Blog: Region in Brief | Region in Brief – Jackson Hole News&Guide

Some visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park have been accused of feeding peanut butter to a bear.

The feeding was captured on video, and rangers said the visitors confessed and were cited on Saturday, news outlets reported.

The 100-pound male bear had been feeding on walnuts for several weeks along Cades Cove Loop Road, rangers said. Biologists suspected it was fed by visitors because it started to appear food-conditioned.

The bear was tranquilized and marked with an ear tag. It was released in the same general area.

Park officials say feeding, touching, disturbing or willfully approaching wildlife within 50 yards, or any distance that disturbs or displaces wildlife, is illegal in the park.

An independent forester hired to do a hasty review of Oregon’s controversial hazard tree removal program has concluded that 96% of the 2,200 trees he recently examined were appropriately marked for removal.

He said the program also has the necessary protocols in place to identify which trees damaged by the 2020 wildfires are hazardous, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. And he said the arborists and foresters who were supposed to be marking those trees have the appropriate qualifications called for by the state.

The report is likely to satisfy the Oregon Department of Transportation and its main contractor monitoring the program, CDR Maguire. But the forester’s report, released Monday, contradicted or didn’t vet some allegations whistleblowers made to lawmakers.

So far the state has marked about 83,000 of 140,000 trees it currently estimates it will need to cut down and remove as a result of nine large wildfires last year, most of which ignited Labor Day. Contractors have felled about 41,000 of those trees to date.

A Minnesota woman is dead after she hit an elk in Colorado.

KCNC-TV reported that 18-year-old Kendra Durnan, of Buffalo, was traveling south on Interstate 25 near Castle Pines early Monday morning when she hit an elk running across the highway.

The Colorado State Patrol told the television station that Durnan’s car was damaged so badly she couldn’t drive it. She stepped out of the car and was hit by another vehicle. Her body was thrown into the northbound lanes. Four vehicles in all were involved in the crash and nine people were taken to a hospital with injuries.

The court-appointed receiver overseeing Jay Peak and other related properties after the Vermont ski area’s owner was accused of massive fraud using foreign investors’ money has reached a $32.5 million settlement with a law firm, according to a court filing in federal court in Florida on Friday.

The settlement with Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP concerns its role in providing legal advice to former Jay Peak owner Ariel Quiros and the projects through the EB-5 visa program, said Michael Pieciak, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation. The deal must be approved by the court.

“This is a significant settlement that will benefit both the Jay Peak investors and help mitigate any financial uncertainty to the ski resorts as a result of COVID-19,” Pieciak said in a written statement.

Quiros, former Jay Peak president William Stenger and William Kelly, an advisor to Quiros, were indicted last year over a failed plan to build a biotechnology plant in northern Vermont using millions of dollars of foreign investors’ money raised through the EB-5 visa program. The program encourages foreigners to invest in U.S. projects that create jobs in exchange for a chance to earn permanent U.S. residency.

Quiros, of Key Biscayne, Florida, pleaded guilty last August to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering and the concealment of material information. Under the plea agreement, Quiros will serve just over eight years in prison.

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