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Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Wednesday, February 21, 2001


Why did city clean
up private yard?

Question: I live on Kaokoa Place in the Pearlridge area. My neighbors and I noticed city workers working in somebody's front yard for a week, from Jan. 29 to Feb. 2, taking out rocks and clearing shrubbery. Did the city buy the house? Is there something wrong there? Why did they spend so much time clearing someone's private front yard? There were two trucks with the city and county seal.

Answer: Thanks to the license number you provided, the trucks were tracked to the Department of Parks and Recreation.

The situation "looked funny, but it was on the up-and-up," said parks director William Balfour.

Balfour said that when he heard the homeowners wanted to get rid of the rocks and plants in their large rock garden, he jumped at the chance to get them for the department's beautification projects.

It was a "great big treasure of beautiful rocks" for decorative purposes, he said.

"They said you just haul them away and you can have them," he said, adding that it was a "win-win" situation for both sides.

"It obviously was a win for them to get it cleared and the value to the parks department far outweighs what it took to haul them away."

The rocks were being stored at one of the department's nurseries to be used as needed, Balfour said.

Q: I'd like to know how long one can stay in Europe, specifically in Italy, before losing one's citizenship? And, if one loses U.S. citizenship and wants to come back to the U.S., what are the procedures?

A: You can basically stay away from the United States as long as you like and not jeopardize your citizenship, according to the customer service manager for the Honolulu Passport Agency.

You just have to make sure to renew your passport at a U.S. consulate or embassy in the country you are in.

"Really, the only thing that could jeopardize (your) U.S. citizenship is if you actively renounce your citizenship," he said. One example: taking an oath of allegiance to another country that includes renouncing your previous citizenship.

However, if you are intending to stay in a foreign country for a length of time, you may be required to obtain a visa.

"Most countries have a certain limit to how long they would let you to stay without a visa from them," the passport agency spokesman said.

If you're planning to go to Italy for a prolonged stay, contact the Italian consulate for information. There isn't one in Honolulu, but you can call the consulate in Los Angeles at 310-820-0622.

For more information about traveling, check the Passport Agency's Web site: http://www.travel.state.gov

Auwe

To the thief who broke into my truck while I attended church on Sunday, Feb. 4. The radio you ripped out and the golf clubs you stole were from a very cherished person and had a very special meaning for me. They were not meant to support your drug habits. -- No name

Mahalo

To my roommate, Chuck, a Navy sailor who gave me a ride to Tripler Hospital on Saturday, Feb. 3, when I was feeling very ill, and to the Army husband-(Howard)-and-wife team who gave me a ride to my Waipahu home that cold Saturday night after I had waited outside for over two hours for the promised taxi that never appeared. -- Mark Vargas (a retired U.S. Marine living on a small 100 percent disability pension)





Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Email to kokualine@starbulletin.com




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