Community Police Officers, Volunteers Clean Up Graffiti 04-25-01

PHONE: 961-2350
APRIL 25, 2001

Group Photo
KEEPING HILO BEAUTIFUL – Community policing officers and members of the ‘Aina Keepers pause for a photo, above, while cleaning up the canal running by Kapiolani Elementary School in Hilo. Below, the group makes progress in painting over the graffiti left behind by vandals.
Making Progress


Hilo community policing officers and a group of civic-minded residents spent a recent Saturday morning painting over graffiti left behind by vandals.

Community Police Officers John Pagay and Elson Cabatu joined a group of six volunteers to repair the damage vandals left behind in the Waiakea Stream canal that runs under the intersection of Kinoole and Mohouli Streets.

The volunteers, led by Taj Gunter, call themselves the “‘Aina Keepers.” Gunter, who works for Goodwill Industries, said a group of fellow employees and clients decided to do their part for the Hilo community and were looking for something to do.

“We decided we could help keep Hilo beautiful by cleaning up graffiti,” Gunter said.

The cleanup behind Kapiolani Elementary School on April 21, 2001, was the group’s first project.

Joining Gunter and Officers Pagay and Cabatu in the cleanup were Mario Long, Mark Tellio, Derek Lopez, Jeffrey Delatorre and Colby Cabatu.

Gunter said the ‘Aina Keepers are working with various county agencies, such as Parks and Recreation, to clean up graffiti and other forms of vandalism around Hilo.

He said they are also speaking to community groups such as the Hilo Rotary Club to explain their program and to encourage others to join in the fight against graffiti and vandalism.

For more information about the ‘Aina Keepers, interested members of the community may call Gunter at 961-0307, extension 126, or Sergeant James Sanborn, head of the Hilo community policing project, at 961-2350.

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