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Friday, September 30, 2011

Superb time to stock up on fishing adventures

By Rory Aikens
Arizona Game & Fish

The weather may not necessarily seem like it, but we are slowly turning that autumn corner and are peeking at October.

Don't forget the Oct. 1 openings of Fossil Creek (see article below) for native chub and Silver Creek for native Apache trout. Two great fishing opportunities to keep on your radar screen, not just for Saturday, but throughout the fall and winter seasons as well.

The winter trout stocking season slowly ramps up starting the first week of October with rainbows going into some of the waters around Prescott. Check out the full Winter Trout Stocking expected schedule at www.azgfd.gov/pdfs/h_f/fishing/stocking/WINTERTroutStockSchedule.pdf. It may seem counterintuitive, but Arizona provides some of the best winter trout fishing in the nation. This is an amazing state!

Also don't forget that tree squirrel season opens Sept. 30. Blue grouse season is already underway.

I chatted with the good folks at the Big Lake store, and although many anglers are catching limits, the really great fall bite has not started yet, although that may change this week if the expected storms visit this weekend.

Apparently Power Bait and worms are working much better than lures right now at Big Lake, and fish are around 14 feet deep still -- they haven't moved up into the shallows yet. But they might be shallow by the time you read this. You can always check with the Big Lake store at (928) 521-1387. By the way, one lucky angler caught a 20 1/2-inch rainbow trout that tipped the scales at 4.2 pounds.

Not hearing a lot from the other high mountain lakes right now, but this is typically the time of year for increased trout activity levels, but daytime temperatures are holding above normal; does make it pleasant weather for fishing.

In the desert impoundments, we are definitely seeing increased action as predatory fish actively chase bait fish, mostly at or near the surface. The action can vary from lake-to-lake, or even from hour-to-hour. You should go armed with topwater lures, crankbaits and jerkbaits (spinnerbaits at times too) to fish the top of the water column. Then be prepared with drop shots, Texas rigs, spoons or whatever to go after the deeper fish.

Pleasant, Bartlett, Roosevelt and Havasu are all good bets, but Saguaro, Apache, Alamo, and Powell can provide great fishing as well. Pick your favorite lake and go, or look at this as an opportunity to learn a new lake while the fish are a little more active.

I also really like Lees Ferry this time of year. It's pretty good fishing, but lonely as heck. This is the off-season, probably because most trout anglers are off experiencing the good trout bite where autumn colors are dressing up the landscape.

Right now there is a waxing crescent moon, with a quarter moon this weekend. Full moon is Oct. 11. Night time fishing can still be viable right now, especially under submersible lights. However, the daytime fishing can often surpass the night-time catch rates, but not always.

On a sad note, Wittman Lures in Tucson, the makers of Z-rays, has gone out of business after 60 years. For a glimpse of some great photo memories over time, visit their website at http://www.zray.com/. They have been a good friend to the Arizona Game and Fish Department over the decades and have always been a personal favorite of mine -- I caught my first bruiser brown on one of their lures at Chevelon Lake a few decades ago.

This is a superb time to stock up on fishing adventures for the memory book. Good luck, maybe I'll see you out there.

Turkeys get reprieve thanks to Tanner Fire

Pleasant Valley Ranger District fire specialists are managing the lightning-caused Tanner wildfire about 19 miles south of Young, Ariz., which began on August 20 near the peak of Armer Mountain in the Sierra Anchas. The size of the fire is about 6,000 acres, and is 30 percent contained.

Today, crews continued to monitor and conduct burn-out operations in the Workman Creek area as the fire backed down, and constructed direct fire line on Carr Mountain.

Hwy. 288 continues to be temporarily closed from McFadden (milepost 290) south to the A-Cross Road (milepost 270) and will remain closed at least through the weekend. Crews continue to work on removing fallen trees and hazardous limbs to secure Highway 288 for safe vehicle passage.

Arizona Game and Fish officials say about 550 tags have been issued for the General Season Turkey Hunt which kicks off Fri., Sep. 30. The closure of this portion of Hwy. 288 will affect access to the southern part of Game Management Unit 23 and hunters and others who use this road to travel to the Mogollon Rim are advised to prepare alternate travel plans during the road closure. Access to the northern part of Unit 23 is still open on Hwy. 288 south from Highway 260 to McFadden. For questions or information about hunts in this area, contact the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Mesa regional office at (480) 981-9400.

For further information about the fire, visit http://www.inciweb.org/incident/2705/ or www.fs.usda.gov/Tonto. For more information about the road closure, visit the Arizona Department of Transportation’s travel information site at www.az511.gov or call 5-1-1 from within Arizona, or contact the Gila County Sheriff’s Office at (928) 474-2208 and press 3.

For district information, call the Pleasant Valley Ranger District offices at 928-462-4300. To report a wildland fire, the fire emergency number is 866-746-6516, or dial 9-1-1.

Final GC redistricting plans will be adopted Oct. 3

PUBLIC NOTICE
Public Notice is hereby given that the Gila County Board of Supervisors will adopt final redistricting plans for Supervisorial districts and Community College districts at the regular board meeting to be held on:

Monday, October 3, 2011 at 10 am
at the Gila County Courthouse
1400 E Ash Street
Globe, AZ 85501

Mapping alternatives under consideration are available for public review at the Gila County Website www.gilacountyaz.gov. This meeting is open to the public and will be held in the Board of Supervisors Hearing Room in the Gila County Courthouse, Globe, Arizona. ITV (Interactive Television) will be available from the Gila County Administration Building in Payson, Arizona. Questions can be directed to the Gila County Department of Elections at (928)-402.8709.

AVISO PÚBLICO
Se avisa al público que la Junta de Supervisores del Condado de Gila elegirá los mapas definitivos de redistribución de distritos de Supervisores y del Colegio Comunitario durante la sesión del día

lunes 3 de Octubre, 2011, a las 10:00 a.m.
Junta de Supervisores
del condado
1400 E. Ash Street
Globe, Arizona 85501

Las propuestas de mapas alternativos en estudio pueden ser examinadas por el público a través de la página de la red del Condado de Gila: www.gilacountyaz.gov. Esta reunión está abierta al público y será realizada en la Sala de Audiencias de la Junta de Supervisores, en el edificio del Tribunal del Condado de Gila, en Globe, Arizona. La sesión será transmitida por televisión interactiva en el edificio administrativo del condado de Gila en Payson, Arizona. Puede dirigir sus preguntas al Departamento Electoral del Condado de Gila, teléfono 928.402.8709.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Payson woman helped create AZ Centennial Quilt

Angelika Haeber created her quilt, "Arizona Dreaming," while she was living in Phoenix, but now the Green Valley resident's work will be part of the "100 Years, 100 Quilts" exhibit at the Arizona History Museum to commemorate the Arizona Centennial.  (Photo by Josh Morgan/ASNS)

One side of the Arizona Centennial Commemorative Quilt, which will be on display at the Arizona History Museum during the "100 Years, 100 Quilts" exhibit when it’s not traveling, features a map of Arizona with its landmarks, flora and fauna. The two-sided quilt was unveiled at the Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott. (Photo by Greg Dix for the Arizona Centennial Quilt Project)

Laraine Jones, museum collections manager for the Arizona History Museum, inspects a quilt before collecting it for the "100 Years, 100 Quilts" exhibit that will begin in February at the Tucson museum. (Photo by Josh Morgan/ASNS)

By Marissa Freireich/Arizona-Sonora News Service   
Thursday, 29 September 2011 08:13

Ever since her first trip to Arizona in 1992, Angelika Haeber knew she wanted to move to the Grand Canyon State.

“I was just blown away with (Arizona),” said Haeber, 65, a retired German teacher who is originally from Germany and now lives in Green Valley. To remember her experience, Haeber ultimately made a quilt that reflects her images of Arizona.

And now that quilt, “Arizona Dreaming,” and quilts made by people from around the state, will be featured in an exhibit called “100 Years, 100 Quilts” to celebrate Arizona’s centennial next year.

Organizers believe the “100 Years, 100 Quilts” exhibit will be the largest centennial commemoration using quilts in the country. The Arizona Centennial Quilt Project and the Arizona Historical Society are working together to organize the exhibit, which is funded through grants and donations.

The idea for the exhibit came out of a conversation about Arizona’s centennial among members of the Arizona Quilt Study Group, a group that explores the history of quilting.

The 100 quilts will be on display at the Arizona Historical Society’s Arizona History Museum at 949 E. Second St. in Tucson from February to December 2012. After that, organizers hope to divide the quilts into groups and display them at smaller museums throughout the state.

It took several years after the 1992 trip before Haeber and her husband, Al, moved to Arizona. They retired in Mount Laurel, N.J., in 1999 and then spent about a year traveling the country in their RV looking for a good place to retire. Al was drawn to Florida, so in 2003 the couple moved there.

But Haeber still liked Arizona the best. While living in Florida in 2004, she made “Arizona Dreaming” to remind her of the state.

A year after she made the quilt, the couple moved to Sahuarita and lived there for about a year and a half before settling in Green Valley.

Stitched into the fabric of the exhibit’s 100 quilts are memories, emotions and images of the Grand Canyon state that are special to their makers.

Haeber’s quilt is ornate and features mountains as its theme. The 93- by 87-inch quilt contains squares of fabric sewn together in bands of different colors to form peaks and valleys.

“I chose (the colors) really on an emotional level, so they had to resonate with what I was envisioning,” she said.

Lenna DeMarco, a retired dance professor who lives in Sun City and is a co-chair of the centennial celebration quilt exhibit, said that quilt shows are often juried, which can discourage people from entering. But for this exhibit, the first 100 entries that met the criteria were accepted.

“The goal is that we wanted to give Arizona quilters, no matter what age or level, an opportunity to show how they felt about Arizona and its history through quilting,” DeMarco said.

To be eligible for the exhibit, the quilts had to feature an original design relating to Arizona. A “legacy statement” describing the story behind the quilt accompanied each entry.

In her legacy statement, Haeber described what each color of “Arizona Dreaming” represents: “the light blue of the clear sky alternating with the heavy dark blue of summer storms, the purple and orange clouds at sunset, the turquoise of beautiful jewelry of the native people and the beige and red-browns of the desert sand and rocks.”

DeMarco, a quilt historian, said quilts have traditionally been viewed as utilitarian items, but they also serve as a form of expression.

“Quilts basically tell the history of the country,” she said. “You can look at a quilt and it can tell you what the world was like at that woman’s time.”

Laraine Jones, museum collections manager for the Arizona History Museum, said the exhibit includes quilts with impressionistic designs, some depicting historical people and places, others made by professional quiltmakers and some made by children.

“We have a full range of technique and skill and we have a marvelous collection of things that celebrate what people love about Arizona,” she said. “People are going to be surprised with how quilting has evolved. This is not your grandma’s quilt show.”

A virtual exhibit will also be put together for people to view on the Arizona Historical Society’s website. It will include photos of the quilts and the quilters, along with in-depth video interviews with a few of the quilters.

In addition to the 100 quilts in the exhibit, the Arizona Centennial Commemorative Quilt will be on display at the Arizona History Museum during the exhibit when it’s not traveling. The commemorative quilt features landmarks, flora and fauna of Arizona. The 82- by 82-inch, two-sided quilt was unveiled Sept. 24 at the Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott.

Wanda Seale of Phoenix, a co-chair of the Arizona Centennial Quilt Project, came up with the idea for the quilt. Barb Janson of Scottsdale, Pat and Therese Bliss of Glendale and Betty Hahn of Sun City helped design and illustrate the images of the quilt.

About 75 people worked on the commemorative quilt, which took about two years to finish. Different parts of the quilt were mailed to volunteers across the state to complete, and then all of the parts were pieced together.


Gina Perkes of Payson quilted the front and Susan Vassallo of Gilbert quilted the back.

Seale said the quilt turned out better than she ever imagined.

“I thought that I was just starting out to make a quilt, and now it has become a masterpiece,” she said. “It’s just an exquisite piece of art.

“I think we need to honor the women who have come before us, who have carried through this tradition of quilting, and we need to carry it through to the next generation.”

Haeber first began quilting eight years ago. Her said her interest in quilting was sparked in New Jersey when she saw handmade quilts made by the Amish.

“I enjoy making quilts and using fabrics as my palette,” she said. “Whenever I feel like being serene, I go and design quilts. It’s good for my mood, it’s good for my spirit, it lets me be creative.”

Currently, Haeber is working on a project with the Pacific Rim Bee, a subgroup of the Tucson Quilters Guild. The group is making 40 quilts for Tohono O'odham children in a Head Start program at San Xavier. She is also working on a quilt with two other women in Green Valley for Quilts For a Cause, a non-profit organization that arranges quilt auctions to raise money for gynecological and breast cancer research.

Haeber said she’s proud to have her quilt representing Arizona’s centennial.

“I’m tickled pink that I was able to do that, that other people will be sharing those feelings by looking at my quilt,” she said.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Time Out's annual Candlelight Walk is Oct. 6

Click on poster to enlarge.

Tanner Fire 20 percent contained at 5,500 acres

Sept. 27, 2011 - Pleasant Valley Ranger District fire specialists are managing the lightning-caused Tanner wildfire, which began on August 20 near the peak of Armer Mountain in the Sierra Anchas. The size of the fire is about 5,500 acres, and it is 20 percent contained, with the fire spreading today mainly to the northeast.

The fire reached the Arizona Elks Youth Camp last night, but on-duty crews protected it by conducting burn-out operations between the fire and the creek to prevent the fire’s spread.

The smoke is visible in the Tonto Basin, Globe, Young, and Payson areas, or when traveling Hwy. 87 between Payson and the Valley, as well as from the northeast Valley.

Crews worked on securing a portion of the southern section and the northwestern section, concentrating on securing the Workman Creek area and the Elks Youth Camp area.

Crews will work through the night to maintain today’s progress. Burn-out operations are planned for tomorrow to secure Workman Creek.

Closures: Hwy. 288 is closed from Reynolds Creek south to the A-Cross Road. Crews are also focused on mopping-up operations here so the road can be re-opened. For further information about the road closure, please contact the Gila County Sheriff’s Office: 928-474-2208, or go to www.az511.gov.

For information, call the Pleasant Valley Ranger District offices at 928-462-4300, or stay updated at www.fs.usda.gov/Tonto. To report a wildland fire, the fire emergency number is 866-746-6516, or dial 9-1-1.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Riding with the posse boys - pink bridle and all

By Debra Speakes
Gila County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse Volunteer

As a member of the newly-formed Gila County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse, I recently participated in my first real missing-person search. I’d signed up picturing searches through open woods, looking for lost children who would come running up when they saw the “horsies,” carrying them back to their mothers’ arms on the back of my saddle. Reality proved to be vastly different from my naïve fantasy.

My primary posse horse, Dawn, is a six-year-old Quarter horse. She’s white with blue eyes and her tack is turquoise. Her full sister, Dash, is seven. She’s a beautiful red bay, and her tack is pink. They are both fantastic trail horses, but Dawn always seemed to be tougher than Dash when the going gets rough. So she is used for posse work, whereas Dash is used mostly for pleasant evening rides on familiar trails.

Photos by Tessa Nicolet
 The author with her two mares, Dash and Dawn.  

When I arrived at the search site at 11 a.m. Monday, the rest of the group had already been out for a couple of hours looking for a missing man with a medical condition. He was known to be on foot and “out there somewhere.” Shortly before noon, twelve riders on horses, including Dawn and me, left to go search another sector. I was finally on my first official search.

We rode as a group to the starting point, spread out in a line, and went “that-a-way,” looking for any sign of the missing man. There were five women and seven men, and we randomly positioned ourselves in the line without regard to gender or terrain. We were there to do a job, and we all attacked it equally.

Of course there was no trail going “that-a-way;” so we had to make our own. The footing was rocky, and there was a seemingly impenetrable wall of manzanita and other unfriendly, prickly shrubbery to push through – no casual stroll through open forest on this search.

Dawn emerges from the manzanita thicket.

Push through we did. Dawn had to break her way through manzanita at times as high as her shoulders and shove through tree limbs that occasionally poked the side of her face. I never had to ask twice. One nudge with the heels and she resolutely stepped into the thicket and made her own path. Later I would find spots of blood on her white hide where the manzanita had punctured her, but she never hesitated to go forth when I asked.

We rode like that – breaking through brush and climbing up and down rocky hillsides – for over five hours, until we returned to the command post at 4:45, with no sign of the missing man.

I had to miss the continuation of the search Tuesday but I was there at 9 a.m. Wednesday with Dawn again in tow. By the third day of the search, we had only seven riders – three women and four men. The search moved to another area, also populated with tough manzanita to push through. Again that young mare performed admirably, did everything I asked her to do, climbing the rocky slopes and descending into washes and gullies without complaint until we called a halt to the search at about 3:30 p.m.

Three of the other women who participated in the search.

Some of the other riders had been there for all three of those search days, and they and their animals were exhausted and sore. There was discussion of calling off further searches since we had searched the likely areas and really didn’t know where the man could have gone. But some of us had an idea that maybe Gibson Peak was a possibility. I was warned, “It’s a tough climb,” but it didn’t look all that bad to me; I thought the first day had been the toughest. I agreed to come back at 8 a.m. Thursday to help search Gibson Peak.

Since Dawn had already given two days of hard work I decided to take Dash instead. Dash hadn’t been ridden in a couple of weeks, but I figured she could handle a four- or five-hour ride. I was a bit apprehensive, though, about not taking Dawn since she’s usually my “tough ride” horse. But it was time Dash took a turn at bat.

Only three other riders came that day, all men – cowboys, really – all on geldings. We headed out about 8:30 a.m. and rode on a rocky trail to the foot of the mountain. It hadn’t looked like that steep of a climb when they had pointed out our destination in the distance so I still wasn’t too worried…until we got to the mountain and I looked up....

Jerry and Wyman were intimately familiar with Gibson Peak from hunting forays, Rod less so, and I not at all. We turned to climb uphill. There was no trail at all, just Jerry’s sense of direction to guide us. The route we took was steep, and rocky, and frequently blocked with manzanita or trees. I looked up at the climb ahead and wondered what in the world I was thinking to go on a ride that the cowboys who were actually familiar with the area had described as “a tough climb.” Many times we had to duck over our horses’ necks to get under tree limbs that threatened to knock us from their backs while our horses scrambled to keep footing and dodge prickly pear at the same time. Frequently we had to double back and find another path after being blocked by trees with no way to get through them.

Searching really was nearly impossible on the slope; most of our effort went into simply finding a way to the top. We stopped several times to “let them blow” since the steep ascent was hard on all four horses, but particularly for my relatively out-of-condition mare. I quickly realized this was the hardest ride I’d ever been on in my life and I wondered if we were going to make it.

Twice Dash went to her knees trying to step up and over rocks on a steep section. Somehow she regained her footing without pitching me off onto a cactus. Often we would fall behind and one of the men would call back to ask if we were okay and I would reply that we were fine, and they would stop for a minute to let me come back into view. I was grateful to have three such competent men looking out for me, but determined to get through this on our own steam. It would have been extremely embarrassing to have to call out the posse to rescue a posse rider!

And ultimately, Dash managed to follow in those geldings’ footsteps and made it to the top of the mountain right behind them. I was proud of her – and of myself – for persevering and succeeding.
It turned out two members of Tonto Rim Search and Rescue had arrived on foot and searched from the other direction so we had no reason to go on further. We dismounted and took a break while looking at the views, which were spectacular – a 360 degree panorama of Rim Country splendor.

Wyman and Jerry on Gibson’s Peak.

But as I admired the view and snapped pictures with my cell phone, I worried about the ride back down. I hadn’t known what I was getting into when we came up; now I knew what lay before me on the trip back. I hoped there was an easier way back. Surely we didn’t have to go down the way we had come up?

Uh...yes. We did. The way we had come up was the easier way back. After resting for about a half hour, we remounted and headed back the way we had come.

Down is a very different experience than Up. Going Up, the horses’ powerful hindquarters can push the front end up and over rocks. Going Down, the horses have to nearly sit on those same hindquarters while the front end carefully drops down over rocks as much as a foot high, the landing usually consisting of loose rocks that could slide under the weight of the horse. Many times, Dash had to stop and figure out for herself how to get down without falling down; there was nothing I could do to help her. My job was to sit still and let her do it, lest some unexpected movement of my own upset her balance.

Every time I hit a place (going or coming) that I knew was more than she’d ever encountered before, I would look at the retreating rumps of the mens’ horses and tell her, “If their horses can do it, so can you.” And she did. I’ve never been more proud of her.

While they never verbally expressed any doubts within my hearing, I really think the men had expected me to bail out halfway up that mountain. By the time we got back, they were all expressing how proud they were of us for hanging in there when the going got tough.

I told them, “If I can’t ride with the boys, I’m not much use to the posse.” This was what I had signed up for. Rescue fantasies aside, I knew a search wasn’t going to be a pleasure ride down a well-used trail on soft dirt. I knew the going could get rough – although I had no idea just how rough “rough” could be – and I was proud of the way both of my mares had risen to the occasion and done everything I asked them to do, and gone everywhere I had pointed their feet.

We hadn’t found our man, but my mares and I had found something very important – our own confidence. Dawn had bravely pushed through manzanita that poked holes in her skin and scraped painfully at her hide, and Dash and I had both faced our own fears and uncertainties and made it off that mountain together without help. I won’t hesitate to send either one of them anywhere the posse needs to go.

We had ridden with the boys and made it – pink bridle and all!

Two great mares, ready to go again! 

(Editor's note: The missing man’s body was found two days later by a hunter not far from the search area.)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hazardous fuels thinning projects under way

Payson, Ariz. (September 25, 2011) – Payson Ranger District fire specialists have announced the beginning of two hazardous fuels thinning projects which will be taking place over the next six months.

One project will be maintenance thinning on 3,522 acres, cutting all re-growth brush on existing fuel breaks. The work will began Sept. 22 around Payson and will eventually move to the Pine/Strawberry area. The operation is projected to take place for approximately six months.

The second project is machine mastication of existing piles in and around the Colcord Estates area, approximately 603 acres. The project will begin the week of Sept. 26 and last three to four months.

For information about mechanical fuels reduction operations, please call the Payson Ranger District at 928-474-7900. Residents can also stay updated on forest information at www.fs.usda.gov/Tonto.

All invited to Marines 236th anniversary bash

The 236th anniversary celebration of the U.S. Marine Corps will be held at Mazatzal Hotel & Casino on Saturday, Nov. 5.  Festivities will begin with a social hour at 5 p.m., with dinner following at 6 p.m.

Guest speaker this year will be Master Gunnery Sergeant Stephen Soha, USMCR, coordinator for the Wounded Warrior Regiment.  His address and the traditional cake-cutting ceremony will begin at 7 p.m.  Then at 8 p.m. an evening of entertainment will be presented to include a raffle and after-dinner listening and dancing music.

Cost is $35 per dinner with a choice of prime rib of beef or chicken oscar provided the chefs of the casino's popular Cedar Ridge Restaurant.  RSVP is required and early reservations are recommended.  All citizens are invited to recognize and appreciate the freedoms we all enjoy.

For additional information an/or reservations call Col. Bill Sahno at 928-472-6617 or Marine Lee Bumbalow at 928-468-1095. This event is sponsored by the Rim Country Detachment of the Marine Corps League, "Payson's Marines."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tanner Fire grows to 2,000 acres, closes Hwy. 288

Pleasant Valley, Ariz. (September 25, 2011 – 0930 hrs.) – Pleasant Valley Ranger District fire specialists are managing the lightning-caused Tanner wildfire, now about 2,000 acres, which began on August 20 near the peak of Armer Mountain in the Sierra Anchas.

Fire activity may be visible to visitors and residents in the Tonto Basin, Globe, and Young areas and also when looking south from SR 260.

Downdraft winds from a thunderstorm off Armer Mountain pushed the fire across Hwy. 288 yesterday evening around 7 pm and the fire burned through the dispersed camping area. No campers were present and no structures were lost.

Hwy. 288 is closed from Rose Creek south to the intersection with Hwy. 188.

“Yesterday, crews were focused on successful burning operations around the private properties of Dream Catcher and Rose Creek” stated John Thornburg, Fire Management Officer.

Due to the increased size of the fire, a Type 3 team will assume mangement of the fire today.

For further information, call the Pleasant Valley Ranger District offices at 928-462-4300, or stay updated at www.fs.usda.gov/Tonto. To report a wildland fire, the fire emergency number is 866-746-6516, or dial 9-1-1. 

Frio Fire 90 percent contained at 3,400 acres
Globe, Ariz. (September 25, 2011 – 1000 hrs.) – Globe Ranger District fire specialists continue to manage the lightning-caused Frio wildfire in the Pinal Mountain range. 

The Frio fire, which began August 17, is approximately 3,400 acres and grew very slowly yesterday due to the increased humidity.

The fire is 90 percent contained, but due to lower humidity and the fuel type where it is now burning, it has been active over the last 36 hours and is putting up smoke which is visible in the area.  Burning operations continue today to secure the eastern flank of the fire, using existing boundaries, such as Forest Road 651, to tie off the fire.

"Resources are assigned again today to ensure that we keep the fire where we want it to be, doing what we want it to do." Brad Johnson, Globe Ranger District spokesperson. 

“We predict that smoke will continue to be visible for the next several days.  As fire activity and spread are reduced, smoke impacts will be lessened considerably.  We thank the public for their patience and support as we finish this project which will considerably lessen the danger of catastrophic wildfire in the future.”

Unique fishing experience at Fossil Creek opening

GENERAL CROOK TRAIL – Calling all kids, calling all kids – you’ll want to come to the Fossil Creek opening Oct. 1 for a unique fishing experience catching native roundtail and headwater chub at one of Arizona’s two travertine stream treasures.

Oh yeah, please feel free to bring your parents along, they’ll like it too.

You might want to ensure your parents bring their digital cameras, video devices or have their smart phones powered up and ready for action. The amazing turquoise-colored waters of Fossil Creek might just provide your family with Arizona Highways like social media posts or screen savers that will amaze your friends for years to come. It’s a memory builder!

Here are the details.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is conducting two sessions for the annual opening of this unique seasonal fishery (October-April) in the Verde Valley just off the General Crook Trail. The first session on Saturday, Oct. 1 is 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The second session is 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Just take your pick and contact Chuck Benedict, one of our fishery biologists in Flagstaff, at (928) 214-1244 or cbenedict@azgfd.gov to sign up (along with your parents of course!). Youth groups are welcome.

Game and Fish will have a limited supply of loaner rods, reels and tackle available. You can also bring along your own spinning tackle or fly fishing gear.

“Please inform your parents that native chub must be immediately released unharmed and they must use artificial flies and lures only with single barbless hooks. Light spinning tackle, such as ultra lights, or fly fishing tackle typically works best in this amazingly clear water,” Benedict advised.

This event is parent-friendly, but be sure to have them wear suitable shoes and clothing for the rough terrain along the verdant riparian area adjoining the creek.

Your parents will be amazed because they will experience a profusion of cactus, yuccas, wild flowers, willows, wild grapes, sycamores, cottonwoods and even mesquite all coming together in a remarkable Eden-like botanical display. But tell them that some of the vegetation comes replete with thorns and stickers, so have them dress accordingly.

This fairly unique stream is saturated with calcium carbonate, which results in the formation of large fossil-like rock growth (also called travertine), often with leaves and other vegetative matter being trapped in the travertine formations.

You probably want to let your parents know that these hard, rough-textured cement-like formations can be tough on their shins, knees and other body parts when navigating their way along the stream bottom while having fun, hence the need for sturdy footwear and appropriate clothing.

But these rock formations also create the spectacular and scenically unique stream with its series of waterfalls, cataracts, deep aqua pools and other formations. Parents might discover a wealth of information to enthrall other adults in their science or natural history classes at school.

You might want to bring along some band aids, just in case your parents get some minor scrapes or abrasions. You know how adults are, but tell them it’s all part of the Fossil Creek adventure!

Don’t forget kids, you might even want to take a group of adults to experience a Fossil Creek adventure – it’s way better than just watching nature programs on TV or playing pretend adventures on their digital devices. Fossil Creek is where fantasy and reality come together for real-life adventures in a surreal riparian landscape.

Please inform your adults that other sponsors of this wonderful annual event include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Tonto National Forest, Coconino National Forest, the Arizona Flycasters, Northern Arizona Flycasters, Desert Flycasters, and the Payson Flycasters. It’s always good manners to thank those helping out – raise those parents right!

You might also want to tell your parents that activities include fly-fishing demonstrations and fly tying. “Your parents can even tie their own fly and then go fish with it – we’ve got experts on hand to help them do both,” Benedict promised.

The Fossil Creek seasonal fishery is open each year on the first Saturday of October and stays open through April 30.

You might also want to let your parents know that Fossil Creek is easy to find: just get off I-17 on the General Crook Trail at the bottom of the hill if coming into the Verde Valley from the south, or get off at the Camp Verde exit if coming down from the north.

Directions:
From Camp Verde, take Highway 260 east (General Crook Trail) to Forest Service Road #708 (dirt), and look for the Fossil Creek sign. Drive 12 miles and go LEFT at the fork, and then drive about one mile. Look for the signs on the left.

This is a steep, dusty road that winds through some ruggedly beautiful country, so take your time, drive slowly, be safe and enjoy the scenery.

From Strawberry, take Fossil Creek Road (Forest Service Road #708) and wind your way down this often steep dirt road to Fossil Creek. After you cross a bridge over the creek, drive about one mile and look for the signs designating the event parking. Those with fears of heights may want to avoid this route.

More information on Fossil Creek: For more information and background on Fossil Creek, visit www.azgfd.gov/artman/publish/printer_332.shtml, view a digitized report on the Game and Fish website at www.azgfd.gov or visit the Northern Arizona University website at www.watershed.nau.edu/fossilcreekproject.

More than sign of sleepiness, yawning cools brain

ScienceDaily (Sep. 20, 2011) — Though considered a mark of boredom or fatigue, yawning might also be a trait of the hot-headed. Literally.

A study led by Andrew Gallup, a postdoctoral research associate in Princeton University's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, is the first involving humans to show that yawning frequency varies with the season and that people are less likely to yawn when the heat outdoors exceeds body temperature. Gallup and his co-author Omar Eldakar, a postdoctoral fellow in the University of Arizona's Center for Insect Science, report this month in the journal Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience that this seasonal disparity indicates that yawning could serve as a method for regulating brain temperature.

Gallup and Eldakar documented the yawning frequency of 160 people in the winter and summer in Tucson, Arizona, with 80 people for each season. They found that participants were more likely to yawn in the winter, as opposed to the summer when ambient temperatures were equal to or exceeding body temperature. The researchers concluded that warmer temperatures provide no relief for overheated brains, which, according to the thermoregulatory theory of yawning, stay cool via a heat exchange with the air drawn in during a yawn.

Gallup describes the findings as follows:

"This provides additional support for the view that the mechanisms controlling the expression of yawning are involved in thermoregulatory physiology. Despite numerous theories posited in the past few decades, very little experimental research has been done to uncover the biological function of yawning, and there is still no consensus about its purpose among the dozen or so researchers studying the topic today.

"Enter the brain cooling, or thermoregulatory, hypothesis, which proposes that yawning is triggered by increases in brain temperature, and that the physiological consequences of a yawn act to promote brain cooling. I participated in a study [published in Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience in September 2010] that confirmed this dynamic after we observed changes in the brain temperature of rats before and after the animals yawned. The cooling effect of yawning is thought to result from enhanced blood flow to the brain caused by stretching of the jaw, as well as countercurrent heat exchange with the ambient air that accompanies the deep inhalation.

"According to the brain cooling hypothesis, it is the temperature of the ambient air that gives a yawn its utility. Thus yawning should be counterproductive -- and therefore suppressed -- in ambient temperatures at or exceeding body temperature because taking a deep inhalation of air would not promote cooling. In other words, there should be a 'thermal window' or a relatively narrow range of ambient temperatures in which to expect highest rates of yawning.

"To test this theory in humans, I worked with Omar Eldakar to conduct a field-observational experiment that explored the relationship between ambient temperature and yawning frequency. We measured the incidence of yawning among people outdoors during the summer and winter months in Arizona. Summer conditions provided temperatures that matched or slightly exceeded body temperature (an average of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) with relatively low humidity, while winter conditions exhibited milder temperatures (71 degrees Fahrenheit on average) and slightly higher humidity. We randomly selected 160 pedestrians (80 for each season) and, because yawning is contagious, had them view images of people yawning.

"Our study accordingly showed a higher incidence of yawning across seasons when ambient temperatures were lower, even after statistically controlling for other features such as humidity, time spent outside and the amount of sleep the night before. Nearly half of the people in the winter session yawned, as opposed to less than a quarter of summer participants.

"Furthermore, when analyzing data for each season separately, we observed that yawning was related to the length of time a person spent outside exposed to the climate conditions. This was particularly true during the summer when the proportion of individuals yawning dropped significantly as the length of time spent outside increased prior to testing. Nearly 40 percent of participants yawned within the first five minutes outside, but the percentage of summertime yawners dropped to less than 10 percent thereafter. An inverse effect was observed in the winter, but the proportion of people who yawned increased only slightly for those who spent more than five minutes outdoors.

"This is the first report to show that yawning frequency varies from season to season. The applications of this research are intriguing, not only in terms of basic physiological knowledge, but also for better understanding diseases and conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or epilepsy, that are accompanied by frequent yawning and thermoregulatory dysfunction. These results provide additional support for the view that excessive yawning may be used as a diagnostic tool for identifying instances of diminished thermoregulation."

This research was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Social Security can pay every benefit for 25 years

By Sen. Bernie Sanders
Reader Supported News
readersupportednews.org

22 September 11 - Republicans hate Social Security because it has been an extraordinary success and has done exactly what it was designed to do. It is the most successful government program in our nation's history and is enormously popular.

When Social Security was developed, 50 percent of seniors lived in poverty. Today, that number is 10 percent - still too high, but a testament to the success of Social Security.

Republicans have spent years demonizing Social Security and spreading lies about its sustainability. They want to scare Americans and build support for making drastic cuts to the program or privatizing it entirely. Their long-term goal is to end Social Security as we know it, and convert it into a private account system which will enable Wall Street to make hundreds of billions in profits.

The truth is that, today, according to the Social Security Administration, Social Security has a $2.7 trillion surplus and can pay out every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 25 years.

Further, because it is funded by the payroll tax and not the US Treasury, Social Security has not contributed one nickel to our deficit.

Now - in a prolonged recession that has decimated the poor and middle class and pushed more Americans into poverty than at any point in modern history - we need to strengthen Social Security. That's why I, along with nine co-sponsors, have introduced the "Keeping Our Social Security Promises Act." This legislation would lift the Social Security Payroll tax cap on all income over $250,000 a year, would require millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share into the Social Security Trust Fund, and would extend the program for the next 75 years.

Join me now as a citizen co-sponsor of the Keeping Our Social Security Promises Act.

For 76 years, through good times and bad, Social Security has paid out every benefit owed to every eligible American. The most effective way to strengthen Social Security for the next 76 years is to scrap the payroll tax cap for those earning $250,000 a year or more.

Right now, someone who earns $106,800 pays the same amount of money into Social Security as billionaires like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. That is because today, all income above $106,800 is exempt from the Social Security tax. As a result, 94% of Americans pay Social Security tax on all of their income, but the wealthiest 6% do not.

That makes no sense.

The "Keeping Our Social Security Promises Act" will ensure the long-term solvency of Social Security without cutting benefits, raising the retirement age or raising taxes on the middle class.

Join me and Democracy for America in fighting to strengthen Social Security - Sign on as a citizen co-sponsor of the Keeping Our Social Security Promises Act.

Social Security is keeping tens of millions of seniors out of poverty today. I can think of no more important issue facing our country today than making sure that Social Security remains strong for generations to come.

Thank you.

Bernie

Senator Bernie Sanders
US Senator from Vermont

Friday, September 23, 2011

Shangri-La Chinese Acrobats open TCCA season

NASHVILLE, TN – (September 23, 2011) – International acrobatic superstars, the Shangri-La Chinese Acrobats, will bring their dazzling and daring program of formidable feats to the Payson High School Auditorium on Tuesday, September 27 at 7 p.m.

For 25 years the Shangri-La Chinese Acrobats (SLCA) have delighted audiences on every continent with their multi-faceted and multi-cultural programs. They have become a standard bearer of this centuries old Chinese discipline.

The SLCA has appeared on numerous television shows in the United States, performed for President Jimmy Carter and is the winner of countless awards for their contribution to community and campus entertainment. 

The typical program for SLCA includes feats of balance, juggling, agility, strength and concentration which, according to the show producers, is seen by these Chinese athletes as a pursuit of perfection – the harmony of mind and body.

Single tickets are $35 (if seating is available). Children and youths, grade 12 and under, will be admitted free when accompanied by a ticket holding adult. For more information visit the association website at www.tccarim.org or call 928-478-4363 or 928-474-4189.

The Tonto Community Concert Association is committed to bringing high quality entertainment to the Rim Country through an annual concert series and support of the fine arts in Payson schools. This series is intended as an enriching cultural experience for the people of Payson and those in surrounding communities.

Tanner wildfire visible from Tonto Basin, Young

Pleasant Valley, Ariz. (September 22, 2011 – 1500 hrs.) – Pleasant Valley Ranger District fire specialists are managing the lightning-caused Tanner wildfire, now about 800 acres, which began on August 20 near the peak of Armer Mountain in the Sierra Anchas.

Fire activity may be visible to visitors and residents in the Tonto Basin, Globe, and Young areas and also when looking south from SR 260.

The fire has backed down the east face of the peak where it will eventually be contained at two forest service roads.

“We ask for the patience and support of everyone as we manage these fires now which will help prevent catastrophic wildfires in the future when weather conditions are much less favorable,” stated Johnny Whatley, Assistant Fire Management Officer.

Due to current weather conditions, including monsoon humidity, these lightning-caused fires can be allowed to play their natural role in the ecosystem.

“In managing wildfires, firefighter, aviation and public safety are always the top priority,” stated Clay Templin, Fire Staff Officer for the forest. “We have a variety of management strategies to meet multiple objectives on the landscape. Depending on weather, fuel conditions, and terrain, tactics are implemented that meet suppression needs and reduce hazardous fuels. This reduction in fuels allows for regeneration of vegetation and improves both watersheds and wildlife habitat. All wildfires have suppression actions taken regardless of location.”

For further information, call the Pleasant Valley Ranger District offices at 928-462-4300, or stay updated at www.fs.usda.gov/Tonto. To report a wildland fire, the fire emergency number is 866-746-6516, or dial 9-1-1.

Why did non-story end up on front page - twice?

IN OUR HUMBLE OPINION

How embarrassing for the Roundup to have to give its number one front page spot in Tuesday's paper to Brooke Utilities denial of the fraud charges brought by Mesa del Caballo resident Steve Gehring.

From our vantage point it's a clear of case of the Roundup covering its butt after it gave Gehring the same spot on the front page to level charges that were, at best, unsubstantiated.  Had the editor chosen to bury Gehring's story where it belonged - somewhere deep inside the paper - it wouldn't have had to give Brooke equal space after the California-based water company threatened to seek legal redress against those responsible for publishing the allegations.

It's was a non-story from the start.

'People at the top should sacrifice a bit more'


By Robert Reich
Robert Reich's Blog

20 September 11 - So the really big fight - perhaps the defining battle of 2012 - won't be over Medicare. It won't even be over Obama's jobs program.

It will be over whether the rich should pay more taxes.

The President has vowed to veto any plan to tame the debt that doesn't increase taxes on the rich. The Republicans have vowed to oppose any tax increases on the rich.

It's a good fight to have.

In a Rose Garden ceremony this morning, Obama proposed new taxes on the wealthy - including a special new tax for millionaires, the closing of loopholes and deductions for people making more than $250,000 a year, and an end to the portion of the Bush tax cut going to higher incomes.

Republicans accuse the President of instigating "class warfare." But it's not warfare to demand the rich pay their fair share of taxes to bring down America's long-term debt.

After all, the richest 1 percent of Americans now takes home more than 20 percent of total income. That's the highest share going to the top 1 percent in almost 90 years.

And they now pay at the lowest tax rates in half a century - half the rate they paid on ordinary income prior to 1981.

(Unfortunately, the President isn't proposing to raise the capital-gains tax - which, now at 15 percent, creates a loophole large enough for the super-rich to drive their Ferrari's through. About 80 percent of the income of America's richest 400 comes in the form of capital gains. Here's where billionaire hedge-fund and private-equity fund managers make out like bandits. As I've noted, I also wish he aimed higher - for more brackets and higher rates at the very top. But at least he's drawn a line in the sand. The veto message is clear.)

Anyone who says the American economy suffers when the rich pay more in taxes doesn't know history. We grew faster the first three decades after World War II than we have since.

Trickle-down economics has been a cruel joke.

On the other hand - given projected budget deficits - if the rich don't pay their fair share, the rest of us will have to bear more of a burden. And that burden inevitably will come in the form of either higher taxes or fewer public services.

If anyone's declared class warfare it's the people who inhabit the top rungs of big corporations and Wall Street (and who comprise a disproportionate number of America's super-rich). They've declared it on average workers.

The ratio of corporate profits to wages is higher than it's been since before the Great Depression. And even as corporate salaries and perks keep rising, the median wage keeping dropping, and jobs continue to be shed.

You've got the chairman of Merck taking home $17.9 million last year. This year Merck announces plans to boot 13,000 workers. The CEO of Bank of America takes in $10 million, and the bank announces it's firing 30,000 workers.

Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but the way I see it we've got a huge budget deficit and a giant jobs problem. And under these circumstances it seems to me people at the top who have never had it so good should sacrifice a bit more, so the rest of us don't have to sacrifice quite as much.

According to the polls, most Americans agree. 

Robert Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written thirteen books, including "The Work of Nations," "Locked in the Cabinet," "Supercapitalism" and his latest book, "AFTERSHOCK: The Next Economy and America's Future." His 'Marketplace' commentaries can be found on publicradio.com and iTunes.

Saturday is 'fee free' on Tonto National Forest

Phoenix (Sept. 20) Tonto National Forest recreation specialists announced today that they are joining with other agencies included under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) in hosting two more “fee free” events, with the next “fee-free” day on National Public Lands Day, September 24.

This year’s remaining fee waiver dates are as follows:
• National Public Lands Day – Saturday, September 24
• Veterans’ Day – Friday, November 11

Day-use fees will be waived at all standard amenity fee sites operated by the forest for these listed dates.

During all other times, the Tonto Pass is required at more than 50 recreation sites including Salt and Verde river locations, boat launch ramps, swimming areas, day use areas, and campgrounds.

A list of Tonto Pass vendor locations is available at the Tonto National Forest website, www.fs.usda.gov/tonto, or call the Tonto National Forest at 602-225-5200.

The U.S. Forest Service mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land and is the world’s largest forestry research organization.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

One solution: Turning homes into small businesses

COMMENTARY
COMMENTARY
COMMENTARY

By George Templeton
Gazette Contributor

Recreation

It seems that anything that does not fit in Plumber Joe’s tool box and that he does not use every day is claimed to be part of government waste that kills jobs. Education provides the skill foundation and the inspiration for the future job creators. From the lack of Republican applause following our president’s speech on Job creation and rescuing teaching positions we infer that they must think that teachers go to play every day. “There seems to be a fundamental disconnect on what a job is.” Infrastructure construction contractors and their employees, whose task terminates when the construction is completed, don’t have jobs even though they are paid for what they do. Government can’t create jobs but it sure does make opportunities to play!

My career was initiated by a large government contract associated with an over-the-horizon radar whose implementation created an entire town. Everything in our department was funded by that contract. There was no consumer business to begin with. We created products that no one else in the world had and that were essential to our national defense during the time of cold-war mutually assured destruction. Our department grew and expanded into many branches because we replaced vacuum tubes in TVs, radios, and in virtually every consumer product world-wide.

I represented our company, visiting Washington D.C. along with representatives from many other companies, schools, and institutions like the National Bureau of Standards. We were there by choice, not by any requirement because we understood the benefits that can come from diversity and team effort. Government did not regulate anything but it facilitated participation, cooperation, and pragmatic compromise. Note how this contrasts with how our political representatives view bipartisan as meaning “my way or no way” and government as anti-business and “killing” jobs. Federal government participation prevented misleading commercialism and misunderstandings that reduced accidents improving productivity, safety, reliability, quality, and American competitiveness. Our standards provided technical guidance to our military which is the world’s greatest. Our standards were often adopted internationally and were sometimes written into government regulations when applicable to large business like telecommunications or when large scale compatibility issues were important for progress.

There is a synergism between government, education, and industry. Government funds cutting edge university research reviewed by private companies for possible participation. Private business cannot take this over because some research such as in fundamental particle physics and cosmology are much too expensive for any business to independently fund. Sometimes business lacks the expertise to conduct research. What is at stake here is literally our understanding of the fabric of reality. For the last 100 years confusion has steadily grown. Every answer leads to another unresolved deeper question. The issues involved are reminiscent of debate about a flat earth at the center of the universe. The answers will likely lead to a future that no one imagines. Fundamental research has a long reach but often leads to dramatic lifestyle changes for the entire world. Venture capitalists know that they are taking large risks but the possibility of great rewards and revolutionary changes motivates them. University professors and graduate students do not directly make many permanent jobs, but then most small business innovations take many years to grow to the size required to fundamentally alter the life style of people world-wide.

We should be thankful that the antifederalists of the 1780’s were unsuccessful in their efforts to confine the federal government to expressly granted powers and to reserve all others to the states or to the people thereof. The tenth amendment as adopted without the word “thereof” leaves intact the principle of implied powers and acknowledges the existence of undefined powers belonging to the people of the whole country. In 1787 no one could foresee modern technology, globalization, giant farms, food mass production, and the economic interdependence of countries that characterize today’s world.

“Government” is the name we give to the formal part of the framework of rules within which we live together. Regulation does not come from just the Federal Government. States, counties, and municipalities can regulate. Regulations deal with matters such as foods, drugs, fuel economy, medical practice, law, utilities, architectural standards, minimum wages, and unemployment insurance. Any form of coercive action has costs for some and benefits for others.

Our homes have lost much of their value. The high birth-rate following WWII, lack of immigration, overseas job outsourcing, and birth control argue that there are going to be many more folks retiring than working especially in the years 2015 to 2035. Many retiring people will want to downsize to reduce costs and to move into smaller less expensive homes. Some want to live in smaller cities or closer to nature where the life style is less competitive. But what are we going to do to with the excessive inventory of big homes?

Let’s allow homes to become local small businesses, for example seasonal and hydroponic farms! Our home values would skyrocket and real estate would boom. This would quickly create millions of jobs that would be in the tradition of unfettered free enterprise and it would take us back toward the world of the pilgrims where people knew and depended on their neighbors, were closer to nature, and where individuals could have the satisfaction of making a difference for their community and country. The new entrepreneur could conveniently work from home and 12 hour, 7 day working weeks would be possible. Workers would not experience forced early retirement. No longer would America be borrowing from the natural and human resources of the future. A vegetarian diet would help with our country’s growing obesity problem and would reduce health care costs. Because fruits and vegetables would not have to be transported long distances our produce would be fresher, cheaper, and there would be less atmospheric pollution and global warming from shipping them. Reduced consumption and increased savings would increase our competitiveness with China and India. All we have to do is cancel those annoying regulations and embrace our patriotic duty to get our economy moving.

Let’s not just have speeches. Let’s specify the proposed regulations that when dropped will set business free to create jobs and solve America’s economic dilemma.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Today it's all about winning and ethics be damned

The Tea Party says if you are deathly ill with no insurance, that’s tough. Eric Kantor, Republican leader of the House of Representatives, says if you suffered catastrophic loss because of hurricanes or tornadoes or any natural disaster, that’s tough. John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, leaders of Republicans, say we can’t improve the economy without severe cuts in spending – the very thing which will guarantee no recovery.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry says there is no such thing as Global Warming and Evolution is a suspect science. GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachman claims to “cure” homosexuals through prayer. She also says that if you are one of the injured due to natural disasters, you are simply a pawn in God’s wrath against Barack Obama.

Send in the clowns.

Common sense is hopeless against this virus, and virtue has become the enemy.

I have lived a hopeful life, believing in an evolved United States of America where the dream of its founding fathers would blossom at last – a place of equality among men and justice for all. I believed in the heroes of western movies and John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart fighting bad guys. I was taught that being good was a good thing, and caring for others was biblical.

Now, it seems, bad guys are running the system. What happened when we weren’t looking?
It is now fashionable to shout out in congress when the President is giving a State of the Union speech. Disrupting town hall meetings so independent voices cannot be heard is now sanctioned. Spreading misleading and even false accusations against the president over the Internet is seen as perfectly legitimate.

As Charley Sheen is famous for saying, “Winning, Duh!” It’s all about winning and ethics be damned.

The unthinkable cliché’ has come true. Inmates are running the asylum.

There is no moral compass, much less an intellectual one respected anymore. Small mindedness, narrow mindedness are the new champions. Seeing beyond one’s personal sphere is unacceptable.
A man by the name of Grover Norquist has become the most powerful person in America, and he wasn’t even elected to an office. Shouts of “Take our country back!” are common, but no one can delineate just what that means. Back from What? Back To what?

Back to two years ago? Four years ago? How about 2007, when the housing market completely collapsed along with the credit markets. Back to 1954 and Brown vs. Board of Education? Back to 1861 and shots fired on Fort Sumpter? How far back and to what set of circumstances?

The Tea Party and other “tag along rebels” can’t or won’t say. The fact is – they don’t have a clear idea. They just love the idea of rebellion.

Listen as they spout all manner of “righteous” slogans and one dimensional rants. They love the sound of their own voices above all else. Logic, reason and proven accomplishments are all suspect and can’t be trusted. Nurse Ratched is the enemy, and all must rebel.

The fact is: this Republic is, and always has been, in a process of evolution. The very constitution we value so highly was intended to be flexible and updated from time to time, because the founders knew they couldn’t predict every twist and turn the new nation might take.

The evidence is pretty strong, though, that they counted upon reasonable, intelligent men to come together to resolve any issue. Compromise was seen as the great leveler.

Spending too much money? Let’s find a way to rein that in without causing more harm than good. Balancing the budget? Let’s find a balanced approach which spreads the responsibility equitably. Too much government squeezing us? The answer isn’t to dissolve the government but to reform it.

There is a frenzy circling about which is close to getting uncontrollable.

W.B. Yeats famous poem is looking more and more prescient.

I hate having to change my boyhood expectations. I thought it was a solid lock that the good guys would always prevail.

Home cooks needed for Emergency Kit Cook-Off

PHOENIX—In August, the Arizona Emergency Information Network (AzEIN) asked the public to help determine the ingredients for its inaugural family Emergency Kit Cook-off, a new National Preparedness Month activity held in cooperation with the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Scottsdale and inspired by the 72-hour emergency kit.

The public reported to www.AzEIN.gov and voted. The survey is now closed, the ballots have been tallied, and AzEIN is excited to start phase two of the Kit Cook-off—highlighting your original recipes.

“AzEIN and the Le Cordon Bleu thank everyone who voted,” said Arizona Division of Emergency Management (ADEM) Director Lou Trammell. “We’re excited to see the recipes the public submits using the ingredients they chose.”

The public has until Friday, Oct. 7, to submit an original recipe using some or all of the “black box” ingredients. Home cooks are also free to use some basic pantry items, include a manual can opener, select seasonings, condiments and a gallon of water. Visit http://bit.ly/pmeOaX for a list of approved pantry items and submission guidelines.

Le Cordon Bleu Chef Jon-Paul Hutchins will create dishes using the nominated black box ingredients on live television later this month.

“The Emergency Kit Cook-off is about doing a lot with little,” said Chef Hutchins. “It’s a good challenge for creative home cooks and a hands-on way for youths to interact with the preparedness message. I hope folks take an interest in the cook-off and invent some unique but tasty dishes.”

Visitors to the Kit Cook-off website, http://bit.ly/pmeOaX, voted for two ingredients in each of the five categories—proteins; starches, grains and nuts; fruits and vegetables; and beverages. The winning ingredients are:

• Proteins: creamy peanut butter; canned chicken
• Starches, grains and nuts: canned black beans; rice
• Fruits and vegetables: applesauce; dried cranberries
• Beverages: instant coffee; evaporated milk

News from the cook-off, including the time and date of Chef Hutchins television appearance, will be posted to the Emergency Kit Cook-off webpage and Facebook (www.facebook.com/ArizEIN) and tweeted (www.twitter.com/AzEIN) using the #KitCookoff hashtag.

Visit the Arizona Emergency Information Network (AzEIN) website at www.AzEIN.gov for real-time emergency updates, preparedness and hazard information, and multimedia resources.

Old Time Fiddler's Competition this weekend

Old Time Fiddler's Competition
DATE: September 24-25
PLACE: Payson Event Center
TIME: Gates open @ 8:30 AM
ADMISSION: $5

The Payson Old Time Fiddlers Contest is truly a piece of Arizona history. This event has over 40 years history of celebrating the musical heritage of the pioneers of our great state. The Old Time fiddling State Championship (National Qualifier) & Acoustic Music celebration incorporates over 2 days of family fun including, acoustic, music concerts, Old Time fiddling contest for all ages, camping and jam sessions. Purchase tickets at the gate.

Payson Old Time Opry
Date: September 23, 2011
Place: Payson High School
Admission: $5

Featuring "The Hill Benders.& Desert Sons, Run Boy Run, with special appearance from State Champion Michael Rolland and BRUSH ARBOR REVIVAL.

Purchase Tickets at the Payson Parks and Recreation Office at 1000 W. Country Club 928-474-5242x7 OR Rim Country Chamber of Commerce, 100 W, Main St., 928-474-4515.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tonto Forest open house on land sale is Saturday

Payson, Ariz. (Sep. 15, 2011) – Tonto National Forest officials announced today that there will be an open house on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2-4 p.m., at the Payson Best Western Motel, to provide information and solicit public input on a proposed land sale by the Forest Service and the construction of new administrative facilities and a helibase.

“During the open house we will be answering questions and asking for feedback about this proposed initiative as part of the scoping phase of this project,” stated Angie Elam, Payson district ranger. “If you are unable to attend the open house, there are several other ways you can provide comments.”

Written comments regarding the project can be sent by e-mail, mailed, or faxed. The subject line should be “Payson Administrative Facilities Project.” The deadline for the scoping phase is October 30.

Email: comments-southwestern-tonto@fs.fed.us
Fax: (602) 225-5295
Mail:
Payson Administrative Facilities Project
Attention: Rebecca Roof
Tonto National Forest
2324 E McDowell Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85006

All input received is a matter of public record, so names and addresses of participants cannot be kept confidential. Your name and address must be provided with your comments in order to be considered. Information is also available by visiting the project website on the Tonto National Forest webpage www.fs.usda.gov/tonto , then to to the Land and Resource Management section: Projects – Payson Admin Site Sale.

For additional information, please contact Deborah McGlothlin (559-920-4952), Rebecca Roof (602-225-5257) or Payson District Ranger Angela Elam (928-474-7900).

Montana woman rips Senator for dissing Seniors

LETTER
LETTER
LETTER

(Editor's note: This is one of those chain-type e-mails we usually avoid, but after verifying its contents we thought it should be shared.  Pardon the language.)

Alan Simpson, Republican Senator from Wyoming and co-chair of President Obama's deficit commission, calls senior citizens the Greediest Generation as he compared "Social Security" to a Milk Cow with 310 million teats.

Here's a response in a letter from PATTY MYERS in Montana:

"Hey Alan, let's get a few things straight...

1. As a career politician, you have been on the public dole for FIFTY YEARS.
2. I have been paying Social Security taxes for 48 YEARS (since I was 15 years old. I am now 63).
3 My Social Security payments, and those of millions of other Americans, were safely tucked away in an interest bearing account for decades until you political pukes decided to raid the account and give OUR money to a bunch of zero ambition losers in return for votes, thus bankrupting the system and turning Social Security into a Ponzi scheme that would have made Bernie Madoff proud.
4. Recently, just like Lucy & Charlie Brown, you and your ilk pulled the proverbial football away from millions of American seniors nearing retirement and moved the goalposts for full retirement from age 65 to age 67. NOW, you and your shill commission is proposing to move the goalposts YET AGAIN.
5. I, and millions of other Americans, have been paying into Medicare from Day One, and now you morons propose to change the rules of the game. Why? Because you idiots mismanaged other parts of the economy to such an extent that you need to steal money from Medicare to pay the bills.
6. I, and millions of other Americans, have been paying income taxes our entire lives, and now you propose to increase our taxes yet again. Why? Because you incompetent bastards spent our money so profligately that you just kept on spending even after you ran out of money. Now, you come to the American taxpayers and say you need more to pay off YOUR debt.

To add insult to injury, you label us "greedy" for calling "bullshit" on your incompetence. Well, Captain Bullshit, I have a few questions for YOU:

1. How much money have you earned from the American taxpayers during your pathetic 50-year political career?

2. At what age did you retire from your pathetic political career, and how much are you receiving in annual retirement benefits from the American taxpayers?
3. How much do you pay for YOUR government provided health insurance?
4. What cuts in YOUR retirement and healthcare benefits are you proposing in your disgusting deficit reduction proposal, or, as usual, have you exempted yourself and your political cronies?

It is you, Captain Bullshit, and your political co-conspirators called Congress who are the "greedy" ones. It is you and your fellow nutcases who have bankrupted America and stolen the American dream from millions of loyal, patriotic taxpayers. And for what? Votes. That's right, sir. You and yours have bankrupted America for the sole purpose of advancing your pathetic political careers. You know it, we know it, and you know that we know it.

And you can take that to the bank, you miserable SOB!

If you like the way things are in America , ignore this.

If you agree with what a fellow Montana citizen ( Patty Myers) says, PASS IT ON!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Good time at feral cat wine tasting fundraiser

Photos by Bill Huddleston
The Raise a Glass for Feral Cats wine tasting event, held Sunday at MoJoe's Grill and Micro-Pub exceeded all expectations.  Here are exclusive photos from the event, a fundraiser for Rim Country Friends of Ferals, which featured Noble Collins and Wines of Italy.  Tickets for future tasting events are available at MoJoe's and The Beverage Place.

GC Supervisors schedule redistricting work session

Click on notices to enlarge.

Payson meteorite hunter on Republic front page

Payson meteorite hunter Marvin Killgore is on the front page of today's (Monday, Sept. 19) Arizona Republic.  Part of the Republic's fascinating Arizona Storytellers series, the story relates how the 56-year-old Killgore, a former plumber, "hunts, collects sells and trades the ancient space rocks that date back some 4.5 billion years."  He has stockpiled 30,000 pounds of meteorites, one of the largest private collections in the world.

To read the article, pick up a copy of the Republic when you're in town or click here: www.azcentral.com.  Better yet, call 1-800-332-6733 for home delivery of the Republic seven days a week, including the big Sunday paper with hundreds of dollars in coupon savings.  The Wednesday Republic also carries the Safeway and Bashas' grocery ad inserts - the very same ones that are in the local paper.

For better coverage of the Rim Country, plus the Diamondbacks, Cardinals, national news and so much more, the Arizona Republic is the only newspaper you need to read.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Your role in helping prevent Medicare fraud

By David Sayen

People talk a lot these days about the rising cost of healthcare. How much of a role does fraud play in this?

A significant one, unfortunately. The fact is that criminals steal billions of dollars each year from Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This is taxpayer money that should be going to medical treatment for some of our most vulnerable citizens, including seniors, low income families, and kids.

Fraud hurts everyone by driving up healthcare costs. It also undermines the financial sustainability of federal healthcare programs upon which millions of Americans depend.

What’s the federal government doing to stop it? Plenty, especially with the new tools we have under last year’s health reform law.

For one thing, we’re becoming more proactive about keeping criminals out of federal healthcare programs in the first place. My agency, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), has adopted a more rigorous screening process for new providers and suppliers. This is intended to weed out crooks before they can start submitting fraudulent bills to the government.

Under the Affordable Care Act, we can now use sophisticated new technologies and innovative data sources to identify patterns associated with fraud. We also have the authority to temporarily stop enrolling new providers and suppliers when we detect patterns that may indicate a significant potential for fraud.

When there’s a credible allegation of fraud against a provider or supplier, we can temporarily stop payments to them while an investigation is undertaken.

In other words, CMS is moving away from the old “pay and chase” model of doing business – paying out claims and then trying to recover the fraudulent ones.

Of course, we know that most providers – doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, home health care operators, and others – are honest. But we’re becoming more vigilant about the dishonest few. And those who defraud federal healthcare programs will face tougher penalties.

The Affordable Care Act increases the federal sentencing guidelines related to healthcare fraud offenses involving $1 million or more in losses to federal programs. The Act also allows the government to impose stronger civil and monetary penalties against those who commit fraud. And crooks kicked out of one state’s Medicaid or CHIP program will now be kicked out of all states’ Medicaid or CHIP programs.

Is Medicare making progress in the fight against fraud? Yes, we are. For example, the federal government recovered $4 billion last year from people who attempted to defraud seniors and taxpayers. That’s a record amount.

How can individuals help in the fight against healthcare fraud?

If you have Medicare, here are some things you can do:

· Guard your Medicare and Social Security numbers. Treat them like you treat your credit cards. Criminals use these numbers to send the government bogus medical bills -- in your name.

· Hang up the phone if someone calls and asks for your Medicare number, Social Security number, or bank or credit card information. Medicare will NEVER call and ask for this information, and we will NEVER call you or come to your home uninvited to sell Medicare products.

· Be suspicious of anyone who offers you free medical equipment or services and then requests your Medicare number. It’s illegal, and it’s not worth it!

· Don’t let anyone borrow or pay you to use your Medicare ID card or your identity.

· Check your Medicare claims for errors. Look at your Medicare Summary Notice or statements from your Medicare plan.

· If your Medicare Summary Notice shows billings for goods or services that you never received, call us at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). The sooner you see and report suspected fraud, the sooner we can stop it. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.

David Sayen is Medicare’s regional administrator for California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, and the Pacific Trust Territories. You can always get answers to your Medicare questions by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Perfect day for men, women, man's best friend

Dog Day in the Park was a smash success with perfect weather and large crowds.  The Gazette Blog is proud to present the first published photos of the event, taken by Editor Jim Keyworth.  The hot dogs are the property of Tony and Stephanie Whetten and that's our guy Radar, a shelter rescue dog, going head to head with Mitzi Brabb's African Sulcatta turtle.  Brabb, a Gazette contributor, heads the local non-profit animal rescue organization Wonders of the Wild.