|Volume 7, Number 11||November, 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 November 17, 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.
PLEASE NOTE: There will NOT be a meeting in December, but all members and neighbors are invited to a New Year's Eve Potluck & Party at Picture Rocks Community Center, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Bring a dish to share. Music & Party Favors & Fun!
On Oct. 20, about 40 neighbors attended the Annual Meeting of Citizens for Picture
Rocks to elect Board members and meet "some people we all should know." C4PR
members elected Tom Allen, Chris Banks, Pam Moseley and Jim Pethe to join continuing
Board members Jamie Kisthardt, Keith Winans and Karen Zopf. Officers will be announced
at the November meeting.
Saguaro National Park Supt. Darla Sidles spoke about new trails, closing abandoned mines, the need for more volunteers and the Park's opposition to an I-10 Bypass through the Avra Valley. She said that if and when the Bypass comes up again, she will "raise a stink." In the meanwhile, eradicating buffelgrass, which creates a fire danger and crowds out native plants including saguaros, remains a priority.
Left: Saguaro National Park superintendent, Darla Sidles
Right: Lt. Willie Belin, new Commander of the Tucson Mountain District
Originally from New Jersey, Lt. Willie Belin, a 24-year veteran of
the Pima County Sherriff's Dept. and the new Commander of the Tucson Mountain District has degrees in political science and
psychology from Rutgers University. He said that Picture Rocks "is a safe community --
99% of the people are good and deserve good customer service." He urged people to call
his direct line, at 351-4907, if they have a problem. He reported that the informal flea
markets at Picture Rocks and Sandario were closed because they were causing safety
hazards. He suggested that residents sign up with Nixle.com for public safety alerts, and
with the Sheriff's Dept.'s CrimeReports.com for maps of criminal activity.
Picture Rocks Intermediate School Principal Pam Beine thanked C4PR Walk and Watch volunteers for "helping make our neighborhood safe," and invited neighbors to attend school events to "help kids know they have a lot of potential."
Left: Desert Winds Elementary School Principle, Denise Linsalata
Right: Picture Rocks Intermediate School Principle Pam Beine
Denise Linsalata, Principle of Desert Winds Elementary School,
spoke of the importance
of teaching good character traits early, and urged support for the Credit for Caring tax
credit. Donations (up to $200 per individual, $400 per family) that are made directly to
schools are eligible for Arizona state tax credit. Donations must be made before the end
of the year to qualify. Contact any school office for more information.
Pam Moseley, Community Outreach Manager for the Marana Health Center and Ortiz Clinic, spoke on the need for community feedback to make the facilities more responsive to local needs.
Left: Marana Health Center Community Outreach Manager and new C4PR Board Member, Pam Moseley
Right: Outgoing C4PR President, Kaitlin Meadows
Retiring President Kaitlin Meadows thanked the speakers, reaffirming that "we have positive and committed people here who are responsive to us." She also prepared a written report detailing C4PR's accomplishments for the past year, including winning grants, creating partnerships, building community, educating on local issues, expanding the Board, and simplifying C4PR membership and election processes.
Following approval of the contract with M. Anderson Construction Co. and a meeting to outline the construction schedule, workers and equipment began clearing the site the week of Nov. 9. YAY!
Just south of the swimming pool at Picture Rocks Park, site preparation has begun for the BMX-Skate Park
Hundreds of neighbors, mostly kids in costume, descended on the Picture Rocks Community Center parking area for an All Hallows Eve eve Trunk o' Treats on the evening of October 30. In addition to 16 vehicles decorated for Halloween, there was a large horse trailer converted into a full-blown Haunted House by the Northwest Outriders 4-H Club. And, of course, there was plenty of candy, fresh-made popcorn, and good community fun.
Thanks to neighbors who pitched in to make the evening a success: Jackie Hale, Tom
Allen, Jamie & Ken Kisthardt, Lorra & Mike Lytle, Albert Lannon, Margaret Still, Geary
& Debbie Conover, Terry Winhold, Aubrey Garza, Robin Covey, Kira Martin, Margaret
Hurlbut, the Tates (Denise, Bob, Riley & Tyler), Crystal Porter, Jeanie & Ron Dalton,
Carrie & Amanda Blanchard (and Dad), Irma & Aleiha Mitchell with friend Samirah, Jill
& David Goff, Vickie Ketterle & Picture Rocks Fire Department, Carolyn Huegel &
Marana Health Center. Saguaro National Park hosted a table full of real skulls, and
Community Center staff -- Paulette Holloway, Christina Longo, Jessica Drewry &
Sabrina Dumas -- kept things running smoothly. Special thanks, again, to the Northwest
Outriders 4-H Club.
Kids had a second shot at filling their candy bags the very next evening when Picture Rocks Praise Center held its annual Halloween festivities.
Former Picture Rocks Community Center Coordinator Billie Donohue died on September
14 at age 65. Willa Grandel passed on October 24. Louise Dyer is 98 years old. Carline
Bordelon retired over a year ago after many long years of service. Jean Baird moved to
More than 20 years ago, these women formed the heart of a community called Picture Rocks, and this is a story about their legacy. The press called Billie Donohue "the voice of Picture Rocks," and that voice was sometimes controversial. Billie made friends, and, because she was outspoken, she also made some enemies, but she brought neighbors together in a common cause. With her husband Charlie, a union ironworker, Billie also brought her talents to assist working people in their struggles to organize in a "right-to-work" state.
The non-profit Picture Rocks Community Center, Inc., was founded in the 1980s as an all-volunteer operation. Pennsylvania-born Billie, armed with a GED from Marana High School, was hired by the PRCCI Board to run it. They operated out of two shacks on Picture Rocks Road rented from the Fire Department. Meal programs were started, voter registration was encouraged, a clothing bank was established and a newsletter was published.
Eventually, by winning grants, pestering politicians, and securing support from Pima County Parks and Recreation, the Community Center building was constructed at its present location on Sanders Road in 1990. With the County strapped for funds, PRCCI was allowed to run the center. Pre-school programs and senior meals were added, and the Center became a stop on the rural mobile clinic route long before the Ortiz Clinic was built nearby. The Community Center became the center of the community, but not without a cost. Billie's freewheeling, get-it-done style sometimes drove County officials crazy, and there was increasing friction. As Billie's son William put it at her memorial, "She's in heaven now and I sure hope God doesn't piss her off." Finally, the Board of PRCCI voted to leave the Center to the County, and to continue doing what they did best, neighbors helping neighbors.
PRCCI then set up shop with volunteers in a couple of old mobile homes at 6691 N. Sandario Road, with Billie Donohue as President and social services advisor. The thrift store was recreated, along with a diaper bank and free surplus food distribution. Mike and Kay David are the newest of about a dozen committed volunteers. They came to PRCCI via their Cub Scout involvement and PRCCI's sponsorship of the local troop. Mike had helped on the food line from time to time, and now the couple can be found staffing the thrift store, going over the hill to pick up food, or doing whatever needs to be done. "We're just country folks," Mike says, "neighbors helping neighbors." PRCCI President Jim Thornton agrees. "We want to help out the community, and the people who can't afford to eat good every day." Thornton, a former ironworker and President for the last year and a half, came to PRCCI because he had to do community service. He got involved and stayed. "It feels good to do it." He urges neighbors to shop at the thrift store and encourages monetary donations to keep the food lines going.
Some still carry grudges, but for most people, the past is done, and the two centers in Picture Rocks carry out very different, if sometimes complementary, functions. Wanda Crawford, Coordinator of the county-run PRCC, speaking to a packed room at Billie's memorial at the Community Center on October 17, said plainly, "We're sitting here because of Billie." Dist. 3 Supervisor Sharon Bronson, speaking to the Arizona Daily Star, gave Billie full credit: "Billie really was Picture Rocks. She's the one that got the Community Center going and for years brought that community together." In eulogizing Billie Donohue, it is important to remember that she didn't do it alone, and that she would be the first to say that it was always "neighbors helping neighbors."
The PRCCI thrift store is open Monday - Friday from 9 am to 1 pm Food distribution is also Monday - Friday, with those arriving before 9 a.m. getting a number for a place in line. Latecomers go to the end. Please bring your own bags, and whatever you can spare for the donation jar.
No, not the really good movie currently in theatres (free plug), but the critters we share
the Sonoran Desert with in rural Pima County. I've been finding coyote scat in my
driveway for the first time in years, and it's a reminder that everything is connected. It
was a dry monsoon season, about one-third of normal precipitation, so there were fewer
plants. With fewer plants, there were fewer herbivores - rabbits, ground squirrels, mice.
That, in turn, meant fewer prey animals for our larger carnivores, the coyotes, bobcats
and mountain lions. With less food available, the predators move into more populated
areas looking for food, from garbage to dogs and cats.
While this need not cause any alarm, it's good to remember a few cautions. First, these are wild animals, not to be approached or teased. Second, they are more afraid of you than you are of them. If you do encounter a predator, avoid eye contact and do not run away - that can trigger a hunting instinct. Make yourself loud and larger, waving arms, holding jackets open, etc. Invite a friend when you go hiking. Keep pets in an enclosed area. And remember that javelinas are not the brightest kids in the neighborhood, and, if frightened, are as likely to run towards you as away from you.