Well, since you say it's only a warning--not a show stopper, I tried this at the top of that file:
our $DEBUG = $DEBUG || 0;
It didn't work. I still get a whole slew of $DEBUG related errors in the log. So much for attempting to declare them and just take the first error on the chin to save the rest.
Strict will just have to go this time...it seems to oppose all of what caused me to fall in love with Perl in the first place. I was sick of all the constraints of Pascal, and the strict types...and Perl just seemed to know when something should be a number, or a string, etc. without needing tedious conversion routines or such a strict (strait-jacket) approach.