Picture Rocks Pride

Volume 8, Number 1 January, 2010

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 usually meets the third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm in the Picture Rocks Community Center, 5615 N. Sanders Road. The next meeting is January 19. Meetings are free and open to the public. Membership is not required, but strongly encouraged. Dues are $20/year for an individual or $25/year for a family.


Construction of the Picture Rocks BMX/Skate Park, located south of the Community Center on Sanders Road, is nearing completion. The community is invited to attend opening ceremonies on Saturday, Feb. 13, at 10 a.m. Among those on hand to celebrate the event will be Dist. 3 Supervisor Sharon Bronson and representatives from Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation. Site Design Group and California Skateparks, who designed and constructed the park's specialty elements, will host demonstrations of BMX biking and skateboarding.

The community is invited to attend the Grand Opening of the BMX/Skate Park at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 13

The new facility was funded with 2004 bonds awarded through the Neighborhood Reinvestment Program for a proposal submitted by Citizens for Picture Rocks who had noted a lack of activities for local youth. Supervisor Bronson recently told the Digest, "Kudos to the Picture Rocks Community for your focused, positive efforts that made this project possible and brought it to fruition. A community that plays together, stays together!" Karen Zopf, Tom Allen and Greg Mattison provided community liaison with planners, engineers, designers and contractors. Local BMX rider Adam Noel, an active participant in the two-year planning process, heads the Users' Advisory Group. The project also includes security cameras for the park.


The C4PR Board has approved ten members of the Community Sustainability Council (CSC). They are Jaime DeZubeldia, Mike Davied, Sheree Garrett, Ruth Hamilton, Peter Hnath, Greg Mattison, Gene Meyers, Sherryl Volpone, Keith Winans and Karen Zopf.

CSC met on Jan. 12 to discuss the feasibility of a farmers market at a site in Picture Rocks. Preliminary plans call for it to be open on weekends and feature locally grown produce and crafts, with space for local businesses and services. The plans will be presented at the next monthly meeting and to the C4PR Board in February for approval before proceeding. Interested vendors and others may call Greg at 730-8581 for more information.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Social time at 6:30 p.m.
Meeting starts at 7:00 p.m.

Picture Rocks Community Center
5615 N. Sanders Road


Guest speakers from:
Community Food Bank
Picture Rocks Community Center
Picture Rocks Community Center, Inc.
All neighbors welcome!


The Community Food Bank will distribute Food Boxes at Picture Rocks Community Center on the third Friday of the month, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., beginning January 15. There are income limits to qualify: $20,036 annually for a single person; $26,955 for a family of two; $40,793 for a four-person household. For more information, call the Food Bank at 622-0525. Holiday turkeys from Jennie-O Turkeys and Bridgeway Health Solutions were distributed by the Community Food Bank at both PRCC and PRCCI before Christmas - it's still neighbors helping neighbors.


Picture Rocks Fire District Division Chief Debra Trimble reports that firefighters were thrilled to provide Christmas gifts and cash to 66 children and their families this past Christmas. She said via email, "As usual, our residents gave so much of themselves to make this all happen. Hundreds of toys, clothing and cash were brought into the Fire Station. In six hours the Firefighters Association collected over $3,400 during their 'Fill the Stocking.' Many thanks to all of our residents, Hummin' & Strummin' and to our special Christmas Angel, Susan McCormick, for all their donations."


Almost 100 neighbors came to the New Year's Eve Potluck at the Picture Rocks Community Center. There was plenty of food - about 30 delicious main and side dishes, plus 18 yummy desserts! Hummin' & Strummin' (who perform at the Center free every Thursday evening) brought 12 guitars, two banjos, an accordion, a stand-up bass, a fiddle, and lots of heart-felt country singing. It was a gentle and neighborly way to welcome the new year.

The musicians of Hummin' & Strummin' rang in the New Year



Delegations from Picture Rocks, Avra Valley and Barrio Sapo reminded the State Transportation Board (STB) in Tucson on December 18 that they are still here and still opposed to the proposed I-10 Bypass through the Avra Valley. Exactly one year ago, the STB voted in Tucson to conduct a Major Investment Study of the Bypass, the next step after rejecting all other route proposals.

Picture Rocks activist Albert Lannon thanked this year's chair, Delbert Householder, for observing the agenda and democratic process and allowing the public to be heard. Lannon noted the presence of several neighbors, including Jim Pethe and Chris Banks from Picture Rocks, Shawn Murphy from Avra Valley, and John Duncan from Barrio Sapo, and presented the STB with petitions signed by over 150 other neighbors opposing the Bypass. He urged the STB to revisit their year-old decision given major changes in growth assumptions as a result of the recession, unemployment, foreclosures, the construction slump, persistent drought and continued restrictions on trucks from Mexico.

If, despite these changed circumstances, the STB wants to hold on to its old projections, they should reconsider double-decking the present freeway, Lannon told the STB members. Using the present footprint at 1/10th the cost and building for six miles instead of 178 miles, a plan previously rejected in favor of the Avra Valley route, would "protect wildlife and avoid confrontation with communities," he stated. He urged them to, "Take the Major Investment Study off the table and use the money to fill potholes and reopen rest areas."

Long-time Picture Rocks resident Chris Banks warned that a Bypass would be "devastating" to the community, as well as to Saguaro National Park, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and wildlife. He told the STB that, "We want to see (the valley) stay as it is...and a lot of people feel that way."

A resolution from the Friends of Saguaro National Park was also submitted to the STB restating the group's "firm opposition" to an "ill-advised" plan. The resolution noted the negative impact on the park, park visitors and wildlife, stating that, "this route would be contrary to the purposes for which the Tucson Mountain District of Saguaro National Park was established in 1961 - to protect these lands unimpeded for future generations to enjoy."

Due to the state budget crisis, funding has not yet been identified to proceed with the 12-18 month multi-million dollar Major Investment Study. Meanwhile, the STB's decision remains state policy and Avra Valley neighbors continue to remind them that they will run into opposition from the public if and when they proceed.

(Part 1 of 2)

Wherever people live, they are surrounded by place names they all take for granted - the streets, roads, mountains, trails and other names we see all the time. Where do those names come from? Why are things named the way they are? This article looks at some of the names - and mysteries - in our community.

Picture Rocks, of course, is named for the ancient Huhugam and Archaic rock art petroglyphs found at places like Signal Hill in Saguaro National Park and at dozens of sites edging the valley.

The Avra Valley is so named because "Avra" is an O'odham word describing the valley as wide, or open.

Wasson Peak, Saguaro National Park's highest point, is named for John A. Wasson, founder of the Tucson Citizen newspaper. Wasson, like many in the late 1800s, combined public service and raw racism. He worked with Governor Safford to create the state's educational system and was appointed Surveyor-General of the Arizona Territory in 1870. Wasson also used his newspaper to praise the slaughter of 125 Apache women and children near Aravaipa in 1871.

Safford Peak was named for Anson P. K. Safford, Governor of the Arizona Territory from 1869 to 1877.

SNP's Ezkiminzen Picnic Area was named for an Apache chief in the Fort Grant area, perhaps in an effort to mute the massacre's aftermath.

The Hugh Norris Trail was named for a Tohono O'odham policeman who worked for the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs around 1930 at the San Xavier Reservation.

Brown Mountain, off Kinney Road in Tucson Mountain Park, was named for Cornelius Brown, who helped create the Park in 1929. Brown was the first Chair of the Pima County Parks Commission.

The Park's Juan Santa Cruz Picnic Area was named for a friend of Brown's who was a barber at the Santa Rita Hotel Barber Shop in Tucson.

...to be continued.

(Thanks to the Pima County Public Library's "Ask-A- Librarian" service and the Arizona Historical Society for assistance in researching this article.)

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