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Update: Drainage Study & Detention Basins, Laie McDonald’s Opening Soon

In two previous newsletters, we reported on efforts to improve drainage in Laie. This edition discusses progress to solve flooding in our community caused primarily by the overflow of Wailele Stream, and how drainage improvements helped during recent heavy rain events.

We also feature a photographic update on the Laie McDonald’s, expected to open this Thursday (see below).

In March of 2014 a historic planning summit was organized by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (US-ACE) and Hawaii Reserves, Inc. to move the Wailele Flood Risk Management Feasibility Study forward. Flooding in Laie is caused primarily by the overflow of Wailele Stream and its inadequate outfall.

Laie flooding is due primarily to inadequate capacity at Wailele outfall
Laie flooding is due primarily to inadequate capacity at
Wailele outfall at the highway


During the heaviest rainfall events, the Wailele basin can generate about 5,000 cubic feet per second (CFS), but the outfall capacity of the conduit under the highway is only about 700 CFS, causing water to quickly back up and flow northward through the Polynesian Cultural Center into the community.

In addition, the highway is elevated several feet above Laie town, essentially creating a big dam.

Wailele Stream during heavy rain event
Wailele Stream during heavy rain event


US-ACE staff has been working on a final report of the Wailele study, jointly funded by the federal government, city government, and land management company, Hawaii Reserves, Inc.

The next phase of the report is nearing completion and should be finalized within the next several weeks.

At this point, it appears that two good options will be identified in the study to prevent community flooding.

Site visit to the Pounder's Beach bridge outfall
Site visit by US-ACE staff and others to the Pounder’s Beach
drainage outfall


“We are pleased that initial indications are that both options meet the criteria set by the federal government, including critical cost/benefit ratio requirements,” said Jeff Tyau, vice president of operations for HRI.

Once US-ACE has recommend the best solution option, the next steps will include environmental review of the option and securing funding for the proposed project.

For more information about the drainage planning summit and solution efforts, please see our April 10 and October 30, 2014 editions in our Newsletter Archive.

Representatives from US-ACE, the City, HRI, LCA, BYUH, PCC and drainage planning consultants
Representatives from US-ACE, the City, HRI, LCA, BYU-H, PCC,
and drainage planning consultants


Tyau also pointed out that storm water detention measures recently installed in our community performed well during heavy rain in the last two weeks that caused major flooding and damage on Oahu.

“The detention basins, including the newest ones installed on both sides of McDonald’s, did their job and helped protect the community,” said Tyau.

He noted that the basins provide a holding area for storm water during heavy rain that drains to the ocean via an outlet, and the basin later dries out. Grass and landscaping were recently installed in the new detention basins.

Drainage outlet for water detention basin along Naniloa Loop
Drainage outlet for water detention basin along Naniloa Loop


“These preliminary drainage measures help as we unitedly work on the big, long-term solutions with the Army Corps of Engineers,” remarked Tyau.

We’ll continue to provide updates as this important community effort moves forward.

McDonald’s Opening Soon

Crews are working and training ’round the clock’ to have the Laie McDonald’s ready to open soon. The targeted soft opening date is this Thursday!

The photos below showcase our new McDonald’s coming together nicely…

The work is almost done on the Laie McDonald's
The work is almost done on the Laie McDonald’s
The view towards the Laie hotel and the Polynesian Cultural Center
The view towards the Polynesian Cultural Center and the Laie hotel
The dining area is well lit with natural and interior lighting
The dining area is well lit with natural and interior lighting
Exterior finishing touches are being completed
Exterior finishing touches are being completed

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“I Hemolele” Historical Vignette, Sesquicentennial Banners

As we continue to prepare for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the LDS Church in Laie, we feature below the fourth installment in a series of stories about the rich history of our beloved town

We’re happy to announce that banners commemorating the sesquicentennial will soon appear along streets in Laie as part of the celebration.

Banners like these will soon adorn light poles in Laie
Banners like these will soon adorn various light poles in Laie


In addition, we will soon announce the creation of a website to keep everyone informed about the schedule of celebration events taking place over the next few months.

We express our appreciation to the Mormon Pacific Historical Society which has graciously authored these historical vignettes to help us remember and honor our wonderful heritage:

“I Hemolele”

As church members began to move to Laie, one of the first structures to be built was a bowery for church services. However, a bowery (a series of poles with boughs laid across the top) is great protection from the sun, but not from the rain – a real chapel was a high priority. The first real chapel in Laie was built, measuring 24 by 36 feet in size. Its exact location is not known, but was most likely near the ranch house.

By 1880, the community of Laie was large and stable enough to raise funds and build a chapel to rival any on this side of the island. When King Kalakaua heard of the upcoming ground breaking he asked to attend and, while at the event, made a donation of $100 to the building fund. He was also present for the laying of the four cornerstones of the new chapel on April 6, 1883.

I Hemolele Chapel in the 1880s (this photo and others below courtesy BYU-Hawaii Archives)
I Hemolele in the 1880s
(this photo and others below courtesy of BYU-Hawaii Archives)


The chapel, which came to be known as “I Hemolele” (“holy” or “sacred”), was built on a knoll or rise where the Laie Hawaii Temple now stands, a hundred yards south of the ranch house. The chapel was 90 by 30 feet in size, and was built with a steeple, a traditional second story choir loft at the rear, and a bell that could be heard throughout all of Laie – all for the total cost of $8,000. I Hemolele served the community well for many decades.

Chapel interior 1880s
Chapel interior 1880s


In 1915, President Joseph F. Smith and several other church leaders visited Laie, in recognition of its Jubilee year. While there, President Smith felt impressed to dedicate the chapel grounds as the future location of a temple. In order to make room for temple construction, the chapel first had to be moved to a new location.

Under the inspired leadership of temple construction supervisor, Ralph Woolley, and foremen Hamana Kalili and David Haili, the approximately 3600 square foot, nine-ton chapel was ingeniously raised off the ground and rolled slowly down the hill on timber tracks and large pipes, until it reached its final location on Lanihuli Street near where the Laie “back chapel” now stands.

I Hemolele being rolled down the hill, windows removed circa 1916
I Hemolele being rolled down the hill,
windows removed circa 1916


The chapel in its new location served well until the year 1940, when workers preparing its exterior for a new coat of paint accidentally started a small fire which soon consumed the entire structure. It was a sad day; the chapel where saints, royalty, and prophets of God had worshiped together was no more.

I Hemolele (lower center) with the Laie school campus just to the right, 1927
I Hemolele (lower center) with the Laie school campus
just to the right, 1927


Laie was to go without a chapel for the next 10 years, partly because the war years made new construction of any significance impossible. During those years, church services were held in the community social hall located on Loala Street.

When World War II was over, and construction materials were once again available, Laie began fund-raising for a new chapel. The community turned to the hukilau. It was felt that such an activity, along with food and entertainment, might be of interest to tourists and help generate the needed funds.

Sure enough, this activity quickly became popular, the necessary funds were raised, and a few years later Laie had a new chapel dedicated in 1950 by Matthew Cowley, beloved Apostle to the Pacific.

Laie “back chapel” dedicated in 1950 by Elder Matthew Cowley


- The Mormon Pacific Historical Society


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Laie Hotel Grand Opening & Dedication

Long-time residents, family and friends from all over the islands and the world enjoyed the open house, grand opening and dedication of Laie’s own Courtyard by Marriott this past Saturday.

The celebration took place on a beautiful, sunny day in “lovely Laie”. We share for your enjoyment a few images from the event, courtesy of Monique Saenz of BYU-Hawaii.

Kela Miller danced while Joe Ah Quin sang

Kela Miller danced while Joe Ah Quin sang “Behold Laie”


Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency spoke prior to offering a dedicatory blessing

Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency of the LDS Church spoke prior to offering a dedicatory blessing


Laie's own Sia Tonga was the Mistress of Ceremonies for the dedication program

Telesia (“Sia”) Tonga was the Mistress of Ceremonies for the dedication program


Kumu Cy Bridges performed an oli

Kumu Cy Bridges performed an oli


The Ko'olauloa Children's Chorus sang

The Ko’olauloa Children’s Chorus sang “Holding Hands Around The World”


The Uchtdorfs and the Woods untied the maile lei at the hotel front entrance

The Uchtdorfs and the Woods untied the maile lei at the hotel front entrance


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Hotel Open House Saturday Afternoon, Construction Timelapse Video

Laie’s own Courtyard by Marriott will celebrate its grand opening with an Open House for the public this Saturday at 1 p.m. Attendees will be treated to a tour of the new hotel and refreshments will be served.
“Although we had our soft opening earlier this year, we’re excited to now celebrate the grand opening of Oahu’s newest hotel,” said Director of Sales, Milton Lafitaga. “We’ve combined style and comfort with innovative technology to appeal to today’s travelers looking for an authentic Hawaiian experience away from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki,” added Lafitaga.
To help celebrate the grand opening, we have put together a timelapse video of the hotel’s approximately 12-month construction, from April 2014 to April of this year. Click here to view the video.
Laie’s 144-room hotel offers visitors to Oahu’s legendary North Shore a new set of accommodations next to the beach and the world famous Polynesian Cultural Center. From couples to families, Courtyard Oahu North Shore offers something for everyone with its on-site amenities and convenient location to area attractions, golf, legendary beaches and surf spots, farms stands and more.
For more information about the open house, or reservations, call (808) 293-4900 or visit www.marriott.com.
We hope you’ll join us for the festivities this Saturday afternoon!

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Coming soon to Laie…

Some great improvements and new services are coming soon to Laie!

City Repaving Project, Kulanui Street Improvements

As announced last month, the City & County of Honolulu will soon be repaving all of Laie’s roadways as part of a larger project to repave streets open for public use along the Windward coast.

The City has begun preparation work for repaving Laie's streets (Naniloa Loop, July 2015)
The City has begun preparation work for repaving Laie’s streets (Naniloa Loop, July 2015)


Hawaii Reserves, Inc., recently announced that it will make some improvements to Kulanui Street in coming weeks, as part of that project.

“Kulanui Street is one of the major collector streets in Laie and is used by residents, students and visitors travelling in cars and on bikes,” said Eric Beaver, president of HRI.

He noted that the current width of the street is not ideal for heavy vehicular and bike use. Also, the perpendicular parking on Kulanui is unsafe because it limits sight distances along the street and at intersections, and it detracts from the streetscape.

“The planned upgrades will increase safety along the street and help beautify the area,” remarked Beaver. The plan is to:

•Increase the vehicle travel way to 24 feet
•Add 6 feet to each side of the street for bike lanes
•Change perpendicular parking to parallel parking along the street
•Install trees and irrigation along the street to beautify the streetscape

Schematic Layout of Kulanui Street Improvements
Schematic layout of Kulanui Street improvements


Conceptual Digital Graphic of Kulanui Street Improvements
Conceptual digital graphic of Kulanui Street improvements


The repaving project is expected to begin the last week in August.

Once preparation work begins, Kulanui residents have been asked to temporarily park on adjacent side streets as needed, and on their own properties where possible. HRI will also keep the Temple Gardens parking lot open 24/7 as an overflow parking lot during the construction period.

Questions about the project may be directed to Jeffrey Tyau, HRI Vice President of Operations, at 293-9201.

“We appreciate everyone’s patience as these improvements are installed and the City repaves Laie’s streets,” said Beaver.

Ken’s Fresh Fish

The extremely popular Ken’s Fresh Fish of Hauula will be coming soon to Laie, specializing in fresh seafood to go.

Land management company, Hawaii Reserves, Inc., recently announced the move via signage at the Laie Country Store building, in the space previously home to Country Rides & Grinds.

Kenny Broad and Melanie Hiram-Broad of Ken's Fresh Fish
Kenny Broad and Melanie Hiram-Broad of Ken’s Fresh Fish


Besides ahi katsu fish plates, poke bowls, and other popular seafood fare, “Ken’s” will continue to be a wholesale distributor to area markets.

In fact, the phenomenal, high volume plate lunch sales of “Ken’s” started from the humble beginnings of wholesale buyers simply wanting to sample the catch of the day.

“We went from fresh fish samples, to buyers asking for some rice on the side, to now selling about 400 plates a day when we’re open”, said Kenny Broad. “We’ve gotten so popular that it’s time to move to the next level with a full blown restaurant and distributor space.”

Broad and his team of employees, family and friends are currently renovating the new location and hope to be open towards the end of this year or early next year, pending construction permits.

“People love our seafood because it’s fresh – why eat fish from somewhere else when you can eat fish just caught, right here in our own bays locally?”, says Broad. “You can taste the difference.”

We are excited to see a successful, local business with deep family roots in the area come to Laie.


Castle Medical Center Clinic

Also coming soon to our community is Castle Medical Center Clinic, to be located in the former Bank Of Hawaii space at the Laie Shopping Center. Castle is currently renovating the space and hopes to be open to the public in January 2016.

The new clinic will be an extension of the Castle Medical Center in Kailua, providing secondary and tertiary medical care. Castle Medical will also provide various specialty services to minimize the burden of residents having to drive to its Kailua facility.


As the sign above notes, Dr. Marc Shlacter, “The Country Doctor” will relocate his practice to the clinic and be affiliated with Castle Medical.

As part of the move, Hawaii Reserves is in discussions with ACE Hardware about possibly expanding ACE into the shopping center space currently occupied by Dr. Shlacter’s practice. This would add a little over 1,400 square feet to the hardware store, allowing more products to be offered to the community.

We’ll continue to keep everyone updated as more details about these exciting projects become available.



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