Board shoots the messenger; fireworks ‘fiasco’ blamed on newspaper
Several residents suggested that the picture of the young eagle that appeared in the newspaper had not actually fallen out of the nest because of the fireworks, and one said that young eagles are sometimes pushed out of the nest by their parents.
On the other hand, a letter from Kathy Michell, the town clerk who is also a wildlife rehabilitator, and worked as a bald eagle specialist for the DEC from 1999 to 2009, was read and it said that a young eagle was found seriously injured with a broken femur after the fireworks in 2009, “most likely the result of crashing into something in the dark.” The letter said then-supervisor Ben Johnson recognized the need for a change of location for the fireworks, but he left office at the end of the year, and the matter was not pursued.
Ned Lang, who is running for a position on the town board in the fall, and who has made the defeat of the proposed esplanade one of the central pillars of his campaign, asked, “If the fireworks aren’t allowed to be set off close to the eagle’s nest, how then are you going to undertake a project for the esplanade, when you’re definitely going to have blasting jackhammers, a lot of hard and heavy work, close to an eagle’s nest; doesn’t that pretty much preclude any more work being done on an esplanade?”
Wingert responded, “No, if there were blasting to be done, obviously it can’t be done. Our engineering firm does have the law, I forwarded it to them, and he said they were already fully aware of it and took it into consideration early on.”
Several people mentioned that the cancellation of the fireworks had a negative impact on the local economy, and Stanley Harper said the Main Street merchants supported the fireworks, and had been negatively impacted. Yet, when Ritter suggested forming a committee to work on finding a new location for the fireworks next year, members of the chamber declined, as did Gettel from the Lava Fire Department.
A member of the Narrowsburg Fire Department suggested that the town send formal letters inviting the organizations to join the committee.
One of the last comments about the matter came from highway superintendent Glenn Swendsen, who said, “Everybody’s upset, everybody’s mad, there’s no fireworks, everybody’s trying to blame somebody. But you’ve got to face the fact, it was a federal law, whether you agree with it or not, we didn’t know about it. Now we know about it, we can’t do it. “
He said the town should work together to find a new place to hold the fireworks next year.