Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Flood Concerns for Laveen?

Here's the deal; I'm probably being paranoid about this, I know..... I worry about Laveen's preparedness for the amount of flooding that could occur this week. Yes, we have the LACC (Laveen Area Conveyance Channel) and other flood retention measures in place, but what about the amount of water that our soil and flood retention basins accumulated already this week; and what about potential bottlenecks on street drainage systems or potentially defective retention measures (which we have already seen here during past storms) among all the other things that could go wrong?

Remember, most of Laveen sits on relatively low ground, and within the typical floodplain of the Salt River, not to mention the Tres Rios confluence just west of us. This is why our county and city officials took the initiative to complete the LACC project and others like it in recent history, as Laveen's population has boomed. Just ask any long-time resident to hear some interesting stories of past flooding.

Further, we may or may not experience unprecedented levels of rainfall in the next 48 hours, combined with rising river levels due to rapid snow melt in the high country.  And I have not been able to find much specific advice for our community, which is a little frustrating....  After all, the storm a couple of weeks ago brought the gutter run-off above the sidewalk in front of my house, and last year I recall watching our water retention basin nearly fill up from a less severe storm.

So to ease all our minds, I offer the following resources:
***Bonus recommendation in case there are no sandbags at the free pick-up locations referenced above: Try Home Depot or Lowe's.  If that fails (like finding anything else in Laveen at the moment that we all need it, i.e. propane cylinders on July 4th), then I bet you could justify borrowing some sand from a nearby playground and returning it after the flood recedes.  And by the way, medium trash bags work at least as well as the big burlap ones; you just need more of them.

Please feel free to pass along this information to anyone who you think may need it, or feel free to keep it around as a resource for the next hundred or so years, in anticipation of an eventual 100-year flood (it's not really like nature is on a schedule.... here's a definition of a 100-year flood).  In the likely event that this information is totally irrelevant, then I simply request that you understand how much I love to geek out on information and preparedness.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Phoenix Drinking Water

There's never been a better reason to discard that expensive and environmentally insensitive bottled water habit that I know most of my friends suffer. Sure our water doesn't taste as good as several places I've visited on the east coast and elsewhere, surprisingly including none other than dirty ol' NYC, but it's pretty darn good.

I'm happy to say that Phoenix Municipal water meets and exceeds all regulatory requirements -- at least as far as I could discern from the recent EWG report. Add to that the fact that we use a Brita filter in my home and Phoenix is working diligently to address the remaining aesthetic concerns, and I'm even more pleased (despite recent memory of several ground well failures). How do I know this? Here's a link to the EWG report:

And then there's the page:

Frankly, I thought that the City of Phoenix's water department was quite straightforward in addressing my most basic concerns. It would be even more refreshing if we dedicated resources to demonstrating greater leadership in water resource management, being that we're in a desert and all..... but then there's the whole funding issue, not to mention the fact that we're not usually regarded as the most progressive place on earth. But I digress.

AZ isn't totally off the hook for water safety. I was surprised to learn coincidentally that the Granite Dells area near Prescott is listed alongside Verde Valley, Tucson, and Cave Creek as hot spots for natural radon contamination (but not Laveen as far as I know). This is good news for me, since I harbor fond memories of playing around in the Dells area as a child, and would like my son to see the area in nearly as pristine a condition as the two generations of family before me could enjoy it.... not surrounded by subdivisions. But again, I digress. Read more about radon and Arizona's other environmental hazards here: And if you are an info geek like me, then I'm sure you'll enjoy browsing the rest of the AZ Geo site. No, we have no major earth fissures in Laveen that are reported. And yes, there is gold in them there hills.... maybe. There, I just saved you a bunch of time. You're welcome.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Interim Post: Update on Laveen Farmers Market

I have been laboring over an official New Years post between online poker hands and other miscellany for the last two weeks, but thought it was important to get this out in the mean time. I figure that no one can criticize me too much about a belated New Years post as long as it comes out in January, right?

So here's the latest info about the much discussed, but surprisingly nonexistent farmers market:

It's been a while since we had any news about the Laveen Farmers Market, so I thought I would provide a brief update. While I haven't had much of a chance lately to investigate potential farmers to participate, I/we have gotten some feedback from a few people we contacted.

McClendon's Select Organics, featured participants in the Scottsdale and Biltmore area farmers markets, politely declined to play a part in ours. I had a very informative yet frank conversation with the owner about their reasoning, which basically came down to the fact that farmers markets tend to get in the way of their most profitable business; selling to restaurants and other wholesale clients. He was very polite about his explanation, so I asked if he had any other ideas. No dice, but we'll keep trying.

Also, I'm not sure if this was already mentioned, but Krag Klages, our LCC president, spoke with the people at Grandma's Farm. They too declined for now, due to the fact that they are planning their own retail concept on their property (South of Baseline on 19th Avenue). This is disappointing in that they were by far our most local lead, but also exciting in that it means they're planning a considerable improvement to their existing business. We definitely need to keep them on our radar, so any help with this would be much appreciated.

Hopefully we'll have another update soon. Please also do your part if you come up with any ideas. And by the way, all ideas are worthy of consideration. Until we have a farmer or two, there is no farmers market, and thus no formal leadership. My thinking is that this is a free-for-all until we get something going, at which point we can sort it all out. Any other thoughts? Please share.