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March 24, 2000     Cape Gazette
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March 24, 2000

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Ji- 7- e K, J 14' b- '0, as ag ',4, O. tn, 'S, er 4- lilt f. tO, ,er rid 15- =dr y- W- O(3 3) Continued from page 6 to hold school events and possibly theatrical performances. Milton Middle School greatly appreciates the votes. Andy Sprague Fifth grade Milton Middle School Studies show cats don't impact wildlife I am so tired of hearing people can't go away and they may suf- fer. The only option and sound so- lution is to take action by provid- ing food and sterilizing all mem- ber's of the colony to prevent fu- ture births. Ferals are dependent on us to maintain a healthy, stable colony. However, this is only possible if all members of the colony are sterilized. Besides the obvious ad- vantage of population control, the cats will be healthier and better able to care for themselves when they are no longer forced to put all of their energy into breeding and caring for offspring. Nonlethal control is not only bellyache about cats depleting the songbird population. Many stud- humane, it is the most effective means to stop colony growth. The ies have shown that cats do not have a detrimental impact on wildlife. Over 60 studies have been done on different continents, all showing three very important points: Cats are opportunistic feeders, eating what is most easily avail- able. Feral cats are scavengers, and many rely on garbage and hand-outs from pec'le. Cats are rodent specialists. Birds make up a only small per- centage of their diet when they re- ly solely on hunting for food. Cats may prey on a population without destroying it. If this weren't so, we would no longer have any mice around. Even though some cats can be- come efficient hunters and do kill birds, many international biolo- gists agree that only on small is- lands do cats possibly pose a se- vere threat to the wildlife popula- tions. They agree with biologist C.J. Mead: "Any bird populations on the continents that could not withstand these levels of preda- tion from cats and other predators would have disappeared long ago..." Finally, while many concentrate their efforts on blaming cats, the real culprit - homosapiens - go free; continuing the destruction of habitat - look at what's happening in Lewes - hunting and killing, and using pesticides that endanger entire populations of wildlife, in- cluding millions of birds. Let's face it, we have met the enemy and he is us. So what to do? How can we convince the Lewes Town Coun- cil "we have met the enemy and he is us" to implement a spay/neuter/release program? Re- moving the cats is not the answer as studies have proven that other cats will quickly fill the void left by the removal of whole colonies and will again breed up to capaci- ty. Most feral cat caretakers don't go looking for ferals; they come across them by accident. The first impulse is to help the cats by feeding them. Not feeding them and hoping they will go away is not an option. We all know they result is that a colony naturally di- minishes over time. Denise Amot Lewes Smith discusses odors and lewes BPW election The last time I addressed you good people of Lewes, I informed you that our staff would be clean- ing out the second oxidation ditch of the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). I am pleased to announce that the second ditch has been scheduled for cleaning on March 13. New air-diffuser tubes will be installed. Hopefully, the valves in this ditch will be better than the No. 1 ditch and our staff will have the ditch back on line in no time. The bacteria and other organisms are still struggling to reestablish themselves because of cool tem- peratures, but hopefully, the ex- treme cold is now behind us. Our WWTP should be operating at its design capacity by the time the summer folks arrive. So, my good people, my warn- ing stands. If you're walking around town and the smells seem a little more pungent - they are, and this too shall pass. I was recently asked when I was going to start campaigning and I answered that I was not. I have no political aspirations! This same friend then said, "George, you have got to say something." So here it is, folks. This is a lousy job! There is no pay, benefits or vacation, and one constantly wonders if one is mak- ing the right decision. But I have not finished some of the things I set out to do. Some of those things that I and my fellow board members have initiated are the separation of the three BPW entities - electric, wa- ter and wastewater, and each must stand on its own, even though it meant we had to raise rates; we now have an excellent consultant on board for our electrical up- grade which is going smoothly; and we have put up with the exist- ing WWTP expansion design on hold until we can come up with a better solution than the canal for our effluent discharge. We are ac- tively working with Cape Hen- Iopen State Park and the DNREC people to come up with that solu- tion. As you can see, we have a lot on our plate and if elected, I will endeavor to complete the things I have started. In the meantime, remember, "Stuff flows downhill." George Smith Lewes Scriptures hold answers to homophobic question An open letter to Doug and Coney Marshall-Steele: Week after week, I have pa- tiently read your unfair attacks on "homophobic Christians." There are questions you should ask yourselves, the answers to which can be found in the scriptures. Does your gay lifestyle honor God? Is your gay lifestyle consistent with the scriptures? Does your gay lifestyle have the witness of the Holy Spirit? Does your gay lifestyle fit who you are as a child of GOd? Are you being blessed? Is your gay lifestyle a wise de- cision? Please don't be deceived and misled by false prophets; also please know that your "homopho- bit" Christian brothers and sisters love you and are praying for you. Pat Macintire Lewes =Don't ask, don't tell" issue for candidates "Don't ask, dont tell" has been raised as an issue for the presiden- tial candidates with predictable results. The Democrats want it overturned as a failed policy. The Republicans want it maintained, except for Alan Keyes, who wants to return to the days of an outright ban against gays in the military. By any objective standard, don't ask, don't tell is a total fail- ure. Discharges of gay service members have skyrocketed since the policy went into effect - this at a time when the military cannot achieve its enlistment goals. The bashing and murder of gay serv- ice people has also increased dur- ing the period of this policy. From a personal perspective, Douglas served overseas in the Army Security Agency, handling top-secret material in the Vietnam era. In three years, he achieved five ranks, was decorated and honorably discharged. Gayness obviously did not hurt his ability to be a good soldier, and countless other gay service members and veterans can demonstrate the same thing. Yet gays under don't ask, don't tell continued to be pursued out of the military, beaten and murdered. Blacks were integrated into the armed forces half a century ago. Don't ask, don't tell is simply on the wrong side of history. Douglas and Corey Marshall-Steele Milton CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, March 24 - March 30, 2000 - 7 It's springtime and nature is bearing its babies to give them a ru_ nning start In the temperate and colder cli- mates of the world, nature bears its children in the early spring. Lengthening days and the sun's rays bearing down more directly and warmly give spring newborns a better chance at survival in their first critical months of life. Last Saturday afternoon, a strong March wind blew out of the east setting the stage for our mid- week nor'easter. We walked along the edge of a field where the tenderest shoots of new pea plants were just beginning to mark pale green rows in freshly disked brown soil. Piles of thorny briers and uprooted tree trunks formed a natural boundary between the field and the woods that rimmed the marsh along Black Hog Gut. The sudden sound of a large an- imal breaking out of the briers near where we walked halted our steps. A red fox bolted for about I O yards and then wheeled around on its hind legs to look at us with its dark, glistening eyes. The win- ter hadn't been good to this fox. Mange had stripped its tail of most of its fur in an impoverished and totally unflattering imitation of a freshly coiffed poodle. We had disturbed its nap in the lee of the dirty roots of an wind-toppled tree. Or maybe the fox was a mother that had a den there at the edge of the field with a freshly born litter of cubs. Its malnour- ished appearance may have been more the work of the gestation process over the past couple months and the hungry mouths of its young. It gave us little chance to exam- ine the evidence. After staring at us a few seconds, it disappeared into the woods. We walked a little further along the edge before turning into the woods on a grassy and wide clear path. Trenches on each side of the raised pathway confirmed that it was the abandoned bed of the old Queen Anne railroad. We wanted to take a look at the remains of the bridge that carried the steam- driven engines across the upper reaches of Black Hog Gut in the early 1900s. BAREFOOTIN' About 40 yards from where the bed met the gut, we encountered another wildlife display. This time a large animal about the size of a ground hog scurried between two trees and splashed into the waters of the gut. I guessed it to be either a beaver or an otter, and finally settled on the otter option since beavers prefer more of a freshwater environment and we saw no evidence of chewed up trees. The animal that slid into the wa- ter left a clear trail of bubbles as it swam underwater up the gut. It fi- nally surfaced about thirty yards upstream. With barely more than its eyes above the water, it watched us for a few seconds and then rose a little more and snorted at us. We looked at it through binoculars and were surprised to see it swimming back toward us, stopping every few feet to raise its head and snort again. Then, about 10 yards out, it raised its body out of the water by at least 10 inches and snorting very loudly, really let us know it didn't like us there. It took a real effort by that animal - no doubt a mother - to tread water vigoi'ously enough to make itself appear larger and threaten us si- multaneously with a number of snorts. Just as its instinct directed its behavior, so too did Becky's. She started backing up the trail in an- ticipation of an attack. The ani- mal submerged again but this time left no trail of bubbles. Continued on page 8 Oermis Fomey photo An alarmed otter attempts to chase intruders from its Black Hog Gut den by rearing up out of the water and snorting.