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Park board gets earful about geese euthanasia



Published: Tue, July 15, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

mill creek metroparks board defends recent action amid protests

By Peter H. Milliken

milliken@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The Mill Creek MetroParks Board of Commissioners got an earful about the roundup and euthanasia of geese in Mill Creek Park, with comments overwhelmingly against killing the geese.

photo

Jack Malley, above, of Youngstown examines his sign saying: “Warning: Mill Creek MetroParks: Hazardous for wildlife, especially waterfowl.” The park police officer in the background told him he wasn’t allowed to display the sign on his car in a park parking lot Monday, outside a park board meeting.

Monday’s meeting was the board’s first since the June 26 roundup, in which kayakers from the USDA herded geese ashore, where they were fenced in and euthanized with carbon dioxide in a trailer-mounted chamber.

“Dennis, the board and myself are truly saddened by the fact that we had no choice but to euthanize these geese,” said Louis Schiavoni, board chairman, referring to Dennis Miller, MetroParks executive director. “As difficult as this decision was, we truly believe it was necessary.”

Schiavoni said goose droppings had created unpleasant conditions at the Newport Wetlands and ruined newly planted vegetation and polluted the water at the Lily Pond, that the public had continued to feed the geese despite signs prohibiting the feeding, and that geese sometimes had become aggressive.

“For every perceived wildlife conflict, there is a humane solution, and what you folks did was not humane,” protested Nancy Borowski, who spoke at the meeting, which drew a crowd of more than 100.

“As far as that Lily Pond, when you put all those thousands of dollars in planting and stuff, that was poor planning. What did you think the geese were going to do? They eat vegetation,” she said. “I don’t think you guys have done your due diligence.”

Under a permit sought by the MetroParks and issued by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Department of Agriculture euthanized 238 geese at the Lily Pond, Lake Glacier and Newport Wetlands.

It was the first roundup and euthanasia of geese in the park’s 123-year history.

Jay Macejko, John Ragan and Schiavoni were the only board members attending Monday’s meeting, with Dr. Robert Durick being on vacation and Valencia Marrow mourning two recent deaths in her family.

Candice Sinistro LaRocca of Boardman, who wore an “I like geese” T-shirt, was frustrated because neither board members nor park staff would answer her questions as to whether park staff counted geese in the park or whether the park administration discussed the matter with park naturalists before the roundup.

“The Lily Pond is not for picnicking; it’s for the wildlife,” she added.

Park staff conducted “informal, cursory counts” of the geese, a park spokeswoman said earlier this month.

“A lot of people think this was a shoot-from-the-hip response. It was a last resort,” Doug Bush said of the roundup. “This problem had been going on for four years. ... People have to stop feeding the geese. That was the main problem.”

Kirsten Peetz, MetroParks natural resources manager, told the board that, before the roundup, MetroParks officials had been experimenting with a gun with screamer-siren cartridges, a green laser pointer and a floating amber flashing light to discourage geese from congregating.

Park officials also have used a dog and predator decoys to scare off geese, and they have destroyed 630 eggs in 129 nests over the past four years, she said.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said no further roundup permits would be approved if park police don’t increase enforcement of the park rule against feeding the geese.

Park police have issued dozens of warnings for feeding wildlife since they launched a public awareness campaign on this issue in spring 2013; and they issued their first citation this month at the Lily Pond, where anti-feeding signs are posted, said James Willock, MetroParks police chief.

ODNR did not request or require a formal study of the park’s geese population, a park board resolution or an executive letter before issuing the permit for the roundup.

Miller approved the roundup and euthanasia without any resolution of support having been adopted in advance by the board.

“Our naturalists and staff were advised by the DNR on how to handle this problem. Why would we, as a board, legislate issues on animal control when our staff asked for and received expert advice?” Schiavoni said.

The printed permit issued to the MetroParks said goslings were not to be killed and had to be humanely relocated to a state wildlife area.

But Laura Graber, an ODNR wildlife research technician, said she later gave oral approval for the killing of goslings and that goslings were killed June 26. She issued an undated letter after the roundup on ODNR letterhead saying: “MetroParks was authorized to kill goslings along with adults in the nuisance goose roundup.”

USDA charged the park $2,283 for the costs of corralling and killing the geese while they were unable to fly during their molting period.


Comments

1Knightcap(699 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

More people showed up here for dead birds vs a southside vigil for a dead person.

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2joat(30 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

Honestly. Senseless shootings all over the city but this is what people get upset about? Anyone who has interacted with geese or had them on their property know what a nuisance they can be, especially when there are too many of them. Maybe Ms. LaRocca would have preferred the Metro Parks staff round up the 200+ geese and dropped them off at her place.

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3nunyame(2 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

Geese are the absolute dirtiest water fowl within close contact with humans. The fecal remains spread bacteria and disease. All the geese huggers get their panties in a twist yet these are the same knuckleheads that feed the geese.

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4candyo65(6 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

Thank you, Pete Milliken, and all of the local reporters that understand that this news needs to be exposed; and I thank the majority of the community that stands with me in knowing that this inhumane process needs to stop. We will continue to be the voice for those who cannot speak. Love, MRS. (not Ms.) LaROCCA

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5golfnut(30 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

Meetings like this attract the folks that are are against the issue at hand. The "anti's" are always more vocal than the other side. Believe me, the folks against the "thinning" are not in the majority.

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6candyo65(6 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

If you would have been there last night, you would have heard that it wasn't a "thinning." They didn't take a count ahead of time, and even Laurie Graber from the ODNR admitted that 238 geese being killed was excessive. They killed AS MANY as they could round up, which was all of them....all of them. There are only about 15 geese left in our park. Furthermore, although the park board said that they exhausted all options, in one full year of MCP meeting minutes, there isn't ONE mention of goose control...

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7handymandave(474 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

People these are geese get over it. Stay away from the meat packing plants too, I don't want you messing around with my steaks.

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8handymandave(474 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

Let me round up about 12 of these fine birds, put these on any of these protesters lawns for about a week of deficating, squawking, and lawn chewing they'll be ready to run them over with their cars.

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9stievo(17 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

This is all the LIAR'S doing. This is a result of Obamacare death panels.

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10twentyonetwelve(98 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

I am sure Miss LaRocca is one of the mommys at the Lily Pond with her bag of bread and McDonalds feeding them on a tuesday afternoon.

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11theguins(169 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

Next time the Park Board should contact the local Chinese restaurants and have them round up the geese. Though goose can be a bit greasy. A little soy sauce and ginger will fix that!

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12candyo65(6 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

dear twentyonetwelve, I DO NOT feed the geese...EVER, and stievo...don't make this a partisan issue...this crosses party lines. Handymandave...we're not talking about residential areas. We are fighting for wildlife in the PARK!!!! Don't you get it??? It's the park! The Newport Wetlands were designated as a bird sanctuary! They brought them to the park and they killed them ALL! All of them are dead! If one would like to control geese in his residential area, have at it, but leave the wildlife in the park ALONE!!!! Golfnut, you should have been at the meeting or talked to as many people as I have talked to about this issue. I assure you that people who think this is ok are the minority.

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13teddybear6(35 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

I am sorry people, but they did not have to euthanize those geese, much less publicize what they did like they were doing the community a favor. Boardman recently had an overrun of crows that were bombarding businesses with their feces. I mean it was bad to the point of where we could not walk from our cars in the parking lot to the buildings where we worked. But our managment and facilities teams worked with local game and wildlife services to combat the problem, by setting up decoys and sounds systems that would deter the birds from landing in that particular area. No poison or euthanasia of any kind was needed. The park could have done the same type of thing in the areas of the park that were a problem. Everything could have been done differently and effectively.

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14twentyonetwelve(98 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

Relax everybody... Miss LaRocca will quickly move on to a new flavor-of-the-month cause.

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15suefull(22 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

In our own area we have seniors and children who are hungry, abortion, killings. When was the last time these people showed up to express concern of a human being! Everyday I see posts on Facebook of how we need to care for animals. People care more today for animals than a human being. It's disgusting! Animals don't belong at fairs, stores, ball fields, or restaurants. I have had dogs. Yes, they are like family. But they are a freakn animals. Pymatuning had this same problem yrs. ago. You couldn't walk around the lake without stepping in poop everywhere. It's a health hazard people! If these people cared so much for the wild life in the park, they wouldn't feed them things that wild life shouldn't eat. Get over it!

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16r0n724(62 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

I have more respect for these animals than I do for the scum that walks the streets of Youngstown. The "gangstas" and thug wannabes need to be rounded up and thinned out by police! I'd take goose crap any day over gang trash! Oh. and before you idiots throw the race card.. this gang trash comes in all colors!

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17twentyonetwelve(98 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

Well said Education!!

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18valleypoboy(106 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

Bottom lines:

The geese are a problem since we kill all predators.

The park bungled the public relations part of this campaign

The "don't kill them" crowd has no viable alternates but I'm sure they would against a few predators being reintroduced.

When man screws with nature, things get ugly and yet man continues to think they can screw with nature.

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19valleypoboy(106 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

Bottom lines:

The geese are a problem since we kill all predators.

The park bungled the public relations part of this campaign

The "don't kill them" crowd has no viable alternates but I'm sure they would be against a few predators being reintroduced.

When man screws with nature, things get ugly and yet man continues to think they can screw with nature.

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20northsideart(111 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

People do need to stop feeding the geese. Read the signs. The prohibition against feeding animals exists for a reason. Nothing typifies stupidity more than the sight of some Y-town fatty tossing disgusting pieces of Wonder Bread at the geese. I hope you're happy now you morons.

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21walter_sobchak(1910 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

A cut-and-paste of my excellent response to Louie b. Free's question: "What would Volney Rogers say?".
I'm not just a temporary custodian of MCP, I am a taxpayer that supports MCP. These rats with wings were making the park unusable and dangerous. SInce these geese are supposed to migratory but have taken up permanent resident status, they are no longer "wild"life. I believe the board made a reasonable, cost-effective solution to a major problem. I drove Lake Glacier on Monday and, of all things, I still saw Canada geese! They must have missed a few! Check back in a year to see if they have re-populated the lakes. Now, what about the fish and other aquatic life living in these bodies of water that are filled with excessive silt and high fecal coliform levels? Do you understand what BOD is and what effect a high level of it has on a body of water? The park lakes smell like a sewage plant and need dredged or aerated. I wish the board would do something about that so that the park is even more useful and healthy. About all these lakes can support now are carp, bullhead and turtles. Some people have watched one too many Disney movie. Sometimes, Bambi must be culled from the herd!

When did the Lily Pond become a nature sanctuary and not a picnic area? Seems to me, when I was a youngster in the '60's, we called it the Goldfish Pond and we would feed the goldfish and carp and the handful of ducks would eat some of the bread. There was no geese. I think the animal lovers should go to the retention pond behind Lowe's in Boardman and herd up some of the 100 geese there and relocate them to Lake Glacier. Or, maybe we should release some more coyotes at Glacier and then they can see the feathers. Call the TV stations when you do it because I want to laugh.

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22DwightK(1256 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

And the alternative was what?

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23candyo65(6 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

"Rats with wings," that's real original. If any of you were at the meeting last night, you would know that it was actually very productive. The park board agreed to have a dialogue meeting with us, and are open to discussing more humane options for goose control. There are so many people in our community who loved the geese and enjoyed seeing them with their families, and I'm pretty sure the Park Board is aware of this now. On our facebook page someone did post a photo of dead geese from a hunting website and as soon as I found out where it came from, I removed it, explained to readers where it came from and emailed the hunting website and apologized for it showing up on our page. As far as helping the meek...most of us who are speaking for creatures with no voices are humanitarians across the board, so instead of crying about the homeless or starving, why don't you try giving of yourselves as well? We help build habitat for humanity homes, volunteer at the soup kitchen and donate to the beautitude house and OCCHA. We teach second chance citizens so they can have opportunity...so put your money where your mouth is and don't just cry about it...do something productive!

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24badeepster(111 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

I personally applaud the what happened to these disgusting poop machines. Living by a small lake myself, I wish they had included the ones around here in the gassing. As has been stated before, a vast majority are in favor of this, only the "animals are people, too" nuts show up and complain.

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25cmrosko(15 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

I'm pretty sure that Volney Rogers, the man responsible for keeping the Mill Creek Park area from being industrialized and damned up and turned into a reservoir, would have been OK with no lakes at all in the Mill Creek basin. The lakes are unnatural and collect sediments and pollutants and of course attract larger numbers of geese. The goose population can be managed without killing them all. It's done in plenty of other places. The park management admitted to the fact that people who feed the geese make the over population goose problem worse. Folks who don't follow the park rules and choose to feed the geese should receive large fines. No exceptions.

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26marcikarr(9 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

Candy: I wouldn't even try to defend myself with the know-it-alls commenting on here. Education has over 833 comments so she must just sit at her computer and get on vindy.com every day and show everyone how smart she is about everything. The people at that meeting last night were showing that they have compassion for wildlife and the way these geese were killed was not humane. The world could use a little more compassion for animals and people, instead of sarcastic, rude remarks and judging someone you don't even know.

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27candyo65(6 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

thanks MarciKarr and all of the advocates for our feathered friends and humanity!

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28marcikarr(9 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

Peggy or Education_Voter: I have commented about the geese and I am a part of the group that attended the meeting to voice our opinion on what was done to the geese. I don't really denigrate people who have knowledge of facts, one of the points I tried to make on the MCP site was it would have been better if people like me, who are in the park every day and enjoy the wildlife would have been given some of the facts before this action was taken, and maybe we would have had a better understanding of it. And I also don't have to believe all of your "facts." There's nothing wrong with your 835 comments on here, you have a lot of opinions on a lot of subjects and feel the need to share them, so that's great you have this forum. I was just getting tired of the personal attacks on here directed toward Candice. I am not a fan of the ODNR, but have always liked the park naturalists. My hang-up is not about people with expertise, but people with condescending attitudes.

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29brookens3b(1 comment)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

Most of you people who support killing the geese make me sick. Anyone who allows innocent animals who pose no threat to humans to be killed should get the same treatment themselves. When animals can't live in a park, something is terribly wrong. Just part of our violence-based society. Kill!! Kill!! Kill!! Makes me sick to my stomach. I work outdoors and constantly stepping in dog feces...should we round up all the dogs and gas them too? I doubt that would go over well with the dog owners who can't even take care of their own pets. How do some of you live with yourselves?

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30Donjulio1032(3 comments)posted 2 months, 1 week ago

The park board should be commended for their efforts to control the geese population over the last couple of years. They have tried several different methods of controlling the population including egg addling to no avail. The geese have caused a variety of problems including chasing people with young children out of the park. Geese may not be dangerous but they are certainly aggressive after laying eggs. Our park should be accessible to all particularly our children so they and their children continue to enjoy this treasure. The board are a group of unpaid people doing their best for our park. This decision was not made lightly and was made after other methods of control were tried. It was made at the suggestion of the DNR and the USDA. This could not have been an easy decision for the board and they have taken a lot of flak for it. Making decisions like this can be a lonely business I applaud The board for doing what was needed.

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31kurtw(853 comments)posted 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Almost all problems we have with animals- wild or domestic- are traceable to human stupidity- this one included. Now, if we could only have a roundup of dumb people- the kind who feed geese flabby white bread, for instance, even though anyone not comatose should know better- and GAS them, it might alleviate the problem we're currently having in the park district with the geese population explosion. And it would help alleviate a lot of other problems as well.

Only problem with gassing dumb people is it might decimate the Vindy Subscriber Rolls- and the Message Board would be virtually empty- except for comments like mine (and a few others, to be charitable). Back to the Drawing Board...

P.S. Seriously, though, Donjulio's message pretty well summarizes the issue: the Park Board had no choice under the circumstances- proving, once again, the correctness of my statement: "Almost all problems we have with animals... are traceable to human stupidity." If the idiots would stick to shoving flabby white bread down their own throats instead of dragging bags of it into the park to poison innocent animals- the problem wouldn't exist.

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32kurtw(853 comments)posted 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Just read Walt's comment, too. Very good. He points out the dangers to human health (and other animals as well) of high fecal coliform levels in water. That's something we absolutely need to be concerned about. The Park Board did what they had to do under the circumstances (now they need to slap heavy fines against the scoff-laws and their bags of Wonder Bread).

By the way, referring to another local body of water, has anyone gone swimming at Mosquito Reservoir lately? I stopped swimming there precisely for the reason that I saw too many Canada Geese- and their little turd souvenirs- at the place. I swim at Lake Milton, instead- Craig Beach- a place thankfully clear of "rats with wings". If I start seeing them there- I'll have to switch over to chlorinated pools- a huge loss.

P.S. I have an Ithaca 20 gauge Pump Shot Gun at home and three boxes of shells begging to be used. Every time I see a flock of Canada Geese- my trigger finger gets itchy! I would love to blast a few of them. I mean, I would be fair- I'd fire a shot to get them air born- and then bring em down! Oh, God, what fun. (Of course, it's just a delightful fantasy of mine- I don't want to get hauled into court and have my pocket book bleed like a goose carcass.) Can you imagine the response of the bleeding heart "Animal Lovers" (huge misnomer)- the "Oh, isn't Bambi cute" crowd? They'd go Nuts (I might need a Protection Order!?). That just might be the best part...infuriating them.

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33Askmeificare(700 comments)posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Walter_Sobchak stated it best:

"I'm not just a temporary custodian of MCP, I am a taxpayer that supports MCP. These rats with wings were making the park unusable and dangerous. SInce these geese are supposed to migratory but have taken up permanent resident status, they are no longer "wild"life. I believe the board made a reasonable, cost-effective solution to a major problem."

I agree with this Walter man.

In my opinion, anyone whom has an issue with this procedure is a tree hugger and I EXPECT to see ALL of you tree huggers hugging your trees during the next lightening and wind storm.

Bottom line is I don't need disease from birds and I don't need opinionated advice from low I.Q. stupid readers stating that eliminating these animals in this fashion was unnecessary.

P.S. Tree huggers CAN save the environment by NOT breeding... -Think about it.

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34kurtw(853 comments)posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago

The major reason I started to be wary of the Mosquito Reservoir beach as a place to swim, is the annoyance of having to sidestep goose droppings on the way to the water, which started me thinking about the water itself- what's in it? If the grass leading up to the water was, in some places almost solid with poop, didn't that mean that the water itself had to be contaminated? But I saw a lot of other people there so I buried my doubts and went in anyway. One hot afternoon, a few years back, I pulled into the parking lot and saw a big sign: Beach Closed due to High Fecal Coliform Level.

That did it for me. I turned around and drove over to Lake Milton where I've been swimming ever since. Not a goose in sight (may it continue).

Fecal Coliform is nothing to mess with. Walt did well in pointing out the danger. The MCP police need to do a better job of enforcing the law against feeding animals in the park- better for the animals- better for us.

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35walter_sobchak(1910 comments)posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago

kurt,
Let me tell you about E-coli. We belonged to Yellow Duck Park back in the '90s. Parents allowed their kids with diapers into the "lake" that had no chlorination (obviously) and was fed by an underground stream. My three year old son was swimming and he accidentally swallowed some water. We have it on video. Now, about five months before, he had been hospitalized with dehydration from a rotovirus infection that left his digestive tract in a weakened state. From the swimming incident, he developed bloody diarrhea that led to his hospitalization for hemalytic uremic syndrome (HUS) where the kidneys destroy your red blood cells. This was the same disorder people were getting from undercooked beef with e-coli from Taco Bell. Let one of these people have the pediatrician tell them that they are bringing in a hematologist/oncologist to look at your child and see how your heart hits the floor! He spent about a month in Tod's and then had to be fed intravenously for 6 weeks until his intestines recovered. It nearly killed him. These geese unfortunately create a dangerous situation that some misguided people just don't seem to grasp!

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36kurtw(853 comments)posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Walt,
What a traumatic experience for you and your family- especially the little boy. Thank God he pulled through.

It shows the devastating consequences of bacterial infection and how we need to be ever vigilant. More reason to take whatever measures needed to control- reduce- the population of Canada Geese in Mill Creek Park and other affected bodies of water- like Mosquito Reservoir (source of drinking water for Warren!). It's a life or death issue and there just isn't room for "bleeding heart" sentimentality.

If people want to make "noise" at Park Board meetings, let them do so in a constructive cause. Vociferously call for strict enforcement of laws forbidding the feeding of animals in the Park. That way, the Geese won't have to be euthanized.

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