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Saturday Shorts: Detroit population problems, etc.

The Detroit News

The latest census estimates didn't reveal anything unexpected, but it should be a stark reminder to Detroit officials that they must do something about the city's neighborhoods.

In the Southeast Michigan Council of Government roundup for 2010-14, modest population increases are reported for most counties and communities.

The exception is Wayne County, where the population has decreased by 68,084. Almost all of the loss was in Detroit, where the population dropped by 65,860.

Mayor Mike Duggan has promised to improve public safety and that is a critical factor in initial efforts to revive neighborhoods.

An improving economy should at least stabilize a community if not help boost its populations, as is the case elsewhere in the metro area.

Detroit is not fully benefiting the way the rest of the area is and that must be turned around.

If Detroit is to truly come back, the neighborhoods must be a top priority.

Canada funds new plaza

The badly needed $2.1-billion New International Trade Crossing span over the Detroit River got another helping hand from Canada.

The U.S. neighbor has agreed to pay for construction of a U.S. customs plaza for the bridge.

A Canadian public-private partnership overseeing the bridge project will pay for building the customs plazas on both sides of the border and the United States will staff, operate and maintain the Detroit plaza.

The Canadian government previously agreed to fund construction of the bridge and be repaid through toll revenue.

The project still needs congressional approval for money to operate and staff the Detroit plaza, which is estimated at $100 million the first year and $50 million annually afterward.

Michigan's representatives in Washington, D.C., say they are sure Congress will appropriate the plaza money once the bridge is built.

We certainly hope so. Fortunately, Canada is making sure it proceeds.

A sensible plan to cull deer

In a well-planned fashion, hunters are conducting a deer cull in a 300-acre environmental study area adjacent to Wayne County parkland and managed by UM-Dearborn.

About 50 deer were expected to be killed to bring the growing herd population under control.

Officials note there are no natural predators nor is hunting allowed.

So, if not managed through a humane means such as this, the herds will continue to grow and endanger themselves and the public.

Among other things, the deer threaten some plant species and increase the risk of spreading Lyme disease because of the ticks they carry.

Some communities try to manage deer populations through informational and awareness programs.

These methods are moderately successful, but as the animals meander through backyards and put on a show for residents, they also wander into the streets and pose a danger to themselves and drivers.

The UM-Dearborn cull is the most sensible and effective way to protect the public and the deer.