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Christine Donnelly

Christine Donnelly is the Kokua Line columnist at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. She answers readers' questions with help from experts in the field, and publishes readers' expressions of dismay (Auwe), apology (E Kala Mai) and gratitude (Mahalo). Questions run the gamut, with an emphasis in Sunday's column on topics that broadly reflect quality of life in Hawaii. Kokua Line runs five days a week.
Contact Christine Donnelly


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                                A portion of the 1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return form is shown in New York.
Kokua Line: Should I refile my federal tax return?

Question: I mailed in my tax returns before the deadline last April. I received my refund from the state, but I never received my refund from the federal government. I have called the IRS and I can never get through. Should I refile my federal return? Read more

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Electric bike tour of Lahaina Maui.
Kokua Line: Where’s state rebate for e-bike?

Question: I bought an electric bike for Christmas for my son to take back with him to college, and I expected to receive the state discount upon purchase. But the cashier didn’t know about it and told me to save the receipt. What’s going on? I thought they funded this in 2022. Read more

                                A stand-up paddler is silhouetted against the sparkly surface of the ocean at Ala Moana Regional Park.
Kokua Line: Is SUP ‘rule’ at Ala Moana in writing?

Question: Is there anything in writing about where the stand-up paddlers should paddle at Ala Moana Beach in the ocean (the side with the buoys, not Magic island)? I’ve heard of an unofficial “rule” that the stand-up paddlers should paddle on the outside of the buoy. However, especially on Saturdays, the stand-up paddlers are on the inside of the buoys where the swimmers are swimming laps, and it can get gnarly sometimes. Read more

Kokua Line: What happens if I tell DMV about dementia?

Question: The state of Hawaii driver’s license application has a question asking the applicant if he/she has Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or memory loss. If an applicant answers “yes,” how will that impact the likelihood of renewal? Read more

                                National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific “Punchbowl”.
Kokua Line: Why the long wait for death certificate?

Question: A relative died in August and we were told that it would take four months to get a death certificate. It’s been more than four months and we still have not gotten it. Why is it taking so long for the Department of Health to issue death certificates? In the meantime we can’t settle the deceased’s estate and bank accounts are frozen. Read more

Christine Donnelly, Honolulu Star-Advertiser Kokua Line Columnist.
Kokua Line: Can I keep personalized plate without paying?

Question: I’ve had personalized license plates for many years, and I love them, but with the price so high now, I can’t afford to keep renewing year after year. I guess I will switch to a plain plate, but I want to keep my personalized plates for sentimental reasons. Is that allowed? I don’t want to switch until I know whether I will have to turn them in. Read more

Kokua Line: How far ahead can kupuna renew license?

Question: Regarding the kupuna driver’s license, I am 79 years old and renewed my license for two years last February. Can I go again in January or February to get a four-year license knowing that I still have one more year on my current license? Read more

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