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Monday, February 28, 2011

Real issue: Democracy at stake in Wisconsin

PERSPECTIVE ON WISCONSIN

By George Lakoff
georgelakoff.com

The Wisconsin protests are about much more than budgets and unions. As I observed in What Conservatives Really Want, the conservative story about budget deficits is a ruse to turn the country conservative in every area. Karl Rove and Shep Smith have made it clear on Fox: If the Wisconsin plan to kill the public employees’ unions succeeds, then there will be little union money in the future to support democratic candidates. Conservatives will be effectively unopposed in raising campaign funding in most elections, including the presidential elections. This will mean a thoroughly conservative America in every issue area.

The media, with few exceptions, is failing to get at the deeper issues.

Let’s start with the case of the Lincoln Legislators. As is well known about Lincoln, and as the Political Wire reports,

On December 5, 1840, Democrats “proposed an early adjournment, knowing this would bring a speedy end to the State Bank. The Whigs tried to counter by leaving the capitol building before the vote, but the doors were locked. That’s when Lincoln made his move. He headed for the second story, opened a window and jumped to the ground!

Lincoln would be, and we all should be, proud that the Wisconsin state senators have courageously crossed the state line to Illinois to avoid a quorum in Wisconsin that would have a disastrous effect, not only on Wisconsin, but on America for the indefinite future.

Quorum rules are an inherent part of democracy. They are in the Wisconsin Constitution for a reason. When an extreme move by a legislative majority would be a disaster, patriotic legislators can, like Lincoln, refuse to allow the disaster and have the power to stop it. That is their democratic duty, not only to their constituents, but to the nation.

That is why I think these legislators should be called the “Lincoln Legislators” as a term of honor. They understand that their courage is being called upon, not just in the name of collective bargaining rights, but in the name of protecting democracy from a total conservative takeover. The Lincoln story, and the greater good story, should be in the media every day. And Democrats nationwide should be hailing the courage, and vital importance, of those legislators.

Yet the media keeps reporting on them as “fleeing” and refusing to do their jobs. Where there is positive reporting, as on MSNBC’s The Ed Show, it is only about defending unions and collective bargaining rights.

The media — and the Democrats — also need to do a much better job on a sneaky conservative media strategy. The clearest example occurred in the NY Times. David Brooks, in his Feb. 21, 2011 column wrote: “Private sector unions push against the interests of shareholders and management; public sector unions push against the interests of taxpayers.” I turned on CNN that day and heard Anderson Cooper introduce the Wisconsin protest story as a battle between taxpayers and unions. These are massive distortions, but they are what conservatives want the public to believe.

The real issue is whether conservatives will get what they really want: the ability to turn the country conservative on every issue, legally and permanently. Eliminating the public sector unions could achieve that. Collective bargaining rights are the immediate issue, but they are symbolic of the real issue at stake. That is the story the media should be telling — and that Democrats everywhere in America should be shouting out loud.

What is standing in the way of having the real story told? It is the frame of collective bargaining itself, which only points to the parties that are doing the bargaining and what they are bargaining over.

The real point of collective bargaining is the idea of fairness inherent in democracy. Without unions, large corporations have an unfair advantage in hiring individual workers: Workers have to take what is offered, a fair wage for work done or not. Unions help to even the playing field, enabling workers to have a fair chance against wealthy, powerful large organizations — whether corporations or governments.

But public employees’ unions, in bargaining with governments, are raising deeper issues in which wealthy corporations and individuals play a huge role. The public employees’ unions are aware that the top one percent of Americans have more financial assets than the bottom 95 percent — a staggering disproportion of wealth. The wealthy have, to a large extent, amassed that wealth through indirect contributions to them by governments — governments build roads corporations use, fund schools that train their workers, subsidize their energy costs, subsidize their access to resources, promote trade for them, and on and on.

Meanwhile, over the past three decades, while corporations and their investors have grown immensely richer on the public largesse, the middle class workers have had no substantive wage increases, leaving them poorer and poorer. Those immensely wealthy corporations and individuals have, through political contributions, managed to rig our politics so that they pay back only an inadequate amount into the system that has enabled them to become wealthy.

The real targets of the public employees’ unions are the wealthy free riders who, in a fair political economy, would be giving back more to the nation, and to the states and communities they function in.

That is the obvious half of what the Wisconsin protests are about. The other half concerns the rights of ordinary people in a democracy — rights conservatives want to deny, whether gay rights, women’s rights, immigrant rights, retirement rights, or the right to the best health a nation can provide to all its citizens. Unions, through their political contributions, support the basic freedoms, protections, and resources we all require to have a decent life and live in a civilized society. If those unions are destroyed, American life will become unrecognizable in a remarkably short time.

Democracy as we know it—not just budgets and unions—is at stake in the Wisconsin protests.

Progressives are organizing rallies to “Save The American Dream.” They are understating the case.

If the Democrats are not talking out loud about these deeper issues, then they are, by their reticence and silence, helping conservatives destroy unions, defund the Democratic party, and take over the country.

Construction closures scheduled this week on 87

Roadway closures are expected on Arizona 87 near Milepost 205 starting next week for road-widening project. The closures will happen:

- Monday (Feb. 28) at 10:30 a.m., 12 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.
- Tuesday (March 1) through Thursday (March 3) at 11:30 a.m.

Northbound and southbound lanes of SR 87 will be shut down during these times. Milepost 205 is 6 miles north of Bush Highway and approximately 16.5 miles north of Shea Blvd. in Fountain Hills.

For information about construction-related closures or restrictions on SR 87 between the metro-Phoenix area and Payson, go to: http://www.valleyfreeways.org/Highways/Valley_Freeways/SR87/closures_restrictions.asp

For information about the SR 87 reconstruction and erosion control project, please visit: http://www.valleyfreeways.org/Highways/Valley_Freeways/SR87/index.asp

Mesa del petition opposes Cragin plant site

UPDATED STORY

By Jim Keyworth
Gazette Blog Editor

Kandis Mueller and several other Mesa del Caballo residents are circulating a petition urging that the Blue Ridge/C.C. Cragin Water Treatment Plant not be located immediately adjacent to their community.

An alternate site across Houston Mesa Road near Shoofly Ruins is already cleared, and many residents are expressing this site as their preference in response to a draft environmental assessment performed by the Forest Service.

Mesa del residents willing to help circulate petitions should contact Mueller at 478-6887. The signed petitions and copies will be hand delivered to the Forest Supervisor and several other people.

The items has also been placed on the March 1 (Tuesday) Town of Payson Council work/study meeting agenda. The meeting is held at the Town Council room at 303 N Beeline (in the Town Hall area across from Walmart) at 4 p.m. Mesa del residents are encouraged to attend the meeting so the community will be heard on the matter.

The Mesa del Caballo Community Center/El Caballo Club, which represents over 80 Mesa del households, recently adopted a position in favor of the Shoofly location and so notified the Forest Service.

The adjacent site would butt up against 8-10 homes along Mesa del's eastern boundary, effectively blocking the views of those homeowners. It would also require cutting down many trees to clear the site. Homeowners have also expressed concerns about noise pollution emanating from the plant.

Payson water guru Buzz Walker told a Mesa del resident today (Feb. 28) that the Forest Service is mandating the location, that the water treatment plant is a 21st Century facility that will make no noise, that its low profile will not obstruct views of the Rim, and that the town has already bought 10 acres for the site.

The text of Community Center President Jim Keyworth's comments to the Forest Service:

"As president of the Mesa del Caballo Community Center/El Caballo Club, a civic organization with over 80 Mesa del Caballo households as members, I would like to express our displeasure with WTP2, the water treatment plant site that adjoins our community. This site was not even mentioned at the public scoping meeting held at Julia Randall Elementary, and introducing it as the favorite at this late date seems unfair. We prefer the Shoofly site, WTP1, which is already cleared and will not have a negative impact on our community, especially those households directly behind WTP2. It doesn't make sense to impact the lifestyle and property values of our community when a much preferable site right across Houston Mesa Rd. is available."

Mesa del Caballo, located 1.8 miles northeast of Payson off Houston Mesa Road, is the largest community along the Blue Ridge pipeline route. The community has approximately 400 homes and 375 water hookups serviced by Brooke Utilities.

The Mesa del Caballo Water Committee, sponsored by the Community Center/El Caballo Club, is working closely with Brooke Utilities on a number of water issues, including the Blue Ridge/Cragin project.

The Blue Ridge/Cragin pipeline, when completed in 2013 or 2014, will deliver up to 4.5 million gallons (3,000 acre feet) per year to Payson. Mesa del and other northern Gila County communities are entitled to 500 acre feet.

The deadline for public comments on the Environmental Assessment is March 4, 2011. For additional information, contact Larry Hettinger at the Payson Ranger District, 928-474-7948.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Released turkey flies into conservation history

With a quick flapping of powerful wings, a Gould’s turkey flew its way into history books Feb. 9, becoming the 200,000th wild turkey in the U.S. to be captured and released back into the wild.

The assembly of Arizona Game and Fish Department biologists, National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) officials, U.S. Forest Service representatives, and volunteers knew they were witnessing history in the making.

It was a proud moment for Arizona conservation.

"The restoration of the wild turkey has succeeded beyond what anyone could have imagined," said James Kennamer, the NWTF's chief conservation officer. "The trap and transfer of the 200,000th wild turkey is a truly meaningful conservation milestone."

The 200,000th bird was one of 15 Gould's wild turkeys trapped in the Coronado National Forest near the Huachuca Mountains and then transferred to Gardner Canyon.

Brian Wakeling, the game chief for the Game and Fish Department, said Arizona was very proud to host this conservation milestone. “It’s really appropriate that a Gould’s turkey put this footprint on conservation history. Gould’s are the largest and the rarest of this nation’s wild turkey species.”

Wakeling explained that the recent capture and relocation are part of a continuing effort to expand the range of the Gould’s turkey in Arizona.

“Gould’s turkey have been an amazing comeback story in Arizona. It is truly a significant conservation model worth emulating,” Wakeling said, adding Gould's turkey were once found throughout southern Arizona. Gould's were an important food source for those who settled and worked in the rugged lands of southern Arizona years ago.

Between the Civil War and World War I, miners working in southern Arizona harvested Gould's for many of their meals. By the time Arizona had legal hunting seasons in 1929, Gould's turkey had already disappeared from the scene. However, they have never been listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

The Gould’s reintroduction project began as a hands-across-the border effort with Mexico, where the first populations of Gould’s subspecies came from to restore Arizona’s historic populations during the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s.

With the help of the National Wild Turkey Federation working in close harmony with the Arizona Game and Fish Department and a host of volunteers and cooperating landowners, today Gould’s populations can be found in six mountain ranges throughout southeastern Arizona: the Chiricahua, Pinaleno, Galiuro, Santa Rita, Catalina, and Huachuca Mountains.

In fact, the Gould’s turkey population in the Huachuca and Chiricahua Mountains has grown to the point where it is now used to sustain transplants to historical Gould’s habitats.

Nationally, wild turkeys were on the brink of extinction in the early 1900s. Thankfully, efforts by government agencies and the NWTF have enabled the wild turkey population to soar to more than 7 million today, making it the second-most popular game species in the U.S. with more than 2.5 million turkey hunters.

Republican senator immune to domestic violence

Had your daily dose of state legislator outrage on this snowy Rim Country Sunday?  If not, here it is, courtesy of The Arizona Republic:

State Senate Majority Leader and Republican Scott Bundgaard "was briefly taken into custody on suspicion of domestic violence but was released because he was immune to arrest under rules of the Arizona state Constitution.

Instead, his girlfriend was arrested.

Read the whole story in today's big Sunday Republic or click here: www.news.azcentral.com

You can have the big Sunday Republic, complete with Safeway and Bashas' ads and hundreds of dollars worth of coupons, delivered to your home by calling 1-800-332-6733.  It's by far your best newspaper value.

Renee Patrick, Judy Roberts return on Sunday

Judy Roberts

Renee Patrick

A rising star, jazz and soul vocalist Renee Patrick, teams up with multiple Grammy nominee pianist, Judy Roberts and an all-star band in a very special performance that will entertain those of all ages and musical tastes.

Special Performance Date: First Sunday, March 6th, 2 - 4 pm

Payson Community Presbyterian Church

800 West Main Street

Featuring piano vocalist Judy Roberts, bassist Neal Seroka, saxophonist Greg Fishman, and drummer Gerry Reynolds.

Larry Rodgers of The Arizona Republic recently wrote about Renee Patrick:

"Hidden gems: Arizona singer Renee Patrick growing fans."


Renee has gained many fans in Rim Country since coming up to perform here for almost tens years. Joining her will be multiple Grammy nominee and perennial favorite among international jazz fans, Judy Roberts, a headliner in her own right.

Valley-based jazz and R&B singer Renee Patrick was raised by musical parents who surrounded her with the sounds of Motown and doo-wop, but she was a late bloomer when it came to getting onstage herself. It wasn't until shewas in her 30's and a mother of two that she summoned the nerve to sing at an open-microphone night in Scottsdale in the late 90's.

She then began signing almost weekly at the Pita Jungle Restaurant in Chandler (an open jam where drummer Gerry Reynolds continues to lead the house trio.) Having watched her father,  George Grant, performing in the legendary Ink Spots and her mother, Teresa Richardson, sing on Motown recording sessions motivated and encouraged her to pursue a singer career of her own.

Her career really took-off when she teamed-up with veteran R&B and jazz pianist Steve Denney when they started performing in a Scottsdale Restaurant. She is now performing at Malee's Thai Bistro on Monday's (with Judy Roberts), The Grill at the Wigwam (with Steve Denney) on Wednesday's, Remington's (with Judy Roberts) on Thursday's, at Sassi's (with Steve Denney) on Saturday's, and a Friday each month at Asia.

We are very fortunate to have Renee Patrick and Judy Roberts return to Payson for this very special performance.

$5 donation at the door includes refreshments.

Seating limited to 225, and while we do not require an RSVP, a return response with the number that plan to attend will help us to plan this event.

Send response to: Gerry Reynolds at gerry-reynolds@hotmail.com, or call 602-619-3355.

PERSPECTIVE: Front page story for the prurient?

PERSPECTIVE
PERSPECTIVE
PERSPECTIVE
When a newspaper puts a remote and isolated story about a case of sexual exploitation on its front page, is it a kind of exploitation in and of itself?  In other words, does it have more prurient appeal than real news value?

Just asking.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Bill would make OHV riders liable for accidents

A bill by Sen. John Nelson, R-Litchfield Park, would apply to state trust land, privately owned land and leased land when off-highway vehicle riders make recreational use of the property. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Grant Martin)

By JORGE SALAZAR
Cronkite News Service

PHOENIX – Landowners, leaseholders and taxpayers shouldn’t be liable for damages when off-highway vehicle riders get in accidents on public and private land, a state senator said.

Current law prohibits individuals from suing if they are fishing, hunting, camping and swimming on such land as recreational users.

SB 1229, authored by Sen. John Nelson, R-Litchfield Park, would expand the definition of a recreational user to include a person using an off-highway, off-road or all-terrain vehicle.

“Those that want to drive across those lands on their own and hurt themselves, they should bear their burden of the cost,” Nelson said.

The state Senate has approved the bill, and the measure won a unanimous endorsement Thursday from the House Judiciary Committee.

The Arizona State Land Department asked Nelson, chairman of the Senate Natural Resources and Transportation Committee, to carry the bill. The department manages 9.3 million acres of land around the state.

“With the proliferation of OHV activity, we think it only makes sense we have protection in statute,” said Vanessa Hickman, Arizona’s deputy state land commissioner.

The Arizona Cattlemen’s Association, Arizona Nature Conservancy chapter and the Arizona Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition registered their support for the measure.

Rep. Frank Pratt, R-Casa Grande, who signed on as a primary sponsor of the bill, said it’s important to keep land open to people who want to use it.

“The alternative to defining liability on this quite possibly could be the closure of these lands,” Pratt said.

Nelson said the measure shouldn’t be seen as a way for landowners, leaseholders and the state to duck liability for negligence. The bill and current law make exceptions for negligence and malicious conduct.

“We’re just saying that if you use it on your own and you get hurt, we as landowners should not be held liable for what you as an individual do to yourself,” he said.

Current ‘recreational uses’:

– Hunting
– Fishing
– Trapping
– Camping
– Hiking
– Riding
– Exercising
– Swimming

Sugarloaf closed all day at Beeline next week

Sugarloaf Road, located just west of Arizona State Route 87 at milepost 204, will be closed from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily for construction-related activity Monday (Feb. 28) through Thursday (March 3).

For information about construction-related closures or restrictions on SR 87 between the metro-Phoenix area and Payson, go to: http://www.valleyfreeways.org/Highways/Valley_Freeways/SR87/closures_restrictions.asp

For information about the SR 87 reconstruction and erosion control project, please visit: http://www.valleyfreeways.org/Highways/Valley_Freeways/SR87/index.asp

Weekend Valley freeway closures, restrictions

Headed to the Valley for the big rally in support of Wisconsin workers and the forgotten Middle Class? Here's what ADOT wants you to know about...

Weekend Valley Freeway Closures and Restrictions
February 25 - 28, 2011

* Northbound Loop 101 (Agua Fria Freeway) narrowed to one between Indian School and Camelback roads in Glendale
* Eastbound Loop 202 (Santan Freeway) closed at Price Road in Chandler
* Northbound Price Road closed between Spectrum Boulevard and Frye Road in Chandler

View the Weekend Closures & Restrictions map in PDF format or visit our site for a complete listing of restrictions for this weekend. FRr more information, visit www.azdot.gov.
YOU'RE INVITED

Wisconsin Solidarity in Phoenix:
Rally to Save the American Dream

Where: Phoenix Capital (in Phoenix)

When: Tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 26 at 12 noon

What: Tomorrow, in cities across the nation, including Phoenix and every state capital, we'll come together to stand in solidarity with the people of Wisconsin and rally to Save the American Dream. Teachers, nurses, firefighters, students, police officers and others protesting in Wisconsin have occupied the Capitol building and streets of Madison for the past nine days, and now their protest is going national.

Humor therapy on tap at Women's Wellness Forum

The 13th Annual Women's Wellness Forum, scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. on Saturday, March 12 at Payson High School, will feature internationally known humor therapist Elaine Lundberg whose keynote address is entitled: "Laughter - the Duct Tape That Can Help Hold You Together."

Lundberg's presentation is specifically designed to help women use positive humor to overcome their concerns about the little things that cause stress in their lives.  Attendees will also learn about the healthy things that can happen to their bodies when they have a hardy belly laugh.

Themed "Women's Health: It's Not Rocket Science,"a full forum agenda also includes Zumba with Christy Walton, Tai Chi/Quigong with Penny Navis-Schmidt, Protect Your Skin with Dr. Peter Zonakis and much, much more.  To register, call the Mogollon Health Alliance at 928-472-2588.  Cost is $10.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Anybody out there? ASU launches 'Dear Aliens'

Illustration courtesy ASU News

What would you say to an extraterrestrial intelligent life form if you were contacted from outer space? Would you tell it about mountains, deserts, rain forests and oceans? Would you attempt to explain humankind’s efforts to create a greener planet? Or would you focus on who we are as the human race and what we have done?

This is the question Lucy Hawking is asking students throughout Maricopa County – from kindergarten through high school – to answer in a “Dear Aliens” essay competition that is hosted by the Arizona State University Origins Project. Winning entries will be broadcast into space by scientists at a special event on the ASU Tempe campus April 9 as part of a science and culture festival.

Hawking, co-author of a popular young-adult book series with her father, Stephen Hawking, is the inaugural Origins writer-in-residence at ASU. She hopes students will think about alien life forms, outer space, the recent discoveries of planets, and humanity’s advancements in space. But, she advises, there are other questions students should ask themselves as they consider their messages.

“Our essay writers should also consider life on Earth,” she says. “Who are we? What have we done? What would be interesting about Earth to an extraterrestrial? How can you possibly explain human society to a life form from another star system?

“This is an opportunity to be both creative and scientific in the approach,” she says.

The competition is scaled based on school level – K-2: up to 50 words; grades 3-5: up to 100 words; grades 6-8: up to 200 words; grades 9-12: up to 250. All students, from public school to home school, private school to charter school, are eligible to enter.

Hawking credits Paul Davies, a professor in the Department of Physics at ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a renowned physicist and astrobiologist, with the inspiration for “Dear Aliens.” Davies chairs the International Academy of Astronautics SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Post-Detection Task Group and is charged with responding to extraterrestrial contact, should a life form from outer space make contact with Earth.

“I heard Paul one night on the BBC being interviewed, and he confirmed that he would be the person to reply to alien contact,” says Hawking. “I thought how extraordinary this is. I wondered what Paul might say, and then thought about ways we might be able to get students involved in such a challenge. This is how I came up with the concept of the ‘Dear Aliens’ competition. It seemed such a great way to get young people involved in thinking about these issues and writing creatively and scientifically.

“Today’s students are fascinated with black holes, space travel and the possibility of alien life forms,” Hawking says. “They are reading adventure stories about the wonders of the cosmos, and I believe there is tremendous value in asking students to express their ideas, while at the same time providing a unique learning experience.”

Lawrence Krauss, Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the Department of Physics, and the founding director of the ASU Origins Project says: “One of the goals of Origins is to inspire students, faculty and the general public to explore fundamental questions associated with our existence in a new and exciting context. In particular, we hope to inspire school children to get excited about science by thinking about questions rather than answers.

“Lucy’s project is an inspired move in this direction, and we hope will get kids thinking about questions far beyond the specific one we are asking them to answer. We’re extremely excited to be working with her on this, and I think it’s a great ways to connect with and excite students,” Krauss says.

Hawking, a British author and journalist, has written two novels, in addition to a children’s trilogy with her father, about a character called George and his cosmic adventures. The books aim to explain physics and astronomy to a young readership through telling the story of George’s sometimes terrifying journeys into space. The first two books, “George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt” and “George’s Secret Key to the Universe,” have been translated into 38 languages. “Secret Key” made number six in the New York Times Children's Bestseller list. The third will be published in 2012 in the U.S.

The author says the word limits placed on “Dear Aliens” entries are by design.

“We want the students to think simply and directly,” she says. “This is an enjoyable exercise that will include creative thinking, possibly some research on the part of our entrants, and the ability to organize thoughts. If you had to speak for humanity, what would you say?

“This isn’t an empty exercise; the essays we receive will be read by the scientists who will actually communicate with extraterrestrial life forms, when, and if, they make contact,” she says.

How would Hawking respond to contact from outer space?

“I think you have to view it from the perspective of what kinds of questions might they have for us,” she says. “We are one race with many divisions; how would you explain that? We have 6,700 different languages; we have different belief systems and different political systems. But, actually, biologically, we are the same species. An ETI (extraterrestrial intelligent) life form might struggle to understand why there are so many divisions. It might look at our planet as beautiful and well-endowed with natural resources and wonder why we are treating it in such a short-term fashion.

“We should think in terms of what we have done on Earth that an outside life form might understand; what might be universal,” she says.

There is no time like the present to consider a response, Hawking notes.

“We don’t know when the signal from ET might arrive,” she says. “It could be tomorrow or it could be decades or centuries in the future. But at ASU we believe we should start thinking about who we are, and do so before we are asked to explain ourselves to a group of interstellar radio hams.”

Hawking is looking forward to reading student entries.

“Young people are the very people who may, in the future, find themselves communicating with beings from another planet,” notes Hawking. “I’m so excited to read how the students believe we should respond to contact from outer space. I can’t wait to read the entries and find out what school students think aliens need to know about humanity and planet Earth.”

“Dear Aliens” gives students a chance “to write the intergalactic tourist guide for extraterrestrial visitors,” Hawking says.

Student submissions will be reviewed by a panel of alien experts made up of writers, scientists and scholars. The deadline for entries is April 1. Only written entries by mail will be accepted. They should be sent to: Dear Aliens, ASU Origins Project, Arizona State University, P.O. Box 871902, Tempe, Ariz., 85287-1902.

For more information, visit the ASU Origins Project website: http://origins.asu.edu/events/dear-aliens-contest.

PSWID's 'long history' of skewed numbers continues

At the October Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District (PSWID) meeting, Mike Greer gave a presentation stating that hiring CH2M Hill would result in a surplus for the current fiscal year of $295,750. That presentation can be found here: http://www.waterforpinestrawberry.com/data%20pages/BudgetDocs.htm .

During that presentation, Mr. Greer offered to explain how the numbers were arrived at with anyone in the community. Mr. Greer did not keep his word on that, so we used the financial data on the PSWID website and the CH2M Hill contract to check the numbers that he presented.

Two worksheets can be found here: http://www.waterforpinestrawberry.com/data%20pages/BudgetDocs.htm .

One has the consolidated financial activity data taken from the PSWID website for the months of December 2009 through December 2010. The other has the revenue and expenses compared between Greer’s October presentation, our correction to that based on the actual financial and contractual data, and a projection for the fiscal year ending 2013. One thing to keep in mind is that Greer was estimating for the months of October and on. We are using actuals expenditures for Oct-Nov and actual revenues for Oct-Dec.

The approach that was taken was to use the actual expenditures through the first five months of the year (July through November), along with estimated expenditures for the remaining seven months (December through June 2011). The estimated expenditures were based on the 12 months of actual PSWID expenditures from December 2009 through November 2010. The allocation of expenses between PSWID and CH2M Hill is based upon both the operations contract and what PSWID has continued to pay for after the CH2M Hill operations contract started on December 1st.

Next regular PSWID Meeting: Thursday March 17, 2011 at 7:30 PM at the PSWID Office

October Surplus Presentation
Projected FYE 2011 Revenue. Mr. Greer projected revenue of $1,673,686. We are projecting revenue of $1,727,122.
i. We came to a higher number because we included the December revenue actuals which reflect the additional month of revenue at the higher rates that PSWID received by manipulating the Jan. 1 rate effectivity. If you remove that extra income, then we are close to Mr. Greer’s number. Clearly this indicates that Mr. Greer did not anticipate the need to manipulate the effectivity date in his projection.

Projected FYE 2011 Operations Expenditures. Mr. Greer projected operations expenditures of $1,377,936. We are projecting operations expenditures of $1,765,381.
i. Mr. Greer did not include the $35,000 startup fee for CH2M Hill
ii. The CH2M Hill contract is for basic work, not large repairs. We included an additional 10% of the base fee to cover extra work by CH2M Hill. This is $55,970.
iii. Actual expenditures for July through November (before CH2M Hill contract started) were $515,015 versus the $388,430 number that Mr. Greer used.
iv. The projected PSWID expenses for the seven months after the start of the CH2M Hill contract were $143,059 by Mr. Greer. We determined, based on the average monthly costs for the year from December 2009 through November 2010 that it would be $339,146.

Projected FYE 2011 Net Income: Mr. Greer projected a net income of $295,750. We are projecting a net income of -$38,259.
i. Comment: There has been a long history of the financial numbers presented by the board to the public being significantly incorrect in the direction that favors them. This is just another example. Perhaps Mr. Greer has some keen insight that would explain the numbers that he presented, but since he isn’t confident enough to sit down and explain them, I suspect that we are closer to the truth than he is.
ii. Comment: If indeed there was going to be a $295,750 surplus, why would the board have had to scramble for an extra month’s worth of revenue at the new rates? Would they have done that to avoid having the surplus only be $250,000?
iii. Comment: The other thing to remember is that the election was a couple of weeks after Mr. Greer’s presentation. Best to keep the numbers rosy since he, Mr. Calderon, and Mr. Claxton were up for election.

Projected FYE 2013
While we had the spreadsheet out, we took a cut at projecting what the revenues and operations expenditures will be in FYE 2013 (July 2012 through June 2013). That will be the first year that principle payment is fully in place and the next round of borrowing, $5,000,000, that the board has been done. We did this in order to estimate the amount of additional revenue that the district will need from its customers. Revenue will need to increase by $848,654 for a 52% increase.
Projected FYE 2013 Revenues. We project revenue of $1,642,384.
i. Assumes no rate changes between now and then.
ii. Assumes that the property tax subsidy, currently $200,000 per year, goes away as the board has promised in the past.

Projected FYE 2013 Operations Expenditures. We project operations expenditures of $2,491,037.
i. Assumes that CH2M Hill contract and other PSWID expenses increase by 5%.
ii. Contines to assume that CH2M Hill generates an additional 10% in billings above their base fee.
iii. Principal payment on the Compass Bank loans has begun
iv. PSWID has borrowed an additional $5,000,000 at 4% with a 20 year term. Principal payment begins immediately. No “interest only” gimmicks.

This update is from the group Water For Pine Strawberry. We will provide an update after each of the PSWID meetings with a summary of what the board did, additional facts that are relevant to what went on, and some commentary. Updates on earlier meetings are available on our website: www.WaterForPineStrawberry.com .

Water For Pine Strawberry is a group of residents who are concerned about the community’s water issues and how they can best be resolved. Visit our web site, www.WaterForPineStrawberry.com, for more information. The website for PSWID is www.pswid.org .

Clarifications can be submitted by anyone who is explicitly named, implicitly identifiable, or a board member to items in this update. Clarifications will be posted on our website. We reserve the right to post a response. Clarifications must deal with the topics discussed in the update that relate to the individual or the board. They must be in family friendly language and be non-abusive. When the clarification is accepted, it will be posted to the website and notice of that posting will be added to the next update.

Bedbug boom, first love sketches, 16 sandwiches

TODAY'S AZ REPUBLIC

Three great reads you won't want to miss in today's (Feb. 24) Arizona Repbulic:

o The current bedbug boom is making mucho money for local pest control firms.  How are things in your bed?  Go to money.azcentral.com

o 16 unique and delicious sandwiches to brighten your next Valley excursion, from American ham and cheese to banh mi from Vietnam.  Go to calendar.azcentral.com

o Have a portrait of your first love done by a sketch artist at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art's First Love exhibit.  Go to living.azcentral.com

Or if you like the old-fashioned feel of a morning newspaper in your hands, pick up a copy in town or call 1-800-332-6733 to have the Republic delivered to your door seven days a week, including the big Sunday paper with coupons, Bashas' and Safeway ads, and much more.  It's your best newspaper value.

There's more to life than the local police reports.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

APS's pre-pay meters pose deadly hazard to seniors

The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) this week unanimously gave Arizona Public Service (APS) the go-ahead to install “pre-pay” electric meters which shut-off electricity without regard to the temperature or heath of the homeowner.

“At this week’s public hearing, the consumer representatives outlined the dangers of pre-pay service, but our concerns were not heeded,” said AARP Arizona Advocacy Director Steve Jennings. “APS sold this as a way of getting ratepayers to conserve energy. It definitely will – when a senior’s money runs out the meter automatically makes the house go dark.”

While acknowledging that AARP, representing all Arizonans over 50 including nearly 800,000 Arizona AARP members, testified in opposition to deciding the matter as part of APS energy saving application plan, Arizona Corporation Commission members ignored the concerns and voted 5-0 in favor of allowing APS to install 2,000 pre-pay meters.

“This plan removes the current legal protection that a personal visit is required before electricity can be terminated,” said Jennings. “That protection exists as Arizona has both very high and very low temperatures. No electricity when it is 110 degrees is a serious health concern among older people. Our citizens deserve better from the Arizona Corporation Commission than their quick approval of the utility’s plan with a promise to address consumer protection later.”

Let there be flight: variations on a paper airplane

Engineering students had one hour to build their airplanes using paper and paper clips. (Photo by Patrick McArdle/UANews)


Imperl demonstrates what he calls the five-year-old design, an aircraft that successfully competed in last year’s Flight Design Challenge. (Photo by Daniel Stolte/UANews)

Two sheets of paper, a few strips of sticky tape and two paper clips – that's all UA engineering students had to build a high-soaring paper airplane.

By Daniel Stolte
University Communications

February 22, 2011 - A small crowd gathers in the courtyard by the University of Arizona's Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Building. Squinting into the afternoon sun, all eyes are on a row of engineering students lining a bridge that runs across the courtyard and connects the two halves of the building.

"Team one, go!"

One of the students on the bridge takes a step back and launches a paper airplane into the air. The crowd's eyes follow as the plane briefly soars on a gust of wind, then plunges nose-first into the grass.

Six teams of undergraduate engineering students have come together to compete in this year's Flight Design Challenge as part of Engineering Week hosted by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

The rules are strict and simple. Build a paper plane capable of flying as far as possible, using nothing more than two sheets of legal-sized paper, a few strips of sticky tape and two paper clips – plus any design principles you might have picked up in class. The teams have about 25 minutes to come up with a plane design and 10 minutes to discuss it. No more than three cuts are allowed. Each prototype has to carry a small plastic soldier as payload.

Next up is the Chi-Fighter, a plane sporting a fairly conservative design – a tube-shaped fuselage and a set of broad, rectangular wings.

"We wanted a high aspect ratio aircraft to minimize the drag while offering the lift of the big wing span," explains John Kidd, a fourth-year aerospace engineer and member of the Theta Tau Professional Engineering Fraternity's Chi chapter. "In theory, this design should perform well."

Parker Imperl, a senior in engineering management with a focus on mechanical engineering, adds: "We took one piece of paper and folded it into the wings, and then we cut the tail off what would become the fuselage, and we rolled the fuselage up really tight."

Up on the bridge, Imperl tosses the Chi-Fighter into the wind. A few seconds after take-off, in what should have been the climbing phase, the plane's wings fold, sending the fighter into a downward spiral from which it can't recover. With a soft "thud," it hits the dirt. A post-flight analysis performed by the Chi-Fighter team would later reveal significant structural deficits resulting in the prototype's demise.

"We realized the wings had to be a lot more stable because what we didn't take into account is our wing loading," Kidd says. "The rolled-up sheet of paper makes the body too heavy."

Imperl agrees. "Yeah, and the paper clips and the Army man riding on top were just too much."

"The wing load is evenly distributed over the wing surface, but you have what is called a moment on the wing," Kidd explains. "The moment is the force on any unit, which is uniform across the wing, but multiplied by the distance from the center. So we have these massive moments here, which are crumpling it up. But that was the best we could come up with in 10 minutes."

He pauses, contemplating the hapless Chi-Fighter sitting on the table in front of him.

"In hindsight, I would have probably taken these paper clips and straightened them out to make a leading edge that would have made the wings more rigid. Plus, we were running out of tape, which created the rhomboid shape of the tail. That was detrimental."

The competition consists of two trials and one test run. There is no place for second winners.

"Last year, we went with what I call a five-year-old design," Imperl says. "I remember at the end of last year's competition, I went back up and threw it again. The plane made it half-way across the parking lot. It was the same plane. It was just the way I threw it."

"So this year, I took our instruction sheet, folded it half-way and made a triangle. Everybody was laughing at me. I went like, "Chi-Fighter 2!" and threw it. It flew above and beyond the wall."

In the Flight Design Challenge, "the wall" is what separates failure from glory. Only two prototypes make it across. But unfortunately, the instruction sheet was not part of the approved materials list, barring Chi-Fighter 2 from officially competing.

"I'm taking two classes right now where we learn this kind of stuff," Kidd says, "‘Aircraft Performance' and ‘Aerodynamics.' I was trying to apply a lot of those principles to our paper plane design, but they really apply only to planes made from stiff materials like metal or even wood. It didn't work out quite the way the theories do in class, but that's learning."

"The traditional jetliner that you see that is just being improved upon. It's the same basic airfoil; just optimized a little bit more. But every now and then you'll see something brand-new. NASA actually put out this competition with a lot of the aerospace corporations trying to come up with a totally new aircraft that is more fuel-efficient, less noise pollution all that stuff. They're pretty much paying companies to sit engineers in a room and just come up with anything that hasn't been tried before and see what happens."

"Next year, I would try to improve on this prototype because I feel we were headed in the right direction," Kidd says. "We might make the wing narrower, we might use the paper clips to reinforce the leading edges, we might use only half the paper we used for the fuselage this time, just to make it shorter and lighter, and we should probably make the tail piece simpler, for example a V-tail."

Imperl nods. "Either that or go with the five-year-old design again."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bill would force school procedures on bullying

John Baba describes what happened when his son was beaten by bully at school. He spoke in support of a bill by Rep. Kimberly Yee, R-Phoenix, that would require schools to develop procedures for addressing bullying and that would punish school employees who fail to file reports about incidents of bullying. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Jorge Salazar)

By JORGE SALAZAR
Cronkite News Service

PHOENIX – John Baba’s 14-year-old son was assaulted in his second week of high school by a student who was on probation.

When Baba arrived at the school, his son was lying with an ice pack on his cheek, one eye swollen shut, a bloody mouth and nose and lacerations on his face.

Baba said he asked the school if paramedics or police had been called but was told that was his responsibility.

“The protocols that the school failed to take really upset me and the rest of the community of friends that we have at this high school and the district,” Baba told the House Education Committee on Thursday.

Baba brought the incident to the attention of Rep. Kimberly Yee, R-Phoenix, who introduced a bill calling for disciplinary action against school employees, from administrators to teachers to janitors, who fail to file detailed reports about bullying.

The bill also would allow parents and students to fill out forms to report incidents of bullying. It would require schools to contact emergency services, including police and paramedics, when appropriate.

The Education Committee endorsed HB 2415 on a 6-1 vote, sending it to floor by way of Rules Committee.

At a news conference before the hearing, Yee said many other parents had spoken to her about school bullying but weren’t willing to go on the record.

“The victims of bullies and even their parents are too afraid to come out of fear of retribution,” Yee said. “There are devastating consequences of school bullying, and for too many years we have not held anyone accountable for these actions.”

Yee said schools need to develop clearly stated, zero-tolerance policies to combat school bullying and emergency response procedures.

Rep. John Fillmore, R-Apache Junction, who voted against the measure, said he was concerned about allowing each school district to develop its own definition of bullying and about the possibility of innocent comments being misconstrued as bullying.

“We’re teaching our children to shut up in a free society,” Fillmore said. “And I don’t think that’s right.”

Other legislation on bullying:
Two Democratic lawmakers unsuccessfully pushed this session for legislation they dubbed the Arizona Safe Schools Act. It would have required schools to address cyber-bullying and bias-motivated bullying. They offered identical bills in each chamber.

SB 1549, sponsored by Senate Minority Leader David Schapira, D-Tempe, received a hearing but was held in committee. HB 2580, sponsored by Rep. Katie Hobbs, D-Phoenix, didn’t receive a hearing.
Center Dance Ensemble
presents
Favorites

February 24, 25 and 26 at 7:30 p.m.
February 27 at 2:00 p.m.

We continue our celebration of the renovated theater with a program
featuring the first piece ever performed by CDE
at the HerbergerTheater in downtown Phoenix:
the dance folk opera "The Ballad of Barbara Allen"

written by the Rim Country's own Dee Strickland Johnson (Buckshot Dot)

plus other works from the CDE repertoire.

Tickets are on sale now at the Herberger Box Office

Regular $21.50
Seniors $17.50
Students $9.50
each plus box office fees

Order your tickets today: 602-252-8497 or HYPERLINK "http://www.herbergertheater.org/"www.herbergertheater.org
For more information contact: Gary Bacal, 520-881-4786 or 520-403-2501 (cell) garybacal@att.net

Monday, February 21, 2011

Clinton, Bush to chair UA Civil Discourse Institute

Photo courtesy UA News: Presidents George H.W. Bush (left) and Bill Clinton (right)

By Johnny Cruz
University Communications

February 21 - A new center – to be chaired by two U.S. presidents – has been created at the University of Arizona to advance the national conversation currently taking place about civility in political debate.

The National Institute for Civil Discourse is a nonpartisan center for debate, research, education and policy generation regarding civility in public discourse.

Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton have agreed to serve as honorary chairs for the institute.

"I am honored to join President Clinton in supporting this important effort at such a critical time in our nation's history," said President Bush. "Our country needs a setting for political debate that is both frank and civil, and the National Institute for Civil Discourse can make a significant contribution toward reaching this goal."

"America faces big challenges in revitalizing the American Dream at home and preserving our leadership for security, peace, freedom and prosperity in the world. Meeting them requires an honest dialogue celebrating both a clarification of our differences and a genuine stand for principled comparisons. I believe that the National Institute for Civil Discourse can elevate the tone of dialogue in our country, and in so doing, help us to keep moving toward 'a more perfect union.' I'm pleased to join President George H.W. Bush to help advance this important effort," said President Clinton.

"It is right and fitting that two of America's most successful practitioners of American democracy – Presidents Bush and Clinton – have now joined to help save it," said Fred DuVal, vice chair of the Arizona Board of Regents and originator of the idea for the institute. "And equally that the Tucson-based University of Arizona would host this bipartisan effort. This institute is the right people in the right place at the right time."

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (retired) and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle will be the institute's honorary co-chairs.

A diverse array of political backgrounds are represented among the institute's other board members, who include:

•Madeleine Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State
•Ken Duberstein, former chief of staff for President Ronald Reagan
•Greta Van Susteren, host of "On the Record," FOX News Channel
•Trey Grayson, director of the Harvard University's Institute of Politics
•Jim Kolbe, former U.S. Congressman
Several new board members will be announced over the next few months.

National Institute for Civil Discourse initiatives will include:

•Convening major policy discussions with elected officials, policymakers and advocates on topics that tend to generate polarized positions.
•Promoting civil discourse, civic engagement and civic leadership.
•Organizing workshops and conferences in Washington, D.C., Tucson and across the country.
•Promoting a national conversation among prominent public figures from government, business and media regarding challenging political issues in a non-partisan setting.
•Developing programs and research centered around the exercise of First Amendment freedoms conducted in a way that respects both the ideas of others, and those who hold them.
The commitment by the honorary co-chairs and board members reflect a commitment by highly influential leaders to cross political boundaries to address issues that divide many Americans.

"The mission of the National Institute for Civil Discourse is essential for our nation's future success," said O'Connor. "I am pleased to be part of the effort to unite Americans across the political spectrum in constructive debate about critical issues."

"Civil discourse does not require people to change their values, but should provide an environment that all points of view are heard and acknowledged," said Daschle. "If our nation is to successfully address its problems, we must unite behind shared values and principles and bring people together to develop solutions."

The institute is in the process of naming a working board that will be chaired by DuVal.

The National Institute for Civil Discourse will be housed in the UA's School of Government and Public Policy, in collaboration with the UA Rehnquist Center on the Constitutional Structures of Government in the James E. Rogers College of Law and other departments throughout the University.

Fletcher McCusker, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Providence Service Corporation, headquartered in Tucson, is the first to step forward to provide community support for the project.

Joseph Anderson, former chairman and chief executive officer of Schaller Anderson, also has pledged a major gift to enable the establishment of the institute.

"The University of Arizona is a place where all political views are welcome and where discussion and vigorous debate can take place in a respectful manner," said UA President Robert N. Shelton. "I am pleased that the National Institute for Civil Discourse will advance the cause of elevating the tone of our nation's political rhetoric."

"The University of Arizona is committed toward helping provide solutions to the challenges facing our country," said UA Provost Meredith Hay. "It is an ideal home for the National Institute for Civil Discourse, which will focus on bringing Americans of all political backgrounds together to solve problems collaboratively."

One of the key goals for the institute is to connect people with diverse viewpoints and to offer a venue for vigorous and respectful debate.

Among the institute's first events will be an executive forum with media, foundation, academic, government and corporate leaders regarding moving forward the national conversation about civil discourse and proceeding with constructive solutions.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Rite of spring: 12 new AZ license plates proposed

Arizona has not yet proposed a design for a centennial plate. Oklahoma used this design for its centennial plates in 2007. (Photo by the Oklahoma Tax Commission)


The Gadsden flag, first flown in the American Revolution and named after Continental Congressman and soldier Christopher Gadsden, has become a symbol of the modern-day Tea Party. Arizona is among several states considering special license plates featuring the “Don’t Tread on Me” design. (Photo by Vikrum Lexicon, Creative Commons)

By REBEKAH ZEMANSKY
Cronkite News Service

PHOENIX – Sen. Linda Gray, R-Phoenix, wants to give Arizonans one more way to celebrate the state’s centennial.

Sen. Paula Aboud, D-Tucson, wants to increase funding for food banks so that no Arizonan goes hungry.

Sen. Don Shooter, R-Yuma, wants to give his constituents a chance to share the message “Don’t Tread on Me” above their back bumpers.

In a rite of spring, state legislators are proposing at least 12 special license plates that would add to nearly 50 offered by the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Gray, who also is seeking plates promoting multiple sclerosis awareness, litter prevention and childhood cancer research, said that special plates are good opportunities to express support for groups and causes.

“We already have the other plates, so to then prohibit somebody else from having a chance just isn’t right,” she said.

Some other proposed plates are commemorative, honoring law enforcement and women veterans. Others aim to raise funds for causes such as youth development and character education. One would create a plate celebrating professional hockey in Arizona.

Any special plate design must have a financial sponsor that can provide the one-time, $32,000 cost of processing and printing the plates.

Of the $25 required to order or renew special plates, $17 goes to a party designated in the legislation. For example, proceeds from Gray’s proposed centennial plate would go to the Arizona Office of Tourism to fund centennial events and later would go into a fund that the Arizona Historical Society would use to operate the planned Centennial Museum.

But some lawmakers say the dozens of special plates Arizona already has are more than enough.

Rep. Eric Meyer, D-Scottsdale, said he’s not sure the government should be involved in fundraising for private organizations. On Thursday, he voted against a bill before the House Transportation Committee that would establish a license plate honoring women veterans, as he does for other bills calling for special plates.

“We should focus on our business, which is balancing our budget, educating our kids, health care for our citizens and public safety,” Meyer said.

Rep. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, said he votes against all special plates because they may be difficult for law enforcement officers to read.

“It used to be an Arizona plate was just the red and white, that was it, and everybody knew what an Arizona plate was just from looking at it: red and white with a little white cactus,” Farley said. “When you have as many as we’re getting and we’re going to get more all the time, then it compromises the plate’s ability to do its primary job, which is identification.”

Once a design is approved, it’s checked with law enforcement and the Motor Vehicle Division for readability.

But Aboud said special plates are a valuable way to raise money for worthwhile causes. She noted that the hunger relief plates she’s seeking would benefit Arizona food banks.

“It breaks my heart to think we have one person that goes hungry in this state,” Aboud said. “Think how many times you’re behind a vehicle and what is it you look at? Their bumper.”

Shooter authored one of two bills seeking to create a plate saying “Don’t Tread on Me.” The other, by Rep. Vic Williams, R-Tucson, wasn’t heard in committee, but Shooter’s bill, which also would create plates promoting youth development and law enforcement, made it out of committee.

Shooter, who is in his first term, said hasn’t thought much about the value of creating any of the plates, though he doesn’t consider them controversial.

“The leadership’s being nice to me, giving me some easy bills to cut my teeth on,” he said.

Some proposed special plates:
– HB 2656 : Women veterans.
– SB 1262: Arizona centennial.
– SB 1236 : Multiple sclerosis awareness; hunger relief; childhood cancer research; litter prevention and cleanup; “In God We Trust”; Arizona professional hockey club.
– SB 1402 : Law enforcement; youth development; “Don’t Tread on Me.”
– SB 1053 : Character education.

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Nancy has left a new comment on your post "Census promotional caps, Ts not made in USA":

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Booster seat bill gets second chance despite foes

A strike everything amendment to HB 2452 would require that children to use a booster seat until they are 8 years old or until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall. At a safety fair in Peoria in 2009, then 5-year-old Destinee Tellef demonstrates how a booster seat helps position a seat belt on a child. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Daniel Newhauser)

By SPRING ESELGROTH
Cronkite News Service

PHOENIX – For 15 years, the National Transportation Safety Board has urged states to pass laws requiring children to ride in booster seats up to age 8 or until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall.

But Arizona remains one of three states that doesn’t require the use of booster seats, as bills have repeatedly failed at the state Legislature. Current Arizona law requires child restraints until age 5.

This legislative session promised more of the same, with the latest bill, sponsored by Sens. Linda Gray, R-Phoenix, and Al Melvin, R-Tucson, bottled up in the Senate. But now Rep. Vic Williams, R-Tucson, has revived the proposal in a bill up for consideration Thursday by the House Transportation Committee.

“It doesn’t make sense the way our laws are right now,” Williams said. “There is a gap in our statutes that is leaving children unprotected.”

The proposal, contained in a strike-everything amendment to HB 2452, which dealt with another subject, would require drivers of vehicles designed for 10 or fewer passengers to put children in booster seats if they are at least 5 years old and until they are 8 or at least 4 feet 9 inches tall.

The measure would exempt vehicles manufactured before 1972 or that aren’t required to have integrated lap and shoulder belts or lap belts.

SB 1084, the bill offered by Gray and Melvin, wasn’t going to be heard by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Transportation, the sponsors said.

“Certain people who are opposed to this bill say it’s creating a ‘nanny state’; they believe it’s an intrusion of their personal rights,” Melvin said. “But I’m interested in saving lives, the lives of young children.”

Michelle Donati, a spokeswoman for AAA Arizona, she said kids under the height of 4 feet 9 inches are simply too small for adult-size seat belts.

“When children are too small for a seat belt and they are in a crash, they can slide under the seat belt or the seat belt itself can cause extreme injury,” Donati said.

While opponents insist that it’s not the responsibility of the government to enforce parenting, Donati said, a AAA public opinion poll found that 92 percent of parents said states have an obligation to enforce safety measures to protect children who aren’t able to protect themselves.

“Parents look to laws for guidance for what they should do to protect their children,” she said. “Many parents are unknowingly putting their children in harm’s way because they follow the law, and currently there is a loophole in the law.”

Gray said her main objective is spreading the word that booster seats save lives.

“The more that can be written about the issue the better,” she said.

Stephanie Davis, a spokeswoman for the NTSB, said that in previous years another point of opposition has been imposing the cost of booster seats on families. But she said there are booster seats within everyone’s budget.

“A booster seat can cost as little as $20,” Davis said. “You don’t need to have the fancy schmancy brand to make your child safer.”

At a recent car seat check held at Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa, Tracey Fejt, injury-prevention specialist for Banner Health, said the safest place for a child who has graduated from a car seat is a booster seat.

“The No. 1 killer of our children is motor vehicle crashes,” Fejt said. “A lot of parents don’t realize that cars were made for adults, they were never ever intended for children.”

States that don’t require booster seats:
– Arizona
– Florida
– South Dakota

Booster seat tips:
– A belt-positioning booster seat raises a child so that the lap and shoulder safety belts fit correctly.
– A booster seat is recommended for children ages 4 to 8 years old or until children are 4 feet 9 inches tall.
– Booster seats require the use of both the lap and shoulder safety belt.
– Backless or low-back booster seats may be used when the vehicle’s seat back reaches to the top of the child’s ears and supports the child’s head.
Source: National Highway Transportation Safety Administration

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mass at San Xavier changes atheist from Sweden

San Xavier Mission in Tucson has been in operation for more than 200 years. (Photo by Mike McKisson/ASNS)

By Sandra Westdahl
Arizona-Sonora News Service

When I first entered San Xavier Mission for Sunday Mass, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the massive altar. Even though I was too far away to clearly see every detail, my first impression was one of awe.

San Xavier is nothing like the churches I have been to in my native Sweden. Even though I’m an atheist, I wanted to find out what it would be like going to a Mass at the Spanish Baroque church that has been in operation for more than 200 years.

The interior of the church is filled with colorful murals and ornate statues. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the statues. Their facial expressions and the clothes they wore made them scary looking. I have never seen anything like that in a church before.

Similar to a Swedish church, people were quietly sitting on uncomfortable pews waiting for the service to begin. The wood of the pews was distressed—as if it represented the history of the mission. The distinctive scent of candles and a musty old church reminded me of home.

There was a calm excitement in the air as the church filled up with people.

As I sat down on a bench in the middle of the mission, an old man with a bent back slowly walked past me. The frail man, whose face and hands were wrinkled like a raisin, plopped down in a seat in front of me. His cane fell to the floor, making a loud echo inside the mission.

Another man’s colorful black blazer reminded me of a Mariachi player. He had a well-trimmed mustache. He stood out from the crowd because most people were dressed more casually than I expected.

A small choir started singing along with a single guitar player. The people were standing up. I started feeling nervous because I didn’t know what to expect. I was afraid that I would sit through the Mass not understanding anything of what was going on.

The priest, Father Richard Gielow, who was visiting from Missouri, entered the mission with two women wearing red capes. The woman who walked in front of him held a tall cross.

The priest began the Mass by comically saying that Catholics can’t sleep Saturday night because of the excitement of going to Sunday Mass. The crowd chuckled.

The priest wasn’t a young man, but he seemed to be young of spirit. He kept moving around and spoke with excitement in his voice.

I couldn’t wait to hear what he was going to say next.

I suddenly felt calm. The Mass was a lot more modernized and comprehensible than I expected it to be. The priest talked about daily struggles people have and how small changes can make a big difference.

He made an excellent point when he said that men gossip as much as women. He said that it’s important to stop talking bad about others. He paused for a moment. Then he said that it might be especially difficult to talk nice about a person driving 45 mph in the left lane on the freeway. The audience burst out in laughter.

The priest continued by saying that people visit San Xavier to get nourished and strengthened so that they can become better people.

The only time I felt lost and rather uncomfortable was when people prayed. During the Mass, people stood and prayed out loud together. Several times during the prayers, I glanced around, and to my surprise people knew all the words.

I was impressed, for in a traditional Swedish church that is not common.

Throughout the Mass, the audience listened intently to the priest’s dynamic voice. He reminded the people that everyone is equal regardless of religion, ethnicity and political views. I felt something that I never experienced before—as if the mission and the people were united by harmony.

At the end of the Mass, some people quickly followed the priest outside while others slowly walked up to the front of the church to take pictures and light candles.

As I was walked outside, the bright sun hurt my eyes. I felt spiritual.

'Game changing' USFS book calls for new era

MISSOULA, MT, February 16, 2011 – The U.S.D.A. Forest Service’s Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute announces the release of a groundbreaking new book, Beyond Naturalness, which focuses on parks and wilderness management in an era of global change. The book provides a synthesis of current thinking, contributed by experts in this field and offers critical questions, tools and techniques for managing into the future.

This book, subtitled Rethinking Park and Wilderness Stewardship in an Era of Rapid Change, will be the “game-changer of the first decade of the 21st century” says David Harmon, Director of the George Wright Society. The book challenges our perception of what “natural” means. The authors set out a variety of conservation approaches and identify a realm of future management strategies, providing “cutting-edge guidance to address pressing challenges in protected-area conservation,” according to Nikita Lopoukhine, Chair of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, World Commission on Protected Areas.

The basic premise of Beyond Naturalness, and the very reason why it will spark critical thinking and thought-provoking debates across the nation, is the assertion that the traditional guiding concept for park and wilderness stewardship—preserving naturalness—is no longer the best option in today’s changing world.

“The true value of Beyond Naturalness,” according to Dr. G. Sam Foster, Director of the Rocky Mountain Research Station, “is to move us beyond critiques of current wildland management philosophies and practices. Instead of focusing on what is no longer working, the authors offer a philosophical shift in thinking about natural processes and accompanying management options for the future designed to proactively tackle the challenges that threaten the core physical and spiritual character of these special places.”

This book was collaboratively edited by U.S.D.A. Forest Service and University of Montana researchers, with contributing authors, representing leaders in this field, from the Forest Service; the National Park Service; the U.S. Geological Survey; The Wilderness Society; The Nature Conservancy; Parks Canada; the University of Alaska; the University of California, Santa Cruz; the University of Montana; the University of North Carolina; the University of Western Australia; and the University of Victoria, Canada.

To order copies of Beyond Naturalness please visit the Island Press website at: http://islandpress.org/bookstore/details7f72.html?prod_id=2013. Copies are also available at libraries across the nation.

Anne James will intro new CD at Friday party

Local singer/songwriter Anne James has finished her first music CD in six years, "Shades of Green," and will have a CD Release party at East West Exchange Bookstore and Espresso Bar this Friday (2/18) at 100 N. Tonto (Longhorn and Tonto) in Payson from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Jemes new CD and older ones will be available for purchase ($10). During the evening, James will perform songs from the new album and will also perform with other musicians in attendance. RSVP not necessary, but if you have any questions, call James at (928) 951-4420.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Rising seas will affect U.S. coastal cities by 2100

This map shows where increases in sea level could affect the southern and Gulf coasts of the U.S. The colors indicate areas along the coast that are elevations of 1 meter or less (russet) or 6 meters or less (yellow) and have connectivity to the sea. (Credit: Jeremy Weiss, University of Arizona)

By Mari N. Jensen
U of A College of Science
Rising sea levels could threaten an average of 9 percent of the land within 180 U.S. coastal cities by 2100, according to new research led by University of Arizona scientists.

The Gulf and southern Atlantic coasts could be particularly hard hit. Miami, New Orleans, Tampa, Fla., and Virginia Beach, Va. could lose more than 10 percent of their land area by 2100.

The research is the first analysis of vulnerability to sea-level rise that includes every U.S. coastal city in the lower 48 with a population of 50,000 or more.

The latest scientific projections indicate that by 2100, the sea level will rise about 1 meter – or even more. One meter is about 3 feet.

At the current rate of global warming, sea level is projected to continue rising after 2100 by as much as 1 meter per century.

"According to the most recent sea-level-rise science, that's where we're heading," said lead researcher Jeremy L. Weiss, a senior research specialist in the UA's department of geosciences. "Impacts from sea-level rise could be erosion, temporary flooding and permanent inundation."

The coastal municipalities the team identified had 40.5 million people living in them, according to the 2000 U.S. Census. Twenty of those cities have more than 300,000 inhabitants.

Weiss and his colleagues examined how much land area from the 180 municipalities could be affected by 1 to 6 meters of sea-level rise.

"With the current rate of greenhouse gas emissions, the projections are that the global average temperature will be 8 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than present by 2100," said Weiss, who is also a UA doctoral candidate in geosciences.

"That amount of warming will likely lock us into at least 4 to 6 meters of sea-level rise in subsequent centuries, because parts of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets will slowly melt away like a block of ice on the sidewalk in the summertime."

At 3 meters (almost 10 feet), on average more than 20 percent of land in those cities could be affected. Nine large cities, including Boston and New York, would have more than 10 percent of their current land area threatened. By 6 meters (about 20 feet), about one-third of the land area in U.S. coastal cities could be affected.

"Our work should help people plan with more certainty and to make decisions about what level of sea-level rise, and by implication, what level of global warming, is acceptable to their communities and neighbors," said co-author Jonathan T. Overpeck, a UA professor of geosciences and of atmospheric sciences and co-director of UA's Institute of the Environment.

Weiss, Overpeck and Ben Strauss of Climate Central in Princeton, N.J., will publish their paper, "Implications of Recent Sea Level Rise Science for Low-Elevation Areas in Coastal Cities of the Conterminous U.S.A.," in Climatic Change Letters. The paper is scheduled to go online this week.

Weiss and Overpeck had previously developed maps of how increases in sea level could affect the U.S. coastline. Strauss suggested adding the boundaries of municipalities to focus on how rising seas would affect coastal towns and cities.

For the detailed maps needed for the new project, the researchers turned to the National Elevation Dataset produced by the U.S. Geological Survey. The NED provides a high-resolution digital database of elevations for the entire U.S.

The high resolution let Weiss and his colleagues identify the elevation of a piece of land as small as 30 meters (about 100 feet) on a side – about the size of an average house lot.

The researchers used the USGS database to create detailed digital maps of the U.S. coast that delineate what areas could be affected by 1 meter to 6 meters of sea-level rise. The researchers also added the boundaries for all municipalities with more than 50,000 people according to the 2000 U.S. Census.

To increase the accuracy of their maps, the team included all pieces of land that had a connection to the sea and excluded low-elevation areas that had no such connection. Rising seas do not just affect oceanfront property – water moves inland along channels, creeks, inlets and adjacent low-lying areas.

"Ours is the first national-scale data set that delineates these low-lying coastal areas for the entire lower 48 at this degree of spatial resolution," Weiss said.

The NED data set has some uncertainty, particularly for estimating elevation changes of 1 meter or less. That means the researchers' ability to identify the threat to any particular small piece of land is better for larger amounts of sea-level rise than for smaller amounts of sea-level rise, Weiss said.

"As better digital elevation models become available, we'll be using those," Weiss said. "The USGS is always improving the digital elevation models for the U.S."

Overpeck said, "The main point of our work is to give people in our coastal towns and cities more information to work with as they decide how to deal with the growing problem of sea-level rise."

Centennial Expo kicks of Arizona's 100th year

State Historian Marshall Trimble entertains the audience with folksy songs and tales of Arizona’s Old West days.  (Cronkite News Service Photo by Lauren Gambino)

By LAUREN GAMBINO
Cronkite News Service

PHOENIX – A cowboy lassoed a bale of hay, flamenco dancers clapped castanets and a Navajo sounded his drum on Monday, Arizona’s 99th birthday, as Gov. Jan Brewer kicked off the countdown to the state’s centennial.

“I encourage all of Arizonans to participate to help increase tourism, generate economic activity and bring positive attention to Arizona,” Brewer said at a news conference outside the State Capitol.

John Huppenthal, Arizona’s superintendent of public instruction, kicked off the CENTennial project, a 48-day penny drive that has grade school students raising money to polish the Capitol’s copper dome for the first time in nearly two decades.

“[The students'] dedication and enthusiasm for this historic undertaking will mean the dome can proudly serve as the centerpiece for Arizona’s 100th birthday one year from today,” he said.

The event, sponsored by the Arizona Centennial Commission, included an exposition that featured organizations, societies and groups from around the state that will participate in the centennial celebrations.

Arizona historian Marshall Trimble sang songs about cowboys, whiskey and Arizona’s “lassies” and shared stories about the state’s Old West days.

“As we count down to the centennial, our 100th birthday, it’s important to remember that Arizona lives by its myths and legends,” said Trimble, strumming his acoustic guitar.

Hundreds attended attended the event, including Lois Potts, a retired schoolteacher who lives in Scottsdale. She said the bad economy is one reason why Arizona should celebrate the centennial.

“We all need that joy and that experience of celebrating something that’s important to all of us,” Potts said. “I think it’s something that brings us all together.”

Mick Woodcock, curator of the Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott, said the centennial shouldn’t be about spending money but about commemorating Arizona’s past and celebrating its future.

“Arizonans need to be proud of their heritage,” said Woodcock, wearing 1800s garb. “You could throw a lot of money at this or a little; it’s what people make of it that makes the centennial.”

Maryfrances Krumwiede, the CENTennial project manager, said she is proud to see the Arizona children excited to be involved in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“It’s not about government dollars,” Krumwiede said. “It’s about the kids owning it. This is their building.”

Lisa Heidinger, one of the four authors of “An Arizona Century,” a book commissioned by the Arizona Centennial Commission, said she thinks not having money for an elaborate celebration will actually force Arizonans to celebrate what’s important: the state’s history and its people.

“We don’t get to buy our centennial the way some states did, but it’s free to have a party; it’s almost free to make a cake,” Heidinger said. “We really want every single person in this state to celebrate that day because it only happens once.”

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Many Mesa del residents oppose adjacent plant

By Jim Keyworth
Gazette Blog Editor

Contrary to implications in the local newspaper, the WTP2 site for Payson's Blue Ridge Reservoir (C.C. Cragin) water treatment plant is not preferred by everyone.  Most residents of Mesa del Caballo, who very much want the treatment plant located near their community, do not favor the WTP2 site which directly adjoins the community.

The site across Houston Mesa Road near Shoofly Ruins, WTP1, is already cleared, and many residents are expressing this site as their preference in response to the draft environmental assessment performed by the Forest Service.  In fact, the Mesa del Caballo Community Center/El Caballo Club, which represents over 80 Mesa del households, last week adopted a position in favor of the Shoofly location and so notified the Forest Service.

The WTP2 site would butt up against 8-10 homes along Mesa del's eastern boundary, effectively blocking the views of those homeowners.  It would also require cutting down many trees to clear the site.  Homeowners have also expressed concerns about noise pollution emanating from the plant.

The text of President Jim Keyworth's comments to the Forest Service:

"As president of the Mesa del Caballo Community Center/El Caballo Club, a civic organization with over 80 Mesa del Caballo households as members, I would like to express our displeasure with WTP2, the water treatment plant site that adjoins our community. This site was not even mentioned at the public scoping meeting held at Julia Randall Elementary, and introducing it as the favorite at this late date seems unfair. We prefer the Shoofly site, WTP1, which is already cleared and will not have a negative impact on our community, especially those households directly behind WTP2. It doesn't make sense to impact the lifestyle and property values of our community when a much preferable site right across Houston Mesa Rd. is available."

Mesa del Caballo, located 1.8 miles northeast of Payson off Houston Mesa Road, is the largest community along the Blue Ridge pipeline route.  The community has approximately 400 homes and 375 water hookups serviced by Brooke Utilities.

The Mesa del Caballo Water Committee, sponsored by the Community Center/El Caballo Club, is working closely with Brooke Utilities on a number of water issues, including the Blue Ridge/Cragin project.

The Blue Ridge/Cragin pipeline, when completed in 2013 or 2014, will deliver up to 4.5 million gallons (3,000 acre feet) per year to Payson.  Mesa del and other northern Gila County communities are entitled to 500 acre feet.

The deadline for public comments on the Environmental Assessment is March 4, 2011.  For additional information, contact Larry Hettinger at the Payson Ranger District, 928-474-7948.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Contact state Senators to push GCC inependence

Gazette Blog Readers:
As you probably already know, the Senate Education Committee unanimously passed the GCC independence bill out of their committee. The bill will go to the full Senate for a vote later this week or early next week.

With a unanimous vote of the Ed Committee our chances are better, but nothing is a sure thing when it comes up for a vote. I'm asking all of you to e-mail as many senators as possible asking the Senators to support SB1213 and giving some reasons why they should. ( We don't have to send any e-mails to Senator Allen) I know all the other senators do not represent us so we have to convince them it is a good move even though it isn't in their district.

Please send as many e-mails as you can, hopefully on Monday and Tuesday if possible. You can use the same letter/message, but send it individually to each senator. Don't forget to change the senator's name before sending. Please do not send one e-mail "to all senators. Below talking points and the list of the Senators' e-mail addresses.

This is the big push as we need to get SB1213 passed in the Senate. Thanks for helping us with as many e-mails you can send.

Questions for me: 928-474-3342

Thanks to each of you,
Tom Loeffler
GCC Board Member

GILA COMMUNITY COLLEGE INDEPENDENCE

TALKING POINTS

KEEPING OUR TAX MONEY IN GILA CO.

Currently the college budget is 6.1 million dollars. Of that 6.1 million, approximately 2.6 million comes back into the county as salaries etc. The remaining 3.5million leaves the county and does not come back. That is 3.5 million combined with the multiplier effect could help our economy and job market during these hard economic times. KEEP OUR TAXES IN OUR COUNTY.

PROVIDE SKILLED WORKFORCE
An independent college will allow for focusing courses on needed skills to attract business investments that creates jobs and taxes for local communities. College can work with prospective businesses to provide training for future employees. ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY FOR LOCAL COMMUNITIES.

INVESTMENT IN ECONOMIC GROWTH
The cost of providing effective education and providing economic growth could be reduced by achieving independence. As an independent college we could take over more and more of the administrative duties and reduce the current overhead we now pay. The elected board would gain control over the budget and insure the best value for the money spent. MORE COST EFFECTIVE EDUCATION.

DEVELOP BUDGET AND BUSINESS PLAN
As an independent college our first hire would be a financial director to get a handle on our finances. The current college board requires a detailed budget along with a multi-year business plan to develop the most cost effective, yet educationally superior community college. Voters deserve the most for their tax dollars.

BETTER FINANCIAL PLANNING

NO INCREASE IN PROPERTY TAXES
If we move in a controlled fashion and add positions and functions as funds allow, we can increase the staff needed to function independently without raising property taxes.
With the increase in student enrollment and the normal inflation of the tax levy we can add two to four positions per year for the next four years after we achieve independence.
NO NEW TAXES.

GILA COMMUNITY COLLEGE INDEPENDENCE

TALKING POINTS

PROVIDING STUDENT SERVICES
Currently, the college has no student counselors that can advise students on course selection. This is now being done by instructors not trained in this function. As an independent college we would employee such so we could insure that students would be on a path to meet their intended goals. PROVIDE FOR STUDENT NEEDS

COMMUNITY CONTROL OF COLLEGE
Independence would insure that the elected representatives of the college would be accountable to the local voters. The college board and staff would have to answer to the local voters instead of some out of county administration. COMMUNITY CONTROL OF ITS OWN COLLEGE.

PROVIDE REAL LIFE EXPERIENCE
As we currently do with our nursing program, we could expand the internship concept to provide students with real time business experience out in the community. Our local business would receive the benefit of new ideas and some outside help. This could be coordinated with the Small Business Development Office already on campus. PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE FOR STUDENTS.

RECEIVING OUTSIDE AID
If we become independent we will be eligible for Work Force Development funds currently at about $300,000 per year. We would also be inline to receive state capital funds and additional funding once they establish how they are going to fund higher education. This new funding would replace equalization Aid. We would need to be independent when this happens since, as a “provisional” college we are not eligible for most state funding. RECEIVE ADDITIONAL FUNDING.

SIMPILFY BUREAUCRACY
The college currently has two administrations to answer to and sometimes they are in conflict. Because Eastern Arizona College controls our funds and payroll, our instructors don’t always get paid on time. At times EAC wants the instructors to do one thing and Globe wants them to do another. The result is we lose quality instructors because they get fed up with the bureaucracy. Independence would simplify administration. KEEP OUR GOOD INSTRUCTORS


Senate Roster

Phone (602)

Fax (602)

Paula Aboud
Minority Whip 28 D paboud@azleg.gov 314 926-5262 926-3429

Sylvia Allen
President Pro Tempore 5 R sallen@azleg.gov 310 926-5219 417-3251

Frank Antenori 30 R fantenori@azleg.gov 304 926-5683 417-3269

Nancy Barto 7 R nbarto@azleg.gov 303A 926-5766 417-3261

Andy Biggs 22 R abiggs@azleg.gov 200 926-4371 417-3022

Scott Bundgaard
Majority Leader 4 R sbundgaard@azleg.gov 212 926-3297 417-3248

Olivia Cajero Bedford 27 D ocajerobedford@azleg.gov 314 926-5835 417-3027

Rich Crandall 19 R rcrandall@azleg.gov 305 926-3020 417-3252

Adam Driggs 11 R adriggs@azleg.gov 308 926-3016 417-3007

Steve Gallardo 13 D sgallardo@azleg.gov 315 926-5830 417-3113

Ron Gould 3 R rgould@azleg.gov 306 926-4138 417-3165

Linda Gray 10 R lgray@azleg.gov 300 926-3376 417-3253

Gail Griffin 25 R ggriffin@azleg.gov 302 926-5895 417-3025

Jack Jackson Jr. 2 D jjackson@azleg.gov 315 926-5862 417-3291

Lori Klein 6 R lklein@azleg.gov 302 926-5284 417-3270

Leah Landrum Taylor
Assistant Minority Leader 16 D llandrum@azleg.gov 213 926-3830 417-3148

Linda Lopez 29 D llopez@azleg.gov 312 926-4089 417-3029

John McComish 20 R jmccomish@azleg.gov 307 926-5898 417-3020

Al Melvin 26 R amelvin@azleg.gov 303 926-4326 417-3159

Robert Meza 14 D rmeza@azleg.gov 313 926-3425 417-3114

Rick Murphy 9 R rmurphy@azleg.gov 311 926-4444 417-3009

John Nelson 12 R jnelson@azleg.gov 301 926-5872 417-3112

Russell Pearce
President 18 R rpearce@azleg.gov 205 926-5760 926-3429

Steve Pierce
Majority Whip 1 R spierce@azleg.gov 212 926-5584 417-3224

Michele Reagan 8 R mreagan@azleg.gov 303 926-5828 417-3255

David Schapira
Minority Leader 17 D dschapira@azleg.gov 213 926-3028 417-3038

Don Shooter 24 R dshooter@azleg.gov 304 926-4139 417-3024

Kyrsten Sinema 15 D ksinema@azleg.gov 313 926-5058 417-3015

Steve Smith 23 R stevesmith@azleg.gov 311 926-5685 417-3167

Steve Yarbrough 21 R syarbrough@azleg.gov 309 926-5863 417-3258