QUESTION: Monday mornings on my way to the Waikiki Community Center, the following is happening at Wai Nani Way between the back of the Kaimana Villa condo building and Jefferson Elementary School: Stoneridge towing company is towing cars from Ala Wai Boulevard to this location, which is clearly marked a "no parking any time" zone with three signs. The huge tow truck is parked alongside the school fence. Sometimes towed cars are lined up there, too. Why is a company that collects money to tow illegally parked cars does exactly the same and does not get fined?
ANSWER: Stoneridge Recoveries, which has a history of complaints against it, should not have been parking any vehicles in the no-parking zone.
The company, which has the city contract to tow vehicles from the Ala Wai, does not have a permit to use that area as a holding zone, said Michelle Yu, spokeswoman for the Honolulu Police Department.
However, the company was not issued a citation (for reasons we could not ascertain).
Instead, police officers "will be working with Stoneridge to come up with an alternate area," Yu said. In the meantime it will be using the recessed parking areas along the Ala Wai to park vehicles.
QUESTION: There are hundreds of bees in our yard, and we are afraid they are going to sting our children. Can you tell us where we can get help?
ANSWER: The state Department of Health has told Kokua Line that it generally does not consider bees a public health threat, so will not get involved in removing them from private property.
It recommends the public contact a pest control company or beekeeper.
The Health Department would make an exception in certain cases; for example, if a swarm of bees threatened schoolchildren and the school was not able to get pest control or beekeeper services.
Meanwhile, you can contact the Hawaii Beekeepers Association at 988-7203 to be referred to beekeepers who could do the removal.
The cost would depend on the situation but would be "strictly cost recovery," said Michael Kliks, president of the association.
The beekeepers would do the removal "compassionately" and, if possible, to ensure the bees’ survival. However, Kliks said it isn’t always possible to save wild colonies.
He also noted that a swarm of bees is an indication that there are problems with the queen bee and mother colony.
Kliks advises people to work with experienced beekeepers for safety reasons, as well as to make sure the bees aren’t unnecessarily harmed.
QUESTION: I applied for a duplicate birth certificate and paid $15.75, which included an additional copy. I was recently notified that no record was found. There was no refund or mention of a refund. What is the state’s policy in this situation?
ANSWER: All fees for certified copies of birth certificates and other vital records are payable in advance to the state Department of Health and nonrefundable, said spokeswoman Janice Okubo.
The policy on payments is outlined on the department’s website at www.hawaii.gov/health (under "Popular Links," click on "Certified Copies of Vital Records").
"If no record is found after a search is conducted, the fees are retained to cover the cost of the search," according to the website.
You can also get information by calling 586-4533.