Picture Rocks Pride

Volume 5, Number 11 December, 2007

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 January 15, 2008. Everyone is welcome to attend — membership not required, but highly recommended! 


Monday, December 31, 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
Picture Rocks Community Center
Food, drink, music and (non-alcoholic) merriment

There will be NO regular monthly meeting in December.
The next meeting will be January 15, 2008, with guest speaker Dave Liss,
Director of Safety and Security for the Marana Unified School District.


The news that the state Department of Transportation is considering Avra Valley as a possible I-10 route to bypass Tucson came as a surprise to many people. With Saguaro National Park and the Central Arizona Project canal buffering Picture Rocks, with a Wildlife Mitigation Corridor in place and the Tohono O'odham Nation on the west side of the valley, no one expected that this area would be considered a suitable site for bypass consideration, even as part of an early preliminary study.

Responding to residents' concerns, Dist. 3 Supervisor Sharon Bronson contacted the Pima County Department of Transportation. Director Priscilla Cornelio immediately wrote to the state agency expressing the "need to actively involve citizens in the planning process" with special concerns for environmental issues. Bypass protesters have established a web site with current information.

In response to the public outcry, officials scheduled two additional meetings for public comment, in Marana and northwest Tucson, along with Safford, Benson, Casa Grande, Buckeye and Willcox. At the Marana meeting on November 26, 80 area residents were present and all spoke out in opposition to the bypass plan. At the November 29 northwest Tucson meeting, about 140 people came and only one spoke for it, with 40 voices speaking in opposition. One Picture Rocks resident wondered why a bypass was being considered as all the work goes on to widen I-10 through Tucson. Another declared that Picture Rocks was tired of being treated as an ugly stepchild.

At the November 29 Tucson meeting, ADOT officials conceded that there really wasn't enough room to put in a freeway in the Avra Valley. The full Bypass Study Committee meets December 21 in Oro Valley to further consider the proposals and the comments by the public. You can comment online this month.


Picture Rocks Ramps and Rails is a newly formed organization of local skaters, BMX riders and concerned adults dedicated to providing positive solutions to the unique needs and problems associated with the local Skate/Bike community. James Julian represents the skaters and Arnold Tellez the BMX bikers. With the assistance of adult facilitators Sam Mattison and Mike Sotomayor, PRRR is trying to negotiate a temporary activity site while plans for a permanent BMX/skate park are being discussed with Pima County. CPR liaison Tammy Cameron urges interested adults and youth to attend a meeting with County representatives on Friday, Dec. 14, at the Picture Rocks Community Center. Adults will meet at 5 p.m., youth at 6 p.m.

One of the sites under consideration for a new
BMX/skatepark in Picture Rocks


Last month's Picture Rocks Digest mentioned that the recent Picture Rocks Fire District's $5 million bond issue was approved with only 8% of eligible voters turning out. The trouble was that not many people even knew there was an election!

Due to a quirk in state law, fire and water districts have the option of sending out a sample ballot or just publishing a legal notice in a local paper and posting a notice in three places. When a number of Picture Rocks neighbors objected to the lack of notification -- which undermines the democratic process of informed decision- making -- Dist. 3 Supervisor Sharon Bronson jumped on it. As a result, when Pima County provides election services in the future, a sample ballot will have to be sent to all registered voters


Sixth grade students from Ms. Thompson's Picture Rocks Intermediate School class served 151 helpings of turkey, cranberries, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and the rest of the trimmings at the annual Thanksgiving Dinner at Picture Rocks Community Center on November 21.

class eating class eating

Sixth grade students from Picture Rocks Intermediate School served, then enjoyed,
Thanksgiving dinner at the Community Center

Ms. Vargo's Marana High School MedStart class did blood pressure screenings, and the Ortiz Community Clinic gave flu shots. Thanks to Director Wanda Crawford and all her volunteers who made the feast possible, continuing to make the Community Center the center of the community.

Med Start Boys Med Start Girls

Students from Marana High School's MedStart program
performed free blood pressure screenings at the Community Center

Save Taxes by Helping Local Schools

Those who might owe any Arizona state income tax should consider donating directly to our area schools, Desert Winds Elementary, Picture Rocks Intermediate, Marana Middle and Marana High School. Up to $200 ($400 for couples filing jointly) can be donated to support field trips, athletics, tutoring, arts education, and other under-funded programs, with that amount deducted from what is owed the state. In other words, if you owe $100 in state taxes and donate $100 to the schools, you have, in effect, paid your taxes (but must file a return). Donations must be made by December 31, and the schools will issue receipts to file with your tax return.


Expansion of the Picture Rocks Community Center, at a projected cost of $1.6 million, was voted for preliminary inclusion in a Pima County bond issue to be voted on in 2008 or 2009. The Public Facilities Subcommittee agreed unanimously to include the expansion; the recommendation goes to the full Bond Committee early next year for a final decision. Citizens for Picture Rocks Secretary Kaitlin Meadows has been attending the many meetings and advocating for Picture Rocks.


Pima County Community Development and Neighborhood Conservation Department sent notification that Community Development Block Grant proposals to carry out neighborhood revitalization, community development, and improved community facilities and services are being accepted for the 2008-2009 program year. Proposals must benefit low and moderate income neighborhoods in unincorporated Pima County. For more information, call 243-6751.


Avra Valley Water Co-op held its annual meeting on November 14 at Picture Rocks Intermediate School. General Manager Chris Ward reported that there had been no major outages during the year, and that new wells were producing plenty of water below the new arsenic limits for Avra's 2,570 customers. Ward also said that the co-op had ended its fiscal year under budget and had added 6.5 miles of new water lines and more than 60 hydrants. A 24 percent rate increase, the first in six years, took effect last July, approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Joe Ketterle was elected to replace Mary Jo Furphy, whose term expired and who chose not to run again, and Bill Kuklosky had resigned in October. Douglas Schneider and Daniel Jones were reelected to the board of directors. President Warren Thompson, Treasurer Eugene Boettcher, Roy Weaks, Jack Wheat and Mike Lytle remained on the board. Financial and management reports with were spiced up with raffles, with co-op member Irene Oldham winning the grand prize barbecue set.


The other Picture Rocks water co-op, Rancho del Conejo Community Water Co-op, Inc., serving 325 families, held its annual meeting on December 1, at the Picture Rocks Fire District's administrative offices. That non-profit co-op is also working through the Corporation Commission's rate case process for the first time in 10 years, seeking to fund arsenic reduction equipment. Brian Melland and David Putnam were reelected to the Board, which also includes Peggy McCool, Cloyd Fenton, Bill Shaw and President Albert Lannon.

From Division Chief Debbie Trimble

Picture Rocks Fire District is dedicated to protecting life, human and animal alike. Many times when we arrive at the scene of a fire, we are advised that the residents are all out and safe but they could not get their dog, cat or bird out. Sometimes we are unable to find them in time and they perish. Pets usually succumb to smoke inhalation and breathing in the toxins from fire.

When someone has lost their home and possessions, just being able to hold their pets can mean the world to them. We have the opportunity to purchase Animal Oxygen Recovery Masks that will allow us to give an animal oxygen immediately upon rescuing them from a fire or medical emergency. These cone-shape masks come in three sizes and will fit an animal as small as a bird or reptile to cats and dogs. In the past we have resorted to using paper cups or bottles attached to oxygen to try and revive pets. Equipment made for humans do not work as well on animals.

Picture Rocks Fire would like to be better equipped in the resuscitative efforts of the smallest members of our community, our pets. The cost of the masks is $55.00 each plus tax and shipping. If you would like to donate to this worthwhile cause, you can make your checks payable to Picture Rocks Fire District and note on the check that it is for Animal Oxygen Recovery Masks. The donation is tax-deductible and you may request a receipt from our administration office. The address is 12121 W. Picture Rocks Rd., Tucson, AZ 85743. If you have any questions contact Debbie at 682-7878. Thank you.


(In Part 1 last month, Jack - not his real name - talked about his introduction to drugs at age 13 and the widespread use of drugs by his peers.)

Picture Rocks Digest (PRD): What was it like using meth regularly?

JACK: I would party with friends and we wouldn't sleep for days. I worked two jobs plus school and partied. What happens, I understand now, is that the brain releases endorphins when you enjoy things. Meth makes the brain think there's a huge amount of endorphins, a thousand times more than the brain is used to. Think of your first kiss multiplied by a thousand! Pretty soon the body expects that amount of endorphins, and when it doesn't get it, it craves anything to make it feel good, and that's meth. Pretty soon you need meth to get up, to go to school, to work, to have sex. And I went from meth to cocaine and crack cocaine - anything to get high. It's a trap: the body wants those endorphins and you use more and more meth to chase that first high and pretty soon nothing makes you happy except meth.

PRD: Besides dealing, how did you raise money for drugs?
JACK: I'd see that someone wasn't home and I'd go into their shed, which was usually unlocked, and take a chain saw or some other tools and trade them to the dealer for a gram or two. Dealers are like pack rats with all the stuff they've taken in trade. I heard about some kids, 15-16 years old, who did daily house break-ins to get enough money for their meth habit. They got busted eventually.

PRD: Did you ever use needles?
JACK: Yeah. We called it 'slamming.' One line of meth injected would keep me high for three days. It seemed like the only way to try and get the feeling of that first high again.

PRD: How long did you shoot meth?
JACK: Not that long. I really didn't like the feeling I got when I shot it, so I decided if I don't like it, why do it? I went to coke, but if meth was offered, I still did it from time to time, but it just didn't feel good any more. If it wasn't around, I didn't think about it, but if it was offered, I used it. My brain kept telling me, "Hey, remember that great high? Go for it!" But I never caught the feeling of that first high again. Saying that, I still get the urge to use from time to time. I've got an addictive personality

PRD: Did you have withdrawal symptoms?
JACK: I didn't, but I can't say about others. I really don't know anyone else who's quit. There are probably other people who cleaned up, but I don't know them. My life was just going to crap, I was getting arrested, my world was just drugs. I said a prayer asking for help, and I was able to quit cold turkey.

To be continued; in Part 3 Jack talks about meth in Picture Rocks, dealing, and what he will say to his children about drugs.

Note: Meth and cocaine use can induce extreme paranoia, which may lead to homicidal or suicidal thoughts in many users. After stopping, it may take months for the brain to return to normal. "Cold-turkey" withdrawal can lead to psychosis and should be medically supervised. Recovery is often a lifetime process. Reference: Uppers, Downers, All Arounders: Physical and Mental Effects of Psychoactive Drugs, by Darryl S. Inaba & William E. Cohen, CNS Publications.



Is your child interested in having fun over winter break, exploring the great outdoors, looking for animals and their tracks, learning how to pitch a tent, reading a map and using a compass, learning how to use a lightweight stove to cook up hot chocolate and soup, making new friends, hiking by moon light, and just having a good time? Check out the three-day Junior Ranger Camps at Saguaro National Park West.

The camps are scheduled for January 2-4, February 21-23, and March 17-19. Camps are held from 8 a.m. to sunset each day. Times may be slightly longer on evenings with the full moon being near. Open to children 9 -12 years old. The fee is $25.00 per child for all three days. For detailed information, or to sign up, please email Ranger Chip Littlefield at chip_littlefield@nps.gov, or call him at 733-5157.


In a world where there is so much bad news, it's nice to point out the good news. At Desert Winds Elementary School, great horned owls have been trying unsuccessfully to nest in the inner courtyard. First grade teacher Sara Anderson sent out a call for help when eggs began falling out of palm trees. Liberty Wildlife, a rescue group, responded, and Bob Hudgens, father of a third grader at Desert Winds and owner of Catalina Tree Service, climbed the tree and installed a platform and nesting wreath, providing the home the owls need to hatch eggs and rear their chicks. Will they be successful? Stay tuned. (A story and photo are in the December 2007 Desert Times.)


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