Researchers learning more about Asheville’s bears

635869014084951182-bear-1(Asheville Citizen-Times) Last spring and summer, researchers tracked a black bear that traveled from Asheville to portions of Graham County, likely crossing roads and moving through populated areas along the 80-mile trek. But the bear didn’t stay put. He turned around and headed back to Asheville, according to wildlife biologist Mike Carraway. The round trip took several months.

“He just took off and explored other territory and decided that he liked Asheville better and came back,” Carraway said. The young bear was fitted with a GPS collar as part of a five-year study aimed at finding out more about urban and suburban bear populations in and around Asheville. The study is a joint effort between the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and N.C. State University, and it is in its second year.

Read the full report HERE>

Muslims Protect Christmas Mass After France Heightens Security at Churches

cxfq4hzw8aaf7kx(Good News Network) After the French Interior Minister called for strengthening security during Christmas worship services, a group of 12 Muslim men stood outside the entrance to one church in Pas-de-Calais to offer protection from any possible terrorist attacks.

The symbolic show of unity during midnight mass was organized by Hashim El Jazaoui of the Union of Muslim Citizens in the northern French area of Lens, reports Belgium’s RTL.

Read the full report HERE>

NC Supreme Court bars registered sex offenders from some social media sites

nc_supreme_court_building_2010(Raleigh News & Observer) The N.C. Supreme Court has upheld a state law prohibiting registered sex offenders from using Facebook or other social networking sites that minors can join. In the split opinion issued Friday, the justices reversed an N.C. Court of Appeals ruling that found the 2008 law too broad and vague, and therefore unconstitutional. The challenge was brought by Lester Gerard Parkingham Jr., a registered sex offender in North Carolina, who faced additional charges after Durham police found a Facebook page he created under an assumed name.

The case raises questions about whether such laws prohibit sex offenders from participating in web-based forums, which have become virtual town squares, as they re-enter society. The four justices in the majority ruled that the “incidental burden imposed” upon convicted sex offenders “is not greater than necessary to further the governmental interest of protecting children from registered sex offenders.”

Read the full story HERE>

Houston Praised for Moving 4,100 Homeless Vets to Permanent Housing

280a5960-1-e1448391455275(Good News Network) Thousands of homeless vets and their families have permanent roofs over their heads in Houston, Texas thanks to an aggressive effort to eliminate veteran homelessness. At least 4,114 formerly homeless veterans, and their spouses and children, have been housed since 2012– which nearly cut in half the city’s homeless population. Houston’s effort, dubbed “The Way Home,” takes the ‘Housing First’ approach — putting the homeless in permanent housing before tackling any underlying issues that led to their situation. The program allowed Utah to reduce homelessness by 91% over ten years. This year has seen repeated milestones in combating veteran homelessness: New Orleans, Louisiana became the first city in the U.S. to eliminate it in January; Connecticut became the first state to end chronic homelessness among veterans in August; and Virginia, the first state to functionally eliminate it for all its veterans in November.

Read the full report and watch a video report HERE>

New Diabetes Cases, at Long Last, Begin to Fall in the United States

01diabetes1-master675(New York Times)  After decades of relentless rise, the number of new cases of diabetes in the United States has finally started to decline. The rate of new cases fell by about a fifth from 2008 to 2014, according to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the first sustained decline since the disease started to explode in this country about 25 years ago. The drop has been gradual and for a number of years was not big enough to be statistically meaningful. But new data for 2014 released on Tuesday serves as a robust confirmation that the decline is real, officials said. There were 1.4 million new cases of diabetes in 2014, down from 1.7 million in 2008.

Read the full report HERE>