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2016 DNR Aerial Elk Survey Complete

The Department of Natural Resources just finished its 2016 Elk Survey after nine days of flying in Northeast Michigan.

Every year the DNR conducts this survey by counting elk from an airplane.

Two airplanes flew transects over the entire elk range, which is over 5,000 miles in the Northeast Lower Peninsula, from Indian River, east to Onaway, south to Atlanta and back west to Gaylord.

A total of 1,002 individual elk were counted during the 2016 survey, giving a population estimate of 1,371.

They estimate the extra elk in because not all can be seen from the airplane.

Although winter is the best time for an aerial survey because elk stand out against the white snow, they can still be missed.

Therefore to provide a more accurate estimate of elk, a correction factor is used.

"Elk in Michigan are a pretty amazing story. You know, the fact that we have an elk population in Northeast Michigan is special. We have folks who travel from downstate, out of state, even from the Upper Peninsula to come down to see elk, because this is the only place that we do have wild elk in Michigan."

Managing an animal's population involves having clear goals and today's elk management goals are to balance the population with the available habitat, while using hunting as the primary method of population control.

The DNR will use the survey numbers to decide how many elk hunting licenses they should issued next season.

500 to 900 animals is the goal in order to reduce crop damage, disease concerns and forest regeneration.

Alpena Airport To See New Flight Times Soon

The Alpena County Airport Committee met on February 9th to discuss a number of agenda items, one including enplanement numbers.

In the month of January, the airports enplanement numbers have dropped to 572.

And in an effort to help these declining numbers, Sky West approached Airport Manager Steve Smigelski and asked if the airport would like a new flight schedule.

The schedule would include having flights leave from Alpena at 5:30 a.m. land in Pellston, pick up more passengers and then go to Detroit for an expected landing time of 8:00 a.m.

Then at noon an airliner would leave Detroit nonstop to Alpena and return back nonstop to Detroit for about 1:00 p.m.

And then in the evening a flight from Detroit would take off at 8:00 p.m. stop in Pellston to drop off passengers and land back in Alpena at 10:00 p.m.

"Travelers have been asking for an early morning flight since I took over. And just coming back in from the west, where over 60 percent of our passengers actually go out west, Las Vegas, California. So by having the flight leave Detroit at 8:00 p.m. to get back to Alpena, it gives them all day to make their connections to get to Detroit to get home. It's certainly going to be a much more convenient schedule for them," Smigelski said.

However, the Federal Department of Transportation hasn't approved this schedule yet because Pellston has to agree to it first.

Alpena County Airport is waiting for Pellston's airport to sign off on it, but Delta Airlines is so confident that it's going to happen, they already loaded the new schedule online.

Some people in the public have been receiving cancellation notices of their flight, but the flight isn't cancelled, the times have just been changed.

So please contact Delta if you are experiencing this issue so they can get you on one of the correct flights coming in and out of Alpena.

Alpena Man Sits In Jail For Driving While Intoxicated

A 32–year-old Alpena man is currently lodged at the Alpena County Jail pending charges of operating under the influence of drugs, carrying a concealed weapon and possessing an unregistered pistol.

February 9th around 11:18 p.m. a trooper with the Michigan State Police Alpena Post made a traffic stop on a vehicle for a defective equipment violation.

The trooper identified the driver and during contact with him, the trooper observed signs of illegal drug use and sobriety tests were conducted.

The driver failed sobriety tests and was arrested for operating under the influence of drugs.

A search of the vehicle was then conducted and a loaded pistol located next to the driver's seat was found.

The driver didn't have a concealed weapons permit and the pistol wasn't registered as required by law.

This is a felony patrol arrest and charges are pending on the driver while he is locked in Alpena County Jail.

APS Exploring a Crisis Prevention Institute Trainer

Alpena Public Schools is exploring a new idea of a training instructor to help with the Crisis Prevention Institute Training Program.

APS hosted a CPI Training day on Monday that helps prepare the staff in de–esculating situations and helping assist students that may be going through a crisis situation.

The program assists teachers in helping students deal with anxiety and keeping them engaged in the classroom.

APS is now looking to try to increase their capacity to offer that training more frequently than just once or twice a year.

Human Resource Director at Alpena Public Schools, Justin Gluesing, says they are looking at partnering with their school success program to expand their ability to offer the CPI training to staff when everyone is available.

Due to the hiring cycles, a lot of new staff is generally brought in going into the summer and fall.

However, due to full in–service days, training like this tends to get pushed back into later in the year.

But Gluesing says this will provide a more timely availability of the training here locally.

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