The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Community News Network

February 19, 2013

'Squirrel Slam' leaves town up in arms

HOLLEY, N.Y. — An event that went largely unnoticed in this small western New York village for years, drew  a much different response this year when a crowd showed up to protest the 7th annual “Squirrel Slam.”

The yearly Holley Fire Department fundraiser is much like a summertime fishing derby, but with red and gray squirrels instead of carp and catfish as the target. Some saw it as harmless fun,  but others viewed it as a killing contest.

Perhaps spurred by a social media campaign, calls began flooding into  the local fire department. Some simply complained about the activity, others offered veiled threats, organizers said.

While hunters took to the fields and wooded areas not far from Lake Ontario, opponents of the event massed in Holley’s public square last weekend to rail against the contest. Authorities said 28 law enforcement officials from at least five agencies were on hand to maintain peace.

In recent weeks groups like Friends of Animals, Animal Advocates of Western New York and Animal Rights Advocates of Upstate New York had tried to prevent the event from happening.

“This has gone on for too long,” New York Friends of Animals Director Edita Birnkrandt said. “People here were outraged, It’s happening right in their backyard.”

The response didn’t faze the fire department, which proceeded with the event as planned.

“They can call us whatever they want,” Event Chairperson Tina Reed said. “I’m proud of what we have here.”

At $10 each, all of the 1,000 tickets sold out -- 400 more than last year.  The fire department uses proceeds from the Squirrel Slam to purchase equipment not covered under its budget.

“We’ve never had this happen before — it’s a zoo,” Holley Police Chief William Murphy said.

The fury over the event brought out villagers who sat on both sides of the issue, many who said they’ve never noticed the occasion in past years. Bonnie Fleischauer, who lives four blocks from the fire hall, said she thought the postings from her friends were a joke.

“I’ve supported the fire department, they’re a good group of guys ... always helping people,” said Feischauer, an avid animal photographer and former wildlife rehabilitator, who spoke from the main protesting area. “This is so in opposition to what they represent the other 364 days of the year.”

Across the street, supporters of the event said the negative attention had pulled together the small village and the larger hunting community.

One man who watched from an area that later became the base of the pro-event counter-protesters, said,  “I’m not a hunter, but I support the fire department ... (opponents) tried to implicate this as giving guns to kids. That upset me. This is all done to the letter of the law.”

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation regulates hunting for small game animals like squirrels, rabbits and raccoons. In all areas north of New York City, a licensed hunter can take up to six gray, black and fox squirrels from sunrise to sunset each day from Sept. 1 to Feb. 28. Red squirrels are unprotected and can be hunted at any time without limit.

---

Details for this stoy were provided by Jim Krencik, a reporter for The Medina (N.Y.) Journal-Register.

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • The Simpsons still going strong

    The groundbreaking animation first hit the air Dec. 17, 1989, but the family first appeared on television in "The Tracey Ullman Show" short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987.

    August 21, 2014

  • Police chief resigns over racial slur repost to Facebook

    A repost on his personal Facebook page of a racially-charged comment by the original poster of a comedy video has forced the police chief of an Oklahoma city to resign his office.

    August 21, 2014

  • Does Twitter need a censor?

    Twitter decided last year to make images more prominent on its site. Now, the social network is finding itself caught between being an open forum and patrolling for inappropriate content.

    August 21, 2014

  • sleepchart.jpg America’s sleep-deprived cities

    Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Who should pay for your kids ACT?

    Thirteen states paid for 11th-grade students in all public high schools to take the ACT college admission test this year, with several more planning to join them in 2015.

    August 20, 2014

  • Pets.jpg Why do people look like their pets?

    As much as we might quibble over the virtues and vices of Canis domesticus, however, and over whether human nature is any better or worse than dog nature, even dog fanciers don't usually want to look like a dog.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ice bucket challenge trending up

    Internet trends are a dime a dozen these days. Everything from Tebowing to planking to the cinnamon challenge can cause a wave of social media activity that can last for weeks before fizzling out.

    August 19, 2014

  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Democrat? Republican? There's an app for that

    If you're a Republican, you might want to think twice before buying Lipton Iced Tea, and forget about Starbucks coffee. If you're a Democrat, put down that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and throw away the cylinder of Quaker Oats in your pantry.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

E-edition
AP Video
Raw: Rescue Efforts Suspended at Japan Landslide Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Raw: Smaller Marches in Ferguson Marathon Suspect's Friend Pleads Guilty Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd Microbrewery Chooses Special Can for Its Beer Ky. Firefighters Hurt in Ice Bucket Challenge Federal Investigation Will Look at Use of Force Community Deals With Michael Brown Aftermath US: We Do Not Pay Ransom to Terrorists Ferguson Teachers Training to Deal With Trauma Jon Hamm on the Unrest in Ferguson Tit for Tat? McDonald's Shuttered in Moscow Life on the Professional Video Game Circuit TX Gov Perry in Washington: 'Confident' in Case Hospital Releases Two Missionaries Who Had Ebola Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle NYC Doctor-in-chief Seeks Community Approach Indonesian Police Fire Tear Gas at Protesters
NDN Video
Rapper Almost Walks Off CNN Over Ferguson Coverage Whoa! Jimmy Fallon Shaves Jared Leto's Beard Amazing Encounter With Sea Otter Caught on Video 2 American Ebola Patients Released From Hospital VIDEO: Goliath Grouper eats shark in one bite US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Reggie Jackson's ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Motorcyclist Sticks Landing Sicilian hilltop homes on sale for one euro Are Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon Breaking Up? Joel McHale Interviews Chelsea This 'Breaking Bad' Reunion is the Most Hilarious Thing You'll See All Day! President Obama talks about who James Foley was Nicki Minaj Unleashes Her 'Anaconda' On the World Watch Helicopter Perform Aerial Ballet Can Buckeyes fill Miller's void? Victoria's Secret Models Prove They're in Fighting Shape How Brian Hoyer Stacks Up With Johnny Manziel Taylor Swift Reveals New Album 1989 is Full-On Pop Crews rescue elderly woman trapped inside flooded minivan
Must Read