MassDevelopment issued an advisory Tuesday alerting residents and businesses in Devens that a black bear has been seen in the area of Grant and Hospital roads. The early morning hours are apparently this bear's preferred time for strolling through the Shirley side of Devens.

The advisory was helpful in not only alerting folks to the bear's presence but providing helpful information from the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife for those who come upon a bear.

Keep your distance, they advise, make noise and don't feed the bear. Put bird feeders away from March through November, keep grills clean, don't leave pet food outside and if there is garbage in trash put outdoors, a spoonful of ammonia will disguise the smell.

If you surprise a bear, make noise and walk backward, away from the bear. Fish and Wildlife says that sometimes bears will "bluff" charge a person that has surprised them, but will stop a couple of feet away from you. Don't run, they say. Stand your ground.

We're sure that's good advice but actually doing it is another matter. If you do, we'd like to hear about it.

Giving back

Life Scout Austin Adams from Pepperell has embarked upon an Eagle Scout project that gives back to the school community that gave him so much.

Austin and his fellow Scouts are working to create an outdoor classroom at Nissitissit Middle School. After putting some 75 hours into the project, Austin needs some financial help to fund the remaining $2,000 needed.


His letter is in this section if you'd like to read it and help out.

Only a few

The military community and a great number of citizens of this country are abuzz about the release of five high-risk terrorists from the Quantanamo Bay detention camp and the impact that might have in future years, especially on our forces in Afghanistan.

Secretary of State John Kerry is quoted as calling this fear "baloney" and noting that we're drawing down troop strength in Afghanistan, only leaving a few people in country.

It's our understanding that 10,000 American forces will be left behind once the majority of soldiers have left. We don't consider that number a few. Why does the assessment of value placed on one soldier, Sgt. Bowe Berdahl, not apply to 10,000.

More of those who make such decisions should be required to have "skin in the game." Maybe then, they'd understand what they're doing.