Green Jello for fellow faculty members Hazen and Trefil

To: Professors Don Boudreaux and Russell Roberts; Economics Department, George Mason Univ.

My 18-year-old son, who begins college as an engineering student next month, is reading Science Matters, by professors Robert Hazen and James Trefil of the George Mason Science Dept. He found this gem on page 24: "Without this support from federal grants, which buys experimental equipment and computer time, pays the salaries of researchers and supports advanced graduate students, much of the scientific research in the United States would come to a halt."

My son and I have spent the last ten minutes reciting all of the major inventions, discoveries, medical cures, and medical breakthroughs that we know of throughout history.
We had a difficult time coming up with any that did not emanate from individuals working alone without government funding or from private enterprises with private capital.

That just shows how ignorant my son and I are. We didn't know that mankind would go back to living in caves if it were not for federal grants.

In gratitude for their insights, would you please smush green Jello in Hazen's and Trefil's statist faces the next time you see them in the faculty dining room? Thank you.

Craig J. Cantoni | Scottsdale

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Cave Creek Water Company

My husband and I are winter residents in Cave Creek, however, we do own our condo and we do pay taxes to Maricopa County. We pay our utilities year round.

Most of our utilities are based on the amount of electricity or gas (or water) that we use. When we are gone, we pay less and when we are there, we pay more. Not so with our water bill!

In past years, we turned our water off at the hose bib and went on our merry way.
Well, our landscapers came along last year, and turned the water on – for whatever reason – used it, and did not turn it back off. Very dangerous thing in our harsh desert climate, with no one home. So, this year we called the Cave Creek Water Company and asked them to turn our water completely off at the service meter.

Now in the past, we were billed for a sewer service, (not that we were using the sewer), but we were not billed for any water, as we did not use any water. Makes sense, right? Wrong!! This year, we received a bill for $50, base water fee, plus the sewer fee!!! Neither of which we used!!! Our bill totaled $110, for services that we did not get. How ridiculous is this?

We heard that when the town took over the water company, that our water rates would be increased to cover costs, but this is quite ridiculous. We have called the water company, but they say there is nothing they can do. Indeed, when we asked if we could completely cancel our service, we were told that if we renewed our service within a year, they would go back and bill us for the months we had cancelled!!!

Let every resident who is thinking of traveling for an extended period of time, beware. You will have to pay for water and sewer whether you use it or not.

Carol Gardner | Cave Creek

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Dear Friends, artists, neighbors, students and art lovers

The Cave Creek Film and Arts Festival Board, board advisors, chairmen and volunteers looked at each other in shock and awe through all of the showcases! The quality of the art was fantastic! This year the bar was truly raised.

As most of you know the Cave Creek Film and Arts Festival is the only one of its kind in the state. We are truly a multi disciplinary festival. In all good art in every area there are common elements and principles-balance, contrast, repetition, rhythm, movement, harmony, color, line, pattern and texture have been evident in every showcase, in every category. Outstanding art goes beyond elements and principles and even craft, to take you to a place you’ve never been, to touch your heart, grab your gut, to stir your soul. Art can make you weep, laugh out loud, cheer, feel despair. Art can terrify you or calm you with it’s’ truth. Our artists already know the joy and power that the art process can bring; we also know that unless art is shared, as we did in our showcases, art is not finished. It is through sharing that education occurs and through sharing that art’s magic is felt. Hopefully, the connection between the art disciplines was evident during the festival, which was truly multi-faceted and so vital to the community.

As you all know, our economy is perilous. Cave Creek, our founder and most generous sponsor, can no longer fully support us. We are extremely grateful to the Sonoran Arts League for sponsoring all youth prizes! We are also grateful to our local sponsors and to Wal-Mart, for with their generous sponsorship we will be able to produce the 2010 festival! We also thank our hundreds of brilliant, energetic and dedicated volunteers!

We are aware that art can be an economic engine. The Coyote Card is new this year, and we are very proud to see 37 local businesses, which have sponsored us with beautiful baskets, in-kind items and cash. You can pick up the cards at local businesses, the Desert Foothills Library and Town Hall. Please take the cards around to local businesses. You need only ten check marks to be eligible for a drawing for a piece of glass art from a famous local artist, other baskets, fabulous items, art and gift certificates. All will be awarded at the Taste of Cave Creek on Sept. 24. Hopefully you enjoyed the coupons for twelve outstanding local restaurants, who volunteered special menus for dining after our showcases and the Coyote Award Ceremony. Please get to know and shop our outstanding businesses.

The Cave Creek Film and Arts Festival is truly a community event. Thank you for supporting and joining us in Cave Creek, the new ART TOWN USA!

Judy Bruce | President of the Cave Creek Film and Arts Festival

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Please forward this to the Mayor!

I urge you to reduce the cost of water in Cave Creek. My bill has risen from roughly $165 per month to $480 per month. Not with additional use but because of the increase in rates. We were led to believe that the new rate increase would increase our bills by $12 to $15 per month, not hundreds per month. Please re-evaluate this harsh increase.

You cannot use the water bills to fix the sagging cost of the city. Look at sales tax and property tax. Otherwise you will end up with a dried-out, burned-up town as the vegetation wilts. Those families already living here should not shoulder the cost of new facilities but the cost should be placed upon those new properties yet to be built.

Jerry Pettigrew | Cave Creek

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Scottsdale Airport

I am absolutely fascinated by the verbiage being spouted defending the proposed increase in the take-off weight of aircraft operating from Scottsdale Airport (SDI). The 25,000 lbs weight increase is being treated by Airport management and the Airport Commission like a minor change in the recipe of a cake. 25,000 lbs is twelve and one half tons ladies and gentlemen and approximates the weight of 2 Scottsdale/Phoenix transit buses or a Light Rail car. As the Airport Commission deliciously put it at the last meeting, it would ONLY be additional fuel in the same planes that are operating there today! If it is only fuel, how does this add to Scottsdale hotel and restaurant tourism revenue as claimed by Airport Director, Scott Gray? It is additional bodies in beds and seats that produce tourism revenue at these establishments not fuel taxes!

The claim by the airport commission that bigger aircraft do not necessarily produce more noise is correct. However, the same airplane carrying more fuel and operating under the same operating conditions requires more power and, being powered by one or more gas turbine (jet) engines, will produce more noise. Even if the Airport Commissioners place more weight in their cars they will require the engine to produce more power to achieve the same performance. Fortunately, the automobile engine is silenced by efficient air cleaners and exhaust systems which gas turbine engines are, for performance reasons, unable to duplicate. In addition, airport management has made no recommendations for establishing noise limitations on the increased weight aircraft, thus allowing various heavier, older, noisier aircraft to operate into the airport at will!

To close, 25,000 lbs represents 100 passengers and baggage on a current commercial airliner. Now, the possible reason for the proposed weight increase becomes more clear!
As I said in an earlier letter this year, residents of Scottsdale are being subjected to an expensive ($80+ million) "snow job" of gigantic proportions! Even we can't afford that.

Keith Grayson | Scottsdale

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Cave Creek water prices

Wow – sure is a good thing that Cave Creek Water does not have any competition! I believe a couple weeks ago there was an article from a senior lady talking about how she can’t afford to live here any more because of water prices. She is not the only one that thinks this is outrageous. If there were some competition, I'd have to believe they wouldn't have any business.

I am a local business owner and this is not a time I would even begin to raise my prices – let alone 100 percent. I value my business. Who do they think they are? We are talking $90 - $100 a month just for water. Did they raise this in the summer because we have higher prices anyway and we would think it was because of that? I just don’t get it.

Thanks for letting me vent!

Sheila Baker | An extremely upset Cave Creek resident and local business owner

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Thank you for your comments in “Barry’s Screwups”

Due to my father’s activities first as a missionary and then as a U.S. diplomat, I basically grew up living abroad – though I was born in Arizona and am a fourth generation Arizonan.

I lived in the country of Uruguay during the early 1950s. At that time Uruguay was considered the “Switzerland” of South America. It was a highly literate country with a stable government. The people had a decent level of per capita income … they seemed to me to be a happy people. The road along the beach in Montevideo (called La Rambla) was beautiful, with flowers, and shrubbery. The sidewalks had a beautiful design as one would walk along them observing the beach and the water.

Then as a process of feeling good about things, the idea of socialism began to permeate political thinking. They were doing so well as a nation, it was assumed, why not improve the social infrastructure of the nation and take a step towards socialism – early retirement, increase entitlement benefits to the people and so forth. A socialist government was voted in and the “great” social/economic/political experiment began.

My business takes me to Latin America about once a month, and today, in my opinion and according to my observation, the country is not even a shadow of what it once was. All major industries are nationalized and incredibly inefficient. The advance of socialism within the country has destroyed the entrepreneurial environment to rebuild the country. It’s most creative people usually leave the country for other places where entrepreneurship is properly rewarded. La Rambla is a mess with ever unfinished construction of one kind or another. The flowers are gone – replaced with graffiti. Corruption is rampant within the government and within the ranks of the so-called police. It is an incredible change from when I lived there to now.

Uruguay is certainly not the United States, but it is a microcosm from which we can learn certain principles that could perhaps apply to the mighty U.S. It breaks my heart to see the U.S. now turning to the same sort of thing. The economic mechanism that made the U.S. the greatest economic and military power on earth may not be absolutely perfect; it may need some slight adjustments to correct some of the ills we see today, but to try to throw the whole mechanism out and replace it with something that has already proven to be bad, is insanity.

Socialism with all its modules and permutations has already proven over and over again to be bad for a society in the long run. When a government starts to take over more and more of the lives and the industry of the people – as we see taking place with this Administration – that is the first step to political degradation and social deterioration, just as surely as the sun rises in the east. In my observation, with years of living abroad and traveling through a significant number of nations with disparate political structures, what socialism does is provide for a certain type of politician a power base. It gives these certain kinds of politicians – some just seeking power at any cost and some incredibly naïve idealists – the structure for power by appealing to people (voters) who want someone to take care of them like medieval peasants seeking a feudal lord to protect and take care of them. The entrance into socialism, in the end, creates just the opposite effect that the idealists hoped for. When will we learn from history? … Apparently never.

It was the great Russian philosopher Alexander Solzhenitsyn who said: “Socialism prevents the living body of a nation from breathing.”

Somehow we have to get the message out that the direction taken by the Obama Administration is the wrong direction. So thank you for your article.

Sid Shreeve | Scottsdale

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When I returned from vacation today, I was shocked to see the man who kept ringing the bell by my gate on the front page of your paper.

Curtis Wyatt was very insistent on washing my windows to which I replied, "Sorry, I wait until after monsoon season." He kept rambling on about his wife just dying and that he loved the Lord. He even went so far as to grab a church bulletin out of his car and tell me this is where he is attending church.

Could this man have actually changed his life? I don't know, but I knew he was on "something" because he couldn't even write his name correctly on a piece of paper and started crying when he told me he had fallen on bad times.

I am glad that someone called the police because desperate means call for desperate measures and you don't know what length someone will go to in order to obtain money and drugs. I simply said to him "God Bless you and keep the faith" and walked away without opening my gates.


Jackie P. | Scottsdale

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You people just LOVE being on the lunatic fringe. Why is anyone’s guess. The facts are that Obama IS a U.S. citizen and David Schwan is a capable, honest and hard-working public servant.

L. Wilson Carefree

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Alas poor Carefree

In May, everything was coming up roses in Carefree. We had gotten rid of an incompetent mayor and vice mayor, and even a councilman with questionable financial dealings. Come 2011, we would control our own destiny by electing a mayor rather than having it done for us, in a backroom.

Then ... reality set in. We learned that our proposed budget was a fairytale and town finances were in the toilet.

So what is actually going on in our sleepy little Carefree? There’s the must have gas lamp district where the lights shine on empty store fronts. We have both the Carefree Conference Resort and Bashas’ in Chapter 11. We have a town staff that needs a serious attitude adjustment. Oh, a marshal, when he even makes the effort to work, selectively enforces the laws. We have a group of citizens with their own agenda, looking to turn the 25th Anniversary into a political circus. And now, to top that all off, our freedoms are being trampled on.

I feel like Alice falling down the rabbit hole; where the Queen of Hearts is painting the roses red for a 25th celebration, Tweedledee and Tweedledum get up at council meetings to preach at us, and the Mad Hatter sits up on the podium leading the tea party.

I felt a lot better in May than I do now. I say bring on the recall, it’s not over till the fat lady sings, and we all know who that is!

Name Withheld on Request

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So, what’s up with this word “so”

So, why are people beginning sentences with the word “so?” It seems to be happening with greater frequency. I thought it might be just careless or jive talk until I heard the president of ASU start a couple of his sentences that way. So, what’s up with that?

Roy Miller | Phoenix

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