Monday, May 25, 2015         

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

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?"

Flu vaccine without eggs is unavailable in Hawaii

By June Watanabe
Q: I have an egg allergy that prevents me from getting the normal flu vaccine, which is grown in eggs. A new vaccine that doesn't use eggs, called Flublok, has been available for over a year, but I can't find anyone who offers it?

State takeover is option for neglected cemetery

By June Watanabe
Question: Sunset Memorial Cemetery in Pearl City is in deplorable condition. Grass is so high it's difficult to locate graves. Who is responsible for the upkeep of that cemetery? We need to know! (Two complaints received.)

Solar gear not assessed, so city gives no exemption

By June Watanabe
Question: I filed my Real Property Tax Exemption Claim for Alternative Energy Improvements (my photovoltaic system) last month.

Leave it to city department to justify new traffic signs

By June Watanabe
Question: Some neighbors and I would like to petition for a four-way stop at Kainalu Drive and Mookua Street in Kailua. It is the only through street from Kalaheo Avenue to Maluniu Street, therefore is very busy.

Misuse of disability placard can be difficult to document

By June Watanabe
Q: I saw an ABC news report that said law enforcement officers in Los Angeles and across the nation were clamping down on people illegally using disabled parking placards with fines of hundreds or thousands of dollars. What is Honolulu doing to enforce this law?

Ditching jury duty can lead to charges, even time in jail

By June Watanabe
Q: I was called for jury duty and a number of people did not show up. The judge said something about issuing a bench warrant. What is this and what is the penalty for not reporting for jury duty? Is it different for state and federal courts?

'Higher-value' recyclables generate funds for the city

By June Watanabe
Question: If the city is collecting trash in gray bins to burn at HPOWER, which saves money, why are we putting newspapers and cardboard into the blue recycle bins, when recycled refuse costs the taxpayers money to ship off island?

Red buoy resumes bobbing after vanishing for repairs

By June Watanabe
Question: I frequently paddle my one-person canoe from Magic Island to the Diamond Head buoy and back.

'Standby' bridge in Nanakuli opens for various situations

By June Watanabe
Question: Visitors from the mainland keep asking me why the bridge in Nanakuli is blocked off. They say it is such a nice bridge and it's a shame not to let the local people use it.

Delay in restroom repairs irks North Shore residents

By June Watanabe
Question: The restrooms at Kaiaka Bay Beach Park have been boarded up for months. Any clue as to when they will reopen?

Check on renewal with firm handling alarm registration

By June Watanabe
Q: I am usually asked to renew the registration of my alarm about October each year. What has happened to the alarm registration process and procedures? Do I need to do anything? • Q: Where can we drop off old telephone books this year to be recycled?

Switch to online is hobbling medical pot registry system

By June Watanabe
Question: I'm a cancer physician. In my last practice in California, I was accustomed to filling out paperwork for appropriate patients to acquire medical cannabis. I wished to continue that practice here.

UH presidents' residence used for meetings, events

By June Watanabe
Question: How is the University of Hawaii Manoa's College Hill, the large house near the Manoa campus that was previously used as the UH president's residence, used now? I don't think it's been used as the president's residence since 2009.

We do not keep your items, TSA says of fliers' property

By June Watanabe
Question: How is it that a TSA agent at the airport can take your personal property and keep it forever?

Work on Waialae Avenue is due to emergency repairs

By June Watanabe
Question: Would you explain to the many drivers who use Waialae Avenue in Kaimuki every day, why after months and months of repaving work and completion dates extended multiple times, when the road was finally repaved and a delight to drive on again, why it is now being torn up again by Hawaii Gas?

No permit required to deal with animals deemed feral

By June Watanabe
Q: What can a homeowner/resident legally do to address mess-making animals on your property? Is it legal to trap or poison? How about random audio bursts that scare off the birds? • Q: How should a widow be addressed: Ms. or Mrs.?

Miscommunication delays activation of traffic signal

By June Watanabe
Question: The traffic signal at University Avenue and Coyne Street in Moiliili is still not operating. Will it be turned on soon? In October, after installation of the lights was completed months earlier, you said the city was awaiting Hawaiian Electric Co. to complete its work. No target date was given other than before the cycle track was completed, by November or December.

'Live Aloha' stickers offered at the price of a few stamps

By June Watanabe
Question: Are the "Live Aloha" bumper stickers still available? If so, can you tell me how I can get them?

Nonprofit status isn't noted for liquor permit application

By June Watanabe
Question: State law prohibits sales and consumption of liquor on public streets, but the city allows it during lots of block parties in Chinatown.

Private streets do not fall under protocol set by city

By June Watanabe
Last year signs were posted on property line walls of Wilhelmina Rise stating "Private Parking" for the strip of land between the street and walls. The city's Code Enforcement Branch, the inspector said the city cannot enforce whether an owner displays such a sign. Is this true?

Hope of reviving recycling keeps blue bins at airport

By June Watanabe
Q: Is it true that both the items in the blue bin and the trash bin at Honolulu Airport all end up at the landfill? Isn't that a little deceiving? Many folks assume they are doing a good thing by separating their recyclables from the trash. • Going Green events for January • Mahalo for regular cleanup

Drivers have close calls with wrong-way bicyclists

By June Watanabe
Question: While turning left on King Street into the driveway of a business, I paid extra special attention to watching my rearview mirror for any bicyclists in the new dedicated bike lane.

Unsafe use of federal carscan be reported to the GSA

By June Watanabe
Question: I drive on the H-2 freeway a lot and sometimes see vehicles with U.S. government license plates driving recklessly or speeding. Whom do I call to report them? I know whom to call for state or city vehicles but not for federal vehicles.

Health Department will not address bird-feeding gripes

By June Watanabe
Question: A neighbor continually feeds animals in the morning. I see mongooses and other animals feeding, besides birds. There is a lot of bird poop in the driveway and garage area. Isn't there a law against that?

Chlorine alters water taste for resident in Maunawili

By June Watanabe
The tap water in Maunawili has begun to have a strong chemical taste, which it never had before. Is this a temporary issue or the new normal? • Where can I go for a state ID card? Can you provide any information and office times? • Mahalo to honest young man for turning in handbag

Conflict-of-interest clause doesn’t apply to legislators

By June Watanabe
Question: How is it that elected state politicians are allowed to practice nepotism in the workplace? Legislators continue to have relatives on their payroll.

Budget limits snarl phones at the unemployment office

By June Watanabe
Question: I have had to call the unemployment claims office at the state Department of Labor ever since I got laid off. Two numbers are provided -- 586-8970 and 586-8971 -- but it is nearly impossible to speak to someone, despite multiple attempts.

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