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SOUND &TOWN Serving Mamaroneck & Larchmont Vol. 15/Number 12 March 22, 2013 Geese get stay of execution The Village of Mamaroneck has had to rethink its plans to euthanize a number of wild geese, like these photographed in Mamaroneck last summer, after receiving overwhelming opposition from Westchester residents. File photo By CHRIS GRAMUGLIA STAFF REPORTER The Village of Mamaroneck may find that its goose is cooked, but not in the way that it planned. Animal rights activists from across Westchester County converged on Village Hall March 11, criticizing the Board of Trustees’ contract with the USDA that effectively called for the slaughter of hundreds of the village’s geese. Speakers were given one minute each to make their case, and the comments became so pointed that several speakers compared the issue to mass-murders in human history. Mayor Norman Rosenblum put an end to the public comment period. The contract, originally signed to combat the excess amount of droppings left by geese in the village’s parks, would allow USDA officials to round up the birds during their molting stage (a period during the year in which they are unable to fly) and then use gas to slaughter them. In addition, USDA workers would cover any existing eggs discovered in the village’s parks in corn oil—a method that prevents the eggs from hatching. The meat from the slaughtered geese would then be donated to local food banks. The attendees who spoke before the Board of Trustees were almost unanimously opposed to the slaughter, and presented a number of more humane solutions to the ongoing problem, ranging from the use of dogs to chase the geese away, to utilizing various methods to train the geese into learning that they are not welcome in the area. One popular method, advocated by Kiley Blackman of the Animal Defenders of Westchester, is a program called “Geesebusters.” Geesebusters is operated by Robert Guardagna, who has offered to solve the issue for the price of $8,600, undercutting the USDA’s price of $10,000. Guardagna’s method involves training geese to sense that there is a predator in the area through conditioning, causing them to associate certain stimuli like whistles or noises, with the threat of danger. “There is a guarantee on Geesebusters,” Blackman said. “The process involves a whole training system. Someone goes to the parks repeatedly, and uses a whistle to condition them, much like Pavlov’s dogs.” The cost of such a service seems to be a major selling point to activists like Blackman because of the low cost and humane methodology, especially since the village has already spent $30,000 on a Rake-OVac to clean its parks. Gina von Eiff told The Sound and Town Report that the village has underutilized the Rake-O-Vac, and that no more money should be spent. “[The village] bought it and left it sitting,” GEESE continued on page 8 The second annual Sound Shore St. Patrick’s Day parade was held on March 17. Hundreds of residents braved the cold to watch the procession down Mamaroneck Avenue in Mamaroneck. For more, see page 10. Photo/Sandra Geroux Sound Shore marks St. Paddy’s Voters re-elect two Larchmont trustees, judge Democratic Trustees Lorraine Walsh and John Komar and Village Justice Thea Beaver were re-elected Tuesday. File Photo By ALEXANDRA BOGDANOVIC STAFF REPORTER Larchmont voters re-elected two village trustees and a sitting village justice in uncontested races Tuesday. Democratic Trustees Lorraine Walsh and John Komar each won their second term with 41 votes and 42 votes, respectively. Justice Thea Beaver was elected to her fifth term with 47 votes. It has now been seven years since the last contested election in Larchmont. Back in 2006, Liz Feld unseated incumbent Mayor Ken Bialo. Current Village Trustee Marlene Kolbert and former Trustee Jim Millstein were also elected that year. In addition to a lack of challengers, a late winter storm that dumped a few inches of snow in the village overnight Monday also contributed to the low turnout this year, according to poll workers Cynthia Cheney and Roy Schuford. The lunchtime rush brought about four or five voters into the Village Center at the same time, Cheney said. She estimated that 25 to 30 voters had cast their ballots by 6:30 p.m. “Everyone was enthusiastic about the person they were voting for,” Schuford said. “The people who are running are running for good, highranking positions.” Schuford said he met Beaver and Walsh and thought both are well qualified to retain their respective positions. Walsh has lived in the village for 15 years and has served as the cochair of the Town of Mamaroneck/ Village of Larchmont Coastal Zone Management Committee. She has also served as chair of the Larchmont Democrats and volunteered at the Sheldrake Environmental Center. A former high school science ELECTION continued on page 11

Sound and Town Report, 3-22-2013

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