Friday, August 19, 2011

Fwd: Release: Road Closures & Recovery Efforts Underway


Damage Assessments, Road Closures & Recovery Efforts Underway

FLORENCE, AZ – Pinal County Public Works and public safety employees have been hard at work to ensure the safety of the public during and after yesterday's severe storms.  Crews worked overnight to block impassable roads and assist public utilities with safety issues related to downed power lines.
Recovery from the storms is underway in throughout Pinal County.  In some cases, roads cannot be reopened until utility crews can repair damage to their infrastructure.  We will work to ensure that updated information is made available as soon as possible.
Closures as of 10:00 AM Friday, August 19:
San Manuel AreaRiver Road is closed at the San Pedro River crossing
Mammoth AreaCopper Creek Road is closed at the San Pedro River crossing
Arizona CitySunland Gin Road from Harmon Road to Pretzer Road closed due to downed power lines
Harmon Road from Toltec Highway to Estrella Road closed due to downed power lines

San Tan Valley
Hunt Highway from Thistle Trail to Johnson Ranch Boulevard due to downed power lines
Eloy AreaHouser Road from Highway 87 to La Palma Road closed due to high water
Shedd Road from Highway 87 to La Palma Road closed due to high water
La Palma Road from Shedd Road north to Arica Road closed due to high water
Red Rock AreaSasco Road from Hollis Road west to the Pima County line is closed due to wash out at the Santa Cruz River crossing.
How you can help your Public Works staff
Pinal County Public Works is asking residents to contact us at (520) 866-6411 or email us at pcroadmaintenance@pinalcountyaz.gov if there is any debris on county roads or if road repairs are needed. 
NOTE:  For neighborhood roads within master planned communities, please contact your homeowner's association.  If you live in a municipality, please contact your city to report street and road problems.
Please provide the following information:
  • Name of road 
  • Between what cross streets (example: Thistle Road to Johnson Ranch Boulevard)
  • Specifics about the problem (debris in road, tree limbs in road, road flooded or washed out, signs down, traffic signal not functioning, etc.)
  • Your name
  • A phone number to contact you if we need further information
We appreciate your assistance in alerting us to road hazards that would affect the traveling public.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Mosquito Fogging set for Maricopa and San Tan Valley

FLORENCEPinal County Environmental Health Services announced today that adult mosquito fogging will be conducted in Maricopa and San Tan Valley beginning Tuesday, August 2 through Thursday, August 4.  Mosquitoes trapped during routine surveillance for West Nile virus tested positive, resulting in the need to fog the area to prevent transmission of the disease to humans.

 

So far this year, there has not been a reported human case of West Nile virus in Pinal County.


08/02/2011 – 08/03/2011 in SAN TAN VALLEY – Area encompasses Bella Vista to the north, Union Pacific Railroad Tracks to the east, Omega Drive to the south and Gantzel Road to the west between the hours of 11:00 pm to Midnight.

 

08/03/2011 – 08/04/2011 in the CITY OF MARICOPA – Area encompasses:  John Wayne Parkway to the east, Sage Brush Drive to the south, Green Road to the west and McDavid Road to the north between the hours of 1:00 am to 5:00 am.      


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 enhances the ability of Sumithrin to kill mosquitoes.  Anvil is registered with the US Environmental Protection Agency and is effective against the 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 who 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-tighting 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.

 

What Are the Symptoms of West Nile?

No Symptoms in Most People.  Approximately, 80 percent of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with West Nile will not show any symptoms at all.

 

Milder Symptoms in Some People.  Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back.  Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.

 

Serious Symptoms in a Few People.  About one in 150 people infected with West Nile will develop severe illness.  The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.  These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.

 

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:  http://www.pinalcountyaz.gov/Departments/EnvironmentalHealth/Pages/Home.aspx.

New Courthouse Grand Opening Ceremony

The City of Casa Grande is proud to announce the grand opening of the new Municipal Courthouse. This new complex is located at 375 East 9th Street.

The grand opening ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. on Thursday, August 4. An open house for the community will immediately follow at 9:30 a.m. and will conclude at 2 p.m.

The new 10,000 square foot facility has two courtrooms, offices for the judges and court staff, a sally-port for prisoner transfer, and a detention area to seat people who are waiting for arraignment or trial. One of the two courtrooms has a jury box and a deliberation room.

Some of the modern security systems installed include metal detectors, an x-ray machine for screening bags, security cameras and a new audio/visual system in the courtrooms to allow better case presentation.

Design and construction of the new courthouse cost approximately $3.5 million, paid in part by construction sales tax collected over the last 10 years and revenues collected by the Municipal Court. The court also received grants from the Tohono O'odham Nation for part of the audio/visual system and for the security equipment.

The Municipal Court is the judicial branch of city government. The court is of limited jurisdiction and deals with misdemeanors, petty offenses, and civil violations, including traffic and city ordinances. The court also issues orders of protection and injunctions against harassment.

For more information about the Municipal Court, contact the court at (520) 421-8777

Supervisor Snider's August Update

Wow – it's August already!  I don't know about you, but this summer seems to have flown by in a flash.  A couple of major dust storms and some uncomfortably hot weather after a really nice May/June is all I remember of this summer's passage – well, aside from passing a budget for the County and getting started on the redistricting process, that is.

 

Before I get too deep into this month's column, I'd like to remind everyone (especially those of us without kids in school) that indeed our local schools are back in session.  Please exercise heightened caution when driving near school campuses and remember: school crossing zones are posted for 15 mph and no passing.  Local law enforcement will be out in force this month to help remind the motoring public that children going to school need to be safe when they cross major streets.

 

Speaking of school-age children and getting ready to return to the classroom, the Pinal County Health Services District will be hosting free Back-To-School-Immunization walk-in clinics this month.  Every year, thousands of children become ill from diseases that could have been prevented by basic childhood immunizations.  It's not only a matter of ensuring that your child is healthy, but also taking steps to ensure that they don't miss critical time away from day care or school.

 

The County Health clinic in Casa Grande will be providing children's immunizations in August on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.  The clinic is located in Building E of the County complex at 820 E. Cottonwood Lane.  In Stanfield, the clinic (located at 36711 W. Papago Drive) will administer shots on August 10th from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.  Maricopa parents can bring their children to the Mobile Health Clinic – located at 44265 W. Garvey Avenue – Wednesdays between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.  If you're unsure about times or locations, please contact my office (520.836.0003) or 1.866.960.0633 or go to the County's website http://pinalcountyaz.gov.

 

By the way, even though school's back in session – it's still mosquito season which means that we're still at risk for exposure to West Nile Virus-positive mosquitoes.  Residents should continue to take precautions especially if there's activity planned for outdoors during the evening or nighttime.  Long sleeves and a liberal application of bug repellant are recommended.  Home owners are also urged to take steps to eliminate any places where water can stand stagnant: mosquitoes can breed in the smallest wet places so be on your guard.  For more information, call 520.866.6200 or 866.287.0209 extension 6200.

 

I promised you last month that I would talk about some of the things that Pinal County is doing to doing to diversify our local economy and lead us out of our economic doldrums.  From my perspective, there are three truly significant "game changing" projects at or just over the event horizon. 

Game Changer 1: the Resolution Copper project that's headquartered in Superior.  Deploying cutting edge technology that will remove high grade copper from a depth of nearly a mile, the mining operation will employ some 1,400 people at average annual salaries of approximately $70,000.  The economic boon to state, county, and local governments will be in excess of $2B over the 40 year life of the operation.  Currently awaiting Congressional approval of a land transfer proposal (HR 1904, sponsored by Congressman Gosar) – without any federal funds involved or sought – the project could start to impact our economy by the end of this decade if approval is granted by the 112th Congress this year.  Needless to say, I and my Board colleagues strongly support the Resolution Copper project.

 

Game Changer 2: Union Pacific Railroad's classification yard proposed for the Red Rock area (hereafter called the Red Rock project).  The classification yard (the second biggest, most important kind of rail yard any rail system operates) will supplant UPRR's Tucson yard and bring several hundred existing and new jobs to Pinal County after the $200M construction takes place on 950 acres.  The proposed site is on state land and UPRR has been discussing the matter with the Arizona State Land Department for some time and is hopeful of their formally calling for the auction of that land before the end of 2011. 

 

The Board of Supervisors approved a Comprehensive Plan amendment for the project in 2007 and it's been hanging fire since then.  This Board of Supervisors and virtually every local Pinal government (and economic development entity) is supportive of the Red Rock project: ancillary and transportation-related businesses and industries invariably follow these major rail yards.  The Red Rock yard will be a dynamic catalyst for economic development for Pinal County and Arizona in my opinion.

 

Game Changer 3: the Phoenix Mart.  This 1.5 million square foot building, to be located in Casa Grande, will bring wholesale buyers from North, South, and Central America to western Pinal County.  The project is being capitalized with Chinese private sector funding and will generate some 3,000 U.S. jobs for our Pinal County economy.  The nuts and bolts of this spectacular project have been covered in other media outlets so I won't repeat that which you already know.  However, I will say that Pinal County played a significant role in the project's coming here and we've continued to provide assistance to the City as Phoenix Mart moves from concept to reality.  We will have a two-way portal into China and the global marketplace – an opportunity not given to many counties and cities.

 

Finally, congratulations go out to the Casa Grande Alliance and its Executive Director Cindy Schaider.  The Alliance was chosen by the White House to be featured as a "Champion of Change" in the 2011 National Drug Control Strategy.  Director Schaider traveled to Washington, DC in early August to participate in an event in the White House.  Kudos to the Alliance, its staff, and the countless volunteers and collaborating agencies that labor tirelessly to make our communities drug and alcohol free.

 

David Snider, Supervisor

Pinal County District 3


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mosquito Spraying This Thursday at Dave White Golf Course

The City of Casa Grande, Community Services Department will be conducting mosquito spraying at the Dave White Municipal Golf Course on Thursday, July 28, beginning at approximately 11:00 p.m. Dates and times are subject to change depending upon weather conditions. Residents in and around this area are encouraged to close all doors and windows and avoid use of an evaporative cooler that evening.

For further information, please contact the City of Casa Grande, Community Services Department at 520-421-8677

Friday, July 1, 2011

City Debuts Talk Show on Channel 11

The City of Casa Grande has a new television program on Channel 11 dedicated to informing viewers about the projects the City is working on to make Casa Grande a better place to live, work and visit. The new program, called "City Scene," also explains the programs, services and events the City of Casa Grande offers its residents and provides free giveaways to lucky viewers. 
The monthly program focuses on two topics per episode. The current episode features an overview of the Water Reclamation Facility and the Police Department. The program also has a segment called, "Question of the Month," where viewers have a chance to win prizes if they answer the Question of the Month correctly. All correct answers are entered into a drawing and a lucky winner is announced at the end of the month. 

City Scene is recorded once a month. It is broadcast every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 7am, 11:30am and 7:30pm on Casa Grande Channel 11. The program is also on the City's YouTube Channel, www.youtube.com/cgazgov and a link is posted on the City's website, www.casagrandeaz.gov

Independence Day Trash and Recycling Collection Schedule

All City Of Casa Grande offices and services, with the exception of Emergency Services, will be closed on Monday, July 04 in observance of Independence Day.

Trash normally collected on Monday, July 4 will be collected on Tuesday, July 5. Trash collection normally made on Tuesday, July 5 will be collected on Wednesday, July 6.

Recycling collection normally made on Monday, July 4 will be collected on Tuesday, July 5 along with normal Tuesday pickup.

The Casa Grande Landfill will be closed on Monday, July 4. The landfill will return to normal operating hours, 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 5.

For information on the holiday schedule please contact the Public Works Department at (520) 421-8625 or visit the City's website at www.casagrandeaz.gov. Once online select "Holiday Trash Schedule" in the "Quick Links".



Fireworks Safety Information

If you choose to purchase and use consumer fireworks, be sure to follow these safety precautions:

  • Only purchase and use fireworks that are permissible in your area. For a list of permissible fireworks, visit http://casagrandeaz.gov/web/guest/fireworks-regulations
  • Read the labels for proper use and follow the manufacturer's recommendations.
  • Do not allow children to possess or use fireworks or novelty items without direct adult supervision.
  • Only use fireworks in a safe area that is clear of combustible materials.
  • Have a bucket of water and a garden hose nearby at all times.
  • Ensure that all spectators are a safe distance away from fireworks.
  • Be courteous and sensitive to the affects of the use of fireworks to your neighbors and pets.

Please note: Fireworks are only permitted within the city on December 31, January 1 and July 4.


Keep Your Pet Safe on the Fourth of July

Fireworks can frighten your pets and that fear can cause a dog or cat to panic and try to escape from the yard or even the house.

Below are some tips to help keep your pet safe this Fourth of July:

-Don't bring your pet to the fireworks display, because all the loud noises and people could easily frighten your pet.

-Make sure that your pets are safe and secure before dusk because that is when the fireworks display is scheduled to begin.

-Keep them in a quiet and isolated room with covered windows, keep your pets indoors, help your pet feel safe and secure.

-Turn on a fan, radio or TV to muffle the sounds of the fireworks.

-While at home if your pet behaves nervously by pacing, whining or crying, distract your pet by playing with him or doing something he enjoys.

-Make sure your dog or cat is always wearing a fitting collar. You should be able to slip no more than two fingers beneath your pet's collar. Some owners may wish to add an ID tag with their current phone number and/or address.

-Also make sure your pet is wearing its current city license. If your pet becomes lost this is the only way to get your pet home. Another means of identification is a microchip; if your pet's collar is lost or stolen a microchip implant which is done by your veterinarian is another good way of getting your pet home safely.

Remember, we care about your pets, so the City of Casa Grande Animal Care & Adoption Center staff wishes you and your pets a safe and happy Fourth of July. If you have any questions, please call us at (520) 426-9300 and leave a message, we will return your call.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Senior Fair

The 36th Annual Pinal Gila Senior Craft and Wellness Fair co-sponsored by Central Arizona College, the City of Casa Grande and Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens/Area Agency on Aging – Region 5 will be held at Central Arizona College on Saturday, March 26 from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. Bring the entire family for a festive and entertaining day. This year's fair will include entertainment, handmade arts and crafts, baked goods, health screenings for senior adults and much more! Be sure to join us!
 

Upcoming Parks and Rec Events

United Dance Crew at Teen Center

The United Dance Crew will be giving a FREE workshop to all teens in grades 6th – 12th at the Casa Grande Teen Center. The workshops will be from 6 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on March 25 and April 29. All levels of dancers are welcome to take part in styles like Hip Hop, B-Boying, Popping, Krumping and Jerkin. The Teen Center is located at 540 N Camino Mercado, Suite 1-12 (in Palm Center Plaza behind Cracker Barrel). For any questions contact the Parks & Recreation Division, (520) 421-8677, Ext. 4560.

Senior Fair
The 36th Annual Pinal Gila Senior Craft and Wellness Fair co-sponsored by Central Arizona College, the City of Casa Grande and Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens/Area Agency on Aging – Region 5 will be held at Central Arizona College on Saturday, March 26 from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. Bring the entire family for a festive and entertaining day. This year's fair will include entertainment, handmade arts and crafts, baked goods, health screenings for senior adults and much more! Be sure to join us!

HERSHEY Track and Field Games
The Parks & Recreation Division presents the HERSHEY Track and Field Games, to be held on Saturday, March 26, 8:45 a.m. at the Carr-McNatt Football Stadium. The meet is open to youth ages 7-14 and will include running events, long jump and softball throw. The event is free to all participants who pre-register by Friday, March 25. All on-site registration will ne charged $1 per event. Winners in each event will advance to the next level of competition. You can pre-register at the Parks & Recreation Office, 404 E. Florence Blvd. For more information, contact Jeff Molner, (520) 421-8677, Ext. 4560.

Teen Center Anniversary Party
The whole family is invited to come celebrate the Teen Center's 3 year anniversary on April 9, 2011. There will be FREE food and drinks, music, tournaments for prizes, pool, ping pong, Nintendo Wii and much more. The fun starts at 4 pm and runs until 8 pm. The Teen Center is located at 540 N Camino Mercado (In Palm Center Plaza, behind Cracker Barrel, next to CAC). For questions contact the Parks and Recreation Division, (520) 421-8677, Ext. 4560.

Pitch, Hit and Run Skills Competition
The City of Casa Grande Parks & Recreation Division will host its Annual Major League Baseball Youth Pitch, Hit and Run Skills Competition on Saturday, April 2nd from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. The competition will be held at the Little League Complex. Participants will compete in three important aspects of baseball: batting, throwing and base running. Champions of each skill event along with the "All-Around" high scores in each age group at local competitions will advance to an assigned sectional competition. The event is for boys and girls ages 7 – 14. This program is free. For more information, contact the Parks and Recreation Division, (520) 421-8677, Ext. 4560.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pigs, Rides and Food! The Pinal County Fair is off and Running

FLORENCE – Pinal County's own "March Madness" is taking place at the Pinal County Fairgrounds through Sunday, March 20.  The 55th annual Pinal County Fair is open for business.
 
This yearly event promises to be a great time for families on a budget.  It is only $8.00 for adults, $4.00 for children 6-12.  Kids under the age of 6 are free.  All musical and entertainment acts are free for fair goers.
 
Where else can you find the Budweiser Clydesdales, a hypnotist, racing pigs, a magician, bird acts and a variety of music for any taste for just $8.00 per person?  Not to mention the exciting rides, exhibitors and food vendors guaranteed to make your mouth water!  It call be found at the Pinal County Fairgrounds located at 512 South Eleven Mile Corner in Casa Grande.
 
Hours for the fair on Friday and Saturday go from 10 AM to 11 PM.  The fair ends Sunday at 9 PM

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Public Safety Day This Weekend

The Police Department will be hosting the 2nd Annual Public Safety Day on March 19 from 10:00 am-3:00 pm in the Target parking lot, located in the Promenade at Casa Grande (1005 N. Promenade Pkwy). This is an opportunity for the community to meet local law enforcement personnel, look at their vehicles and equipment, and learn what they do every day. There will be demonstrations by the K9 officers, car seat inspections, VIN etching, fingerprinting, a prescription drug turn-in and more. Come out and join us.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Valuation Notices to be Mailed by Assessor on February 28

FLORENCE, AZ – Valuations for the 2012 tax year will be mailed on Monday, February 28 to all individuals who own property in Pinal County.  Valuations are set through formula prescribed by state statute.  The formula has a lagging indicator meaning that the formula factors in sales of property in 2009 through June 2010. 
 
In general, the valuation most property owners will receive will reflect a decline in value over prior years.  It is not a reflection of what the value of your property is at this moment in time in 2011.
 
If you do not receive a valuation notice, please check to see that the Pinal County Assessor's Office has your current address.  You can look up your property online using Parcel Search at http://www.pinalcountyaz.gov/Departments/Assessor.  If your address changed, please submit a change of address form using the Change of Address Form online.  This form is also posted on http://www.pinalcountyaz.gov/Departments/Assessor.
 
If your address is correct and you did not receive a Notice of Valuation you should contact the Pinal County Assessor's office at 520-866-6361. 
 
If you feel your valuation or property classification is erroneous, please call 520-866-6361 or 888-431-1311 to request a Petition for Review of Valuation form. There is a 60 day window to file a Petition for Review of Valuation.  The appeal deadline is April 29, 2011.

Monday, February 14, 2011

President's Day Holiday Schedule

All City of Casa Grande offices, services and both branches of the library will be closed on Monday, February 21 in observance of President's Day.  Emergency services will remain operational.

Trash normally collected on Monday, February 21 will be collected on Tuesday, February 22. Trash collection normally made on Tuesday, February 22 will be collected on Wednesday, February 23.

Recycling collection normally made on Monday, February 21 will be collected on Tuesday, February 22 along with normal Tuesday pickup.

The Casa Grande Landfill will be closed on Monday, February 21. The landfill will return to normal operating hours, 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 22.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ramps to close as paving starts Thursday on Interstate 8 west of Casa Grande

TUCSON The Arizona Department of Transportation will begin repaving 12 miles of Interstate 8 this week west of Casa Grande, requiring the closure of ramps from Bianco to Smith roads. Crews will work weekdays from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

This $6.8 million pavement improvement project is part of ADOT's continued investment in Arizona's interstate highway system. It includes removing a layer of the existing pavement, applying a new layer of asphalt, placing new roadway markings, and repaving the ramps at Bianco, Montgomery and Stanfield roads.  The project is scheduled for completion this summer.

 

The following ramp closures and detours will begin this week and continue into the week of Feb. 14.

  • From 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Monday (Feb. 10, 11 and 14), the Stanfield Road ramps will be closed with no access to I-8. Flaggers will direct traffic and drivers can expect delays of up to 15 minutes. For those wishing to access I-8, Stanfield Road traffic will detoured to State Route 84 and then to Montgomery Road.

 

  • From 5 a.m. Monday until 5 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 14 and 15), Bianco Road ramps will be closed with no access to I-8.  For those wishing to access I-8, Bianco Road traffic will be detoured to State Route 84 and then to Montgomery Road.

 

  • From 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday (Feb. 15 and 16), Montgomery Road ramps will closed with no access to I-8. For those wishing to access I-8, Montgomery Road traffic will be detoured to State Route 84 then to Thornton Road

 

Traffic alerts to let drivers know about planned traffic impacts will be issued as the work progresses. Motorists may go to www.azdot.gov to sign up to receive traffic alerts regarding the project. The website also provides information about other projects throughout the state.

 

The construction project schedule is subject to change due to a variety of reasons, including weather, material availability and mechanical difficulties. As always, drivers are reminded to proceed through the work zone with caution, slow down, and be alert for construction equipment and personnel. Please be aware that speed limits will be reduced to 25 mph on cross roads and 45 mph on I-8 when work is taking place. Speeding fines will be doubled when workers are present.

 

To stay up-to-date with the latest highway conditions around the state, visit the ADOT Traveler Information Center at www.az511.gov or call 5-1-1.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Letter to the Editor from David Snider

Since February is such a short month – and there's such an awfully lot to do in these 28 days – let's get right to it.  But first, a brief interlude to remind us all that this is American History Month, Black History Month, American Heart Month, Valentine's Day (Feb. 14 and don't blame me if you forgot!) and Arizona's birthday on Feb. 14th,  as well as President's Day (Feb. 21). 
 
There is a fair amount of passionate discourse in our state today concerning health care, AHCCCS, and organ transplants.  Last month, a special group of Arizona's leaders in the private sector came together to form TAP, the Transplant Assistance Project.  TAP's mission is to raise the $6.4M required to pay for the nearly 40 transplant operations that are pending in Arizona.  Led by such notables as Eddie Basha, Senator Leo Corbet, Governor Rose Mofford, Nina Roosevelt Gibson (granddaughter of FDR and a heart transplant recipient, TAP is working with the New Life Society which is already organized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit.  I'm proud to say one of Pinal County's employees, Tim Kanavel (a multiple transplant recipient), is also involved in this campaign.  TAP's motto is: "Because Tomorrow Is Too Late."
 
In mid-January, Ak-Chin Indian Community members went to the polls to elect two of four candidates to its tribal council.  Gabriel Lopez, currently Council Vice-Chairman, stood for re-election along with Councilwoman Leslie Carlyle-Burnett while Delia Carlyle and Terry Enos sought to return to Council.  Both Ms. Carlyle and Mr. Enos are former Tribal Chairs and Council members.  After deliberation and a solid exchange of viewpoints, the voters chose to return Mr. Lopez and elect Ms. Carlyle.  I very much look forward to working with both newly elected officials and incumbent Tribal Council members in the coming years as we plan together to meet our common challenges.
 
Diabetes is a pervasive disease that strikes more than 17 million Americans, and in Pinal County, that translates into close to 8% of our county's residents.  Mary Gonzales, Coordinator for Pinal County's Health Department's Diabetes and Prevention Program, is focused on encouraging residents to organize monthly support groups for diabetics.  There are currently groups active in Casa Grande, Maricopa, Eloy, Mammoth, Florence, and Apache Junction.  I won't go into the symptoms and complications that make diabetes such a debilitating disease because Mary does a much better job of it than I.  Her focus on diabetes is more than just her job – she also chairs the Pinal County Diabetes Coalition which mounts programs and events throughout the year and all around Pinal County.  Please call Mary at 520.866.7687 or email her at mary.gonzales@pinalcountyaz.us for more information.
 
The Chambers of Commerce in Casa Grande and Maricopa held their annual awards dinners last month to honor members of their local business communities. The one thing all of these individuals have in common is their drive for excellence, their commitment to the larger good, and their willingness to go the extra mile (or more) for their chosen communities and causes. 
 
The Greater Casa Grande Chamber of Commerce praised the contributions and accomplishments of: Fernando Cornejo, Eva's Fine Mexican Food as Business Leader of the Year and Community Leader of the Year was awarded to Donna McBride, Pinal County Juvenile Court Services and advisor to Casa Grande's Youth Commission.
 
The Maricopa Chamber of Commerce chose to celebrate the accomplishments of the following individuals and/or companies: Business of the Year was Ace Hardware; Non-Profit of the Year went to Against Abuse, Inc.; Bob Gillespie of Benchmark Home Loans and in-coming Chamber President, was selected as Volunteer of the Year; the Ambassador of the Year went to Dr. John Donohue; and the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award was given to former Maricopa Mayor Kelly Anderson.
 
My congratulations, admiration, and gratitude goes out to all of these exemplary individuals and businesses – they are the stuff of which our greatness is made and sustained.
 
Everybody loves a parade –right?  Well, the weekend of February 19th is blockbuster!   
First up on Saturday is the 66th Anniversary of the raising of the U.S. Flag on Iwo Jima in Sacaton.  Sponsored by the Ira H. Hayes American Legion Post 84, this wonderful parade features lots of military units, veterans' organizations, Native American Code Talkers, antique cars, and a military fly-over.  Immediately following the parade, the veterans muster in Ira H. Hays Memorial Park for addresses from those who fought in World War II.  After that, there's a Pow Wow with lots of Native American dancing that will last well into the night.  This annual event is a wonderful tribute to those who served and died for our country as well as celebrating those who currently serve in harm's way in defense of our country.
 
That same weekend, the annual O'odham Tash event – starting on the 18th and running through the 21st – is resplendent with arts and crafts activities and booths, as well as a variety of rodeo events.  This year's festivities are configured differently.  All of the usual events (i.e. craft booths, the rodeo, etc.) can be found at the Pinal County Fairgrounds – the rodeo will take place in downtown Coolidge on Saturday the 19th.  For more information, click on the Pinal County website (http://pinalcountyaz.gov) or check your newspaper for details.
 

David Snider, Supervisor
Pinal County District 3

TEEN MODELS NEEDED

The Casa Grande Teen Center needs female and male Teen Models between the ages of 13 and 18 to Model Prom dresses and tuxedos at the Prom Fashion Show and Canned Food Drive. The event takes place on March 5th at 2 pm at the Teen Center (540 N Camino Mercado, in Palm Center Plaza behind Cracker Barrel). The deadline to reserve your modeling position is Thursday, February 17th. To reserve your spot contact 421-8677 ext 4560.

Pinal County Seeks Public Comment on Use of $3.16 million in Federal Funds

FLORENCE, AZ – Pinal County is seeking public comment on its application for federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP3) funds.  The public comment period ends February 18.  The entire application can be found on the Pinal County website at http://www.pinalcountyaz.gov/Departments/Housing/Pages/Home.aspx.  
 
Pinal County aims to participate in the third round of funding through the U.S. Housing & Urban Development Program's Neighborhood Stabilization Program.  The program provides targeted emergency assistance to state and local governments to acquire, redevelop or demolish foreclosed properties.
 
The County proposes to use its $3.16 million allocation to address foreclosure issues in four "areas of greatest need" that meet strict criteria outlined by the HUD grant program.  The areas chosen are select neighborhoods within the cities of Apache Junction, Coolidge and Casa Grande.  The areas were chosen based on criteria set forth by the NSP3 program as well as input from municipal employees within the county.
 
Adeline Allen, Pinal County Housing and Community Development Director, explained that selecting areas of focus was made difficult by the limitations imposed on use of the funds.
 
"No area of the county has been immune to foreclosures and these funds aren't enough to make the problem go away," said Adeline Allen, Pinal County Housing & Community Development Director. 
 
Allen said the NSP program developed a tool to identify areas of greatest need, along with estimates on how to make a positive impact in those areas.  Large areas had to be reduced in size because there wasn't enough money to make a positive impact.
 
"We hope to show that concentrating funds in a smaller area can make a positive impact on neighborhoods," Allen said.  "We would like to show that the infusion of these targeted grants can halt declines, stabilize communities and aid in recovery."
 
Much of the funding will be used to help qualified home buyers with down payment, closing cost assistance and financing.  Because of the focus on foreclosed homes, the county also will use some NSP3 funds to repair the homes to a livable standard.  In addition, the county will work with a non-profit organization in the Apache Junction area that will construct homes for income-qualified families.
 
Prior to final submittal, the application with any proposed changes resulting from the public input will be submitted to the Board of Supervisors for review and approval, most likely at the February 23 meeting.  The application must be submitted to federal officials by March 1.
 
To comment on Pinal County's planned use of the NSP3 funds, please write or email your comments to:
 
NSP3 Program
970 North Eleven Mile Corner Road
Casa Grande, AZ  85194
 
Phone:  520-866-7236
E-Mail:  nsp3@pinalcountyaz.gov

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pinal County Press Release-Support Group for Diabetics Helps People Manage Condition

FLORENCE – Casa Grande resident Helen Dion can remember the day she was diagnosed with diabetes.

 

"We were still living in Illinois, getting ready to move to Arizona," Dion said.  "I found out on my birthday in October 2005.  My doctor in Illinois set me up with medication and taught me how to do a finger stick (to check blood sugar levels).  After we got down here, I was able to find a doctor who sent me to a nutritionist.  That has helped a great deal, she helped me understand what food to eat and how to prepare it."

 

According to the American Diabetes Association, Helen is one of over 17 million people diagnosed with the dreaded disease.  Pinal County Public Health estimates that close to eight percent of the county's population has diabetes.

 

Although she has diabetes, Helen is not the type to let it slow her down.  But she knows the disease has changed her life.

 

"I retired 17 years ago," Dion said.  "I was a lot more active when I was working.  After I retired, I slowed down quite a bit.  I wasn't exercising and while I wasn't realizing it, I was really enjoying my desserts.  The pounds just started to creep up on me.  You don't know how bad some foods can be for you."

 

Along with fellow diabetic and close friend Carol Burd, Dion exercises regularly and is an active participant in one of the Pinal County Public Health Diabetes Support Groups. 

 

The Diabetes Education and Prevention Program offers monthly support groups for diabetics throughout Pinal County.  Support groups are held in Casa Grande, Eloy, Maricopa, Mammoth, Apache Junction and Florence. 

 

"We started them in October 2008," said Mary Gonzales, Coordinator for the Diabetes Prevention and Education program.  "Helping people manage their condition is my passion.  The groups are not only educating about diabetes, but it's that support system for people affected by diabetes."

 

A typical meeting consists of an hour of education on a particular subject and a discussion of food choices.  Participants also get a healthy snack during the meetings.  But the reward for Gonzales comes in the camaraderie that occurs between fellow diabetics.

 

"We've been doing this for almost three years and people have built very good relationships," Gonzales said.  "They share and talk openly about their experiences.  They refer people to physicians and specialists.  That support system helps people to live a healthy lifestyle, despite being diagnosed with diabetes."

 

Dion agrees.

 

"You learn so much," Dion says.  "You receive a lot of information that is really helpful to know.  Mary is very good at answering questions.  We hear what other people are going through and how they are trying to cope with it.  You feel free to add something that has worked for you.  Mary always brings recipes and healthy snacks."

 

In addition to Gonzales' role as a coordinator for diabetes prevention and control, she also chairs the Pinal County Diabetes Coalition.  The coalition is a group of nutrition and health professionals from Pinal County, Sun Life Family Health Center, Casa Grande Regional Medical Center, Central Arizona College-Dietetic Education Program, Cenpatico Behavioral Health Agency and Abbott Laboratories.

 

The Pinal County Diabetes Coalition hosts an annual health fair each year, in addition to publishing a quarterly newsletter targeted toward physicians who have diabetic patients.  The outreach is intended to help control the disease as well as the cost of the disease. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, the average cost for diabetes-related hospitalizations is $27,000.

 

"I've been teaching nutrition for 25 years and I've noticed that we are trending more and more away from home-cooked meals where we had more control over what goes into our foods," Gonzales said.  "We love the dollar menus.  We love the fast food restaurants and they are very convenient.  But we are consuming a lot of extra calories and a lot of fat."

 

In addition to changing her lifestyle due to diabetes, Dion has also changed her perspective when it comes to life.

 

"I used to be a lot more judgmental, especially of the people who parked in the handicapped spots," Dion said.  "But then I found out that they could have something that doesn't show.  You look at some people and say to yourself 'if only they know what they are doing to themselves.'  I see children and they are starting to get obese at an early age.  I hope the schools are starting to give them better exercise during recess."

 

Diet, exercise and proper management of diabetes is the secret to a long life with minimal complications, Gonzales says.  The Pinal County Public Health programs are designed to educate, inform and help people lead a healthy lifestyle while minimizing complications from diabetes.

 

For more information on the Diabetes Support Groups, can call Mary Gonzales at 520-866-7687 or email her at: mary.gonzales@pinalcountyaz.gov.

 

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Proposed Sidebar:

 

Symptoms of Diabetes

According to the National Diabetes Association, many diabetics may not know that they have the disease since many of the symptoms appear on the surface to be harmless.

 

Type 1 diabetics may experience frequent urination, unusual thirst, extreme weight loss, irritability and fatigue along with extreme hunger.

 

Type 2 diabetics may show the same symptoms as Type 1 diabetics.  Other symptoms may include: blurred vision, cuts or bruises that are slow to heal, tingling or numbness in hands and feet and reoccurring infections.

 

"Unfortunately, the rates continue to grow right along with the obesity issue," Gonzales said.  "Both of them go hand-in-hand.  We now tend to think of obesity as a determining factor for diabetes."

 

Gonzales said that attacking the obesity rate will help to make a difference in the diabetes rate.  But people who are not obese can still have diabetes.

 

"Most commonly those are people with Type 1 diabetes," Gonzales says.  "But most Type 2 diabetics do tend to be overweight.  Not obese, but overweight."

 

Complications from Unmanaged Diabetes

 

Left unmanaged, diabetes can have an array of complications.

 

Looking at a model of the human body on her desk, Gonzales points out many of the complications a person can expect if they do not take medications or even take care of their bodies.

 

"Almost every part of our body unfortunately is affected," Gonzales points out.  "The number one killer for diabetics is heart disease.  We need to watch our blood sugar levels and our carbohydrate intake.  We also need to pay attention to the type of fats we eat.  We need to eat more of the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.  Things like olive oil, avocados and the healthy type of nuts.  Stay away from lard and shortening, those things with high-saturated fat, animal products."

 

She also urges everyone to switch from whole or 2 percent milk to skim or 1 percent milk.  Believe it or not, milk contains saturated fats.

 

Pointing to the model, Gonzales highlights the head.

 

"Strokes are very common among diabetics along with eye disease," she says.  "These things can be caught early if people are going in and having their preventive appointments with their doctor.  We need to have really well-managed care.  You need to have the routine tests done."

Gonzales adds that the American Diabetes Association publishes standards of care for physicians showing them what sort of tests should be conducted throughout the year.

 

Pointing to the kidneys, Gonzales said that watching blood pressure can help slow or even stop kidney failure in diabetics.

 

"We hear a lot about blood sugar control in diabetics," she said, "but we are hearing a lot more about blood pressure being just as important.  We need to maintain a normal blood pressure which is usually below 130 over 80.  If it starts to creep up, you need to do something about that."

 

Watching you sodium intake can help control blood pressure.  Healthy amounts of fruits and vegetables in one's diet can counter some of the negative effects of sodium.

 

In addition to the pancreas being affected, Gonzales said nerve damage in the feet will be an indication of neuropathy.

 

"The first place we usually catch neuropathy is in the feet," she said.  "Foot care is very important.  In fact, I am going over this topic in our next support group meeting.  Catching symptoms such as numbness and circulation issues can help ward off a possibility of amputation in the future."

 

Gonzales points out that having a good primary care physician, taking prescribed medication along with a good diet is a way to help combat the complications of diabetes.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Major Road Closures Newsletter

McCartney Road between Peart Rd and Palomino Parkway will be closed all day Friday. It will reopen on Saturday around noon.