Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Fox wanted: Must be...
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Fox wanted: Must be willing to relocate

Robert Downes - June 6th, 2011
Fox wanted: must be willing to relocate
Saw a huge fox trotting alongside Crystal Lake in Benzie County a
week ago. At first I thought it was a German Shepherd because it
looked to be about four feet long from nose to tail; but drawing
closer, its low stature and rust-red fur revealed it to be a vulpes
vulpes, or red fox, for those of you who no longer speak‘a da Latin.
Anyway, this proud fox was trotting along unconcernedly by the side of
the road with a fresh baby bunny in its jaws, probably heading home to
its den to feed the kits.
Oh how I would love to borrow that fox for a weekend at the Downes
household where we are in the midst of a chipmunk and squirrel
population explosion.
Our neighborhood seems to have more squirrels than Borneo has monkeys,
and they spend most of their time digging up my wife’s tulips, playing
hell with her garden, and gobbling at the bird feeders. Speaking of
which, we are fortunate to have a small flock of cardinals who like to
nest in the neighbors’ evergreens, and last night I saw a nasty black
squirrel trying to sneak up on one of them as it was drying off from a
thunderstorm.
Then there are the chipmunks, who’ve begun a reign of terror in our
garage this spring, nibbling on the stores of bird food. I practically
trip over them each day and they’re cocky too, lingering when you head
in their direction with an I-double-dare-ya -to-stop-me attitude.
So this is a problem for you too? Going online, I checked for
predators of chipmunks and squirrels and came up with this: “Swooping
hawks, raccoons, opossums, wildcats, coyotes, foxes, large snakes,
owls, eagles.”
We have an occasional possum passing through our backyard, and a family
of raccoons lives in the storm sewer, but wildcats, coyotes, large
snakes, owls, “swooping“ hawks and eagles seem to be in short supply in
residential Traverse City. As for our cat (nicknamed “Fat Cat”), she
lays out the occasional mouse, but isn’t much of a threat when it comes
to chipmunks and squirrels. More likely, I‘d fear they‘d carry Fat Cat
off to an evil end if their squirrelly little brains ever decided to
gang up on her.
So a Fantastic Mr. Fox would be a nice addition to our backyard
menagerie to keep the varmints at bay.
I wonder how many other city dwellers suffer from this plague of
rodents? I’ve thought of buying a sling shot and a bag of paint balls,
but that seems likely to produce holes in the neighbors’ windows. I‘ve
also considered live-trapping, but carting varmints out to new homes in
the country -- one tree rat at a time -- sounds like a hassle. Better
to just live-trap that big Benzie fox and give him an all-expenses-paid
vacation in our backyard in return for services rendered.
In the meantime, if anyone has a swooping hawk available, please let me
know.
 
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