The Free Press, Mankato, MN

June 8, 2014

Ask Us: Reader says police, DNR don't give a honk


The Mankato Free Press

---- — Q: It really concerns me how insensitive our law enforcement and DNR are. There is a goose with a broken wing sitting on a drain pipe on Lion Lake. You think anyone would rescue it or even come take a look? No.

Now it has been there two days, poor thing, still no help. I know you’ll say, “Just a goose,” but would you let your dog, cat or child have an injured limb! I did call 911, got a dispatcher with a very bad attitude who eventually connected me with the DNR, who didn’t have a clue where Lion Lake was in Mankato. But it appears they are going to let it die in the lake. ... Nice job police department and DNR.

A: This question arrived on April 26, once again proving that Ask Us Guy is not the one to turn to in matters of life and death. He did move the question up the list but also took some days off and otherwise dallied in getting this question to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. So, apologies to the goose ... .

DNR information officer Scott W. Roemhildt, by contrast, responded very quickly once he received the question.

“Many reports of wildlife acting strangely are simply healthy animals exhibiting unique behaviors,” Roemhildt wrote. “However, even if an animal is in distress, trying to rescue it can often do more harm than good. A prolonged struggle or chase with an animal that appears sick, injured or orphaned, can put both the animal and human rescuers at risk. If the animal is able to flee when approached by a human (especially flying or swimming wildlife), it is best to leave it alone.

“That being said, there are permitted rehabilitators across the state who may be able to help in some cases. A full list is available at www.mndnr.gov/eco/nongame/rehabilitation/rehabers_list.pdf. Rehabilitation can be difficult, expensive and has varying degrees of success. Nearly all rehabbers rely on donations to support their costs. Unlicensed citizens may not attempt to rehabilitate or raise an animal on their own but may be able to volunteer for a permitted rehabilitator.

“Unfortunately, the DNR doesn’t have staffing or resources to respond to every injured or distressed wildlife report. However, information and advice can obtained by calling the DNR Information Center at 1-888-646-6367 during regular business hours.”

Q: Just a follow up for you on the automatic doors for Herberger’s and JCPenney. I have a daughter who is in a wheelchair and there is also no electronic door opener at Barnes and Noble. I have to agree with your reader that if one has a walker or wheelchair, going all the way down to the food court entrance to get to an automatic door is not realistic. Although I am not a big shopper at Herberger’s or JCPenney, I do frequent Barnes and Noble. This has always been an irritant to me as getting around with a mobility issue is hard enough (not to mention the snow and ice last winter). But if there is a small way to make things a little easier for people who have these challenges, why wouldn’t a successful chain like these not go out of their way to accommodate?

A: This question references a previous column where a reader was concerned about the lack of electronic door openers on the west wing of River Hills Mall and wondered if the Americans With Disabilities Act required them. The ADA doesn’t mandate that, only that doors be of a certain width and not be so heavy that they’re difficult to open, among other things.

While the main mall entrances have electronic doors and some stores (such as Target and Scheels All Sports) have chosen to install them, mall Manager Paul Wilke reported that individual stores are responsible for door choices at their locations.

Electronic doors, of course, are more expensive and can be a hassle to keep in working order. Aesthetics can also play a role, which is the reason cited by Barnes and Noble.

”Part of our Barnes & Noble store design since the beginning has been the large wooden doors,” said the chain’s spokesperson, Mary Ellen Keating. “That being said, all of our stores are ADA compliant.”

Contact Ask Us at The Free Press, P.O Box 3287, Mankato, MN 56002. Call Mark Fischenich at 344-6321 or email your question to mfischenich@mankatofreepress.com; put Ask Us in the subject line.