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New Rotary Club working to establish recycling stations in West Maui

By Staff | Feb 12, 2015

WEST MAUI – The West Side is one step closer to convenient recycling with the new Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset leading the charge: “Go Green Keep The Island Clean.”

Liz Morales May, the chapter’s co-president, explained, “The Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset is a new club. We are in our first year of being Rotarians. We have 24 new members, and most of them are new members to Rotary. When we (Renee Ward, Jim Fahnestock and Liz May) sat down together amongst ourselves, Renee Ward asked, ‘What is one thing that we could all do in common that would make a difference on this island?’

“And recycling came to mind for everybody,” the community leader said.

“It makes so much sense,” May added, “to be sustainable on a small island.”

Last summer, with the loss of two recycling stations, West Maui was left with only one public recycling hub available to its residents: the Olowalu Recycling & Refuse Convenience Center located three miles south of Lahaina and 13 miles from Napili.

At its regular weekly meeting held at the Royal Lahaina Resort last Tuesday, Co-president Jim Fahnestock observed: “It seems like if any place needs recycling, it’s this beautiful piece of paradise. We want to keep things out of the landfill and put things back into use by recycling. We want to help the community do that.”

And they are walking the talk.

“We have nine members working on this project. With Renee (Ward) as our chairperson (of the “Go for the Green” fundraiser), we’re moving fast, but it is for a really good reason,” Fahnestock remarked.

They met with West Maui County Councilwoman Elle Cochran at her office on the eighth floor of the County Building in Wailuku several weeks ago; she was the invited keynote speaker at their regular meeting on Feb. 5; they consulted with County of Maui Managing Director Keith Regan in Wailuku on Feb. 6; and a 9-Hole Shotgun Scramble golf tourney fundraiser is slated on March 14.

Cochran is supportive: “I just want to say hats off to the Rotary; congratulations on putting on the green initiative,” she said.

Although a recycling advocate, she explained her position on this political, pass the buck hot potato, and how recycling has been stymied, she said, by the Mayor Alan Arakawa administration.

“I want to be your voice on the council, to promote and advocate for the project and the program that you folks want in this community. I am supportive of that; it goes directly through my committee (Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee).

“This past budget, I provided certain dollar amounts to go to our dropbox program and to go to our county landfill and all kinds of recycling programs,” Cochran said. “I can give money all day long, but the administration and directors of these departments don’t implement it (the programs).”

Cochran encouraged the Rotarians to exercise their rights.

“You folks are the power behind who we are and why we’re here for you. The mayor and the administration should be carrying out the efforts and the will of the people in this community. Personally, right now, I would say shame on them for not doing the right thing,” she said.

“Eventually, if there is enough testimony, if there’s enough cry from this community – whether these decision-makers agree with it or not – it doesn’t look good if they go against the voice of this community, because this is who we’re here to represent.

“It’s about being involved; it’s about going to these meetings and sharing your thoughts your ideas. We need to bridge the gap; we need to break down the walls that prevent us all from doing our job for the will of the community.”

And, good news, it appears to be working – the democratic process, that is – with answers to months old questions finally disclosed.

When they met with Regan on Friday last week, he clarified the situation, and Rotarian Community Service Director Jackie Favors updated the Lahaina News on their “open and informative meeting.”

“On the West Side, they are looking to reestablish something here, but they need to find a location. They own some sump land along Honoapiilani Highway (abutting Lahaina Aquatic Center). They also own some area over there in between the Aquatic Center and the (Homeless) resource center. He is also going to work with Parks and Recreation to see what other areas that they have on the West Side.”

To support their environmental efforts, the new Rotary chapter, chartered in September 2014, has scheduled a first annual St. Patrick’s Day Shindig on March 14 at the Royal Lahaina Resort, putting the fun into the fundraiser.

The golf contest price per head is $125 and includes a tailgate party, dinner and dancing, entertainment, bagpiping and silent auction.

“Kick up your heels, support the theme, do a jig and be sure to wear green,” the flyer announcing the event reads.

The proceeds will support community recycling, education and service projects.

To purchase tickets, or for more information, visit www.facebook.com/Rotarycluboflahainasunset.org or call 669-5200.

Kudos indeed!