Latest on Recent Michigan Newspaper Editorials

The Detroit News. August 8, 2019

Don’t ignore violence in Detroit

As we mourn the tragedy of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, we should not ignore the violence taking place on a daily basis in our cities, including Detroit.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Sunday ordered that the Michigan and U.S. flags on the Capitol buildings be flown at half-staff to honor those whose lives were lost in the shootings.

But what about the dead of Detroit?

Two women in their 20s were hit in a drive-by shooting Monday on the west side. One victim was able to drive them both to the hospital, where they were listed in temporary serious condition.

Four men were shot over a dice-game on Detroit’s west side Tuesday night — all four victims were listed in temporary serious condition. That alone should be remarkable, but it’s the second time in a week that violence has broken out over a game of dice.

Saturday night, a sore loser left a game only to return in his car and shoot the winner multiple times. The victim was listed in stable condition.

That same evening, a 30-year-old woman was gunned down at Rouge Park.

Our city experiences violence on a daily basis, as do others. In Chicago, for instance, emergency rooms had to shut down last weekend because they were overwhelmed by shooting victims. Nine died.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig says that while 2018 ended with Detroit’s lowest number of homicides in 50 years at 261 deaths, as of this week the city is 10 homicides up from where it was last year.

“I’m not sitting here flying a flag of success,” Craig says. “Have we made progress? Yes. Is there more work to be done. Absolutely.”

Craig says police have successfully reduced violent crimes by leveraging identification technology — like facial recognition software and traffic cameras — to make arrests that lead to convictions. The knowledge that violent crime will lead to an arrest and a tough sentence generally deters would-be criminals, according to Craig.

Still, he says he has noticed a disturbing trend of spontaneous violence erupting from arguments.

These crimes are harder to track. It is impossible for police to predict when an argument will break out at a block party or when someone’s poor driving will provoke road rage. Yet in Detroit, these kinds of altercations routinely lead to shots fired.

To explain this kind of violence, Craig points to poverty and mental illness.

“These play a key role in driving violence in any city,” he says, noting that whether you look at Chicago, Los Angeles or Detroit, violent crime is always higher in the less affluent areas.

“Then tie in the young people who grow up in violent environments,” Craig says. “Many suffer from PTSD.”

Violence is a community issue. And it’s one that is still a very real challenge facing Detroit, and many other urban areas around the country. While mass shootings understandably get a lot of attention, we shouldn’t overlook the regular violence that still rocks too many neighborhoods.

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The Mining Journal (Marquette). August 7, 2019

Local garden aficionados worthy of state recognition

First impressions can be deceiving, but they also can be revealing.

Visitors traveling from the east into the city of Marquette didn’t used to have the sights they do now, which in the summer are masses of flower blooms.

They are a result of Petunia Pandemonium, spearheaded by the Marquette Beautification & Restoration Committee Inc.

The MBRC and one of its most active members, Vice President Barb Kelly, who owns the local landscaping company Flourishes LLC, were honored Monday by the Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association with the organization’s Plant Michigan Green Community Landscape Beautification Awards.

And beautify they have.

Proceeds from the committee’s annual Garden Tour help fund Petunia Pandemonium in which local schoolchildren and the community plant literally hundreds of flower flats every year along Front Street and its roundabout.

That’s an important area in town, called by some the “Gateway to Marquette.” At the roundabout, people have the choice of either going down the bypass or into downtown. Either way, they have something nice to look at while they’re driving.

The MBRC also is responsible for the refurbishing of Father Marquette Park. In July 2018, the park was “rededicated” to showcase the new public art as well as accessible pathways, fencing, a picnic area and security cameras. The park is home to “Tami’s Garden” in memory of the late MBRC President Tami Dawidowski as well as a scenic overlook in honor of the late Karl Zueger, former Marquette Community Services director.

Pedestrians along Lakeshore Boulevard, and drivers too, also can see a hillside full of black-eyed Susans, now in full bloom, at the park.

In addition to owning Flourishes, Kelly, a garden designer, is vice president of the MBRC and chairwoman of Petunia Pandemonium, and sits on the Father Marquette Park Committee.

When citizens talk about beautifying a community, some people might roll their eyes, or not take the topic seriously. How can a few flower pots scattered throughout town take precedence over other problems such as crumbling roads and budget issues?

Except we’re not talking about a few pots here, at least not in Marquette. Of course, things like roads, finances and brownfields are important, but beautification plays a part in all of these. Proper horticultural practices can benefit an area environmentally, and a visually appealing town can attract tourists — and keep them coming back, which adds to the money coffers, which in turns allows a municipality to have more funds to spend on projects.

We salute the efforts of the MBRC, its members and Barb Kelly, all of whom have contributed so much to the quality of life in Marquette. They are worthy recipients of the MNLA’s awards, and we hope they continue with their good work.

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The Alpena News. August 9, 2019

Keeping geese numbers at manageable levels important

In Alpena there is no goose who ever laid a golden egg.

Instead, there are plenty of geese who have laid — well the polite term would probably be grease — wherever they land.

This summer the numbers of geese in the city seems at one of the highest levels it has been in recent years. Users of Alpena’s bi-path often have to maneuver through flocks of them, hoping not to agitate them to the point of being chased. And, thanks to the droppings left behind, there is never any doubt as to where these geese have ventured.

Thus, we support Alpena Municipal Council’s decision Monday to hold a goose hunt again this year in the city. We believe the hunt is needed to control their numbers. This year the hunt will take place three Thursdays in September — Sept. 5, 12 and 19.

During a two day hunt last year hunters shot 85 geese. The hope is this year the hunt will result in even more geese taken.

Given that City Building Official Don Gilmet estimates the city has a population now of 200-250 birds, we would hope for at least 125 geese taken by hunters next month.

The goal of the hunt is to bring the geese into a manageable number that reduces the interaction between them and people. We hope that is achieved.

Make no mistake, the geese are a wonderful part of the community — up to a point. We believe the hunt will keep that relationship on a more positive tone than a negative one.

Source: Associated Press