Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



Answer Man: 'Beaver situation' is under control at Silver Lake

Dear Answer Man, first let me echo the many and well-deserved words of honor and praise you have received from your myriad readers. Your column is always accurate, interesting and frankly, brilliant.

Now, my question: what or who is chewing the trees by Silver Lake? As I walk around the lake, I have seen several trees completely girdled, as if they had been chewed by beavers. Yet I never see beavers or their dams at the lake. Some of the trees have now been protected by wire mesh.

Thank you for your kind interest. -- Candace Rasmussen

What an excellent letter, Candace, and to my thousands of readers: if you want to know how to pen a letter to me, I suggest you clip and save this. A very polite and well-deserved salutation — not too long, not too short — and then a crisp, cleverly written question, and a thank you. What more could I ask?

There are indeed beavers on the loose around Silver Lake. Just a few years ago, there was a lodge poking up out of one corner of the lake, as I recall, though I haven't seen the critters dining on trees.


I called Mike Nigbur, the city parks and forestry director, and he said, "Yes, in fact we do have a beaver situation at Silver Lake and we've been working on trying to address it by putting those things around the trees."

Mike said the "beaver situation" pops up every year. "It's nothing new, but it's a problem for the trees, obviously."

Dear Answer Man, my son is a millennial and he insists that millennials don't shop in stores like the rest of us -- they shop online instead. I know he's exaggerating to make a point, but are millennials more likely than others to buy online? -- Tina

Fascinating question, and since I'm basically a millennial myself, I'm keenly interested. Millennials are people born between 1980 and 2000 or thereabouts, and they account for the second-largest U.S. generation after baby boomers.

The research is imprecise and fairly tedious, but a recent report from the NPD Group on shopping activity has some interesting insights. The report, issued last month, says "younger shoppers are walking through more dollar store doors, but the 16-24 age group has increased its number of overall brick-and-mortar visits, with 11 percent growth among males and 4 percent among females. This trend was also evident in the previous quarter."

Millennials also have been "increasing their activity in the market," the report says. Why? Because they're social creatures, just like the rest of us.

"As much as online and mobile channels are ingrained in their brain,'" the report says, "shopping is still a social behavior for this group. Seeing and touching, as well as researching and deciding where to purchase a product, are all important aspects of their shopping experience."

Another study by a retailing organization says that millennials prefer malls to online shopping.


That said, millennials are definitely online shoppers and they'll "only make life harder for traditional retailers," according to a recent Bloomberg News story. "While economically challenged Americans in their 20s and 30s are off to a slow start, their spending will more than double to $1.2 trillion by 2020 and account for a third of all U.S. purchases ... these aren't your mall rats of yore. In a study from ad agency DDB Worldwide, 40 percent of men and 33 percent of women in the age group say buying everything online would be ideal."

My last bit of legwork -- and Tina, share this with your son -- millennials are more likely than other generations to be plugged in and to adopt new technology, but they're also more likely to rely on their "social circles" when shopping, whether online or in stores.

What To Read Next
Get Local