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Quartzsite, Arizona

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Health Fair planned for Tues. Dec. 3rd Quartzsite Senior Center

A Health Fair is planned for Tues. Dec. 3, 8am-noon at the Quartzsite Senior Center, located at
40 N. Moon Mountain.

Free Bone Density, Blood Pressure, Glucose & Cholesterol Screening, Heath Education, & Oximetry Testing. Flu shots available for $20. PSA Testing is $30. Sponsored by La Paz Regional Hospital.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Quartzsite P & Z to hold Community Plan Workshop with ULI

Town of Quartzsite
Community Development Services

The Planning and Zoning Commission has scheduled a Community Plan workshop on November 19th, 2013 from 1 p.m.  – 4 p.m. that will focus on the General Plan and tips and tools for building a thriving, healthy community. The workshop will be located at Town Hall 465 N. Plymouth Ave Quartzsite, AZ. Workshop facilitators will help participants explore topics and come away with insights to hone decision-making and leadership skills.

Community Plan is a partnership of eight statewide agencies and organizations that have developed an educational curriculum for public officials.  Partners include: Urban Land Institute Arizona District Council (ULI AZ), American Planning Association Arizona Chapter (APA AZ), Arizona Department of Housing (ADOH), Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED), League of Arizona Cities and Towns, and County Supervisors Association of Arizona.

For more information, call Quartzsite Town Hall at 928-927-4333.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

1st Arizona Tesla Supercharger Station now open in Quartzsite

Quartzsite, AZ - Tesla Motors, the California-based maker of the award-winning Model S electric sedan, is expanding its Supercharger network with the opening of the first Arizona Supercharger station in Quartzsite on Thursday, November 14, 2014.
The Supercharger station is conveniently located along Interstate 10 to enable free long distance travel for Model S owners. 
This is the first of seven Tesla Supercharger stations slated to open in Arizona. Paired with the Indio, CA station (opening soon) this Quartzsite location will support free travel between Phoenix and Los Angeles. 

Superchargers are designed for city to city travel, allowing Tesla Model S electric vehicle drivers to travel for about three hours, take a 20 to 30 minute break, and get back on the road charged up.
A press conference and ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the new Quartzsite Supercharger located off Interstate 10 at Exit 17 in the Carl's Jr. parking lot. Dozens of Tesla owners and their cars were in attendance.
Tesla Superchargers allow Model S owners to travel for free between cities along well-traveled highways in North America. The Tesla Supercharger is substantially more powerful than any charging technology to date, providing up to 120 kilowatts of power and replenishing half a charge in twenty minutes.
Supercharger stations are strategically placed to allow owners to drive from station to station with minimal stops. Stations are located near amenities like roadside diners, cafes, and shopping centers so road trippers can stop for a quick meal and have their Model S charged by the time they’re done.

For more information, visit

Photos: Shanana Rain Golden-Bear, Publisher Desert Messenger

Thursday, November 7, 2013

BLM hosts Quartzsite meeting regarding recommended trail closures Nov. 21 at 3pm.

La Posa Travel Management Plan (TMP)
Preliminary Environmental Assessment Available

Yuma, Ariz. - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Yuma Field Office has announced that the La Posa Travel Management Plan preliminary Environmental Assessment (EA) is available for review starting today.  There will be a 45-day public comment period and all comments must be received by close of business on December 21, 2013.  The preliminary EA may be reviewed on the BLM internet website at

To update the public on the preliminary EA, the BLM will hold an open house on 
Thursday, November 21, 2013.  
The open house will be held at the Quartzsite Community Center 
located at 295 Chandler Street; Quartzsite, Arizona; from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.

At the beginning of the meeting, there will be a brief presentation about the preliminary EA and travel management planning.  Following the presentation, residents and interested parties can individually speak with local BLM specialists and managers regarding their questions and concerns.  Maps will be on display for review, as well as general EA and travel management information. 

Written comments about the preliminary EA for the La Posa TMP will be accepted through December 21, 2013.  Comments postmarked by this date will be considered in making the final decision.  The comments should be specific to be most effective.  Comments should be mailed to BLM Yuma Field Office, Attention:  Joe Raffaele; 2555 E. Gila Ridge Road; Yuma, Arizona  85365; or through email to
The La Posa Travel Management Area surrounds Quartzsite, Arizona, and encompasses over 380,000 acres of public land in La Paz and Yuma Counties.
For more information about the open house, please contact Joe Raffaele at 928-317-3238.


"Alternative C (Proposed action): This alternative is intended to balance access and natural resource concerns within the TMA. As shown in Table 3.7.3, 54% of the mileage associated with ATV use and 55% of the mileage associated with 4-wheel drive use would remain open under this alternative. Similarly, 65% of the mileage associated with hunting, 86% of the mileage associated with hiking, and 81% of the mileage associated with camping would remain open. Finally, 66% of the mileage associated with rock hounding and 55% of the mileage associated with vehicle exploring would remain open. 

This alternative also addresses the RMP’s mandate to provide a unique set of recreational experiences and opportunities within each PRS. This alternative most adequately represents the BLM’s efforts to provide the recreational experiences and opportunities outlined in the RMP. As shown in Table 3.7.4, 55% of routes within the Semi-Primitive PRS would be closed, 65% of the routes in the Rural Natural PRS would be closed, 56% of the routes in the Rural Developed PRS would be closed, 11% of the roads in the Suburban PRS would be closed, and 59% of the roads in the Urban PRS would be closed under this alternative."

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Quartzsite Town Council terminates contract with Police Chief Jeff Gilbert

By Shanana Rain Golden-Bear
Publisher Desert Messenger
Quartzsite, AZ - Tuesday, October 22, 2014, Town Council voted to terminate the contract of Quartzsite Chief of Police Jeff Gilbert. Council members had been attempting to terminate Gilbert for many years, and recently the efforts escalated. Council returned from a long executive session and terminated Gilbert's contract "Without Cause" and will "provide severance as provided by the contract." No explanation was given to the public, however, Council Member Mary Scott said, "The Town is going in one direction, and the Chief is going in another." After the vote, Gilbert addressed the council and the public saying he was grateful for the support of the community for the past eight years. The Council denied the public to comment on their decision. 
Former Quartzsite Chief of Police Jeff Gilbert
Photo by Shanana Rain Golden-Bear
Desert Messenger

Gilbert became famous in June 2011 when 80% of QPD officers filed a vote of "No Confidence" in his leadership. The majority of those officers were eventually terminated by former Town Manager Alex Taft, and are still in litigation with the Town. In 2010, Mayor Ed Foster initiated several complaints against Gilbert. Town of Quartzsite administration ordered an investigation by Jackson Lewis, LLC, which has since been made public online:

When the video of local activist Jennifer "Jade" Jones being forcefully removed from a council meeting went viral in July 2011, Quartzsite received attention from around the globe. Shortly thereafter, Mayor Ed Foster, who had been censured, announced to media that the Town was under "Martial Law" and that Gilbert was "running the town". Foster's 2010 mayoral campaign was based on promises to "get rid of the Chief." Foster was ousted by voters in a recall election in 2011, but regained his Mayoral position in 2012. Foster spearheaded the attempt to oust the Police Chief for many years by filing more complaints with state agencies.

Several DPS investigations could not prove any wrong doing by the Chief. Gilbert continued in his position until September 2012 when Assistant Town Manager Al Johnson illegally placed him on paid administrative leave. Quartzsite Town Council then terminated Taft, and hired Interim Town Manager Laura Bruno. Council reinstated Gilbert on Sept. 25th, 2012. After Council granted Bruno another year contract, tensions increased between Bruno, Gilbert and Council members.

UPDATE: In an interview with Arizona Republic's Dennis Wagner, "Gilbert said his ouster was orchestrated to cover up an inquiry he launched into Town Council members for allegedly releasing confidential police documents.

On August 8, 2013 Council Member Mark Orgeron submitted two requests to Bruno requesting agenda items to be placed upcoming meetings; for the August 13th meeting Orgeron wanted "to define the office hours of the police department as well as when phones should be routed to central dispatch." Council held a lengthy discussion on this procedural matter. Planning ahead for the September 10th Town Council Meeting, Orgeron wanted to "recruit and hire an Interim Chief of Police," but this item did not appear on the meeting's agenda to be discussed.

Disagreements became evident during the September 24th council meeting. Bruno, Gilbert, and Town Attorneys disagreed about the proposed Police Policies which requires officers to video ALL contacts with citizens. Gilbert argued for the officers to able to use their professional judgement. Council approved the new policies with minor changes to read, "In the event a citizen requests that they not be recorded, the officer shall take the request into consideration." Citizens expressed their disagreement with their decision. Evidently, negotiations with Gilbert were already underway, as Council then went into executive session to "consider its position and instruct its attorneys regarding the Town's position regarding the contract with Police Chief Jeff Gilbert that is the subject of negotiations." Council took no action at that time.

Almost a full month later, Quartzsite Town Council terminated Gilbert's contract without any discussion or public comment. 

Following Tuesday's Council meeting, Gilbert's supporters expressed their disappointment, while Gilbert opponents jeered. 

Gilbert consoling his supporters after contract was terminated by council
Photo by Shanana Rain Golden-Bear
Desert Messenger

2 Attempted child abductions in Parker, AZ

Parker Arizona Police Department

Parker Police Department would like to take the time to remind parents to speak with their children about "Stranger Danger". 

Within the past 48 hours there have been two separate unrelated incidents of attempted child abductions. The first incident occurred on October 22nd at approximately 6pm. A male subject driving a dark blue or black sedan similiar to a Chevrolet Lumina, grabbed a young girl by the arm and tried to get her into his vehicle. The male subject is described as dark complected, with wavy hair. The girl was able to get away without further incident.

The second incident occurred on October 23rd between 1pm and 3pm. A young boy was walking home when he was approached by a male subject driving a white van. The subject asked the boy several times if he needed a ride then left after the boy continuously told him he didn't. The male subject is described as white with a dark tan, short dark hair, older than 45 and clean shaven.

Parker PD would like to commend both children for their actions.

Please talk to your children regarding both of these incidents and remind them if they're walking home to walk with a buddy. If they are approached by someone who is trying to lure them into their vehicle, their safety is the main concern. They obviously should not get into a vehicle with someone they do not know.

In the event the unthinkable occurs they need to yell, kick and do anything that will bring attention to them and get to the nearest house for help. If your child rides a bicycle a good idea is for the child to hold onto the bike if someone is physically trying to grab them. It is much more difficult for someone to pull a child into their vehicle while they're holding onto a bicycle. Please contact ANY law enforcement agency to report any child abduction or suspicious contact your child may have with an unknown adult.

If you have any information about the two incidents please call us at 669.2264 or La Paz County Central Dispatch at 669.2281.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Senior Medicare Patrol seeks volunteers in La Paz County and Quartzsite


Statewide campaign seeks civic minded senior citizens to serve as
Senior Medicare Patrol volunteers

PHOENIX (October 1, 2013) – Arizona is ramping up its efforts to recruit senior volunteers for its statewide Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) project. Arizona's SMP project is part of a nationwide Administration on Aging (AoA) initiative that enlists retired and semi retired senior volunteers to combat Medicare fraud by educating and counseling beneficiaries to be alert and aware of scam activity.

"There are no exact figures on the cost of health care fraud in the United States, but annual losses are billions of dollars each year by all estimates," said Patricia Gonzalez-Emblem, SMP director for the Arizona Department of Economic Security's Division of Aging and Adult Services. "Medicare fraud comprises a significant portion of the dollars lost because seniors are such a vulnerable target for scams." 

Through education and outreach, Arizona's SMP volunteers help Medicare are helping to crack down on scam artists, doctors, medical equipment suppliers, hospitals, prescription drug companies and others who seek to profit by preying on our state's vulnerable senior population.

SMP volunteers receive a 30-hour training that covers the patrol's mission, Medicare basics and how to recognize Medicare fraud and abuse and what to do about it. After completing the training, they are well equipped to disseminate information to Medicare beneficiaries, family members, caregivers, social service professionals and others within their local communities. SMP volunteers are then matched with opportunities that meet their skills and areas of interest, whether it's conducting outreach through group presentations, exhibiting at community events, answering calls to the SMP help lines, or one-on-one counseling.

"Face-to-face interaction is the most effective way to reach seniors with this information, which is why we need volunteers in communities throughout Arizona," said Gonzalez-Emblem, SMP director for the Arizona Department of Economic Security’s Division of Aging and Adult Services (DES / DAAS). "Hispanic seniors are particularly vulnerable and comprise a sizeable percentage of our state's population, making bilingual volunteers vitally important to our recruitment process."

Arizona currently has 120 volunteers conducting statewide outreach, however many more are needed to keep up with our state's ever growing senior population.

Protect, Detect, Report is the mantra SMP senior volunteers teach to help Medicare beneficiaries proactively protect themselves against fraudulent, wasteful and unethical healthcare practices. Through one-on-one counseling, SMP volunteers teach beneficiaries skills that will help prevent fraud and abuse from occurring in the first place, such as: how to treat their Medicare number as they would their credit cards; how to use a journal to track medical services and healthcare instructions; how to read their Medicare benefits statements; and how to get answers to billing questions.

Nearly 4,500 SMP volunteers are recruited and trained every year to provide outreach and education in every state and many U.S. territories. Since the SMP project was initiated in 1997, more than 27 million people have been reached through community presentations, more than 5 million beneficiaries have been educated, and more than 30,000 volunteers have been active. The program is attributed with saving taxpayers, Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries $106 million.

For more information about Arizona's SMP volunteer project, call (602) 542-6439 or visit

 If you suspect Medicare fraud, call the statewide toll-free number 1-800-432-4040.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Quartzsite Police to conduct DUI detail over Labor Day weekend

The Quartzsite Police Department, in conjunction with the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety will be conducting traffic enforcement details over the Labor Day holiday weekend. They will be enforcing speed, seat belt, aggressive driving and DUI laws.

The penalties for DUI can include loss of your driver’s license, expensive fines, jail time, increased insurance rates, possible loss of life or injury and having your name published in the local paper.

Quartzsite Police Department asks that if you drink, please be responsible. Don’t drink and drive, make sure to have a designated driver and wear your seat belt at all times.

Officer Ruvalcaba
Quartzsite Police Department

(928) 927-4644   

Monday, August 26, 2013

Town of Quartzsite issues Press Release re: Jennifer Jade Jones' 15 dogs

Quartzsite, Arizona

The Town of Quartzsite issued an unusual Press Release today regarding Jennifer "Jade" Jones, owner of "A Fur Salon" and "The Desert Freedom Press" (which according to the Town, neither business has a current business or vendor license.) 

Quartzsite Police officers and Town Building Inspector, Steve Henrichs visited Jones at her location at Rice Ranch swap meet on August 22, 2013 with a warrant to inspect a 1956 trailer to ensure compliance with Town Codes. According to the press release, they found 15 Pit Bull dogs housed in cages in the old trailer. 

Two days later, Jones moved the trailer out of Rice Ranch to a BLM camping area in the desert. Jones spoke to Quartzsite Town Council during today's meeting, accusing Henrichs was not qualified to inspect a recreation vehicle. She angrily threatened to file felony perjury charges against Henrichs and Town Manager Laura Bruno if she discovers they lied on the affidavit supplied to the court for the warrant. 

Jones also notified Parker Court that, although she may not be able to sue the appointed magistrate judge who issued the warrant, she said, "I can certainly sue his employer and the Town of Parker can expect a Notice of Claim in this matter."

Quartzsite Town Code 6-2-6 requires a person operating a kennel to obtain a permit. "Failure to obtain a permit after 30 days of written notification is a guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor." 

The full release is below:


August 26, 2013


Quartzsite, AZ --- Local authorities found more than 15 Pit Bull dogs housed at Rice Ranch RV Park, in an RV space occupied by Jack and Jennifer Jones.  More than ten of the animals were housed in small kennels inside a mobile unit, with more animals stored in smaller vehicles also located in the RV space.  Inspectors describe experiencing an overwhelming stench and very hot conditions inside the mobile unit.

The Jones’ have been residing as renters at the Rice Ranch RV Park, and have been operating at least one business at this location.  None of Jones’ businesses are legally permitted to operate within the Town of Quartzsite.  After requests to inspect the RV site were refused, Quartzsite authorities obtained and served an Inspection Warrant late Thursday afternoon.  Authorities found several potential violations, including operating a dog kennel that is not in compliance with the laws of Quartzsite.

Upon finding the more than 15 Pit Bull dogs, authorities expressed strong concern about the number of aggressive and dangerous animals contained in the small RV space.  Adding to the concern was Ms. Jones’ repeated warnings that she couldn’t guarantee the safety of anyone entering her location.  Generally, Pit Bull dogs have identifiable traits such as unpredictability of aggression, refusal to give up a fight, high pain tolerance, and their “hold and shake” bite style. 

The Town will be issuing citations for various Town Code Violations.  Jennifer “Jade” Jones is a local tabloid blogger who has a history of violating the Town’s laws.

For more information, contact Steve Henrichs, Community Development/Code Compliance Officer at 928-927-4333.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

2013-14 Desert Messenger publishing schedule released

Quartzsite, Arizona

Desert Messenger released the Publishing Schedule and Rate Card for the 2013-14 season. Desert Messenger is Quartzsite's FREE Community Paper, and will be celebrating 10 Years of serving Quartzsite and the surrounding areas.

Desert Messenger publishes the 1st & 3rd WEDNESDAY of the month from September through May with special Summer Editions in June, July & August. Desert Messenger is your local source for News, Events & Entertainment in and around Quartzsite, Arizona!

Be sure to check out the newly redesigned website, for more information on Quartzsite and links to popular websites, along with the current Rate Card and Publishing Schedule.

DM 2013-14 Deadlines

Desert Messenger Rate Card 2013-14

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Quartzsite Town Clerk seeks emails from Council & Board Members

By Shanana Rain Golden-Bear
Desert Messenger Editor/Publisher

Quartzsite, Arizona
Quartzsite Town Clerk, Terry Frausto, issued the following letter to Mayor and Members of the Common Council for the Town of Quartzsite and Members of Advisory Boards, Committees and Commissions regarding Emails as Public Records and Appropriate Limitations on Email Communications.

The letter is a reminder "that all emails to and from Council members, board and committee members and Town employees concerning Town business are public records. She cautions members not to communicate with four or more members of the same board, which constitutes a quorum. (Evidently Frausto forgot that the Municipal Utilities Commission consists of only five members, and a quorum would therefore be three members. Also, the Personnel Board is a three-member Board, so a quorum would therefore be only two members.)

Frausto then asks the council and board members to forward all emails regarding Town Business to the Town Clerk, even if "only one line is about Town business" stating it is a public record and must be preserved.

Frausto asked Council and board members for their "cooperation in searching your private emails for messages sent or received in the past that relate to Town business," so she may "properly preserve these public records."

However, the Arizona Ombudsman's Open Meeting Law Booklet, clearly defines limitations pertain to a topic that is or may be presented to the public body for a decision, not any issue regarding the very generic phrase, "TOWN BUSINESS"!


Section 7.5.2 Circumvention of the Open Meeting Law.
Discussions and deliberations between less than a majority of the members of a
governing body, or other devices, when used to circumvent the purposes of the Open
Meeting Law violate that law. See Ariz. Att'y Gen. Op. 75-8; Town of Palm Beach v.
Gradison, 296 So. 2d 473 (Fla. 1974). Public officials may not circumvent public
discussion by splintering the quorum and having separate or serial discussions with a
majority of the public body members. Splintering the quorum can be done by meeting in
person, by telephone, electronically, or through other means to discuss a topic that is or
may be presented to the public body for a decision. Public officials should refrain from
any activities that may undermine public confidence in the public decision making
process established in the Open Meeting Law, including actions that may appear to
remove discussions and decisions from public view.

For example, Board members cannot use email to circumvent the Open Meeting Law
requirements. See Ariz. Att’y Gen. Op. I05-004 at 2. “[E]ven if communications on a
particular subject between members of a public body do not take place at the same time
or place, the communications can nonetheless constitute a ‘meeting.’” See Del Papa v.
Bd. of Regents of Univ. and Cmty. Coll. Sys. Of Nev., 114 Nev. 388, 393, 956 P.2d 770,
774 (1998) (rejecting the argument that a meeting did not occur because the board
members were not together at the same time and place.) Additionally, “[w]hen members
of the public body are parties to an exchange of e-mail communications that involve
discussions, deliberations, or taking legal action by a quorum of the public body
concerning a matter that may foreseeably come before the public body for action, the
communications constitute a meeting through technical devices under the [Open Meeting
Law].” See Ariz. Att’y Gen. Op. I05-004 at 1. This may be true even if none of the
members of the public body respond to the email. Id. at 2-3. If the one-way
communication proposes legal action, then it would violate the Open Meeting Law. Id.
However, other one-way communications, with no further exchanges, are not per se
violations, and further examination of the facts and circumstances is necessary to determine if there is a violation. Id. at 3.

CLICK LINK BELOW to view letter:

Town of Quartzsite letter to council & boards

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ehrenberg teacher arrested for sex crimes

Blythe, CA
Riverside County Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Task Force, arrested Russell A. Williams, 45, a teacher at Ehrenberg Elementary School, on July 17, 2013. Williams, of Blythe, Calif., is facing Felony charges of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor under 14  and sending/possessing obscene matter.

Williams is the focus of a 
Special Meeting of the Quartzsite Elementary School 
(QES) District 4 Board tomorrow July 25, at 8 am
in Ehrenberg Elementary School. 

The board will decide to terminate Williams, as he allegedly violated A.R.S 15-550. “Unprofessional conduct of a teacher”.

Apparently Williams did not immediately report the arrest or charge to his supervisor, Jacque Price, QES Superintendent. School policy states an employee of the school "who is arrested for or charged with any nonappealable offense listed in ARS. 41-1758.03 (B) AND who does not immediately report the arrest or charge to the person's supervisor is guilty of unprofessional conduct and the person shall be immediately dismissed from employment..."

Williams taught 5th grade last year at the Ehrenberg School, according to Price. She stated, "He's been teaching long before I arrived and was dedicated to his students." 

When asked if there had been prior complaints, Price said, "every teacher has complaints, but there was no particular complaints of this nature."

The agenda appeared on the QES website, but parents complained of not seeing the posting in the usual locations in Quartzsite. Price told Desert Messenger she is short staffed at the present, so didn't post the "courtesy notice" of tomorrow's meeting agenda in Quartzsite as usual. She said she is only required to post the agenda on the school's website, which she said met the requirement of posting within 24 hours of the scheduled meeting.

UPDATE: QES Press Release issued Friday, July 26th:

During an open meeting held on Thursday, July 25, 2013, the Quartzsite Elementary School Governing Board voted to terminate  Ehrenberg Elementary School teacher, Russell A. Williams, after finding he was in violation of A.R.S. §15-550 and Governing Board policy GBEB. Mr. Williams was arrested on July 17, 2013, and failed to immediately contact his supervisor to notify her of the arrest.

If you have information regarding Mr. Williams, you may contact the Riverside County District Attorney's Office by calling 951-955-5400 or toll-free at 888-374-1235.  You may also contact Superintendent Jacque Price at 928-923-7900 or the La Paz County Sheriff's Office at 928-669-9560.  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Quartzsite Residents question proposed sewer rates & Notices

By Shanana Rain Golden-Bear
Desert Messenger

Quartzsite Town Manager Laura Bruno issued the following Public Notice Intent to Increase Waste Water Fees and Service Fees, dated July 10, 2013. (see below). This notice was posted on the front page of the Town's website. 

A public hearing is scheduled for 
Tues. August 13th, 2013 at 6:30 pm at Town Hall. 

In the Town's Official Public Notice, below, the Town Logo and Letterhead is conspicuously missing. Even the Town Hall address is buried in a paragraph on the last page, and there's no phone number for contacting Town Hall listed anywhere. Compare this to the Notice sent out to water users which does contain the Town Logo, Letterhead and easy-to-find contact information. 

Qtz. official proposed sewer rate Public Notice

This past week, Quartzsite water customers then received the following 3-page Notice of Proposed Sewer Rate Increase. When questioned why the two notices appear to be so different, Bruno stated at yesterday's Town Hall meeting that council had asked her to expand upon the notice and send out information to water customers. Since Quartzsite Council as not held a meeting since July 9th, (before the Official Notice of July 10th) the Council as a whole could not directed staff to expand on the notice; however individual council members may have requested the action privately.

Quartzsite only has 446 individually water-metered single family homes, yet has 3,362 master water metered RV/Mobile Home/Deeded Lot Parks. 

Residents in RV Parks or Mobile Home Parks usually do not receive separate water bills, as the Park owners are the responsible party. It's obvious the majority of Quartzsite water uses have NOT seen the following document, so Desert Messenger felt responsibility to post both here on this site. 

Of particular interest to Quartzsite sewer customers is the chart on page 2, showing existing rates and proposed rates, which is conspicuously missing from the Town's Public Notice (above) posted on their website. 

Also note the two pie charts displayed on the following document, are NOT included in the Town's Public Notice (above). 

The pie chart displaying the major components of the 2013-14 budget is on the Town's Public Notice, yet is missing from the Notice to water users. Residents are wondering why there is such a difference of information being distributed to the public. 

sewer rates notice to Qtz. residents -  

The following is an OPINION COLUMN which appeared in yesterday's Desert Messenger: 

SEWER Rates 
by Skip Gallup, guest columnist 
Most of you have received a letter from the TOWN OF QUARTZSITE regarding the proposed sewer rate. Sewer rates are complicated – IF that is how you want to present them. 
   The letter states in the third paragraph, first page, “nor does it ensure that year-round residents are not subsidizing seasonal users.”  It continues that, “All utility rate structures should be fair equitable and defendable; unfortunately, the Town’s current rate structure is not.”

   My original complaint was not as stated. The complaint was that unoccupied lots must pay full rates and business did not.
   In fact under the current rates any private home property owner (year round or seasonal) are supporting the business owners.  I have owned my lot in town for over 18 months and have paid the Town over $1000.00 and have not used any water/sewer.  The town has been aware of this for years.   The Mayor was alarmed at one meeting and talked to me afterwards claiming that this had to change now as he was getting ready for reelection and did not feel he would be elected if this continued.   The Mayor and Council have done nothing to get this changed.   
   Now a proposed rate is given as the answer.   If it is fair and equitable, WHY do the Single Family Users pay the highest rate and WHY are they automatically charged sewer usage of 3,000, or 5,000 or 20,000 gallons each month regardless of actual usage?  And if you own your own lot and live in an RV, you will be charged as a single family.  But if you live in an RV in a Park, you will pay 50% less per year for sewer service, for the same home.   WHY the difference?  
   I agree with the $15.00 charge for EACH customer/lot, perhaps.  If you add 446 single family homes and 3362 other lots, just using that total and divide that into the fixed cost of the sewer plant you arrive at just under $15.00 each.   However, some businesses in town will be charged $15.00 and others $48.00.  How is this reflective to their “fair” share of the fixed cost? Motels are going to be charged at $5.48 per room.  Does $5.48 also cover the rest of the motels operations?  The fixed cost should be equal for each customer IF each customer uses the same amount of the plant facilities.  For example, does an RV use the same amount of the sewer plant that a business with public restrooms?
   Each “lot” in town must be accounted for when designing the sewer plant and capacity reserved for each “hook-up”.  At least that is what the Town’s sewer expert claims.  Using the number of “hookups” and dividing that into the fixed cost gives the “base rate” for sewer/water rates ASSUMING each lot will use the same amount of the sewer plant.
   That still leaves the operating costs to handle.   That is covered by the gallons of usage.  The Town is using the figure that each single family dwelling uses just over 136 gallons of water each day.  That is the figure that is claimed to be proper from the ADEQ.   But no one will define a single family dwelling.  In Quartzsite I would be surprised to find that much usage, and certainly not the average for “single family dwellings” in our town.  The ADEQ does allow exceptions, if shown evidence.  Why doesn't the town look at their records and determine what is the average for Quartzsite?
   What is the cost to produce a gallon of water and process a gallon of sewer in Quartzsite?   The town must know this answer in order to follow their own codes.  To date no one has been able to answer that question.  If you do not know that answer, HOW can you determine the proper rate?
   The table on page two shows $20.10 for single family and the table on page three shows $15.00.  Why the difference?  The $20.10 includes 3000 gallons of sewer, BUT paragraph four on the second page claims commodity charge will be $0 if no water usage occurs.  The Town is proposing that the Single Family hook ups will pay for a minimum sewer usage EVEN if they do not use any water or discharge any sewerage.   NO OTHER CUSTOMERS have a minimum charge and yet the letter clearly states “fair and equitable” and “$0 if no water is used”.
   Confused,   I started by saying “Sewer rates are complicated – IF that is how you want to present them”. Perhaps now you will understand that statement.
   The council/town determined to hold meetings when the winter visitors were not in town. Some of these “visitors” actually own property and are concerned as year-round residents.  The Town could have held meetings last winter, but the choice was made to NOT HOLD MEETINGS. 
   What we really need is a meeting where all factors can be discussed.  Not argued, debated or shouting at each other, just a good honest discussion with answers.  I am sure that a solution can be achieved in a spirit of harmony and good will ending with a fair rate for all.  This type of meeting is needed, with all the politics left at the door. [Public Hearing is set for Aug. 13 at 6:30pm at Town Hall]

Friday, July 5, 2013

Ongoing battle between La Paz County Sheriff and Quartzsite Police Chief

Quartzsite, Arizona- During Wednesday's Coffee with Cops meeting, Quartzsite Police Chief Jeff Gilbert read the letter (see below) received from La Paz County Sheriff John Drum. According to the letter, Drum has "rescinded" Quartzsite Police Department's (QPD) "authority to 'concurrent jurisdiction' throughout the unincorporated areas of La Paz County." Drum "expects" QPD to contact his office immediately if any Quartzsite Police activity extends into the Sheriff's Office jurisdiction. Drum also stated any self initiated investigation would need "pre-approval."

Gilbert told the crowd that the matter has been handed over to the Town Attorneys. Gilbert stressed that the residents in the unincorporated communities just outside of Quartzsite, namely La Paz Valley and Rainbow Acres, would still be protected by law enforcement officers.

"If we are needed, we will be there for you!" Gilbert stressed. "It's about protecting the public first," he said. Gilbert explained, that many times, QPD officers are the first on the scene, even if it's located outside of Town Limits. With such a large county to cover, often La Paz County Sheriff Deputies are not available in the area, and QPD is called out.

County Attorney dissolved the county Task Force, known as C.A.D.R.E. on June 13th. Police Departments of Quartzsite and Parker were members of the Task Force prior to Drum taking office in January. Since then, Drum and the two Police Chiefs have been at odds in public, sending multiple press releases to local media. Drum made it clear he wants to form his own Task Force, but with recent events, it's unclear whether the only two incorporated Towns in the county will join.

Chief Gilbert also announced QPD's new "No Drugs…No Thugs…No Crime" Campaign aimed at the prevention and the apprehension of illegal drug and criminal activity in the Town of Quartzsite.

Gilbert said, "The recent events that have resulted in the dissolution of the joint drug task force by La Paz County officials has led the Quartzsite Police Department to take a different approach in its fight against illegal drug and criminal activity."

“No Drugs…No Thugs…No Crime”

In a press release issued July 1st, Gilbert stated, 

The police department has already implemented efforts that have led to the arrest of five individuals for felony drug offenses and one individual for misdemeanor drug offences in the past few weeks.  Illegal drug activity is often the catalyst to other victim crimes such as burglary, theft and assaults.

The Quartzsite Police Department will continue to work with all Local, State and Federal agencies to further drug investigations and to deter criminal activity driven by such crimes.  “We will take an aggressive approach to enforcement and prevention through enhanced efforts by the members of this department.”

Recently, the Quartzsite Police Department was assisted by the Parker Police Department in conducting a search warrant after a felony drug arrest.  “Chief Mendoza and I are committed to working together effectively as our criminal activity often crosses boundaries.”

Citizens are encouraged to report illegal drug activity or any information that could lead to the arrest of subjects involved with any type of criminal activity.  Please call the Quartzsite Police Department at (928) 927-4644 or Central Dispatch at (928) 669-2281 and always remember to call 911 if it is an emergency. 

Gilbert assured local residents that the Quartzsite Police Department will continue to serve and protect the public.

Sheriff Drum to QPD

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July and free summer eBook for your enjoyment

Editorial by Shanana Rain Golden-Bear
Quartzsite, Arizona

Happy Independence Day!

As we celebrate our Independence today, I want to share with you a wonderful project I am involved with called "The Gratitude Book Project: My Favorite Summertime Memory!"

It's an eBook full of fun and poignant stories celebrating the joys of summertime - from trips to the shore to sweet, juicy mangoes and "crummy" family reunions.

Download your free eBook here!

It features 70+ authors of past and present editions of The Gratitude Book Project,
this time answering "What is your favorite summertime memory?"

My article is about my annual preteen trips to visit my grandparents halfway across the country. It's on Page 49. The memory made me smile, and hope you do too!

The "summer shares" are guaranteed to make you smile and laugh - and maybe bring back a favorite summertime memory for yourself, too!

Pick up your free eBook here!


Feel free to share the link with others:

Shanana Rain Golden-Bear

Editor/Publisher Desert Messenger,
Quartzsite's FREE Community Paper

PO Box 3185, Quartzsite, AZ 85359

Monday, July 1, 2013

Prescott releases names of 19 fallen firefighters in Yarnell Hill Fire

Granite Mountain Hotshots - 

Fallen Firefighters

PRESCOTT, AZ (July 1, 2013) The City of Prescott is mourning the loss of the 19 heroes of the Granite Mountain Hotshots who gave their lives yesterday fighting the Yarnell Fire.
The City of Prescott is first and foremost committed to assisting those who have been impacted by this tragedy and tending to their needs. The City asks that the families and others in mourning must be afforded the space they need to begin the healing process.
The Granite Mountain Hotshots who lost their lives are:
  • Ashcraft, Andrew - Age: 29
  • Caldwell, Robert - Age: 23
  • Carter, Travis - Age: 31
  • Deford, Dustin - Age: 24
  • MacKenzie, Christopher - Age: 30
  • Marsh, Eric - Age: 43
  • McKee, Grant - Age: 21
  • Misner, Sean - Age: 26
  • Norris, Scott - Age: 28
  • Parker, Wade - Age: 22
  • Percin, John - Age: 24
  • Rose, Anthony - Age: 23
  • Steed, Jesse - Age: 36
  • Thurston, Joe - Age: 32
  • Turbyfill, Travis - Age: 27
  • Warneke, William - Age: 25
  • Whitted, Clayton - Age: 28
  • Woyjeck, Kevin - Age: 21
  • Zuppiger, Garret - Age: 27

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Quartzsite Police Dept. conducts DUI detail July 4th

DUI Traffic Enforcement Detail

 The Quartzsite Police Department, in conjunction with the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety will be conducting a DUI enforcement detail during the July 4th holiday weekend. We will be enforcing speed, aggressive driving and DUI laws.

The penalties for DUI can include loss of your driver’s license, expensive fines, jail time, increased insurance rates, possible loss of life or injury and having your name published in the local newspaper.

The Quartzsite Police Department reminds you that if you drink, do so responsibly, don’t drink and drive, make sure to have a designated driver and always wear your seat belt at all times. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Former Quartzsite business owner shut down in State sting

PHOENIX, AZ - Attorney General Tom Horne announced the resolution of a case in his ongoing auto repair “sting” operations, a program he instituted to deter auto repair shops from defrauding consumers. 
In the sting operation, an automotive repair expert shut off an undercover vehicle’s fuel cutoff switch before the State’s undercover operator called Sun Valley Towing for service.   Sun Valley Towing towed the vehicle to its repair shop where a mechanic simply reset the switch, correcting the problem.  The owner then charged the State’s undercover operator $340.00 for replacing the fuel pump, an unnecessary repair that was never performed. 
In a Consent Judgment totaling $686,582.09 the Court approved an award of $610,000 in civil penalties and $67,580.59 in restitution to consumers.  The Judgment against Tim Kunselman, owner of Sun Valley Towing LLC, located at 1354 S. 39th Avenue in Phoenix, was based upon both customer complaints of deceptive business practices, and the State’s undercover auto sting operations. In 2009, Kunselman owned Quartzsite Tire, which was located at 1077 W. Main St. Quartzsite. 
“This judgment results from our ongoing undercover auto sting operations and holds Sun Valley Towing’s owner personally liable.”  Horne said.  “The many serious complaints we received from Sun Valley customers were validated when Kunselman and his company, Sun Valley Towing, were caught red-handed in one of our undercover auto stings charging for repairs they never performed – a very serious and expensive deception for consumers.”
The State’s suit also contained allegations regarding 59 complaints made by customers against Sun Valley Towing and Kunselman, alleging they failed to make promised repairs, kept their vehicles for months or years, returned them stripped of parts in the same or worse mechanical condition, and repeatedly lied to customers about their vehicle’s status and supposed refunds. 
In a similar judgment obtained last October against the business, the Court found, after reviewing the consumer complaints, “that Defendants engaged in a highly culpable, persistent course of callous, willful and deceptive misconduct that caused severe damage to an extraordinary number of consumers over an extended period of time.”
The Consent Judgment also includes a permanent injunction prohibiting Kunselman from engaging in auto repair, tow operations, vehicle repair, vehicle sales and vehicle service. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Interior Dept. approves Quartzsite Solar Energy Project

Monday, June 3, 2013 - The U.S. Secretary of the Interior today announced the approval of three major renewable energy projects totaling 520 megawatt capacity.
Combined, the projects will deliver enough clean power to supply the electricity needs of nearly 200,000 homes and will create hundreds of jobs.

The 100-megawatt Quartzsite Solar Project in Arizona project will use concentrating solar thermal technology and will be situated on 1,600 acres of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management administered lands. The facility will generate enough electricity to meet the needs of an estimated 30,000 homes. The solar farm will use dry-cooling technology to minimize water consumption.

The 350-megawatt Midland Solar Project in Nevada is solar panel based and will provide enough electricity to power about 105,000 homes.

The 70 megawatt New York Canyon Geothermal Project in Lovelock, Nevada will provide enough power to serve around 60,000 households.

"These projects reflect the Obama Administration's commitment to expand responsible domestic energy production on our public lands and diversify our nation's energy portfolio," Secretary Jewell said. "Today’s approvals will help bolster rural economies by generating good jobs and reliable power and advance our national energy security."

In all projects, the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) worked closely with stakeholders to minimize potential environmental impacts.

25 utility-scale solar farms, 9 wind farms and 11 geothermal plants have been approved by the Department of the Interior since 2009. When all have been constructed, they will represent a total of  12,500 megawatts of capacity, enough electricity to power more than 4.4 million homes. The Department  surpassed President Obama's goal of authorizing 10,000 MW of renewable energy projects on public lands by the end of 2012.

A further 15 active renewable energy proposals are in the BLM pipeline, which will be reviewed this year and in 2014.


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