This story was written by Lara Kirkner

Councilman John Eastman dug a new claw into Mammoths bear issues early on in the Town Council meeting on Wednesday night.

This is a no-brainer, Eastman told the audience and his fellow Council members. Bear With Us was set up to fail. We have had two years of struggle after 12 years of success. Eastman was referring to the two years since Steve Searles had not held the Wildlife Management Specialist position in town as opposed to the 12 years he had.

bears-in-campgrounds.jpgEastman then requested that he and Mayor Pro Tem Neil McCarroll be appointed as part of a new sub-committee to reinstate Steve Searles as the Towns Wildlife Management Specialist, citing McCarrolls success in being able to resolve the Snowcreek Athletic Club situation in 2007 as the reason why he would be a great asset to this issue.

Bear With Us Treasurer, Marianne OConnor supported Eastmans idea and told the Council they should too.

I usually dont volunteer for things I dont think I can accomplish, OConnor said. But we were the only ones who raised our hands for this and now Council is not giving us what we need.

Public safety is at stake, Eastman said. There has been a bear on the school grounds with children present, a bear present in the Austria Hof, and a bear in the hospital cafeteria. There were five 9-11 calls regarding wildlife just last Sunday alone. Even when the bears go to sleep this town still has raccoons, coyotes and cougars.

Mayor Wendy Sugimura and Councilman Skip Harvey, the two Council members who have been sitting on the Bear Subcommittee since its induction were a little hesitant to hand over the reigns.

Bear With Us is a new organization that was just started this year, Harvey said. You cant just flip a switch and expect it to suddenly work.

But Eastman was resistant to delay the issue any further. McCarroll suggested letting himself and Eastman negotiate before the next Council meeting on November 19, and bring back what the find so that Harvey and Sugimura would have that information for the November 20 meeting of the official Bear Subcommittee.

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