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City fathers in Bentonville have a serious problem that one might rightfully say has gotten their goose. Just hearing about it gave me goosebumps (bear with me, I implore you).

Despite repeated efforts to drive away pesky geese away from the Bentonville Municipal Airport, nothing has worked. That matters because history has proven these large birds flying, well, loosey-goosey in the vicinity of an airport is a serious safety issue.

Flocks have collided with flights, brought down passenger planes and killed hundreds of passengers. Such collisions include one Bentonville plane damaged not long ago by a goose strike, according to a news account.

On Jan. 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 lost engine power and was forced to ditch into the Hudson due to an airstrike with Canada geese. The resulting investigation led to about 1,200 geese being captured and gassed, and 1,800 eggs coated with oil to smother the goslings in an effort to prevent similar incidents.

Bentonville has taken a gander at everything from a $700 laser to a coyote decoy to frighten the birds away. But nothing seems to work.

Problems with Canada geese are certainly nothing new. The good folks in Bella Vista have been trying to stem their growing numbers by rubbing the eggs they lay on the ground with oil. A brief Internet search shows this serious problem is nationwide and has hatched a cottage industry among some pest-control businesses that have learned how to rid airports and other areas of the often-aggressive birds. Suggestions include making the habitat undesirable in every way for geese and using decoy swans, notorious enemies of geese.

To top it off, Canada geese will come after people who disturb them or their nests. They also are very messy, depositing their waste across large areas (especially on golf courses with water features). Their leavings reportedly contain pathogens that are potentially hazardous to humans.

I suppose this means these enormous honkers, not being all that compatible with our species, enjoy continually leading us on these endless (waaaaaait for it) wild goose chases in futile attempts to chase them away.

Reader Jerry Jones also is troubled by airborne geese threats. He wrote (in part) the other day: "The [Bentonville] airport manager has already said they are a hazard and has caused some damage to an airplane. I don't want to see these geese terminated, but I also don't want to see any human beings lose their life because of them. Action needs to be taken now to get rid of them. I fly out of XNA and it would be on my mind flying in. ... Let one plane come down and kill passengers and lives would change forever in the court systems. They remind me of our Congress. All talk and nothing happens."

Jones is right. The city needs to discover a way to permanently resolve this problem before a tragedy ensues and they find (just one more, promise) their own goose is cooked.

Exceptional Eden

I'm hereby nominating Eden Garrett of Rogers for Young Enterprising Entrepreneur of the Year, if such an award exists.

The 22-year-old graduated from Drury College and promptly purchased a used tool truck, of all things. Her plan, which stemmed from an idea for her senior college project, was to magically transform the spacious vehicle into what may well the nation's first walk-in mobile flower boutique (

Whether you need flowers for a party, event or whatever in Rogers, Fayetteville or Bentonville, the perky Eden steers the colorful blossoms right to the door in her brightly decorated rolling shop. She even creates custom arrangements on site. If that's not enough initiative for ya, she's opened a self-service flower kiosk inside the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport.

It does the aging heart good to see such energy and enterprise in any young person striving to fulfill their dreams.

Enjoy sharing

Publicly sharing what I do for a living allows me to connect with readers and helps others understand what's involved in expressing my thoughts for thousands of readers with their opinions on many of the same issues.

It's never mattered whether a reader agrees with what I write. I value others' views and their right to express them. In other words, sharing my opinions is a way to hopefully prompt others to reflect on many of the same things.

That's why I was pleased to receive an invitation to speak with a roomful of bright high school journalism students who'll be attending the Arkansas Scholastic Press Association Convention this coming Friday morning at the convention center in Springdale.

Association President Karla Sprague asked if I'd talk with the students about the ups and downs of opinion writing and how it is supposed to differ from objective news reporting (in outlets that practice professional journalism).

Having done both for decades, I look forward to addressing all those bright faces and hopefully leaving them with some fodder for their own ambitions and expectations.


Mike Masterson is a longtime Arkansas journalist. Email him at [email protected]

Editorial on 04/16/2019

Print Headline: MIKE MASTERSON: Got their goose?

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