Picture Rocks Pride

Volume 6, Number 2 February, 2008

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 February 19, 2008. Everyone is welcome to attend. Membership not required, but highly recommended! 


Winter in the desert shifts into spring despite winds and frosts. Already some trees and plants are blooming, pollen lies golden on the ground, bees are humming, and the first lizards are making a cautious exit from hibernation.

On the Brown Mountain hiking trail a tiny wild filaree hugs the dirt with its thin white petals. There has been enough gentle winter rain, what the O'odham call "female" rain, to (hopefully) give us a great desert wildflower season. If that happens, this month we might see pink fairy dusters, yellow bladderpods, desert marigolds, groundsel, and brittlebrush, followed by white desert anemones, desert star, chicory, and evening primrose, which unfold little white flowers at sunset to attract hawk moths, then wilts in the morning.

fairyduster desert marigold lupine

Fairyduster is one of the earliest blooms in the desert spring

Around Easter time you'll likely find hillsides covered with Desert Marigolds in full bloom

By mid-March lupines make their appearence near washes or along roadsides

Then come orange monkey flowers, red paintbrush, purple verbenas, fuchsia penstemons, fragrant white mock-orange, and perhaps sand blazing stars and ghost flowers, their cream-colored petals streaked with orange.

By the time the chance of frost is past in mid-March, look for dock, with its clumps of creamy little bell-like flowers, desert plantago and streptanthus, orange-cupped globe mallows, Arizona and Mexican poppies, and the tubular chuparosa, named in Spanish for the hummingbirds that feed on them. Tiny yellow flowers adorn the creosote bushes, purple lupines rise alongside roads, and spring is soon officially here!

Spring also sees the return of the broad-billed hummingbird, Casin's and Western kingbirds, along with cliff and barn swallows. As flowers bloom, bird breeding and nesting is in full swing. Lizards appear, speedy whiptails, zebra-tails who wave their black and white tails to scare hunters off, desert spiny lizards doing pushups to make themselves look larger, delicate night-roaming geckos, as well as leopard, side-blotched and earless lizards. By summer large desert iguanas and ant-eating regal horned lizards will also be about.

Along with wildflowers come unwanted plants, weeds, which may grow high and become fire hazards as they dry out when summer heat parches the land. And don't forget that lots of green vegetation means lots of rabbits and ground squirrels, which, in turn, attract snakes. More on that next month.

There are many good desert wildflower books, some available at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Saguaro National Park gift shops. The Southern Arizona Nature Almanac by Roseann Beggy Hanson and Jonathan Hanson (University of Arizona Press) gives a detailed month-by-month discussion of what's happening around us.

Regular Monthly Meeting
Tuesday,February 19, 2008

Picture Rocks Community Center
5615 N. Sanders Road

Guest Speaker: Mark Schwirtz,
General Manager and CEO,
Trico Electric Cooperative

Iced tea social time starts at 6:30 p.m.
Meeting starts at 7:00 p.m.
Meetings are free and open to all neighbors.


Help Shape the Future of Our Community
Saturday, March 15, 10:00 a.m.
Sandario Baptist Church
6971 N. Sandario Road

Pima County bond money is available for neighborhood improvement projects in Picture Rocks. Area residents are invited to gather and share their ideas and suggestions at this special event sponsored by Citizens for Picture Rocks.


A new Board of Directors has taken office at Picture Rocks Community Center, Inc. (PRCCI) following the resignation of Billie Donohue for health reasons. The new president is Bernum Pearson, with Carline Bordelon as Vice President, Olga Schombert, Secretary, and Willa Grandel, Treasurer.

Talking with Picture Rocks Digest, Bernum said that Billie "is a tough act to follow." He advocates resolving long-standing conflicts with the Pima County-run Picture Rocks Community Center (PRCC), and sees the private, non-profit PRCCI as focusing on food and clothing banks and its thrift store, areas not duplicating PRCC programs. Bernum hopes to see both community centers providing each other with mutual support, noting that area residents use both facilities.

A resident of Avra Valley, Bernum retired from Pennzoil's mining division and volunteers with a program to feed needy children. He hopes to use PRCCI as a model that could be migrated to other communities, and is looking for more volunteers ("There are never enough!") and a couple of board members, as well as donations for the thrift store (open daily 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at 6691 N. Sandario Road). For more information, call PRCCI at 616-7096.


Kaitlin Kaitlin Meadows (pictured left), in her second year as a Citizens for Picture Rocks Board member and Secretary, was approved by the Pima County Board of Supervisors on February 5 as a member of the Pima County Women's Commission, representing District 3.

District 3 Supervisor Sharon Bronson , who nominated Kaitlin, said that she "is a dedicated community activist and volunteer for Picture Rocks. She has successfully pursued two PRO Neighborhoods grants and works closely with other Pima County agencies on behalf of Picture Rocks. She will be a strong voice for rural and ex-urban women and families as she serves on the Commission."


Even with independent voters left out of the Democrat and Republican primary balloting, 1,614 Picture Rocks residents voted at precinct number 113 at the Sandario Baptist Church. Unofficial tallies of all votes, including provisional and early ballots, show that Democrat Hillary Clinton outpolled Barack Obama, 345 to 203. On the Republican side, Mitt Romney came in first with 288 votes, closely followed by John McCain with 278, leaving Mike Huckabee far behind with 78 votes. Ron Paul received 14 votes.

Citizens for Picture Rocks, while maintaining a non-partisan position and not endorsing any candidates, will once again host Candidate Night Forums for local offices, including Sheriff, State Representative, State Senator, County Supervisor and others affecting our district. Meetings are open to all neighbors; check future issues of Picture Rocks Digest or Desert Times.


Beware of fraudulent phone calls and emails that claim to be from the IRS. They may claim to offer rebates or refunds, or warn of audits, but they are really identity theft attempts. The IRS does NOT gather information by telephone and does NOT send unsolicited email about tax account matters. For more information, visit the official IRS website.


Dave Liss Citizens for Picture Rocks set up a Community Emergency Response Team last year, and organizer Ken Kisthardt went to work on establishing Emergency Evacuation Centers closer to home.

Marana Unified School District Safety and Security Director Dave Liss (pictured left) told the January C4PR meeting that Picture Rocks Intermediate and Marana Middle Schools are now online to serve as Emergency Evacuation Centers if necessary. Marana High School is about half-way ready to join the network.


The Picture Rocks Digest is written by Albert Lannon (email: bluemoon@dakotacom.net; phone: 622-3561). Additional materials and design by Karen J. Zopf.