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$1 check with info card is legitimate tax refund


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POSTED: Friday, May 08, 2009

Question: We received a check in the mail from the federal government for $1. Do you know what this is for, and should I cash it? There is no explanation with the check, but it came with a card about health care that says, "Hold onto your health, and your refund." It says to send for a free set of booklets from the Food and Drug Administration Office of Women's Health on some of the leading health issues of women in the United States. On the other side, it says go online http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/rc/d90.htm, but it doesn't have an explanation about what the check is for. The front of the check says Austin, Texas.

Answer: It likely is your federal refund check.

The promotional card was sent as a public service by the General Services Administration's Federal Citizen Information Center, inserted into the envelopes of federal income tax refund checks, said Nancy Tyler, public Service Manager with the Information Center.

The cards were sent from four sites around the country that mailed out refund checks; one of those was Austin, Texas, she said.

Tyler suggested checking with your bank before cashing the check, "just to make absolutely sure that's what it is."

The Federal Citizen Information Center promotes consumer information from other government agencies via booklets sent by mail or via electronic publications on its Web site, www.pueblo.gsa.gov.

"Insert cards like the one your reader received are one of the ways we let citizens know about our services," Tyler said.

Q: I read about the Kailua resident's encounter with the meter maid on a Saturday ("Kokua Line," April 15). When I came to Oahu six years ago, friends told me there was no need to put coins into the parking meters on Saturdays, Sundays or holidays. Is it because people think the meter cops do not work weekends or because there is a law specifically waiving weekends and holiday deposits?

A: Parking meter regulations on city streets and parking lots/garages are covered under the city's Traffic Code (Chapter 15 of the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu).

Generally, street meters have to be fed daily except Sundays and state holidays and within a specified time.

(Not all holidays—Discoverers Day, for one—are observed by the state, so you have to be careful. See archives.starbulletin.com/2006/11/08/news/kokualine.html.)

You need to check the signs to see what the requirements are, because some meters, in heavily trafficked areas and parking lots, have to be fed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"All municipal metered parking lots, including the (Honolulu) Zoo, are all 24/7," meaning no free parking any time, said Pam Mitsumura, head of the Honolulu Police Department's Parking Enforcement Section.

Meters on the mauka side of Kalakaua Avenue, between Monsarrat Avenue and the Paki Avenue-Poni Moi Road-Diamond Head Road intersection, have to be fed from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week—no exceptions.

Mitsumura said that area is considered similar to a parking lot, but with specific times posted.


Write to "Kokua Line" at Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).