Categorized | Education

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers helps underwrite uniforms

Showing off their new Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School uniform T-shirts with the UXO 3Rs Message are seventh graders Sage, Cleo and Taylor. (Photo courtesy of Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School)

MEDIA RELEASE

Public safety is a priority with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and to better educate children, families and communities that live in areas where dangerous unexploded ordnance (UXO) may be a fact of life, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has developed a simple but powerful “3Rs – Recognize, Retreat and Report!” message about how best to respond in the event of encountering UXO.

To better educate the Waimea community about the fact that this region was, in fact, a WWII military training site, now referred to as the Former Waikoloa Maneuver Area, which includes all of Waikoloa, Hapuna and Puako as well as a large portion of Waimea, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is continuing to reach out to the community — through schools and other venues — to remind everyone that unexploded ordnance still exists within the area despite extensive ongoing cleanup projects.

To reinforce the 3Rs message, Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School’s uniform T-shirts for 6th-8th graders have been imprinted this school year with the “3Rs” safety message.

In exchange, the U.S. Army Corps is underwriting a portion of the cost of the mandatory uniforms. The Army contribution covered the cost of the additional imprinting and also ensured there was no price increase this year. Thus, for a third year, shirts are $7 each, or $30 for a “package” of five.

Student uniforms were introduced at WMS three years ago and students must wear a uniform T-shirt every day. This now-popular dress code policy helps insure student safety, builds school pride and minimizes clothing expenses for families.

Also, WMS families with uniform T-shirts that are still in good condition but no longer fit are asked to consider recycling them by donating the shirts to the school office.

“We are very grateful for the Army Corps of Engineers’ commitment to community education about UXO as well as their cleanup work. They are also working on a mini-film about UXO safety involving several of our students as the ‘actors.’ We know it will effectively reinforce the warning to fellow students and their younger brothers and sisters and families about not touching or picking up UXO – but rather, to retreat and report it immediately to a family member, teacher or other trusted adult,” WMS CEEO/Principal John Colson said.

Community education and safety advisories about UXO are just a part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ ongoing program, which includes continuing to clear munitions and explosives of concern from the Former Waikoloa Maneuver Area. Environet, Inc. and Alu-Like/Environet, Joint Venture are continuing to survey and clear munitions of concern.

The most recent area cleared was around the Waikoloa Village area with still many more areas needing to be cleared.

The next areas to be cleared will be the Lalamilo Farms area, various areas along Mamalahoa Highway, and various areas of the Kohala Coast makai of Queen Kaahumanu Highway.

Additional funding is anticipated in Fiscal Year 2011 that will allow work to be done in these various areas.

In addition to munitions and explosives clearance, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be investigating the Former Waikoloa Maneuver Area for potential soil contamination from the ordnances and explosives used at the former maneuver area. Soil samples will be taken and analyzed for munitions constituents.

Assessment of the soil analysis will determine if soil remediation needs to be done. The soil sampling and analysis is anticipated to start in October or November.

For more information about unexploded ordnance in the Waimea-Waikoloa area, contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Honolulu District Public Affairs at (808) 438-9862, or (808) 438-1232 for information specifically about the Formerly Used Defense Sites program.

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