Vandalism at Jewel of the Creek Preserve

On the night of Thanksgiving, November 26 or early November 27, one of Desert Foothills Land Trusts most-loved and most-used nature preserves was damaged by vandalism. The culprits used spray paint to deface the Jewel of the Creek Preserve rock outcropping known as the amphitheater, as well as nearby cottonwood trees and trail signs.

The Land Trust’s conservation director, Vicki Preston, filed a report with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. Vicki and Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area Ranger Kevin Smith then went to work with bottles of biodegradable graffiti remover and were able to remove most of the paint from the rocks and trail signs. The cottonwood trees are proving more difficult, and we may need to rely on time to help us with those.

We are certainly angry about the damage, and disheartened that anyone would set foot in this beautiful place and decide this was an appropriate activity.

However, when we shared the information about the incident on our Facebook page, we were floored by the response – although we shouldn’t have been. We know how much people love this preserve and this landscape, and that was on full display on our Facebook post, as well as the many emails, phone calls and visits we have received since. We have had an incredible outpouring of support, encouragement, gratitude and offers of help!

So, while we continue our work to repair the damage and look for the vandals, we want to THANK the community of supporters who alerted us to the damage, offered their help with repair, shared our request for information about the culprits, and otherwise rallied to protect this special place. Thanks in particular to Ranger Kevin for going above and beyond the call of duty to scrub rocks with Vicki.

We are honored to be stewards of this land with all of you, and are truly grateful for your support!

Sonia Perillo
Executive Director,
Desert Foothills Land Trust
(If you have information about the vandalism, please contact MCSO at 602-876-1000.)


Buffalo Chip

The old adage, “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone,” was never more evident than with the tragedy that befell the Buffalo Chip on Thanksgiving morning. Fire, whose inviting warmth takes the chill off our houses this time of year, was expressing its uncontrollable rage in consuming the iconic 60-year-old structure.

While over a hundred firefighters from five companies fought to contain the roaring blaze, hundreds more residents and spectators lined the Historic Core to bear witness to what was to all an unbelievable, heartbreaking sight. “This couldn’t be happening,” many were heard to say. But it was happening. The orange flames, black smoke, firefighters pouring water from ladder height and ground level, defined the moment of truth which was painfully undeniable.

The Social Media world lit up with Tweets and Facebook posts that carried the drama in photos and words as it happened live. The most often expressed word was “memories”; with each post detailing a personal, memorable visit to The Chip.

All memories trace a tangible link to place and people. The Chip for many of us, locals and visitors, was the place. The people who made The Chip a purveyor of memories, like previous owner Marla McGee and current proprietor Larry Wendt and an enthusiastic staff, knew how to practice “Be Friendly,” and “Welcome Everyone,” as a way of life. Admit it, didn’t we all learn to Texas Two-Step at the Chip? Didn’t we gush over beef brisket and a cold brewski? Didn’t we marvel at male macho behavior when it came to riding the animal called bull? Ah, such memories.

My own first memory (but not my last) of The Chip goes back to 1978 when it was called the Maverick. I had just arrived from central Pennsylvania; my first encounter with Arizona. I was sitting at the bar, sipping a beer on a warm spring day, when through the saloon doors came a cowboy and the horse he was riding. The pair came barside. The cowboy ordered a shot, gulped it down, and then horse and rider left through the saloon doors they had entered. I realized I wasn’t in Kansas anymore, as they say.

The Chip succeeded because it wasn’t pretentious. It was authentic from wood rafters to pole beams to the dance floor to the memorabilia that adorned its rustic walls. The place made you feel accepted as a friend even before you spoke, revealing you were an outsider. Whatever your expectations were before you entered, The Chip exceeded them by the time you departed.

The full force of the loss of The Chip will take time to sink in. For now it’s the harsh memories of fire, smoke and devastation; of something unique and precious that’s been taken away from all of us.

Larry Wendt has vowed to rebuild. The Town Council is committed to assist him in every way it can. The Cave Creek community will help Larry bring the new Chip to life.

The sooner the better. We need to start building new memories.

Mayor Vincent Francia
Cave Creek


Congress must enforce the First Amendment on IRS targeting

The Left’s fervor and furor against their enemies is pervasive. There exists a multi-front war, in which speech, cultural and social institutions and faith are being reviled, marginalized and even silenced. This serves to polarize our country, and empower an alien ideology that strives for cultural hegemony, as they wield intolerance as a sword, ironically, in the name of tolerance itself.

As we see histrionic Mizzou student protesters creating safe zones that reconstitute segregation, communications professors openly threaten student journalists and watch as state governments persecute long held religious understandings of marriage, we must ask: Who has the moral authority to halt these egregious acts? While the solution is not exclusively a legislative one, one thing is clear: the executive branch of the federal government is complicit in the vicious culture of intolerance.

Look no further than the harassment of tea party groups and other 501(c)(4) organizations by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) leading up to the 2012 Presidential election. Clearly the President and his appointees have forfeited any moral authority they once had, as even if the participants did not act with President Obama’s direct orders, they most certainly were defended for abusing his authority. In a representative government, the leaders are not only to represent the ruling party, but its opposition as well. Without that, there is no rule of law.

The affairs of the states may be out of Congress’ hands, but members who are concerned about the Left’s assault on free speech can at least send the message that we will no longer tolerate such intolerance at the federal level.

The IRS officials responsible for persecuting their political opposition may have successfully evaded criminal prosecution; it is convenient that Obama’s Department of Justice just let the IRS off the hook, finding “no evidence that any official involved in the handling of tax-exempt applications or IRS leadership attempted to obstruct justice.” This emboldens the ideological zealots that sow discord in our local communities, sending the message that the government going after political opponents will not be punished.

A solution that can alter the institutional behavior of those who would weaponize the government is for Congress to use its Article I prerogative to deny funds to those agencies in the executive and explicitly restrict their behavior, and ensure that they cannot repeat abuses of the past.

Congress indeed has the opportunity to strike back at the militant intolerance that is otherwise unanswered by the authority figures that should salving the nation’s wounds, and instead are making more of them.

Stipulating precisely what the IRS can do with its power is the only short term solution in the upcoming omnibus spending bill for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2016. Congress must send the message: the First Amendment makes the entire country a free speech zone, and a government that will not follow it must not be tolerated.

Dustin Howard
Americans for Limited Government


Pete Mohr - thank you for your coverage of Falcon football

Just a quick note to say “thanks” for your coverage of the CSHS Falcons Varsity Football team.  My son, Matt Sill, has played on the Varsity team for three years and I have enjoyed your coverage each year.  My daughter Emily was on the cheer squad for several years and is now a Junior at U of A, and you mentioned her and her co-captains a few times as well.  Matt is now done with his Falcon football career….and now onto another year of Falcon baseball followed by graduation in May!  Your enthusiasm was very positive and appreciated….well done!  I look forward to following you next year, even though I will no longer have a child at CSHS.
Thank you again…..and Go Falcons!

Brian Sill


Triple R Horse Rescue seeks help during the holidays

Every year, hundreds of Arizona horses and burros find themselves in need of forever homes. That is why Triple R Horse Rescue, a 501(c) 3 organization, is committed to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home the animals surrendered to its care. Our organization, which is run 100% by volunteers, relies on support from the community to fulfill its mission.
Did you know that during the past three years, Triple R  found homes for more than 200 animals? It’s true. However, the need continues to be great – so we humbly request your support. How can you assist? Through your generous support of a donation to Triple R Horse Rescue, we can help more loving animals find the families they seek. Donations allow our organization to rehabilitate, house and feed numerous horses and burros until they are adopted and find peace and love in a stable environment.  Along with the urgent need to help the animals we seek to adopt, Triple R Horse Rescue just moved its rescue to Spur Cross Stables, which is located at 44029 N. Spur Cross Road in Cave Creek, Ariz. It is a beautiful partnership for all involved but one that did not come without expense.
So, please consider giving your end-of-year tax donation to a wonderful cause so that we can help animals find their way back home. Thank you for your kind donation, Merry Christmas to you and yours and happy holidays!

Ken Bacher, president, and the
volunteers of Triple R Horse Rescue


Time to drain the swamp and remove the ticks and leeches

Under the lack of leadership in the White House, monies for the benefit of OUR veterans have been reduced by $2.6 billion dollars. As unbelievable as it may seem this lame brain has given $4.5 billion dollars of OUR money to aide in the relocation of Syrian “refugees.”

In a related story in June of 2014 Obama appointed Robert A. McDonald as the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs and he was given the mandate “to clean up the mess” in the VA. Despite the very clear marching orders and mandate there continues to be a tremendous backlog of Veterans Disability appeals and extremely long waiting times for medical appointments and treatments continue to be the norm..

Somehow and amazingly, Robert A. McDonald interpreted this mandate to somehow mean paying millions of dollars in “bonuses” to employees who consistently deliver sub-par performances and care.

Why in the world are we paying bonuses to any government employee?

I can’t think of any government department or agency that is running nearly as smoothly and efficiently as they should be. They all appear to be staffed with employees who either can’t find their behinds if they had both hands tied behind their backs or couldn’t pass an IQ test if the passing score was 70.

Tom Carbone
Cave Creek


Tax Extender

To: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
Sent: 11/24/2015 11:37:09 A.M. US Mountain Standard Tim
Subj: Urge voting against the “tax extender” package

Strongly urge you to vote against the upcoming “tax-extender” package -- a corporate welfare bonanza. This bill contains over 50 tax breaks that almost exclusively benefit the wealthy and the well-connected.

The better option is to pass “tax reform that would lower both corporate and individual tax rates.”

Eliminating barriers to opportunity for the least fortunate
Ending welfare for the wealthy and the well-connected
Restoring fiscal sustainability in Washington

Arch McGill


The National debt

I read an article this weekend in the online edition of the Washington Examiner entitled, “National debt spikes $578 billion in three weeks.” It describes how Congress has colluded with the Executive Branch to give the president virtually unlimited spending authority through and beyond this election cycle. It’s brief, to the point and well-sourced. It’s also maddening to see the extremes that our federal government will embrace to avoid acting responsibly.

The solution to our billowing national debt is simple... the states, not Congress, can propose, debate and ratify an amendment to the Constitution that mandates a formula for balancing the federal budget, but that still allows and sets strict guidelines for emergency expenditures ONLY if approved by 2/3 of the STATE legislatures, since we are the poor slobs who will eventually have to pay down the debt.

And because our current crop of career politicians has a dim record when it comes to adhering to the spirit AND the letter of the law, the amendment should end with some very explicit language in the form of an “or else” clause, so to speak, prescribing immediate, broad, mandatory and nonjusticiable penalties for any official refusing or failing to comply!

Jail-time for breaking federal law should be universal... like health care.

The states have the authority to do this without interference from Congress - it’s in Article V of our Constitution. It’s legal, it’s peaceful, and it returns power back to the people and the States.

See online at

Michael J. Alexander


The first

There are well founded reasons the First Amendment leads the Bill of Rights. In a free society everyone’s opinion counts no matter what that opinion might be.

But, today we find radical groups demanding the speech of those who dare to disagree, have their voices restricted. Some claim they are students, but serious students have no time for protests of unfounded and unspecified grievances. These are not the social changers of the 1960s, but young radicals marinated in Marxist philosophy exercising the right they advocate the overthrow of - our First Amendment.

The stoned 60s goof-balls who first captured the university administration buildings, initially, were shocked that their demands were being met; official authority collapsing. The current crop does not hold peaceful sit-ins, rather threaten violence if authorities do not bend, and sadly they do bend.

The Black Lives Matter crowd tend to sound more akin to the SLA of the 1970s who’s distortion of the word Amerikkka implied that all whites are/were hooded marauding racists out to purge the world of all  minorities. Black Lives thinks nothing of advocating the murder of police officers, black or white and are embraced by the Democrat leadership. Hillary Clinton among them agreeing that Black lives do matter, but in shouting, “At this point what difference does it make.” Apparently the white lives lost in Benghazi did not.

All language is branded “Hate Speech” if uttered by those who are the true defenders of the Constitution, in opposition to the leftist rabble mouthing anti-American chants. They too would be restricted to new speak if allowed to win the day. The real oppressors always come for Lenin’s “Useful idiots” first, for they are the weakest link. While the defenders still have the Second Amendment to protect the First.

Randy Edwards
Cave Creek


NATO: This Deal is a Turkey

Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty states that an “armed attack” on a NATO member “shall be considered an attack against them all” and that all parties to the treaty must join in to “restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.” Left unspecified is what happens when a NATO member itself launches an “armed attack” on a non-member, as happened Tuesday when Turkish F-16s shot down a Russian Sukhoi-24 bomber near the Syrian border.

Naturally, there are conflicting claims about whether or not the Russian craft was in Turkish airspace. Even if it was, no one seems to be buying the idea that it was “attacking” Turkey. But Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan edges toward such a position on the basis that the Russians are fighting Syrian rebels, some of who happen to be ethnic Turkmen -- “our brothers and sisters” -- and who may not necessarily be affiliated with the Islamic State.

If Russia responds tit-for-tat, and if Turkey successfully invokes Article 5, NATO members could suddenly find themselves in a shooting war born entirely of their own hubris. Turkey should never have been admitted to NATO in the first place, and both its membership and the existence of NATO itself have long outlived any possible value they might once have had.
First of all, Turkey is not situated on the North Atlantic. Nor on any other part of the Atlantic.
Nor anywhere NEAR any part of the Atlantic. Picture the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce recruiting businesses in Denver. Yeah, sort of like that.

Secondly, Turkey has little in common with other NATO members or with “the west” in general. Erdogan is a tinhorn Islamist authoritarian whose regime persecutes political dissenters, treats it as a crime to even mention that a hundred years ago his predecessors systematically murdered 1.5 million Armenians, and only materially supports NATO actions when doing so provides cover for suppressing the nationalist aspirations of Turkey’s (and Iraq’s, and Syria’s) Kurds.

Thirdly, while the 45-year Cold War needn’t imply future enmity between Russia and the US or western Europe’s NATO nations, the Russians and the Turks have been at each others’ throats for nearly 500 years now with few breaks and no end in sight. Sooner or later, they’re going to go to war again. The benefits of having Turkey in NATO are mostly illusory. To the extent they aren’t, they’re not worth the risk of getting “Article Fived” into that war.

If America’s political leaders are interested in truly peace, they’ll withdraw the US from NATO or, at the very least, move to expel Turkey from NATO. But America’s political leaders AREN’T truly interested in peace, are they? Happy Thanksgiving.

Thomas L. Knapp, Director and Senior News Analyst | William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism