The Arizona Rural Policy Forum took place in Thatcher and Safford this past week. Over three days, the group held presentations and discussions, learned more about Graham County, and made helpful connections with agencies and government workers. I found myself wishing that members of the Arizona Legislature could have been present to learn more about rural issues. There was a good turnout of supervisors from the counties, however. I attended in my capacity as a board member of the Copper Communities Economic Development Coalition (CCEDC). It was a worthwhile experience.
The towns of Superior, Globe, and Miami had a large number of participants. I am glad that our own CCEDC is working cooperatively with the Southern Gila County EDC. I foresee some things that will benefit all our towns.
The Copper Basin Chamber of Commerce has for many years developed cooperation among the towns of Winkelman, Hayden, and Kearny. Angela Hillan-Ramirez, who has been the director for several years, stepped down this month, and the Chamber is actively seeking people for this part-time position. Meanwhile, the Chamber has elected Ginger Chester to be the new President of the Board. Former President Rosalind Padilla praised her youthful energy and new ideas. Ginger has posted a community survey on Facebook about our Halloween festivities, and hopes many people will respond.
And, in my years here, I never realized that individuals can join the Chamber! Put me on the stupid list, because many of my friends who don’t own businesses have been active for many years… I just never made the connection. So I will be joining to support our communities and businesses as best I can. Want to join me? Membership forms are available at the chamber office, in the rack inside the foyer of the Courthouse.
This Saturday is the Prickly Pear Festival in Superior. It has grown every year since it was started. I hope to attend for the fun of it and learn more about planning and bringing about events like this. I hope to see you there.
The Hayden Town Council will hold its regular meeting Monday, August 21, at 5 p.m. The Kearny Town Council meets the same night at 7:30 p.m. Check the local post office for the agendas, or visit town hall on Monday. Be an informed citizen and attend the meetings.
From people at the Rural Policy Forum, I learned that the tamarisk beetle is now on the Hassayampa River in Arizona, and that the beetle is also crossing into Arizona on the upper reaches of the Gila. It will probably reach us in a year or two. This could be good for us. If the larger tamarisks are gone, the beetles will feed on the emerging plants and weaken or kill them. But… the beetle is itself an invasive species feeding on another invasive species (the tamarisk). Will the beetle upset another aspect of the environment? We won’t know for a long time.
Kearny Town Manager Anna Flores reports that tamarisk eradication continues on the firebreak and other areas around the Kearny Airport. The Winkelman Natural Resources Conservation District (WNRCD) meets this month and continues working on implementing the FEMA grant to work on the Gila. People in Dudleyville have been inquiring about making their homes more fire safe. There is lots of work for all of us to do.