Picture Rocks Pride

Volume 6, Number 4 April, 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 April 15, 2008. Everyone is welcome to attend. Membership not required, but highly recommended!


Community residents of all ages turned out at a special meeting on March 15 to decide what projects might be developed with some $300,000 left-over 2004 bond funds. Dist. 3 Supervisor Sharon Bronson and the Pima County Neighborhood Reinvestment Program have urged Picture Rocks residents to come to a community consensus. While the idea of a BMX bike-skate park has been on the table for several months, several other ideas emerged and it seemed to Citizens for Picture Rocks officers that more input was needed.

About 60 people attended a special community consensus meeting held at Sandario Baptist Church last month consensus meeting

Participants overwhelmingly favored proceeding with the BMX bike-skate park proposal. They also voted in favor of installing a camera surveillance system in the park so long as the cost does not exceed 10% of the available funds. The BMX bike-skate park outpolled other proposals nearly four-to-one (78%), with about half of voters also favoring a camera system. There was also support for refurbishing the volleyball area.

vote counting C4PR members Pam Moseley, Brenda Howard and Wes Stewart tallied the votes after further discussion of project ideas at the March 18 monthly meeting

Neighborhood Reinvestment Program Coordinator Bennett Bernal applauded C4PR, saying, "It's important to make sure that a project has the consensus of a community. You guys did truly try for consensus. Things should move pretty swiftly now." A committee of Karen Zopf, Kaitlin Meadows and Pam Moseley will write the formal application and submit it to the County in May. Board member Tom Allen told the group on Saturday, "We need our young people to step up and police themselves." President Greg Mattison added that it was up to parents to volunteer to help work with young people to learn to self-police.


Speaking at the March 18 Citizens for Picture Rocks meeting, Saguaro National Park Superintendent Sarah Craighead said again that there is no plan to close Picture Rocks Road, and that traffic "calming" proposals in the new General Management Plan would have to be open for public comment before being put into place to slow traffic. Some 7,000 vehicles use Picture Rocks Road through the Park daily.

She also called attention to the dangers of non-native buffelgrass taking over the desert and choking out the saguaros, as well as creating a fire hazard. Craighead urged people to dig out and destroy any buffelgrass on their property. Craighead also urged residents to make use of the Park's many programs, including hikes, talks and slide shows. For more information, call 733-5158.

Regular Monthly Meeting
Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Picture Rocks Community Center
5615 N. Sanders Road

Guest Speaker: John Hewitt on the
proposed I-10 bypass through Avra Valley

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.


Despite its own consultant's report noting that Saguaro National Park and a Bureau of Reclamation wildlife mitigation corridor make the Avra Valley a poor choice for a possible bypass for Interstate 10, the State Transportation Board removed two San Pedro Valley routes from its study plan and kept the Avra Valley and an Aravaipa route under consideration. After public and political pressure forced a series of public input meetings -- where area residents were almost unanimously opposed to any bypass -- the Board has severely limited public input at its meetings.

Chaired by real estate lawyer Si Schorr, the Board seems determined to nail down a bypass route without considering other ideas to help traffic, such as a "trucks only" right lane as many states have. Critics fear that even with unanimous opposition from the Pima County Board of Supervisors, the Transportation Board may cut a deal with the Bureau of Reclamation to allow the 300-foot-wide gash through our community that a freeway would make.


With the best wildflower show in a decade fading as dry days get warmer, cacti are starting to blossom. Already hedgehogs sport bright purple flowers. Saguaros are sprouting fat buds on top that will soon open up into white flowers. Palo Verde, Mesquite and Catclaw Acacia trees light up the desert with bright yellow blooms. Butterflies are everywhere! Coveys of Gambel's Quail disband as the birds pair up for mating. White-winged doves return from their winter ranges.

Mohave rattlesnake Mohave rattlesnake

The desert wildflowers may be past their prime, but the cacti are just beginning to strut their stuff. This staghorn cholla (left) blooms in several different colors, but hedgehogs are always a vibrant fuchsia

With warmer weather also comes a threat to birds, especially doves and pigeons. Trichomoniasis is a parasite that invades the birdĀ’s digestive tract and causes it to starve to death. The bug is most easily transmitted at bird seed feeders. With a Spring abundance of seeds available normally, it would be a favor to the doves to leave bird feeders empty from April to September. Quail blocks set on the ground, or bird seed scattered on the ground, might be an alternative for those who donĀ’t want to abandon their fine- feathered friends.


Picture Rocks residents recently received a mailing from a new trash disposal company, Tucson Trash Haulers, offering weekly pickups for $9 a month. A phone call established that, for Picture Rocks, it would be $11 a month. Desert Dwellers Disposal, which was sold to Pima Waste of Tucson (locally-owned) March 1, is willing to match that rate to retain their customers. Both companies offer a large new container plus a bin for recycling cans, newspaper and plastic bottles. In a call to our other trash company, Waste Management, representatives told us from Phoenix that they had no plans to lower their price to meet the competition. (Note: Citizens for Picture Rocks and Picture Rocks Digest make no recommendation or endorsement of any business, but want our neighbors to be able to make informed decisions on how we spend our hard-earned money.)


Fifteen volunteers turned out on Saturday, April 5, to pick up litter along three sections of local roadways, on Sandario, Rudasill and Picture Rocks Roads. While remarking that there seems to be less trash with each cleanup, still more than 40 bags were filled. Lunch was provided to volunteers with a generous discount from the Minit Market Subway. Tools came from a PRO Neighborhoods grant, and trash bags and safety vests were provided by Pima County Transportation Department. Jan Pekelder and Chris Banks coordinated the cleanup. The next Adopt-A-Roadway cleanup will be the last Saturday in October.

Have an interest rate you didn't bargain for?
Check out Pima County's "Don't Borrow Trouble" Hotline


Citizens for Picture Rocks and the Picture Rocks Community Center are sponsoring a community fair on Saturday, May 3, from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the community center. Kids' activities, games, hot dogs, an art exhibit, craft booths, and many community resources will be featured, and it's free (donations accepted). If you would like to get involved and help out, please call Jamie Kisthardt at 682-0287.



Educational programs are available for pregnant women and families with children from birth to four years old from Head Start. Programs are free to income-eligible participants. There is a Head Start Center on Rudasill Road, near Sanders. For information, call 616-7050.


The "Young Women's Speak Out!" Conference will be held Saturday, April 26, 8:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. at City High School. The purpose of the conference is to raise awareness among high school and middle school age young women about topics important to their health and well-being. Among the workshop offerings are: Self-esteem, Body Image and the Media; Explore, Plan and Prepare for College and Careers; Running for Political Office; and Women's Leadership Past and Present. No conference fee; breakfast and lunch provided. Registration forms are available online or from the Tucson Women's Commission at 624-8318.


The Marana Arts Council presents the 2nd annual " Marana Youth Arts Festival: A Passport to Creative Expression" on Saturday, April 19, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Continental Ranch Community Park (8900 N. Coachline Blvd.). Activities include "Make & Take" arts stations, student art exhibits, and live performances by the Marana School Jazz Group, Tom Moser's Youth Theater, The Human Project (Hip-Hop), Marana Middle School's Fiddlin' Falcons, Ballet Folklorico Tapatio and Mabadeliko Ashe Dance Group. This all day event is free to the public and for all ages ($5 for art projects). For more information contact Carmen Feriend 682-4488. This event is made possible in part by the Tucson Pima Arts Council.

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