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Kokua Line

Prisons welcome donations of textbooks and leisure reading

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Question: I would like to help prisoners by donating a collection of used Hawaiian educational books to a prison library in Hawaii. Can you let me know which local prisons take them? I looked online and found information for donations to prisons in other states, but couldn’t find anything for Hawaii.

Answer: The state Department of Public Safety welcomes textbooks, especially for elementary through high school students.

Many inmates are looking to develop their math and reading skills, so the department’s Education Services program is looking primarily for those types of textbooks, said Saint Wayne, an education specialist with the program.

The books are distributed to the seven prison facilities on the different islands. The goal is to bring the inmates’ skills up to the GED (General Educational Development) level, Wayne said.

To donate, call Wayne at 587-2555.

For those who wish to donate leisure reading books, contact Deanna Espinas with the Public Safety Department’s Library Services.

Any kind of leisure reading paperback book is welcome. "They are always in demand at all facilities," Espinas said. "We can never get enough of those." Only paperbacks are accepted, she said.

Call Espinas at 587-1274 or bring the books to her office at the Department of Public Safety, 919 Ala Moana Blvd., Room 405.

Q: My wife has her own Kaiser medical plan and she is also covered under my Kaiser plan. Is there a law that allows insurers to use one or the other plan, but not both at the same time? Kaiser tells me it can’t use both plans at the same time. It doesn’t seem right for them to collect the monthly premium on her, but not to have to provide any services. For the record: One year she took HMSA and they wouldn’t cover any payments for Kaiser.

A: The use of one health insurance plan or another in a dual-coverage situation is not regulated by state law, said Lloyd Lim, health branch administrator for the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Health Insurance Division.

There is nothing clearly addressing the situation because the issue apparently has not been brought to the attention of the Legislature.

Asked whether insurers are required to disclose the limitations of dual plans, Lim pointed to Section 432E-7 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, which has "a complete description of benefits, services and copayments" and "a statement on enrollee’s rights, responsibilities and obligations."

"Because of that, there is a good argument that the insurers need to inform the members in advance about this rather important aspect of a dual-coverage situation," Lim said.

AUWE

To two inconsiderate and totally clueless women. I was at Kahala Mall last month and found a car blocking my parked car. The car was facing the wrong way in a one-way aisle. No one was in the driver’s seat, but a woman sitting in the back next to a baby in a car seat got out. I thought she would apologize and move the car. Instead, she just said, "Oh, she’s coming soon," meaning the driver. I could see a woman looking from a fast-food place. I waited five minutes. She finally came out and looked at me. I thought she would apologize. She said nothing! She got in her car, took her time, then moved it, going the wrong way, and parked behind another car! Come on, people, let’s show some common courtesy and common sense. — Flabbergasted

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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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