|Volume 7, Number 6||June, 2009|
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 June 16, 2009. Everyone is welcome to attend. Membership not required, but highly recommended. Dues are $20/year for an individual or $25/year for a family.
There were cakewalks and jumping castles, games and live music, food and exhibits, raffles and contests,
fire engines and fire fighters, deputy sheriffs and a Bookmobile. The Picture Rocks Pride Community
Faire, put together by Citizens for Picture Rocks and the Picture Rocks Community Center, took place at
the Community Center and Park on May 9. Some 500 people of all ages came out in the 100+ degree heat.
And it was all free to neighbors, thanks to a grant from PRO Neighborhoods.
Dist. 3 Supervisor Sharon Bronson and representatives from Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation were on hand to symbolically break ground for a new BMX-Skate Park and to celebrate installation of shade covering over the children's playground.
Supervisor Sharon Bronson, C4PR Youth Advisory Council members and others helped break ground for the new BMX-Skate Park. Construction should begin in July! Click here to see more Faire photos.
Speaking at the ribbon-cutting festivities, which followed a flag ceremony by Boy Scout Pack 218, C4PR
President Kaitlin Meadows said, "The Picture Rocks Pride Community Faire is the result of months of very
hard work done by dozens of volunteers to create a day to celebrate the many accomplishments we have
been able to bring to Picture Rocks."
Supervisor Sharon Bronson, who found the funding for the BMX-Skate Park in the 2004 bond money, said, "Picture Rocks is a shining example of how concerned citizens can make a positive difference in their community. I am proud to be a part of the work Citizens for Picture Rocks is doing to bring good things to the people of Picture Rocks and I applaud the efforts of all the dedicated volunteers who made the Picture Rocks Pride Community Faire such a fun event for the whole family."
Door prizes were donated by Picture Rocks Horseshoe Restaurant , Picture Rocks Hardware, Picture Rocks Hair Care, Albertson's Foods, Bookman's, Linda Price Special Gifts, Party City, Wells Fargo Bank, and Dairy Queen. At the end of the day, a telescope donated by Chris and Dorothy Banks, and four reconditioned computers from Pima County's Faith Based and Community Initiatives were awarded to lucky participants.
C4PR Secretary Jamie Kisthardt, who coordinated the event, expressed thanks to the many people who helped make it a success, including Picture Rocks Community Center Coordinator Wanda Crawford and staff, with Christina Longo in clown costume; C4PR and its Youth Advisory Council; Boy Scout Troop 218; Girl Scout Troop 1120; Sundowners 4-H Club; Hummin' & Strummin'; Marana High School's ERASE Club; Marana Middle School's Falcon Fiddlers; Picture Rocks Fire Department; Pima County Sheriff's Dept.'s Sgt. Judy White; Neighborhood Reinvestment Program's Bennett Bernal; PRO Neighborhoods' Lisa Torres; Supervisor Sharon Bronson and her aides, Kiki Navarro and Jessie Baxter; Linda Leatherman of Faith-based and Community Initiatives; and our own Elvis, Cody Campbell!
The official ceremony marking the start of construction for the new Picture Rocks Fire Station at 7341 N. Sandario Road, near Anthony Road, took place Saturday, June 6. The almost 9-acre site will house six firefighters and equipment. The old station, which will be remodeled into a maintenance facility, was built to house two firefighters. Chief Kathy Stewart thanked the citizens of Picture Rocks, who made the new station possible in a special bond election two years ago.
(left to right) PRFD Board Chair Mike Lytle, Dist. 3 Supervisor Sharon Bronson and PRFD Chief Kathy Stewart. Chief Stewart introduced Supervisor Bronson and ground was officially broken with "golden" shovels. Supervisor Bronson congratulated Picture Rocks, saying that "the community has come together into a cohesive community."
Fire District Board Chairman Mike Lytle encouraged neighbors to learn about the controversial issue of merger or consolidation with the Northwest Fire District on PRFD's new website at www.picturerocksfire.org. Residents may also attend Board meetings on the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the PRFD Administrative offices, 12121 W. Picture Rocks Road. The July 21 C4PR meeting will host a Community Forum on the proposed merger.
With water comes danger -- West Nile virus carried by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes breed very quickly in standing water in old tires, flower pot bases, debris-blocked roof gutters, pet water dishes, bird baths, puddles in tarps and pool covers and anywhere that can collect even a small amount of water. When outside, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Use mosquito repellent. Try to avoid outdoor activity at dawn and dusk. Report unattended standing water, like a vacant house with water in a pool, to the Pima County Health Department at 243-7999. For more information on West Nile virus, call 243-7797. Please, eliminate standing water.
Hahshani Behithay Mashath, Moon of the Saguaro Fruit. That's the O'odham name for June. Hot. Dry. The
snowbirds are gone, but Gambel's quail, roadrunners, white-winged doves and black-throated sparrows
ignore the heat. Coachwhips, fast and aggressive but harmless, are the only snakes willing to brave daytime
ground temperatures. Zebra-tail, whip-tail and spiny lizards dash or do pushups, trying to make themselves
look larger to possible pursuers. Horned lizards lap up ants at dusk.
Cacti blossoms are hardening into fruit, and Tohono O'odham families make their traditional pilgrimage to Saguaro National Park to harvest saguaro fruit and mark the beginning of their New Year. Cicadas join crickets to make night music.
The summer solstice, the longest day of the year, comes on June 21 and is the official beginning of summer. In the Sonoran Desert, it has been summer for weeks. Relief is in sight, usually early July, when the "monsoon" season of thunderstorms begins, although there were early hints this year; indeed, blooming seems to have run weeks early this season. Unpredictable even when there is not a drought, the summer chubasco storms can dump inches of water in a very short time, flooding roads and washes, and greening the parched desert.
The night-blooming cereus, believed to be a harbinger of the monsoon season, bloomed on May 30 this year.
The May 19 Citizens for Picture Rocks meeting featured a presentation by Old Pueblo Archaeology's Allen Dart on the ways ancient peoples of the Southwest marked the seasons with architecture, markers and petroglyphs.
Dart showed examples of human-made features that interacted with sun and shadow to mark solstices and equinoxes, crucial to agricultural people. He also noted the importance of alignment with the cardinal directions as part of prehistoric beliefs, and showed how constellations were used to mark the seasons. The Huhugam of Southern Arizona (Hohokam is a made-up word; Huhugam is the O'odham word for their ancestors) grew corn, beans, squash and cotton. The also harvested cactus fruit and high-protein mesquite, acacia, and palo verde pods as mainstays of their diet, moving from rivers and canals "over the hill" to control monsoon flooding with rock alignments during the summer rains.
The Spanish conquistadores didn't find their golden cities, but in 1736 a Yaqui miner exploring southwest
of Nogales near the town of Arizonac (an Indian name that later was adapted for the state) found about two
tons of silver lying on the desert floor. That began the mineral exploration and mining that continue to this
In 1857 there were 80 mines in Southern Arizona, with about 600 people living in Tucson. While the Avra Valley was devoted to ranching, the Tucson Mountains were fair game for miners. The first mine was "patented" in 1872, allowing the claimants to own the land under new mining laws. Scott and Lee's silver mine, in the southeast corner of what is now Saguaro National Park, was named the Nequilla Mine. With the Tucson Mountains declared a mining district, there were soon over 5,000 miners digging in Pima County, most looking for gold and silver, and many finding that mining was not as profitable as they hoped. Many turned to copper mining to try and recoup their losses.
The present Kings Canyon trail across from the Desert Museum was built as a road to the Mile Wide Mine and the Gould Mine in 1917, five years after Arizona became a state. Foundations, walls and shafts are still to be found. The Mile Wide Mine sent 50 tons of copper ore daily to the smelter in Sasco, now a small ghost town off the Red Rock Road I-10 exit. The tailings of the Yuma Mine can be seen from the eastern end of Golden Gate Road in the Park. The Banner Mining Company, in 1957, wanted to do large-scale open pit mining in the Tucson Mountains, but public outcry stopped the plan.
Mining continues today at the Silverbell Mine, whose blasting still rocks the Avra Valley. A public outcry is once again in the air opposing the proposed open pit Rosemont mine in the Santa Rita Mountains, where scenic Madera Canyon is located. And, there is a legend that a Mexican man from Texas hid money in an old mine in the Picture Rocks area and his ghost protects it to this day! (To be continued.)