For several weeks, we have experienced a large, nightly neighborhood visitor to our yard. One to which we have become quite accustomed. We have lived in our location for the past nine years and have enjoyed the wildlife that frequents the arroyo below us en route to the Santa Fe River.

A few weeks ago, our nightly visitor appeared, caused the usual amount of disturbance a bear would likely incur, broke through our fence and helped himself to a few goodies we were careless enough to offer to the birds. Over time, we learned to avoid his antics, leaving nothing food-wise for him to find. We took to freezing leftovers for trash day and hiding anything remotely shaped like a garbage can. He was not a physical threat to us or to our neighbors. In fact, he became a source of much-needed neighborhood banter.

I have recently discovered, after wondering as to his whereabouts, that someone from one of the neighborhoods above us may have poisoned him with cyanide. It took three days for him to succumb to the poison. Is this even legal?

We need to learn how to live with our neighborhood wildlife. Bears are opportunists and have need to consume a huge caloric intake to survive the winter. We should follow guidelines set forth by the wildlife services regarding bird feeders, which should be taken in at night, and storage for suet, some plant foods, etc.

I am saddened beyond words about this situation and hope whoever killed the bear in this manner can never repeat this cruel act.

Betsy Ranck

Santa Fe

Hard to volunteer

Although I was pleased to read that Mayor Alan Webber is giving Santa Fe city employees leave to volunteer at Santa Fe Public Schools, I hope that employees will have an easier time than I am having getting vetted to volunteer.

First, the online application is very frustrating. I had to enter my data seven times before it was accepted. Second, the school district website states that fingerprinting may be performed at the United Parcel Service store on Zafarano Drive. My experience at UPS was less than satisfactory. When staff there could not get usable prints, instead of submitting them to the school district, they sent me to the “police station” where they said I would be printed using ink. In fact, I had to go to the state Department of Public Safety, which uses the same electronic system for fingerprinting that UPS uses.

Seniors should be advised to go straight to DPS instead of wasting time because most of us cannot get usable prints electronically. Now I wait to see whether Santa Fe Public Schools will take the next step using my birthday to investigate me if my prints are, in fact, unusable. Does getting vetted for volunteering have to be so frustrating?

Roberta Colton

Santa Fe

Cows burden forest

As Santa Fe remains under the designation “extreme drought,” one might have expected those overseeing the Santa Fe National Forest would take notice. Alas, no. The recent Record of Decision on the Forest Plan Revision, seven full years in the making, proudly states that it will increase the number of cattle it permits on its lands.

Cattle are invasive water-guzzlers, entirely unsuited to the arid Southwest. A single cow requires 90-900 gallons of water per month, depending on weight and temperature. The Forest Service intends to permit 84,211 of them, squandering an astronomical amount of water (7,578,990-75,789,900 gallons) from our drought-stricken land. These same cattle ravage the Caja, foul our watersheds (80 pounds of manure per day per cow), and relentlessly trespass on neighboring Pueblo lands, the Bandelier National Monument and the Valle Grande. Tell the Santa Fe National Forest officials we need water now far more than water-guzzling cows.

Craig Jolly

Santa Fe


Regrading teacher shortages: The Santa Fe Public Schools website lists “Teaching and Learning” as a separate category from “Departments.” There are 16 “Departments,” about 12 of which may actually relate to teaching. It’s very businesslike. Santa Fe Public Schools is not a business. It is a taxpayer supported service that should be providing direct support to teachers and students.

With fewer than 17,000 students in 61 schools, SFPS is not a large system. While considerable administrative staff is needed to support the district’s 1,100 teachers, there seems to be a good deal of overlap in the current structure of SFPS. Reporting to 10 executive directors, deputy superintendents or chiefs are three assistant superintendents, six executive directors, 11 directors, one assistant director, two deputy chiefs and one chief.

Perhaps some of the teacher shortages could be solved by moving a number of these administrative folks into classrooms.

Nancy Murphy

Santa Fe

(2) comments

Stefanie Beninato

Roberta It may be OK with you for the city to pay employees to volunteer at public schools but not me. Being paid means you are NOT a volunteer but some type of paid contractor....I would rather our taxpayer money that goes to the city be used for providing basic services like more community policing, getting back to regular hours at rec centers and libraries etc. We also pay money to the public schools who should have seen this problem looming long before they decided to take action. Myself I am supposedly going to be hired as a AVID tutor but hold my breath because those teaching positions are unfilled.

And Betsy, I am sorry Richard is guilt tripping you. You followed good procedure once the bear began showing up. If the bear was poisoned, it is too bad that the person did not call DGF right away.

Richard Reinders

Betsy, the jury is still out on the cause of death of this bear, your irresponsibility leaving food out put the bear in more danger of having to be terminated. Wait for NMFG do do their work before pointing fingers. My wife and I lived at 9000 elevation on a ranch in the mountains of Colorado west of Denver for almost 30 years without one instance with a bear, lion, coyote or elk which our area had many. You just have to adopt a discipline to not leave your animals or food out , your trash in your garage and you will never have an issue. Let the pros determine what happened to the bear.

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