Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.
Question: I was saddened to hear about the 20-year-old German tourist who finally died of her injuries from the shark bite. Why is it we have lifeguard towers stationed at some beaches and not others? I know lifeguards will close beaches down if they spot a shark, or if someone reports seeing a shark. A lifeguard at that same beach might have saved that girl's life.
Answer: The County of Maui provides lifeguards on those beaches where we have county parks located adjacent to it, but the primary responsibility for much of our coastline belongs to the State of Hawaii or private landowners. The county has Ocean Safety towers at eight of our high-use county beach parks. Smaller county beach parks, like Launiupoko Beach Park, do not have towers (although we are looking into placing lifeguards at Launiupoko, as it is a busy beach as well). Right now, the beaches with towers are Kamaole I, II and III, Hanakao'o Beach (Canoe Beach), D.T. Fleming Beach Park, Kanaha Beach Park, H.A. Baldwin Beach Park and Hookipa Beach Park. During summer months, when our P.A.L.S. program brings children to swim at Hana Bay on Fridays, we have lifeguards there as well, but that is all. We also have county lifeguards at Big Beach, which is state property, but that is only because we have a contract with the state for services there. And yes, Ocean Safety has a protocol that they follow for shark sightings and attacks. Should an individual see a shark close to the shoreline or where water activities are taking place, they should call 911 immediately. Dispatch will notify the appropriate first-responders, whether they are county lifeguards, police, fire and/or EMS personnel. At that time, lifeguards will use their jet skis and ATVs to patrol the water and the beach to see if they can verify the sighting. If there is a verification of a shark in the area, the beach will be closed for a mile in either direction and then monitored. If there is no verified activity after two hours, the beach will reopen to the public. Should the shark actually bite someone, the beach will be closed until the end of the day, and in the morning, lifeguards and state Department of Land and Natural Resources officials will observe the area, usually reopening the beach at noon if there is no further activity.
Question: Is there a simple way to find out about break-ins on my street or in my neighborhood?
Answer: Yes. Just go to www.raidsonline.com, and you will find a search engine that allows you to punch in your address to find your neighborhood. On the left-hand side, you can choose what kind of offenses you want to search for, whether it's robberies, DUIs, assaults, or in your case, residential burglaries. Make sure you indicate the "date range" (for example, June 1 to Aug. 1), or the engine will only search for offenses committed during the present month.
Want to "Ask the Mayor?" Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via e-mail at AskTheMayor@mauicounty.gov. Call 270-7855 for information.