|Volume 6, Number 10||October, 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 October 21, 2008. Everyone is welcome to attend. Membership not required, but highly recommended!
Citizens for Picture Rocks hosted the second of its two 2008 Candidates' Forums on Sept. 16 at the Picture Rocks Community Center. Approximately 65 people were on hand to hear candidates for Pima County Dist. 3 Supervisor and the Marana Unified School District Governing Board address issues of the concern to the community. The meeting was moderated by outgoing Dist. 25 State Representative and Picture Rocks resident, Jennifer J. Burns.
Eight people - including two incumbents, one former member, and five newcomers - are running for three
positions on the Marana school district's five-member board.
Incumbent Dan Post, former rancher and father of 11, has served on the MUSD board for over 20 years. The other incumbent, Maribel Lopez, mother of two and president of a K-8 school in Florence, is seeking her second term. Albert Siqueiros, a Chief Academic Officer at Tucson Unified School District and former principal at Estes Elementary School, previously served on the board from 2004-2006 when he was elected to fill a vacancy.
Newcomers Amy Autret and Suzanne Hopkins, who both have children at Ironwood Elementary School, believe that families outside the town of Marana in unincorporated Pima County need better representation on the Board. Joe Koellisch, President of Coyote Trail PTF and Co-Chair of the 2007 MUSD Budget Override Committee, has children at Coyote Trail and Marana Middle School, and emphasized the need for unity in the district.
Kathryn Mikronis, who has children at Coyote Trail and Estes Elementary, in a written statement stressed
accountability and "what is right for all our students." Dean Spencer, a 2007 graduate of Marana High
School, current Pima Community College student and resident of Picture Rocks, spoke about the need for
better pay to attract and retain quality teachers.
Board members serve for four years and are not paid. The Marana Unified School District covers 550 square miles and has approximately 13,000 students at 17 schools. The board usually meets twice a month on the second and fourth Thursdays, at 7:00 p.m. at the Marana Civic Center, 11555 W. Civic Center Complex. Candidate statements are available online at the County School Superintendent's website.
The Republican candidate is challenger Barney Brenner, a retired
businessman and hot air balloon pilot. He criticized the current Board of Supervisors for high property
taxes, inadequate services such as road maintenance, and not managing the budget well.
The Democratic candidate is 12-year incumbent Sharon Bronson, who beat out challenger Donna Branch-Gilby in the September primary election. She said that the primary property tax rate has been reduced during her terms and cited sustainability, the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan and investment in communities as her priorities.
Pima County Dist. 3 Supervisor candidates Barney Brenner and Sharon Bronson
Both candidates expressed opposition to a proposed I-10 bypass through the Avra Valley, but diverged in
their responses to questions posed by the community involving sales taxes and alternatives to the soon-to-
be-closed Tangerine landfill for waste disposal. See the Arizona Daily Star's report on this debate
Citizens for Picture Rocks does not endorse any candidates, but believes that information empowers voters to make the best choices. The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 4. The last day to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot is Oct. 24. For more information, visit the Pima County Recorder's website.
There was the barest hint of coolness in the morning air as the autumnal equinox approached. On
September 22 the sun rose exactly in the east and set exactly in the west exactly 12 hours later. Now, with
the harvest moon past and a hunter's moon to rise on October 14, autumn is finally upon us. The long hot
summer of triple-digit temperatures has relaxed and the morning air is delicious. Some move their sleeping
arrangements outside, and hikes are again both possible and fun.
It was a fairly average monsoon season, with about 5.5 inches falling in downtown Picture Rocks. It was not the driest; that was in 1924, when less than 2 inches fell. Tucson airport's average is 6 inches, a little less at the University of Arizona, with 12 inches on Kitt Peak. With the dry season ocotillos drop their leaves, some of them turning red for a bit of "autumn color." Mesquite and palo verde trees drop their second set of bean pods, sources of nutrition for thousands of years. In the O'odham language, October is the month of "Wi'ihanig Mashath," the harvest moon.
While there could still be rain from tropical storms, autumn is generally a dry season, with clear skies. In 1983, however, October rains and flooding in Tucson and Marana displaced 10,000 people, killed 13, and destroyed bridges, roads and crops. There will still be some hot days, but by the end of the month most of us will, once again, remember why we love to live here.
As snowbirds of the human species make their way back to Southern Arizona from colder climes, the area also fills with winged birds and other critters moving south for the coming winter, including hawks and falcons. Some, like Anna's hummingbirds, may hang around; others, including bats, will leave and head south. Cactus wrens are building nests in the cholla, while packrats gather prickly pears to stash in their messy nests. Snakes become sluggish as the air cools, preparing for hibernation. Spadefoot toads burrow deep in the ground to await the next season of chubasco storms. Roadrunners soak up the warmth of the sun. Desert tortoises finish off prickly pear fruit as they fatten up for hibernation. There are lots of butterflies, fewer mosquitoes.
With clear skies, the Orionids meteor shower, made up of dust from Halley's Comet, may light the skies October 20-22, especially in the small hours of the morning. Pack a picnic dinner and take a chance on an early show at Picture Rocks Park. If there are no meteors, you can still watch the nightjars hunting bugs around the lights.
Autumn... The desert takes a deep breath after summer's arduous heat. Critters move about, fattening up for winter, slowing down. After the tricks of summer, autumn is a genuine treat, a season to savor in this very special place in which we live.