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Salem Patch Reader Comments of the Week

Here's a look back at some of the things our readers have had to say this week.

A Virtual Mack Park Toboggan Ride

bella traesch-doeg: great video! glad that child wasn't injured at the end of your ride.

City to Salem Residents: Clear Those Sidewalks

gene: Let me start off by saying I not only clear the sidewalk in front of my hose, but also help my neighbors clear theirs. However, the City owns the sidewalk so why am I required to keep it clear of snow? I am not required to repair the sidewalk am I? Isn't this involuntary servitude?

john: I have lived in Salem for over 50 years and have never heard of a resident being fined for not clearing there sidewalk. Mayor Driscoll will stop at nothing to continue to take money from Salem taxpayers. Plows put over six feet of snow on my sidewalk and front lawn, you put it there you take it off.

Disgruntled: I am 34 years old, I grew up in Woburn and moved up to Salem in Nov. The snow removal situation in this city is a joke. I regret the day I decided to move to this city. I love it, but one way in and one way out. Also, when it snows eff the pedestrians. I thought the gov't served the people, not the other way around. I won't be touching a shovel. Ticket me all you want.

Jane: Salem Residents,homeowners,pedestrians PLEASE CALL THE MAYOR AND COMPLAIN!! We pay taxes and should not be responsible for the snow plows dump on our doorstep! The more people complain about this issue the better the results...hopefully...

Todd Doehner: I was just downtown -- the whole "red line" walking path for the tourists is cleared three feet across and is sanded and salted -- clearly work done by the city. Yet here on this post we read of people walking in the streets and their kids lacking bus stops. What, exactly, are the priorities in this city? It's becoming increasingly obvious that those of us who live outside of the business district -- you know, the tax base that funds the city -- are Kim's "47% -- " she's not going to worry about us.

Diane Wolf: Just walked up and down Becket street with my dog, there are 18 houses that have not yet cleared their sidewalks; eighteen out of twenty seven homes.

john: That's $1800 more the city can screw the taxpayers for. The funny thing is there is no accountability for situations like this as far as the money. What do they do with it? As we speak city workers are clearing snow from in front of the vacant lot next to the gas station on Jackson st. That's private property. Can't have it both ways.

Roxie: Canal St. needs to clear the sidewalk along the train tracks (city property?). Jefferson Ave. needs to clear the sidewalk on the bridge over the train tracks (city property?). Plus the countless homeowners who don't shovel their sidewalks. It's been 6 days since the first snowfall and with all this talk about the city issuing citations, they clearly haven't made the effort to actually do it yet. I am tired of walking in the street to get to the bus stop and then standing in the street waiting for the bus.

Jroug: As I mentioned yesterday, the DPW dumped a huge pile of snow in the middle of my already shoveled sidewalk (after 11pm on Tuesday night). Well on Wednesday the city ticketed me for having a blocked walkway on Wednesday. Yet they won't ticket the illegal parkers or drivers that endanger my life every day. Looking forward to applying all the time, money and energy it requires to expose the laziness and hypocrisy in Salem law enforcement & government.

Does Salem Have a Skunk Problem?

sharon: The willows park area is teeming with skunks in the warmer weather !!! It's awful, watch where your headed or you will end up stepping on one, or two or three or four !!!!

Kathleen Frizzie: Yes, the city should do something about the skunk problem. A few years ago one got under our foundation and the entire house, including us, stunk for weeks ! We had to hire a trapper to get rid of him. ! It was terrible!

Charlotte Singer: There are two homes in the Mack Park area that put out bags of peanuts to "feed the animals" you can thank that kind of behavior for the overpopulation of skunks, racoons, pigeons, and squirrels around here.

Charlotte Singer: I hear you! We pick up peanut shells all of the time, they are in my yard on my car, you name it! And the squirrels dig up my grass and garden to hide them what a mess.

Susan Major: I've seen lots of them shuffling around at the Willows. And if I arrive home in the evening, I'm always careful to watch for them since they wander around the yard and streets (I'm near the bridge). And ah, the smell when they have some little battle outside. Urgh.

Timothy Donovan: What I find disheartening about this is the large number of people who apparently cannot accept the idea that wild animals live amongst us. A skunk is no more offensive than any other wild creature and is actually less destructive than most. They are largely nocturnal, coming out at dusk to forage for food. All skunks have a very keen sense of smell and hearing, but rather poor eyesight which accounts for so many being hit by cars…….they can only see objects that are less than ten feet away. Their only means of defense is the noxious liquid they produce and spray when attacked and it takes up to ten days to regenerate this, so it’s only sprayed when really needed. You won’t get sprayed simply by walking near one on the street! As far as the “large” population of skunks at the Willows, this is misleading. It’s actually only one “den” of about 4 skunks that lives nearby. They frequent the Willows every night and follow the same route in their hunt for food, usually in the form of overflowing trashcans in the summer months. This is very typical behavior and is NOT an infestation. I have been down the Willows many times and watched as people will deliberately let their dogs chase the skunks just for a laugh which results in unpleasantness for everyone. So perhaps the problem here is not only a lack of understanding, but also a lack of respect for the natural world.

Charlotte Singer: I agree with you Timothy! There is an enormous lack of respect for the natural world. Especially when people interfere with animal habits. As I stated in my other posts the synthetic feeding of wild life causes problems for both the animals and the people it is a well known fact. No one should be purposely promoting the harassment of these creatures that's just bully mentality.

Sue: Where would you people like these critters to go? We keep taking their homes for our own use. Where can they go that they won't be considered "pests"? We are a selfish species. When we destroy their homes they have no where to go so they are seen more often because they now have to make their homes in the suburbs and cities. Think about it people. You are complaining about displaced animals when we are the ones that displaced them to begin with.

Michelle: Thank you Timothy, well said. It heartening to know there are at least one or two intelligent people left in Salem. If there is any kind of infestation in Salem it's more in the category of dog owners that do not know how to care for and police their own animals (which says alot about their own behavior).

Jack Carver: Skunks are harmless and the citys best defense for our rat problem. Skunks eat small rats and mice

Drew: We camped at Winter Island a few summers ago and had over 20 visits at our site by skunks the first night alone. They had no fear of humans and would walk right under our camp chairs. We also have a resident skunk in our rear yard in south Salem and also has no fear of humans. I have walked within two feet of him and have never had a problem. He only seems to come out at night.

John Dumas: Research has shown most skunks are attracted to an area by food put out by people thinking they are feeding homeless cats. The skunks find this food in the very early morning.

Cheryl: The coyotes have considerably cut down the populations of rabbits, groundhogs, and skunks in our neighborhood, which borders the Forest River Conservation area. Maybe, the coyotes have pushed some skunks north towards downtown.

Dee Dee: Yes! The Willows has a terrible problem. Last February, the skunk that lived under my house (the section with no foundation) got frightened and sprayed @ 2:00 in the morning. The smell was nauseating. Six days later he did it again. It is hard to open your windows in February to exchange the air. I have made modifications to my house so that won't happen again. This past summer, I saw 6 skunks in about 8 minutes of being outside @ dusk. If you don't have a pet, not to worry...they are not even afraid of people. I was watering my hedge when a mother & 3 babies decided to cool off and purposely walked under my hose as I sprayed. I didn't see them coming and was too afraid to move. It didn't phase them in the least & they kept going. Dee Dee

Joseph Edwards: There are many more humans in this city, and on these message boards that I find more of a nuisance than a creature simply endeavoring to survive.

Jay Valatka: Funny that this comes up today. I hadn't caught sight of any skunks in Salem in months, but just this morning, I witnessed a skunk crossing a street in Witchcraft Heights in broad daylight, around 9am. Seemed brazen.

Nancy Gilberg: My dog's been lucky so far, but here's a supposedly effective skunk rinse recipe. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-karen-becker/pet-health_b_1183489.html

Police on Snow Removal Duty Make Drug Bust

SuzannM: You know theyre going to throw out the majority of these charges. The court will spend more going through the motions just so the cops can make a point. Isnt marijuana use noncriminal now?

Bill: come on - it's weed - who cares. Waste of tax dollars and police time.

Joeli Gewirtz: I was interested until I read it was pot. Don't our law enforcement personnel have better things to do than bust some youngsters selling pot? There are worse (illegal) things. Can't we smoke pot now for a small fine if "caught"? How do they expect we obtain that pot?

Leonard Nicodemo: Yeah, its a dumb waste of time and money.. but when you walk in and see baggies and scale..its kinda tough to just turn your back, even if its just a bunch of college kids. If they walked in on the kids just smoking and hanging out, they probably wouldn't have cared.

Giaflower: Waste of tax dollars and police time. They should be fighting real crime. Like the idiots doing 60 down Lafayette street. That's more dangerous than a few kids selling a couple bags of weed.

Edwards: The job of the PD is to enforce the law. This is what they did here and until the law changes that is they are expected to do. These young schmucks are nothing more than criminals in training and if they have any brains at all this will put a little fear into their hearts.

For more of this week's reader comments, check out our news section.

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