[Source: Horizon, KAET, Ted Simons, 9-30-2009] — As PBS and Ken Burns examine the rich scenic and cultural values of our national parks, KAET’s Horizon focuses its lens on Arizona State Parks. We’ll preview an upcoming report from ASU’s Morrison Institute that considers the role and future of Arizona’s 30 State Parks. Guests include State Parks Director, Renee Bahl; State Parks Board member, Bill Scalzo; and Morrison Institute’s Grady Gammage, Jr. who also serves on the Sustainable State Parks Task Force. [Note: to watch the segment, click here.]
[Source: Parker Pioneer, John Gutekunst, 10-8-2009] — Arizona State Treasurer Dean Martin said he hated to be the bearer of bad news when he spoke Wednesday evening at the Parker Community/Senior Center. He said the state is broke, and he said bad decisions on the part of state officials had more to do with this than the recession. He added the problems won’t be fixed without some fundamental changes in how the state does business.
Martin described his job as the banker for the state. He manages the state’s funds and investments. His office also handles investments for the state’s counties and municipalities. Prior to being elected Treasurer, Martin served in the Arizona Senate, where he chaired the Finance Committee. He said he felt frustrated by the lack of long-term planning and the fact there was no “early warning” system for when budget problems were on the horizon.
After he was elected Treasurer in 2006, Martin decided to see if the difference between daily revenue and daily expenditures could be an indicator of the state’s economic health. By researching records back to 1990, Martin said the difference grew during the good times but dropped in bad times. During the recession of 2001-02, the numbers actually were negative. They became positive again as the economy improved. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]
[Source: Arizona Republic, Coty Delores Miranda, 10-6-2009] — After more than two years in the planning, the Kyrene de la Esperanza Discovery Garden and Outdoor Classroom is getting underway with a pond building and tree planting set for Saturday. Volunteers are still being sought to help all day or anytime from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
With the expert guidance of Paul Holderman, founder of Pond Gnome and creator of the Koi Pond in the Phoenix Zoo entrance, volunteers will help lay the liner on the 25-foot-long pond, install a pump to recycle water in a free-falling stream over rocks, line the edges with river rock and incorporate water plants. If possible, small native trees will also be planted in an effort to move to the second and third phases of the Discovery Garden creation.
In 2006, the Esperanza Discovery Garden began with an application to the Arizona Game and Fish Department for a $10,000 Heritage Fund grant — monies derived from Lottery ticket sales. They received the grant in May 2007. [Note: to read the full story, click here.]
[Source: Arizona Republic, Amy B. Wang, 10-04-2009] — The budget-beleaguered Arizona State Parks office recently released more than $6.1 million in Heritage Fund grants to benefit historic-preservation projects, trail maintenance, and local and regional parks. In total, 53 projects around Arizona can move forward with the release of grant money that had been frozen for more than six months, the result of state budget woes that had trickled down to the parks department. “We are extremely happy to release funding for these very worthy trails, historic preservation and park projects,” said Renée Bahl, executive director of the parks, in a statement. Twenty-two other projects that had been due to receive Heritage Fund grants were canceled.
The Heritage Fund, created by voters in 1990, is funded by Arizona Lottery sales. Up to $10 million in proceeds are designated annually for the conservation of the state’s wildlife and natural areas. The State Parks Board appropriates the money to projects each year. In February, the department’s grim financial situation forced the board to freeze all grant money. “It was frozen because we didn’t know that we’d have enough money to operate the agency,” said parks spokeswoman Ellen Bilbrey, citing layoffs that could have affected the staff that worked with distributing the funds. [Note: To read the full story, click here.]