Q: Traffic to the north shore was horrendous last week because of the big surf and all the crowds that were flocking to Paia and Jaws. When is there going to be a real Paia bypass built? That minibypass offers some relief but for the most part north shore traffic is still bad on a daily basis, and when we have these big swells it gets out of control.
A: The state Department of Transportation is working on such a project right now, but it is in the very early stages. I understand they are looking at different alignments and corridors to find a way around Paia town, however much more needs to be done. The project itself would be very costly, currently estimated at $90 million, and would definitely require community input. When the time comes, the county will make sure we work with the state to help get the word out about any community meetings about the project.
Q: This little fire ant invasion is very serious and could cause irreparable harm to our community. We need to find out who bought these hapuu logs, destroy the logs and destroy any colonies on property. Otherwise, this ant will get a foothold on our island and make drastic changes to our environment.
A: Since the ant was discovered last month we have been working hand in hand with the state Department of Agriculture. During its eradication efforts, they treated and destroyed five pallets of hapuu logs while they were still in stores. Another 27 logs were treated and destroyed from people either turning in their logs or calling the state and having inspectors come out to their property to take their logs.
Only two out of 27 logs were confirmed to be infested by the ant. I also have personally asked our state legislators for two additional inspectors for Maui and Molokai to help keep these pests from reaching our islands. The ant is a serious threat and if established on Maui has the potential to attack our agricultural workers, blind our pets and cripple our Hawaiian seabirds. I encourage anyone who suspects they may have an infestation to contact the Maui branch of the state Department of Agriculture at 872-3848.
Q: What is the difference between Ocean Safety and the Fire Department's ocean rescue operation? Isn't it kind of redundant to have both, or is there a difference?
* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Alan Arakawa by email at askthemayor@mauicoun ty.gov, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., ninth 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.
A: Both our Ocean Safety lifeguards and Maui Fire and Public Safety Search and Rescue teams play vital roles in keeping our visitors and residents safe. Ocean Safety consists of the men and women on the front lines of our county beach parks. They warn us of sharks, rescue swimmers, keep an eye out for high surf and perform dozens of other vital functions. Our Search and Rescue teams are meant for longer-range operations, because they have boats and access to helicopters. Search and Rescue crews also are on duty 24/7 while our lifeguards are on duty from sunrise to sunset. But you are right, there is some overlap in services, which is another reason why voters approved a charter amendment to merge Ocean Safety and Fire and Public Safety operations. The specifics of the merger are taking place at this time.