ADEQ Waste Programs Division Workshops Free Webinar Series – February 2017

wpd_cropArizona Department of Environmental Quality Waste Programs Division staff invite interested community members and business and government personnel to participate in our free February 2017 Waste and Water webinar workshop series.

Topics will include solid and hazardous waste regulations, Arizona’s Pollution Prevention program and underground storage tanks programs.

Click for more details and to Register for these FREE ADEQ Workshop Webinars >

Feb. 7, 2017 | 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. | Solid Waste Overview
Feb. 14, 2017 | 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. | Hazardous Waste Regulations & Reporting
Feb. 15, 2017 | 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. | Hazardous Waste Regulations & Reporting
Feb. 16, 2017 | 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. | Hazardous Waste Regulations & Reporting
Feb. 21, 2017 | 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. | Pollution Prevention
Feb. 28, 2017 | 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. | Underground Storage Tanks

Don’t miss this opportunity to get the latest information about requirements and best practices and earn Professional Development Hours.

MVD set to implement new law that waives some vehicle costs for survivors of military killed in line of duty

PHOENIX — A state law taking effect Jan. 1 waives some vehicle fees and taxes for survivors of military members killed in service to the United States.

The law removes the vehicle registration fee and the Vehicle License Tax for one vehicle registered to an eligible surviving spouse or dependent who’s a resident of Arizona. It applies to all types of vehicles ‒ including trailers ‒ and is renewable on an annual basis.

The benefit applies to a surviving spouse or dependent of anyone killed or who died of injuries sustained in the line of duty with any branch of the U.S. military, including the National Guard, Coast Guard and Reserves.

To confirm eligibility, the surviving family member must visit a Motor Vehicle Division or Authorized Third Party office and present a U.S. Department of Defense Form 1300 Report of Casualty. Customers will also need to fill out an MVD Survivor of Fallen Military Member Exemption form. This document will be available at azdot.gov/mvd close to the effective date of Jan. 1, 2017, when the exemption can be issued.

The exemption is not applicable to a spouse who re-marries. Dependents from age 18 to 23 must provide a school transcript or class schedule showing at least 12 hours of classes in order to remain eligible.

Southern Arizona endangered Mount Graham red squirrel population decreases

south-squirrelPHOENIX — An annual survey of the Mount Graham red squirrel recently revealed a slight decline in the number of the endangered squirrels in the Pinaleño Mountains in southeastern Arizona.

The survey conducted jointly by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Coronado National Forest, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the University of Arizona estimated 252 squirrels. The survey is a decrease of 11 squirrels from the 2015 estimate of 263.

“While we’d prefer to see squirrel populations continually grow, it’s not uncommon for them to fluctuate considerably from year to year,” said Tim Snow, AZGFD terrestrial wildlife specialist. “At this point, we aren’t immediately concerned with the lower squirrel numbers. We remain optimistic that our efforts are working to ensure the population has the best opportunity to flourish in the future.”

The red squirrel survey is conducted each fall by visiting a random sample of known middens, which are areas where red squirrels store their pinecones. Mount Graham red squirrels live only in the upper elevation conifer forests of the Pinaleño Mountains and feed primarily on conifer seeds. Females produce two to seven young per year.

The species was declared endangered in 1987. The Mount Graham red squirrel population peaked at about 550 animals in the late 1990s, but typically ranges between 200 and 300 individuals.

Habitat losses caused by fire, insect infestations and poor cone crops caused by drought are considered primary factors influencing population size. Biologists continue to explore new methods to conserve the species, including squirrel research, habitat improvements and a pilot captive-breeding program.

Conservation of the species is guided by the Mount Graham Red Squirrel Recovery Team, a partnership that includes the Coronado National Forest, Arizona Game and Fish Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Arizona, The Phoenix Zoo, Native American tribes and others.

Visited Bearizona tonight. You otter been there

wildwonderland16-12-02-01WILLIAMS — Tonight we went to check out the Wild Wonderland at Bearizona drive-through wild life park. There are a few photo ops and the addition of the pit with s’mores was a great idea. It takes the chill out of the air.

wildwonderland16-12-02-05

At Bearizona you can conspire, as you dream by the fire.

wildwonderland16-12-02-04Some of my photos did not turn out. I should have had some of the friendly staff take the pictures for me.
wildwonderland16-12-02-06wildwonderland16-12-02-07The lights of Wild Wonderland dance with the beat of Christmas music at the walk-through area. You can still walk through and see the animals roaming at night. The porcupines were even out. We got to see the Bobcats receiving their Christmas presents early.wildwonderland16-12-02-02The gift shop is stocked and open and they even have gloves, wool caps and other warm clothing in case you forgot something.wildwonderland16-12-02-08The upper level of the gift shop is finished and this is where Mrs. Clause tells stories. We did notice her computer there but were not allowed to view the naughty list. Not only does it prevent getting juicy stories, reporters cannot get in to change their marks on the list.wildwonderland16-12-02-03The drive-through portion of the park closes about 3 p.m. to get ready for the Wild Wonderland event. The gates open at 5 p.m. and the light show begins at 5:30. The cost for Winter Wonderland is $12 at the gate. Here is a tip, however, that might help this report get back on the nice list. You can get a hefty discount by getting tickets through Groupon. Your can visit the Bearizona web site to get more details on the park.

SR 77 project to reduce risk of falling rocks dislodges a whopper

sr77-rock_cropAn Arizona Department of Transportation project is blasting rock from a limestone cliff to prevent it from falling onto State Route 77 between Winkelman and Globe.

Illustrating the need, one of the rocks dislodged early Wednesday was far larger than expected, an 18-foot-tall block that dropped onto the highway from 150 feet above and forced crews to keep the route closed four hours longer than scheduled.

Crews on the overnight project worked until nearly 6 a.m. to break up the rock and push it off the highway. As a result, a detour using State Route 177 and US 60 remained the only way around the work area as area residents began their morning commutes.

The project requires working nights under a full closure of SR 77 between mileposts 154 and 161, in the Dripping Springs area, using explosives to remove potentially hazardous rocks from a cliff that hangs over the highway.

ADOT strives to provide timely information on restrictions, closures and detours, but occasionally the unexpected happens and announced schedules aren’t met.

Sometimes rocks break at naturally occurring joints beneath the surface that cannot be seen or anticipated, said J.J. Liu, manager of ADOT’s Geotechnical Services division. When the charge is ignited, it opens the crack at that joint and the rock detaches itself, he said.

Having an unexpectedly large rock come down increases the time needed to remove it, particularly with some of the extremely dense types of rock common in Arizona.

“The mountain is composed of the Mescal Limestone Formation with large blocks of limestone up to 155 feet above the highway, periodically falling with great energy and destructive potential,” said Brent Conner, a senior geotechnical engineer with ADOT.

The nature of the geology in the Dripping Springs area could mean more unanticipated delays before the project is complete, he added.

“The large block that fell required drilling and blasting at the roadway level to remove it from the travel lanes,” Conner said. “Last night’s work was one of the most difficult for the contractor on this project, but a couple more difficult sections remain.”

Bearizona Winter Wonderland begins tonight

winter-3

Bearizona photo

WILLIAMS — Bearizona is hosting their second annual Wild Wonderland event which starts this weekend. Patrons to Wild Wonderland are sure to get in Christmas spirit while enjoying the magic of Bearizona at night.

This family friendly event allows visitors to enter the park after normal operating hours and takes place in the Fort Bearizona walk through portion of the park only.

Snow makes the animals more active and light show more spectacular. - Bearizona photo

Snow makes the animals more active and light show more spectacular. – Bearizona photo

Guests will enjoy the lights and sounds of the season while strolling through the beautifully lit pine trees that are synchronized to traditional Christmas music. This merry light show occurs every half hour. Other festivities include a nightly visit from Mrs. Claus for a special Storytime, plenty of photo ops, and a couple of the park’s sturdier critters stay up late to enjoy the cooler nights and will even get the chance to open their Christmas presents early! Bearizona’s program animals are eager to participate in the season’s festivities as well, and will be out for all to meet.

Guests can stay warm by the outdoor fire pit while roasting s’mores, or purchase a Christmas goodie or seasonal beverage while they peruse the gift shop filled with plenty of gifts ideas to finish off your Christmas shopping.

Wild Wonderland is held every Friday Saturday and Sunday evening in December. Then beginning December. 19 it runs every night through the 31, but is closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas.

More information can be found at www.bearizona.com and make sure to get your 50% discount tickets on Groupon.

ADOT project will install protective fencing to Midgley Bridge near Sedona

midgely-bridge_cropSEDONA — In partnership with Sedona, the U.S. Forest Service and Coconino County, the Arizona Department of Transportation will add protective fencing over the next few weeks to Midgley Bridge along State Route 89A.

The city of Sedona sought ADOT’s help after four people committed suicide from the bridge in 2015. After working with a nonprofit organization to add signs carrying the number of a suicide-prevention hotline, ADOT worked with area partners to design fencing for the bridge, located a mile and a half north of Sedona.

“We are responding to the community’s concerns and acting in the interest of public safety,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “Fencing can complement a broader community response by acting as an additional barrier and possible deterrent.”

Work to install fencing will involve overnight lane closures and alternating traffic over the bridge, located at milepost 376. The restriction will be in place from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sundays through Fridays beginning Monday, Dec. 5, and ending Friday, Dec. 23. If necessary, work will resume on Monday, Dec. 26, and continue until complete.

The 10-foot-tall fencing, which will be chain-link style and attached to the bridge’s railings, is designed to be difficult to climb.

ADOT’s battle against ID theft extends beyond Arizona

adot-badge_cropPHOENIX — Expertise and facial-recognition technology employed by Arizona Department of Transportation detectives safeguard the personal information of not only Arizonans but those in other states who are targeted by identity thieves here.

Two cases brought by ADOT’s Office of Inspector General highlight these efforts:

In September, detectives investigating fraud involving a motor vehicle record found that Robert Chalue of Surprise had been using the identity of a Maine resident for more than 15 years, resulting in the victim facing credit problems and traffic tickets that weren’t his. The investigation led detectives to Chalue’s home, where they apprehended him along with several identifying documents belonging to the victim. Chalue is facing multiple counts of forgery and identity theft.

In June, ADOT detectives determined that Terry Lee Rice of Phoenix stole the identity of a Georgia man and used it to obtain an Arizona identification card. Their investigation found that Rice used the stolen identity for years to hide from violent crimes committed in Illinois, Indiana, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida, where he faced an extraditable felony warrant. With the help of the Phoenix Police Department, ADOT detectives located Rice, who was booked for the felony warrant plus six additional felony counts related to fraudulently obtaining the Arizona credential.

Facial-recognition technology allows checks against customer records in the state’s driver license database, preventing fraudulent attempts to obtain driver licenses or identification cards. In addition to the work by ADOT detectives, customer service representatives in ADOT’s Motor Vehicle Division are trained to detect forgery and fraud when they perform the first checks for discrepancies in application packets.

At least seven of the dozens of identity-theft cases brought this year by ADOT detectives have involved victims beyond Arizona.

“We know the value of keeping your identity intact, so we take identity theft seriously,” said Michael Lockhart, chief of ADOT’s Office of Inspector General. “Facial-recognition technology helps our detectives take identity thieves off the street and keep the identities of residents of Arizona and other states safe.”

ADOT’s Office of Inspector General investigates fraud involving driver license and identification card applications; vehicle sales by licensed and unlicensed dealers; and vehicle titles and registration. It also assists state, local and federal law enforcement agencies with investigations.

Game and Fish Commission to meet Dec. 2 and 3 in Phoenix

PHOENIX — The next meeting of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission will be Friday, Dec. 2 and Saturday, Dec. 3 at AZGFD headquarters at 5000 W. Carefree Highway in Phoenix. Each meeting begins at 8 a.m.
The public can attend the meeting or view it on a webcast at www.azgfd.gov/commissioncam. The meeting also can be watched on streaming video at any regional office statewide with the exception of the regional office in Pinetop, which is temporarily unavailable due to remodeling.
Those who wish to speak to the commission may submit “speaker cards” (blue cards) in person at the meeting, or from any Game and Fish office (except Pinetop). The ability to speak to the commission is not available for those viewing the webcast.
Items on Friday’s agenda include:
  • A briefing on the status of state and federal legislation related to the department’s mission.
  • An update on the department’s efforts toward accomplishing commission priorities.
  • Requests to approve the five-year rule reports for Article 6 rules of practice before the commission and Article 11 aquatic invasive species.
  • A briefing on California condor recovery efforts.
  • Hearings on license revocations for violations of Game and Fish codes, and civil assessments for the illegal taking and/or possession of wildlife (time certain at 10 a.m.).
  • An update on the Lands and Habitat program.
  • A briefing on the development of the department’s Warmwater Sportfish Vision for the continued management of warmwater species.
  • Consideration of separate memorandums of understanding with Adventure for Charity and Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever, Inc.
  • Consideration for approving Jack Mann to serve on the Landowner-Lessee/Sportsman Relations Committee.
On Saturday, Dec. 3, the commission will consider Commission Orders 3 (pronghorn antelope), 4 (elk) and 26 (population management) for the 2017 hunting season and amending Commission Order 8 (bison) for the 2017 spring season. The commission will also consider approval of the hunt-permit tag application schedule for the 2017 antelope and elk hunts.
To view a copy of the full meeting agenda, visit www.azgfd.gov/commission and click on the “commission agenda” link.
The Arizona Game and Fish Commission is a five-member, policy-setting board that oversees the Arizona Game and Fish Department. For more information about the commission, visit www.azgfd.gov/commission.

State Route 67 to Grand Canyon’s North Rim to close for winter

State Route 67 leading to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park will close for the winter on Thursday, Dec. 1.

The highway will be blocked to traffic about a half mile from its junction with US 89A at Jacob Lake. With park facilities closed for the winter, the Arizona Department of Transportation doesn’t clear snow from the highway, which leads 43 miles south from US 89A. SR 67 is scheduled to reopen in mid-May along with North Rim lodges, campgrounds and other amenities.

State Route 64 remains open all year to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim.

ADOT works to inform the public about planned highway restrictions and closures, but it’s possible that unscheduled impacts might occur because of weather or other factors. For the most current information about highway conditions statewide, visit ADOT’s Travel Information Site at www.az511.gov, follow ADOT on Twitter (@ArizonaDOT) or call 511, except while driving.