QUESTION: Is it acceptable for city parks to close prior to posted closing times? Is it usual for a neighborhood resident to be responsible for closing the park gate? I was at Moanalua Valley Park in December and got back to my car a half-hour prior to the posted closing time of 7 p.m. to find a woman locking the bathroom and gate. When asked about the park being open until 7 p.m., she said, "No, the park is closing now." What could I have done if I got there 15 minutes later to find my car and me stuck there for the night?
ANSWER: The woman is a volunteer who apparently was not able to locate you before she started closing up.
The city Department of Parks and Recreation relies on staff and volunteers, and "it is very normal for volunteers to close our gates, especially in our current fiscal situation," said Craig Mayeda, administrator of Parks Maintenance and Recreation Services.
In general, parks are supposed to be closed at the posted times or later. Staff and volunteers normally check an entire park, visually and/or verbally, to make sure that a vehicle will not be locked in, Mayeda said.
"We will work with our volunteer (at Moanalua) to remind her of the closing time and to check out the park if there is a car in the parking lot," he said.
If you were locked in, Mayeda said you could have called police: "If our volunteer closed the facility early, HPD would contact (the Parks Department) to open the parking lot."
Mayeda explained that parks are closed to try to prevent damage to facilities, prevent disturbances to nearby homes and to make them safe places for all park users.
At many city parks there are no staff or volunteers available to close the parks, although there are closure hours, he said. Closure hours allow HPD to ask people who might be involved in undesirable activities to leave.
QUESTION: I can no longer find the ant-killing recipe you published previously. Can you please share it again or send a link?
ANSWER: The general formula, provided by Bernarr Kumashiro, insect taxonomist at the state Department of Agriculture, calls for one cup water, 1/3 cup sugar and one teaspoon boric acid powder.
Mix well, put a few drops into small containers and place along the ant trail. Keep away from children and pets.
Kumashiro advised dabbing a toothpick into the mixture and making a small trail of droplets leading to the container if ants don’t readily take the bait. See archives.starbulletin.com/content/20091015_kokua_line for more information.
To Honolulu police officer Bruce Pang of the Pearl City substation. At about 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19, we were traveling on the H-1 freeway eastbound when my tire blew out about two miles from the Pearlridge/Waimalu cutoff. It was the day of the big storm and pouring rain. My daughter was driving, and I had three other girls in the car. We pulled over to the shoulder but at a dangerous curve. I got all the girls behind the guardrail. Officer Pang stopped and asked whether I wanted a tow truck. He then asked whether I had a spare tire, saying he could change the tire to save me money. I accepted his offer. We moved my car away from the viaduct (and into the rain) so he could have better access to the tire. Ten minutes later he had changed the tire but was soaked! He is to be commended for his exemplary public service and for going "above and beyond the call of duty." — Carol Laheney/Moanalua