Guard allegedly kept folks out of state park
I went to Heeia State Park at about 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day only to find the gate locked. A person there identified himself as "security," but he did not appear to be from any security company and was dressed in shorts, T-shirt and baseball cap. He told me to leave and that all of the park from that gate back was owned by a private organization. All signs indicate it to be a state park open every day from 7 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. or 7:45 p.m. depending on the time of year. What's going on?
Answer: State parks are open on holidays, although certain parks might close early on July 4 or New Year's Eve to prevent use of fireworks, said Deborah Ward, spokeswoman for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
But we were not able to get an explanation from her as to what might have happened Thanksgiving Day.
Carole McLean, executive director of the nonprofit Friends of Heeia State Park, said last week that the park was open on Thanksgiving Day and a security guard was posted at the gate, "allowing access."
Because of problems with burglaries and vandalism on holidays and weekends when it does not host events, the group has hired private security, she said.
The group has a lease with DLNR to offer educational programs to help children and adults better understand the natural and cultural resources of the area; it also rents out the visitor center hall for weddings and other events.
"The Friends conform to park hours but provide security after the staff is pau at 4 p.m.," McLean said. But, "no one is denied access, nor is anyone told to leave" when the park is supposed to be open.
The only incident noted Thanksgiving Day was the security guard reporting "a woman cursing at him and making obscene gestures at the close of park hours when asked to leave."
The Friends contribute daily to park maintenance and assists the state "in providing a safe park for the entire community and park visitors," McLean said.
However, it has been beset with crime, including theft from the offices and gift shop, graffiti, and theft of rubbish barrels, bananas, coconuts and plants in the group's Hawaiian garden.
Additionally, thieves have stolen copper gutters and flashing and destroyed the pay telephone, McLean said, while "cars and trucks drive all over grassy areas and some people erect tents adjoining vans or trucks."
To the driver of a white panel truck/van. I was crossing with the light at 11:10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, when the truck seemed to accelerate and cut in front of me as it turned left on Haiku Road at Alaloa Street, near Windward Mall. I wasn't able to get the license number as he sped away.
A company name appeared to be on the door, but I couldn't find it either in the phone book or by calling directory assistance. A young child was in the passenger seat. This time I dodged him, but next time? -- No Name
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