State roundup for June 3
USS Ariz. ticket sales improper
HONOLULU (AP) — It was a mistake to sell to tour operators what are supposed to be free tickets for the USS Arizona Memorial, its superintendent said.
Paul DePrey last week said that selling the tickets was proper and legal, but he later said he was mistaken.
More than 4,000 tickets are available for a movie presentation and boat ride to the sunken battleship. The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act prohibits the National Park Service from charging a fee to visit the memorial.
After an investigation, officials told DePrey the ticket sales violated park policy.
“We stopped the program because I learned I made a mistake,” DePrey said.
For about seven months, the park service and its nonprofit fundraising arm, Pacific Historic Parks, sold a portion of the free tickets to tour companies for a fee. The tickets were sold with an audio tour for $6 each to tour companies, according to John Landrysmith, a former park guide at the memorial.
The cost was then passed on to visitors paying for commercial tours.
Landrysmith, an Iraq combat veteran, said he quit after he complained about the diversion of free tickets.
“The hardest part about that, as someone who truly cared about my job and cared about why we were supposed to be there, when we ran out of (walk-up) tickets within 15 minutes to half an hour, to stand there and have to tell folks, ‘I’m very sorry, but just don’t have any more tickets available,’ it broke our hearts,” Landrysmith said.
DePrey said the money went to Pacific Historic Parks.
Maui smoking ban is delayed
WAILUKU, Maui (AP) — Enforcement of a new smoking ban at Maui County parks, beaches and recreational facilities has been delayed.
Officials say full implementation will require more time because signs warning the public about the new ban must still be produced.
Frequently asked questions about the ban also must be developed for the county website.
County spokesman Rod Antone says that when the Maui County Council approved the ban, it did not include funds for signs.
The ban became law in late April.
It applies to smoking and the use of tobacco products in county parks and recreational facilities, including Waiehu Golf Course.
Fines for violations range between $100 for first offenses and $500 for additional offenses.
Park rangers and police also may issue warnings for offenses.
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