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There's A 'Bear Epidemic' Out West, And It's 'About To Get Worse'

As Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen has reported for All Things Considered, encounters between humans and bears are up sharply across the western U.S. The bears are having to cover more territory because of droughts that have dried up some of their natural foods, including berries.

Today, ABC News adds that "across the West, communities are in the midst of a black bear epidemic this summer as the hungry critters venture into backyards and neighborhoods in a search for food."

And now, with cooler weather coming, bears are starting to "bulk up for winter hibernation," ABC adds. "In other words, the problem is about to get worse."

Aspen, Colo., already logged a record "292 bear calls in August, a whopping 668 percent increase compared with the 38 bear calls logged in the same month last year," the Aspen Times reports.

In Vail, Colo., last week, the local Daily posted photos of a "ninja bear" that evaded capture.

Yes, we do seem to have a thing for stories about bears, real and toy:

-- Bears With Taste For Beer Have Quite A Night In Norway.

-- Sweet Story: Bear Breaks Into Candy Shop, Feasts; Camera Captures It All.

-- Belarus Invaded By Teddy Bears! Two Generals Sacked.

-- 'Falling Bear,' We Hardly Knew You; Famous Bruin Killed On Highway.

-- Jewel (The Bear) Gives Birth To (At Least) Two Cubs.

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Elvis Costello: 'There Is No Absolute Right And Wrong About Music'

Throughout his memoir, Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink, Costello grapples with parallels to his father's life. "In the end, music was playing in the room when my father left this earth," he says.

Why Wal-Mart And Other Retail Chains May Not Fix The Food Deserts

Americans' junk food calories increasingly come from big box and convenience stores rather than traditional grocers, a study finds. And researchers say this trend is a public health concern.

Planned Parenthood To Stop Accepting Reimbursement For Fetal Tissue

Planned Parenthood says it will no longer accept reimbursement for the cost of providing fetal tissue to researchers. The move is a response to sting videos and accusations that the organization unlawfully profits from such donations.

Groups Aim To Make It Easier To Own A Cable TV Box Instead Of Renting

A study estimated that 99 percent of cable TV subscribers rent their set-top boxes and pay on average $231 a year to do so. Groups want to make it easier for consumers to own similar devices.

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