Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Just remembering the first Thanksgiving, when the Pilgrims gave thanks for a successful harvest after having immigrated to America from England in 1620, and being welcomed by the Native Americans.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Usery Mountain Regional Park

Sometimes a lot of us think that it takes a tremendous amount of time, effort and money for an urban dweller to become a hiker. But, it's easier and cheaper than you may think.

There are plenty of parks located close to home, that aren't too difficult to hike, cost very little money (or no money) to enjoy, and allow us to experience the Sonoran Desert beauty while having fun and getting some exercise.

Usery Mountain Regional Park is one of them.

In this video, a production of the East Valley Tribune in partnership with the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department, park ranger Brennan Basler explains where the park is located and all of the great amenities that it has to offer.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Budget Cuts Affect State Parks

State parks that survived closure due to statewide budget cuts in 2010 are in danger again of being shut down. Volunteer efforts were previously enough to maintain the parks, but park officials now say they'll need more than $15 million to keep the parks open.

Cronkite News reporter Corbin Carson has the story.

State parks face familiar danger of being shut down from Cronkite News on Vimeo.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Arizona Election Results

Normally, I would usually consider the outrage of the speaker in this video to be the ramblings of a disappointed voter or conspiracy theorist. But, after what's happened to me, I'm not so sure that he has an unfounded claim.

I've been resident of Arizona, and a registered Democrat who votes early through the mail, for many years. In September of 2011, I bought a new home and moved. I only moved from the east-central side of Phoenix to the west-central side, less than 10 miles away.

As I've done in the past, I changed my address and other information online through Service Arizona. Also available through this service is the availability to change your voter registration information. I did both when I moved, and I've never had a problem before.

I received a confirmation that the state successfully updated my change of address information, but for some unknown reason, they had a problem updating my voter change of address.

Within a week or so later I received a "paper" form stating that I needed to update my change of address information using this form. So, I filled out the form and sent it in, thinking that should fix the unknown problem. I never received anything to the contrary.

Well, come October 2012, I didn't receive an early ballot like I've usually been receiving them. So, I went online to check my voter registration status. Lo and behold, my voter status stated that it was restricted and I was ineligible to vote.

Of course, being a Democrat in a fanatically Republican state, my conspiracy "spidey-sense" went off, so I emailed Service Arizona, the Maricopa County Recorder's Office, and the State Democratic Party headquarters to voice my complaint, and to make sure that I was deemed eligible to vote in the upcoming election.

Within the week or so, I was deemed eligible and received my early ballot in the mail. I voted my choices along party lines and sent it in the next day.

Like everyone else, I watched the election results and disappointedly accepted the outcome. But, then a few days later, I read the news reports that most of the early ballots still had to be counted, even though the recorder's office had already announced who had won the elections.

Again, my spidey-senses went off that something just wasn't right. How could the state determine a winner without counting such a significant amount of the ballots? It was too close to call without including the numerous early ballots.

Like the man in this video, I can't help but wonder if the Republican party has stolen this election. I hope the Feds will investigate to see if there was truly anything corrupt or illegal involved.

Source: Voters Angry As Arizona Continues To Count Ballots

Wipe It Out Phoenix

Phoenix 20/20: Councilman Michael Nowakowski checks out the Wipe it Out Day presented by the Neighborhood Services Department.

Source: City of Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Tasting History | A Short Film

In Dena Cowan's documentary film, Tasting History, follow Jesus Garcia’s lifelong inspirational journey across the Mexico-U.S. border in the Sonoran Desert region, exemplifying how life is but a circle.

This short film describes how compassionate strategies and supportive environments, in all aspects of life, are the most enriching and most sustainable. Rooted in the past and flourishing in the present follow how Jesus's Kino Heritage Fruit Trees Project offers us a taste of the promising desert oases he is helping to grow. One cannot help but admire the man and his mission.

Tasting History from Dena Cowan on Vimeo.