Saturday, August 30, 2008

Drivers Urged to Use Caution Around Storm Runoff and Washes

FLORENCE, AZ – Pinal County Public Works and Emergency Management officials are reminding residents and motorists to steer clear of washes and moving water.  Recent storms have saturated areas of Pinal County, channeling water into existing natural washes and man-made drainage structures.  Along with mud, debris and other hazards, this water may look harmless on the surface but caution is advised.

 

Driving any motorized vehicles, including ATVs, into and around washes or flooded roads puts the motorist at risk of serious harm. 

 

Meteorologists are suggesting that additional severe storms may be on the way during the holiday weekend.  Please use appropriate caution to protect your home, property and loved ones from harm.

 

Observe the following tips:

 

  • Obey all caution or warning signs on roadways.
  • Slow down while driving in heavy rain or dust storms.
  • If caught in a dust storm, continue driving slowly and turn on your emergency hazard lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
  • Keep a safe distance from trees and windows.
  • Do not stand in open fields or under trees during a lightning storm.
  • Turn off unnecessary electronic equipment.
  • Have candles, flash lights with fresh batteries and a wireless or corded phone.  Cordless home telephones will not work if the power is out.
  • Listen for weather updates or advisories broadcast on local radio stations.

 

Call 9-1-1 in the event of a serious emergency or injury.  If your power is out, report outages to your local utility.  Phone numbers to call in case of outages are usually printed on the utility bill.

Friday, August 29, 2008

County & Eloy Applaud Commissioners on Rail Crossing Decision

By Heather Murphy

FLORENCE, AZ – Pinal County officials and the City of Eloy commended the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) for today's approval of Union Pacific's application to add a second main line and modify public road crossings in the county.  The ACC's action allows Union Pacific to move forward with their double track project of the Sunset Route, Union Pacific's east-west main rail line through Southern Arizona. 

 

The application included public crossings on Toltec Road, Houser Road, Battaglia Road, Eleven Mile Corner Road, Main Street and Sunshine Boulevard.  The Commissioners approved the placement of the additional track with upgrades to safety and signal devices to ensure the safety of motorists.

 

"I am glad to see the process move forward and thank the Commissioners for requesting that Union Pacific first seek local support on their project," said Byron Jackson, Mayor of Eloy.  "The City of Eloy will continue to work with Union Pacific representatives to address local concerns and issues during this project."

 

An historic agreement was reached in May 2008 between Union Pacific and the Cities of Casa Grande, Eloy, Maricopa and Pinal County.  The agreement included a $35 million commitment from Union Pacific over 25 years for the construction of grade separations at major public railroad crossings.  The agreement provided the framework for transportation planning, economic development, historic preservation and support for increased railroad capacity in the region.

 

"There is a significant need for economic development in our region and Union Pacific's double track project is a major component in creating more jobs in Pinal County," said Pinal County Supervisor Lionel Ruiz.  Supervisor Ruiz's district is the one affected by these crossings.

 

Pinal County Board of Supervisors' Chairman David Snider and Sandie Smith also praised the Commissioners for their decision. 

 

The application was one of nine packets filed with the Corporation Commissioners involving Union Pacific's addition of a second main line.  Three applications were approved in March, May, and June of this year.  There are five more applications still pending with the ACC.

Heather Murphy
Director, Communications & Public Affairs
Pinal County
520-866-6057

heather.murphy@pinalcountyaz.gov

*Please update your address books to include our new e-mail address domain.  Our email addresses have changed to firstname.lastname@pinalcountyaz.gov

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Presiding Judge Establishes Court to Manage Mental Illness Cases

By Heather Murphy

FLORENCE, AZ – Imagine if a loved one suffered from a serious mental illness and is accused of a crime.  Imagine if you are the victim of a crime committed by someone with a serious mental illness.  In both situations, the ideal outcome is one where justice is served and appropriate care and consideration is paid to both the victim and the accused.  After the Pinal County Mental Health in the Courts Task Force spent many months of planning and coordinating resources, Presiding Superior Court Judge Boyd T. Johnson signed an order establishing the Mental Health Court in Pinal County.

 

"National research shows that 16 percent of people jailed for criminal offenses also have mental health diagnoses," Judge Johnson said.  "People with mental health conditions are more likely to be arrested.  By default, the criminal justice system becomes the mental health care delivery system or the gateway to that system."

 

Judge Johnson appointed Judge Janna Vanderpool as Administrative Presiding Judge over the Mental Health Court in Pinal County.

 

To address a growing problem and awareness of the issues facing the mentally ill in the justice system, the Superior Court in Pinal County formed a Mental Health Task Force in 2005.  Judge Vanderpool is a founding member of the task force.  Other members included representatives from medical and behavioral care providers, County Health and Human Services, the County Attorney, Public Defender, County Jail, Clerk of the Court, Probation and other allied organizations. 

 

"The task force's goal was collaboration to more swiftly identify the mentally ill, ensure that they are treated with dignity and provide opportunities for treatment," Judge Vanderpool said.  "This protects our neighborhoods and communities, saves money and reduces trauma to both the accused and the victims."

 

When someone is accused of a crime, the courts have to determine if someone is competent to stand trial and if the person can assist their attorney or public defender in preparing their defense.

 

"Individuals who do not have the ability to understand what is happening – whether that is due to a disability, mental illness or other mental health issues – must be protected from prosecution in our courts until their ability to understand the proceedings and to assist their attorneys is restored," Judge Johnson said.  "Often, with treatment, medication and education on how the justice system works, we can move forward with a case that might have been dismissed due to competency issues."

 

"Prior to these recent changes, it could take a year or more of back and forth, just to determine if someone is competent to stand trial or aid in their defense," Judge Vanderpool said.  "Now we can shorten that time by many months."

 

The process for court-ordered mental health treatment or therapy falls under stringent guidelines laid out in law.  There multiple legal steps and professional evaluations before someone can be court-ordered into treatment or placed into a qualified facility for therapy.  Low-level, non-violent offenders with mental health conditions sometimes can be released for appropriate treatment and supervision.  The courts can also appoint a conservator or guardian, if necessary.

 

"There are several significant public benefits from more acute attention to, and early assessment of, the mentally ill in our justice system," Judge Vanderpool said.  "Previously, those needing these services were sent to the state hospital and the state's cost for evaluation and restoration to competency was incredibly expensive.  Now, we save taxpayer money by not incarcerating non-violent offenders who have a suitable place to reside.  Additionally, we are now able to provide monitored, out-of-custody and in-jail restoration to competency services."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Chairman David Snider to Hold Maricopa Office Hours on Wednesday, September 3

CASA GRANDE- Board of Supervisors Chairman David Snider will hold his monthly office hours at the Maricopa Interim City Hall on Wednesday, September 3.  Supervisor Snider's office hours in Maricopa are normally observed on the first Tuesday of the month; however, due to the Primary Election, he'll be available to meet with residents the following day.  The Chairman and District 3 Supervisor will be at the Interim City Hall, located at 45145 W. Madison Avenue from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm.

     "My appreciation goes out to the City Council and staff with the City of Maricopa for loaning me the office space to meet with constituents in this area," Chairman Snider said.  "There is never a lack of topics to discuss in this and the surrounding communities.  We've just cut the ribbon on a new Justice Court for this precinct.  I am pleased that we were able to work as a team to accomplish such an important project."

     Chairman Snider said that he will be available to answer any questions or discuss regional topics during his office hours.

     If you would like to schedule a specific time to meet with the Supervisor, please call his office at 836-0003 – otherwise, it's a first-come, first-served opportunity to meet with Chairman Snider.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Superior Court Earns Award from Arizona Supreme Court

FLORENCE, AZ – The Superior Court in Pinal County is the recipient of a prestigious award issued by the state's highest court, the Arizona Supreme Court.  The award recognizes important initiatives designed to improve the justice system experience for the county residents who are served by the legal system.

 

The award recognized programs aimed at "Protecting Children, Families and Communities."  Three programs were highlighted in the nomination and all three resulted from the diligent, hard work of the Pinal County Juvenile Court Community Advisory Board.  This is an all-volunteer group made up of diverse professional, cultural and community backgrounds.  They are appointed by the Presiding Juvenile Judge to help evaluate and enhance services provided by Juvenile Court Services.  The common interest is to ensure that Juvenile Court practices continue to reflect the best interests of youth, families, victims and the community.

 

"The efforts of the Community advisory Board have allowed the Juvenile Court to continue with its mission of empowering our children to make wise choices. By providing youth with educational assistance when needed, by affirming their positive progress on probation through additional incentives, and by focusing on the fact that character does in fact count, we remind young people that they have control of their futures," said Judge Stephen McCarville. 

 

Judge McCarville handles the Juvenile Court cases that are heard at the Superior Court in Pinal County.

 

"I am proud of the Community Advisory Board for all of the great work they have done on behalf of our children," the Judge added.  "They have given the courts additional resources to benefit not only the child, but all of us in these times of financial concerns."

 

The nomination that earned the prestigious award mentions three Superior Court initiatives:

 

  • "Probation Works" Incentive Program – Working with probation staff, the Community Advisory Board developed a plan to teach responsibility by rewarding probationers for good behavior.  A point system allows probationers to gain rewards for improving their grades, completing community service projects or paying restitution ahead of schedule.  Points can be redeemed for movie passes, pizza, school supplies, etc.

 

  • Character Counts Essay Contest – Now in its third year, the contest is open to Pinal youth from K-12, including home-schooled youth.  Essays on one of the "six pillars of character" – Caring, Trustworthy, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness and Citizenship – are judged by the Community Advisory Board.  In 2008, students submitted 825 essays.

 

  • Youth Justice Center Enrichment Programs – The Community Advisory Board has been instrumental in bringing several initiatives that enrich the lives of the young people serving detention at the Youth Justice Center.  They created a photography and art program; initiated a partnership with the YMCA, which resulted the donation of $17,000 worth of fitness equipment to begin a Healthy Body/Healthy Mind program; and developed a music program, complete with donated instruments and books.

 

The Superior Court's Mental Health Task Force earned an Honorable Mention for its efforts toward forming a better, more comprehensive approach to individuals in the justice system who are affected by mental health conditions.

Monday, August 18, 2008

County to Allow Open Burning in Areas with Reduced Wildfire Risk

FLORENCE, AZ – Pinal County Air Quality has resumed issuing open burning permits in portions of Pinal County.  The ban originally went into effect in late April to mitigate the risk of wildfire.  Recent rains and higher humidity levels have reduced the fire risk in many areas.  

 

The ban on open burning will remain in effect where local fire departments still regard open fires as a threat, including the Apache Junction, Oracle and Queen Valley Fire Districts.  

 

State law prohibits open burning in the portion of north central Pinal County that includes Apache Junction, Queen Creek, Gold Canyon and the Johnson Ranch area.  This region is affected by more stringent air quality regulations that prohibit open burning until after October 1.

 

Applications for burn permits are posted on the Air Quality Division's website at http://www.pinalcountyaz.gov/Departments/AirQuality/Documents/AQForms/BURN-APP.PDF.

 

Additional information on the Pinal County Air Quality program can be found at www.pinalcountyaz.gov/Departments/AirQuality/ or by calling the Pinal County Air Quality Division at 520-866-6929.

 

Friday, August 15, 2008

Senior Freeze’ Applications Due September 1

Pinal County Assessor Staff Ready to Help with Application Materials

 

FLORENCE, AZ – September 1 is the deadline for filing for the Senior Property Valuation Protection or more commonly known as the 'Senior Freeze.' 

 

"This is an important program approved by the state that allows us to freeze the full cash value of a primary residence," Pinal County Assessor Paul Larkin said.  "What this does is provides a greater degree of financial stability for people with qualifying low incomes."

 

Larkin explained that state laws do not allow taxing jurisdictions to freeze taxes because tax bills reflect the tax rates of multiple jurisdictions such as fire districts, school districts and community colleges. 

 

"The actual tax bill may fluctuate from year to year but because the full cash value of the property is frozen, people on low or fixed incomes should see less movement in the total tax amount," Larkin said.

 

The total gross income of all owners is what is used to determine eligibility.  For a one-owner property, the income limit is $30,576.  If there are two or more owners, the limit is $38,220.  Income is verified using tax returns, W-2 forms or 1099 forms.

 

To qualify for the valuation freeze, at least one of the property owners must be at least 65 at the time of application.  The property must be the primary residence and the individual(s) must have lived there at least two years.  Owners can protect up to ten acres, plus the primary residence as long as it is at the same location and is identified by just one parcel number.

 

Applicants need to provide proof of residency with an Arizona driver's license or Arizona ID card.  If the property held in trust, individuals must provide proof of trustees along with the application.

 

Once approved, the valuation freeze is in effect for three years.  Six months prior to the expiration of the current period, the Pinal County Assessor mails existing freeze recipients a reminder to renew by reapplying.

 

Assessor Larkin's Exemptions Department is available to answer questions or assist with obtaining or completing the application.  The phone number for the department is at 520-866-6363.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Time Running Out to Vote Early in Primary Election

County Recorder Says Almost 14,000 Early Ballots Have Yet to Be Turned in

     FLORENCE- Residents who received an early ballot by mail should think about voting and sending it back in soon said Pinal County Recorder Laura Dean-Lytle.

     "We have less than three weeks to go before the September 2nd primary and there have been a little over 4,000 ballots turned back in," Dean-Lytle said.  "Filling out the ballot and dropping it in the mail is the easiest way to go.  But voters can also bring their completed ballot to an early voting site.  We want to make sure their vote is counted."

     Dean-Lytle added that residents can also turn their early ballots in on election day at any polling place in Pinal County.  If someone who has received an early ballot goes to the polls to vote, they will have to vote a provisional ballot while the records are checked to ensure both ballots are not voted.

     Any ballots received by the county after September 2nd will not be counted. 

     The County Recorder said that for the residents' convenience, satellite early voting locations have been established in several areas throughout Pinal County.

 

Monday-Friday Voting Sites (Sites are open from 8:00 to 5:00):

  • Florence – County Recorder's Office, Building E at the County Complex on Butte Avenue
  • Apache Junction – 575 N. Idaho Road, Suite 110 at the Roy Hudson County Complex
  • Casa Grande – County Recorder's Satellite Office at 820 E. Cottonwood Lane

 

Regional Early Voting Sites (All regional sites are open from 9:00 to 4:00):

  • Maricopa – 44625 W. Garvey Avenue; open Thursdays August 7, 14, & 21
  • San Tan – 968 W. Hunt Highway (next to Johnson Utilities); open Tuesdays August 12 & 19
  • Saddlebrooke – 63701 E. Saddlebrooke Boulevard, Suite C; open Wednesdays August 13 & 20
  • Gila River Indian Community – TBA

 

Special Saturday Early Voting Sites (Weekend voting sites open 9:00 to 4:00)

  • Maricopa – 44625 W. Garvey Avenue; August 9
  • Saddlebrooke – 63701 E. Saddlebrooke Boulevard, Suite C; August 9
  • Kearny – 355 Alden Road; August 16
  • Arizona City – 13970 S. Sunland Gin Road; August 16
  • San Tan – 968 W. Hunt Highway (next to Johnson Utilities); August 16
  • Florence – County Recorder's Office, Building E at the County Complex; August 23
  • Apache Junction – 575 N. Idaho Road, Suite 110 at the Roy Hudson County Complex; August 23
  • Casa Grande – County Recorder's Satellite Office; 820 E. Cottonwood Lane; August 23

 

     For more information please call the Pinal County Citizen Contact Center at 520-509-3555 or 888-431-1311.  Information can also be found on the web at http://pinalcountyaz.gov.

 

####

 

Who can vote on September 2nd?

  • Any voter registered on or before August 4, 2008 can vote in this year's primary election.
  • Arizona has what is termed an "Open Primary." According to Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer's guide for candidates and political committees:
    "Arizona's Open Primary Law allows voters registered as independent, no party preference or members of a party without ballot recognition to vote in the partisan Primary Election of their choice of one of the recognized political parties [Ariz. Const. Art. VII, § 10]. Voters who are registered with a recognized political party will receive their political party's early ballot." (page 10, section D)
  • This means if you are registered as a voter for one of the four recognized political parties – Democrat, Green, Libertarian or Republican – you will get the primary ballot for races featuring that party's candidates for office.  If you are registered as an Independent or another party, you may request any of the ballots. The only exception is that the Libertarian Party ballot is for that party only.  A 2007 federal court decision ruled that only registered members of the Libertarian Party may vote in that party's primary contest.
  • There are currently 133,547 registered voters in Pinal County.  There are 48,232 Democrats, 45,941 Republicans, 9,107 Independents, 657 Libertarians, 108 Greens and 29,355 who did not designate a political party.  A further breakdown of voting statistics can be found on the voter registration page on Pinal County's website.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

This week is National Health Center Week

By Travis Robinette, Chief Executive Officer, Sun Life Family Health Center

     With the campaign season in full swing, we regularly hear about bold new health reform proposals that target insurance coverage as a sure fix for what ails our health care system. But at Sun Life Family Health Center the growing line of patients outside our health center doors demonstrates one simple truth: insuring the uninsured alone will not grant access to a health care home.

     As we mark National Health Center Week (August 10-16th, 2008), there are 56 million people in this country – nearly one in five Americans – without a source of primary care to help them stay healthy and out of emergency rooms.  According to the National Association of Community Health Centers and the Robert Graham Center, many of these people have a health insurance card but no place to go for care – no health care home. It doesn't have to be that way.

At Sun Life Family Health Center, we are proud to be part of an aggressive new plan called ACCESS for All America that will bridge the widening gap between the demand for primary health care services and the available supply.  How?  By expanding and strengthening a community health system that, for more than 40 years, has proven its value by achieving cost savings through increased access to preventive health services.  The payoff is a strengthened primary care infrastructure that results in healthier communities around the nation. 

     Imagine the difference we can make by creating and staffing more health care homes through health centers.  Health centers save the health care system an estimated $9.9 billion to $17.6 billion a year by providing care to anyone regardless of their ability to pay or insurance status. The cost of treating a health center patient is 41 percent lower than other providers. That's why most Republicans and Democrats agree that the health center program has proven its worth as a sound taxpayer investment, with top rating as one of the most highly effective federal programs by the White House Office of Management and Budget. 

Putting the ACCESS plan into action requires continued investment and strong partnership from the federal government.  For example, to grow and develop to serve 30 million people, health centers will need $10.5 billion for renovation of new facilities and equipment.  In addition, health centers will need more primary care doctors and health professionals ready and willing to serve communities in need.  The payoff is a strengthened primary care infrastructure that will create healthier people in our community and around the nation. 

     Improving both health insurance coverage and access are important steps to fixing our ailing health care system.  Without adequate support for America's health centers, we miss the opportunity to pursue the real cost-saving strategy: Pre-empt the $18 billion wasted each year on avoidable and costly visits to the ER by treating patients when their health and illnesses are still manageable. This National Health Center Week 2008 (August 10-16, 2008), we must spread the message that there is already a system of care in place that saves lives and deserves continued investment and public support. Best of all, you don't need an insurance card to get in the door.        

     Sun Life Family Health Center is a not-for-profit organization providing health care to Casa Grande, Eloy, Coolidge, Maricopa, Mammoth, Oracle and San Manuel. The Casa Grande facility is the flagship of the organization, offering multi-specialty services including Family Practice, OB/GYN, Dental, Radiology, Pharmacy and Laboratory. The San Manuel facility also offers Laboratory, Radiology and Pharmacy services. Behavioral Health services are also available at the Casa Grande and San Manual facilities. Sun Life is one of two community health centers in the state receiving accreditation from the Joint Commission. For more information about Sun Life Family Health Center visit www.sunlifefamilyhealth.org. For more information about National Health Center Week visit www.healthcenterweek.org.

 

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Reconstruction Will Begin on Thornton Road from I-8 to SR 84

CASA GRANDE, AZ – Pinal County Department of Public Works is announcing that reconstruction will begin on or about Monday, August 18th on Thornton Road between Interstate 8 and State Route 84.

 

Public Works officials expect at least one lane in each direction will remain open to through traffic on this three and one half mile segment of Thornton Road.  Public Works anticipates that construction will be completed in November, weather permitting.

 

"Partnership makes this project possible," said Chairman David Snider.  "I am pleased that we were able to work with the City of Casa Grande on an intergovernmental agreement that will allow the project to go forward – now, instead of in 2010 when money from Central Arizona Association of Governments becomes available.  CAAG is providing some funding for the project in its 2010 funding cycle with other funds coming from the Pinal County Transportation Excise Tax to pay for this project."

 

Grey Mountain Construction, LLC, a private construction contractor, was recently awarded a contract to complete this reconstruction work.  The purpose of the project is to remove and replace existing asphalt and concrete keeping the same lane configuration that currently exists.

 

The construction project will be managed, administered and inspected by Pinal County personnel.

 

To keep current on roadway conditions including road closures within Pinal County, please call Pinal County Road Information Line at (520) 866-6078 or visit the Public Works website at: http://pinalcountyaz.gov/Departments/PublicWorks/Pages/NewsReleases.aspx.

 

Friday, August 8, 2008

Mosquito Fogging Scheduled for the City of Casa Grande

By Joe Pyritz 

     FLORENCE – Pinal County Environmental Health Services (PCEHS) announced today that a mosquito sample collected in the city of Casa Grande has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV).  This brings to five the total number of WNV positive mosquito samples collected by PCEHS in 2008. 

     PCEHS will conduct adult mosquito fogging, weather permitting, beginning Monday August 11th, 2008 thru Wednesday August 13th, 2008 from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. 

     The area to be fogged encompasses Kortsen Road to the north, Peart Road to the east, Florence Boulevard to the south, and Pinal Avenue to the west. 

 

For maps of the scheduled fogging areas, see our website at www.pinalcounty.org/envhealth.

 

     The pesticide that will be used during fogging is called Anvil. It is a pre-mixed, ready to use product that contains two active ingredients: Sumithrin (2%) and piperonyl butoxide (2%) Sumithrin is a man-made version of a natural pesticide found in chrysanthemum flowers. Piperonyl butoxide helps Sumithrin work better against mosquitoes. Anvil is registered with the U.S. EPA and is effective against mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus. There are several things that residents can do to reduce exposure during fogging:

 

·        Close all windows and doors. Air conditioners can still be operated, but if they have vents to bring in outside air, they should be closed.  Turn off evaporative coolers.

·        Stay inside your home.

·        If possible, bring pets inside.

·       Thirty minutes after the end of the scheduled fogging each night, you may resume normal activities.

 

     West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito.  West Nile Virus can cause severe illness in people and horses, although not everyone that is infected will develop symptoms.  People of all ages can be affected.  However, the elderly may be more prone to serious illness.

     County health officials urge all county residents to "Fight the Bite" and follow these simple personal precautions to avoid mosquitoes and the diseases they may carry:

·        Avoid outside activity between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

·        If you must be outdoors when mosquitoes are active, wear lightweight clothing that covers your arms and legs and use an insect repellent containing an EPA registered active ingredient such as DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.  Always follow the directions on the label.

·        Make sure doors and windows have tight fitting screens and remain closed. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes in them.

·        Eliminate mosquito-breeding sites around the home by removing standing water in potted plants, tires, bird baths and other containers where water may collect.

·        Ensure that swimming pools and decorative water features are properly maintained.

·        Change water in flowerpots, birdbaths and pet watering bowls located outdoors at least twice per week.

 

     The County has a mosquito hotline and a webpage.  If you would like information on mosquito prevention and control, please call: 866-287-0209, ext. 6200, or visit the West Nile Virus webpage at www.pinalcounty.org/envhealth

 

     For information or questions concerning the health effects of West Nile Virus, please call the Pinal County Public Health Information Hotline: 866-763-7252.

 

 

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Pinal County Launches Early Voting for September Primary

By Joe Pyritz

     FLORENCE- You've seen the signs dot the roadways, you've heard the speeches, now it's time to vote.

     The Pinal County Recorder's Office is pleased to announce early voting options for September's primary election.

     "We've had 18,000 requests for early ballots," said County Recorder Laura Dean-Lytle.  "I'm glad people are taking an interest in the political process."

     Dean-Lytle added that her office is taking an aggressive step to encourage more voting in the county.

     "We are setting up once-a-week early voting locations throughout the county," Dean-Lytle said.  "In addition to our daily early voting locations in Florence, Apache Junction and Casa Grande, residents will have the chance to cast their vote in six other areas.  We feel it is important to place the ballot box as close as possible to those who wish to vote early.  I hope residents take advantage of this service."

 

Monday-Friday Voting Sites (Sites are open from 8:00 to 5:00):

Florence – County Recorder's Office, Building E at the County Complex on Butte Avenue

Apache Junction – 575 N. Idaho Road, Suite 110 at the Roy Hudson County Complex

Casa Grande – County Recorder's Satellite Office at 820 E. Cottonwood Lane

 

Regional Early Voting Sites (All regional sites are open from 9:00 to 4:00):

Maricopa – 44625 W. Garvey Avenue; open Thursdays August 7, 14, & 21

San Tan – 968 W. Hunt Highway (next to Johnson Utilities); open Tuesdays August 12 & 19

Saddlebrooke – 63701 E. Saddlebrooke Boulevard, Suite C; open Wednesdays August 13 & 20

Gila River Indian Community – TBA

 

Special Saturday Early Voting Sites (Weekend voting sites open 9:00 to 4:00)

Maricopa – 44625 W. Garvey Avenue; August 9

Saddlebrooke – 63701 E. Saddlebrooke Boulevard, Suite C; August 9

Kearny – 355 Alden Road; August 16

Arizona City – 13970 S. Sunland Gin Road; August 16

San Tan – 968 W. Hunt Highway (next to Johnson Utilities); August 16

Florence – County Recorder's Office, Building E at the County Complex; August 23

Apache Junction – 575 N. Idaho Road, Suite 110 at the Roy Hudson County Complex; August 23

Casa Grande – County Recorder's Satellite Office; 820 E. Cottonwood Lane; August 23

 

     For more information please call the Pinal County Citizen Contact Center at 520-509-3555 or 888-431-1311.  Information can also be found on the web at http://pinalcountyaz.gov.

 

 

Friday, August 1, 2008

Mosquito Fogging Scheduled for the Cities of Casa Grande and Maricopa, along with the Johnson Ranch area

By Heather Murphy

 

     FLORENCE ––Pinal County Environmental Health Services announced today that mosquito samples collected near the cities of Casa Grande, Maricopa, and the Johnson Ranch area have tested positive for West Nile Virus.  This brings to four the total number of West Nile Virus positive mosquito samples collected by PCEHS in 2008.  Environmental Health will conduct adult mosquito fogging, weather permitting, beginning Monday August 4th, 2008 through Wednesday August 6th, 2008 from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.

 

     The area to be fogged in the City of Casa Grande encompasses Earley Road to the north, Henness Road to the east, Selma Highway to the south, and Peart Road to the west.

 

     The area to be fogged in the City of Maricopa includes the subdivisions of Maricopa Meadows, Alterra North and Alterra South.

 

     In Johnson Ranch the area to be fogged encompasses the Union Pacific Railroad tracks to the east, Judd Road to the south, the Gantzel Road alignment to the west and Bella Vista Road to the north.

For maps of the scheduled fogging areas, see our website at www.pinalcounty.org/envhealth.

 

     The pesticide that will be used during fogging is called Anvil. It is a pre-mixed, ready to use product that contains two active ingredients: Sumithrin (2%) and piperonyl butoxide (2%) Sumithrin is a man-made version of a natural pesticide found in chrysanthemum flowers. Piperonyl butoxide helps Sumithrin work better against mosquitoes. Anvil is registered with the U.S. EPA and is effective against mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus. There are several things that residents can do to reduce exposure during fogging:

 

· Close all windows and doors. Air conditioners can still be operated, but if they have vents to bring in outside air, they should be closed.  Turn off evaporative coolers.

· Stay inside your home.

· If possible, bring pets inside.

· Thirty minutes after the end of the scheduled fogging each night, you may resume normal activities.

 

     West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito.  West Nile Virus can cause severe illness in people and horses, although not everyone that is infected will develop symptoms.  People of all ages can be affected.  However, the elderly may be more prone to serious illness.

     County health officials urge all county residents to "Fight the Bite" and follow these simple personal precautions to avoid mosquitoes and the diseases they may carry:

· Avoid outside activity between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

· If you must be outdoors when mosquitoes are active, wear lightweight clothing that covers your arms and legs and use an insect repellent containing an EPA registered active ingredient such as DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.  Always follow the directions on the label.

· Make sure doors and windows have tight fitting screens and remain closed. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes in them.

· Eliminate mosquito-breeding sites around the home by removing standing water in potted plants, tires, bird baths and other containers where water may collect.

· Ensure that swimming pools and decorative water features are properly maintained.

· Change water in flowerpots, birdbaths and pet watering bowls located outdoors at least twice per week.

 

     The County has a mosquito hotline and a webpage.  If you would like information on mosquito prevention and control, please call: 866-287-0209, ext. 6200, or visit the West Nile Virus webpage at www.pinalcounty.org/envhealth

 

     For information or questions concerning the health effects of West Nile Virus, please call the Pinal County Public Health Information Hotline: 866-763-7252.

 

Auditor General Issues Romley Follow-up Report to Board

State finds County Implemented all 24 Recommendations

 

FLORENCE – The Arizona Auditor General's Office confirmed Wednesday that Pinal County has implemented all 24 recommendations that Richard "Rick" Romley prescribed following his investigation of former County Manager Stanley D. Griffis.

 

"We wanted an independent source to put us under the microscope to see if the County is following Mr. Romley's recommendations," said Chairman David Snider.  "I am glad to hear the Auditor announce that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing to ensure the public's trust."

 

Former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley was retained by then County Attorney Carter Olson and the Pinal County Board of Supervisors to serve as special investigator and prosecutor in the Griffis investigation.  In January 2007, Griffis pled guilty to six felonies that occurred while he was County Manager.  Griffis was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $639,000.  Romley delivered his administrative report to the Board of Supervisors on May 16, 2007, following his investigation.

 

"The County implemented all of the recommendations," said Dennis Mattheisen, Director of the Financial Audit Division of the Office of the Auditor General.  "This was a unique and important goal that the County accomplished by putting resources toward meeting all the recommendations.  Pinal County has been helpful and open during this entire process."

 

Mattheisen added that taxpayers can be confident the County is accounting for all monies in its treasury.

 

"The recommendations that Mr. Romley proposed were thorough and our staff went above and beyond to meet all 24," said District 2 Supervisor Sandie Smith.  "The recommendations included changes in procedure as well as important changes to County policies."

 

The twelve month report by the Office of the Auditor General was the second and final examination of the County's implementation of the Romley recommendations.

 

"The report by Romley was up front and to the point," said District 1 Supervisor Lionel Ruiz.  "Some of the recommendations were easy to implement and others took more time.  I am confident that everything from having an Internal Auditor to the new policies will help us restore residents' confidence in our controls."

 

At a February 2008 presentation, Teresa Finley from the Arizona Auditor General's office verified that Pinal County had fully implemented 15 of the 24 recommendations.  The remaining nine were partially implemented.

 

The Auditor General's report is posted at http://pinalcountyaz.gov/Departments/NewsInformation/Pages/GriffisInvestigation.aspx.