Phoenix Zoo: December 2017 Thursday, Dec 28 2017 

Hungry Giraffe

Hungry Giraffe

We took advantage of mid-70 degree temperatures to visit the Phoenix Zoo this afternoon. We were not alone.The parking lot was fuller than usual as well as additional tourist buses. Several visitors wore Penn State tee-shirts so we can guess that they are here for Saturday’s Fiesta Bowl. A giraffe was feeding near an observation tower. The collared peccaries, javelina to us, were active. The Chilean flamingos lined there pool for nice reflections. With a dark blanket covering his head, Bess, the mother orangutan, looked like a Star Wars character while munching on the remnants of a Christmas tree. A female mallard posed for a picture as did a pink-backed pelican. Another great year of visits at the Phoenix Zoo.

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Scenic Trail Saturday, Dec 23 2017 

Crested Saguaro

Crested Saguaro

Today we visited the McDowell Mountain Regional Park north of Fountain Hills and hiked the 3.5 mile Scenic Trail which joined the Pemberton Trail for 0.9 of a mile to return to the parking area. The low point on this trail that meanders through Sonoran Desert washes is 1,746 feet and its high point on a Lousley Hills ridge is 2,003 feet. Four Peaks can be seen to the east from the ridge. There were several interesting saguaros along the way including one with a crest. We didn’t see any other hikers, but this trail is a popular one for mountain bikers.

We stuffed ourselves for lunch at the Red Rock Buffet in the Fort McDowell Casino. We learned that “During the early 1990s several tribal casinos, including Fort McDowell, operated in Arizona.  In accordance with the provisions of the federal 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the tribes were waiting to sign gaming compacts with the state government. However, at the time the State Governor opposed Indian gaming and called upon the U.S. Attorney’s Office for support. Unannounced raids by FBI agents on five Indian casinos were ordered. At first light on May 12, 1992, agents invaded the Fort McDowell Casino seizing the community’s 349 gaming machines, loading them into moving trucks. Community members witnessing the raid took immediate action. They called other community members, tribal leaders and the news media. Using every available car, truck, and piece of heavy machinery, a blockade of the casino access road was organized. Violence ensued, including a three-week standoff between the tribe and government. The Arizona Governor was ultimately persuaded to sign a gaming compact with the tribe, thus paving the way for Indian gaming in Arizona. May 12 is now a tribal holiday.” And, May 12 is my birthday!

Glendale Glitters Christmas Festival Friday, Dec 22 2017 

Glendale Glitters

Glendale Glitters

A Phoenix area friend suggested we travel together to see Glendale Glitters, 1.6 million LED lights illuminating sixteen blocks of Historic Downtown Glendale. The Velma Teague Library, named after Glendale’s first hired librarian, is a center piece for the light show highlighting decorated palms trees. We spotted a horse-drawn carriage waiting for a hire, a Santa sitting on his motorcycle with a child on his lap, and a woman wearing an elaborate outfit enticing visitors to her shop. On weekends through January 9th there is a schedule of entertainment. We passed a young man playing an amplified guitar. We enjoyed German food at Haus Murphy’s. Glendale Glitters is an interesting seasonal attraction.

Longview Trail Revisited Tuesday, Dec 19 2017 

Longview Trailhead

Longview Trailhead

With temperatures in the mid-50s and a cloudless blue sky, today was a perfect day for a hike on the Longview Trail. The trailhead is at the intersection of Williamson Valley Road and Pioneer Parkway. This segment of the Prescott Circle Trail, which passes through juniper scrub and grassland, opened in October 2014. It has an elevation change of about 475 feet, with a low of 5,419 feet and a high point at 5,547 feet. After hiking its 1.78 mile length, we connected with Pioneer Park’s 10K blue trail which we followed for about .2 of a mile to the tunnel. To the west there are views of Granite Mountain. To the east Willow Lake and the Granite Dells are framed by Glassford Hill. Prescott is a great place for hiking.

Prescott Quads #12 Saturday, Dec 16 2017 

Henry Ebarb

Henry Ebarb

 

Dr. Henry Ebarb, Prescott, won the $50 prize money for 1st place in the Prescott Chess Club’s Quad #12. He won all three of his games and raised both his Over-the-Board and Quick chess ratings. Ebarb’s Blitz rating ranks him among seniors as the 80th best in the United States.

 

This U. S. Chess rated event was held at Yavapai College. Tom Green, President of the Prescott Chess Club, organized and directed this chess tournament.Since 1991, Green has directed 68 chess tournaments.

Tommy Keenan

Tommy Keenan

 

Dr. Tommy Keenan, Prescott, finished in second-place with a 2-1 record and won $25.

Prescott Pops Symphony Monday, Dec 11 2017 

Santas Around the World

Santas Around the World

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” was the theme for yesterday’s performance of the Prescott Pops Symphony and the introductory piece by George Wyle and Edward Pola arranged by Mark Hayes. Choral Director Darrell Rowader and Music Director and Conductor Joseph Place took turns conducting at this sold out performance in the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center. Rowader was also the soloist for “God Bless Us Everyone” from Disney’s “A Christmas Carol” by Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard. Craig Ralston was the bass solist for “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” set to music by Ken Darby, arranged by Harry Simeone, scored for orchestra by William C. Schoenfeld. Another choral selection was “The Many Moods of Christmas” arranged by Robert Russell Bennett. Two selections from George Friderich Handel’s “Messiah” featuring the Prescott Pops Symphony Chorus included, “And the Glory of the Lord” and, of course, “Hallelujah” as a concluding piece. Works played by the Symphony included “Around the World at Christmas Time” arranged by Bruce Chase, “Chanukah Suite” arranged by Jeff Tyzik, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” arranged by David Pugh, “The Bells of Christmas” arranged by Bob Krogstad, “Christmas Lullaby” by Chip Davis and arranged by Mannheim Steamroller, and “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson. Before we entered the theatre we watched the Park Avenue Theater Show Choir perform a couple of numbers. During the concert this group from Trinity Presbyterian Church performed two pieces, “Comin’ Up Christmas Time” arranged by Andy Beck and “When Christmas Comes to Town” from “The Polar Express” by Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard and arranged by William Ross. The audience fully engaged with a post concert “Sing Along!”

Before the concert we stopped at the Prescott Resort to see this year’s Gingerbread Village. The more than 70 entries displayed a high level of creativity and well executed designs. Entries ranged from a Forest Service truck surrounded by fir trees to a multi-level display of different biomes. We were especially impressed with the multiple Santa’s representing different countries in “Santa’s Around the World” who were “United at Christmas.” This entry by Ruger Ladies won a blue ribbon.

After the concert and dinner we walked around the decorated Yavapai County Court House, enjoying the different decorations on each side of the Courthouse and the 200 decorated trees on the square. Truly, Prescott is “Arizona’s Christmas City.”

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