- Associated Press - Monday, November 19, 2018

The Detroit News. November 14, 2018

Michigan should consider raising hunters’ annual limit

A cherished Michigan tradition resumes today with the opening of the annual firearms deer hunting season in Michigan. And while the number of hunters has declined steadily over the past two decades, deer hunting is an important piece of Michigan’s outdoors economy, generating more than $2 billion a year in revenue.

It is also the most efficient means of managing a deer herd that has exploded thanks to recent mild winters and less hunters.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources estimates the deer population at 1.75 million this fall, an increase of 14 percent over the past two years, thanks to relatively mild winters.

Last year, roughly 575,000 hunters harvested 376,000 deer, a 10 percent increase over 2016. And still the deer herd continues to grow.

The herd is also moving steadily into heavily populated areas. In Metro Detroit, it’s now common to see deer carcasses on the shoulders of busy streets and freeways.

Nearly 50,000 automobile collisions with deer are reported annually in Michigan. In 2016, those crashes resulted in 14 human fatalities and more than 1,200 injuries.

Given that reality, Michigan should consider a more aggressive campaign to encourage deer hunting, including expanding hunter safety classes for youngsters and a longer youth season.

It should also study the benefits of allowing each hunter to take more deer. The current limit of one buck per hunter could be expanded to two in selected counties where the deer population is the most worrisome.

In addition, a healthy deer harvest equates to a healthy deer herd. When the herd becomes too dense, conditions such as chronic wasting disease become more prevalent.

The DNR has taken numerous steps to encourage deer hunting. The sale of hunting licenses produces revenue for expanding and maintaining wildlife habitat.

Still, cultural forces are working against the sport.

The average deer hunter in Michigan is 44 years old. Teens make up only 11 percent of those who will be afield over the next two weeks.

That’s a warning sign. About 7 percent of Michigan residents hold deer licenses today, compared to 10 percent 20 years ago. The total number of hunters has declined 23 percent since 2000, when 758,291 hunters harvested 541,401 deer.

Absent a robust hunting corps, many communities have had to thin the herd through other means, including special kills and sterilization.

While there aren’t as many hunters as there were a few years ago, deer hunting remains a proud tradition in Michigan, and a good number of our fellow residents will be in the woods this morning to start the firearms season.

We wish them good hunting. Be safe.


Times Herald (Port Huron). November 13, 2018

Leaf complaints as inevitable as fall

For everything there is a season.

Dates for those seasons can be a little flexible. At some point between mid-October and Christmas, all the leaves will fall off the deciduous trees in southeast Michigan. Predicting exactly when the leaves will fall is impossible. Weather, temperature, rain and wind are all factors affecting leaf drop. And the trees, to spite us, take turns shedding their leaves to extend the cleanup as long as possible.

At some point between late October and New Year’s, the first measurable snowfall will coat southeast Michigan with white. Historically, the first measurable snowfall in southeast Michigan is due Nov. 15, but the storm Oct. 19, 1989, delivered almost three inches a month early.

Just as inevitable as fallen leaves in autumn and snow in winter are complaints about leaf pickup in the communities that provide that service.

For the record, Emterra, the city of Port Huron’s latest low bidder for trash pickup services - which includes sucking up all the fall leaves - isn’t the first to face criticism.

For every homeowner who remembers Marcotte so fondly, a few comments from the TalkBack archives:

.Angry Homeowner on Armour Street, Port Huron: “This leaf pickup stuff is crazy. … Anyone else having issues with Marcotte not picking up leaves like they’re supposed to knowing they fell at a later time?”

.No Name: “We as taxpayers pay for this leaf pickup. These guys are coming by at night. They’re leaving more than half of the leaves on the boulevard. …”

Leaf pickup complaints don’t end at Ravenswood. From 2015:

.No Name: “Here it is, a mid-November morning in Marysville. Piles of leaves have been sitting out there for weeks, and now they’re getting covered with snow. It’s going to be a beautiful spring with all these sloppy leaves all over the place. …”

Before we complained about Marcotte, we had World Waste Services to kick around:

.Jay formerly from Port Huron: “I want to comment to Rose from Port Huron. It’s not Waste Management that is leaving your leaves, it’s World Waste Services. Port Huron switched to World Waste about a year and a half ago to save money, but we got poor service to go with that. … Waste Management would have picked up on Saturdays and Sundays if they were behind. … I guess you get what you pay for.”

In 2002 - you guessed it - the complaints were directed at Waste Management.

We still think it is astonishing that Port Huron (and Marysville) offers curbside leaf vacuuming. What is even more amazing is how many people complain about it.


The Mining Journal (Marquette). November 14, 2018

Prop 1 passage raises multitude of challenges

Now that voters have passed Proposal 1 that legalizes recreational marijuana in Michigan, now what?

The proposal allows anyone over age 21 to possess and grow personal-use quantities of cannabis and related concentrates and allow licensing activities related to commercial marijuana production and retail marijuana sales.

However, it’s not like you can go to a grocery store next week and buy a few bags of pot.

It should be noted that both sides were vocal on the issue before voters approved the proposal. Those favoring it believed resources were wasted on dealing with marijuana-related crimes, with people convicted of those offenses stigmatized.

They also indicated Michigan’s infrastructure and schools would be well served by the tax dollars raised by marijuana sales.

Opponents of the measure believed another substance that causes impairment would not be good for the overall health and safety of the state.

Regardless of anyone’s opinion on the now-passed proposal, there are some things people should keep in mind.

Marijuana won’t officially be legal until 10 days after the election results are certified, which is expected to be in December. After that, the state must put regulations in place and issue licenses for recreational sales, which means, according to a Detroit Free Press article, marijuana probably won’t be commercially available for sale until early 2020.

People also can be arrested if found to be driving under the influence of marijuana, just as they would if they were found to be driving under the influence of alcohol.

Cities also can ban retail marijuana sales within their borders. News reports noted Niles and Pinckney, both located downstate, have decided for now not to allow sales.

Marijuana still is illegal under federal law, but that, in recent times, hasn’t been closely enforced. However, some industries such as federal contractors are still required by the federal government to test for marijuana and may fire users. Also, visitors to national parks and other federal lands can’t light up. Well, they can, but it would be illegal.

There’s still a lot to be worked out now that Proposal 1 has passed. It represents a big societal shift.

So, we urge municipalities and residents to proceed with caution with the new recreational marijuana situation. Although you won’t be arrested as you would have in the past, that doesn’t mean you can smoke pot anytime and anywhere.


Traverse City Record-Eagle. November 14, 2018

Drive carefully out there

Last Friday the first real blanket of snow settled on our yards and roadways. By Monday, we’d racked up 50 car crashes and five related injuries in Grand Traverse County.

That’s pretty normal for the first “winter weather event,” authorities tell us.

Apparently we don’t mark the occasion by transitioning into safe winter driving.

You’d think we’d be used to it by now.

Michigan has the dubious honor of being one of our country’s top states for deadliest winter driving, along with other Great Lake states like Ohio, Indiana, New York and Pennsylvania.

But while many of us may not have been 100 percent ready for the drop - see you next spring, garden hose - we can prepare now for the season’s driving conditions.

The Department of State and the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association recommends:

- Making sure your car is in good working order, including fresh wiper blades, if needed, proper tire inflation and topping off the tanks of antifreeze and window-washer fluid.

- Keeping a car emergency kit containing a blanket or warm clothes, flashlight, jumper cables, rope for towing, shovel, sand or litter for traction, emergency radio and snacks.

- Slowing down and allowing greater travel distance between you and the cars around you. Give yourself more room to stop, and pump brakes gently to slow down.

- Letting people know your travel plans, your route and when you expect to arrive.

- If you get stuck, use a shovel to dig around the wheels and undercarriage. Make sure the exhaust isn’t plugged up. Don’t spin the tires. Turn the steering wheel side to side to clear away snow. Use the rocking method if that doesn’t work and gently ease the car out.

Because, if there’s anything to be learned by the seasonal spike in first-snow crashes, it’s that the re-learning curve can be awfully slippery.


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