Question: There is always a group of people smoking cigarettes next to the rubbish area at the underground level of the state Capitol. It seems like they were having a cigarette break. Is it legal to smoke there? If not, who would enforce the law?
Smoking OK near
Capitol loading dock
Answer: The loading dock area you are referring to has long been accepted as a place where visitors and employees can take a smoke break, said state Comptroller Raymond Sato, head of the Department of Accounting and General Services.
It is considered a service entrance, removed from the main public entrance to the chamber level of the Capitol.
"State law governing smoking in public places focuses primarily on the interior spaces within a building," Sato said. "Although the basement parking area can be said to have a roof and four walls, it is considered to be outside of the building proper and therefore, is not covered by the law."
The department has not provided any designated smoking areas within any state facility under its jurisdiction, he said, except where there are large open courtyards within the building. An example is the Princess Keelikolani Building, which houses the Tax Department.
As for who enforces the no-smoking law in state facilities, responsibility falls on whatever entity has jurisdiction over a particular facility, Sato explained. For example, the Department of Education would enforce the law at schools, while the Department of Transportation would do so at the airports.
Ants, begone!A reader last week begged for any tips on getting rid of black ants. We vouch for none of them, but other readers had some interesting solutions, among them:
"I use borax, like in Twenty Mule Team Borax. Mix just a little bit of powder and a little bit of sugar, maybe 1:1. Don't add any water. Just put this in a container on the counter. The idea is that the ants will take this back to the queen. It's a sure thing and works for me. -- Barbara
"Use oil of cloves. Figure out where the ants are coming from, then moisten a cloth or cotton ball with the oil. Wipe along the edges of kitchen counters, for example. The theory is that the ants will not cross that line of oil. My friends in the building have all used this and everyone is ant-free. You can buy a one-ounce bottle of oil of cloves for about $7.49 at Longs, but it will last for a year." -- Stella
"I live in the Kaimuki area and have found mixing a quarter cup of Crystal Light in about a quart of water really helps to keep the ants away. I put this mixture into a spray bottle and just spray it around window sills, by the cracks in your doors and any other place, even plants outside." -- No name
"My solution is to also use boric acid and sugar, but instead of mixing it in a solution, I get a piece of plastic, about 3 or 4 inches in diameter. I put maybe a half teaspoon of sugar in the center and make a ring around it of boric acid powder, so that the ants have to cross the boric acid to get to the sugar. You put this wherever ants traverse. Before you know it, there will be piles of ants and some ants will take the poison back to their nest." -- Leonard
"My husband and I went crazy for a whole year trying everything to get rid of black ants. Then, one day, about a year ago, we came across "Grant's Kills Ants" at Longs. It has arsenic in it. The traps are silver-colored, which apparently attracts ants more than black traps that are more common. Within a few days, the ants were gone." -- Katherine
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