Letters | 5-23-14


Another solution to pesky little fire ants

I don’t know what our federal, state and county bureaucrats are reading as they attempt to outwit the invasive little fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, but I have read the exact same solution in at least three different publications — Science, Nature and Natural History — which has benefited Midwestern and Southern states also burdened with the annoying insect but which were savvy enough to put it into effect.

Another ant species, the tawny crazy ant, Nylanderia fulva, is a natural enemy of the little fire ant, but seems innocuous otherwise. It doesn’t bite people or pets but attacks fire ants, against the venom of which it enjoys a natural detoxification process. When the crazy tawny ants engage the little fire ants, the former usually win. As in, almost always win.

Admittedly the importation of this enemy of the little fire ant would be yet another case of bringing in one invasive species to control another — which has, in the past, resulted in ill-thought-out environmental impacts — but is an idea that should be researched. The alternative of spraying citric acid, which can only further lower the pH of already-stressed garden, cropland and naturally-occurring soils, aided by dogs which must suffer horribly when they “discover” fire ant colonies, seems pathetically medieval by comparison to letting ants kill ants.

If Department of Land and Natural Resources bureaucrats oppose this idea “on principle,” perhaps after a few of the career scolds get stung by fire ants they will reconsider and allow research into this solution, which has worked well everywhere else.

Or, we could continue seeking them out with howling hounds, blazing torches and buckets of cocktail mix ingredients,

Tom Munden

Kapaau

Solar installation a phenomenon?

So I just read that the White House is going solar. I guess the solar phenomenon that is hitting California and Hawaii that Hawaiian Electric/Hawaii Electric Light Co. spokesman spoke of, has now traveled all the way to Washington, D.C.

A phenomenon, are you for real? I guess it was a phenomenon when people started to drive cars instead of riding a horse. A phenomenon when everybody started using electricity.

Solar is not a phenomenon, it’s a technology. The phenomenon is the continued lies that are being crammed down our throats. It’s a phenomenon that this monopoly will not move out of their greed. They don’t care about you or the state of Hawaii.

We could be the leader of the world in renewable energy. The technology is at our finger tips. Shame on you HELCO/HECO.

Steven Hudson

Waikoloa

No tax increase? I don’t think so

In regard to “Kenoi budget moves forward,” the Page 4A continuation of this article that ran May 15 carried the headline, “There are no increases in property taxes or user fees in the new budget.” Whoa, wait a minute. No increase in property taxes implies that you will pay the same amount as last year, and that is false, misleading and highly unlikely. The fact is the County Council has until June 20 to change the tax rate, which is the number of dollars per $1,000 of assessed value. If they do not change the rate by that time, it will remain the same as last year — the rate, that is. Council seems to have indicated that they will not raise the tax rate.

But you are not home free.

Tax assessments are another determinate of how much you pay, and they are on the rise, and in some cases big time. In my case, the assessment is 80 percent higher than last year. That means that given no increase in tax rate, my taxes will go up 80 percent.

So dig deeper into your tax bill and understand that there are those two factors that determine how much you pay: rate and assessed value.

Howard R. Conant

Keauhou Mauka

Rodeo arena is first class

Having had the privilege of attending the blessing of the Rose Andrade Correia Honokaa Rodeo Arena, I have to say the facility is awesome. It is a first class rodeo arena and the Honokaa people have a lot to be proud about with this world-class project.

Much mahalos have to be given to Mayor Billy Kenoi and District 1 Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter who have done a wonderful job for the Hamakua district.

The arena has been completed on time for the annual Honokaa Western Week, which is wonderful.

Dean Nagasako

Honokaa

Highway projects must move forward

I’m very disappointed by the lack of progress on two important — and stalled — Big Island transportation improvements; the second phase of the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening and final east side Daniel K. Inouye Highway phase-SR200(3).

These projects will help the Big Island’s struggling construction industry, but neither has started yet. The second phase of Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening was supposed to start in 2008 and be completed by 2010. However, it’s been held up for the past six years because of two bid protests and a last minute Section 106 consultation process, which is still ongoing with no end in sight.

The final east side Daniel K. Inouye Highway phase, on the other hand, is being held up by a glacial right of way acquisition process. The Hawaii Department of Transportation has acquired the necessary land for this project from 12 out of 15 landowners. The acquisition of the right of way from the remaining three landowners won’t be completed until September 2015.

Both of these critical highway projects will improve highway safety and provide much-needed jobs and economic stimulus.

Aaron Stene

Kailua-Kona