Thursday, July 2, 2015         

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For articles before August 3, 2011, see the Free Archives »

Benchmark indicates spot to measure beach erosion

By June Watanabe
Q: I was walking around Kapiolani Park recently and saw a monument in the sidewalk. I was just wondering about the history of this kind of monument. Do you have any information? • Mahalo to ambulance driver, police officers

Rules of the road governing cars apply to bicycles, too

By June Watanabe
Question: What is the law regarding when bicyclists using the protected bike lane on King Street are supposed to stop?

Learner's permit accepted for resident golf ID card

By June Watanabe
Question: I was hassled at the Ala Wai Golf Course for bringing my learner's permit as proof of residency. The starter told me that I was not able to use it as proof. Luckily, I had also brought my school ID, which was accepted.

FDA to require the posting of nutritional information

By June Watanabe
Question: I have for many years gone to neighboring 7-Elevens to purchase local favorites such as sushi, dim sum and an occasional bento. These seem to be standard throughout the chain. When, if ever, will they be able to provide nutritional information on these items?

Local Lions Club president installed memorial clock

By June Watanabe
The story of how a clock tower, donated by a Lions Club from Japan in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, came to be in the midst of the Hawaii Capital Historic District begins with Robert “Bob” Nakamura, the founding president of the Pearl Harbor Lions Club.

Bikeway project expected to go out to bid this year

By June Watanabe
Q: What is the status of the Leeward Bikeway? • Q: I recall that the Legislature was considering a law to make residential homes legal ohanas, as one remedy for the housing shortage in the islands. Is that now legal?

Shopping carts at rail site were 'derelict,' state says

By June Watanabe
Question: While sitting in traffic going west on the H-1 freeway near the Waipahu exit, I noticed construction workers with five or six shopping carts from businesses such as Don Quijote and Sam's Club. Why are they using stolen carts?

State workers are unable to fix solar-powered clock

By June Watanabe
Question: There is a free-standing clock fronting the Waikiki side of the state's Kalanimoku Building, facing the Frank F. Fasi Municipal Building. It has not been in operation for a while. Is there a history regarding this clock?

Vehicle registration notice goes only to address on file

By June Watanabe
Question: We just missed the timely renewal of our car registration, because we were away for a while and had our mail forwarded to another address.

Officers given special duty should fulfill assigned tasks

By June Watanabe
Q: I have a complaint about two police officers hired by Hawaiian Memorial Cemetery for traffic control on Memorial Day. The two officers just stood and talked the entire time, oblivious to what was happening. When police are hired for traffic control and do nothing, what should be done?

No need turn in ID, license when moving out of state

By June Watanabe
Q: My wife and I are moving out of Hawaii after being a resident for five years. What steps should we take regarding our Hawaii ID cards and voter registration to become an ex-resident?

H-3 had fewest accidents compared with Pali, Likelike

By June Watanabe
Question: It seems there have been numerous accidents on the H-3 freeway recently, and I'm thinking it may be partly due to the 60 mph speed limit. Are there any statistics to compare accident occurrences on the roadways of the three tunnels: H-3 and the Pali and Likelike highways?

Replica Hawaii safety decals no big deal, city official says

By June Watanabe
Question: I just came back fromJapan, where they were selling replica Hawaii safety inspection decals at a vehicle rest area at the Tokyo Bay bridge. I know we transitioned to new stickers, but there are still cars that have the colored safety decals. Aren't these illegal?

Fort Ruger Pathway project remains a work in progress

By June Watanabe
Question: What is the status of the Diamond Head pathway -- the walkway and grass planted on the Koko Head side of the Leahi Millennium Peace Park? It looks as though the contractor has exited, leaving a mess behind.

Neighborhood hui can ask city to restore street name

By June Watanabe
Q: In August the U.S. Postal Service notified us of a modification of our street address. However, the street sign still reflects the old address. Who is responsible for putting up a new sign?

Moanalua Stream ‘walls’ are part of delayed project

By June Watanabe
Q: For months, the city has been building low walls in the channel of Moanalua Stream, just below the makai crossing of Ala Aolani Street. What is going on? • Q: We went to the Waipahu Post Office drive-thru mailbox and it was so crammed! How often does this happen and why?

Deadly hit-and-run case in hands of city prosecutor

By June Watanabe
Question: What happened to the woman who was arrested for killing a motorcyclist by the Kunia entrance to the freeway in April?

Dog waste in adjacent yard not viewed as police matter

By June Watanabe
Question: Our neighbor in the back of our home has a dog that they do not pick up after for days at a time. On one occasion I counted up to 12 big piles of poop.

Mandatory tips are subject to state general excise tax

By June Watanabe
Question: I understand some restaurants have policies to automatically calculate and include gratuity on the meal tab.

Water Board open to tool that prevents, detects leaks

By June Watanabe
Q: An issue of Bloomberg Businessweek this year featured software coming from Israel that uses mathematical algorithms to detect and prevent leaks in water pipes, and also repair and plug leaks without digging. Shouldn’t the Honolulu Board of Water Supply look into this to update its system?

Cosmetic tattoos on pets aren’t covered in state laws

By June Watanabe
Q: A woman walked in to a mom-and-pop store with her cute, white terrier. The puppy’s eyebrow area was shaven and seemed to have human-shaped eyebrows tattooed above its eyes. Would this be considered cruelty?

Lei-laying Scouts filled stalls at cemetery despite notices

By June Watanabe
Question: I have been going to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Punchbowl, for over 20 years on the eve of Memorial Day. That's the day the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts place lei on the grave markers. In the past, there would be more people at the cemetery, but everything was kind of normal. This year,

Registration fees accrued on idle cars must be paid

By June Watanabe
Question: I have had a non-running car in my driveway for a while. Recently I repaired the car, but have extensive registration fees to pay. After researching how to properly store the car and surrender the plates, I realize I have no recourse but to pay the fees.

Officials working to replace balky palace wheelchair lift

By June Watanabe
Question: As visitors to this remarkable state, my family and I have been overjoyed with our visit, until we went to Iolani Palace, which was very high on our bucket list. My mother is 83 and needs a wheelchair.

For-profit exercise classes not authorized at city parks

By June Watanabe
Q: As a frequent Ala Moana Beach Park user, I've noticed more exercise groups using the park. Some are small but others have over 20 people. Are they regulated in any way? Does this mean mobile car detailing or portable massage businesses can also use the park?

Parking regulations for EVs do not mandate charging

By June Watanabe
Q: Can owners of parking lots with designated electric vehicle parking stalls that have EV-charging stations require the vehicle to be actively charging in order to use the stall?

Tennis court usage rules are designed to play fair

By June Watanabe
Question: I was playing tennis at the court next to the McCoy Pavilion at Ala Moana Beach Park. A woman with her family from Japan stepped in and told us that she had been told that we had been playing for over 45 minutes and demanded we turn the court over to them although she had NEVER been waiting inside or outside our court.

Tears shed upon hearing tale behind Wahiawa pool

By June Watanabe
Question: At a recent event for seniors in Wahiawa, we heard a woman talk about her father, the 442nd and the history of the Wahiawa District Park Swimming Pool. What a story, my wife, Maria, said.

War memorial near bus stop tempting to graffiti vandals

By June Watanabe
Q: The war memorial at the corner of King and Punchbowl streets is in deplorable condition with graffiti. On Memorial Day, the gate should be opened and there should be a wreath there. Can you help? • State tax refunds • Mahalo to strangers who help strangers

Balky light-change sensors should be reported to city

By June Watanabe
Q: What is a motorcyclist supposed to do if he has to make a turn and the light isn’t going to change for him? • Q: Could you tell us what started the house fire located on the 3000 block of East Manoa Road on March 5? • Mahalo to Mary Jane and Adrian at Zippy's Waipio.

Building permit fees grow if work is already complete

By June Watanabe
Question: What is the penalty if you remodel your house and don't get a building permit? It's hard to understand when you need a permit and when you don't. Can you put up drywall or a closet without a permit?

Mililani due for brief break from noisy HECO project

By June Watanabe
Question: Helicopters have been flying over the densely populated Kapanoe subdivision in Mililani Mauka from Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. My understanding is that the old lychee farm in the neighborhood sold some of its acreage to HECO for a warehouse.

Sea spray 'static' on radar is not a problem, NWS says

By June Watanabe
Question: I have been trying to find out why the weather radar at Ilio Point on Molokai has not been repaired in months. You will see the problem during weather reports on KHON, KGMB or KHNL

Issues below road’s surface complicate repair work

By June Watanabe
Q: Work on Kalanianaole Highway in the block near Aina Haina Shopping Center hasn't been resurfaced in over a month. It's hazardous with the wet weather and the fact that the road isn’t smooth. What’s going on?

Flight attendants directed folks to leave bags behind

By June Watanabe
Q: I noticed photos of passengers on the Hawaiian Airlines flight on Maui who had to exit the plane on a slide carrying huge bags. Can you tell me what the airline policy is and what do the flight attendants do to enforce this?

State's tax return process slows check-cashing time

By June Watanabe
Question: I have been living in Hawaii and paying individual income taxes for almost seven years. I file and pay quarterly estimated taxes, sometimes pay with a filing extension form and sometimes have tax balances to pay at filing time.

Public already warned about airport parking, official says

By June Watanabe
Question: I went to Honolulu Airport to pick up my grandson. I entered the "all other airlines" parking area by the interisland terminal. Soon after entering, I was very surprised to see that the entrance was blocked off, and I had no choice but to exit the parking area.

Street width, demographics determine crossing times

By June Watanabe
Question: With the recent increase in police ticketing pedestrians for entering crosswalks when the "don't walk" light is on, it seems appropriate to ask, Exactly what do the flashing numbers indicate?

Check status of tax refund after 16 weeks, state says

By June Watanabe
Q: What is happening with state tax refunds? Q: I heard it would take 10-12 weeks to process state tax refunds since they have a new system. Is that correct? • Mahalo to 'Baymax'

L&L to reopen Ala Moana snack concessions in June

By June Watanabe
Q: Once again, both concession stands at Ala Moana Beach Park are closed and have been for months. Why can’t the city maintain and operate these concessions reliably? What is the problem?

Mango flowers, overripe fruit are favorites of pesky beetle

By June Watanabe
Question: We live in Hawaii Kai and have seen an increase in bumblebee-size beetles. They're not the coconut rhinoceros beetle. A number of them have been swarming around our mango tree flowers. Are they good or bad and how do we control them?

It takes 2 legal documents to alter name on phone bill

By June Watanabe
Question: Ever since my friend's father died in January, he's been trying to change the phone billing customer name to his own.

Dispose of old medication at 3 Oahu events this year

By June Watanabe
Question: Where should we take our outdated medicine for disposal?

Nature's mightiest material gives opihi teeth their bite

By Susan Scott
Until recently, researchers thought spider silk was nature's strongest material. Now the title goes to limpet teeth.

Riding without seat belt can result in $102 charge

By June Watanabe
Q: How much is the fine for a person riding unbuckled in the back seat of a car? • Q: Why was Reynolds Recycling asked to vacate its leased spot in Mililani? • Two "Going Green" one-stop, drop-off recycling events

Reynolds Recycling is asked to exit location in Mililani

By June Watanabe
Q: I was upset to find out that the Reynolds Recycling center has been asked to move out of their location at the Mililani Town Center. What's going on? • Recycling options • Mahalo to Peggy

Car dealers may be allowed to charge tax on list price

By June Watanabe
Question: I was told by a car dealership on Oahu that the buyer of a new car must pay the state general excise tax based on the full amount of the list price, not on the agreed-upon selling price. What?

Thomas Square sidewalks comply with law, city says

By June Watanabe
Question: Why is the city allowing those planter boxes to remain on the sidewalks flanking Thomas Square on Beretania and South King streets?

Safety is the first priority before opening ZipperLane

By June Watanabe
Question: I am one of thousands who drive the H-1 freeway to work and back every day. Is there a specific time the ZipperLane should be opened?

Efforts aim to teach cyclists about safe nighttime riding

By June Watanabe
Q: Why don't we have any effort to educate bicycle riders and pedestrians out at night to please wear reflective materials and obey the law by having lights and reflectors on their bicycles?

City workers followed rules in repairing Kalaeloa drains

By June Watanabe
Q: Could you find out why our city and county workers do not have to follow any safety or environmental laws when doing work on our roads? Are they being fined?

State, city charge low fees for use of public roadways

By June Watanabe
Question: One lane on Ala Moana Boulevard, from the Ala Moana Center bus stop to Piikoi Street and up Piikoi to the first light, is coned off and closed all day, used as parking for builders of condos and stores in the shopping center.

State lacks staff to inspect gasoline pumps every year

By June Watanabe
Question: I wonder, are we getting the actual amount of gasoline that we are paying for at service stations?

Island drivers over 72 must renew license every 2 years

By June Watanabe
Question: What are the current driver's license renewal requirements for elderly drivers in Hawaii? It seems as though I am reading about more and more incidents of people crashing through storefronts, almost always (if not always) an elderly driver.

Police urge against eating, drinking soda while driving

By June Watanabe
Q: Is it considered distracted driving in Hawaii for a driver to be drinking a soda or eating a cookie while driving? Is it against the law to use a hand-held GPS (Global Positioning System) device while driving? What about the new Apple Watch? Is it going to be an issue here?

Fallen tree blocking street prompted noisy 2 a.m. work

By June Watanabe
Question: I live in Alii Shores in Kaneohe. At 2:15 a.m. Monday, March 23, the city brought in a truck and took a large tree down on Nahiku Street. The tree was on land owned by the city.

Fire Department uses tank to battle Manoa brush fire

By June Watanabe
Question: I watched the (Honolulu) Fire Department helicopter make many water drops on the brush fire behind the University of Hawaii and up to Waahila Ridge recently. I am curious: Where did they refill their water bucket each time? How fortunate we are to have our Fire Department!

Agency's following the law by painting marks on road

By June Watanabe
Question: Why is the Board of Water Supply going around my neighborhood in Aiea -- and in front of my property -- spraying with bright blue paint "no BWS" and all these arrows, about 6 inches high?

Hanauma Bay rule is aimed at preventing traffic tie-ups

By June Watanabe
Question: Who runs the parking lot at Hanauma Bay? I recently took friends visiting from the mainland there, and after settling in on the beach, we realized the kids had forgotten some things at home. I live close by, so I left to get them.

Reader’s query could result in fines for property owner

By June Watanabe
QUESTION: A friend who lives in Palolo Valley has noticed huge amounts of dirt being thrown over a ledge on Maunalani Heights beginning last month. This seems to be in the area between a private home and Maunalani Nursing Center.

Family might not reopen longtime Kapahulu eatery

By June Watanabe
Q: Many of us are wondering: whatever happened to our beloved Hee Hing restaurant? We all celebrated special occasions there each year and when they closed for renovations, we waited eagerly for its reopening. They were slated to reopen last fall and to this date, we have no idea what's going on.

Postal Service can't confirm delivery to IRS at tax time

By June Watanabe
Question: I mailed two federal tax returns separately to Ogden, Utah, each via Certified Mail.

Estate tax does not apply if value is less than $5M

By June Watanabe
Question: Is inheritance taxable? How would you report it? What is an inheritance tax?

Expect more rail-related tie-ups in Pearl City area

By June Watanabe
Question: Is there a timeline or schedule as to when the rail construction will be finished in the Wai­pahu/ Pearl City area? I travel between Ewa and Pearl City during the course of my workday, and I'm at the screaming stage due to the construction, lane closures and traffic delays.

Improvements at McKinley to result in 'premier' facility

By June Watanabe
Q: What are they building in the McKinley High School athletic field and adjoining empty lot at Pensacola and Kapiolani? • Mahalo to a Manoa resident

City's routine maintenance leaves land above stream bare

By June Watanabe
Q: Is it really critical and essential that the three trees beside St. Louis Drive be cut down now? Why is it important to leave a bare and bleak hillside with rocks now tumbling into the stream and dirt eroding with no trees whatsoever? • Community Partnership • Mahalo to couple

Submit affidavit with plates, registration to store vehicle

By June Watanabe
Question: I plan to store my motorcycle and not drive on public roads. It is currently registered (2015 year) with the city. How do I surrender my single license plate?

Mopeds are not permitted to travel in shoulder lanes

By June Watanabe
Question: Recently a policeman stopped my granddaughter's boyfriend, saying he couldn't ride his moped on Kalanianaole Highway in East Honolulu next to the sidewalk, inside the white line. I thought the white line indicated it was a bicycle lane.

Service-oriented quilt guild welcomes fabric donations

By June Watanabe
Question: I no longer am able to sew. I have a lot of high-quality material I would like to donate to a group that could make good use of it. Are there such groups in Hawaii?

Follow simple steps to rid home of carpenter bees

By June Watanabe
Carpenter bees bore a hole in a roof beam, and as soon as that hole is "cemented" closed by us or an exterminator service, the bees bore another hole. At this moment the bees are winning this war! Can anyone help us? • Isn't the Honolulu Zoo in an area in danger of tsunami and storms? • Mahalo to an unknown gentleman

Ensure websites are official by noting use of .gov suffix

By June Watanabe
Please alert senior citizens applying for a replacement Social Security card or renewing their passport online to be sure to scroll down to official government websites and not on fraudulent sites listed first. • Reporting Fraud • Mahalo to two good Samaritans

Drivers urged to be patient, obey laws during transition

By June Watanabe
Question: Since the city repaved Kalalea Street in January, drivers have had a problem with the signal at the intersection of Kalalea and Hawaii Kai Drive.

Old, unused license plates can be turned in, destroyed

By June Watanabe
Question: In cleaning out my garage, I found several sets of license plates that date back at least 20 years. Do I need to return them to the city, can I throw them away or can I sell them at the swap meet?

Many factors drive reason for use of large firetrucks

By June Watanabe
Question: I live in Hawaii Kai and constantly see full-size ladder firetrucks going along on ambulance calls.

Businesses had ample time to plan for bag ban, city says

By June Watanabe
Q: Why can't we use up the bags that we bought under the current rules, showing that we bought them prior to the rules change? I have a small business that will be out a couple thousand dollars just on bags.

Drivers' 'beautification fee' used to tow abandoned cars

By June Watanabe
Q: Would you please find out why and when did the City and County of Honolulu start to charge/include an additional fee called a "beautification fee" of $7 to register our cars?

Products and services fund post offices — not taxes

By June Watanabe
Question: I was at the Manoa post office recently to mail a small packet to Canada that required a customs form, which I had filled out.

City not funded for bill that OKs property removal

By June Watanabe
Question: Last year, Mayor Kirk Caldwell approved Bill 52, regarding the removal of hazardous property. What do residents need to do to have one of their neighbors cited in relation to this bill?

High-tech imaging system utilized in search for hiker

By June Watanabe
Question: I was eating dinner as a helicopter nearby flew over the Stairway to Heaven searching for a missing hiker, and I got to thinking: The military has a number of heat-seeking devices, which might be useful in such search and rescue missions.

Plastic bag ban applies only to those at store checkouts

By June Watanabe
Q: Many of us now recycle plastic bags from the markets for trash disposal. Will the ban on plastic bags in July mean these bags can't be used for trash also? • Q: In case of an accident and I render aid to the victim and the victim dies, will I be held responsible and sued?

Hilo library led the islands in books circulated in 2014

By June Watanabe
Q: Out of the many branch libraries in the Hawaii State Public Library System, which one is the busiest in terms of books and other items loaned out? (P.S. The personnel at all the branches I visit are all very pleasant and helpful.)

Apply to Health Department for death certificate copies

By June Watanabe
Question: How and where may I obtain a death certificate of a person to whom I wasn't married, was not of blood relationship, but was lovingly dedicated to, including buying a condo jointly. My partner died in 2013.

Strong wind from the west damaging Leeward kiawes

By June Watanabe
Question: Why are the kiawe trees dying along the Leeward Coast? Several weeks ago I noticed the branches/leaves on the trees on the ocean side of Farrington Highway appeared to be drying up/dying and now have spread to cover entire trees.

Simple alternatives help avoid a stop at post office

By June Watanabe
The Kailua post office recently changed the “will call” mail pickup to only 15 minutes a day from 8:45 to 9 a.m. during the week and one hour on Sun- day.

When outages occur, HECO taps social and news media

By June Watanabe
Q: Is it possible for HECO to send text alerts during outages to customers with cellphones so we are not literally kept in the dark about what is going on?

Police ticket moped riders using the Pearl Harbor trail

By June Watanabe
Q: I am a regular commuter along the Pearl Harbor bike path. Although signs clearly say, "no motorized vehicles," mopeds run up and down the path. Can anyone please take the initiative to clean up this pathway and make it a pleasant biking/walking/jogging trail for families?

Spring reopening in sight for most of Kanewai Park

By June Watanabe
Question: Why is it taking so long to upgrade and refurbish Kanewai Community Park and playground? It's been approximately two years since they closed the park.

Discounted phones, service offered via Lifeline program

By June Watanabe
Question: Can you give us more information about the "Obama phones" -- free cellphones given out by cellphone companies? I filled out an application from Bluebird Wireless, emailed it in two months ago and got no reply. Are there companies in Hawaii where I can walk in and get a phone?

'Dog' Chapman gate lacks self-locking mechanism

By June Watanabe
Question: In 2011 I remember reading about a dispute over the front gate of Duane "Dog" Chapman's estate in Portlock as to the height and signage on the gate.

Islands boast 22 labyrinths, including famed Dole maze

By June Watanabe
Q: I have heard there are labyrinths in Hawaii, including at the University of Hawaii-Manoa. Can you tell me where they are and why they were built? A: The Labyrinth Society lists 22 in Hawaii, including "portable" ones.

Shallow utility lines halted Beretania Street roadwork

By June Watanabe
Q: We have not noticed any roadwork going on, no resurfacing, repaving or repairs on Beretania Street, from University Avenue to South Street. Nothing has been done and the road is awful. What about finishing Beretania -- or even starting work on it?

Abercrombie pardoned 83, with 50 during his last year

By June Watanabe
Question: Who did Neil Abercrombie pardon before leaving as governor? Answer: During his four-year term, the former governor issued pardons to 83 people, most of them in his last year in office.

Paint spilled in roadway covered by state, city laws

By June Watanabe
Question: In early February someone spilled what seemed to be at least five gallons of white paint on Manoa Road just before the tip of Triangle Park.

Park caretaker takes blame for locked parking lot gate

By June Watanabe
Question: Can you find out why the Makapuu Trail parking lot gate was closed and locked two out of the three days over the Presidents Day holiday weekend? Only on Presidents Day, Monday, was the parking accessible.

Tax materials are available for those with no computer

By June Watanabe
QUESTION: I'm a senior. I don't have a computer. I don't have the instruction book for the 1040A or Schedule A and B that I need to begin my income taxes. I can't find any place on this island that has the booklets or forms for us to use.

Security rules bar disabled parking at federal building

By June Watanabe
Question: I am a retired serviceman who is rated 100 percent disabled by the Veterans Administration. I had to go to the federal building, but found there are no disabled parking stalls assigned there. Why?

First phase of airport work projected to be done by May

By June Watanabe
Question: When is the completion date for the new airport rental car building? What is the total cost to taxpayers for the work going on at Honolulu Airport?

Absence of city, state laws allows boats to stay ashore

By June Watanabe
Question: Are there any rules/ordinances regarding boats and cars parked on streets, especially in residential areas? We live in Mililani, and both sides of the street are full of cars and boats. It's hard to drive in and out of a two-lane road.

Cost, community opposition nix Makapuu Trail plumbing

By June Watanabe
Question: In regards to news that the Makapuu Trail will be closed for repair: It will take up to six months (probably longer). Repaving, adding seating areas, better lookout areas, etc., are all good. But why can't there be any money put aside to add some basic needs, like portable toilets, or some way to have some water available for people to have?

Emergencies are only part of how Nixle system is used

By June Watanabe
Q: Can you identify and stop who in the state Department of Public Safety is abusing the Nixle emergency system by sending out announcements like the one on Feb. 4, "Man arrested by state sheriffs for stealing restaurant tip jar?"

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