The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

Risks and dangers of feeding black bears 6.4

Written by David Green.

By Michigan DNR 

Spring and summer can be very difficult seasons in the life of Michigan’s black bears. They emerge from their dens with depleted energy supplies following a long winter period of inactivity at a time when natural foods are scarce. In addition, bear family groups begin to break up with the onset of breeding activity, which occurs in May and June.

Yearling bear (1½-year-olds) soon realize their mother no longer favors their companionship when her interest turns to breeding. This is especially true for young males, who are aggressively driven away by their mother. In search of their own territory, these young males are most likely to come into contact with humans and create problems. 

Black bear have huge appetites and an excellent sense of smell. They are capable of remembering the locations of reliable food sources from year to year and will travel great distances to find food. When natural foods such as tender grasses and vegetation, nuts, berries and insects are scarce, bear are more likely to come into contact with people.

Problems occur when bear attempt to feed on human foods, garbage, compost, pet foods or birdseeds. Bird feeders are one of the biggest attractants of bear to homes and yards in Michigan.

According to the Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division, in 672 reports of bear activity received over the past two years, 281 (42%) were bear that were attracted to bird feeders. In an additional 23% of the cases, bear were attracted to garbage or were intentionally fed.

Although bear are secretive and shy by nature, they will tolerate contact with people for food. To avoid possible confrontations and property damage from bear, the most effective and long-lasting strategy is prevention.

Never intentionally feed bear. With the exception of baiting for hunting purposes in remote areas, placing food to attract bear near homes, cottages, parks, campgrounds and picnic areas may teach them to associate people with food. This may place both bear and people at risk.

Some people consider bear in close contact with people as a threat to human safety; bear in these situations occasionally may be killed.

Attracting bear close to people also may increase their risk of being killed by vehicles on roads, too.

“Road-killed bears near rural subdivisions often have stomachs full of bird seed,” said DNR Wildlife Biologist Larry Visser of Cadillac, who has studied the habits of bears for more than two decades.

Bears that become habituated to people and cause property damage sometimes have to be trapped and moved—an expensive and time-consuming project that often fails to solve the problem. These moved bear may just become problems in new areas.

The DNR recommends the following actions for potential bear problems:

• Bear in bird feeder or suet: Remove all bird feeders.

• Bear in garbage can or dumpster: Store garbage containers in a secure location. Do not put out for pickup the night before and be sure lids on dumpsters are securely fastened.

• Bear in a tree in a residential area: Clear all people and dogs from the site to allow the bear to come down on its own and leave. Treed bear are more inclined to leave at dark if left undisturbed.

“Cities like Cadillac are particularly vulnerable to problems resulting from bear feeding because of the proximity of good natural bear habitat adjacent to urban neighborhoods, lakeshore residences, and state and city parks,” said Ruthann French, wildlife technician in Cadillac. 

The city of Cadillac has two lakes with their associated wetland complexes in proximity to urban areas and intensive lakeshore development where good spring and early summer bear habitat may occur right beyond people’s backyards. These nutrient-rich wetland marshes provide natural foods, home territories for resident female bear to rear their young and provide travel corridors for other bear throughout the year. 

People who live in these unique environments of Michigan have a special responsibility to be good stewards of the wildlife that also resides here, including avoiding conflicts with bear. 

If you live in one of these unique bear habitat areas or have had a bear visit your neighborhood, making little adjustments—such as temporarily removing your bird feeders—can make a big difference in minimizing human/bear conflicts.

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