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Masked shrub sprouting smiles in Kihei

The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

KIHEI — One Kihei family is hoping to bring a smile to mask wearing, which is a new mandate on Maui.

Bert Peterka talked Saturday about the community reaction generated by the COVID-19-themed Bougainvillea bush he and his parents decorated in front of their Kaiwahine Street home.

“Every day, people drive by and take pictures of it,” he said.

His mom, Jacqueline Neal, said she showed her husband, Yod Neal, an Instagram post a few weeks ago of a similarly-decorated bush on the Mainland and he said, “We’re doing that.”

After trimming the bush, they went to work with a towel, rope and paper plates.

“As soon as we put it up, neighbors started stopping and taking selfies,” said Jacqueline Neal, who is head of middle school at Seabury Hall. “It was a family project. We wanted to bring some positivity to wearing a mask.”

Mayor Michael Victorino made an announcement last week that wearing a face mask would be mandatory in public as of Friday. There are a few exceptions, for children younger than 5, some people with health conditions and during exercise.

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