Call bases to host heroes during holiday
In the past our group that gets together for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners has attempted to locate servicemen and women who would like to join us, but we've had no luck in our efforts to reach out. Do you know of any way we can do this? It might be too late for Thanksgiving, but there's still Christmas. Inviting these brave young people to join us would be a small way of saying thank you.
Answer: What a gracious gesture -- and one that's appreciated.
As Chuck Little, spokesman for the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, told us, "I know how grateful our young Marines are for these types of invites, especially since many are away from home for the first time in their lives."
Here are some numbers to call if you would like to invite someone who is away from home to join in your holiday celebrations:
» Coast Guard: 541-2121.
» Marines: Sarah Fry, public affairs specialist, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, 257-8832 or 257-8840.
» Navy: Master Chief David Lajoie, Navy Region Hawaii Command, 473-2209.
To a store selling bags of sand for $4.95 before the recent heavy rain. People use them as sandbags to protect their property. When I went down just after the rain, the bags were being sold for $5.95. When I asked about it, I was told the price increase had nothing to do with the sudden need for sandbags because of rain. I later found the same brand of sandbags being sold at City Mill in Kaneohe for only $4.75. Sounds like price gouging to me. -- Sandbagged in Kaneohe
If you think a store has engaged in price gouging, you should file a complaint with the state Office of Consumer Protection.
However, the OCP has investigated several complaints related to the Oct. 15 earthquakes, as well as the recent bad weather, and has not verified any incident of price gouging, according to OCP Executive Director Stephen Levins.
Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, someone complained to "Kokua Line" about a store raising prices on American flags.
Levins said his office also had received "isolated complaints" of price gouging that year, but none of the complaints was substantiated after being investigated.
At that time, he explained that there is no "precise legal definition" of price gouging, although the state's general unfair- or deceptive-practices law could apply if someone were to take advantage of a situation.
He also said there is a state law that prohibits raising prices during certain emergencies, but it is tied to the governor declaring a natural disaster and also is "indexed to a severe weather watch (issued) by the National Weather Service."
In yesterday's print edition of "Kokua Line," we meant to say that Pahu Street, where Tamura Hospital was located, is makai -- not mauka -- of Farrington Highway.
Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
. See also: Useful phone numbers