DONNA MUNSON considered the black bears that swarmed across her land in south-western Colorado to be her pets.
She fed them dog food and scraps – poking the food through a metal fence she had built around her porch – attracting so many bears that neighbours sometimes counted as many as 14 on her property at a time.
Last week one of them killed Mrs Munson, 74, slashing her head through the fence and dragging her body underneath it to consume her.
''She was dead-set on continuing to feed the bears and, unfortunately, she paid the ultimate price,'' said Sheriff Joel Burk, who shot a bear that tried to approach her remains as he interviewed witnesses.
Her death represents one of the rare cases in which bears have killed humans in Colorado; officials have recorded two other fatal attacks since they began tracking human-bear encounters in the 1960s.
For the past decade, Mrs Munson had developed a reputation for doting on wildlife at her log cabin about 300 kilometres south-west of Denver. She fed bears, skunks, elk and stray cats, said Tammy York, 36, who boarded with her seven years ago.
She described Mrs Munson as a sweet woman whose husband had died years earlier and who seemed to have little contact with other people. ''I think she really loved them and loved to watch them.''
And the humans were watched in return, Ms York said. ''It was like being in a zoo. We looked at the animals, but they also looked in our windows.''
When bears began breaking into nearby homes – apparently seeking the dog food they were accustomed to getting at Mrs Munson's house – neighbours complained. Wildlife officers tried to persuade her to stop.
It didn't work, and last year the officers sent her a letter warning they would take legal action if she did not change her ways.
Mrs Munson did not co-operate and officers had started building a case against her when she was killed.
Los Angeles Times
GAI WATERHOUSE’S multiple group1 winner Theseo was crowned horse of the year at the NSW Racehorse Owners Association dinner on Thursday night.
Theseo, whose spring campaign is under a cloud due to a hoof injury, won the Epsom Handicap, Mackinnon Stakes and Ranvet at group1 level last season. The gelding also picked up the award for middle-distance horse of the year.
Waterhouse’s group1 Sires’ Produce winner Manhattan Rain, which finished third in both the Golden Slipper and Champagne Stakes, was named two-year-old of the year.
The Kris Lees-trained VRC Oaks winner Samantha Miss, which has been retired, picked up the three-year-old gong along with the title of provincial champion.
Global raider Takeover Target, which was retired last month after another UK campaign, was named sprinter/miler of the year and country champion.
The Anthony Cummings-trained Adelaide and Launceston cups winner Zavite was crowned stayer of the year, and Belong To Many and Hot Danish tied for the queen-of-the-autumn award.
Premier jockey Hugh Bowman capped off a memorable 12 months when named the inaugural winner of the Bart Cummings Medal.
The premiership win of last season also earned Bowman the George Moore Medal.
Waterhouse won the TJSmith Award for collecting another Sydney trainers’ premiership and her apprentice Daniel Ganderton won the Theo Green Award.
The industry recognition award went to Ian Craig whose 44 years as a race caller ended last season.
Waterhouse’s Melbourne Cup contender Tuesday Joy is in action at Wyong on Friday. The John Singleton-owned and bred mare contests the fourth and final barrier trial heat.
Waterhouse has 13 of the 30 horses appearing at the trials, including four rivals for Tuesday Joy.
The champion trainer has only two runners at Rosehill on Saturday – Princess Quality in the Fairfield RSL Handicap and the resuming Viking Legend in the CHPRSL Run To The Rose.
Lees has new royalty
Samantha Miss’s trainer Kris Lees is looking forward to Rosehill on Saturday when Fritz’s Princess runs in the Premiere Stakes.
"She is going enormous, I couldn’t be happier with her," Lees said on Thursday. "She had no luck last start, the small field of eight should ensure she has no traffic problems this time."
Lees has Ugly Betty and Withoutme running in the first race and Motspur in the second. "Motspur has had a lot of chances but has drawn well and should get a lovely run from one," Lees said. "Withoutme is probably the pick of the two but Ugly Betty is much better than her latest run."
The Nathan Tinkler-owned, Jason Coyle-trained group1 winner Onemorenomore has been installed Caulfield Guineas favourite with TAB Sportsbet at $7.
The three-year-old is due to trial on the course proper at Warwick Farm on Friday, and Tinkler’s retained jockey Peter Robl says the three-year-old "is going real good".
Tinkler’s Patinack Farm operation heads to Rosehill on Saturday with Robl riding Abeyant (Fairfield RSL Hcp), Trusting (Run To The Rose) and Schipper (Dooleys Handicap).
Trusting is an interesting runner. The Tale Of The Cat colt debuted with a smart win in a midweeker at Canterbury and has been thrust straight into a group3 race.
"He has improved since," Robl said. "It was a strong midweek race, and the form has stood up.
"We know he is going into a harder race, but the stable is full of confidence."
Schipper was beaten for the first time last start when sixth behind Hus Der Lieften at Rosehill a fortnight ago.
"She ran amazing sectionals last start," Robl said. "She is taking on the older horses here, but she is going extremely well and should be more than competitive."
Australia will use the series against England as a launching pad for their bid to regain top spot in the world one-day cricket rankings, says Nathan Bracken.The paceman arrived in England shortly after Australia’s 2-1 Ashes series defeat and it’s been a long two-week wait for Friday’s first one-day match at The Oval, the same London ground where the hosts clinched the urn.‘‘It’s about getting out here playing some cricket and probably getting this side back to where we should be,’’ Bracken said.‘‘We want to be the best in the world. We don’t want to sit second, third, fourth or fifth.‘‘Here it’s a process of turning it around and showing that we are the best, showing that we can compete with anybody anywhere, and this is a perfect place to start and hopefully move forward from here into South Africa.’’The Australians head straight from England to South Africa to defend their Champions Trophy title later this month.Starting the seven-match series against England, the tourists are third in the world rankings with 119 points.England are fourth, eight points behind Australia, while South Africa are No.1 on 127 points, followed by India with 126.With the one-day international rankings updated after every match, the hosts can overtake Australia as soon as this weekend if they win the first two games, with the second at Lord’s on Sunday, and will stay ahead of their old foes if they win the series 5-2 or better.Australia, meanwhile, can regain top spot, but need to win all matches against England and then rely on New Zealand or Sri Lanka to beat India at least once in their series in Colombo.While Bracken believed the Test players remaining in Australia’s one-day squad would want to leave with something to show for their tour, he didn’t think the Ashes defeat would be a major factor.‘‘The thing we’ve done very well as a team is it’s now one-day cricket,’’ Bracken said.Australia were twice robbed of the chance to leave with Twenty20 bragging rights after both their matches in Manchester ended in no-result wash-outs, the second before a ball was bowled.With Brad Haddin out of the Champions Trophy after undergoing surgery on a broken finger, stand-in wicketkeeper Tim Paine will be keen for more match practice.Paine played in last week’s one-day win over Scotland, where he made 29 not out, but he didn’t bat in the first Twenty20 and was only behind the stumps for a short time before the match was abandoned in the second over of England’s innings.Mike Hussey and Peter Siddle, who haven’t played since the Test series, and Bracken, James Hopes, Callum Ferguson and Ben Hilfenhaus, who didn’t feature against Scotland, will also be keen for some competitive cricket.‘‘I know personally I’m sick of training, I want to start playing,’’ Bracken said.‘‘I’m sick of seeing the inside of nets. The boys are ready to go and hopefully we can get out there and put some good performances on to start the series.’’ AAP
There’s been three matches since the last rankings and they have one thing in common – the Wallabies were the losing side. 1. (1) South Africa – Current IRB ranking: 1 (1) The Springboks are not invincible but no team is good enough to capitalise on their weaknesses. They do have several world-class players in key positions, but John Smit at prop is not one of them. 2. (2) New Zealand – Current IRB ranking: 2 (2) Would the All Blacks have beaten the Wallabies without Dan Carter? Probably not, but it’s a moot point as the Cantabrian is back and New Zealand are better for it. 3. (4) Ireland – Current IRB ranking: 4 (4) Who will you back when the Wallabies trek to Croke Park on November 15? My guess is not Australia, but things can change. 4. (5) Wales – Current IRB ranking: 8 (8) Wallabies or Wales? There are pros and cons but the Welsh win at Millennium Stadium last year tips the ranking in their favour. 5. (3) Australia – Current IRB ranking: 3 (3) RugbyHeaven agrees with Dick Muir’s assessment that things are not as bad as they seem with the Wallabies, but results are all that matters on these rankings. 6. (6) France – Current IRB ranking: 5 (5) Swine flu, cash crises and Jonny Wilkinson have ensured that it has been a lively start to the Top 14 competition this season. For the sake of the Tri Colours, let’s hope the international season is smoother. 7. (7) England – Current IRB ranking: 7 (7) Lawrence Dallaglio has been put on a panel to help restore the reputation of the game in England following the bloodgate and Bath scandals. A decade he was stripped of the captaincy after salacious tabloid headlines. How the worm turns. 8. (8) Argentina – Current IRB ranking: 6 (6) With matches against England, Wales and Scotland coming up, we will get some idea as to how the Pumas are really travelling. 9. (9) Fiji – Current IRB ranking: 9 (9) Now that the Pacific alliance is no more, Fiji face tough away matches against Scotland, Ireland and USA. 10. (10) Scotland – Current IRB ranking: 10 (10) They shouldn’t be 10th in the world and won’t be if they beat Fiji on November 15.
Harlequins have escaped a ban from the lucrative European Cup despite the fake blood scandal that has seen the English Premiership club hit with a massive fine and former rugby director Dean Richards banned for three years.The Cup’s organisers, European Rugby Cup (ERC), ruled on Wednesday that there was “no reason to interfere with the participation of Harlequins in the 2009-10 European Cup”.But they also warned that there could be further action against individuals at Quins when they meet again next week.The ERC said in its appeal hearing of Richards that the 46-year-old former Leicester and England No.8 had been central to the blood cheating scandal.Quins winger Tom Williams faked a blood injury to allow a substitution to be made in last April’s European Cup quarter-final against Leinster.He was given a fake blood capsule in an attempt to get goal-kicker Nick Evans, who had earlier left the field injured, back into the action with the score at 6-5 in Leinster’s favour – the Irish province went on to win the game.Quins were hit with a 260,000 pounds ($A507,860) fine, while Richards was forced to resign after being banned from rugby for three years and Williams was also given a four-month ban.”Richards was the directing mind and had central control over everything that happened in relation to the fabrication of the blood injury on the pitch, and the cover-up in the days after the match,” the ERC said on Wednesday.” … It was Mr Richards who had instigated and directed arrangements which enabled the fabrication of blood injuries as and when that was convenient and would assist the club during matches.”In one of the highest profile matches in which the club had ever been involved, he was prepared to try to cheat Leinster out of a victory by bringing on a player at a crucial stage in the match when that player was not entitled to return to the field of play.”He was quite disinterested in the consideration that by acting the way he did the club which deserved to win the match might be deprived of its victory.”The ERC will meet next week to decide if there could be further action against individuals at Quins given that Richards had encouraged others to deliberately mislead the investigating bodies.”Mr Richards arranged matters so that those who were charged with misconduct complaints would lie to the legal team and would then lie to the disciplinary hearing,” the ERC said.”Mr Richards was by far and away the most experienced and senior individual involved.”It was open to him at any stage to have said that ‘enough is enough’ and that the reputation of rugby and Harlequins had been sufficiently damaged.”If he had admitted at any stage prior to the conclusion of the disciplinary hearing the truth of what had happened then the damage to individuals, the club and the game of rugby union would have been very much reduced.”The RFU later announced they would take no further action until the ERC had made its final decisions. AFP