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Notices of furlough closings at parks posted on site, online

By June Watanabe

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 03:31 a.m. HST, Apr 09, 2011



QUESTION: I went to Koko Crater Botanical Garden and found a sign that said it was closed on a recent Friday. I stepped over the fence and was startled to find a man who told me to leave; that it was closed for Furlough Friday. The garden and trails are self-paced. I easily could have walked the trails unsupervised. In any event, I've not seen these closures mentioned anywhere. What are they? No one in the hotels and bus service ever mentioned it to me. I guess many visitors before and after me have and will plan something and be surprised they cannot visit whatever sights are closed.

ANSWER: While there are signs posted at all the main entrances of the city's five botanical gardens pointing out Furlough Friday closures, that fact is now also posted online.

Last year, the state and city required employees to take two unpaid Fridays off per month as a way to save money.

To address your concern and for the convenience of the general public, officials with the city Department of Parks and Recreation said a link to the city's furlough schedule has been placed on the Honolulu Botanical Gardens' website: http://www1.honolulu.gov/parks/hbg/.

Scroll down and click on "Furlough Calendar," which will take you to the official city website that lists the furlough schedule. There are six remaining furlough days for this fiscal year: April 15 and 29; May 13 and 20; and June 2 and 24.

"We apologize for the inconvenience," said Winifred Singeo, director of the botanical gardens. She pointed out that the only other days the gardens are closed are Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

QUESTION: Since when is liquid in my water bottle not allowed to be carried into the Federal Building? I was told to drink it all or not be allowed entry.

ANSWER: We're told that the federal Department of Homeland Security/Federal Protective Service is responsible for access onto federal properties.

A spokesman would only say that "the protocol" calls for officers stationed at building entry points to "verify liquids to confirm contents." He said he could not go into details and did not return our call for clarification of why your liquid was rejected.

MAHALO

To those responsible for the Envision Laie bike and walking path: As medical director at Kahuku Medical Center, as well as one of its emergency room physicians, I truly am thankful for this project. Not only is the path a wonderful way for the people of our community to get much-needed exercise, but it will also greatly reduce the number of injuries that we commonly see in the emergency room from accidents along that stretch of road. It is so nice to see children safely biking and walking to and from school and families out together getting exercise. Hopefully, we will see more projects like this in the Koolauloa area.
Kim Archbold

The 1.2-mile Malaekahana Bike and Pedestrian Path is the result of a collaborative effort involving the landowner, Hawaii Reserves Inc.; the Laie Community Association; the Kahuku Community Association; Operating Engineers Local Union 3; and community residents and businesses.

Write to "Kokua Line" at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or e-mail kokualine@staradvertiser.com.






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