Wildlife, law, taxes, school were WPCCC topics

By Ajo Copper News staff

Ajo Copper News of Ajo, Arizona

The February meeting of the Western Pima County Community Council had presentations from Arizona Game & Fish Department, Pima County Sheriff's Department, Ajo Unified School District, Desert Senita Dental Center, Border Patrol, Pima County Natural Resources Parks & Recreation, & the International Sonoran Desert Alliance.

Brian Aragon, a wildlife manager with Game & Fish, talked about living with urban wildlife and how to prevent problems. He conducted an impromptu survey to determine that everyone in attendance at the meeting enjoyed watching wildlife while only two indicated they would like to see javelina removed from the area.

Wildlife require food, water, shelter, and space, which often brings them into urban regions, according to Aragon. He cited pet food bowls, drippy outdoor faucets, bird feeders, quail blocks, and shade cover as, common incentives. He said a fenced yard may provide a limited deterrent.

Deb Miller of Pima County Supervisor Sharon Branson's Office said she had nothing to report this month other than to say, "Love your hospitality here."

Sgt. Zack Rapaich of PCSD Ajo District reported on a kidnapping and hostage situation at the trailer park in Lukeville on Saturday, January 31. He said a male undocumented immigrant had apparently dragged a female into a trailer in the park. The 12-year-old daughter became the hero in the incident when she ran for help while her mother was being tied up by the immigrant. The incident ended with no one hurt.

Dr. Lauren Carriere, AUSD school director, reported on a recent Academic Awards Night at the school, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra brass quintet sessions with band students, basketball, MAP testing, community partnerships, and looming budget cut decisions.

Dr. Jennifer Lim, DDS, of Desert Senita Dental Center talked briefly about dental insurance coverage. She said people up to 21 years of age on AHCCCS have dental benefits, and anyone with Medicare Parts A and B on AHCCCS can get up to $2000 in dental benefits, depending on the plan they choose.

Vicente Paco, community liaison at the USBP Ajo Station, gave an update on agent activities. He said the Ajo Station will partner with PCSD, Tohono O'odham Police Department, and rangers at Organ Pipe and Cabeza Prieta to operate a combined law enforcement citizen's academy. USBP outreach at Organ Pipe finds Paco giving talks at capacity campgrounds in the monument and assisting with mapping of roads for a land restoration project to reduce rogue roadways. Ajo Station agents will also be helping with the Roadrunner Rampage in Ajo on February'21.

Merrill Meadows of PCNRPR discussed the opportunity for youth and young adults to be hired as lifeguards for the summer season. She said training begins in March. An example task she cited was to dive to the pool bottom to retrieve a brick. Motivated lifeguards can earn more than $3,000 in a summer, noted Meadows. Other youth events include a fishing trip for ages 8 to 14 to Silverbell Lake in Tucson on February 21, and a middle school Mardi Gras dance on February 27. Meadows reiterated that dogs need to be leashed and picked up after in county parks, and must be kept off the ballfields. She added that natural resources from rocks to cactus to wildlife should not beĀ«removed from parks. Fitness and yoga classes and other activities are ongoing at the community center. Call PCNRPR at 387-6641 for more details.

Tracy Taft of ISDA mentioned the availability of income tax assistance at ISDA by volunteers who have been trained in an IRS program.

Individuals earning less than $58,000 may have their taxes computed and e-filed for free at the ISDA Learning Center.

Taft talked about the function of the Ajo Works Office. She said residents may apply for food stamp benefits and emergency utility assistance. It is also possible to sign up for GED classes, gardening internships, building maintenance and repair apprenticeships, and financial management workshops at Ajo Works.

A number of the above topics are featured in articles elsewhere in this issue or will be in future issues.

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