This is in response to the Aug. 31 article “Portage Lakes swans swim afoul of state nuisance law.”
I was appalled to learn that nine mute swans had been shot earlier this summer under the direction of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Its rationale was that they are a nuisance and invasive.
In researching other areas that have controlled the mute swan population, I found that overgrazing occurs when there is a high density of mute swans in a given area. In addition, mute swans tend to be more aggressive than native trumpeter and tundra swans, and will drive them out. Neither of these issues exist in the Portage Lakes.
In 13 years, I have seen one trumpeter swan, one tundra swan and one black swan, all solitary and transient.
As the 12 bodies of water that constitute the Portage Lakes comprise over 2,000 acres, this area should accommodate a controlled number of mute swans. If the ODNR deems that the population is growing too large, addling eggs in the nest has been effective in keeping the population diminished the past several years.
Total eradication of this species in the Portage Lakes is not necessary. The reason there were more mute swans this year than in years when eggs were addled is because the spring of 2012 was so warm that the eggs hatched weeks earlier than usual.
Those of us who enjoy the swans were happy the ODNR arrived at the nests too late. Unfortunately, the swans paid the price.
There are those who state that the swans are aggressive toward smaller watercraft, especially jet skis.
This is true. Any species that has offspring will be defensive. I have seen swans approach jet skis in a threatening manner, only to back off when in close proximity.
I have also seen jet skiers drive aggressively toward the swans to incite a chase. We need to make educated decisions about how and where we operate small watercraft during mating and hatching season.
The mission statement of the ODNR Division of Wildlife is as follows: “To conserve and improve fish and wildlife resources and their habitats for sustainable use and appreciation by all.” That supports wildlife management, not wildlife slaughter.
The ODNR has an obligation to exercise this option in a humane, nonlethal and sensible way. We all have an obligation to become educated about our lake dwellers and how to co-exist with them.
Hundreds of people in the Portage Lakes area have enjoyed the mute swans for decades, and I fervently hope many generations to come will enjoy them, too.
Margaret A. Philp
Common sense about guns
How about common-sense crime control in Chicago?
It wasn’t law-abiding citizens who mowed down innocents after a basketball game. How about common-sense gang control? How about drug control?
President Obama’s gun-control push is just a smoke screen for his inability to control criminals and the violent mentally ill.
The Washington Navy Yard shooter was mentally ill and had a criminal history that involved a gun. Why was he not on the federal “no buy” list?
The Washington Navy Yard shooter didn’t go to a gun show to buy his weapon of choice, a shotgun. He went to a gun store and passed the federal background check.
Crime control can happen now. Obama’s gun-control scheme will still not work because the criminals will not give you their guns.
It seems like common sense is in short supply.
Rise up to fight fracking
I am responding to the story “Anti-fracking item won’t be on Ohio city ballot,” posted on Ohio.com on Sept. 23.
It is curious that the Athens County Board of Elections would reject the anti-fracking initiative “without elaborating.”
To reject such a proposal without providing any reason is not conducive to maintaining the public’s trust. Fracking clearly represents a growing threat to the health of our homes, communities, and our beautiful Hocking Hills.
As hard as the oil and gas industry works to twist the facts to suit its own needs, earthquakes, explosions, toxic fumes, poisonous well-water and millions of barrels of toxic fracking byproducts speak for themselves.
Many Ohioans are feeling these effects firsthand, finding that our tap water has become brown and flammable, or experiencing bouts of dizziness and nosebleeds from breathing the air around us.
Some of us have yet to see the degradation, but it’s there, and it’s going to get much worse if we allow it to continue.
The public needs to understand how fracking can devastate communities, and we need to take this fight to the federal level because our local lawmakers seem to have more prevalent interests than the health of Ohio’s citizens.
Federal lawmakers should protect Ohioans by closing loopholes for fracking waste in national hazardous waste laws. Stand up and help stop fracking. Our children would be grateful.
Better way in Afghanistan
I just read an article in the BBC news about a baby born with two heads. She had a successful operation to remove the nonviable second head. She was the daughter of Afghan farmers, and the doctor ended up donating his services of about $5,000.
Jafar Haand, a BBC news corespondent, wrote, “As one of the world’s poorest countries, Afghanistan’s hospitals often lack the drugs and equipment to carry out complicated medical procedures, and the health authorities in the country are particularly pleased with the success of baby Asree Gul’s surgery.”
I may not be as smart as the leaders of our country, but it is reasonable to suggest that the $1 billion per day would have been better spent building schools, hospitals and housing.
Actions of a leader
We hear the most absurd criticisms hurled at the president, aimed at belittling his recent foreign policy endeavor over chemical weapons.
It is said that his foreign policy is a muddle; that he leads from behind; that he’s indecisive; that he flips and flops. He is portrayed as community organizer. It is said that Russian President Vladimir Putin made it all happen.
When the sarin gas atrocity happened on Aug. 21, there should have been an outcry from the international community.
What happened instead? It got quiet in that part of the world. Russia and China knew what was going on, and chose to do nothing.
Is the flip-flopper the only world leader willing to defend international law? The others knew about the chemical weapons conference that took place in Geneva in 1993, in which 189 nations agreed to prohibit the use of chemical and biological weapons.
Had the flip-flopper chosen to do nothing, the weight of the House of Representatives would have collapsed around his shoulders. He did something, and he still faces hostile criticism. You’ve heard the old adage, “You’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t.”
Right-wing talk show hosts must have known that Sergey Lavrov was signing documents in order to protect Russia’s economic interest and its naval fleet, stationed in the Syrian port of Tartus.
Who really was in control?
However you choose to interpret the events leading up to the chemical weapons agreement reached in Geneva, one thing remains indisputable. It’s a milestone accomplishment.
Even Dan Rather characterized the agreement as a substantial achievement. It levels the playing field, and nations will think twice before using gas in an act of war.
The extreme right and the influence of the lobbyists got the playing field all fogged up. When the fog clears, the truth will be unveiled. President Barack Obama stands head and shoulders above his opponents.
Commitment to community
As an American Muslim, I was saddened to hear about the Navy Yard shooting, just like anybody else. In our own holy book, the Quran, it states that, “If anyone slays a person, it would be as if he slew the whole people.”
We believe that such tragic events should be combated with greater community service, as Islam teaches us that we were made for the good of mankind.
In last year’s Muslims For Life Campaign, 11,000 pints of blood were collected from over 370 locations in the U.S. for local blood banks. This year’s goal is 12,000 pints of blood, as the campaign continues through all of September, to remember the horrific day of 9/11.