Monthly Archives: August 2020

Fruitport Charter Township Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes of July 13, 2020

A work session of the Fruitport Charter Township Board began at 6:30pm on Monday, July 13, 2020, in the township board room.

Members Present: Heidi Tice, Supervisor; Andrea Anderson, Clerk; Rose Dillon, Treasurer; Trustees Greg Hulka, Jeff Jacobs, Terry Knoll
Members Absent: Denise Winebarger, excused

At 7:00pm, Heidi Tice opened the regular meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance followed by a prayer.

Also Present: 6- residents; 3- employees; 2- guests; Director of Public Safety, Brian Michelli; Director or Public Utilities, Steve Biesiada.

The motion by Rose Dillon, supported by Terry Knoll, was carried unanimously, to approve the minutes of June 22, 2020 as presented.

The motion by Terry Knoll, supported by Rose Dillon, was carried unanimously, to approve the agenda as presented with the following addition:

Item 8-G: Approval to purchase tabulator

CORRESPONDENCE / REPORTS
1. Brian Michelli reported that face covering mandates are being enforced the best they can.
2. Steve Biesiada reported that there have been many broken water services lately; the new valve installed in the smiley water tower is in operation; the purchase of the approved pick-up truck has been delayed.
3. Heidi Tice shared a notification regarding the board of determination for the North Point Drain as well as a notice of public hearing for Consumers Energy.

PUBLIC COMMENTS REGARDING AGENDA ITEMS: none

UNFINISHED BUSINESS:

20-057 First Reading: Prohibition Against Disturbing Public Order and Decency Ordinance
This constitutes the first reading. Final action will take place at the next regular scheduled board meeting on July 27, 2020.

20-058 First Reading: Resisting, Opposing, or Hindering a Law Enforcement Officer Prohibition
This constitutes the first reading. Final action will take place at the next regular scheduled board meeting on July 27, 2020.

20-059 First Reading: Drug Paraphernalia Ordinance
This constitutes the first reading. Final action will take place at the next regular scheduled board meeting on July 27, 2020.

NEW BUSINESS:

20-060 George Manning Recognition Resolution
George Manning was to be honored for his 25 years of service to Fruitport Township. George served on the Planning Commission from 1992-1994 and on the Board of Review from 1997-2020. He was not able to be present at the meeting.

20-061 Risk and Resilience Assessment and Emergency Response Plan
The Utilities Department is looking to participate with other water customers of the City of Muskegon in contracting with Prein & Newhof to perform the EPA required Risk, Resilience Assessment and Emergency Response Plan. Fruitport’s 1/3 share between Fruitport Township, the City of Norton Shores, and the Water Authority would be $5,666.00. There is a cost savings by doing it as a group.

Jeff Jacobs moved, Terry Knoll seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to participate in the cost share for services related to the Risk, Resilience Assessment and Emergency Response Plan.

Ayes: Knoll, Jacobs, Anderson, Tice, Dillon, Hulka
Nays: none

20-062 Police Department Staffing
Officer Brett Holmes has submitted his resignation effective July 14, 2020.
Terry Knoll moved, supported by Heidi Tice, MOTION CARRIED, to accept the resignation of Officer Brett Holmes.

Ayes: Knoll, Jacobs, Anderson, Tice, Dillon, Hulka
Nays: None

Terry Knoll moved, supported by Jeff Jacobs, MOTION CARRIED, to give the Public Safety Director authorization to fill the vacancy.

Ayes: Knoll, Jacobs, Anderson, Tice, Dillon, Hulka
Nays: None

Interviews will be July 22, 2020.

20-063 Fire Department Staff Interviews
The Public Safety Committee interviewed the Full-time fire department staff in regards to community, personnel safety, leadership, and communication. Overall, the feedback was positive. The police department staff will be interviewed in the future.

20-064 Board of Review Resolution
The Board of Review needs to allow for more hours than a typical July BOR.

MCL 211.53B affords the governing body the opportunity to set an alternate start date for the July Board of Review to be during the week of the third Monday in July.

Heidi Tice moved, supported by Andrea Anderson, MOTION CARRIED, to adopt the resolution to move the start date of the July 2020 Board of Review to Wednesday, July 22, 2020.

Ayes: Hulka, Dillon, Tice, Anderson, Jacobs, Knoll
Nays: none

20-065 DDA Discussion
Matt Farrar from Muskegon County presented information on tax increment financing. He shared some of the benefits of capturing tax revenue on growth to assist in infrastructure expenses that hinder development.

20-066 Approval to purchase tabulator
The Clerk presented the need for an additional tabulator due to a dramatic increase in absentee ballots. The need was unforeseen due to COVID and the issuance of absentee applications to all registered voters by the State of Michigan. The cost for the tabulator and related equipment is $5,545. The Clerk has applied for a 50% cost share through federal CARES act funding that is likely to be granted. This expense was not budgeted for due to the unforeseen nature.

Terry Knoll moved, supported by Rose Dillon, MOTION CARRIED, to authorize the Clerk to purchase an additional voting tabulator.

Ayes: Hulka, Dillon, Tice, Anderson, Jacobs, Knoll
Nays: none

20-067 Payment of bills
Andrea Anderson moved, Heidi Tice seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to approve bills as presented for payment in the following amounts: General Fund $16,299.27; Public Safety $34,403.79; Water $56,361.16; Sewer $18,411.59; Street Lights $14,419.37; Trust & Agency $1,595.00
Totaling: $141,490.18

Ayes: Knoll, Jacobs, Anderson, Tice, Dillon, Hulka
Nays: none

ADDITIONAL REPORTS: none

PUBLIC COMMENTS PART II:
1. Tim Demumbrum introduced himself as a candidate for Muskegon County Drain Commissioner.

The motion by Rose Dillon, supported by Heidi Tice, was carried unanimously, to adjourn the meeting at 8:02pm.

ANDREA ANDERSON, CLERK
HEIDI TICE, SUPERVISOR

Ask Dr. Universe – Bees’ Wings

Dr. Universe: What are bees’ wings made of? -Natalia, 13, Kennewick, WA

Dear Natalia,

Bee wings may be small, but they are really strong. I learned all about bee wings from my friend Melanie Kirby, a honey bee researcher at Washington State University.

Kirby said you can think about bee wings as if they were a kite. If you make a kite out of thin tissue, it might rip. But if you make it out of a strong plastic film it will be stronger.

Bee wings are made of a material called chitin (KITE-IN) and it’s a lot like keratin, the material that makes up your fingernails. Chitin is what makes up the wings on each side of the bee’s body.

There are the forewings, which are longer and the hindwings which are shorter. When a bee isn’t flying, the hindwings often get tucked in behind the forewings.

Kirby told me that chitin covers the bee’s entire body and is what makes up the exoskeleton. While you have a skeleton under your skin, bees wear their skeletons on the outside of their bodies.

Bee wings are very thin and transparent, which means you can see through them, a bit like clear glass. But the strength of the material can help a bee carry a lot of nectar. In fact, a bee can carry a load of nectar that is almost equal to its body weight.

I found out chitin isn’t the only thing that makes up bees’ wings. There are also veins filled with hemolymph, or insect blood. And there are air tubes and nerves, too. These parts add strength and stability to the wings, Kirby said.

The veins are kind of like the cross sections of the sticks in a kite. Different types of bees have different vein patterns on their wings.

“Scientists can identify bees by looking at the wings close up under a microscope. And like a kite it has a cross section of sticks, or the veins, which reinforce the wing,” Kirby said.

The wings are connected to muscles in the middle section of the bee, or its thorax. Small barbs called hamuli can connect the forewing and hindwing together. When the hamuli are connected, the wings come together to act like one big kite. This helps the bees glide as they fly.

When the hamuli are separated, the wings are like little rotary motors moving around in a circle like a propeller. This helps the bees get lift and steer themselves in different directions as they fly.

Bees’ wings are the last thing to form before they emerge as adults (bees also develop through metamorphosis similar to butterflies). Their wings will carry the bees through their whole lifetime. Researchers estimate that bees get about 500 miles on their wings before they start to tear and wear out.

During their lifetime, bees will fly from flower to flower. They move tiny grains of pollen around to help plants grow things like nuts, fruits, and vegetables. It’s called pollination. The next time you hear the buzz of a bee’s beating wings remember how important they are to our world and how they help us have food to eat.

Sincerely,
Dr. Universe

doc

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Fruitport Charter Township Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes of June 22, 2020

A work session of the Fruitport Charter Township Board began at 6:30pm on Monday, June 22, 2020, in the township board room.

Members Present: Heidi Tice, Supervisor; Andrea Anderson, Clerk; Rose Dillon, Treasurer; Trustees Terry Knoll, Denise Winebarger
Members Absent: Jeff Jacobs, Greg Hulka; excused

At 7:00pm, Heidi Tice opened the regular meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance followed by a prayer.

Also Present: 10- residents; 1- employees; 1- guests; Director of Public Safety, Brian Michelli; Attorney Ron Bultje.

The motion by Rose Dillon, supported by Terry Knoll, was carried unanimously, to approve the minutes of June 8, 2020 and June 15, 2020 as presented.

The motion by Rose Dillon, supported by Heidi Tice, was carried unanimously, to approve the agenda as presented.

CORRESPONDENCE / REPORTS
1. Brian Michelli reported that call volumes are normalizing as fear of COVID decreases.
2. Heidi Tice reported that the water main coming from Lake Michigan is still holding; there was a Board of Determination for the North Point Drain; JC Penny filed for bankruptcy; Muskegon Area First has produced an industrial directory.
3. Rose Dillon shared current financials.

PUBLIC COMMENTS REGARDING AGENDA ITEMS: none

UNFINISHED BUSINESS:
20-049 Kris Collee presenting senior services plan
Kris Collee was not present.

NEW BUSINESS:
20-050 Donna VanderVries with an update from Muskegon County Equalization
The Muskegon County Equalization Director, Donna VanderVries, presented updates. By Executive Order 2020-87, the opportunity for property tax appeals has been extended to the July Board of Review due to COVID, however appeals must still be based on values before December 31, 2019. Donna also reviewed pending and recently settled tax appeals including:
Stellar Hospitality- 1951 & 1989 E. Sternberg (Pending)
JC Penny- 5690 S. Harvey (Pending)
Muskegon Wings- 5648 S. Harvey (Pending)
GMRI- 1651 E. Sternberg (Pending)
TF Muskegon MI LLC (Sears)- 5500 S. Harvey (Settled)
Stellar Hospitality- 1951 & 1989 E. Sternberg (Settled)
Lakes Mall (Younkers)- 5580 S. Harvey (Settled)
Lakes Mall (The Lakes Mall)- 5500 S. Harvey (Settled)
JC Penny- 5690 S. Harvey (Settled)
FHVK- 1720 E. Sternberg (Settled)
CD2007- 1720 E. Sternberg (Settled)
Bonstores (Younkers)- 5580 S. Harvey (Settled)
Arby’s- 5560 S. Harvey (Settled)
Mercy Health- Personal Property (Settled)

20-051 Disturbing the peace ordinance discussion
Brian Michelli presented 3 ordinances that are general policing ordinances and are consistent with state law. The following ordinances will come to the board for first readings at the next meeting:
Prohibition Against Disturbing Public Order and Decency Ordinance
Drug Paraphernalia Ordinance
Resisting, Opposing, or Hindering a Law Enforcement Officer Prohibition Ordinance

20-052 MTA online training membership
The general consensus was that it would not be utilized enough to justify the cost.

20-053 Blue Care Network COVID relief medical insurance adjustment
Rose Dillon reported that the Township received a COVID relief insurance adjustment in the amount of $483.60 for dental and $11,241.76 for medical from Blue Care Network.

20-054 Water shut-offs and penalties
The extension of the State of Emergency also extends the restrictions on penalties and shut-offs.

Rose Dillon moved, Terry Knoll seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to resume normal procedures in regards to water & sewer penalties and shut-offs once the executive order is lifted.

Ayes: Knoll, Anderson, Tice, Dillon, Winebarger
Nays: none

20-055 City of Muskegon beach parking pass
The Township has been given the opportunity to purchase beach parking passes from the City of Muskegon at a discounted rate of $15.00. The Township would then have them available for purchase at town hall.

Heidi Tice moved, Terry Knoll seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to purchase 50 passes to make available for sale.

Ayes: Knoll, Anderson, Tice, Dillon, Winebarger
Nays: none

20-056 Payment of bills
Terry Knoll moved, Denise Winebarger seconded, MOTION CARRIED, to approve bills as presented for payment in the following amounts: General Fund $6,948.97; Public Safety $19,280.96; Water $70,493.70; Sewer $628.96; Street Lights $14,361.51; Trust & Agency $736.62
Totaling: $112,450.72

Ayes: Knoll, Anderson, Tice, Dillon, Winebarger
Nays: none

ADDITIONAL REPORTS:
1. Brian Michelli reported that the July slip ‘n slide community day will be cancelled due to COVID social distancing guidelines.

PUBLIC COMMENTS PART II:
1. A group of residents and interested parties including Tim & Linda Wright, Barb Griffith, Steve Jones, Meggan Johnson, and Alison McKee were present to share their displeasure with the condition of Kendra Road.

The motion by Terry Knoll, supported by Andrea Anderson, was carried unanimously, to adjourn the meeting at 8:53pm.

ANDREA ANDERSON, CLERK
HEIDI TICE, SUPERVISOR

Fruitport Board of Education Special Meeting Minutes – 8/6/20

Fruitport Board of Education
Special Board Meeting
August 6, 2020 8:00 a.m.
Board Room

I. The Special meeting of the Board of Education was called to order at 8:00 a.m. by Board President, Dave Hazekamp.

II. ROLL CALL: Present – Elroy Buckner, Kris Cole, Susan Franklin, Dave Hazekamp, and Steve Kelly. Absent – Jill Brott and Tim Burgess.

III. APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Item 20-089. MOTION by Buckner, SECOND by Franklin to approve the agenda as presented.
MOTION CARRIED 5-0

IV. GENERAL BOARD BUSINESS
1. Regular Meeting Minutes of July 20, 2020.
Item 20-090. MOTION by Buckner, SECOND by Cole to approve the Regular Meeting Minutes of July 20, 2020 as presented.
MOTION CARRIED 5-0

2. Chromebook Purchase.
Item 20-091. MOTION by Buckner, SECOND by Franklin to approve the purchase of 200 Chromebooks from ChromebookParts.com at a cost of $51,998 as presented.
MOTION CARRIED 5-0

V. REMARKS FROM THE PUBLIC
None.

VI. OTHER
None.

VII. ADJOURNMENT
Item 20-092. MOTION by Buckner, SECOND by Franklin to adjourn.
MOTION CARRIED 5-0

The meeting adjourned at 8:06 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Maribeth Clarke
Recording Secretary

Fruitport Board of Education Special Meeting Agenda – 8/6/20

Fruitport Community Schools
SPECIAL BOARD MEETING
Thursday, August 6, 2020 – 8:00 a.m.
Board of Education Meeting Room

AGENDA

I. CALL to ORDER

II. ROLL CALL

III. APPROVAL OF AGENDA

IV. GENERAL BOARD BUSINESS
1. Regular Meeting Minutes of July 15, 2019 (attachment IV-1)
2. Chromebook Purchase (IV-2)

V. REMARKS FROM THE PUBLIC*

VI. OTHER

VII. ADJOURNMENT

~

*Time is provided for members of the audience to address the Board of Education regarding any topic including items on the agenda. The board is providing one opportunity for the public to comment during the meeting. Members of the audience may wish to bring issues to the Board of Education for board consideration. Time limits may be placed if a large number of individuals would like to address the board.

Fruitport Township Board of Trustees Meeting Agenda – 08/10/20

AGENDA
FRUITPORT CHARTER TOWNSHIP BOARD OF TRUSTEES
FRUITPORT TOWNSHIP HALL
5865 AIRLINE ROAD, FRUITPORT, MI 49415

AUGUST 10, 2020

6:30 P.M. WORK SESSION
7:00 P.M. BOARD MEETING

This meeting will be held virtually via Webex.com in order to fight the spread of COVID-19.
Information to access the meeting:
Meeting number (access code): 126 981 6729
Meeting password: pKSgDEcp694 (75743327 from phones or video systems)

01. Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States
02. Roll call
03. Approval of board minutes: 7/27/20
04. Approve / amend agenda
05. Correspondence / reports
06. Public comments regarding agenda items

07. Unfinished Business
A. Harvey Street DDA resolution
B. Second Reading: Zone Change Amendment Ordinance- Broadway
C. Second Reading: Zone Change Amendment Ordinance- Sternberg

08. New Business
A. Foreclosure Property in Fruitport Township
B. Police Cruiser Purchase
C. Kiwanis Peanut Sales

09. Approval of Bills
10. Reports
11. Public Comments
12. Adjournment

~

The Township will provide necessary reasonable aids and services for this meeting to individuals with disabilities by writing or telephoning the following Township Clerk: Andrea Anderson, Fruitport Township Hall, 5865 Airline Road, Fruitport, MI 49415     (231) 865-3151

Village of Fruitport Council Meeting Minutes – 07/20/20

VILLAGE OF FRUITPORT
COUNCIL MEETING
July 20th, 2020

1. Call to Order
President Roger Vanderstelt called the meeting to order at 7:02pm.

2. Roll Call
Present: Roger Vanderstelt, Amy Haack, Carl Rothenberger, Will Overkamp, Jay Bolt, Jeff Guiles and Ann LaCroix
Absent: Donna Pope (excused)

3. Approval of July 20th Council Meeting Agenda
Roger requested that two additional items be added to the agenda. Downtown Design & Concept under New Business and Buoys under Old Business. Motion made by Amy to approve the agenda with the additional items added, supported by Jeff. With a unanimous vote, the motion carried.

4. Approval of the June 15th and June 22nd Council meeting minutes
Motion made by Amy to approve the June 15th minutes, supported by Carl. With a unanimous vote, the motion carried. Motion made by Amy to approve the June 22nd minutes, supported by Carl. With a unanimous vote, the motion carried.

5. Public Comment
Todd Dunham, Fruitport Township resident, introduced himself to council and stated that he is running for Fruitport Township Supervisor in the next election. Todd gave his background information to the Council.

6. Correspondence
Ann reminded council that members that are running in the next election need to get their information to the Township no later than tomorrow before 4pm.
Ann reviewed that due to COVID-19 their will be a decrease in state revenue sharing and MDOT funding. We will need to spend cautiously until more information is received on the financial impact of COVID-19.

7. Reports from Officers
Amy advised that she picked up a check for $7107.00 from Muskegon County for the Senior millage funding. Amy made a motion to allocate $500.00 of the funding to Sue Halter, Dancing into Sunset, supported by Roger.
Roll call AYES: Haack, Rothenberger, Overkamp, Bolt, Guiles and Vanderstelt
NAYS: None
Absent: Pope
Carl discussed the necessary repair at the curb on Bridge Street. Roger advised the DPW Supervisor is working on quotes. Carl discussed the latest Governor’s Executive order and the mandate of wearing masks. Carl advised that anyone entering the DPW garage is required to wear a mask, including all Village elected officials. The office is closed and access to the building by anyone should be at a minimum due to COVID-19 and OSHA regulations. All employees should wear masks when together and practice social distancing. A discussion took place and council agreed. Carl then questioned if the boat launch attendant/s wears a mask when approaching vehicles and people with less than the 6 feet of social distancing. Roger agreed to ask the boat launch to wear a mask if unable to keep the social distancing of 6 feet.
Bill advised he is researching the cost of a new pick-up truck for the DPW crew.
Jay reviewed the meeting with the resident of 157 8th street regarding driveway flooding. Roger agreed to contact the resident to give feedback. Jay advised he sent out a report on Norris Creek to council. He gave a brief overview of the report. Jay also advised of a meeting regarding a property on 8th Street. There may be a request for land division and a variance.
Jeff working on sidewalks that need to be ripped up.
Roger had nothing to report.

8. Safe deposit box at 5/3rd bank
Roger advised that we have a safe deposit box at 5/3rd bank, and we do not know what is in it or where the key is. Motion made by Roger to have the box opened by the bank of a charge not to exceed $145.00, supported by Jeff.
Roll call AYES: Haack, Rothenberger, Overkamp, Bolt, Guiles and Vanderstelt
NAYS: None
Absent: Pope
Motion made by Roger to remove Donna Pope and Carolyn Lemler as authorized parties on the safe deposit box and add Ann LaCroix and Roger Vanderstelt as the authorized parties, supported by Carl.
Roll call AYES: Haack, Rothenberger, Overkamp, Bolt, Guiles and Vanderstelt
NAYS: None
Absent: Pope

9. Ditch repair on Pontaluna between 4th & 6th
Roger reviewed a quote from Muskegon County to repair a ditch on Pontaluna between 4th & 6th. Motion made by Roger to have the repair done at a cost not to exceed $3500.00 and if a new culvert is necessary the homeowner will purchase it, supported by Bill.
Roll call AYES: Haack, Rothenberger, Overkamp, Bolt, Guiles and Vanderstelt
NAYS: None
Absent: Pope

10. Guard rails and Curbs quote
Roger shared a quote for guard rails and curbs and suggested to discuss at budget time next year.

11. Bike path and Boat Launch Quote
Roger reviewed quotes to have the bike path, boat launch and 4th Street parking to be sealed and striped. A discussion took place about waiting to do the boat launch when the new kayak launch is in place. Jay made a motion to reseal the bike path at a cost not to exceed $1770.00, supported by Bill.
Roll call AYES: Overkamp
NAYS: Haack, Rothenberger, Jay, Jeff and Roger
Absent: Pope.
The item will be reviewed again next year.

12. Downtown Design and Consultation Services
Jay discussed a conceptual design proposal for the intersection of Third and Park. A discussion took place. Motion made by Roger to contract Horizon Community Planning to perform the services for an amount not to exceed $4700.00, supported by Jay.
Roll call AYES: Haack, Rothenberger, Bolt, Guiles and Vanderstelt
NAYS: Overkamp
Absent: Pope

13. Village Motto/Logo
Amy reviewed information received from Horizon Community Planning to be the liaison to the Village in creating a new logo. The cost would be $2000.00. It would not include a motto. Amy advised that she recently went through the process at WMSRDC and the pricing was similar. Motion made by Amy to contract Horizon Community Planning for the services at a cost not to exceed $2000.00, supported by Jeff.
Roll call AYES: Haack, Rothenberger, Overkamp, Bolt, Guiles and Vanderstelt
NAYS: None
Absent: Pope

14. 2020 Third Avenue
Jay advised that the quotes for the project have been received. The lowest bid was Michigan Asphalt. The cost has increased since the original quotes. A discussion took place and Jay will research more information and a special council meeting will be held next Monday at 6pm to further discuss the project.

15. Bridge Street Grant
The grant was successfully received. It is for Fiscal year 2023.

16. Kayak Launch
Amy received an email from Matt Levandoski, Prein & Newhoff regarding the survey that was recently completed at the proposed kayak launch site. Matt stated that the lake levels will make it difficult or impossible. They will need to change the configuration and reduce the size. Amy advised the funding has been delayed due to COVID. Roger discussed seeking donations towards the Village costs for the new kayak launch.

17. Boat Launch
A. New sign – council reviewed the sign options for the boat launch. Motion made by Roger to purchase the blue sign at a cost not to exceed $500.00, supported by Jay.
Roll call AYES: Haack, Rothenberger, Overkamp, Bolt, Guiles and Vanderstelt
NAYS: None
Absent: Pope
Roger reviewed the decision to increase the fine for 3 axle trailers at the boat launch. An amendment to the ordinance is required along with publishing the change prior to it becoming effective. Council reviewed the amendment. Motion made by Roger to amend the boat launch ordinance, supported by Jeff.
Roll call AYES: Haack, Rothenberger, Overkamp, Bolt, Guiles and Vanderstelt
NAYS: None
Absent: Pope

18. Storage Building at DPW
Roger reviewed the quotes for a new storage building. It was decided to table the item at this time.

19. Buoy Application
Roger reviewed the temporary buoy application. A public hearing is required then council would vote on a resolution. The hearing needs to be published and the timeframe for the process may not be completed for this boat season. Roger will check with the DNR to see if an application should still be completed this year or if we need to wait until next year. This will be tabled until the special council meeting on Monday July 27th.

20. Public Comment
None

21. Warrants
Motion made by Roger to approve the warrants, supported by Jeff.
Roll call AYES: Haack, Rothenberger, Overkamp, Bolt, Guiles and Vanderstelt
NAYS: None
Absent: Pope

22. Adjournment
Motion made by Bill to adjourn the meeting at 8:58pm, supported by Carl. With a unanimous vote, the motion carried.

Respectfully submitted by,

Ann LaCroix
Clerk

Ask Dr. Universe – Bird Sounds

Dr. Universe: Why do some birds cheep loudly while other birds cheep quietly? -Traver, 4, Indiana

Dear Traver,

That’s a great observation. Birds make all kinds of sounds and for lots of different reasons.

When I got your question, I called up my friend Jessica Tir, a graduate student at Washington State University who studies songbirds.

She said one of the main reasons a bird will make a loud sound is to attract a mate. When the birds find each other, they can make a nest for their eggs and wait for babies to hatch.

Songbirds, such as swallows and starlings, learn their songs when they are babies. Usually, they learn the song from their dad.

“That’s the song they are going to sing for the rest of their life,” Tir said.

One of Tir’s favorite bird sounds is the varied thrush, an orange and black songbird that lives in the Pacific Northwest. They are known for their calls that sound a bit like a UFO. She also told me not all birds have songs. Some birds like hawks and seagulls make noises such as caws, clucks, or screeches.

Birds may also get loud because they want to let other birds know they’ve found some food. It’s almost like an invitation to dinner. Baby birds may also chirp quietly or loudly when they are hungry.

In the lab at WSU, Tir records songbirds’ songs on microphones to learn more about how they communicate with each other, especially when they are hungry. The research will help us learn more about communication and how much food there is some birds’ habitat.

Birds may also get loud when they sense danger in their environment. When birds hear a fellow bird send out a warning, everyone might get really quiet. You might not hear a peep. This can help the birds stay safe from predators.

If birds are being a bit quieter, it might just mean they are sort of chatting throughout the day. Different situations may call for different volumes. This is true among humans, too. Maybe a friend yells across the playground to get your attention or maybe you have to be really quiet and put on your listening ears during story time.

While humans can make sounds with help from their vocal cords, birds use a part called the syrinx (SEE-RINKS). Ostriches have a much bigger syrinx than, say, a tiny swallow, but they work in similar ways.

As air moves through the syrinx, it helps produce the different sounds. It sort of reminds me of how air moves through a musical instrument.

And those bird sounds can make my ears perk right up. Maybe they’ve caught your attention too and inspired you to look for the source of the sound.

The next time you go outside, keep your ears out. How many different kinds of birds can you hear? Can you find the bird making the sound?

Sincerely,
Dr. Universe

doc

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