I read with interest a recent story in the Mirror about the Pennsylvania Game Commission discouraging deer feeding in the winter.
The Feb. 23 article, written by Kristy MacKaben, included an interview from commission spokesman Jerry Feaster, who said, "People may be well intentioned or well meaning, but they do the wrong things based on assumptions about wildlife based on their interactions with domesticated animals."
I'm apparently one of those "people," since I've been feeding the deer behind my house all winter.
I do it not because I'm a hunter and am trying to fatten up potential prey. The closest I've ever gotten to hunting is eating, for the first time, the venison Dave Lantzy would bring back to our Penn State apartment from his annual in-season expeditions.
Deer watching is intriguing. I find myself wondering how they communicate. They must because it doesn't take long for them to find the 25-pound block of feed I've put out each week.
We've had as many as eight deer at one time jockeying for position. It's popular with birds, too, as several cardinals and blue jays are usually lurking.
One downside is the deer will wander into the yard and graze, the damage from which will be determined in the spring.
All, near as I can tell, are doe.
I consulted Walt Young, our outdoors guru, on whether I'm part of the problem or solution.
"I see both sides of it," he said. "I understand the scientific management, but if you're supporting the animals that are there, I don't see anything wrong with that in moderation."
Right. It's not like I'm driving a truckload of pastries.
Besides, between dodging cars and being shot at, I think it would be rough to be a deer, particularly a doe when the bucks are in "rut" and chasing their female counterparts all over the woods.
That in itself, especially during the winter when their food isn't as easy to find, ought to entitle these animals to some perks.
Our Community page carried the announcement that Martha Ferguson of Altoona turned 106 last month. We featured her in a Monday Spotlight last year and are pretty sure she's the oldest member of Altoona's African-American community.
Martha also may be the oldest person in Altoona. (If anyone has an older relative in Altoona or Blair County, please advise).
When we embarked on an unscientific story in 2007 to find the area's oldest person, we found Kathryn Dixon of Philipsburg, who was then 105.
Nearly three years later, Kathryn turned 108 in November. She resides in Windy Hill, an assisted living facility in Philipsburg.
"She's still here," daughter Charlotte Disshon, who is 86, said Friday. "Yesterday, she had a bad day, but today she's sharp as a tack."
Pardon the transition, but I received a thoughtful inquiry from a reader who believes it would be more convenient if we published our obituaries on the back page of the first section.
Since that's prime advertising space, we're unlikely to change it.
Some history, though: Many years ago, into the early 1980s, the Mirror moved the obituaries around. This predated "sectionalization" and was during a time when advertising would be on all section fronts.
Thankfully, news, sports and lifestyle occupy that space today, with an occasional smaller ad at the bottom of each page.
We're glad to be able to anchor the obituaries as close to the back of the A section as possible, most often on the next to last page, to make it easier for our readers to find.
Mirror Managing Editor Neil Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or email@example.com.