Sprouts raises $100,000 for western state parks

In honor of Earth Day, Sprouts Famers Market raised $100,000 in their “Stand Up for State Parks” program for state parks in Arizona, Texas, California, and Colorado.  The state parks are being threatened by budget and staffing cuts.

Customers donated in $1, $2 or $5 increments from April 8 through Earth Day, April 22nd.  COO Doug Sanders donated additional funds to bring the grand total to $100,000.  “Our employees and customers have taken to this campaign with such enthusiasm, the results have been more than projected.  In honor of the tremendous passion given to the project, I have made a donation on behalf of Sprouts employees to raise the amount to $100,000,” said Sanders.

The 15 stores in Arizona raised $47,689 for the Arizona State Park Foundation (average $3,179 per store), the seven stores in Texas raised $24,335 for the Park and Wildlife Foundation ($3,476 per store), California’s seven stores raised $20,937 for the State Park Foundation ($2,991 per store), and the two stores in Colorado raised $7,101 ($3,550 per store).

Sprouts Farmers Market specializes in farm-fresh produce, purchased from local growers when possible. Sprouts also offers a large selection of vitamins and supplements, all natural meats, fresh seafood, bins full of bulk foods, an extensive selection of natural and organic grocery items, rBST free milk, imported cheeses, deli meats and more.

Five Arizona Heritage Fund projects left hanging in Florence

[Source: Bonnie Bariola, Special to the Florence Reminder] — As the result of the Legislature reducing funding for Arizona State Parks, the Arizona State Parks Board has approved the use of Heritage Grant Funds to be used for State Parks operations.   State Parks has consequently suspended 71 Heritage Fund grants; five are located in Florence and are worth a total of $617,284.  These grants would have been matched 50/50 by the owners of each of the properties, which would have provided over a $1.2 million investment in Florence.

In 1990 the Arizona Heritage Fund was approved by two-thirds of Arizona voters.  This voter initiative designated $10 million from the Arizona Lottery funds each year to be used for grants administered by Arizona State Parks.  The Arizona Heritage Alliance is a nonprofit organization created in 1992 to protect Arizona’s Heritage Fund and its objectives.  It is guided by a Board of Directors drawn from a broad base of outdoor sports, environmental, conservation, and historic preservation organizations that helped pass the 1990 statewide voter initiative creating the Heritage Fund.

Members of the Heritage Alliance released a statement, “This fund has become a nationally acclaimed quality of life and economic development tool that supports and protects our state’s parks, open space, wildlife habitat, environmental education, trails, historic and cultural sites, and public access to public land.  It was not designated as operating funds for State Parks.  Since 1990, more than $338.5 million of Heritage Funds have been invested in preserving and enhancing an incredible array of natural, cultural, and recreational resources in every Arizona county and legislative district.  The economic multiplier factor brings that number up close to $1 billion.”

A total of 71 Heritage Fund grants totaling $11.4 million had been approved and were from 0 – 91% complete when the State Parks Board unanimously voted to suspend them.  The Heritage Alliance reported, “Many are ‘on the hook’ with signed agreements they cannot keep without the funds, as well as half-restored and roofless historic properties, half-built park structures that are now an eyesore and possible safety hazard, and fragile archaeological artifacts that now are not in compliance with federal standards. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Tucson group’s black-tie ball strives to make up for raided Arizona Heritage Fund grant

[Source: Loni Nannini, Arizona Daily Star] — In Tucson, they are the hostesses with the mostest: The Silver & Turquoise Board of Hostesses throws a party with purpose.   Over the past 16 years, the Mission San Xavier del Bac has been the sole beneficiary of more than $325,000 in proceeds from the Board of Hostesses’ annual Silver & Turquoise Ball.

Their commitment to restoration of the mission is just one example of the 50 active members’ dedication to the community, according to Ginny Healy, chairwoman of the upcoming ball and 11-year veteran of the non-profit Board of Hostesses.   “The women I have worked with at the Board of Hostesses are some of the most outstanding women in the community.  You see their professional accomplishments and contributions through volunteer service everywhere around Tucson,” said Healy, senior director of development for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Colleges of Letters, Arts and Science at the University of Arizona.

The Board of Hostesses was created 59 years ago to promote, support and encourage the preservation of Tucson’s historical traditions and diverse cultural heritage.  The ball originated as a potluck thank-you for volunteers of the now-defunct Tucson Festival Society, which staged events such as Pioneer Days, La Parada de los Niños and the Children’s Writing and Art Festival.  The potluck soon moved to the Arizona Inn at the urging of proprietor Isabella Greenway and has remained there since.  Healy believes the location, the history and the compelling cause culminate in Tucson’s most enjoyable ball.   “It is really just a party to celebrate people who have volunteered in the community and the work they have done.  It is for people to sit back and enjoy themselves and has really become one of Tucson’s great traditions,” said Healy, who is producing a documentary on the ball with director and co-producer LuisCarlos Romero Davis.

Healy said support of the mission remains a motivating factor, particularly because $150,000 in state funding for the ongoing $7 million-plus restoration was cut on Feb. 2.   The grant had been awarded through Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund, which set aside proceeds from the Arizona Lottery to fund historical restoration projects and trail management.  The money was slated for work on the east tower, where continued water damage could eventually threaten the structural integrity and damage interior artwork.  “Originally those (Heritage) funds were voter-approved, and I don’t think voters approved what the state is doing with them now.  We can’t start work on the tower until we have more funds available,” said Vern Lamplot, executive director of the Patronato San Xavier, a non-profit corporation dedicated to preservation of the mission.

In his appeal for support of the mission, Lamplot emphasized its cultural and historic value as one of the original 10 structures on the National Register of Historic Places and its bankability as a major tourist attraction that hosts more than 250,000 worldwide visitors annually.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Arizona’s Homolovi Ruins State Park remains open at present

Homolovi II is the largest of the sites at Homolovi Ruins State Park (Photo: Arizona State Parks)

[Source: Tammy Gray-Searles, AZJournal.com] — Homolovi and Lyman Lake State Parks got a reprieve last Friday as the State Parks and Recreation Board decided not to close any additional state parks until at least the next fiscal year, which begins in July.   The board met April 3 to discuss ways to balance the 2008-09 fiscal year budget, which was subject to significant cuts by the state. The board determined that, at least for now, parks on the potential closure list could remain open.  Other cuts to balance the budget have been and will continue to be made, however, including halting capital projects, a number of grant contracts and personnel reductions.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]