Picture Rocks Pride

Volume 6, Number 11 November, 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 November 18, 2008. Everyone is welcome to attend. Membership not required, but highly recommended!


Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Picture Rocks Community Center
5615 N. Sanders Road
Join us at 6:30 p.m. for snacks, beverages, & social time
Meeting Time: 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Our November meeting will be devoted to
"Gratitude and Thanks-Giving"
for all the great projects and people that make up our wonderful community.
We'll recap all of our 2008 activities, talk about the New
Year's Eve Party, plan our course for 2009, announce exciting
speakers for our 2009 meetings, and celebrate our good fortune
in living in such a great place, filled with such nice people. Come
on out and enjoy an hour of community time!


Citizens for Picture Rocks held its Annual Meeting on Oct. 21. The major order of business was election of two Board members and officers. The terms of Board members Kaitlin Meadows and Karen Zopf were up, and neither sought reelection. Jamie Kisthardt and Keith Winans were each elected to serve three-year terms on the Board. Mike Lytle resigned from the Board and Kaitlin Meadows was nominated and elected to finish his term, which has two years left.

Officers elected by acclamation were: Kaitlin Meadows, President; Tom Allen, Vice President; Jamie Kisthardt, Secretary; Keith Winans, Treasurer; and Greg Mattison, Member-at-large. Robin Nicholson volunteered to take over membership duties.

In another action, the membership voted unanimously to reduce and simplify the dues structure to $20/year for individuals or $25/year for a family, effective each May, and pro-rated for joining later in the year. The dues waiver for volunteer work was eliminated.


Greetings and thank you for your vote of confidence! I hope, together, we can continue to make C4PR a great organization devoted to making Picture Rocks a better place. We have a terrific history of drawing the community together to address challenges and celebrate successes. Albert and I will soon celebrate our fifth year in Picture Rocks; we attended our first C4PR meeting even before our home closed escrow. We've tried to make a positive contribution and hope to continue to do so with the help of all of you, the great folks who make our wonderful community such a great place to live. Exciting things are afoot! Please come join us, get to know your neighbors, and learn about the many new improvements coming to Picture Rocks. Let's work together to keep Citizens for Picture Rocks a great community-building organization!


More than a dozen vehicles were all decked out for Halloween and parked in the Picture Rocks Community Center parking lot on the evening of Oct. 31. Some 250 people came to dazzle - or frighten - each other with creative costumes, and to collect candy and other goodies in the All Hallow's Eve tradition. There were about 100 more than at last year's first PRCC Halloween event. Many people made it happen, and everybody had a spook-tacular time!

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It was a spook-tacular night!

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Fifteen community and county representatives met at Picture Rocks Community Center on Oct. 15 to discuss the Community Development Block Grant that Citizens for Picture Rocks won to fund a shade cover for the play area.

C4PR leaders met with staff from Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation; Public Works; Community Services; and Project Delivery Group to kick off the $62,000 grant implementation. Project Manager Nancy Cole hoped for completion sometime in Spring 2009.

Discussing the need for shade ... In the front row are PRCC Coordinator Wanda Crawford (pointing), Project Manager Nancy Cole, and C4PR President Kaitlin Meadows.

The grant proposal was written by C4PR Secretary (now President) Kaitlin Meadows, who chaired the meeting and said she was "glad Picture Rocks is being recognized as the vibrant community that it is." Picture Rocks Community Center Director Wanda Crawford added that the shade cover "will be a tremendous asset, allowing year-round playground usage."


That's the translation of the O'odham words, Kehg S-hehpijis Mashath, for November's weather in the Southern Arizona desert. Cool, a small chance of a freeze and of rain, a slowing down. Reptiles settle into dens to hibernate, as do a number of small mammals. Desert broom release clouds of snowy seeds to hang on the breeze. Deciduous trees drop their leaves. Leaf-cutter ants strip some plants and haul their harvest into burrows to compost. The ants then eat the mold that grows on the rotting leaves.

Black birds with gray mates and the unlikely name of phainopeplas return from their summer hangouts. The males are shiny black, and both genders have cardinal-style crests. Anna's hummingbirds, one of the larger species, hover, looking for the last flowers to feed from. Wildflower seeds are in the ground waiting for winter rains. A decent rainfall over the cool months can mean gorgeous spring wildflower displays.

November is the time to winterize our homes, turning off swamp coolers, unplugging their pumps and turning off the water, cleaning pads and drip holes. Outside pipes should be wrapped to prevent freezing; old socks and duct tape work fine.

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, November is often a month to reflect on gratitude. In these difficult times, recalling what we have to be grateful for can help us get through. Indeed, it is believed that if things are getting you down, just listing three things a day to be grateful for can help lift your spirits. My list would start with this very special place we live in. Where else might you wake up early to find two Harris' Hawks arguing with a Great Horned Owl in a tree in your yard? Actually, in my yard, and what a thrill it was!


In February, 2008, one of the top breeders of fighting dogs was arrested in Picture Rocks along with his associates; 150 dogs, mostly pit bulls, were impounded at the Orange Grove and Sandario location and taken to Pima County Animal Control. Most were later euthanized. Six months later, in unrelated incidents, two pet dogs in Picture Rocks were attacked by packs of roving dogs and killed, bitten and slashed and ripped until they bled to death.

Just two years ago a two-year-old boy was killed in Tucson by two Rottweilers, one of many unfortunate incidents reported across the country. Only this summer, a seven-year-old was attacked and injured severely in Tucson by his family's pit bull. In Pima County attacks have been reported on infants and the elderly, who were sometimes bitten while trying to protect a smaller dog from attack. Some communities have banned the breeding of certain types of canines, and others seek to prosecute owners on felony charges.

When I first came to Picture Rocks, neighbors' dogs came to us wagging their tails and we were warned not to try and stop them. People took their dogs seriously here. Maybe we should all take our dogs seriously, before a human is the victim of an attack. We put up a fence, but that option is not available to everyone. And even with fences, determined and smart dogs find ways under and over them.

The problem with dog packs began, it is believed, in the 1980s when dogs started being bred for aggressiveness and fighting ability, and when interest grew in pitting dogs against each other in fights to the death, with heavy betting on the outcomes. Both the dogfights and the gambling are, of course, illegal.

It is also illegal to let dogs loose. They should be confined or on a leash at all times. That's the law. Enforcement is another issue. Leash law citations require a photo of the loose dog or dogs with the date and time of the photo, plus the address where the dog lives. Without a photo, the testimony of two witnesses who saw the dog(s) on the loose are needed, along with date, time, and the dog's address.

Also, vicious dogs are illegal even if controlled. Pima County Animal Control defines a "vicious animal" as "any animal that bites, endangers or otherwise injures or causes to be injured human beings or other animals. It is unlawful for any person to keep, control, harbor or otherwise have under control any animal which is vicious or destructive."


It is thought that dogs were domesticated about 15,000 years ago, but dogs and wolves separated along different evolutionary lines about 100,000 years ago, and it is not known if human domestication was the cause. Dogs have been in the Western Hemisphere as long as humans have been here, and play a part in the traditional stories, rituals and art of the Southwest. They are held to be both helpers of humankind, and evil night-prowling witches. Dogs were buried by prehistoric peoples along with humans until the arrival of the Europeans.

In Mesoamerica to the south, little hairless dogs were a major food source for both indigenous people and European colonizers. Indeed, by the end of the 1500s, the breed was almost extinct. Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera are credited with bringing the Mexican hairless breed back from the edge of oblivion just in the last century.

Dogs have served many good purposes besides food: as guards, hunting guides, game retrievers, babysitters, bed warmers and creatures of unconditional love. There are many stories about hero dogs that saved their human families from harm. Still, there are an estimated 15 million feral dogs roaming the United States, and perhaps as many pets allowed to roam and form killer packs. Those packs kill livestock, about $37 million worth in one year-long survey, according to National Geographic News, along with game, other pets and, sometimes, human beings. They are a growing problem in cities as well as rural communities.

Since the legal remedy to killer dog packs is so cumbersome, and since the moment of encounter may come and go much too fast to notify anyone, much less gather a witness, take a photo, or get Animal Control on the scene, some have opted for a vigilante solution. They carry guns, perfectly legal, when riding around on their ATVs or horses.

A better solution might be regular patrols in "hot" areas by Animal Control. For that to happen, citizens have to report the problem. Pima County Animal Control's number is 243-5900.

The best solution is for all neighbors to understand and observe the law. Keep dogs confined or on a leash at all times. Take vicious dogs out of the gene pool. Take responsibility for protecting our own pets, and each other.

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