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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, January 12, 2002

Big Island support checks lost in the mail

By Hugh Clark
Advertiser Big Island Bureau

HILO, Hawai'i — Twenty-five checks sent out a week ago by the state Department of Labor to work-force development program participants in Hilo had to be canceled yesterday after they never arrived in the mail.

Cancellation of the checks means the recipients probably won't see the money for another week.

Hilo postmaster Sharon Rapoza and Honolulu postal officials declined to comment on the problem.

The Hilo manager for the Labor Department, Blayne Hanagami, said that while his staff has conducted daily checks with postal officials, the state will issue letters to participants on Monday that they can show to creditors.

Kier Parker, mother of two young children, said yesterday that not having a paycheck and trying to find out what happened has been frustrating.

Her check, she said, would have paid her rent and provided gas and grocery money. "The landlord wants his money now," she said.

Parker works for a Hilo retail store and said she is reduced to begging for gasoline money from friends so she can drive the 20 miles one way to her workplace from her home near Pahoa.

"I know I am not the only one," said Parker, who has met with state labor officials who told her the checks might reissued next week.

Mail service to Hilo from Honolulu has been sporadic since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Some other workers complained that checks were sent to Mainland locations, even though they were properly addressed.

Magazine subscribers throughout the state have complained about delays of weeks.

Meanwhile, Hanagami said the department is looking at alternative ways to have paychecks delivered from Honolulu.