PETA recognizes town for compassion
By Abigail Allen
The town staff took the concerns about ducklings falling through grates shared by Providence Village residents to heart, and the solution drew the attention and praise of an international animal rights group.
Providence Village residents and representatives of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Faith Robinson and her husband Klayton Rutherford attended the Town Council meeting Tuesday to share the commendation the town earned, the Compassionate Town Award.
“Providence Village has set a tremendous example of compassion by installing these mesh barriers along the storm drains to prevent ducklings from drowning,” Robinson said. “We hope that their compassionate action will inspire communities throughout the country to take similar responsible and animal-friendly actions to help all the residents, regardless of their species.”
She serves as Students Opposing Speciesism Campaign project manager for PETA.
Following her remarks, Robinson presented an award that the town can display for its efforts to keep the birds safe.
When concerns about ducklings plunging into an unsafe and unescapable pit kept being raised to town staff and officials, Town Manager Brian Roberson said, he and Development Services Manager Brian Markheim looked toward the couple for help.
Rutherford, who is a research associate with PETA as well as a former Providence Village council member, asked the waterfowl specialist at the organization if he had a solution to the problem, Roberson said as he discussed the steps the town took.
“Unfortunately, he didn’t have a solution for our exact situation,” he said. “But we kept working at it and came up with something, and I was keeping Klay up to date along the way.”
After several attempts that failed to stand up to the challenge of keep the babies, and their rescuers, out of the empty drains without obstructing or redirecting storm water from the drainage when needed, Roberson and Markheim landed on a solution: ERTEC Environmental System’s Hard Surface Guard.
The device, which is intended “to provide sediment control on hard surfaces around construction sites or industrial facilities,” features hard plastic netting, filled with a particle filter, according to the product description.
This was a new use for the device, he said the distributor told the town staff.
“He was willing to give it a shot, so we purchased enough for the initial installation,” Markheim said. “It worked out fantastically, and now we’ve got extra just in case. We’ve had several storm events since they’ve been installed, and they seem to be holding up quite well.”
The award from PETA is “a really cool acknowledgement,” of the town’s efforts, Markheim said.
“Hopefully we can help other towns with the same solution if they have that problem, so I’m pretty thrilled about it,” Markheim said.
Inman, who helped relay a lot of the messages from people worrying about the ducklings to the town staff, gave the credit for the solution to the staff.
“Brian and Brian, thank you for working so hard to come up with a solution for this,” Mayor Linda Inman said.
In a release, PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said, “Thanks to Providence Village’s foresight and care, vulnerable ducklings will be spared terrifying drowning deaths in storm drains.”
Also at the meeting, Chief Charles Kreidler of the Aubrey Police Department said his department handled multiple calls about catalytic converters being stolen off of vehicles within the town, comparing it to copper thefts in 2008.
He asked the council to encourage anyone who believes they’ve witnessed suspicious activity to call 911.
Kreidler also said getting widespread and active participation for the neighborhood watch program has overall stalled out.
“The last thing you want is a block captain trying to do everything on their own,” he said. “It’s just too much. … You’re now the security for the neighborhood, and that’s not what we’re looking for.”
A FLOCK System, which will track which vehicles enter and exit the town, which Kreidler said will be a valuable tool in situations that include the catalytic converter thefts.
“We can run the tag and get the information from the state,” he said, once the system is in place.
There are some steps residents can take to help minimize their homes or cars as a target.
“If you can get your vehicle up to your house, have the lights on outside so that suspicious people could be seen and called in on, that’s [safer],” Kreidler said.
He and Roberson, prompted by a question from council member James Willoughby, provided information about the sinkhole on the Main Street/FM 2931 bridge that caused damages to a Silverado resident’s vehicle.
“For the residents of Silverado, that bridge has a number of names, and none of them nice,” he added.
An attempt to place utility lines by a subcontractor caused the damage, Kreidler and Roberson said, adding that TxDOT, the state agency responsible for the roadway, worked on a temporary repair by covering the damaged areas with metal plates.
“TxDOT is working with that subcontractor to come up with a permanent solution for that particular area,” Roberson said.
He also provided a development update and a personnel update about the positions being filled as well as a maintenance tech spot that is in need of applicants.
No one applied for the open Economic Development Corporation board seat, nor for the open Zoning Board of Adjustment positions. To apply, visit https://pvtx.gov/215/Volunteer-Applications.
A land deal with the town of Little Elm was discussed briefly, but Town Attorney Julie Fort requested to finish the talks in executive session. No action was taken when the council returned to the chambers.