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From the week of September 6, 2001

Net Gains

Hat's off: Steve Jackson's "Caught in the Net," in the August 30 issue, was a great story -- extremely comprehensive, an interesting read, and well-written. I've known Cassandra since she was about six years old, and my husband and I are close friends of her parents. Through them, we've been kept pretty much up to date on Mike and Cassandra's work over the years. But now we know even more, thanks to your good reporting. And we're as relieved as her parents are that Cassandra has "hung up her baseball hat." We're also extremely proud to know these two people who are so devoted to the well-being of children.

Your tribute does them great justice. Thank you.

Sandy Geist
via the Internet

Quit kidding around:Well, "Caught in the Net" definitely shows technique, but what the cops seem to be missing is that at least 60 percent of the people misrepresent themselves already. I remember a few friends of mine, both twenty-something males, looking to meet late-teen bisexuals, so that was what they pretended to be.

I think that police departments around the country would have higher success in catching people like this if they did a few small things: 1) forget bothering the homeless for loitering and sleeping under bridges, since they would tell cops what they see if they weren't harassed; 2) forget bothering kids who are just hanging out, not being destructive or violent, and leave them alone for the same reason; 3) sponsor a public teaching session for parents to be morally responsible for themselves and their kids (I know that one may be impossible, but I can dream).

Jason Brenton
via the Internet

Our daily dread: Really moving story by Steve Jackson. If the dailies ran stories like this (word for word), people might want to read them.

Amy Alkon
via the Internet

Sting and sting again:Great story by Steve Jackson. We never see anything like that in the Post/News, do we?

We had an Air Force captain here who was trolling for thirteen-year-olds while his pregnant wife and kids were at home. A sting got him. Kudos to the cops for us, please.

As for Patricia Calhoun's "Thinking Outside of the Box," in the same issue: This column was supposed to be funny? Or good?

Nick Werle
Colorado Springs


Cub Reporters

The truth laid bear: I read the August 23 "Bear Facts" with interest. It's true that black bears live in the mountains and along the Front Range and can enter suburban and urban areas, especially at this time of year, as they are looking for food as much as twenty hours a day. Those readers who have teenagers can certainly sympathize: Black bears can eat 20,000 calories a day as they pack on fat for winter. This is the equivalent of 150 cups of wild nuts, or forty Big Macs (McDonald's Big Mac: 560 calories, 31 grams of fat). Hungry bears are best described as 200 pounds of nose with a stomach attached.

A few notes to be sure folks know what to do if they encounter a bear in downtown Denver. If a black bear enters a styling salon for a quick trim, the stylist would be wise to avoid using any scented shampoos or conditioners. Fruity mixtures such as honey-almond, guava and raspberry scents can drive a bear wild with hunger. (A hairstylist with nipped fingers may be eligible for workers' compensation if the injury was incurred while working, but it's much better to be safe than sorry.) The majority of bear/human encounters involve bears following the scent of food.

Wildlife experts discourage habituation of black bears by encouraging any reliance on human foods, including trash, barbecue grills and pet foods. It is clearly illegal to feed big game in Colorado; offering a drink is a murkier legal issue. Black bears who seek alcoholic beverages at any LoDo establishment should certainly be expected to show proper identification. Although laws governing wildlife and humans are different, very few black bears live to be 21 years of age in the wild, so it's doubtful that a bear visiting the Wynkoop Brewing Co. can legally have a brew, no matter who's buying. By the age of only three years, many bears can reach weights of 200 pounds, so size is no accurate measurement to use when your liquor license is involved.

As far as releasing the bear to the custody of Jake Jabs, we feel compelled to remind readers that possession of any wildlife in Colorado requires special training and permits. "Found" wildlife should be left alone whenever possible, and sick, injured or orphaned wildlife should be turned over to trained wildlife rehabilitators who specialize in caring for a particular species so they can be returned to the wild.

Thank you for your interest in Colorado's wildlife.

Cameron Lewis
Colorado Division of Wildlife

This just in: I don't know about the coverage on the other TV stations, but it seemed that the news portion of Thursday afternoon's Channel 9 news was almost completely devoted to the runaway bear cub in a Lakewood and Westminster neighborhood. The weather segment was actually broken into to show helicopter coverage of the bear -- which turned out to maybe be just a dog. But most amazingly, the amount of time spent on sportswas reduced so even more bear news could be reported!!

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