Along the Gila: Great Groups Helping Our Area

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Lillian Martinez presented a check to the Copper Corridor Economic Development Coalition on behalf of Supervisor Pete Rios and the Pinal County Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors awarded the CCEDC, in order to help fund their annual activities. Pictured from left are: Sam Hosler, Melissa Rabago, Lillian Martinez, Michael Carnes and Maria Munoz.

We don’t often hear about some groups which are doing good work in the Copper Basin. I have mentioned the Winkelman Natural Resource Conservation District before, but I have said little about the Copper Corridor Economic Development Coalition (known as CCEDC) or the Mayors’ Group, which has grown to eight mayors in two counties, Pinal and Gila, in the past three years.

  The CCEDC works to foster new jobs, job training, and a thriving economic climate. This has been a tough, very tough, job for the past eight years of economic recession and low copper prices. Mila Besich-Lira, the Mayor of Superior, serves as the Director of the CCEDC and Michael Carnes is President of the Board. The group meets about 10 times a year, and is now working on the Food Hub (which I have mentioned before), support for blight eradication, and new job opportunities. Last week Gila County Supervisor Woody Cline met with the group to publicize and seek support for his youth intern program, which provides funds for young people to work during the summers on jobs which fit their interests and future abilities. More funding would be very helpful, especially for expanding this program into Pinal County. If you are interested in helping, please contact Director Mila Besich-Lira or Supervisor Woody Cline.

  The CCEDC is also working with the Arizona Office of the Arts and The Smithsonian Institution on a traveling exhibit about the importance of water. The exhibit will travel around Arizona  and is scheduled to be at Central Arizona College at Aravaipa in 2019. Other activities will include the recording of oral histories and the involvement of our public schools.

  The Mayors’ Group began three years ago with the towns of Hayden, Winkelman, and Kearny. It has grown since then. It is an unofficial group with no power of its own. The power it does have is the sharing of problems, solutions, knowledge and support. The mayors have drawn closer in friendship, and have found many ways to share support and reduce costs in the towns. Over the past year, the group has been working on blight eradication in the towns. It might be surprising for many of us to learn that blight eradication is filled with legal difficulties and the opposition of powerful people. Working together, the towns are finding encouraging venues for cleaning up and restoring both business and residential areas, improving the climate all the way around. I promise to write more about this as things develop.

  The next meeting of the Mayors’ Group is Tuesday, November 14, in Superior.

  Ballots have been sent to all Pinal County residents for the decision on whether or not to approve the road plan (and other activities) of the Pinal Regional Transportation Authority and the funding mechanism of a ½% county sales tax to support the venture. Read the proposals carefully and make your vote be counted.

  At the same time, ballots will be sent out to residents of the Ray School District concerning the issuing of $3,000,000 in bonds to pay for needed school improvements. Again, read the issue pamphlet closely and make your decision. As for me, I urge a “yes” on the bond issue. I know our school board has considered this closely and would not ask for your support unless there is a real need.

  Finally, don’t forget the Copper Basin Chamber of Commerce’s Trunk or Treat and Great Pumpkin celebration this Saturday, Oct. 28, beginning at 4 p.m. on Alden Road in Kearny. There are many new things this year. And, please, support the baseball tournament on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 27 and 28, at Kearny’s Little League field. It’s a benefit for Jovanna who was severely wounded by the Las Vegas terrorist. There is also a raffle with some great prizes. There are three chances to win, and the tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20. There will also be a Free Haunted House in Winkelman, courtesy of local citizens and the Town of Winkelman, on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 28 and 29, 7 p.m., in Chuy’s Barbershop, the green building across the street from the Town Hall on Giffin Avenue. There will be food and goodies for sale.

Sam Hosler (69 Posts)


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