Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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May 17, 2013

Bear facts emerge during Bluefield Chamber of Commerce board meeting

BLUEFIELD, Va. — During her report Thursday afternoon at the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce board of directors meeting, Kim Hernandez, executive assistant of the Bluefield, Va., town government, joked that the town’s “new resident — our bear,” has caused quite a stir in recent days. “The town is warning people not to put their trash out overnight.”

Kim Allen, a resident of Bluefield, Va., and vice chair of Chamber internal affairs said that she recently saw the bear. “He walked right up in my driveway,” White said. “He doesn’t seem to be afraid of people at all.”

“A couple of years ago, there was a black bear wandering around in (Lotito) park during the Mountain Festival,” Marc Meachum, president and chief executive officer of the Bluefield Chamber said.

Bluefield, Va., Police Chief Harry Cundiff said that the town has contacted the state Game & Inland Fishery Department to alert them to the situation. “They have a bear specialist assigned to each area of the state,” Cundiff said. “We haven’t spoken directly to the area bear expert, but we have talked to the conservation officer for our area.”

Cundiff said that based on observations from residents who have sighted the bear, he estimated it to be about six-foot tall “standing on his hind legs.”

“This bear has completely lost its fear of human beings,” Cundiff said. “We’re concerned for the public. We have obtained rubber pellets to knock it down without killing it, but we hope to hear back from the bear specialist.

“If folks can wait until just before the garbage trucks come to put their trash out and don’t leave dog and cat food outside, we can eliminate some of what causes them to come down out of the mountains,” Cundiff said. He said that the reason he estimates the bear to be 6-foot tall is because a resident saw the bear eating out of a bird feeder.

“We’ve been fortunate so far,” Cundiff said. “We hope to be able to talk with the bear specialist soon.”

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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