The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

June 22, 2013

Motorist who ran down park swans is a coward

By Lynn Saternow

---- — HERE ARE SOME thoughts from a guy – who like many others – will greatly miss the swans at Buhl Park.

How disgusting is it that some coward ran over those beautiful birds and then just drove away? While people accidentally run over animals quite often, it would be difficult to run over a couple of slow-moving swans unless you were really speeding or did so deliberately.

There had to be a little damage to that red pickup.

Was the person drunk? Or texting while driving? Or just a lowlife scumbag?

If you hit any animal, you should at least stop to see if they are still alive and suffering.

My wife and I loved taking our soon-to-be 2-year-old granddaughter Kara to the park to visit the swans. For some reason, if we strolled along the lake, the male swan with the broken wing would swim right up to her no matter how far he was out in the lake.

Like us, many people would visit the nest to see when the eggs would hatch and how many cygnets would result. It was somewhat disappointing this year when only two were produced while other eggs never hatched.

But even as sad as it was to hear of the deaths of the swans, how about the bizarre scenario that followed. There is an ongoing battle over the burial of the swans, a dispute on whether it was authorized, and then charges filed.

Eventually the swans were dug up and cremated as they should have been in the first place. Animals should not be buried in the ground.

Obviously, these birds will not rest in peace while the court cases continue. But in the meantime, the park is seeking money to replace the swans and donations can be sent to the Buhl Park Wildlife Fund, 715 Hazen Road, Hermitage, 16148.

But park officials said the two cygnets that survived were donated to someone who knows how to raise swans. But one has to wonder why they won’t be returning to the park when they are grown, and if they can, be bred to produce more swans.

Hopefully the person who ran over the swans will make a nice-sized contribution to the fund even if he or she is too cowardly to come forward and admit they did it.

• There’s an interesting scenario in Hermitage when the school board recently announced it was going to raise taxes. Suddenly, the question came up about raising taxes after they granted the retail development area anchored by Kohl’s a huge tax break.

Board treasurer Robert McGowan said he viewed the tax break for that as a separate issue for economic development in the community and not as related to current budget discussions.

Really? That’s hard to sell that to Hermitage residents when they see the increase in their school tax bill. Or is there a separate line in the bill that says. “For Economic Development?”

Of course, the county and city approved the tax break for that development so that could also be a bone of contention when the county or city raises taxes.

But even more interesting: What happens next time a major business or industry wants to develop and asks for the same tax relief? Oops, school taxes are going up again.

The Herald’s Lynn Saternow writes this column each week for the Opinion Page. He can be reached at