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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, October 18, 2001

Old play equipment removed from Kailua Elementary

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Staff Writer

City crews cleared away most of the tires and outdated play equipment from Kailua Elementary School this week as part of the effort to get rid of rubbish that can breed mosquitoes.

School vice principal Alexis Kane said the city cleanup — designed to eliminate the spread of dengue fever — helped rid the school of what had become an expensive and worrisome problem.

"We're very grateful to the city for taking care of that for us," Kane said. "We've been trying to get rid of these tires for years."

Kane said that going through channels within the state system would have taken weeks to a month to do what the crews accomplished in about four hours Monday afternoon.

"There would have been a cost, too," she said.

Kane praised city workers Sherwood Carson and his crew of three men — Rodney Puu, Peewee Perez and Chucky Wong. "They took all the 200 tires and the structure," most of what was left of a playground, designed by the late Jimi Jolley and built with the help of parents.

Kane said the imaginative playground lacked the soft landing surface now required by federal safety standards. She said it would have been too expensive to remove the boat and the dragon and then reinstall it. In addition, the tire-and-wood structure is too costly to maintain, she said.

"The city was very timely in coming and taking it away," Kane said. She said the equipment had been roped off since the start of the school year.

Kane said the crews took away what was left of the boat. Kane said she hopes to organize parent volunteers to dismantle the tire "dragon" over several weekends and then determine how to dispose of the tires.

In the meantime, school officials put table salt in the tires and covered it with orange fencing and sprayed the area with pyrethrins to help keep mosquitoes from breeding.