As we continue the work of beautifying the Ewa area, I was asked by several community members to clean up some roadside growth. Litter and vegetation had overgrown a portion of North Road, and many folks expressed concern over its unsightly appearance. The area in need was about 800 yards in length, but both sides of the road needed attention, so that meant the job entailed 1,600 linear yards. A big job — too big for a weekend community cleanup lasting two hours. Generally speaking, this is not something the municipal agencies engage in because of funding restrictions.
State Rep. Bob McDermott on site during the recent North Road cleanup project
What to do? How can we tackle this large job with little or no funding? I pondered this problem and then contacted the state Department of Corrections to inquire if inmates could perform this task. I specified I wanted low-risk offenders, people close to their release date who have exhibited exemplary behavior. Safety of everyone in the community was my top concern. The department responded with precisely what I asked for and in spades. It gave me even more comfort, since the road in question is somewhat remote. The inmates were polite, respectful, hard-working and eager for a second chance. They went to work with vigor and enthusiasm, cutting the vegetation, raking the green waste and picking up trash with gusto. Supervised by several public safety officers, these men worked very hard. Each day one of the Iroquois Point residents, such as Lt. Col. David Staggs (Ret.), would ensure that the men were fed and had an ample supply of water. Kurt Fevella and Mitchell Tynanes of Ewa Beach Lions Club helped out by collecting the trash bags and taking the rubbish to the dump. With all of us pitching in and thinking creatively, we have made a significant change to the appearance of the area. Thank you to all those people who had a role in making this happen — there are too many of you to name individually. Republican state Rep. Bob McDermott represents District 40 (Ewa, Ewa Beach and Iroquois Point).He can be reached at 586-9730 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.