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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, September 27, 2009

Web site aims to unite Mo'ili'ili

By Caryn Kunz
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Illegal dumping is a target issue of Mo'ili'ili Matters. The site this month helped send out 15,000 educational postcards.

Photo by Gregory Cuadra

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Step aside, Facebook. There's a new social network in town.

Mo'ili'ili, to be specific.

Area resident Derek Kauanoe launched moiliilimatters.com at the end of May as a way to connect neighbors and create dialogue about issues in the community.

The site offers many of the same functions as Facebook or MySpace personal profiles, photo and video galleries, live chats, discussion boards, groups and blogs along with a community calendar and directory of local businesses and organizations.

"There are not a whole lot of formal opportunities for neighbors here to get to know each other, so I thought a social network might help us get a better idea of who our neighbors are," said Kauanoe, a 2008 University of Hawai'i Richardson School of Law graduate. "Just from creating the site, I've met people I probably wouldn't have met (without it)."

Kauanoe hopes the Web site will become a place for residents to dialogue and organize to address issues of illegal dumping, homelessness, graffiti and infrastructure.

Kauanoe has also set up a Twitter feed used to post community alerts, events and site updates.

This month, Mo'ili'ili Matters teamed up with Kamehameha Schools to help tackle the neighborhood's illegal dumping problem, sending out 15,000 postcards educating residents about proper disposal of bulky waste.

"We've been really looking for somebody to help us, and to have Kamehameha Schools come along to print out and send these postcards, it's a godsend," said McCully/Mo'ili'ili Neighborhood Board member Greg Cuadra, who monitors illegal dumping in the area.

Cuadra said he tracks anywhere from 125 to 200 dumping violations each month, many in the days following the city's monthly bulky-item pickup which means that the trash sits there all month.

"As you drive through McCully/Mo'ili'ili you see these huge piles," Cuadra said. "One person starts a pile, and people start adding to it. The problem is a lack of education. People just don't know when the dumping day is."

The postcards specify bulk garbage drop-off dates for the rest of the year and outline reasons against illegal dumping that include safety, aesthetics and the law.

"We're hoping in this next monitoring that we'll see a decline in violations as a result of letting people know," Kauanoe said.

Cuadra is an active member of the Mo'ili'ili Matters Web site, posting photos of illegal dump sites and participating in discussion forums and small groups that have formed to work on community issues.

"I'm a member of the neighborhood board, and it's helped me make more contacts not only for illegal dumping but for other issues that the neighborhood has," he said. "It's a good resource."