Phoenix Zoo: December 2018 Monday, Dec 17 2018 

Eastern Collared Lizard

Eastern Collared Lizard

Weren’t we just at the Phoenix Zoo? Yes, but our membership lapses at the end of December, we visited different areas today than Saturday, and it’s a good place for a Walk (and pictures). Today we watched a spiny-tailed iguana sunbathing. An active Eastern collared lizard wanted out of his glass enclosed exhibit. A black-necked stilt enjoyed the prairie dog exhibit. The burrowing owls eyed us. The golden eagles looked regal. The bobcat was awake. An emu pecked the ground shortly before being fed. Six cotton-top tamarins frolicked wildly while the adjacent golden lion tamarin looked lonely, and two Geoffrey’s marmosets explored the branches in their exhibit. A Calamian deer rested regally. The Visayan warty pigs hunted for food. A Western honey bee teased visitors to visit the “Bugs BIG Bugs!” special exhibit. The buff-checked gibbons displayed their acrobatic prowess. We enjoyed the white-faced whistling duck and straw-necked ibis who posed for us. Another great day at The Phoenix Zoo!

Bugs BIG Bugs! Saturday, Dec 15 2018 

Australian Bombardier Beetle

Australian Bombardier Beetle

In addition to the seasonal zoolights, the Phoenix Zoo has a special attraction celebrating arthropods until April 28th, 2019. According to a posted informational sign, “… all bugs eat their food by sucking it up a straw-like organ called a stylet.” Here is a list of the big bugs on display: red-tailed bumble bee, seven-spotted ladybug, black garden ants, devil’s flower mantis, blue-eyed darner, Australian bombardier beetle, emperor scorpion, meadow grasshopper, Say’s firefly, orb weaver spider, stag beetle, Madagascan sunset moth, and Mexican red-knee tarantula.

Jiwa, Young Orangutan

Jiwa, Young Orangutan

Our walk about allowed us to see many active live animals. The Masai giraffes stretched their necks for their lunch placed high off the ground. A herd of reindeer rested before posing with members of the evening crowd. Three Aldabra tortoises enjoyed their new exhibit space. The male Hamadryas baboon posed in front of a corner window. The maned wolf and giant anteater paced on opposite sides of their shared exhibit. The adult male orangutan, Michael, rested wrapped in a blanket while Jiwa, the youngster, displayed his acrobatic expertise. A Horse Hands Holiday Horse Show was in progress when we passed the equestrian area. We hope the Asian elephant habitat expansion will be completed when we visit in 2019. The new Savannah Grill now displays art work. Currently, Russ Ronat’s drawings of endangered animals are featured. This is part of Project Holocene, an effort to help protect wildlife and wild places.

Pioneer Park: Yellow Trail Sunday, Dec 9 2018 

Granite Mountain view from Pioneer Park Yellow Trail

Granite Mountain view from Pioneer Park Yellow Trail

Our hike this afternoon didn’t require a coat because the temperature was 61 degrees. Prescott weather is quite a contrast with my memory of Ohio. I moved to Delaware, Ohio in 1989. Several days in my first December there continue to be on record as the coldest ever. Today we chose the 2.12 mile yellow loop trail from the Pioneer Park network of trails. The 8 pickleball courts adjacent to the Commerce Drive parking lot were filled with enthusiastic participants. Four mountain bikers passed us and we met a couple of hikers as we were finishing our hike. Across the road from the parking lot we spotted what looked like a roller derby practice in the in-line hockey rink. Another great day for outdoor activity.

Prescott Blitz #9 Saturday, Dec 8 2018 

Duncan Reay

Duncan Reay

Nine Prescott area chess players competed in 72 chess games at Yavapai College on Saturday, December 8th. Each game used special timers giving only five minutes for each player. This type of chess competition is known as blitz or speed chess.

Tom Green, Prescott, won $60 for topping the field with 14.5 points. Green is currently ranked the 59th best U. S. Blitz chess player of those aged 65 and older. He gained 23 rating points.

Dave Steeves

Dave Steeves

Duncan Reay, Paulden, garnered 11 points for 2nd place and $40. He gained 20 rating points.

David Steeves and Kent Keegan, both from Prescott, split $35 for accumulating 8 points among the Class C and Unrated players. Steeves lost 3 rating points. Keegan gained a Class C rating.

Randee Dermer, a Class D player from Prescott, had an outstanding tournament. He received $35 for his 10-6 record. Dermer celebrated his birthday by gaining a whopping 193 rating points and is only 6 points shy of Class C.

Kent Keegan

Kent Keegan

Green directed this U. S. Chess rated chess tournament which was co-sponsored by the Prescott Chess Club and the OLLI Chess Special Interest Group.

Randy Dermer

Randy Dermer

Acker Night 2018 Saturday, Dec 8 2018 

Music Machine

Music Machine

Rain earlier in the day did not affect this year’s 30th anniversary of Acker Night. Some 600 performers in 145 groups in 140 businesses participated in this musical showcase that raises funds: to provide scholarships for music lessons, to purchase instruments, and to support local youth performing arts programs.

After admiring the Yavapai County Courthouse lights and taking photos within the gazebo, we took in some of the performers on Whiskey Row. “Sidekicks” performed country, bluegrass, and Gospel in the Prescott Trading Company. “Lady T and the Tramps” hit their acoustic Americana groove in the Clothes Hound. “Perfect Strangers” belted out their rock, country, and pop tunes in the Hotel St. Michael alley.

Rather than wait in the long line to get into the Elks Theatre on Gurley, we entered Liberty Lane to be entertained by the silky voice Renee Patrick Grant and the energetic keyboards from “Nicole Pesce.”

Along Cortez we admired the variety of banjos playing Dixieland with the “Hometowne Banjoleers” in Lamerson Jewelry. “Adam and Friends” rocked us in The Marketplace. “Road One South” performed the blues in Country Bank. “Music Machine” celebrated Christmas music on a theatre organ in an open area adjacent to Adrenaline Salon. Our dinner table with friends in Papa’s Italian Restaurant was in a back room far from where “Sax Appeal” performed. We enjoyed a taste of Italy in the pines.

Acker Night is another unique way to celebrate Christmas in Prescott.

A Hometown Christmas Sunday, Dec 2 2018 

“A Hometown Christmas” was the theme for the 36th Prescott Chamber Christmas Parade. We enjoyed a great vantage point on the southeast corner of Gurley and Cortez for viewing the 90 entries. Third generation resident Melissa Ruffner was the grand marshal. Catalina Foothills High School Falcons Band, one of five bands, once again made the trip from Tucson and gave a rousing performance to start the hour-and-a-half long parade. Lots of vehicles, ranging from antique cars to fire trucks to Volkswagen bugs, were decorated for this annual event. Several churches shared a seasonal message with the Prescott United Methodist Church float winning second place, edging out last year’s winner, Sacred Heart. Dogs are always well represented, and this year was no exception. In addition to Scotties and greyhounds, many vehicles included dogs. With their matching white shoes, the Maricopa 4-H Cloggers tapped their way to popularity. A costumed Batman posed with guests while the Suns mascot pranked some of those watching the parade. New this year was an entry celebrating the developmentally disabled and autistic. It was encouraging to see the large contingent lobbying to “Save the Dells.” The parade closed with a modern-day sleigh carrying Santa following the Prescott High School Band.

Santa
Santa

After the parade was over, we visited the Prescott Resort to admire this year’s entries in the 26th Annual Gingerbread Village. We especially liked the following prize-winning entries: Ponderosa Mini Storage, 1st place Business; Granville’s Little Helpers, 1st place Schools; M.O.P.S. (Mothers of PreSchoolers), American Lutheran Church, 1st place Non-Profit; and Sara Hrabina, Black Canyon City, 2nd place Family. Central Arizona Model Railroad Club members shared several unique model railroad layouts in an adjoining room. We especially enjoyed Richie Scanapico’s G scale locomotive operating on test stand rollers. We did not attend this year’s Yavapai County Courthouse Lighting because it conflicted with the Big Ten football championship game. Prescott continues to live up to Governor Rose Mofford’s 1989 label for the city as “Arizona’s Christmas City.”