Saturday Shorts: Let states decide on wolves

The Detroit News

Recent efforts in Lansing and in Washington hopefully will convince the federal government to reverse decisions that put the gray wolf back on the endangered species list.

The Michigan Senate has passed a resolution asking Congress to overturn a federal judge's ruling.

In addition, U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, has introduced legislation directing the secretary of the interior to reissue rules on the status of the wolves in Michigan and the other western Great Lakes states.

U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in Washington, D.C., was wrong when he ruled that the wolf population in the western Great Lakes region was endangered. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision Friday supporting the judge is equally misguided. Wolf hunting is now prohibited in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Statistics collected by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in 2014 show at least 26 cattle and 17 hunting dogs were killed in wolf attacks.

State game and environmental agencies are the most appropriate groups to deal with the wolf issue.

Private college takes risk

Adrian College recently established a program for its freshman class that will help those who graduate repay student loans if their starting salaries are low.

Under the Adrian-Plus Loan Repayment Assistance Program, students who don't make at least $37,000 a year will have some of their loan payments reimbursed. Those who make less than $20,000 a year could have all of their loan payments refunded.

College President Jeffrey Docking says students have to make initial payments but every three months they would get reimbursed if their salaries remained lower than $37,000.

He says the university has invested $520,000, or about $1,100 per student, in an insurance policy that would be used for the reimbursements.

Peter Samuelson, president of the national LRAP Association, based near Chicago, says his organization helped Adrian establish the program and find an insurance company. He notes no federal funds are involved in Adrian's reimbursement program.

Adrian College is trying to make higher education a bit less risky. It's a fine experiment for a private institution, although we are concerned with growing pressure from the federal government to make public institutions offer similar promises.

Cut back on tree trimming

The recent controversy in Bloomfield Township over DTE Energy's apparently overzealous removal of trees shows how adamant some people can be about them.

About 20 property owners reportedly have filed a lawsuit over what they feel was the improper removal of trees.

The legal action may be a bit much, but DTE would be wise to work more closely with local communities.

State regulators have ordered DTE Energy and Consumers Energy to implement new efforts, including expanded tree-trimming outside utility easements, to ensure power service to customers.

That said, DTE's policy should include proper advanced notification to residents when tree trimming crews are going to be in an area.

The utility should err on the side of caution when cutting trees and should listen to the concerns of residents when a tree is marked for removal.

A balance is needed between safeguarding a community's power supply and maintaining the esthetics of a property.