Q: I've been hearing about a lot of staph infections in adults and children who went swimming at Hana Bay, even several from one family. What is being done to curb the infections?
A: My office has been working closely with the state Department of Health to assess the situation in Hana. Based on its findings, the DOH maintains that the number of staph infections is not higher than normal for the summer months. Staph bacteria is present on everyone's skin and can cause infection when it enters a break in the skin such as a cut or scrape. Once an infection sets in, it can easily be spread by sharing towels or through skin-to-skin contact - which explains why family members can unknowingly pass the bacteria to one another. The best defense is to keep wounds such as cuts, scratches, mosquito bites or even pimples clean and covered. Don't share towels, and wash hands frequently with soap and water. Paddlers may be susceptible to cuts and scratches while getting in and out of boats, so it's important to take note anytime there is a break in the skin and to wash with soap and water after swimming. More information on preventing staph infections is available by calling DOH at (808) 984-8213 or visiting cdc.gov/mrsa.
Q: When businesses use signs and banners for advertising, how many can they put up and what sizes are allowed? Also, how much does the permit cost?
A: There is a wide variety of permissible signs and banners, governed by Chapter 16.13, Maui County Code. Online, you can visit www.mauicounty.gov/laws, then select "Maui County Code," then view Chapter 16.13. The sizes for certain types of signs are limited by the building setbacks and frontages as well as by zoning districts. Individual sign permits have a $55 filing fee; banners or promotional signs are limited to 14 days and have a $25 filing fee. For multitenant business buildings, a comprehensive signage plan is required. For more information, call the Planning Department at 270-7735 or visit the department at One Main Plaza, Suite 315.
Q: I live in Kahului. My neighbor's property is infested with mice and they are coming over to my house. Which government agency can I call to get some help?
A: Because rodent infestation can present a formidable health hazard, the function called "Vector Control" is handled by the state Department of Health, Environmental Health section. More information is available online at health.hawaii.gov/maui.
* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Alan Arakawa by email at email@example.com, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., 9th floor, Wailuku, 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the "Ask the Mayor" column; to request a personal response to a concern, email firstname.lastname@example.org.