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Unusual circumstances bring four black bears to Oakland Zoo

A female black bear and her three cubs recently arrived at the Oakland Zoo after being under the care of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).

Although it is CDFW policy not to place large adult mammals into captivity, a sequence of unique circumstances provided these bears an opportunity for a life as educational ambassadors at the zoos upcoming California Trail exhibit, rather than euthanasia for the sow and attempted rehabilitation of the cubs. The bears arrived in Oakland on Tuesday, June 13.

Their unusual story started in the early hours of Monday, May 15, when the sow and her cubs broke into a home in Pine Mountain Club in Kern County. The elderly resident of the home attempted to haze the bears by banging pots and pans to no avail. The sow charged and swiped at the resident, causing injury to her left arm. She was treated at a local hospital and is recovering.

Amateur Radio enthusiasts test skills during Field Day

Amateur Radio (ham) operators across the country will leave the comfort of their home-based radio shacks for a weekend of emergency preparedness activity called Field Day. The event is designed to test operators skills in setting up and operating radio communication equipment in situations where electrical power is limited or unavailable. The idea is to simulate conditions that can occur during natural disasters: hurricane, earthquake, flood, and man-made. Sponsored by the national association for Amateur Radio Ð the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the first Field Day took place in 1933.

During Field Day, operators set up radio transmitting and receiving equipment in local parks, at shopping malls, or even in backyards, and get on the air using generators, battery or solar power to run their equipment. This type of exercise, along with the operators dedication to public service, allows them to step in and help emergency officials and relief organizations when disaster strikes. Cell phones, the Internet and other communications technologies have yet to replace what Amateur Radio operators can do. They have a long track record of getting the message through when all other systems fail!

Exercising her options: One womans diagnosis leads to classes for Parkinsons patients

A diagnosis of Parkinsons disease can be devastating. Timing for Ann Boylan seemed particularly unfair. A month into her retirement from 30 years teaching in public schools, she felt her first tremor.

That was my retirement gift, says Boylan of Union City without an ounce of self-pity. Allowing herself about five seconds of Why me? Boylan said she kicked in her teaching skills and researched everything she could find to learn about Parkinsons disease. I glommed onto a free booklet from the National Parkinsons Foundation, Fitness Counts, she explains, about the importance of exercise in coping with the course of the disease.

Like many people, Boylan at first kept quiet about her diagnosis. She didnt mention it when she attended exercise classes at Union Citys Mark Green Sports Center where she has been a member since 2007, participating in kickboxing, dancing, and other aerobic classes. When Boylan decided to participate in a Parkinsons fundraising, she mentioned it to a few friends and received a wonderful response. Encouraged by the support, she approached Corina Hahn, Union Citys Community & Recreation Services Manager, suggesting the center apply for a National Parkinsons Disease grant to pay for instructor certification for Parkinsons disease (PD) classes. Boylan expected to seek funding for a single class, but Hahns attitude was lets go for it and seek funds to train instructors in three different types of exercise tailored to improve PD functioning.

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