Spring better pull itself together
Kendall P. Stanley
OK, in northern Michigan, it’s time for spring because I’m going home and winter isn’t an option when I get there!
Spring has definitely started here in the Sonoran Desert with palo verde trees bursting with their bright yellow flowers (bringing with it, one might add, allergy issues). Some of the cacti are also blooming, mostly pink and yellow, and the pomegranates are budding for this fall’s harvest.
Meteorologists are beginning to wonder when the first 100 degree day will arrive, but it has already been very hot – temperature 98, dew point -16, humidity 2%. If you have a skin cream handy, use it!
Friends had come down from Chandler and we decided to make the (long) trek to the top of Mount Lemmon, where the Ski Valley ski resort is the southernmost ski hill in the country.
The vistas and changing vegetation on the road are a sight to behold.
At lower elevations, the saguaro dots the cliffs and valleys by the thousands. Cacti are an iconic part of the Sonoran Desert which is the only desert in the world where they grow. Going up the Catalina Highway, they disappear at 4,000 feet above sea level to be replaced by evergreens and other trees.
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If you’ve ever wondered how long the effects of a wildfire last, just head to Summerhaven and look around.
The 2003 Aspen Fire swept through approximately 85,000 acres of the Coronado National Forest in the Cataline Mountains, destroying 350 buildings in Summerhaven.
The town’s name is instructive – it’s a refuge in the summer from the scorching desert temperatures below.
But there’s not much greenery around Summerhaven these days – bare slopes, downed trees, signs of fire everywhere.
Yet the huts and houses have been rebuilt, preserving an oasis from the summer heat. Or the spring heat – it was mid 80’s when we started climbing the mountain and 62’s when we reached the top which was still warm enough to have lunch outside.
It’s about 25 miles from the desert floor to Ski Valley, and riders climb to the top, then take a long, free descent to Tucson. Bikers like it too, but their climb is much easier!
If you ever get off Tucson Way, head for the hills – it’s beautiful up there!
As a journalist, clarity is a goal. The ideal is not to hide what you are trying to share with your readers.
Then there is the Arizona Senate. It’s not so much that some of the bills are a salad of words, but they are unclear at best.
The latest bill, passed 16-12 in the majority Republican Senate, would allow parents to sue teachers and other government officials if they “usurp” parents’ “fundamental right” to direct upbringing, education, health care and mental health of their children. ”
In a state where 2,000 classrooms are taught by someone who is not certified to teach, that would seem all the more reason for educators to say a big no thanks for working here.
Senator Christine Marsh, a teacher and one of 12 Democrats who voted against the bill, summed it up succinctly.
“This whole quote is so incredibly vague that anything could potentially qualify for it, which means we could have a whole bunch of teachers in court over this,” she said.
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Of course, it’s vague, that’s the idea. How to fight against a law so vague and so innocent?
Want another example? The Florida Department of Education banned 54 math books because they included critical race theory and other Republican boos. Did the department provide any examples? Well no, it didn’t. Just trust that the department is looking out for the best interests of parents in the state.
The bottom line? Get used to the idea that there will be fewer and fewer teachers willing to guess at everything they do as an educator and will simply leave the profession.
— Kendall P. Stanley is retired editor of News-Review. He can be contacted at [email protected] The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily of Petoskey News-Review or its employees.