Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Knock on Wood...

For the sake of this post, I am going to take the bold stance that we are done plowing streets, knock on wood!

If that is the case, and I think most people hope it is, then this winter will go down in the books as an above average season in terms of snow fall and just slightly above in terms of total number of events. Over the past decade we have just over 40 days per winter that we plow streets. After this weekend's surprise blanket of snow, we stand at 43 events for 2010-2011.

More telling is that while we were just above average in terms of events, we were noticeably above average in terms of the amount of snow. So far this winter our records show a total of 80.5 inches of snow. This is roughly sex feet, nine inches of snow... or about the same as current Detroit Piston's forward Tayshuan Prince.

Since the winter of 1984-1985 the Village has averaged 69.92 inches of snow per winter. So this past winter was above our average for that period of time. All things being equal, I think we're all ready for spring!

With respect to our budget, including this past weekend's snow and plowing. We presently have used just over 64% of our funds allocated for plowing this winter. Last winter we only used about 46% of our budget, but anytime we come in under for a winter we are happy. This winter the Village paid for over 525 hours of plowing. That is the equivalent of over 3 full weeks of 24/7 of plowing.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Lake Isabella a Finalist for MDFG Research Program

Lake Isabella is one of three northern Michigan lakes that are being considered by the Michigan Department of Fish and Game (MDFG) for a study on endangered aquatic life. According to the MDFG one or more of the three lakes in northern Michigan may be selected to host "an in-depth study into the breeding and habits of several species of fresh-water sharks."

Up to two thousand sharks are planned to be released into the lakes including Borneo river sharks, speartooth sharks, and a few of the rare Irrawaddy river sharks via a grant obtained by the MDFG under the American Recovery and Investment Act. All three of the proposed sharks live in fresh water rivers of Asia, and are thought to be the last surviving fresh water shark species in the world. The experiment was designed to determine whether the sharks could survive and be repopulated in the cold climate of the Great Lakes. Researchers believe that the species lived in the waters of the Great Lakes until the last ice age.

The federal government was said to be spending $3.2 million to determine whether further repopulation efforts would be possible. A representative from the National Biological Foundation was quoted as saying that there would probably be a noticeable decline in the populations of other fish in the lake because "the sharks will eat about 20 pounds of fish each per day, more as they get older."

Members of the Village Council have sent numerous objections to the MDFG and are considering legal action to halt the project. Objections raised by the village cite the hazard it would pose to fishermen and swimmers, but their complaints had been ignored by both the state the federal government. Furthermore, under the research program, fishermen will be forbidden from catching the sharks, with fines and possible jail time for violators.

Oh, if you haven't figured it out yet, happy April Fool's Day!