Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Frequently asked, rarely answered...UPDATED

A Mt. Lebanon resident had some questions about the sharpshooting program as it is presented in the FAQ on the municipal website. She had asked twice.

1. Can you clarify the shooting dates?
The FAQ says Feb 1 - March 31, but the Deer Mgmt. Update of Dec. 11 says Feb. 1 - March 1. 
2. Which days of the week will shooting will take place? What are the exact hours? Why is sharpshooting occurring at all in the daylight hours when, in the past, it has been done only at night? 
3. When will the locations for shooting be finalized? How many will there be, and will they be throughout the municipality concentrated in particular areas? 
4. Who is or will be involved in establishing the "safety" of these locations, and what considerations go into determining what constitutes a "safe" location to shoot in this community? 
5. Will the municipality require that neighbors of private properties where shooting will take place be notified of the activity occurring near their homes? 
6. What types of guns will be used? Are they automatic or semi-automatic rifles? What are the distances can projectiles from these guns travel? 
7. The RFP specifically asks for responses from contractors who have had experience sharpshooting deer in "densely populated suburban areas with limited open space". Can you please ask Dr. DeNicola whether he has ever done any safe, successful sharpshooting programs in an area as geographically small and as densely populated as Mt. Lebanon? If so, how many? I am looking for a detailed response that mentions specific locations and dates, and population densities. 
8. As of now, the only public information out there on the sharpshooting program is via the website. Not everyone has access to that. How will the public at large be made aware of the dates, times, and locations of sharpshooting so that they can make informed decisions for themselves and their children -- to avoid any areas they feel uncomfortable about given sharpshooting nearby? I am thinking specifically about the use of the parks and the golf course for sledding by kids after snowfall. 
9. Since it is a federal law, I assume the Municipality will guarantee that the Federal Gun Free Safety Zone Act provisions are met ,which probits discharge of firearms within 1000 feet of a school. Can you please explain to me as a parent of a school-aged walking child how this information will be communicated and enforced with sharpshooters (will there be special maps or documents created delineating these sites, etc.?)
10. Similarly, how will the municipality handle after-school and after-hours school-based activities, walking, etc to ensure student safety? Many older use the parks to walk through, and as a resident pointed out, many teens use the parks at night even though they shouldn't. Will there be a curfew?

The resident highlighted her comments in yellow  and also the questions she didn't see answered, most of which are directed to the Municipality, though a few are for Dr. DeNicola (on the gun type and projectile range). Tony DeNicola's responses are highlighted in green.
On Tue, Dec 29, 2015 at 8:09 AM, Keith Mcgill <kmcgill@mtlebanon.org> wrote: 
Good morning _____, 
I apologize for the delay in responding to your questions. I did forward them to Tony DeNicola and he did provide a response. Please see below. He also responded to the question of how audible the activity would be: 
Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year. 
Respectfully,
Keith McGill 
From: Tony DeNicola

Keith,

It will depend on how proximate a person is to the shooting area. In most locations we will use subsonic rimfire ammunition and the noise is about equal to a paintball gun.

Tony


Keith,

See below replies inserted:

I have several questions about the sharpshooting program as it is presented in the FAQ.  Could you please pass my questions on to incoming Commissioner McLean as well?  

I just want to state again that I'm strongly opposed to weapons like this in our densely populated community and I am very concerned about the safety of residents and children as a result of this program.  Concerns over safety often arise when deer sharpshooting programs are considered.  However, there has never been a public safety incident when using trained wildlife professionals working in concert with local law enforcement.  These programs are designed to be implemented while residents go about their daily lives.  We will work closely with the police department to make sure this program is no different.

Thank you for your time.


******************************************

1. Can you clarify the shooting dates? 
The FAQ says Feb 1 - March 31, but the Deer Mgmt. Update of Dec. 11 says Feb. 1 - March 1.  We plan to have the option to work from 1 February through 31 March 2016


2. Which days of the week will shooting will take place on public lands?  What are the exact hours?  Why is sharpshooting occurring at all in the daylight hours when, in the past, it has been done only at night?  We will work 7 days a week on private property.  Specifics on public land have yet to be determined.  It is in the program's best interest to work around the public's activities for safety, efficiency, and discretionary reasons.  We will work a few hours before dark in some areas and the remaining efforts will take place after dark.  No morning or mid-day shooting is planned.

I think the municipality has the responsibility to nail down the exact days and hours for public property and share those with the public as soon as possible. I also would like to be made aware of public property locations to be able to avoid those. I am disappointed that the Municipality won't share that information with residents.


3. When will the locations for shooting be finalized? How many will there be, and will they be throughout the municipality concentrated in particular areas?  We will try to have even access throughout the community for the best possible outcome in regard to evenly reducing deer densities.  Final points of access are still being processed.

 Again, the municipality should let people know as soon as possible where, specifically, shooting will take place in public areas. 

4. Who is or will be involved in establishing the "safety" of these locations, and what considerations go into determining what constitutes a "safe" location to shoot in this community?  We will have officials from the police department inspect every shooting location and we will provide the exact details on the operations at each for their consideration and feedback.


5. Will the municipality require that neighbors of private properties where shooting will take place be notified of the activity occurring near their homes?  All neighbors that can see the shooting areas will be noticed and we will get their support.


6. What types of guns will be used? Are they automatic or semi-automatic rifles?  What are the distances projectiles from these guns can travel? We will primarily use .22 caliber rimfire rifles, in bolt action, with subsonic ammunition.  This is the safest, quietest approach.  On properties with larger undeveloped areas proximate we may use bolt action .223 caliber rifles.  We will only shoot from very elevated positions so all projectiles will enter the ground within the designated safe shooting zone if a deer moves when engaged.  Otherwise, all projectiles remain in the deer's tissue and do not exit.

 I understand and would expect that Dr. DeNicola and his staff take care and precautions to ensure safety. However, I would still like to know these details about the guns that are being used in my community.
  

7. The RFP specifically asks for responses from contractors who have had experience sharpshooting deer in "densely populated suburban areas with limited open space".  Can you please ask Dr. DeNicola whether he has ever done any safe, successful sharpshooting programs in an area as geographically small and as densely populated as Mt. Lebanon?  If so, how many? I am looking for a detailed response that mentions specific locations and dates, and population densities.  Please refer to our website (www.whitebuffaloinc.org) for our Business Portfolio.  We have never had a safety incident in more than 20 years working around the country and the world.

I apologize if I missed this, but I could not find information about a community as densely populated as ours having had sharpshooting with White Buffalo. Can you please direct me to that information?  

8. As of now, the only public information out there on the sharpshooting program is via the website.  Not everyone has access to that.  How will the public at large be made aware of the dates, times, and locations of sharpshooting so that they can make informed decisions for themselves and their children --  to avoid any areas they feel uncomfortable about given sharpshooting nearby?  I am thinking specifically about the use of the parks and the golf course for sledding by kids after snowfall.  We will not know the exact days or times for any location until the morning of the removal efforts.  The weather and relative deer activity at each location dictates our planning.  We do not often get accurate enough weather information until the morning of operations.  We will not work near highly active locations and we will have determined those areas of concern in advance.

I understand what you're saying about the weather, daily activities, etc..; what I meant is when and how will  the Municipality share with the community those specific locations where sharpshooting MAY on any given day occur.

9. Since it is a federal law, I assume the Municipality will guarantee that the Federal Gun Free Safety Zone Act provisions are met ,which prohibits discharge of firearms within 1000 feet of a school.  Can you please explain to me as a parent of a school-aged walking child how this information will be communicated and enforced with sharpshooters (will there be special maps or documents created delineating these sites, etc.?) We will comply with this restriction.  


10. Similarly, how will the municipality handle after-school and after-hours school-based activities, walking, etc to ensure student safety?  Many older use the parks to walk through, and as a resident pointed out, many teens use the parks at night even though they shouldn't.   Will there be a curfew?  We always work around public activities and assume people will be in all areas that we are active.  We have very well defined zones of operation where we can see all that is proximate and could be affected by our actions.

Again, I am sure that Dr. DeNicola and his staff keep safety foremost in mind. However, even if a walking area can be considered "safe" because experienced shooters are there, that does not mean that students and/or parents are comfortable being in those areas when shooting is occurring. How does the Municipality plan to address that issue?  Will there be hours after school that are off limits to shooting, given student dismissal times?  Will there be a letter going out to schools and/or parents that gives them the specific parks, etc. where shooting will take place, so that they know?  People need to have this information.

Thank you again for your time and attention to my questions.

Update December 29, 2015 6:48 PM Our illustrious superintendent, Dr. Steinhauer had been copied on this correspondence. Here is his response. Clueless, as usual.

From: Dr. Timothy Steinhauer <TSteinhauer@mtlsd.net>
Date: Tue, Dec 29, 2015 at 5:45 PM
Subject: Re: Sharpshooting Q&A questions
To:
Cc: Keith Mcgill <kmcgill@mtlebanon.org>, Kelly Fraasch <kfraasch@mtlebanon.org>, Aaron Lauth <alauth@mtlebanon.org>

Dear Ms. _______,

Since this is a municipal matter, I'm a little confused why you have included me in this response. I am aware that the municipality is conducting deer culling and they have kept me fully aware of any impact on our students. This should have no impact on education and I know that our students' safety is at the forefront of their thinking. Please send questions regarding the deer cull directly to the municipality.

If you have other questions regarding our students I would be happy to answer.

Tim Steinhauer

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

They're shooting 7 days a week ? Even Easter Sunday .... March 27 ?

E. T. Gillen said...

Oh wow! Your Easter is really early this year. Sigh. Yes, even on Easter. Every day for two months, even though the website says till March 1, 2016.
Elaine

E. T. Gillen said...

Looking at the school calendar, the kids are off from March 24 through March 28. I guess it wouldn't feel right not to have killing over a holiday recess. Isn't that what they are doing now?
Elaine

Anonymous said...

DeNicola will be using subsonic ammunition. Didn't Merlin Benner use subsonic ammunition in which it took 11 shots to kill 3 deer and he blamed it on the subsonic ammunition?

Nick M.

Anonymous said...

I love this Steinhauer response. My favorite snippets are "I am confused" and "This should have no impact on education". As a matter of routine, I wonder if he repeats those words to himself when he falls asleep at night.

Lena Horne said...

Super Tim drank the Kool-Aid.

Anonymous said...

This is insane. They are simply hell bent on killing/murdering/slaughtering deer, without knowing how many there were to begin with and without knowing how many have been brutally killed via archery.

Apparently it would take all 33,000 residents to complain, for the insanity to stop.

Somehow I don't believe Tony has never had an accident anywhere in the world, where a person was shot.

All of us with half a brain know killing doesn't work long term. Hence the need to spend taxpayer money every year to these bozos to kill deer.

He is laughing all the way to the bank.

Lena Horne said...

11:24----you got that right. Tony's got a racket going.

Anonymous said...

Even shooting ranges have their hours posted & restricted. Why wouldn't there be restrictions on the hours of this sharpshooting? Shouldn't the police be in close proximity of the sharpshooters to ensure safety? This sharpshooting undertaking is really symbolic of the callous government.

http://www.mdi.net/dml/

Lena Horne said...

This government shows no regard for the public's basic safety needs. Yes, I think this is the most bizarre thing I've ever seen in any local government. I fully expect the cops to be hanging out with the killers. But, that will ensure only that they are looking out for the hunters' safety. That is how it worked during archery.

Anonymous said...

Elaine, since the deer hunting is given at this point, perhaps a shift to focus more on the money aspect. The community is not getting answers deliberately which throws off focus on how the taxpaper's money is being spent. I say, follow the money. It's obvious our municipality has the money, but chooses to ignore infrastructure, maintenance of municipal trees, road repair, etc....and it's goes on. Oh, our Commies have NO ETHICS!!!! You can be sure that when hubby and I downsize, it will NOT be in Leboland. 😼

Anonymous said...

Check this out, Elaine: The Game Commission has a history of problems with PA RTKL and they use the same "demonstrable risk of physical harm" blahdedablah to try to suppress information in their legal battles.

https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=16569379529848152684&q=pennsylvania+game+commission&hl=en&as_sdt=6,39&as_ylo=2012

Anonymous said...

Saw this and thought of the blog. Can't believe the contrast between Mt Lebanon and this:
http://www.pawmygosh.com/emotional-deer-rescue/?utm_source=gsd&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=rescue