- The Washington Times - Friday, February 27, 2004

Nobles: Michigan’s wild wolverine, for an amazing return to the state after two centuries.

Despite ferocious fighting skills that can keep both bears and enemies of the X-Men at bay, wolverines have not had much success at surviving in Michigan. The toothy, ravenous predators — which are in the weasel family, but can weigh up to 50 lbs. — had seemingly disappeared from the state after last being spotted by fur traders in the early 1800s. They were even removed from Michigan’s endangered species list in the late 1990s when it seemed impossible that they would return.

That changed earlier this month, when a wolverine was found near the tip of Michigan’s thumb region. It was first spotted by a group of coyote hunters, whose dogs treed it after an 18-mile chase. They shot it — on video — and then called off their hounds and called the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Subsequently, a wildlife biologist from the DNR confirmed the sighting by finding and taking a few more snapshots of the creature.

DNR officials are still scratching their heads about how the wolverine got there, hundreds of miles south of its known range and hundreds of years after it was last spotted. It could be an escaped pet. While unlikely, it might have made the 80-mile trek across frozen Lake Huron.

Regardless of the reason, the wolverine has already clawed its way into the hearts of Michiganders. For near-impossible persistence and scrappy survival, Michigan’s resident wolverine is the Noble of the week.

Knaves: Pat Conroy, a principal without a principle.

Until last week, Mr. Conroy was an assistant principal and the dean of students at Michigan’s South Haven High School. On the same day that he permanently left his office, he was called into another one — the courtroom of the district courthouse — where he pled not guilty to a charge of marijuana possession.

Mr. Conroy claimed that he had a perfectly reasonable reason for having the substance on his person. He had tried to use it to get a student expelled. Specifically, Mr. Conroy said that he had planted the marijuana in the locker of a student he strongly suspected of being a drug dealer, hoping that a police dog would sniff out the drugs during a search of the school. However, the stuffy-nosed hound failed to find the materials.

Meanwhile, police had a nose for Mr. Conroy. When officers raided his office earlier this month, they found ten plastic bags of marijuana and several assorted pills. If convicted, Mr. Conroy will be faced with a $2,000 fine and a year of detention.

For a dumb plot and a failed plant, Mr. Conroy is the Knave of the week.

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