Tag Archives: maricopa association governments

road trip

Tips To Keep Highways Safe & Clean During Your Summer Road Trip

Summer is the season when the wide open highway calls to many Arizonans, beckoning them to a road trip adventure. It is also when the state’s roadways take an extra beating from the paper litter, cigarette butts and blown-out tire treads that can accumulate when motorists don’t take time to plan ahead, according to the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), the organization behind the powerful “No Cups, Cans or Butts – Don’t Trash Arizona” initiative.

This summer, drivers can ensure a safe and litter-free road trip by following some advance-planning strategies:

  • Carry extra plastic bags (recycled grocery shopping bags) in the car for use when discarding trash, or visit www.DontTrashArizona.com to receive a free, reusable, recyclable trash bag to keep in your vehicle. Although research finds that about 60 percent of litter is intentional, typically occurring in places where debris has already accumulated, it’s important to note that ALL litter is preventable. Littering—whether accidental or intentional—is a class three misdemeanor, punishable by up to $500 in fines.
  • Keep a portable ashtray in the car for getting rid of cigarette butts. For newer vehicles that don’t have an ashtray, drivers can use an empty soda can instead. By discarding cigarette butts properly, drivers help keep the roadway clean, prevent toxic chemicals from contaminating the water system, and help reduce the incidence of wildfires started from sparks igniting dry brush that is commonly found along desert highways.
  • Properly maintain vehicle tires. The summer heat wreaks havoc on rubber, causing it to dry out and crack. To help avoid a tire blowout, drivers should examine the tread. AAA Arizona recommends checking tire tread by placing a quarter upside down in the tread grooves on several spots on the tire. If the top of Washington’s head is exposed at any point, it’s time to replace that tire. Blowouts can cause serious traffic accidents. Tire tread along Arizona highways also greatly contributes to roadway debris, creating a safety hazard for other motorists.

“We’re asking summer travelers to recognize litter is ugly, unhealthy, and unsafe,” said Tempe Mayor and MAG Chair Hugh Hallman. “Motorists who toss or lose trash on the roadway contribute to the 1.6 million tons of litter that must be removed from Valley freeways each year. A little advanced planning is all it takes to help put trash in its proper place.”

For more information about how to keep our highways clean and safe on your next road trip, visit Maricopa Association of Governments’ website at azmag.gov

desert peaks award

Desert Peaks Awards Recipients Named

During a special ceremony in June, the Maricopa Association of Governments will honor nine partnerships and individuals who have been selected to receive the 2012 Desert Peaks Awards. The prestigious awards are presented to those agencies and individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to promoting, recognizing, and attaining the ideals of regionalism.

Recipients will be honored during the Maricopa Association of Governments Desert Peaks Awards on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at the Downtown Sheraton Hotel, 340 N. 3rd Street, Phoenix. The ceremony begins at 6:15 p.m. More than 200 people, including elected officials and business leaders, are expected to attend the ceremony.

Awards will be distributed in six categories: Public PartnershipPublic-Private PartnershipProfessional Service (two recipients were selected for this honor), Regional Partnership (two recipients were selected for this honor), Regional Excellence (two recipients were selected for this honor), and a  new category added this year, Outstanding Economic Development Champion.

This year, two individuals were selected to receive the program’s highest honor for Regional Excellence, Avondale Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers and Tempe Councilmember Shana Ellis. Mayor Rogers was nominated “for her regional leadership in guiding the transformation of not only Avondale but the entire region through her direct engagement to ensure its economic, social and cultural vitality.” Councilmember Shana Ellis was cited for being instrumental in having the Regional Public Transportation Authority (Valley Metro) and METRO light rail work in tandem to realize significant efficiencies through a combined, streamlined regional agency.


  • Public Partnership: Regional Emergency Transportation Service
  • Public-Private Partnership: City of Avondale and the Gangplank Collective
  • Professional Service: Mr. Ed Beasley, City Manager, City of Glendale; and Mr. David Smith, former County Manager, Maricopa County
  • Regional Partnership: Domestic Violence Protocol Evaluation Project; Regional Wireless Cooperative/Topaz Regional Wireless Cooperative
  • Regional Excellence: Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers, City of Avondale; Councilmember Shana Ellis, City of Tempe
  • Outstanding Economic Development Champion: The Flinn Foundation

Costs of the event are being offset through sponsorships. Gold Sponsors include Atkins North America; Cambridge Systematics; HDR Engineering; and Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Silver Sponsors include APS; Arizona Lottery; Delta Dental; Kimley-Horn and Associates; MJ Insurance; Mariscal, Weeks, McIntyre & Friedlander, P.A.; Wells Fargo, N.A.; and Wilson & Company, Inc. Engineers and Architects.

Bronze Sponsors include Arup; Burgess & Niple; The CK Group, Inc.; ECOtality, Inc.; Jacobs; Technical & Business Systems; TerraSystems Southwest; and Triadvocates.

Recipients were selected by a distinguished panel of judges who represent diverse interests from throughout the Valley. The judging panel for the 2012 Desert Peaks Awards included James K. Ballinger, director of the Phoenix Art Museum; Don Cassano, former city of Tempe councilmember and ombudsman for the Arizona Department of Transportation; Angela Creedon, assistant vice president of public affairs with Arizona State University; Michael S. Ellegood, senior consultant of public works with PSMJ Resources; Lloyd Harrell, former city manager of Chandler; and Jack Lunsford, former executive director of WESTMARC.

For more information on the Desert Peaks Awards, visit Maricopa Association of Government’s website at azmag.gov.


Region Chosen For National Pilot Project On Aging

The MetLife Foundation and Partners for Livable Communities has selected the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) and the Greater Phoenix region to participate in the City Leaders Institute on Aging in Place, a new national pilot project striving to help people aged 65 years and more to live independently in their homes. The region was chosen as just one of five areas in the country to develop strategies over the next year that will help seniors age in place.

Penny Cuff, vice president for programs with Partners for Livable Communities, said the region was chosen based on its track record of innovative work in aging services. “The Greater Phoenix region is recognized as being a leader in meeting the needs of older adults. Recent achievements like the MAG Municipal Aging Services Project reflect a commitment to care for people as they age.”

The Municipal Aging Services Project, sponsored by the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, developed a tool kit local governments can use when considering services for people aged 65 years and more. Extensive community engagement with more than 1,300 seniors reflected a keen desire to live independently in their homes, or age in place. Participants also expressed deep concern about the recession’s impact on their ability to remain in their homes.

The Institute will address these concerns by developing new strategies to help people age in place more successfully. Partners for Livable Communities will aid the region by recruiting national experts to assist the region throughout the next year. A regional, multidisciplinary team of local leaders will also guide the work of the Institute over the next year.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton is a member of the team. “In the City of Phoenix and throughout the region, we have successful programs and services in place to serve older adults. Dramatic increases in the population and their diverse needs will affect what assistance is needed and how it can most effectively be given. I have been meeting with older adults to determine what we can do differently. Ensuring people can remain safe and healthy in their homes is one of my key priorities,” said Stanton.

Local funders share this priority as well. Carol Kratz, program director with the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust and a member of the Institute’s team, emphasizes the need for strategic investments. “It has been a challenge to fully meet people’s needs due to economic conditions and increased demand for services—but business as usual is not an option. We need to be smart as funders and diligently look for new models that can meet needs more effectively,” said Kratz.

Mary Lynn Kasunic, president and CEO of the Area Agency on Aging, Region One, also sees the benefit of considering new ways of meeting needs, particularly in partnership with the community. “This Institute can help us determine a new model, one that engages older adults as part of the solution. They are often overlooked resources in our community,” she said.

Michelle Dionisio, president of Benevilla, a private nonprofit agency in Surprise, notes the benefits of engaging older adults to help meet needs. “Our more than 770 volunteers are the lifeline we have with the community,” she says. “Every day, people’s lives are better because of the assistance people give to their neighbors. We are going back to how we used to take care of each other. Meeting people’s needs is not just the responsibility of government or nonprofit agencies. It is everyone’s responsibility.”

Other communities participating in the City Leaders Institute on Aging in Place include San Diego, Miami, Arlington County in Virginia, and Montgomery County in Maryland.