PATTERSON, La. (AP) — Though they'd normally still be in winter dens, Louisiana black bears are unusually active in St. Mary Parish,
For some reason bears in coastal areas couldn't fatten up enough for denning, so they're awake, active and hungry, Maria Davidson, the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries bear expert, told The Advocate (http://bit.ly/1324wSY).
With nuts and berries in short supply, they're going for calorie-rich garbage and pet food.
"A bear's existence, he's about filling those calories. He's not a predator. He wants to get the most amount of calories in the shortest amount of time. He's an opportunist," parish black bear conflict officer Catherine Siracusa told The Daily Review (http://bit.ly/15UhYpv).
Residents need to take pet food inside at night and keep garbage in a clean, secure container, Davidson said.
The state and parish have given about 1,300 bear-proof garbage cans to parish residents. Use of such cans is not mandatory, and some are broken.
Until a broken can is repaired, "bag everything up. Tie it up as tight as possible," said Angela Gunner of Progressive Waste Solutions.
Siracusa suggested using ratchet straps to tie down the lids until the waste company can fix them.
A public meeting about bears is scheduled March 25 at Patterson City Hall.
Louisiana black bears were listed as threatened in 1992, mainly to habitat loss. They live in three areas — coastal St. Mary and Iberia parishes, the upper Atchafalaya Basin and the Tensas River Basin farther north.
They only create problems for people along the coast, where the habitat is marginal even in normal years and large subdivisions sit right on the edge of coastal woodlands, Davidson said.
"Every bear on the coast lives a short walk from a house," she said.
Davidson said she has trapped two bears in recent weeks and moved them away from neighborhoods in Patterson, and there have also been experiments with a special garbage can that blast pepper spray when a bear yanks a lever on it.
But harassment and trapping is only so effective, because the bears will keep returning if subdivisions offer a good source of sustenance, she said.
"You can't teach a bear not to eat," Davidson said.
MAY 17 Here's a column from James Gill, this time in the Advocate. Gill, who has jumped ship from the Picayune, writes about the absurdity of dueling polls in this post. The numbers are so wildly different, it is obvious that both sides are "cooking the books," he writes. In particular, he looks at Sen. Mary Landrieu, and how her recent actions in DC have been received by those polled. Gill's acerbic, amusing prose is a welcome addition to a paper so conservative as to be occasionally lacking in personality.
MAY 17 Blogger Tom Aswell continues delivering bombshells about the state education department and Gov. Jindal's education "reform" efforts. In this post, he reports that students in the Shreveport area have been signed up for a charter school without their knowledge or consent. Most interesting to Aswell is how this Texas-based charter (with ties to GOP types) got the personal student information it has, if the students didn't give it.
MAY 17 This post by JR Ball in the Baton Rouge Business Report is an interesting tongue-in-cheek look at recent Baton Rouge economic development efforts. Among the items he examines is the idea that gaining a Costco makes BR a "world-class city." (Really? All you need is a different brand of Sam's? MK!) This effort, and other recent ones, are all built on the taxpayer's back, with tax zones, tax incentives and tax rebates, Ball writes.
MAY 17 Blogger CB Forgotston is critical of the legislature's reliance on a revenue-estimating committee's decision to include projected tax amnesty income in this year's forecast. That's a problem, CB posts, because the deadline for these people to pay their taxes is June 30, 2014. So when do you think these people who haven't paid taxes in years are going to pay their taxes? Surely not before June 30, and that means the money won't be there for this year's budget, he argues.
MAY 17 Here's an interesting blog out of California by a Hollywood writer, attorney and academic named Brian Alan Lane. He blogs about higher ed, and was a whistle-blower in a scandal over false credentials. In this post, he takes aim at LSU's new top dog, King Alexander. It's convoluted and a little confusing, but it sure makes Alexander a lot more interesting than he was yesterday.
MAY 17 Blogger Robert Mann writes about the LSU Board's refusal to allow Dr. Fred Cerise to testify before the legislature about Gov. Jindal's plan to close down all the state's charity hospitals and dump the poor on the private system. It's hard to imagine anyone more qualified than Cerise to testify about that, so why would anyone try to prevent him doing so? Mann thinks it is because the powers that be aren't interested in hearing any truth about the plan.
MAY 17 This post on the Louisiana Sinkhole Bugle, a blog that notes developments in the Bayou Corne and Jefferson Island salt domes, talks about a proposed expansion of the salt dome storage under Lake Peigneur in Iberia Parish. Residents are working against it for several reasons, including two biggies: the sinkhole disaster in Bayou Corne and the continuing, unexplained bubbling on the surface of the Lake.
MAY 17 NOLA police arrested more people Thursday accused of either being involved in the Mother's Day shooting or hiding the suspect afterward, this Gambit story reports. The NOLA police chief said he suspects the whole thing was gang-related and throws out a challenge to the gangs: he's got informants now, he says, and he knows a lot more than the gangs want him to know. The people who live in the neighborhoods terrorized by gangs are ready to talk, he says.
Is it a crime for citizens to photograph, video, or take notes of a police officer in the line of duty, or a right protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? Locally, such activity, as witnessed recently, will at the very least result in a night spent behind bars.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
Episcopal School of Acadiana’s Dr. Joshua Caffery, chair of the school’s English Department, is headed to Washington, D.C., and the Library of Congress as the latest winner of the Alan Lomax Fellowship in Folklife Studies.