Pool Update

The Pool Assessment that Friends of the Patagonia Pool, (FOPP) commissioned shows that the pool, while over 30 years old, is in great shape and could provide at least another decade of recreation and water safety training to the communities of Patagonia, Sonoita, Elgin and surrounding areas. That is not without costs, however.

The Town of Patagonia and the Patagonia Elementary and High School District Boards approved extending the pool IGA through May 2021 in order to allow FOPP to search for an anchor sponsor for the pool’s financial needs that are beyond what the Town or schools can handle on their own.

Hopefully, by very early May we will know whether we can count on a substantial financial partnership, and the School Boards will agree to working together with the other partners to open the pool, at least for this year.

The Town of Patagonia has unofficially indicated that if the pool could open, they would provide the water needed for the season as well as continue their 1/4 share of chemical expenses for the year. FOPP will also commit to continue our 1/4 share beyond May 31. 

Even if a major sponsor joins us, FOPP will need to raise approximately $20,000 dollars, in addition to the funding we currently have in place, in order to cover pool expenses for this year. The School Boards would need to decide what financial and management support they could provide.

FOPP also approached South32 Hermosa to ask for financial support for the pool. South32 has shown interest in supporting the community and indicated their agreement that the pool is an important community amenity. There are still important operational details to work out before commitments on the part of the owners and any potential funders can be made. FOPP is working hard to facilitate discussions to get those answers quickly.

FOPP feels that it is imperative to open the pool this year. Our goal all along has been to keep an important community amenity functioning and available to all in our area. We have developed a draft budget for that purpose and shared it for discussion and input with the Town, School Boards and potential major sponsors.

It will not be possible to open immediately after Memorial Day. There is a lot of work to be done that would normally have already been well underway by now. If we can quickly get a major sponsor commitment for at least this year, we might be able to open by July 1. Our goal would be to be open through September.

The FOPP pool assessment, major cleanup and assistance with monthly expenses is made possible by grant funds from the South32 Hermosa Community Fund held at the Community Fund of Southern Arizona, the Patagonia Regional Community Fund, and by donations from many local pool supporters.

We invite all interested citizens to join our work to keep the pool open. Please contact school board members and ask them to help the pool open this year. And please contact Karen Riggs, FOPP president at: mustangmtnswriter@gmail.com to lend a hand.

Maryknell Spicer

Karen Riggs

Self Reflection

What if We the People were in charge of our own personal and collective lives? What if when falling ill we would confine ourselves as we know to do even with a cold. What if while we are recuperating, we reflect on our participation with the illness and by so doing set the stage for strengthening our immunity. By not reflecting and not working with the natural healing powers that the body inherently has, looking for the quick fix, do we increase the possibility for illness, putting ourselves and the earth in danger? 

The Coronavirus is seen as the enemy and the role of the enemy is to instill fear. Fear that someone we love will die, or we will die because of the enemy. Fear, which brings about a level of stress, as we know, can actually suppress the immune system, that which helps us “fight off” disease. 

We the People individually thus collectively are responsible. If we consciously and responsibly empower the natural wisdom within us, the pain, suffering, deaths, violence, depression and spike of addictions we are now experiencing would exponentially minimize the fear-based conundrum we are presently experiencing. 

We humans are self-aware, and unlike other species, we consciously direct our evolution. If we do not practice self-reflection or mindful awareness and common sense in light of the individual and the collective, we do not evolve.

How and what we perceive ourselves to be has a major effect on the Earth and on all of us.

David Krest


Thank You to South32

KPUP-LP (100.5FM), would like to take this opportunity to thank the South32 Hermosa Community Fund, held at Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, for their generous grant that was awarded to us this last month. 

This award will allow Patagonia Community Radio to meet its day-to-day financial responsibilities which is normally funded through our annual Hawaiian shirt and Luau fundraiser that was interrupted last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic shut down. 

Again, thank you to South32 and the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona for their continued support of non-profits in general and KPUP in particular. 

Fred Hansen

Treasurer, KPUP-LP Radio

SEFD Board Press Release

The Sonoita Elgin Fire District released costs associated with the investigation of various personnel and financial matters that occurred in 2020 and 2021. In prior Board meetings, SEFD’s bookkeeper stated various amounts as being the cost to SEFD of investigations conducted in 2020. As pointed out by the Board, the amounts previously presented by her were inaccurate and overstated as they include amounts unrelated to investigations conducted in 2020 and 2021, including items from the 2019-2020 fiscal year and salaries that would have been paid regardless of an investigation.

Expenses associated with SEFD investigations and additional audit reports were driven by allegations and discovery of misconduct and of violations of SEFD policies by SEFD employees. In one instance, the SEFD Board committed to a comprehensive investigation by specifically including input from current and former SEFD members and community members who might have information relevant to the investigation which not only extended the duration of the investigation but also increased the costs.

Investigations fall under SEFD HR Policy when misconduct is suspected or reported. Fact finding helps protect both the employee and employer from unfair and/or highly emotional situations and guide decisions based on fact, rather than emotion. Most investigations are done internally, but when situations arise where deciding officials could potentially be a witness or otherwise involved, due diligence necessitates that we use outside investigators. Investigation expenses are necessary for compliance with SEFD’s policies, state and local laws, and fiduciary responsibilities to the public.

As of April 19, direct expenses for investigative matters are estimated as follows:

Attorney $5,500

Investigator $26,749

Auditor $5,400

Total Cost of direct expenses = $37,649 

The Chief’s employment was terminated for cause by directing or allowing and accepting an increase in pay of $300 per week without obtaining SEFD Board approval. The increase occurred in November of 2018. The most recent report from SEFD’s auditors Walker & Armstrong put the amount of unauthorized overpayments to the former Chief at approximately $75,000. 

The former Fire Chief’s pension is governed by Arizona’s Public Safety Public Retirement System (PSPRS). The local SEFD PSPRS Board is responsible for reviewing the member’s total period of service and eligible compensation used to calculate the pension amount, as well as to apply other statutory provisions prior to forwarding the application to the State for final review and approval. The local Board convened on April 21 and verified service requirements were met. The Board adjusted his eligible compensation to determine the annuity by subtracting the unauthorized overpayment and lowering the employee and employer contributions to what they would have been without the bump in pay. It will ultimately be up to the state to make the final determinations. 

As facts are developed and decisions made, the SEFD Board is committed to see these issues to conclusion with as much transparency as permitted, and we will continue to execute our responsibilities for public safety, for our SEFD members and volunteers, and for the District’s taxpayers.

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