Aug 14, 2015

Toledo Zoo to take cubs of euthanized Yellowstone bear

An Ohio zoo is giving a home to two grizzly bear cubs from Yellowstone National Park after their mother had to be euthanized.

The Toledo Zoo announced Friday that they expect to receive the twin cubs sometime this fall.

“We are glad to provide a home for these girls,” Toledo Zoo curator of mammals Randi Meyerson told the Toledo Blade newspaper.

The cubs' mother killed 63-year-old Lance Crosby of Billings while he was hiking in the park last week.
The Toledo Zoo. File photo courtesy Alex1961 via CC-BY-SA

Yellowstone officials euthanized the grizzly sow on Thursday and without their mother, the less than one-year-old cubs were unlikely to survive in the wild.

Park officials say they decided to put down the mother bear in large part because she had eaten a significant portion of the hiker's body and stored the remains for later; officials worried the bear and her cubs would have come to see people as a source of food and that future encounters could follow.

Crosby had been hiking in an area about a half-mile off the Elephant Back Loop Trail, not far from Lake Village and "less than a mile from employee residences in an area frequented by people," park officials said.

The Toledo Zoo already houses polar and sloth bears, but these will be the first brown bears at the facility in more than 30 years. The cubs will join more than 6,900 other animals split among 500 species

Meyerson told the Toledo Blade that the zoo had already been planning to create a brown bear exhibit and reached out to the National Park Service when it heard about the orphaned cubs. Zoo officials plan to consult with other facilities on how best to get the cubs acclimated to their new surroundings.

"It's exciting and we know we are up to the challenge," Meyerson told the Toledo Blade.

Yellowstone officials' decision to euthanize the grizzly bear drew a significant amount of criticism online, with many wildlife enthusiasts protesting that the mother grizzly was simply doing what grizzly bears do.

The criticism continued on Friday (including from those who wanted the cubs to instead go to a wildlife shelter and later be released), but there was also some gratitude.

"THANK YOU The Toledo Zoo for taking care of these cubs and providing them with a life after death. No winners here," Facebook user Beth Chapman posted to the zoo's page. "Can't think of a better place for them to grow up (aside from in the wild with their mama bear). So sad, all around."

More than 100 years old, The Toledo Zoo had nearly 1 million visitors in 2014.

Chief Joseph Highway paving (and delays) start Monday

Travelers on the Chief Joseph Scenic highway should expect some delays when a chip sealing project begins on Monday.

The project will improve about 6.8 miles of Wyo. Highway 296 (between mileposts 26.41 and 33.20), including the switchbacks on the Sunlight Basin side of the mountain. The project begins at the bottom switchback near Dead Indian Creek and climbs to the summit of Dead Indian Pass.

The chip sealing will include the switchbacks on the Sunlight Basin side. Dead Indian Pass photo courtesy Smallchief under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
The prime contractor on the $2.72 million project is HK Contractors, Inc., of Idaho Falls, Idaho.

The work includes grading, a one-inch asphalt pavement leveling layer and a two-inch pavement overlay and a chip seal.

"We appreciate everyone's patience as we work toward completing this important project," said Todd Frost, WYDOT resident engineer in Cody, in a news release from the department.

Frost said traffic will be controlled by flaggers and pilot vehicles during construction. Motorists should expect delays of up to 20 minutes, he said.

The project is expected to wrap up by Sept. 30.

WYDOT officials say the project was made possible by revenue from the 10-cent fuel tax increase that was passed by the Wyoming Legislature in 2013.

New Willwood bridge now under construction

Motorists won’t be looking down at the Willwood Dam anymore when construction on a new bridge is completed.

The old, single-lane Willwood bridge crosses the Shoshone River and Willwood Dam at Park County Lane 14 west of Powell. The new two-lane bridge will be just below and downstream of the dam.

“It’s on the county system,” said Todd Frost, bridge project manager and Wyoming Department of Transportation (WyDOT) resident engineer in Cody.

The old bridge is deficient because it has limited weight capacity and is only one lane wide, Frost said.  

This photo was taken from the current bridge, looking downriver at the new one now under construction. Cody News Co. photo by Ilene Olson
The new bridge will have two 12-foot lanes and two 2-foot shoulders. “It’s supposed to be done by the end of next summer,” Frost said.

Brian Edwards, Park County engineer, said the total cost is $5.3 million, which includes design fees, roads approaching the bridge and right-of-way acquisition. Park County’s share of that is estimated at $530,000, he said.

The project is county and federal funding, Frost said.

The bridge is part of a B.R.O.S program or Bridge Replacement Off System, Edwards said. The federal funds will be administered by WyDOT. “It’s been in the works for several years,” he said.

“The B.R.O.S. program is a federally funded bridge replacement program to reduce the number of deficient off-system bridges,” according to WyDOT. “It applies to bridges owned by cities, towns and counties, located on a non-federal aid roadway and open to the public.

The bridge — more than 80 years old — crosses right over the Willwood Dam built in 1932. 
The original bridge, built by the U.S. Department of Reclamation, was intended as only a temporary crossing. Erecting the new bridge downstream of the original bridge is a more favorable location for crossing the river, Edwards said.

The current bridge is more than 80 years old, has only one lane and weight restrictions. Its replacement will be comparable in size to the Corbett Bridge.

The old bridge, above the dam, could not be widened to two lanes. The new bridge is a good location to connect the county roads on both sides of the river, Frost said.

Once complete, the new Willwood bridge will be one of largest in Park County, comparable to the Corbett Bridge, Edwards said.

The Corbett Bridge is a few miles downstream of Willwood. It spans the Shoshone River on U.S. Highway 14-A.

When the new bridge is open, the old bridge will be closed to the public. It will remain standing to provide the Bureau of Reclamation and Willwood Irrigation District access to the dam, Frost said.

The new bridge will have four footings. A coffer dam to temporarily divert the water away from the first footing is now in place, Frost said. 

The project is moving forward.

“As far as we know, everything is going according to plan,” Edwards said.

Aug 13, 2015

Wildlife officials trap, move grizzlies after problems near Meeteetse and Thermopolis

Wildlife officials recently trapped and relocated a pair of grizzly bears after they ran into trouble outside Meeteetse and Thermopolis.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department announced Tuesday that an adult male bear that was getting into livestock feed near Meeteetse was trapped Friday and taken to the Boone Creek drainage in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest about 35 miles north of Alta.

The bear’s location wasn’t a backcountry cabin in the wilderness, it was just outside of Meeteetse, said Dan Thompson, Game and Fish's statewide supervisor of the large carnivore management section in Lander.

“Bears in close proximity to a residence are not taken lightly,” Thompson said in a Wednesday email.

On Sunday, a sub-adult male grizzly bear was captured for frequenting developed areas near Thermopolis. It was relocated to the Bailey Creek drainage in Bridger Teton National Forest, about 15 miles northwest of Moran.

Wildlife officials say bears can become a problem if they become habituated to human or livestock food.

Any time a bear is acquiring some type of food reward Game and Fish personnel are going to respond immediately in order to resolve the situation in an expedient manner, Thompson said.

(The Associated Press and Cody News Company's Gib Mathers contributed to this report.)

Grizzly bear euthanized after killing Yellowstone hiker; cubs to go to zoo

Yellowstone National Park officials have euthanized a female grizzly bear after concluding it was the animal that killed and fed on a hiker last week. They plan to place the bear's two cubs at a zoo.

An autopsy confirmed that Lance Crosby, a 63-year-old Billings, Montana, resident, died from injuries in the attack; DNA from hair samples collected near Crosby’s body matched the female grizzly, park officials said. Further, the bear and her cubs had been near the body when rangers found it on Friday, Aug. 7, off the Elephant Back Loop Trail.

A grizzly sow nurses two cubs near Fishing Bridge in May 2015. National Park Service photo by Jim Peaco

“An important fact in the decision to euthanize the bear was that a significant portion of the body was consumed and cached (that is, covered) with the intent to return for further feeding,” Yellowstone spokeswoman Amy Bartlett said in a Thursday news release. “Normal defensive attacks by female bears defending their young do not involve consumption of the victim’s body.”

Crosby was killed sometime between Thursday, Aug. 6 and Friday, Aug. 7, park officials have said. He was about a half-mile off the popular Elephant Back trail, not far from the Lake Village area. The bear was captured Aug. 7 and put down on Thursday.

Many wildlife advocates called upon Yellowstone officials to spare the life of the mother grizzly, which some photographers believe is the animal they'd unofficially named “Blaze.”

“She did what grizzly sows are famous for doing: defending her cubs from a perceived threat. This was a grizzly being a grizzly in grizzly territory,” read one petition, which had garnered more than 120,000 signatures from all over the world as of Thursday afternoon. “Blaze and her cubs do not deserve to be killed because someone didn't take necessary steps to avoid a confrontation.”

Yellowstone’s official Facebook page has been inundated with feedback ever since park officials announced they were thinking about euthanizing whichever bear attacked Crosby.

“Murderers,” wrote Facebook user Yolanda B. Belinsky on the park’s page on Thursday afternoon. “I won't be visiting your park any time soon. Have fun catering to all the foolish tourists — those of us who value bears will go elsewhere.”

“Given little or no conclusive scientific or statistical data to guide their decision-making leaves the National Park Service with little choice. They must err on the side of caution. There are just too many bears and too many humans in close proximity,” Wyoming Wildlife Advocates said in a statement.

However, others have backed the park service’s decision, often citing the concern that the bears might have come to correlate people with food.

“There is some evidence that indicates that a bear that has killed a human will not necessarily do so again. ... But, given the small statistical base, it is hard to consider this evidence conclusive,” wrote the Jackson-based Wyoming Wildlife Advocates group in a statement. “Given little or no conclusive scientific or statistical data to guide their decision-making leaves the National Park Service with little choice. They must err on the side of caution. There are just too many bears and too many humans in close proximity.”

Yellowstone superintendent Dan Wenk said park managers must balance the preservation of park resources with public safety.

“Our decision takes into account the facts of the case, the goals of the bear management program, and the long term viability of the grizzly bear population as a whole, rather than an individual bear,” Wenk said in a Thursday statement.

The attack occurred about a half-mile off the Elephant Back trail, north of Lake Village. Graphic courtesy National Park Service
The Elephant Back Loop Trail and Natural Bridge Trail, which were closed following the attack, will be reopened on Friday.

In the news release, Yellowstone officials reminded visitors that all of the park is bear country. They encouraged hikers to travel in groups of three or more, always carry bear spray that is readily accessible, make noise on the trail and remain alert.

More information on hiking in bear country is available at http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/bearsafety.htm

Crosby was alone and did not appear to have bear spray, park officials have said. He was an experienced hiker who had spent five seasons working for Medcor, a company that runs the urgent care clinics inside Yellowstone.

Crosby's death was the first fatal grizzly encounter in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem since 2011.

Aug 12, 2015

County relaxing its planning and zoning regulations

Of the roughly 100,000 words in Park County’s updated Planning and Zoning regulations, some stand out more than others.

“Go back to the part that says, ‘nude dancers,’” Park County Commissioner Bucky Hall said as commissioners reviewed the 300-some pages of regulations last month.

Commissioner Bucky Hall makes some suggestions during a July 21 review of the regulations. Cody News Co. photo by CJ Baker
The section of regulations that caught Hall’s attention — defining what qualifies as an “adult use” of a piece of property — actually isn’t changing. (Adult uses like “establishments featuring nude dancers” will continue to only be allowed in certain areas, must be at least 1,500 feet away from existing structures and must get explicit county approval before opening.)

Park County is, however, relaxing its rules in a few spots:

• New “modular” homes are now allowed in the North Fork, South Fork, Sunlight and Crandall areas — though lower quality “mobile” and “manufactured” homes remain banned in those places.
As Hall summarized, “You still can’t take a double-wide (trailer) up there, but you can buy a modular home and take it up there.”

All kinds of homes are allowed outside of the North and South Forks and Sunlight and Crandall.

Under the county’s proposed regulations, the primary difference between manufactured and modular is that the allowed modular homes do not have a steel chassis.

Commissioners relaxed the regulations because they felt pre-built homes can be indistinguishable from traditional stick-built homes.

Commissioner Tim French was frustrated that nicer manufactured homes with a chassis will still be prohibited.

• Buildings can now be constructed much closer to the “alleyways” in Ralston and Garland. The county had been requiring structures to be built at least 20 feet away from the unincorporated communities’ rough alleys, but that’s now being reduced to 5 feet. That shorter set-back requirement is more in-line with what’s required in cities like Powell and Cody.

Earlier this year, the county ordered a Ralston man to move or trim his shop by 15 feet after he built it five feet from the alley, but they later backed off because of the pending changes to the regulations.

• Duplexes can be built with a lot less hassle. While landowners have been able to build a second residence on their property with very little county review, duplexes had required a special use permit — a relatively lengthy, expensive and involved process. Park County Planning Director Linda Gillett said it seemed only fair to treat duplexes just like a second house.

• No longer will developers of smaller subdivisions have to connect to public water systems (like Northwest Rural Water) when the service is nearby.

In recent years, commissioners have grown increasingly uncomfortable with requiring landowners to connect to a water service.

“They can put in a cistern,” said Commissioner Lee Livingston.

“There would still be a number of options for them,” added Commission Chairman Joe Tilden.

Major subdivisions (those with six or more lots) must still hook up to public water when its nearby.


“There’s really not many significant changes,” said county planning director Linda Gillett.

Commissioners reviewed all the proposed revisions at their meetings on July 21 and Tuesday.

“There’s really not many significant changes,” Gillett said.

Many tweaks are minor edits, including the deletion of redundant or irrelevant language.

Gone are “boarding houses” — “Who’s stayed in a boarding house in the last 40, 50 years? ... It’s not a term that’s used anymore,” Gillett said — and “drinking and dancing establishments.”

“We don’t have drinking and dancing establishments,” Gillett explained.

“That’s too bad,” joked Commissioner Livingston.

The regulations do continue to cover potentially controversial land uses that the county has yet to see — such as a strip club, a man camp or a slaughterhouse. Slaughterhouses are also referred to as “abattoirs” in the regulations. Commissioners were unfamiliar with the term, but Gillett explained they’re simply synonyms.

She joked later in the meeting that, if you want to build a slaughterhouse, “just call it an abattoir and you can do whatever you want, because nobody will know what you’re doing.”

With all the regulations, landowners are always free to ask commissioners for a variance (that is, an exception).

“Anytime somebody doesn’t like what we tell them, I always give them the option of coming to our county commissioners,” Gillett said.

A final hearing on the proposed changes to the regulations is set for Sept. 15.

Bear runs into motorcyclist on Beartooth Highway

Why did the bear cross the road?

Probably just to try getting to the other side, but the animal instead collided with a motorcycle as it crossed the Beartooth Highway on Monday evening.

A Florida couple had been about six miles southeast of Cooke City, Montana — and about two miles inside Wyoming — when a bear ran out onto the road and “right into the side of them,” said Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper Scott Hall.

The collision occurred southeast of Cooke City. File photo courtesy Rich Davis
Motorcyclist Vincent Doser, 63, and his wife, Donna Doser, 66, were able to keep the bike upright, but they suffered some relatively minor injuries to their left legs from the impact, Hall said.

Local emergency responders were paged around 5:45 p.m.

An ambulance from Yellowstone National Park picked up the Dosers and rendezvoused with a crew from West Park Hospital, who then took the couple to receive treatment in Cody, Hall said.

The bear appeared not much worse for wear.

“It was down for a little bit, then it got up and ran off into woods,” Hall said of the couple’s account.

The motorcycle also fared pretty well, emerging with only a broken turn signal lens, a small bit of chipped chrome and some tufts of bear fur, Hall said.

Vincent Doser told the trooper he believed the hit-and-run bruin was a black bear.

Hall called the incident “a strange one.”

“This is the first one I’ve covered in 15 years, but I know other troopers (have) covered one before, too,” he said of bear-motorist collisions.

Governor's office seeking locals' thoughts on state's energy strategy

If you've got some opinions about how the state of Wyoming should manage its energy resources,
tonight would be a prime to share them.

Gov. Matt Mead
Governor Matt Mead's office is putting on a public meeting at the Park County Library from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., seeking input on new energy initiatives for Wyoming. It's being co-hosted by Park County commissioners and is part of the governor's effort to update a comprehensive energy plan for the state.

"Anyone interested is encouraged to come and discuss ideas that should be incorporated into the updated strategy," said a news release from Mead's office.

The first version of the strategy, called Leading the Charge, Wyoming’s Action Plan for Energy, Environment and Economy, was released two years ago.

Guiding principles of the state strategy include:
  • being a leader in developing, producing, generating and exporting energy
  • maintaining and growing the state's jobs, economy and share of the energy market
  • finding new ways to add value to the state's raw resources
  • creating affordable, abundant and reliable power
  • being standard-bearers in responsible development
  • conserving the state's natural resources and heritage

“I said when I announced the energy strategy that it is designed to be regularly revised, updated and integrated into budgeting and planning,” Governor Mead said in the news release. “The past two years have seen many successes and we want to build on them. The purpose of these meetings is to review existing initiatives, to identify additional initiatives in order to support energy development, balanced with sound environmental stewardship.”

Aug 11, 2015

Fire west of Dayton nearly contained; firefighting scaled down

After more than a week and roughly $1.4 million worth of firefighting efforts, a wildfire west of Dayton has effectively been contained.

The Sheep Creek Fire, which started Aug. 2, was described as 90 percent contained as of Monday night.

Fire managers said it had burned through about 1,667 acres, roughly four miles west of Dayton.

Operations were being transferred from a state-level firefighting team to local agencies on Tuesday morning, though an incident commander planned to remain on scene with a light helicopter for at least a few more days.

"It is important for the public to remember that smoke may be visible from the interior of the fire from time to time, possibly even until the first snowfall," fire information officer Kristie Salzmann, said Monday evening.

Though Friday's intentional burnout appeared dramatic, it actually prevented embers from escalating the wildfire, fire managers say. Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service

Investigators determined that people somehow started the fire, but their investigation continues into exactly what happened. Salzmann said the Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office and Bighorn National Forest law enforcement have some solid leads as to the fire’s exact cause. If it can be proven a person or persons were responsible for the fire, they can be held both financially and criminally liable, she said.

A burnout operation on Friday removed unburnt fuels — trees, grass and brush — and prevented the wildfire’s embers from being thrown over the ridge line to fuel more fire, Salzmann said. There are still plenty of green trees on the northern end of the fire thanks to Friday’s burnout, she said.

Although some Dayton residents were worried, fire managers had a lot of contingencies in place to protect Dayton and outlying property, she said.

“No structure was ever threatened, and, we’ve had no injuries either,” Salzmann said.  

The Amsden Creek Wildlife Habitat Management Area remains closed. Big Horn National Forest trail 002, Tongue Canyon Trail, will remain closed until hazards have been removed and it's deemed safe for the public.

"Please respect these closures as they are in place for public safety," Salzmann said.

Future updates on these closures will be made available through the Wyoming Game & Fish and the US Forest Service.

During the height of operations, firefighters camped on the grounds of Dayton’s Tongue River High School. Firefighters were fed in the high school cafeteria and auditorium was used to conduct public fire updates. People in Dayton have been very helpful, Salzmann said, adding, “It made us feel like it was our home away from home.”

Cooperators involved in managing the Sheep Creek Fire have been Wyoming State Forestry Division, Dayton Volunteer Fire Department, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, various Sheridan County entities include the Sheriff’s Office and the Fire Warden, Bighorn National Forest, and Bureau of Land Management.

~Gib Mathers contributed reporting

Grizzly spotted north of Cody; authorities urge bear awareness

Sometime between Sunday and Monday, a grizzly bear appears to have gotten into garbage bins at multiple homes just north of Cody.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is urging area residents, near the Cottonwood Creek drainage, to secure their garbage and livestock feed and keep on the lookout for bears while department personnel work to deal with the issue.

The department says it got the first call of possible bear activity on Sunday morning and, through tracks at the scene, was able to confirm a grizzly had gotten into some garbage. That was about five miles north of Cody. More reports of a bear getting into trash were made and confirmed on Monday, the department said in a Tuesday morning news release. Residents on Road 2ABN, more than a mile north of city limits, said in Facebook posts that the bear had visited their properties.

It's an area that hasn't had confirmed grizzly bear sightings before and the Game and Fish says it's “actively investigating the situation and is taking action to resolve conflicts,”

The department is asking people in the area to stay aware and report bear sightings or bear activity to the Cody Game and Fish Office at 307-527-7125.

“People should be aware that a grizzly bear may be present in residential areas along the Cottonwood Creek drainage north of Cody and take appropriate precautions,” Large Carnivore Biologist Luke Ellsbury said in the news release. “For the time being, we are asking property owners to secure attractants such as garbage and livestock feed to reduce the likelihood of the bear being drawn to a specific area. Game and Fish recommends that those in the area travel in groups, carry bear spray, and make noise to alert a bear of your presence.”

Ellsbury thanked the public for their support and cooperation while the department tries to resolve “any potential issues between bears and humans.”

Local Tea Party activists to meet up Saturday in Emblem

Hundreds of local Tea Party supporters are expected to gather in Emblem on Saturday to hear conservative speakers that include the father of U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz.

“We’ve got great speakers — and it’s costing us an arm and a leg, but it’s worth it,” says Big Horn Basin TEA Party organizer Robert DiLorenzo.

DiLorenzo is hosting the Fifth Annual Big Horn Basin TEA Party Picnic at his Emblem home, 3357 Big Horn County Road 14. The gates will open at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

Robert DiLorenzo addresses attendees at last year's Big Horn Basin TEA Party Picnic. Cody News Co. file photo by Tom Lawrence
Attendees can expect to hear from:

• Rev. Rafael Cruz, the father of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who’s been delivering conservative speeches across the country.

DiLorenzo said the elder Cruz has a fascinating story to tell of growing up in and then fleeing oppression in Cuba. He laughingly added that, “I have a sneaking suspicion he’s supporting Ted Cruz.”

• FOX News terrorism analyst Wayne Simmons, who served 27 years with the Central Intelligence Agency.

 “He knows what’s going on — and he knows what’s going on months before it hits the headlines,” DiLorenzo said.

• H. Leighton Steward, a geologist, author and retired energy industry executive. While many scientists say higher levels of carbon dioxide appears to be prompting damaging global warming, Steward says increased CO2 can actually benefit the planet.


DiLorenzo said the point of the annual picnic is education, in-line with the Tea Party group’s acronym of “Take Educated Action.”

“If you’re going to vote, know exactly what you’re voting for and what you’re voting against and know exactly what’s going on in the country,” DiLorenzo said.

Donations are welcomed, but admission is free.

“The main thing is, I’ve got to get people there,” DiLorenzo explained. “I can’t have money standing in the way of everything that’s going on in Washington, D.C., from the horse’s mouth — directly from the people that make the headlines.”

DiLorenzo had been in discussions to get retired neurosurgeon/Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson and political commentator Liz Cheney to speak at the picnic, but those appearances didn’t work out. However, DiLorenzo said he’s been told to expect Carson, Cheney and Cheney’s father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, at later TEA Party events.

Police expert to talk drug and alcohol prevention with Cody parents

Learning to spot the early signs of drug or alcohol use can make a big difference in the life of an adolescent. Boise, Idaho, police officer Jermaine Galloway will give parents and others the tools to spot those signs during some Tuesday presentations for Park County Wellness Week.

Galloway will give a free program for parents at 6 p.m. at the Cody Presbyterian Church, 2025 23rd St.  Free pizza will be served prior to the presentation, beginning at 5:15 p.m., and free babysitting will be available.

A nationally-recognized expert on the prevention of substance use, Galloway tailors his presentations to address trends and issues germane to each community. He does that by researching and visiting local spots that may have merchandise promoting drug or alcohol use.

“What does the community have out there in terms of product placement and what are youth exposed to?” are questions Galloway tries to answer in his community visits.

“Kids are going to be exposed, but we can reduce the amount of exposure and find out what they’re doing,” he adds.

He says kids differ in what attracts their attention, and he bases his information on current issues in the schools and the area. Galloway says his presentations are not meant to scare parents, and that his focus is on prevention.

“No one thing means anything. It does not necessarily mean kids are using drugs, but maybe it’s a different type of conversation” you should have with your kids, he advises parents.

Galloway says he’s passionate about preventing of drug and alcohol use, having spent the last 14 years educating people around the globe about the effects and consequences, especially for kids.

“Kids are going to be exposed, but we can reduce the amount of exposure and find out what they’re doing,” Galloway says.

Galloway keeps up on trends in drug and alcohol use and shows parents and audience members how clothing items may conceal drugs or paraphernalia, and the hidden meanings in slogans on clothing that promote drugs and alcohol.

“You can’t stop what you don’t know,” he says.

Galloway says it’s important to detect the early signs and redirect a teenager toward making better choices, rather than allowing them to slide down a slope that increases the chances of violent or criminal behavior.

“It’s important to address the core issues that prevent other issues," he says. "A lot of times, it’s the same as for adults, with kids getting into assaults and fighting: someone gets drunk and gets themselves in trouble.”

Galloway recommends contacting the school resource officer and getting treatment and counseling for your child if they're using drugs or alcohol.

“Sweeping it under the rug isn’t the way to go. At least talk to someone. Be the parent,” he says. “You don’t want your kid to be a drug addict when they’re 40.”

People must be 18 or older to attend Galloway's presentation in Cody. To register for the free child care, call 578-2708 or email 11pccasa@gmail.com.

In addition to the parents event in Cody, a presentation for professionals is set for 1 p.m. in the Yellowstone Room at Northwest College in Powell.

Aug 10, 2015

Yellowstone officials' plan to kill bears involved in fatal attack sparks controversy

Hundreds of people from around the world have taken to Yellowstone National Park's Facebook page to protest park managers' plans to euthanize the bear or bears who fatally attacked a hiker last week.

Park officials identified the deceased as 63-year-old Lance Crosby of Billings on Monday. He had worked at an urgent care clinic in Yellowstone for five seasons and was an experienced hiker.

An autopsy was scheduled for Monday afternoon, but the preliminary conclusion of park officials was that a grizzly attack killed Crosby sometime between Thursday and midday Friday.

A grizzly sow and two cubs are shown near Fishing Bridge in the May 2015 file photo. Photo courtesy Jim Peaco, National Park Service
A Yellowstone park ranger found Crosby's body about a half-mile off the Elephant Back Mountain loop trail, not far from the Lake Village area. It appeared a bear or bears ate part of his body and then “cached” it, indicating the animal planned to keep eating it. Based on partial tracks at the scene, park officials said it appears an adult female grizzly and at least one cub-of-the-year were involved in the incident.

If park officials can figure out which grizzly or grizzlies killed Crosby and catch them, the plan is to kill the animals.

“The decision to euthanize a bear is one that we do not take lightly. As park managers, we are constantly working to strike a balance between the preservation of park resources and the safety of our park visitors and employees,” Yellowstone superintendent Dan Wenk said in a Monday statement. “Our decision is based on the totality of the circumstances in this unfortunate event.”

The late Lance Crosby is shown in this photo released by the National Park Service to various media outlets
The last fatal grizzly bear-human encounters in Yellowstone took place in 2011, when bears killed two people in separate incidents. Park officials initially spared the life of a mother bear who killed a California man in July 2011 because it appeared to have only been protecting her cubs. However, the sow was later put down after it at least visited the site of a Michigan man's fatal mauling the following month.

On Friday, park personnel set up traps in the area near the Elephant Back Mountain loop trail and later caught a female grizzly. Biologists have collected scat samples, paw measurements, and DNA evidence from the bear that they plan to use to see whether it’s the same one present at the scene of Crosby’s death.

Former Wyoming Game and Fish large carnivore management section supervisor Mark Bruscino wrote in a Facebook comment on the Wyoming Wildlife Advocates page that, You could reasonably assume that it was defensive if the bear had not cached and consumed the victim.

Bruscino said females with cubs “are very capable of killing humans for food.” He noted a 2010 incident where a female grizzly fatally attacked a man sleeping in a tent at a campground just outside Cooke City, Montana.

“Since it is likely that the investigative team (on Crosby's death) will never know, for sure, if the attack was predatory or defensive it is a very wise decision to remove the bear and let the niche be filled with another bear that will hopefully avoid humans at all costs,” Bruscino wrote.

However, the plan to put down any bears involved in the attack has also drawn passionate objections on social media, including a petition on Change.org.

A couple thousand comments had been posted to Yellowstone’s official Facebook page on the subject as of Monday. Many called on park officials to spare the bears’ lives.

“Everyone is saddened by this (individual’s) death but anyone that goes to the mountains knows that if they are hiking, there is a chance that someday they could be attacked by a bear, cougar etc,” posted Floridian Linda Brechon.

Others weren’t so tactful.

“If you guys are seriously going to put down a bear for having killed a tourist (we are talking about a national park, where animals are supposedly wild and allowed to roam freely in their natural habitat), you all need to quit your jobs and go into some other profession that doesn’t require any thinking or assessment of the consequences,” wrote Canadian Paul Miazga. “Why not fumigate the entire park if someone gets a mosquito bite? Or de-foliate it (because) someone gets a rash from poison ivy? Get a brain, you muppets.”

Park officials posted a series of responses to the criticism.

“Deciding to kill a bear is difficult,” they wrote in one response. “We don't know what led to the attack and probably never will. However, we do know that the bear fed on the body and cached it with the apparent intent of returning. We do not want bears considering humans as food.”

Officials later added that, with millions of visitors in the park each year, they couldn't take the chance of having a bear become used to the idea of humans being food. They noted that Yellowstone may be at its carrying capacity for grizzlies.

“We do not want bears considering humans as food.” park officials said.

The Elephant Back Loop Trail and immediate area has been closed until further notice.

"Hikers are advised to stay on designated trails, travel in groups of three or more people, carry bear spray, be alert for bears, and make noise to help avoid surprise encounters," said Monday's news release.

Crosby was alone and did not appear to have been carrying bear spray, park officials have said.

After fall from horse, New York teen airlifted from Sunlight area

A New York teen had to be airlifted from the Sunlight area after falling from a horse on Saturday.

Sophia DiMatha, 17, of New York City was on a backcountry day-trip with a group from the Elk Creek Ranch at the time of the accident, according to the Park County Sheriff’s Office. She and others were in an area approximately 2.75 miles south of the Dead Indian Campground along Dead Indian Creek.
The teen fell from a horse about 2.75 miles south of the Dead Indian Campground. File photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service

The call came into the Park County Communications Center at 1:35 p.m., with the caller reporting DiMatha had fallen and possibly injured her back and pelvic area.

Park County Search and Rescue was immediately responded to the area of Dead Indian Campground, with ground team reaching DiMatha around 4 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office said.

Once stabilized by members of West Park Hospital Wilderness Medical Team, a helicopter from EagleMed Medical Transport of Cody shuttled DiMatha to St. Vincent’s Healthcare in Billings, Montana. She reached the hospital at 5:50 p.m., received treatment and was released, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The rough location of the accident.

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