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What you need to know for 07/28/2017

Legendary bear’s death a sad moment

Legendary bear’s death a sad moment

In a year when it feels like there’s a record number of nuisance bears, maybe it’s odd to mourn one.

In a year when it feels like there’s a record number of nuisance bears, maybe it’s odd to mourn one.

Yet here we are, contemplating the capable and ever-hungry Yellow-Yellow, the roughly 20-year-old female black bear who could open bear-proof containers.

She was shot by a hunter in Jay, near the Adirondack High Peaks. It happened Oct. 21, according to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

Thanks to a warm winter followed by a dry summer that suppressed the wild berry crop, black bear cubs have been popping up all over the suburbs and exciting people who never knew wildlife lived so close. Adults and cubs have been killed by cars in unexpected places.

Yellow-Yellow was where she was supposed to be, though, the woods. That’s where the hunter found her.

Yellow-Yellow was smarter than the average bear. She had developed a highly unusual talent for opening what are supposed to be bear-proof food storage canisters. Thanks to a long history of bear aggression, they’re mandatory for overnight campers hiking in the High Peaks region.

It was Yellow-Yellow’s gift for sniffing out and then seizing containerized baloney sandwiches and bacon, a gift that got her written up in the New York Times in 2009. It was not an ability, however, that could help her dodge a bullet.

“An icon of Adirondack lore is dead. The famous Yellow-Yellow, a sow black bear that could open bear-proof food canisters and lived in the Forest Preserve just outside of Lake Placid, was shot and killed by a hunter,” reported John Sheehan, spokesman for the Adirondack Council.

Yellow-Yellow got her name for the hue of her ear-tags. The tags were attached a number of years ago by state Department of Environmental Conservation biologists doing research, before she had achieved her later dexterity or current notoriety. The tags were gone when she was shot, but DEC officials were able to identify her through a radio collar they had also attached.

Twenty years is pretty old for a bear, and there were reports she was becoming more aggressive, as aging critters sometimes are. Yellow was not mellow. Nobody offers senior discount coffee in the wilderness.

Re: Abbe Lowell

Abbe David Lowell, the high-profile Washington, D.C., attorney who was the lead defense attorney at Joe Bruno’s 2009 trial, is back in the news.

Lowell, whose other clients have ranged from corrupt Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff to disgraced and two-shades too handsome presidential contender John Edwards, has been hired by Jill Kelley, the Florida friend of the military who seems linked to all the players with high security clearances in the generals’ email scandal.

Lowell’s role isn’t clear. Kelley faces no criminal charges.

In Albany, Lowell had a mixed performance. At one point, one of his overheard wisecracks so offended U.S. District Court Judge Gary Sharpe that Lowell had to make an extended courtroom apology and promise there would be no more “quipping.”

But he won acquittal for Bruno, the former state Senate majority leader, on the federal honest services fraud charges on which the government spent the most trial time — that he praised an investment firm to public employee union leaders who made union pension investments, without ever telling them that he worked for that firm.

Bruno was convicted on two other counts, of course, only to have those charges overturned on appeal. He now faces retrial in February.

This time, though, Lowell will not be back at the defense table. The capable Bill Dreyer, second chair the last time, will be sharing duties with E. Stewart Jones Jr., the Troy legal legend and staunch Bruno defender.

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