Q: I bought some hapuu logs for my orchids a couple months ago, but I heard that some of the logs might have been infested with ants. How should I check for the ants, and what do I do if I find any?
A: If you bought the hapuu within the past 12 months, the state Department of Agriculture is recommending that you check for the little fire ant by putting peanut butter on a chopstick and inserting the chopstick into the ground, with the peanut butter end on the fern. If you see ants on the chopstick, put the chopstick and any ants into a sealable plastic bag and place the bag in the freezer. Call the Agriculture Department at 872-3843, and an inspector will be sent to determine whether the ants are little fire ants, which are extremely small (less than 1/16th of an inch long) but pack a very painful bite.
Q: We have heard rumors that Monsanto donated the land on which the new police station in Kihei is built. Is this true? By the way, we toured that beautiful building and were very impressed.
A: No, Monsanto did not donate land for the police station in Kihei. According to our capital improvements project coordinator, the county purchased the 150-acre parcel for a park in 1994 from Haleakala Ranch at a cost of $2.1 million. Monsanto dedicated land for an easement and a pipeline to carry R-1 water from the county system across Monsanto property to the Kihei Police Station.
Q: As a longtime resident and frequent user of many of the pools on Maui, I would like to know why all the pools do not seem to have a minimum standardized water temperature. For years, the Kihei Aquatic Center's 50-meter pool had a comfortable winter temperature of 80 degrees. Now that there is a new head pool lifeguard, the temperature is being kept at 76 to 78 degrees, which has encouraged many of the residents to quit their winter swimming. This seems unfair that the pool temperatures are left up to the head lifeguard. Why are pool temperatures not standardized by the County on Maui?
A: According to our parks and recreation aquatics staff, the temperatures at all county pools are kept between 79 and 80 degrees. During the midday hours it may rise even higher. However, there will be days when equipment malfunctions and the heater may be down for several days until parts can be obtained. The boilers are regulated by temperature controls, so as soon as the pool hits 80 the system shuts off. Our senior lifeguards are told that only the pump mechanic is authorized to access the boiler controls to make temperature adjustments. Our aquatics staff will check into your comment about the Kihei pool's temperature.
* 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., 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.