Letters to the editor/South: Killing deer without study can destabilize herd, worsen problem

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I see all the signs that Mt. Lebanon will kill deer. First, someone complains that the deer are eating flowers; this eating of flowers is said to be intolerable, followed by mutterings of deer/vehicle collisions, and then the community states that it will review its alternatives.

Sometimes, there are even public meetings to discuss these alternatives.

Nevertheless, the conclusion is always the same: Nothing is practical but killing.

Usually the killing takes place without knowing exactly where the deer are, what their movement patterns are, and without any knowledge of sex and age ratios, all of which would tell whether the deer herd is increasing, decreasing or has stabilized. Believe it or not, deer herds stabilize, even in the absence of predators.

In "The Natural History of Deer," published by the Cornell University Press as part of the Christopher Helm Mammal Series and edited by Ernest Neal, former president of the Mammal Society, Rory Putman discusses how hunting or culling destabilizes a deer herd. He asserts:

"Lack of selectivity in the cull, or selection of the wrong age or sex classes, may also exacerbate the pest problem by disrupting the social structure and social organization of the pest. This may have two consequences: a further increase in population density, and an increase in damage caused because the animal displays abnormal behavior in response to a distorted social structure."

PRISCILLA N. COHN

Villanova, Pa.

Majority doesn't want deer killed

I felt compelled to write about plans in Mt. Lebanon to kill off some of the deer population.

This is a complex issue and requires solid reasoning to come up with both an effective and safe plan.

The Mt. Lebanon commissioners are under the mistaken impression that trying to kill off the deer actually will be effective. Are they not concerned about safety and accidental shootings? This plan is ineffective and unsafe.

If these elected officials can't come up with a better plan, then it's time to get some folks on the board who can think outside the box and come up with reasonable solutions. What they are presenting thus far is totally unreasonable, ineffective and unsafe. Perhaps it's time to consider wildlife contraception.

An overwhelming majority of attendees at a commissioner meeting last fall expressed repeatedly their opposition and tremendous concern at the thought of killing deer to protect a minority of residents' flowers and shrubs.

It appears that the commissioners are clearly working on their own agenda by ignoring the viewpoints of the majority.

LYNDA L. NATHENSON

Scott

We deserve better from school board

While the individual faculty and staff members of the Upper St. Clair school system continue to do exemplary work with the district's children, the Upper St. Clair school board continues to embarrass itself and township residents with its vindictive and childish behavior.

It is obvious to many that the board's majority is more concerned with promoting a right-wing conservative ideology than with providing the best possible educational experience for our children.

This is particularly apparent in the recent incident involving school volunteers who were singled out and excluded from programs that needed them because they were active in opposing the board's questionably motivated abandonment of the IB program. ["Volunteers Say Snub Was in Retaliation," South, Sept. 21.]

We are living in an age in which dissent is discouraged as unpatriotic or worse, and that concept of propriety has apparently filtered down to parochial politicians who feel that they are entitled to behave as they wish, with impunity.

Amid the infighting and inappropriate power-tripping taking place, the board majority seems to have forgotten what it was elected to do. The township, the residents, the teachers and staff, and, especially, the children deserve better from this school board. I can only hope that my neighbors will respond appropriately in the next election.

DAVE DYCUS

Upper St. Clair

Consortium's work should be praised

Recently, there was an article printed that seemed to question the professionalism and integrity of the Mon-Valley Education Consortium and its leadership. ["McKeesport: Top Position is Suddenly Open Again," South, Sept. 21.]

As a lifelong resident of the McKeesport area and an educator for more than 30 years, I feel I can speak knowledgeably about the MVEC. The sole purpose in establishing the group was to support and advance the educational process for students, teachers and school districts and become the bridge between the involved communities and the educational systems. This is a vital link that often was missing in the past. The questions always asked by the consortium are, "What is the problem? What do you need? How can we help?" Then they set about finding and using whatever resources are available to make the situation better.

Dr. Linda Croushore, MVED executive director, and her staff have enhanced the learning environment for so many schools up and down the Mon Valley. They have done this with enthusiasm, innovation and hard work. Their efforts should be applauded, commended and appreciated.

PATRICIA A. MAKSIN

White Oak


South welcomes your letters. Please include your name, address and phone number, and send to Letters to the Editor, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222. E-mail letters to letters@post-gazette.com or fax to 412-263-2014. All letters are subject to editing and will be verified before being published. Only one letter from an individual will be published every three months.


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