Picture Rocks Pride

Volume 5, Number 6 July, 2007

Welcome to the Picture Rocks Digest, a free newsletter about issues and events in the community. The print version of this all-volunteer publication is distributed at area businesses and community sites. If you have calendar events or news items, or if you would like to be added to our email list, please contact us at PictureRocksDigest@comcast.net.

The Picture Rocks Digest is a publication of Citizens for Picture Rocks, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(4) civic organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in the community. Citizens for Picture Rocks meets the third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm in the Picture Rocks Community Center, 5615 N. Sanders Road. Meetings are free and open to the public. The next meeting is August 21, 2007. Everyone is welcome to attend — membership not required, but highly recommended! 


Speaking at the June 19 Citizens for Picture Rocks meeting, Picture Rocks Fire Department Division Chief Debbie Trimble and five firefighters outlined ways for residents to protect themselves and their neighbors. As shown in the news, wildfires during the extreme drought are raging in many states, including Arizona. They often begin unnoticed and spread quickly, especially in dry grasses.

Debbie Trimble PRFD Division Chief Debbie Trimble, who has been with the department since 1984, shared fire safety information and answered audience questions. She also announced that the Fire Department will celebrate its 30th Anniversary on November 3. Watch for details.

Among the ways to protect your own property are:

Fire Fighters

PRFD firefighters Lyle Kennedy, Charles Hay, Karl Peipelman, Chris Farmer and Chris Cover answered audience questions and shared their experiences dealing with emergencies in the area

July Meeting Cancelled
Next Regular Monthly Meeting will be
Tuesday, August 21, 7:00 p.m.

Picture Rocks Community Center
5615 N. Sanders Road
Guest speaker: Tom Evans,
Tucson Electric Power Company,
on monsoon season safety.

Join us for an iced tea social time
before the meeting, at 6:30 p.m.
All neighbors are welcome.


Recently a media contest for Southern Arizona's "Seven Wonders" named Picture Rocks as one of the region's treasures - not our community, but the petroglyphs at the Redemptorist Center over the hill off Picture Rocks Road.

Actually, there are many petroglyph sites in the Avra Valley. Most are hard to find, except for Signal Hill in Saguaro National Park (West), well worth a visit after paying the visitor's fee at the Red Hills Visitor Center. The Signal Hill picnic area, with the 1/4 mile trail to the petroglyphs, is reached on Golden Gate Road, off Sandario, north of the Kinney Road intersection.

Petroglyphs (commonly called glyphs) are drawings pecked, carved or incised into rocks, and were made by the Huhugam people a thousand and more years ago, and by the Archaic peoples before them.

Drawings that are painted on rocks are called pictographs. Among the most common depictions are sunbursts, spirals and circles, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelopes, mountain lions, dancing people, pregnant stick figures, and abstract designs.

While archaeologists disagree on the meaning of many symbols, it is likely that petroglyphs often tell a story, offer prayers for good hunting and fertility, show locations, establish clan territory, and dramatize representations of a spirit world visited by shamans. They are not random markings or graffiti, as some have suggested. A look at the perfect spiral on top of Signal Hill, created by hitting a rock chisel with a rock hammer into an uneven angular rock face with precision, shows the great care and skill that went into making petroglyphs, the reason they are often known as rock art. Rock art sites are believed to be sacred and should not be disturbed or touched or climbed on. They are protected by law and monitored by Site Stewards and Park rangers.

Three views of the many petroglyphs adorning the rocks atop Signal Hill in Saguaro National Park - West.

The Huhugam people, believed by the Tohono O'odham to be their ancestors, lived near waterways like the Santa Cruz River, and built extensive canals to irrigate crops of corn, beans, squash and cotton as much as six miles from the river. In the summer, groups came over the hill to grow crops, and moved tons of rocks to control rainwater flooding down from hills during the chubasco season. And they made amazing rock art that we are lucky enough to enjoy and appreciate a millennium later.

(Note: If you are interested in learning more about Arizona archaeology, Old Pueblo Archaeology Center has free talks on the third Thursday of each month, 7:30 p.m., 5100 W. Ina Road. For information, call 798-1201.)


Relatively flat terrain evening hikes are scheduled in Saguaro National Park - West for Fridays, July 20, August 3 and August 17 at 6 p.m. The two-mile, two-hour walks require advance reservations; call 733-5158. An early morning Bird Walk is set for Saturday, August 4, at 6 a.m.

The Park recently laid out alternative plans for trails in the Park, and public comment is invited before July 28. One plan would add a new trail around the Civilian Conservation Corps ruins off Rudasill Road. Others would limit or add horse and bicycle activities. To check it all out and comment, click here.


The Marana Health Center and Marana Unified School District will host the 6th Annual Marana Care Fair at Marana Middle School, 11279 W. Grier Road, on Saturday, August 4, 7:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Booths will provide information on a variety of health and medical topics. Children's activities will include a jumping castle, clown, pony rides and food. Free immunizations and dental screenings will be available for K-12 students, 7th-12th grade sports physical for $20, and eligibility screening for AHCCCS and KidsCare.


At the June, 2007 meeting of Citizens for Picture Rocks, local students James Julian, Dillon Elster, Mike Balicki and Alex spoke to members about the need for more activities for young people in Picture Rocks. They volunteered to help create a Youth Advisory Council that will address the needs and concerns of our youth. CPR members Dann Barr and Tammy Shanley volunteered to be the adult advisors to the Council. Those wanting to get involved can call Dann or Tammy at 603-8099.

At the July Coordinating Committee meeting, Roy Johnson of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tucson explained how that organization operates and how its programs might benefit Picture Rocks youth. We thank him for making the long trip out here and sharing valuable information.


On June 30, Citizens for Picture Rocks President Tom Allen, Secretary Kaitlin Meadows, and Coordinating Committee Chair Jackie Hale attended a PRO Neighborhoods workshop on graffiti removal. Graffiti is illegal activity, often gang-related, and should be removed as soon as possible. The participants came home with some tools and some good ideas on preventing and/or removing graffiti, and certificates entitling them to limited support when the community sets out to remove graffiti.


The phone number for the Ortiz Community Health Center in the recently-published Get Connected Picture Rocks! guide to local services and businesses was incorrect; the correct number is (520) 682-3777. Sorry for any inconvenience. The guide is available at local businesses and at the Picture Rocks Community Center.


We live in the desert in a time of extreme drought and water conservation is always in order. Here are a few ways to save water (and maybe even lower bills):

The Picture Rocks Digest is written by Albert Lannon (email: bluemoon@dakotacom.net; phone: 622-3561). Additional materials and formatting by Karen Zopf. Distribution of the print version is thanks to Jim Pethe.