Puna News — Opihikao Tree Update

Tiffany Edwards Hunt photo

Photo and text by Tiffany Edwards Hunt

Last month we introduced you to the Monkeypod trees proposed to be cut on the red Road in Opihikao.  An outspoken neighbor, Mark Evans and his wife Amy have been helping to educate the community about landowner Ed Schroeder’s tree-cutting proposal.  In the last week of October, Schroeder brought what apparently wasn’t the first crew of treecutters to the area, resulting in the Evans couple and handfuls of Puna residents, including members of the nearby Kalani resort, descending for a protest.  The treecutters ultimately walked off the job.  there were heated words between schroeder and evans, and between schroeder and area resident Jack Kealoha.  Gary Hoffeld was present, and acted as a mediator.  Dottie Kealoha and Tina Aiona helped Hoffeld encourage schroeder to Meet with the community.  at press time, a Ho’oponopono between Schroeder and Uncle Robert Keli’iho’omalu had occurred, and four out of six monkeypods proposed to be cut remained standing.  Jack Kealoha, whose family has lived in the area for generations, estimated the trees are 80 to 100 years old.

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