Oct 18, 2012 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
Before winter finally puts the beasts to sleep, let’s consider our aromatic pests – the skunks – one last time. Looking through the lens of history, it turns out that polecats have plagued the village of Liverpool for more than a century.
Sycamore Street resident Mike Romano recently reminded me to check out “A Village Diary: Frank S. Gleason, 1857-1923.” In his entry for Friday, Oct. 12, 1894, the diarist noted that “A Skunk has caught 11 of my chickens & I have to set a trap for him tonight.”
The next night Gleason’s trap snapped shut on a big black-and-white. Frank failed to chronicle how he disposed on the animal.
A burly and busy shopkeeper, Gleason lived at 314 First St. with his wife, Carrie, and children Sherm, Susan and Helen.
On a “warm and balmy” day, Oct. 290, 1894, Gleason reiterated his resolve to put down the pestilence.
“I have kept [the trap] set every night since Sunday & last night I caught another one in the trap but he broke away & took the trap with him. I have borrowed another one & have set it to-night.”
With warm weather “hanging on well,” the skunks remained active through that Indian summer. On Wednesday, Oct. 24, 1894, Gleason trapped another stinky critter. “Helen stayed from school to-day,” he wrote. “She claimed that the smell of the skunk which I caught last night made her sick. I guess she will go to school tomorrow.”
Frank kept setting out a trap every night, but it had remained empty through the month.
The problem persists
Here in the 21st century, the problem persists. This past summer, the village was often awash in the repulsive aroma of skunks.
At least in Gleason’s day pet dogs ran free discouraging weasels and woodchucks and skunks from burrowing into village yards and outhouses. Nowadays, the dogs are universally leashed, allowing the varmints free reign.
And careless humans often exacerbate the problem. On Sept. 17, for the second month in a row, a resident complained about skunks to the Liverpool Village Board of Trustees. Elaine Toth, who lives on Tulip Street, said the animals have proliferated there because a neighbor “puts out food for them 365 days a year.” The animals are “negatively impacting my property,” she said.
Wildlife experts strongly discourage feeding skunks.
Village taking action?
Mayor Gary White told Toth that, at their Aug. 20 meeting, village trustees had informally agreed to consider hiring a village trapper next spring when the board develops its 2013-14 budget. Presently, villagers must rely on the Salina town trapper, who is already overwhelmed with calls from all over the town.
On Toth’s recommendation, the trustees will also consider revising the village code to prohibit feeding wildlife, except birds; and to require that trash bags be enclosed inside secure containers because the sharp-toothed carnivores routinely tear apart plastic bags.
Just as it was in Frank Gleason’s day, in another few months the unmistakable odor of skunks will signal the start of spring here in the village.
Thanks to Village Historian Dorianne Elitharp-Gutierrez for sharing her copy of Frank Gleason’s fascinating diary.
Our favorite barista, Rebecca Van Cott at Café at 407, recommends purchasing a deck of City Dining Cards. The 50 cards guarantee you $10 off purchases of $30 or more at restaurants such as The Retreat, the Limp Lizard Lounge, appeThaizing, Pier 57, Avicolli’s and, of course, the Café at 407.
When you buy a $20 deck of City Dining Cards at the café, $10 goes directly to Ophelia’s Place. “They make great holiday gifts,” Rebecca reminded.
For info, visit citydiningcards.com.
Steps and pepperoni
The Village Mall had a new steel stairway installed during the first week of October, after its old cement stairs had collapsed.
Gino & Joe’s was slated to open Monday, Oct. 15, at the corner of Old Liverpool Road and Electronics Parkway; 451-3177.