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Salem Patch Reader Comments of the Week

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

Dog Poop on the Sidewalk: Is It a Problem in Your Neighborhood?

Nancy Gilberg: Chris, this is an unfortunate problem that most neighborhoods have. When you license your dog, not only does the license document say that you are required to pick up after your dog, I believe it also says that you must carry means to pick up (e.g. plastic bag). If I see someone not pick up, I smile and ask if they need a bag. Usually they say yes, thank you. Occasionally someone will angrily respond, "who are you, the poop police?"

Lisa Dolloff: No pick up poop -> no license -> no dog. Too harsh, or justified actions?

Carolyn Costain: My sister and I walk dogs in North Salem and both of us have pockets full of bags "not that our dogs are big poop heads" but If my sister see's dog poop from other dogs she will clean it up because she don't want dogs getting a bad rep. when its the dog owners fault for not cleaning it up.

jessica: I live in the collins cove area and I'm pleased with the dog owners in my neighborhood! We even leave xtra poop bags in the designated box under the parks sign for the just in case incidences.

Erin Cyr: I live in Collins Cove too and agree that it's pretty well maintained by pet owners! Lots of people walk their dogs up and down the cove and the only complaint I have is that in summer the trash barrels aren't emptied often enough and a barrel full of poop in the hot sun smells...unpleasant. Otherwise, A for effort Collins Cove!

Becky M: We don't have the problem on our street, but we do notice it more and more on the Pedestrian walkway down Essex. It's disgusting, especially when it's in front of all the stores where visitors walk. It's not the dog's fault the owner doesn't take responsibility for what comes natural but should be cleaned up. I don't have a dog, but even sometimes we carry bags around and pick up other peoples' dog messages so we don't walk in it, or walk in what has already been smashed down by someone else walking through it!

William Legault:  There is a young lady in that neighborhood, actually from the other side of North St. who is very well known for this. I confronted her and she ceased using the immediate area to relieve her pit bull, but am sure she just moved her route elsewhere. She is a young lady, strongly built who wears a black hoodie with sweat pants and walks a black(grey) & white pit bull. The dog officer is well acquainted with her. An action photo of the her and the dog doing the deed is all that is needed for a court summons.

Matt Buchanan: Here's what I recently posted under the article about the "skunk problem"...... How about the dog problem.........and by that I mean all the poop everywhere! Let's start by fixing this. During and after the snowstorm my building at Hazel Terrace was littered with poop and pee everywhere, and now that the melt is happening it's absolutely disgusting! And here's where I'm wrong, it's really a people problem. If you see someone leave poop, follow them home and dump it on their front porch, it's the only way to solve the issue. You can't reason with this type of person and must take a direct action approach.

Meg Elizabeth: Nancy, these sound helpful, and a nice addition to give to those that 'forgot their bag' as well. I wonder if we could get signs for all the parks about these facts and the fines?
Also, I find the lack of trash barrels annoying, and probably a deterrent for some (i don't want to carry poop). I don't have a dog, so I'm guessing here. But if I recall, my last walk by the wharf (friendship part) there were no trash cans there.

Wendy: As a dog owner this issue totally disgust me. I have 2 dogs that I walk daily through and all around town. I have poop bags in the left hand pocket of ALL my coats and jackets and pick up after both of my dogs. It is my responsibility to do so. I would love to see those owners who do not pick up after their dogs fined and/or publicly acknowledged as one who shirks their responsibility. Walking around Derby Wharf is disgusting-what makes dog owners think it is ok do let your dog poop anywhere and not pick it up. It is not the Park Services job to pick up after your dog. This situation gives responsible dog owners a bad rap.

Salem Officials Take Aim at Aggressive Panhandling

Justin Arrigo: This might be the dumbest thing I have heard in a while. People who don't have money in the first place will not pay fines. What makes you think that a person begging for money on the street is going to come up with enough money to pay s $50 fine for trying to get money. Instead of wasting time, money and effort on a ridiculous plan that will not do anything, why doesnt the city work on helping the people who are less fortunate.

gene: If people are panhandling to get by, how are they going to pay a $50 fine? The vast majority of panhandlers are homeless and only have the shirt on the back. Also, what and who defines what "aggresive" is? Other than that keeping doorways and ATMs clear makes sense.

KlassySalem: You know, that's a really, really good question. You'd think it would have to.

Lisa Dolloff: So... The solution to people looking for money is... Making them pay money? Something definitely needs to be done, but I can't be the only one seeing holes in this "solution".

Alex Hayward: Walgreens on new derby st, by wendys in the point, and at the depot. A fine is one of the stupidest solutions I've ever heard for this. Seriously, this is the perfect example of idiot law inforcement in salem.

Leonard Nicodemo: I usually toss the local homeless that I recognize a few dollars. For the most part, they're kind and gentle people. However, I do get annoyed when I hear the "I just need a dollar for the train" schtick over and over from the same few people.

Lisa Dolloff: It's Gloucester, every. single. time.

Sparechange: A fine is certainly something, although I would offer it amounts to little more than placing a finger in a leaky dam. A true solution to the problem would be to stop chasing the federal and state dollars that accompany the less fortunate in exchange for facilities such as Lifebridge. That would take some actual thought, however, as to how to build a sustainable local economy devoid of government handouts - not our fine Mayor's strongpoint. In fact, if you removed her embarassing pandering to the feds and her questionable relationship with a certain somerville-based developer, I'm not sure little Kimmy would have much of an economic plan at all. Long story short, there's no such thing as free money and the Mayor has decided that the check and her continued employment, cemented by her campaign warchest to which the aforementioned developer is a contributor, is of more value than providing a safe, healthy and vibrant community for those individuals who actually contribute to it.

Edward: Diane - I admire you for calling SPD if you see that individual in the wheelchair harassing others. I have never encountered him, maybe because I hardly ever go downtown anymore...I think perhaps that individual needs some face time in front of a judge. The police should arrest him (wheelchair or not) and bring him up on harassment charges. If he, in his wheelchair, actually prevents or blocks someone from leaving a parking space, I don't see why the kidnapping statutes wouldn't apply, since he would be holding them against their will...

john: It sounds like the guy who has both a physical and mental disabilty. He always says the same thing "can you help me please" and then he just sits there. He has done it to me many times and I simply wave him away.

Susan Major: I've always given money to panhandlers who are friendly and ask politely. I was on a first-name basis with several panhandlers when I worked in Boston. We used to have interesting conversations about life in general. That said, I'm not at all happy with someone approaching my car or trying to block my path. Maybe it's because I lived in two major US cities and those kinds of actions definitely meant trouble. In Salem I give aggressive folks a firm "no" because it feels invasive and sometimes a little threatening. Ditto on anyone approaching me to ask for money after seeing me leave an ATM.

Vandals Damage Downtown Salem Ice Sculptures:

Carolyn Costain: I am always awed by all kinds of art. Thank god for the technology of video and cameras that capture the artistic beauty before the inconsiderate drunks and vandals have the chance to destroy someones artistic vision. People should focus cameras on the art so they can catch the vandals in the act and shame them in the public eye by posting the idiots on the patch and on-line!

Diane H: So Sad.....would love to catch these cretins on camera and expose them publicly...however, they probably wouldn't even care!

What's Landing at Your Feeder?

Daniel Vassily: I'd love to see what other birds people are seeing in their backyards. I have my feeders set up to attract a wide variety of birds. I use a suet feeder for the Woodpeckers and the high-energy food, is especially valuable to the birds in cold weather. I use a Thistle feeder to attract the smaller songbirds, a black oil Sunflower seed feeder which attracts many beautiful birds like Nuthatches, Cardinals and Jays. And finally a general seed feeder for all the rest of the birds. I believe these birds help make my backyard a more beautiful, mini-nature retreat, that entertain my wife and I Summer and Winter. What could be more beautiful than a bright red Cardinal on the snow or the intricate patterns on a Blue Jay's wings. I hope to see more of my neighbors birds via this page. Thanks everyone for sharing.

Nancy Gilberg: I'm not a photographer, but some of my favorite neighborhood sightings have been screech owl, barred owl, and raven. Love seeing everyone else's photos!

Rachel Warner: Fantastic images. There is a very active cardinal population in my neighborhood.

Jes: The little house finches are at a hanging feeder, as well as a downy woodpecker at the hanging suet. Occasionally, hawks appear (both medium and very large size) and will wait and then dive into the bush below where the finches are hanging out. The little ones will scramble, and the hawk goes after one of them (the poor thing). A male and female mallard visited earlier in the week for a few days. Saw around eight morning doves hovering together in the cold on my porch. Have seen a robin for the past few weeks (early spring?), bluejays and a few cardinals. Look fwd to putting out a thistle sock when the tiny goldfinches show up a little later in the season. Have not done photos transferring yet, but will try to get with it! Thanks for introducing a great topic, Daniel! You are right about the intricate designs on the bluejay, as well!

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

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