The grass is cut and there are flowers on headstones, but garbage is piling up at Sunset Memorial Park in Pearl City.
“Who can pick up the rubbish? There is a mountain of rubbish there,” a concerned citizen said during a meeting held to address the needs of the cemetery.
But no one there could answer that question. Not lawmakers, council members, or board members.
State Rep. Gregg Takayama said, “I think what is important for us to do is to mobilize the communities interest in helping the cemetery and form a non-profit organization that can take the bulls by the horns.”
The purpose of the non-profit organization is to find a group of people who will ultimately be responsible for maintaining and cleaning up the cemetery. One of the major issues this organization will have to tackle is figuring out how they are going to get all this garbage off the property.
Catherine Awakuni Colon, director of Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs said, “As people have questions, we can take questions. We have been working with the caretaker, so if people have trouble locating their loved one’s graves, we have been working with Rev. Lago to help them find their graves. We also have been working with the representatives and other legislators because people have concerns about liability issues as well.”
Darrell Salvador is a funeral director who volunteered in the past to lead volunteers, but those efforts were stalled due to liability issues.
Salvador is already working on bylaws for the group and plans to have the non-profit organization launched by September.
“It is going to be a short-term solution to a long-term problem,” Salvador said. “[I am] hoping that one day we will see the owners come through and that they will be able to assist us.”