Metropolitan Planning Organization

A Letter from Kiana Otsuka

Dear Central Oahu Citizens,

I am the acting Community Planner at the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization, a public agency that plans transportation for the island of Oahu. We are conducting a transportation study for the Central O‘ahu area.  This area includes Mililani, Waikele, Waipi‘o, and portions of Waipahu and Wahiawā.  This study looks at the transportation needs of Central O‘ahu residents and what our future plans should include.  With your help, we will be able to evaluate different alternatives that will include roadways, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian improvements.

As we are reviewing future transportation options, we would like feedback from anyone who resides, works, plays or visits the Central O‘ahu area; this is the reason why we are writing to you.  In addition, Rene Masho indicated to me that you might be interested in providing us feedback.  As someone who is an active community member in Central O‘ahu, we are eager to hear from you and members in your organization about their transportation concerns and ideas through emailed surveys.

You may find more information about the study, as well as sign-up for our stakeholder surveys on our website:  These surveys will take place over the next 18 months, roughly every month or two, and will be carried out via e-mail.  This set of e-mail surveys will be short and confidential.  If you do not wish to participate in the surveys, but would still like to be informed about the study and any future community meetings, please visit our website to sign up for study updates or contact me.

We really appreciate your enthusiasm about your communities, willingness to be civically engaged, and the opportunity to hear your local knowledge.  I would be grateful if you could forward my email to members in your organization and anyone else who might be interested.  Should you have any questions, please email me at or give me a call at (808) 587-2015.  Thank you very much.


Kiana Otsuka

Oʻahu Metropolitan Planning Organization

707 Richards Street, Suite 200
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi 96813
Phone: (808) 587-2015
Fax: (808) 587-2018

Bada Bingo!


The Rotary Club of Wahiawa-Waialua is presenting it’s first annual, Bada-Bingo fundraiser! Play 10 games of bingo, lots of door prizes, a silent auction, and most of all, LOTS OF FUN! Tickets are $25 presale, $30 at the door. We’ll have daubers for purchase as well if you don’t already have your own (or just use the pencils we’ll provide). We’ll see you there!

Take Back the Night 5K Glow Run/Walk

Check-in time is 6:30 p.m. at Bldg. 680, Wright Avenue, Schofield Barracks, across from Wheeler Elementary School. All ages, strollers and pets welcomed! Participants will receive glow items at check-in. Join us for the 25th CAB SCMH Open House afterwards.

Project Grad 2017 Lularoe Popup

Project Grad 2017 is doing a multi-vendor Lularoe Popup to help us raise money for Project Grad activities. We have over 15 Lularoe & food vendors confirmed. Come out and find the prints you’ve been searching for & grab a bite to eat, all while supporting Project Grad! 1515 California Ave. Wahiawa at Leilehua High School’s parking lot.

Pretty in Pink

Wahiawa’s Special Sakura Trees
by Keoni Ahlo

In the mid-1950s, around the time of statehood, Wahiawa was THE pineapple town. But that industry was rapidly fading, and Mr. Nakasone had a simple idea: To make Wahiawa a sakura town by planting sakura trees wherever anyone was willing. Today, many of the hundreds of sakura in Wahiawa trace their ancestry back to the tree that Choro Nakasone brought back from Okinawa.

In 1985, Japan’s Prince Hitachi planted cherry trees, or sakura, fronting Leilehua High School in celebration of the centennial of the Japanese immigration to Hawaii. It is said that this was the catalyst that sparked the resurgence in other community members to start planting sakura trees in their front yards. As you drive through Wahiawa, you’ll notice that there are many sakura scattered throughout the town, ranging from what looks like branches, to a tree with green leaves, to bright or pastel pink flowers. It’s quite amazing how each tree blossoms only when it’s ready!

Each year, Wahiawa native Rene Mansho takes folks on trolley tours throughout Wahiawa to visit the sakura. I recently took this tour and was very impressed! Rene was an amazing tour guide and I was able to capture some amazing photos along the way! Although the tours are over, you can reach out to Rene to reserve tours for next year. Here’s the tour info:

Cost: $20.00 for trolley ride, 5.00 Sakura Safari Bento” (optional). Contact: Rene Mansho (808) 291-6151.

Ag Land is Key to Sustainability

farmer agriculture

Land Between Ranges Could be O’ahu’s Future Breadbasket
by Dan Nakasone

Each year the world adds nearly 80 million people. That’s 219,000 more people to feed tonight. And that will be repeated tomorrow night with another 219,000 more people to feed.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization predicts the world’s population will grow to 9 billion people by 2050, requiring 70 percent more food production. How is that going to happen when half the world’s populations live in countries where water tables are falling as aquifers are being depleted? Seventy percent of the world water use is for irrigation, and water shortages will inevitably lead to food shortages.

A perfect storm of relentless population growth, declining water resources and extreme weather events due to climate change will create an enormous demand for food. This will translate to ever increasing for one of our most basic needs. What does mean for families and seniors on fixed incomes who are already struggling to put food on the table? A Colorado University study states that all reservoirs along the Colorado River, which provides water to 27 million people in seven states, could go dry by 2057 because of climate change and overuse. A 2008 study by the University of California predicted 1-in-2 chance that these reservoirs will go dry as soon as 2021. What rarely makes headlines is that cities and towns in Colorado and California have been buying irrigation water rights from farmers and ranchers for decades. Thousands upon thousands of acres of farmland have dried up. This is happening not just in the U.S., but worldwide.

California is one of the seven states that depend on the Colorado River, and the situation is magnified because it produces nearly half the nation’s fruits, vegetables and nuts. The gravity of the situation is now being felt with the 10-year drought along the Colorado River. And California is experiencing the driest period in the state’s recorded rainfall history, and it produces a lot of the food that is shipped to Hawaii. Here in the islands, we are facing a declining rainfall trend and continue to lose prime farmland to development. We need to preserve our farmlands to produce food for local consumption.

Currently there is legislation moving through the process to exchange parcels of Dole farmlands for urban zone lands. These farmlands could have access to the 30-mile Wahiawa Irrigation System, which includes the Lake Wilson reservoir. The primary water source flowing through the system is the Kaukonahua Stream, fed by a watershed at the head of the Ko’olau Mountain range. It is augmented with recycled wastewater and storm runoff. It does not tap into our aquifers but helps to recharge them. With biofiltration technology, we could raise the water quality to irrigate crops well into the future. The potential goes beyond irrigation: Engineers who have surveyed all the state’s reservoirs have identified Lake Wilson as having the greatest potential for hydroelectric generation. The revenue generated from the renewable energy source could go to improvements and maintenance of this irrigation system. The saddle between the Ko’olau and Waianae ranges from Wahiawa down to the North Shore is home to a growing number of farms. It could be the island’s future breadbasket, and it’s imperative that this farmland corridor be kept of food production.

We are an island state in the middle of the Pacific with finite natural resources. We must heed the warning signs and prepare for what is seemingly inevitable.