Children of Smithtown, Long Island have been deprived of a crucial childhood pastime: Dirt digging for worms. That is, until now. The town will hold a public hearing on repealing a law that dates back all the way to the 1930's which prohibits children under the age of 16 from, you got it, worm digging. But don't think adults have gotten away with the outlawed pleasure without paying a price. Even adult worm digging requires a permit in Smithtown. The law was initially instated in order to prevent out of town fishermen digging for worms to use as fish bait.
Newsday notes that according to Chapter 233-5 of the town code: "No person shall take sandworms or bloodworms from the waters of said town, except that residents sixteen (16) years of age and over may take such sandworms and bloodworms upon obtaining a permit to do so ..."
Even now, some residents elect to pay the $.50 fee per year in the name of tradition. On January 20th, a Smithtown public hearing will discuss the repeal of this law and then children of all ages will no longer be denied or charged for this birth-given right. Someone should tell Kelly Zierdt how lucky she is.