Road kill, salamander tunnels and more

Spring has sprung’oh, boy has it sprung!
The tulips and other bulbous flowers are pushing up from their long winter’s slumber. The grass is starting to green up. Area golf courses have stuck flags in their holes and opened their doors for business.
And, holy cow, there are a lot of dead critters schmushed and splatted along our roadways. I’ve seen dead deer, rabbits, squirrels, skunks, ‘possums, ‘coons, cats, some sort of feathered thing and even a beaver. I know it is spring because I also killed a frog as it tried to cross M-15, between Hooterville and Clarkston.
Leapt right into my front tire.
Kids, do your homework
I promptly hopped onto the web, and Googled ‘road kill.? The first article I found was written by a Mark Matthew Braunstein, who authored the book, ‘Radical Vegetarianism.?
Brauny is sad. He claims North Americans kill (get this) 1 million animals per day. This number doesn’t include all the bugs who end up in/on our grills and radiators nor the ones wiper blades smear across our windshields. As Braunstein wrote, ?’insects and bugs’somehow never count.? Mark, buddy, they don’t count because they’re yucky.
(Hey, that reminds me of a joke: what was the last thing that went through the bee’s mind when she hit the windshield? Her butt’can I get a rim shot?)
In his article, Braunstein not only bemoans the amount of meat we eat but also all of the unnecessary death by tires and steel on our roadways. An interesting side note to Brauny’s article comes from his little bio at the end?’He is paraplegic, so he has an excuse for driving,? the rest of us are murderers.
I don’t doubt (much) Braunstein’s numbers, but if you do the math as I, your humble scribe have, we kill 364,000,000 mammals, reptiles, lizards, birds and amphibians every year. I’d hate to be the government field worker who has to hit the roads and do the actual counting.
Road Kill and Your United States Government
Under the Clinton Administration’s Department of Transportation, a new program was started called ‘Critter Crossings.? Critter Crossings is a program (even in the Bush years) that makes it easier for animals to cross the road safely. They have created with our money (among other things), salamander tunnels, bear underpasses, amphibian-reptile walls and culverts.
Watch out for them ducks!
I think it is time the local governments try for some of those Federal dollars before duck feathers start flying. We need some mallard canals to run under our area roads.
The biggest backups in traffic caused by papa, mamma and ducklings waddling on the streets, occur on Oakwood Road, west of Church Street in the Village of Ortonville; and on Clarkston Road, north of Park Lake in the Village of ‘er’the City of’um, in the City of the Village of Clarkston (what a pretentious name).
I know the Pope has died, but . . .
Road kill really came into my consciousness when I was an altar boy at St. Dan’s Catholic Church, in the City of the Village of Clarkston. (Have I already said that name sounds full of itself?)
It was the mid 1970s and I still remember part of the homily by Father Francis A. Weingartz’well, I don’t remember any of it, except for the part where he told parishioners that whilst he was driving, he ran over a dead rabbit. If you are to believe the good father’s story, one of the rabbit bones punctured one of his car’s tires and he got a flat.
How Padre Weingartz weaved that into a metaphor about the message of Jesus is beyond me (probably the same way I wove Pope John Paul into a column about road kill). He obviously pulled it off and, to this day, I believe the real moral of the story is don’t drive over dead rabbits.
They all don’t die (right away)
Sometimes an animal gets smacked by a car and it is a good thing. Such is the story of Noah, the one-eyed groundhog.
In 1998, a wee, little woodchuck was struck by a car on Clarkston Road. A witness saw the carnage, grabbed the marmot and rushed it to the North Oakland Animal Hospital. There, the little critter was cared for and nursed back to health. The groundhog, named Noah (note the name of the vet office), went to live with the Harries family of Oxford Township.
And, from 1999 until 2002, Noah was the star attraction of Oxford’s Groundhog Days celebration. A gentle creature, area children loved him, even though he only had one eye after the accident.
Noah died, as a result of his groundhog-car experience, on April 22, 2002.
Which brings to an end this morbid chapter in Don’t Rush Me history.
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