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An interesting week in our Valley

Bears, school cuts and corporate school support; there are all manner of interesting items to comment on in this space this week.

Bears, school cuts and corporate school support; there are all manner of interesting items to comment on in this space this week.

First, bears… In view of a study by renowned bear expert Stephen Herrero which states that predatory male black bears are more dangerous than females with cubs when it comes to human/wildlife interaction, we feel it behooves us to point out the obvious.

Bears remain bears and when it comes to approaching or being confronted by a bear, black or grizzly, what’s most important is to be cautious and be prepared. As local wildlife managers point out, bears may be nowhere near you as you venture out into the front or backcountry – but on the other hand, they may be very close.

The fact that black bear maulings are mostly the territory of predatory males should in no way cause a reduction in caution when spotting females with cubs.

Herrero’s study is interesting in that it turns a fairly common notion about females with cubs on its ear, but remember, the only predictable thing about bears is that they are unpredictable.

Secondly, our schools… With Canadian Rockies Public Schools slashing teacher and custodial jobs and looking to increase fees, we encourage Valley residents to make their thoughts heard by sending letters and emails to MLA Janis Tarchuk and Education Minister Dave Hancock.

Whether you’re concerned that your children’s education will suffer due to cutbacks and increased class sizes (often linked to reduced quality of education), or that you see increased fees as adding to the kind of financial load which supports a recent study showing Canmore as being the most expensive place in Alberta to live, your voice needs to be heard.

Being that in Alberta, for the most part, outrage is never vented at election time, it leaves citizens with the option of voicing opposition one issue at a time. Our communities send big dollars to the province by way of education taxes ($21.1 million this between Canmore and Banff), parents have every right to have their outrage heard when those dollars fade away.

If you’re concerned that CRPS is continuing with full-day kindergarten – that is a result of competition among school districts. Like many businesses, it’s better to attract future clients when they’re young.

And speaking of grabbing future clients when they’re young, the idea of Canmore’s Elizabeth Rummel School trying to win $25,000 for a library upgrade from softdrink giant Pepsi is an interesting one; particularly given the upcoming CRPS cuts.

Kudos to ERS staff who are trying to garner the $25,000 to upgrade and improve the library. But is this where we want to go? Or be forced to go if education funding continues to be cut?

Rather than wait to see where provincial cuts will hurt the most, will school staffers by necessity need to take on the role of corporate grant applicants?

In some areas, lashback against corporate giants has caused softdrinks and other corporate products to be removed from schools and colleges.

But how far do we/schools go in working around insufficient provincial funding for our schools? What next, Banff (insert oil company name here) High School? How about Lawrence Grassi (insert sports apparel name here) Middle School?

Rocky Mountain Outlook

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