In the recent event of the shooting of a black bear in Portland (“Bear killed in city,” Sept. 24), I am upset at how the situation was handled. Isn’t the job of the Maine Warden Service to protect wildlife and not destroy it?

Why does the warden service not carry a non-lethal means of capturing animals? Why were they standing around waiting for a biologist? These are all questions that came to mind when I heard of this unfortunate story. The Warden Service failed its principles in this situation. Instead of protecting wildlife they disregarded the life of this animal.

I am not an animal activist by any means, but I have the utmost respect for wildlife. If the bear was so dangerous, why didn’t the Portland police kill the bear when they first arrived?

I understand that it might not have been safe to tranquilize the bear and release it out into the wild.

This was due to the potential risk of a hunter killing the bear and eating the meat, therefore ingesting the chemicals of the tranquilizer. Why couldn’t the bear have been brought to the Maine Wildlife Park or a similar facility until hunting season was over?

We live in Maine where bears are prevalent throughout the state. This bear was killed because the Warden Service failed to exhaust every measure available.

The black bear is one of the chief symbols of the state. What does this say about our Warden Service? That they have a disregard for wildlife and aren’t doing their job? This bear was likely to have been more frightened of the people it was surrounded by. I have spoken with hunters, who have commented that bears like this are usually less aggressive than larger bears.

The Warden Service should be ashamed of themselves after killing this animal.

Hans Nielsen


We were dismayed to read your front page piece by staff writer David Hench concerning the shooting of a small bear in your city. We were visiting Boothbay Harbor when we read your article.

We live on the border of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Cosby, Tenn. There is not a day when at least five of these gentle creatures cross our front yard.

Black bears are not aggressive unless they are threatened or their cubs are close. Firing paintball spheres and having dogs yelping would tend to threaten a bear or any animal for that matter.

You indicate that the warden, Rick LaFlamme, would not use a tranquilizer gun anyway because the bear would still have had to be released and some poor hunter might ingest the drugs while eating the bear.

He just as easily could have held the bear until the tranquilizer wore off and then release the bear, harming nothing.

In Tennessee our wildlife service baits a cage with doughnuts and then hauls the bear off to a happier place. Your Warden Service needs some lessons from us hillbillies.

Richard and Connie Feinberg

Cosby, Tenn.

Facebook, Twitter quotes hardly part of real news

Why have hard-news journalists bowed to the trend of quoting people’s Twitter and Facebook posts? (Press Herald journalists are among them.)

Do these superficial bite-size musings really add to the facts and larger fabric of a hard news story?

The social media quotes I’ve read embedded in news stories strike me as either narcissistic and self-serving, or vapid, fleeting or just plain dumb.

Have time-strapped, lucky-to-have-a-job journalists been coerced by editors and publishers to snatch these “timely” and trendy electronic quotes? Do journalists like them because no time-consuming human-voice-to-human-voice interview is needed?

Your paper routinely uses people’s quotes harvested from their personal social media sites in local stories, including in covering untimely deaths and highlighted obituary tributes. To me it seems almost disrespectful to commemorate someone’s passing or worse yet, their entire life’s work and journey, by quoting their last Facebook post.

Do editors need a motherly reminder that just because this information is accessible doesn’t make it relevant or appropriate for use? Can you hear your mother’s steady voice saying “No, no, no!” It appears the line between hard news and voyeuristic entertainment has not only crumbled but been erased and that’s all good if it sells papers.

The Sept. 8 paper included the tragic and gruesome AP wire story about the Russian jet that crashed, killing most members of a Russian professional hockey team. The article included a Russian NHL star’s tweet: “I’m in shock!!!!! R.I.P.”

Does this quote pass journalism standards for selecting quotes that are powerful, succinct and authoritative? Why does it remind me of the quotes I find in my middle-school yearbook? I hate to say it, but it seems editors and publishers are “asleep in the tower.”

Inga Sandvoss Browne


Kids who avoid schooling not being prepared for life

Your feature on “Unschooling” (Aug. 30) was good for a few laughs. Best was the kid who left school to escape “boring events” like math problems, but is now “into science.” Good for him. Aristotle didn’t think he needed math either.

A close runner-up was the girl who was fascinated by the “exogeology” found on other planets, since “the important thing is to learn what I need to know,” and she already knows what she needs. I hope she gets a job on Mars; her attitude would repel employers on this planet.

The trouble with educational breakthroughs is that they never show us the successes they’ve produced over the years. There are in fact plenty of unschooled grown-ups who feel really good about themselves – in the hollows of West Virginia and Kentucky, or the slums of any big city.

Why don’t the propagandists for “unschooling” ever mention them?

Alex MacGregor


Congress avoids its duty, needs to be replaced

Kudos to Dave Call of Standish for his Sept. 5 letter (“Summer break for Congress comes at nation’s expense”). Why can’t we all get together and fire all of Congress so that we can begin anew to get our country back into the hands of its citizens and reclaim our high position in the world?

I am so disgusted with the Republican House that my words would be unprintable! How dare they hold our country hostage?

Connie Smith


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