In a complete turnaround from last month, Rod Green, chairman of the Franklin Township board of supervisors, announced that shooting Canada geese in the Phifer Ice Dam Park is over, at least for now.
Green said that police will continue to have a presence in the park, but that police will be using blank shells to harass the geese from now on and will not be using live ammunition.
It was the passion and dedication of Debra DeHauski-Whiteman, a resident of Main Road, who changed their minds. On Tuesday night, DeHauski-Whiteman was armed with two petitions, one, an online petition signed by 366 people and another she presented that she made in person by talking to people visiting the Phifer Ice Dam Park and signed by 89 people, that re-enforced their decision.
Supervisors allowed Whiteman to discuss the Canada geese issue at length before announcing that everything has changed. He thanked Whiteman for her dedication to hazing the geese.
"The police don't have time to do what you've been doing," she said. "The can't be in the park every 45 minutes or every hour. We appreciate what you have been doing."
Whiteman said that the on-line signatures that came from all over the country and even from Egypt speak volumes on the issue.
Green said that he was more interested in seeing the signatures from the 89 people who signed the petition in the park.
Green said that while the shooting has stopped for now, he would not state that shooting would never be used again if geese became a problem.
Whiteman also thanked the supervisors for placing the five plastic swans into the pond to discourage the geese from landing. The geese were purchased by Whiteman and her husband, and another pair was donated by the Carbon County Labor Chapter and a fifth by Anna Berk.
Whiteman said she realizes that the park is not a nature sanctuary, but supervisors should note that the park is an attraction to the geese because of the ponds and short grassy banks provide a perfect habitat for them.
"You have to realize that people do not want live ammunition in that very small park," she said.
David Hawk, president of the Franklin Township Lions Club, thanked the township supervisors for their assistance in helping make improvements to the park. He said that it is rare to see the type of cooperation that there is between the supervisors, fire company Lions club and Little League that there is in Franklin Township.
Hawk said that the recent Spring Fling was successful and raised funds for the new tanker that has been ordered by the Franklin Township Fire Company. He said the event raised $1,000 or $2,000 and will be turned over as soon as bills are paid.
Bruce Wolfe, fire chief, noted that Franklin Township Fire Company will have its block party on July 20 to July 22, but there will not be a parade or dedication of the fire truck until fall. He said the truck is presently being assembled at Kovatch Enterprises in Nesquehoning and should be delivered before the block party, but that while the dedication will not happen at the block party, there will still be a block party that weekend.
Green then presented Wolfe with a check of $35,700 that will be used toward the cost of the new tanker.
The tanker, which cost approximately $270,000, replaces the company's old Mack tanker that is 28 years old and did not pass inspection.