PICTURE ROCKS DIGEST
|Volume 6, Number 5||May, 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 May 20, 2008. Everyone is welcome to attend. Membership not required, but highly recommended!
COMMUNITY FAIR ATTRACTS HUNDREDS
The second-ever Picture Rocks Community Fair, co-sponsored by Citizens for Picture Rocks and the Picture Rocks Community Center, was held at the Center on Saturday, May 3. Hundreds of neighbors came, with about as many children as adults. There were hot dogs and baked goods, free ice cream courtesy of Schwann's Home Food Delivery, games and prizes for the kids hosted by the Girl Scouts, a quilt show and an art show by PRCC quilters and artists, music by the talented folks from Hummin' 'n' Strummin', a "white elephant" sale, and a gopher snake, two desert tortoises and a tarantula provided by Saguaro National Park.
|The critters displayed by Saguaro National Park staff were a big hit with all ages. Mary Williams, left, holds a gopher snake, and kids have a chance to pet a baby desert tortoise.|
Informational tables featured Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, the Pima Council on Aging, American Red Cross, Sheriff's Auxiliary Volunteers, Picture Rocks Fire Dept., Pima County Dept. of Environmental Quality, the new Wheeler Taft Abbett Library, Friends of the Jaguar , Workplace Meditation, and Citizens for Picture Rocks. Dist. 3 Supervisor Sharon Bronson was on hand, along with State Rep. Jennifer Burns (who is not running for re-election), and candidate Ric Boyer, who would like one of the two District 25 seats. Sherry West and Diane Mattison won free paintings in the art club's raffle. Jamie Kisthardt expertly coordinated dozens of volunteers. Donations exceeded expenses, and a good time, as they say, was had by all.
PARK PROPOSAL READIED FOR SUBMISSION
The formal presentation to the Neighborhood Reinvestment Oversight Committee for a BMX bike-skate park and security cameras in Picture Rocks Park is scheduled for May 30. C4PR President Greg Mattison and Board Member Tom Allen, along with young bikers and skaters, will address the group about the project. C4PR Treasurer Karen Zopf compiled the proposal, which includes more than 600 petition signatures and letters of support from various segments of the community. The proposal grows out of Dist. 3 Supervisor Sharon Bronson┬’s commitment to a project in Picture Rocks to be funded with 2004 bond money. The community agreed that activities for area youth would be the priority.
|BMX bikers and skaters like Picture Rocks Intermediate student Matt Jones currently have no safe and legal public space to practice their sports in Picture Rocks.|
CITIZENS FOR PICTURE ROCKS
Regular Monthly Meeting
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Picture Rocks Community Center
5615 N. Sanders Road
Guests: Karol Davis, Ortiz Health Center,
& the new owner of Desert Dwellers Disposal.
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.
Come on in, the water's fine! Pool opens Memorial Day weekend.
THIS SPECIAL PLACE WE LIVE IN
With the best wildflower show in a decade fading in the ever-hotter sun, a few flowers remain to delight us:
orange globemallows, yellow marigolds and daisies, and soon the big white
sacred datura blossoms (pictured below). Saguaros are topped
with creamy white flowers which will set fruit, fruit that has been harvested for thousands of years by native
peoples, and still is.
Summer is definitely on the horizon, so remember to drink lots of water, use lots of sunscreen, wear a hat, and water plants early in the morning or in the evening.
|The poisonous datura is sometimes called jimsonweed or thornapple and is used in certain Native American spiritual ceremonies|
As the days warm up, desert tortoises become more active. While they generally hang out in a small
territory looking for vegetation to munch, they have been known to travel over 20 miles and back.
Protected by law, desert tortoises should never be taken from the wild. If you see one by a roadside, you
can help by pulling over safely, lifting the tortoise without tilting it and carrying it across the road, setting it
down facing the way it was going.
Desert tortoises, Gopherus agassizii, are truly ancient and can live up to 100 years with safety from predators, especially dogs. Rescued tortoises are often available for adoption. If you are interested in caring for one, contact the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum at 883-1380.
RIDING WITH PIMA COUNTY DEPUTIES:
80% BOREDOM, 20% SHEER TERROR
(Part 1 of 2)
Picture Rocks Digest writer Albert Lannon recently spent a Friday shift from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. on a
Sheriff's Deputy "ridealong." This is his story.
He's driving his 2005 Ford Expedition XLT with one ear listening to the two-way radio, one eye on the computer screen, and the other on the road. I'm riding with Sergeant Jim Roat, a Pima County Deputy Sheriff and swing shift supervisor at the Tucson Mountain District Station in Picture Rocks. Sergeant Roat has been a deputy for 12 years, coming to this station from Green Valley in December 2007. He was educated in upstate New York to become a science teacher, but chose law enforcement because he wants "to help people, to serve the community."
Serving the community this Friday afternoon means responding to a call about a possible burglary in progress in Avra Valley. We're there in four minutes. Jim says the usual response time is six or seven minutes for calls about major incidents. A window at one end of the manufactured home is open, some framing on the ground that could have been used as a ladder. Another patrol car arrives, and within a dozen minutes of the call, four cars are there. Cell phone calls to the resident of the house get only an answering machine. The deputies approach the house carefully, weapons drawn. They don't want to be surprised by a desperate drug-addled thief who may be armed. They all wear 10-pound Kevlar vests along with 15 or 20 pounds of equipment -- gun, Taser, cuffs, flashlight, etc. -- on their belts. The house is empty, one room ransacked, but the TV and other salable items are intact. A neighbor comes over to say that the suspect saw the deputy's vehicle and took off. A note was left for the resident with a case number.
Sergeant Roat agrees with what a former meth head told me awhile back, that increased law enforcement, restrictions on over-the-counter medicine sales, and cheaper drugs coming across the border have reduced the number of meth labs in the area. The deputies get a lot of calls about border-crossing activity, often drug-related, or sometimes just illegal immigrants who might themselves be victimized by bandits. Those without documents are detained and turned over to the Border Patrol. Crimes are investigated no matter what the victim's status is.
EDUCATION, NOT QUOTAS
Sergeant Roat pulls over an ATV on El Tiro Road with one little chirp of his siren. He checks in on the
radio so that colleagues will know where he is in case of trouble. He talks to the young man driving the
machine and tells him the rules of the road. He takes note of the man's driver's license number, but lets him
off with a warning. Jim tells me the deputies give a lot of verbal and written warnings, that there is no
"quota" for writing tickets. "The goal," he tells me, "is to get people to follow the rules, obey the laws, not
just write tickets." However, there is a very low tolerance, he adds, for drinking and driving.
The Sheriff's Department, Jim tells me, really welcomes community involvement and support, including things like Neighborhood Watch and Citizens for Picture Rocks' Walk and Watch in Picture Rocks Park. I mention past complaints about poor feedback, and he tells me cases often get passed along to the detectives downtown, or to another agency, and are out of their control. But, he added, every case has a case number and can be tracked. He told me he would impress on his crew the importance of feedback, and would himself try to regularly attend Citizens for Picture Rocks meetings.
The Tucson Mountain District station's territory runs from the Silverbell Mountains to Wade Road, San Joaquin (just south of Mile Wide) to the Pinal County line, except for Marana. The station is under the command of Lieutenant Scott Martin. When things are slow and there are no incident calls, deputies patrol 100 to 200 miles a day, being visible on the back roads of Rillito as well as on the main roads of the district, looking for irregularities that might signal a crime in progress. Many days, Jim laughs, "are 80 percent boredom and 20 percent sheer terror." Deputies also use the slow periods to track down people with outstanding warrants. Today there is not much time for that. (To be continued next month.
SHERIFF'S AUXILIARY VOLUNTEERS
Sheriff┬’s Auxiliary Volunteers (SAVs) support Sheriff's Department personnel in unincorporated Pima County. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and able to pass a background check. They provide administrative support, help with traffic and crowd control, fingerprinting, and, with additional training, may assist in emergency response situations. They may also teach safety and crime prevention classes, manage Neighborhood Watch programs, and make free videos of valuables in people's homes. The SAV is a nationally-recognized and award-winning volunteer program. Info: 741-4903.
IN THE NEWS
The headlines below appeared recently in local newspapers Complete stories are available online. Summaries highlight
information that may be of interest to Picture Rocks residents and were compiled by Picture Rocks Digest staff.
Intersection to Get 3-way Stop Sign, (Arizona Daily Star, 5/15/08). The town of Marana will install a three-way stop sign at Sandario and Emigh roads near Marana High School to make the intersection safer for students and area residents. Construction is expected to begin in June.
T-Mobile Sues County Over Tower: Company wants to put 65-foot cell phone spire in Picture Rocks , (Arizona Daily Star, 5/13/08) Following a unanimous vote by the Board of Supervisors to deny T-Mobile a permit to construct a permanent cell phone tower in the 6800 block of North Sandario Road, T-Mobile filed a federal lawsuit citing a need to fill in gaps in coverage that put cell phone users at risk.
Sagging Saguaro Springs, (Arizona Daily Star, 5/8/08). Construction in the planned 2400-home community on Twin Peaks Road just west of Rattlesnake pass is on hold due to financial problems of managing partner Empire Land who filed for bankruptcy last month.
Have an interest rate you didn't bargain for?
Check out Pima County's "Don't Borrow Trouble" Hotline
The Picture Rocks Digest is written by Albert Lannon (email: email@example.com; phone: 622-3561). Additional materials and design by Karen J. Zopf.