As many of you gentle readers know, I’m a recovering librarian – so I’m beginning this month’s column with a tip of the hat to all of the unsung heroines (and heroes) who labor so hard and well in America’s libraries. These institutions and their staff keep us informed, educated, entertained and assisted in the art of resumes and job searches (especially in these times of economic stress and high unemployment). Even though they’re frequently the first to be cut back when budgets are tight, they keep on smiling and asking if we’ve found what we’re looking for. Hug a librarian, clerk, page and/or aide when you see them during National Library Week, April 11-17.
I must say that I, for one, have really enjoyed the rainy weather of the past 45 or so days. The desert is really green, and the wildflowers are spectacular. Farmers have had lots of free water for their crops, and most of the state’s reservoirs (unlike their coffers) are so full that water’s traveling down the Salt, Gila, Santa Cruz and San Pedro Rivers. However, the flip side of this very wet winter is that when it all inevitably dries up, the fire danger will be very high indeed. This is why the Pinal County Air Quality folks are issuing three-day open burn permits, effective April 1st. All burn permits will expire on or by May 1. The “No Burn” ban will continue thereafter until the summer monsoons show up to abate the fire danger.
Returning to a water-related topic for a moment, Pinal County’s Local Drought Impact Group (LDIG) was formed to help prepare mitigation measures we might be forced to take in case of extreme drought. Rick Gibson, agricultural agent for Pinal courtesy of the UofA, and Art Carlton, staff for the county’s Emergency Management Services, co-chair the group which consists of volunteers from various water connected agencies.
Late last year, LDIG was the fortunate recipient of a grant from the Abbott Laboratories
Foundation (thanks to Roger Hill and the local Abbott-Ross plant), which allowed them to become a part of Project Wet: a curriculum-based program that works with local schools to increase awareness and understanding of this precious natural resource. Last month, Project Wet held a very successful water festival for area fourth graders.
On April 14, from 6-8 p.m. in Room T116 at the Signal Peak Campus of CAC, the U of A in conjunction with the Cooperative Extension Service, LDIG and various local communities will be holding a Listening Session to identify, discuss and define central and western Pinal County’s current and future water issues. Specifically, the results of the session will facilitate the development of informed water education programs and future water planning efforts. For more information, contact Tasha at 520-836-5221 (x 210) or firstname.lastname@example.org – I hope to see you there.
The Arizona Trail Association, the Arizona Office of Tourism and REI stores partnered to create a map of the 800+ mile long Arizona Trail, which stretches from Utah to Mexico. The new map highlights communities that lie in close proximity to the trail and indicates which of those communities has specific services and supply outlets of interest to those traveling along the trail. Several Pinal County communities are featured as well. Copies of the map can be found at your local Chamber of Commerce or by contacting me at email@example.com or 520-836-0003.
I would be very remiss if I didn’t ask you all to join me in wishing my predecessor Jimmie Kerr a very happy birthday – he’ll turn 76 this month and is still going strong.
David Snider, Supervisor Pinal County District 3