Monday, June 20, 2011

To Kroger Or not to Kroger...

In Downtown Royal Oak... That IS the question!

For the past month I have been observing the chaos surrounding a proposed Kroger coming into downtown Royal Oak.  The proposed location, Main Street just north of 11 mile, is in my back yard.  Just as I felt with the new Emagine Theater/ Star Lanes complex… I am excited for more choice, growth and rejuvenation.

There are some that compare Kroger to other “big box” stores… In size of the operation, I’m sure that this is true.  But the difference, I believe, is that Kroger supports “local” economy in most of their locations.  In the Michigan market Kroger carries an array of Michigan made items along with Michigan produce and dairy.  Plus, at the proposed location, they would be employing many people: builders to in-store staff.

I am a huge proponent of Michigan businesses.  I shop at Michigan establishments, I dine out in non-chain Michigan restaurants, I buy a large percentage of Michigan made grocery items and I frequent the local farmers markets in support of the local farmers.  All in all… I am probably never going to be a regular Kroger customer!   But to those saying that Kroger should not move into Royal Oak… I disagree!

To see that there is now a “movement”, Preserve Royal Oak… Citizens Against A Main street Kroger, tells me that there are many people in Royal Oak that are afraid of change and/or many people with way to much time on their hands and/or… Another possibility: Could this movement have been brought to light by the fact that Holiday Market and Hollywood Market are concerned about a potential loss of sales? “Food” for thought! Holiday Market has high prices and Hollywood Market is small, very old and in need of a facelift!

Recently, I had an experience at Holiday Market, whereas I went to pick up a few odds and ends.  Black Cherries, one of the items on my list, were $6 MORE than the cherries I had purchased earlier in the week at a different Michigan retailer. Huh??  Was this a mistake?  Did my beloved Holiday Market, where I easily spent $125+ per week, grossly inflate ALL of their groceries?  I set out to find the truth!

After “price-shopping” at 5 different markets (Holiday Market, Hollywood Markets, Hillers Markets, Kroger and Westborn) it was an eye-opening discovery:  Holiday Market, on average, was 30% higher than all others. This held true in produce (same quality and farm), dairy (same brands), canned goods (same brands) and frozen food (same brands). That means, on average for the last 3 years of being a devoted Holiday Market regular, I was spending almost $2000 more (per year) than I needed to be spending. Ouch! 

Royal Oak residents deserve to have a fully stocked, clean and price competitive option for grocery shopping.  As much as I would prefer it to be an “updated” Hollywood Market or Hillers MarketKroger is the company proposing to move into our town.  

Let the groundbreaking begin!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Real Men Fix Their Dogs...

Orion Oaks Bark Park
It may be coincidental... But the only dog-fights I have witnessed at Oakland County Parks and Recreation (Orion Oaks Bark Park) and the Royal Oak Mark Twain Dog Park have been caused by un-neutered males! I have been a dog park regular for over ten years.

Last week- our 11-year-old German Shepherd was a victim. Our Baron made the "mistake" of sniffing around a lone snowdrift that obviously "belonged" to a giant, aggressive un-neutered Golden Retriever.  Thank god for my husband and his ability to act quickly... He and his adrenaline lifted the attacker off of Baron. If he had not been there, Baron would have had much more that a few hairline puncture wounds. Where was the dogs’ owner? Well... he stood standing, watching on the sidelines- as if at an exciting sporting event! He did nothing!

Fast forward to this week... My anger has subsided but the question of why the attack took place has not.  I have thought about that Golden Retriever and what circumstance could have made, a generally kind breed, turn so vicious. The conclusion became clear:  The dog had not been neutered.   

One of the most important behavioral advantages of neutering dogs is that the neutered dogs will tend to be less aggressive both toward other male dogs and also people. In a dog, the male hormones, of which testosterone is the most important, are responsible for the development of many behavioral patterns. When young puppies are sexually mounting their 7 and 8-week old litter mates this is because of hormone surges in their bodies. The same is true with aggressive behavior. The degree neutering has on suppressing aggression varies between animals and the age at which it is done. Its effect is greatest if it is done before one year of age. 

In addition to helping with aggressive behavior, there are other very good reasons to neuter male dogs. These reasons basically fall into one of two categories: behavioral or medical. Regardless of which category we are talking about, most of the unwanted characteristics or conditions are caused by the male hormone testosterone. 

Behavioral Advantages of Neutering
Decreased Aggression
Decreased Roaming
Increased Concentration

Medical Advantages of Neutering 
No Testicular Tumors
Improved Genetics
Fewer Hernias
Fewer Perianal Tumors
Fewer Prostate Problems

I have tried to wrap my head around the reasons that people (primarily men) leave their male dogs intact. Beyond the "I can't take his manhood away" or "You're not a man... you wouldn't understand" statements - there have been NO realistic answers.

Please... Please... Please... Unless you are a professional breeder, do what's best for your dog (and mine): Neuter your dog and allow them to enjoy a happy, healthy and non-aggressive life!

My German Shepherds:  Rudy and Baron