Plan ruffles feathers

The gassing of the geese which normally live around Collins Lake is set to take place sometime within the next two weeks, and the plan to use the geese to feed the hungry is not sitting well with members of the group \ Geese Peace.

Scotia Mayor Michael McLaughlin announced last week that the geese will be gathered, and the meat will be donated to local food pantries and shelters. The village was contacted by the New York State Conservation Council and asked to take part in the "Hunters Helping the Hungry" program. In spite of community objection, McLaughlin and the village board are standing by their decision to remove and gas the geese on the grounds that they create a health hazard.

Ray Gawless, Scotia resident and a local representative of the council, spoke at the village board meeting in an attempt to educate the audience on the program.

"There are several pantries who are happy to receive what is a healthy and wholesome meat. We avoid wasting a resource that will in turn benefit many people. This program is one that I consider very successful," said Gawless.

Reponses to the announcement ignited heckling from the crowd as Gawless spoke.

Trustee Armon Benny attempted to regain order by interrupting Gawless, asking "Geese Peace" supporters to allow Gawless to speak.

"Every meeting we listen and listen to your points and we listened with our hearts. We may not agree, but we have common courtesy, its called common courtesy," said Benny.

McLaughlin told the audience that a public session is a time to allow people to speak, and is not run as a question-and-answer session.

"You will have a chance to speak, we do not yell questions as others are talking, this is how our meetings are run," said McLaughlin.

Gawless said the breast of the geese would be used after the United States Department of Agriculture testing is done " at no charge to the village.

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