LAUNCH preschool proposal: I approve of investing in preschool for low-income families in Flagstaff. How does this compare with or coordinated with the federal Head Start program?
Today is Tuesday, Feb. 12, the 43rd day of 2019. There are 322 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Feb. 12, 1999, the Senate voted to acquit President Bill Clinton of perjury and obstruction of justice.
On this date:
In 1809, Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, was born in a log cabin in Hardin (now LaRue) County, Kentucky.
In 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded.
In 1912, Pu Yi (poo yee), the last emperor of China, abdicated, marking the end of the Qing Dynasty.
In 1914, groundbreaking took place for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. (A year later on this date, the cornerstone was laid.)
In 1924, George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" premiered in New York.
In 1959, the redesigned Lincoln penny — with an image of the Lincoln Memorial replacing two ears of wheat on the reverse side — went into circulation.
In 1963, a Northwest Orient Airlines Boeing 720 broke up during severe turbulence and crashed into the Florida Everglades, killing all 43 people aboard.
In 1973, Operation Homecoming began as the first release of American prisoners of war from the Vietnam conflict took place.
In 1980, the FBI announced that about $5,800 of the $200,000 ransom paid to hijacker "D.B. Cooper" before he parachuted from a Northwest Orient jetliner in 1971 had been found by an 8-year-old boy on a riverbank of the Columbia River in Washington state.
In 1993, in a crime that shocked and outraged Britons, two 10-year-old boys lured 2-year-old James Bulger from his mother at a shopping mall near Liverpool, England, and beat him to death.
In 2000, Charles M. Schulz, creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip, died in Santa Rosa, Calif. at age 77.
In 2008, General Motors reported losing $38.7 billion in 2007, a record annual loss in automotive history, and offered buyouts to 74,000 hourly workers. Uno became the first beagle named Westminster's best in show.
Ten years ago: Saying he'd made a "mistake" by agreeing to serve, Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire abruptly withdrew his nomination as President Barack Obama's commerce secretary. A Colgan Air commuter plane crashed into a suburban Buffalo, N.Y., home, killing all 49 aboard and a person in the house. (The victims included Alison Des Forges, 66, a noted expert on the 1994 Rwanda genocide, and Gerry Niewood, 64, and Coleman Mellett, 34, members of Chuck Mangione's band.)
Five years ago: Legislation to raise the U.S. federal debt limit and prevent a crippling government default cleared Congress. Tina Maze of Slovenia and Dominique Gisin of Switzerland tied for gold in the Olympic women's downhill at Sochi; it was the first gold-medal tie in Olympic alpine skiing history. Actor-comedian Sid Caesar, 91, died in Beverly Hills, California.
One year ago: In a retreat from promises to balance the budget, President Donald Trump unveiled a $4.4 trillion plan that envisioned steep cuts to America's social safety net but mounting military spending; the outline acknowledged that the 2017 Republican tax overhaul would add billions to the deficit. Two Baltimore police detectives were convicted of robbery, racketeering and conspiracy at a trial that was part of a federal probe of corruption among rogue members of the city's police force. The National Portrait Gallery unveiled portraits of former President Barack Obama and his wife, painted by African-American artists chosen by the Obamas. American snowboarder Jamie Anderson won gold in the women's slopestyle event at the Winter Olympics in South Korea as winds whipped ice pellets across the jumps; most riders fell or abandoned their runs. Wild-haired comedian Marty Allen died in Las Vegas; he was 95.
"The PUTLRUS are coming! The PUTLRUS are coming!" That's the imagined complaint of accumulated trash when it's discovered defiling a Flagstaff landscape. Noticeably hanging out everywhere in its continued infringement into our surroundings, litter is the most persistent eyesore of our treasured scenery.
We're reasonably sure clutter isn't able to shout such warnings to the other intrusive dross about impending threats to its existence, but if you've ever chased a swarm of Styrofoam packing peanuts down the street, you might be persuaded they actually are sentient beings capable of such an alert.
So what is a PUTLRUS? Some kind of airborne vacuum cleaner that slurps up ugly dumps of trash or oodles and oodles of itty-bitty critters bent on re-purposing our discarded scree into a more acceptable form of existence?
The answer is neither. Pronounced "Putt-L-Russ" and meaning "Pick Up The Litter/Recycle Useful Stuff," PUTLRUS is the name of an energetic group of city residents committed to removing litter wherever it's found in Flagstaff.
And unlike the highly valued folks and organizations that keep clean specific areas of our city, sections of the urban trail or individual streets, PUTLRUS has been self-constituted to go where needed to remove offending trash.
But if we expect Flagstaff to be that rubbish-free city most of our citizens claim they want, more of us need to be directly involved with the retrieval and proper disposal of litter.
To paraphrase the enlightening words of the comic strip character Pogo the Possum after plodding through his trash-filled neighborhood with friend Porky Pine, "we've met the enemy and they are us!"
Unfortunately, not being an active part in the resolution of this shared problem is a contribution to its persistence. Just pointing the finger of blame elsewhere isn't helpful either. Picking up the discarded riffraff ourselves is our only reliable remedy.
Our friend Maggie Twomey, the volunteer and event coordinator for the Sustainability Department of our city government, highly praises the Adopt-An-Avenue and Adopt-the-FUTS programs for volunteering over 3,000 hours in the collection of nearly 1,200 bags of trash and recycling last year. There were also 27 community clean-up events, but while the results of this citizen collaboration with the city are very beneficial, the litter problem in Flagstaff persists.
When Maggie presented the planned Community Stewards Program to our City Council that included information about the impending anti-litter campaign, monthly clean-up events in targeted areas and the steward task force, the council was so impressed they allocated $30,000 of ongoing funding to be provided from the BBB sales tax collection.
The positive result of the additional money was immediate as dumpsters were rented for the current snowplay season. The estimated cost of the bins from December through March is $3,500 and they'll be emptied twice a week. The dumpsters are currently located at the Kendrick Park Watchable Wildlife parking area, on Snowbowl Road, the Peaksview site, Thorpe Park/Adult Center snowplay area and the Lone Tree/John Wesley Powell FUTS parking lot.
Call Maggie Twomey at 213-2044 or e-mail email@example.com if you want to help.