is transforming a school in ways that some may not have believed possible.”

“Her vision focuses on instilling a love for learning and growth in all involved, ranging from students to faculty and staff to community,” Pokakaa added. “She intently listens to our concerns and suggestions, always looking for ways to address those needs without deviating from a focus on learning.”

A campus that once was deserted as soon as the final bell rang at 2:10 p.m. now buzzes with activity. Pikelny worked with educational assistants to create an after- school enrichment program that reflects student interests. It includes a media program, music, dance, art, entrepreneurship, cooking club, spring musical, sports and tutoring.

She mobilized community partners to revitalize the school’s garden, in a vivid demonstration to students that “even something once damaged can be restored with love, purpose, resilience and teamwork,” Pokakaa wrote.

Pikelny is now leading an effort to create a Thinkers Space, or Learning Center, on the campus. It will include a maker space, media center, robotics lab and library, made possible by a $100,000 donation from an alumnus of Waianae Elementary.

Sixth grader Mona Liza Rapun credited her principal with making school exciting with so many activities and changing her outlook as a student.

“The first time I met Mrs. Pikelny is when I got in trouble and went to Mrs. Pikelny’s office,” Mona recounted. “My first impression of her was that she was really kind, calm and caring.”

The principal encouraged her to take part in the school’s musical play and also a summer program where she learned about leadership.

“As a student and as a person, I have learned not to worry about what others say about me and to always try to be the best that I can be and be proud of who I am,” she wrote. “They taught me how to be a leader and to stand for what’s right. That’s how I became student council president.”

Aware of students’ needs at home, Pikelny established a food pantry on campus in partnership with Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center and the Hawaii Food Bank. It became a model for other public schools, according to Sheldon Konno, vice principal of Nanakuli Elementary.

A former vice principal at Waianae High, Pikelny has hired qualified staff from the area and uses newsletters and social media to stay in touch with her community and share what’s happening at the school.

“From teachers to part-time employees, the school has now become part of the community and the community became part of the school,” Konno said.

The Masayuki Tokioka prize, which is named after the founder of Island Insurance Co., comes in two parts: a $10,000 cash award for the principal and $15,000 for a school project of her choice.

Pikelny plans to use the project money to set up a school-led credit union with “SWIM” currency that students earn for good behavior and good citizenship. It also aims to teach financial management and literacy to students and their parents. Students may redeem the currency for items or tickets to special activities designed by the Student Council or teachers.

“Principal Pikelny is a leader who is transforming Waianae Elementary into a model learning institution,” said Tyler Tokioka, president of Island Insurance Foundation. “By recognizing outstanding principals such as Ray, it is our hope that her accomplishments will inspire others in public education.”

For more, including the list of semifinalists and nominees, read the original article at the Star-Advertiser.

UH Community Colleges Oʻahu Virtual Job Fair 2020 May 18-21

The first ever Oʻahu University of Hawaiʻi Community Colleges Virtual Job Fair is scheduled for Monday May 18 through Thursday, May 21. It is open to all students, faculty and staff from Honolulu Community College, Kapiʻolani Community College, Leeward Community College and Windward Community College.

Visit the Oʻahu UH Community Colleges Virtual Job Fair website for:

  • A list of employers in attendance
  • Access to exclusive webinars and resources, such as resume reviews, to help prepare for the fair
  • Registration using your email by Monday, May 18

This event is an opportunity to learn more about career paths from hiring professionals, build relationships with employers and find part-time and full-time jobs in a variety of industries that are hiring now. Featured industries include: Environmental conservation and management, healthcare, finance, public service, technology and transportation.

In preparation for the fair, technical support is being offered on Friday, May 15, on a drop-in basis 1–5 p.m. This is an opportunity to get answers to any questions about using Zoom or about the virtual booth experience. Zoom information for the virtual job fair will be provided upon registration. Other questions and answers may be on the FAQs or contact

Native Hawaiians Eligible for Rental Assistance During COVID-19 Crisis

Eleni Gill, “Native Hawaiians Eligible For Rental Assistance During COVID-19 Crisis,” CB, 5/11/20.

Applicants must be on the Department of Hawaiian Homelands waitlist for housing lots.

Native Hawaiians who have lost their jobs and income due to COVID-19 may qualify for as much as six months of rental assistance under a new state program.

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands program will be administered by Aloha United Way.

Applicants must be Native Hawaiian and on DHHL’s waitlist for housing. To qualify, families must have a household income that doesn’t exceed 80% of the federal median income. If approved, they’ll receive funds for a security deposit and rent for up to six months.

DHHL is preparing to offer 1,300 lots over the next five years to eligible families, according to William Aila, Jr., the chairman of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

“We hope the relief program will keep families in a position where they’ll be ready to take those 1,300 lots when they become available,” he said at a press conference Monday.

The agency has also offered financial assistance for mortgage payments during the pandemic.

Norm Baker, interim Aloha United Way President and CEO, estimated that 2,500 households will be saved from eviction.

“Of course if the family’s income is zero, as in many of the situations that we have today, the department through Aloha United Way will cover the entire security deposit as well as rent for up to six months,” Aila said.

Applications must include two months of the most recent pay stubs, bank statements, rental and lease documents, two years of tax documents, and proof that their unemployment was caused by COVID-19.

Those interested in applying should call Aloha United Way’s 2-1-1 hotline to see if they’re eligible.

The COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program includes a total of $7 million in Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant (NHHBG) funds from the federal government.

The funds are approved under the Native Hawaiian Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) and other federal laws, Aila said.

In Hawaii, about 13% of coronavirus cases involve Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islander communities. Together, they represent 10% of the population when people of more than one race are excluded.

While Hawaii seems to have flattened the curve of the rate of COVID-19 infection, its unemployment rate has grown from 3% to more than 35% and is now considered the highest in the nation.

For the full story, go to the Civil Beat site.




Kupuna Quarantine Shed for DHHL Properties

Kauai: These Small Sheds May Soon Shelter Quarantined Family Members

Residents of Department of Hawaiian Home Lands properties are eligible for the new program, which aims to alleviate overcrowding in many homes.

Kupuna Quarantine Shed

By Allan Parachini, Civil Beat, 4/5/20

EXCERPTS (read the full article here):

– The project is the latest step to help Native Hawaiians counter the crisis by the Homestead Community Development Corp., with offices here and in Honolulu. The corporation will be offering below-market-rate financing for people who want to build the quarantine structures, which will cost between $2,000 and $7,500 depending on the design. Some may be basic boxes. Others may have windows and one design even has a sliding glass door.

– Payment plans will be offered that range from $90 per month spread over two years to $183 per month when spread over 48 months. Only residents of Department of Hawaiian Home Lands properties are eligible for the loan and construction program.

– [Robin Danner, CEO of the organization] said loan decisions will not be based on credit scores. “I want to say to our homestead families this is not the time to question what you assume your credit score to be. Let us worry about that. This is not the time to deny your elders a quarantine unit because you’re afraid you won’t qualify for a loan.”

– The structures are square, with pitched roofs. They are designed to house people in the short term but could be repurposed for storage once the COVID-19 danger has passed. The sheds are about 8-feet square and small enough that they fall below the minimum size for which a building permit is required.

– The projects are intended to be do-it-yourself affairs. Loan recipients will receive a list of tools and materials they will need, as well as a manual to walk them through the construction. Danner said the development corporation hopes to work with Honsador Lumber to obtain favorable pricing for materials, which mostly consist of plywood, 2-by-4s and roofing shingles.

– [Robin Danner, CEO of the organization] said loan customers will not be required to use Homestead Community Development Corp. plans or buy materials through the organization. She said an initial $200,000 in seed capital has already been raised and that development corporation staff members will be trained in processing loan applications, which could start moving through the process on Monday.

Sen. Shimabukuro Interviewed re Waianae Inter. Violence 2/24/20

School violence data shows areas of persistent trouble
by Gina Mangieri
KHON2, Feb 24, 2020

The stabbings at Mililani High School on Monday happened at a campus that has a relatively low rate of both violent and disciplinary incidents. Always Investigating and dug into the data for a statewide perspective.

The Mililani incident shows that safety issues can and do happen anywhere, while campuses with continually higher rates of violence continue to struggle.

Always Investigating worked for months to get school-by-school numbers from the Department of Education about both serious violence, as well as bullying and misconduct, for every public school campus.

According to the last complete school year’s data, there were nearly 4,000 “Class a” violence incidents statewide. These are things like assault, fighting, terroristic threatening and sexual offenses.

There were an average 15 Class A offenses reported per school for 2018-19, a range of none for many schools, and as high as 201 — the equivalent of more than 1 every school day. Mililani High School is below average for Class A’s with only 8 reported last school year.

There were more than 3,100 “Class B” incidents statewide for 2018-19, things like bullying, cyberbullying, disorderly conduct and hazing. There were an average of 12 per campus, and a range of none to 161. Mililani High School reported just two of those last school year.

Nonetheless, lawmakers still have questions for the DOE.

“We will be looking at this incident closely and talking with the principal, parents and Department of Education staff to see if there is anything that could have been done to prevent this attack or incidents like this in the future,” Rep. Justin Woodson, the chairman of the state House Education Committee, told KHON2..

Taking statewide Class A and B offense numbers together, the campuses with the highest counts in 2018-19 were mostly middle schools, and Waianae Intermediate School had the highest count: 293 in just one school year, followed by Waipahu Intermediate (247), Campbell High School (235), Kalama Intermediate (198), and Keaau Middle (181).

“We definitely need to do everything we can as a state to put more resources toward Waianae Intermediate School,” said Sen. Maile Shimabukuro, who represents the Waianae area in the state Senate.

Shimabukuro says she hopes things like the new higher teacher pay in this and other hard-to-staff regions, and more onsite resources such as truancy court, a mental and physical health clinic, even schoolwide air conditioning will make a difference in temperament.

“I hope we’re going to start to see this reverse,” Shimabukuro said, “and just know that the community really is trying to come together to address the problems that are happening at the school.”

Whether schools are at the high, middle or low range of the incident count though, one need remains constant for students across Hawaii: “Making sure they have easy access to mental health care as well as education about how to handle conflict peacefully, how to deal with difficult emotions,” Shimabukuro said.

We’ll continue to follow up with the Department of Education and lawmakers on what they’re doing to curb everything from serious violence to bullying statewide. And we’ll watch the numbers for signs of progress.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Keani, Kelly and Kayla at HAIS District Science Fair 2/15/20

Kayla, Keani, & Kelly participated in the HAIS District Science Fair competition on 02/15/20.

Keani is an Island Pacific Academy 6th grader. Although he did not advance to the state competition, Keani had this to say: “Sadly I didn’t make it to states, but I now have an idea of what it will be like if I ever choose to go there again!”

Kelly, an Iolani junior, is going to advance to the state competition.

Kayla, an Iolani junior, is on the waitlist for the state competition.

Most of the Island Pacific Academy students who participated in the district competition.

Senator Shimabukuro Amends SB42 (CB 2/11/20)

Lawmakers Limit Scope of Bill Banning AG’s Probe of Hawaiian Nonprofit
By Blaze Lovell, Civil Beat, 11 Feb. 2020

A key Senate panel unanimously voted Tuesday to narrow the extent to which the state Attorney General’s Office can investigate certain nonprofits.

The Hawaiian Affairs Committee amended Senate Bill 42 to prohibit AG investigations from conflicting with Native Hawaiian cultural rights protected under the state constitution.

The proposal in front of lawmakers is a reaction to the AG’s probe of KAHEA: The Hawaiian Environmental Alliance. The state subpoenaed financial documents related to the nonprofit’s support of protests that have halted the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea.

The bill originally would have prohibited the AG from investigating any nonprofit that engages in acts of civil disobedience, which state lawyers raised objections to because it could essentially tie the state’s hands in investigating any nonprofit.

“Our intent is not to hinder the AG from doing its job,” said Sen. Maile Shimabukuro, chair of the Hawaiian Affairs Committee.

Shimabukuro introduced the measure by putting its contents into a blank bill last week. She amended the bill to include the narrower language involving conflicts, which was put forward by University of Hawaii law professor Ken Lawson.

In KAHEA’s case, the state is conflicted, Lawson said, because it has an interest in seeing TMT built on Mauna Kea, a mountain considered sacred by many Native Hawaiians.  Continue reading

Bill to Eliminate Reconstructed Vehicle Inspection

Bill would eliminate special inspections for lowriders, lifted vehicles
By Lisa Kubota, HNN, February 12, 2020

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – Many car enthusiasts hope that a proposal to get rid of a special inspection for reconstructed vehicles gets the green light from state lawmakers.

They’re tracking Senate Bill 213, which was passed by the Senate Transportation Committee last week.  Continue reading

NPR: DHHL to Buy $8M Mōʻiliʻili Property for Housing

Ku`uwehi Hiraishi, “DHHL to Buy $8M Property in Mōʻiliʻili from Kamehameha Schools for Housing” (HPR, 1/28/20).

UPDATED: 1/28/20, 5:33 p.m.

A new land deal in Mōʻiliʻili struck by the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands could take potentially hundreds of Native Hawaiians off the homestead wait list in urban Honolulu.

The Hawaiian Homes Commission (HHC) voted yesterday to buy almost $8 million in Mōʻiliʻili property from Kamehameha Schools for future housing development. The purchase could help address the growing waitlist for Hawaiian homestead lots on Oʻahu, where more than 10,000 applicants are still waiting.  Continue reading

Sen. Shimabukuro: City Should Reduce Its Reliance on Landfills 1/7/20

Ashley Mizuo, “Oahu Grapples With Where To Place Its Next Landfill As It Confronts Its Waste Dilemma” (HPR, 7 Jan. 2020).

About 30 trucks roll down Farrington Highway on the west side of Oahu every day to dump waste at the City and County of Honolulu’s only municipal landfill, Waimanalo Gulch. Now after 30 years, the State Land Use Commission has ordered the landfill to close its doors for good by 2028.

The landfill symbolizes Oahu’s continuing struggle to reduce the waste generated by about 1 million residents and visitors on any given day. On one hand, H-Power — the waste-to-energy incinerator in Kapolei — has allowed the city to divert a significant portion of its trash. Yet the island still needs a location to dump ash from H-Power and the remaining mountain of waste that the plant canʻt process.

Now, the city must decide how it will deal with the island’s burgeoning waste in the future. This reckoning is not solely due to the approaching land use deadline and environmental pressures surrounding Waimanalo Gulch, but mounting opposition to the location of waste facilities in Leeward Oahu, where many residents say they have had enough.

Waianae Sen. Maile Shimabukuro said the land use commissonʻs order to close Waimanalo Gulch is long overdue.

“The community’s been told time and time again the landfill would in fact close. But each time the closure date comes around, the city seeks an extension,” she said. “There’s definitely a feeling of — just in general — environmental injustice for our whole coastline.”   Continue reading

Mauna Lahilahi Botanical Garden Saved by Community 1/28/20

Brittany Lyte, “How These Makaha Neighbors Saved a County Park from Crime and Weeds” (Honolulu Civil Beat, 1/28/20).

When police and social services agencies couldn’t help, this small band of neighbors took matters into their own hands. And it worked.

What happens when a treasured public gathering place becomes a hotbed of crime and vagrancy?

When it happened to Mauna Lahilahi Botanical Garden on Oahu’s Waianae Coast, a gutsy, bootstrap community group moved in, instituted a zero tolerance policy for criminal and unhealthy activity and reclaimed the county park from the brink of delinquency.

Of course, it wasn’t so easy. But when complaints to police and politicians did little to solve the problem, the park’s neighbors decided to shift their perspective.

Instead of begging for better law enforcement, they invested hundreds of hours to establish a neighborhood watch group and a monthly cleanup event series. They forged partnerships with the cops and county government, which facilitated green waste pickup and a homeless sweep.

Slowly, they squeezed out illicit activity and replaced it with wholesome recreation — fishing, hiking, swimming and picnicking.

There’s much work to be done to fully restore the park’s beauty. But a year after the neighbors took on responsibility for the park’s condition, families that had given up on the place are returning.  Continue reading