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A nontoxic war on the dreaded fire ant

Hawaii County’s Department of Parks and Recreation has teamed up with University of Hawaii researchers on a promising tactic to combat little fire ants, the invasive species that can make life miserable for humans and animals in infested areas.

Fire ant populations fell 50 percent at Richardson Ocean Park following the placement of nontoxic baited vials in mid-January, so county crews are applying a second treatment next week. The ants’ painful stings are familiar to folks on the Big Island, so we hope this eradication effort works — both to make life more pleasant there and to help keep the ants from spreading.

Pressure to build a new sewer tunnel

Of course, we’re just guessing, but city officials’ talk about condemnation options in the planned Aikahi sewer project seems like a negotiation strategy. Only a few of the property owners affected haven’t yet settled, and some complain that the city should focus on them and not be threatening condemnation. But surely, this is the whole point.

The not-so-subtle message: The holdouts better come to terms or the courts will set the price. A pressure tactic? Of course.

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