POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jun 18, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 8:44 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011
Question: The digital display board that shows bus arrival and departure times at the Mililani Mauka Park and Ride has been out of service for months. What is the problem, and when will it be functioning again? Many riders rely on it.
Answer: The outlook is bleak that the sign will be operating any time soon, if at all.
"We are having problems with the vendor," said Wayne Yoshioka, director of the city Department of Transportation Services. "It may result in us discontinuing the signs completely."
At this point the department is going through an evaluation process and expects to have a decision by month's end.
Question: I wanted to renew my kids' passports at the Kailua post office. In the past we were able to make appointments on Saturday. But I was told that they no longer do so on Saturday because of insufficient funding. We would have to pull our kids from school, and my husband and I would have to take time off from work during the weekdays. A friend said the Waimanalo post office did passports Monday-Saturday. But when I called, they said they don't do passports at all anymore. What is going on with passport staffing at post offices on Oahu? Don't they make money from passports?
Answer: There hasn't been any "across-the-board effort to reduce passport services at (post offices) due to budgetary or other reasons," said Duke Gonzales, spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service in Hawaii.
There are 50 post offices across the state that accept passport applications. They do so by appointment "and make their own decisions regarding the days and times that they are capable of providing such services," Gonzales said.
He said customers should contact the offices directly to find out whether they handle passports on Saturdays.
Contact information can be found online at usps.whitepages.com/post_office or by calling 800-ASK-USPS (800-275-8777).
We did a quick search and found that the Kapalama post office accepts passport applications on Saturdays, by appointment only.
"We do not make a substantial amount from processing passport applications," Gonzales said. "But, in these challenging economic conditions, we are making every reasonable effort to maximize potential revenue-generating possibilities. We welcome any and all customers seeking passports."
Meanwhile, another option is the Hawaii State Library at 478 S. King St. Its Federal Documents section processes passport applications 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays.
You are asked to call 586-3477 first to verify hours and what's needed.
Or, go to www.librarieshawaii.org/services/passport1.htm.
To Costco's Anne Komura, who helped us recover a lost wallet with over $1,000 in cash and some irreplaceable IDs at the Waipio Gentry store. After being told that no one had turned the wallet in, I phoned Costco to double-check and was connected to Anne, the wonderfully understanding assistant manager, who listened to my story of despair. She was able to locate the missing wallet, with money all accounted for. I met Anne and Gayle Kawamura, the acting manager, who shared in my joy in the recovery. In these tough economic times, aloha and honesty mean a lot, and they should be commended for their care and compassion. Not everyone would have helped. -- Steve Maratta and Adan Rodrigues
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 email email@example.com.