Tag Archives: western maricopa county

Jackrabbit Trail

WESTMARC seeks Best of the West nominees

WESTMARC is seeking nominees for its 23rd Annual Best of the West Awards, celebrating the best of Western Maricopa County, in partnership with Cox Communications, and with support from Gila River Indian Community, Republic Media, APS, CopperPoint Mutual Insurance, Arizona Cardinals, and Sub-Zero.

The purpose of the Best of the West Awards program is to recognize outstanding contributions to the image, lifestyle and economic development in Western Maricopa County. This region includes the cities, towns and areas of Avondale, Buckeye, El Mirage, Gila Bend, Glendale, Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Peoria, West Phoenix, Sun City, Sun City West, Surprise, Tolleson, Wickenburg, and Youngtown.

A panel of judges from outside our region will select the best from the following categories:

Economic Engine Award

Nominations for this award should include individuals, organizations, businesses, facilities, or programs which have created a significant economic impact for the West Valley. Nominees from both the public and private sectors and from a variety of industries are encouraged.

Quality of Life Enhancement Award

Nominees should include individuals, organizations, businesses, facilities, or programs which have enhanced the quality of life in the West Valley. Potential nominees could be educational opportunities, recreational programs or facilities, arts and culture venues, etc.

Excellence in Innovation Award

Nominees for this award should be individuals, organizations, businesses, facilities, or programs which demonstrate an innovative concept to accomplish one of the following: fulfill a need for West Valley citizens, preserve the West Valley’s assets or resources, create an economic benefit, etc.

Also presented at the Best of the West, and selected by WESTMARC’s Executive Committee (no entries are required), will be the following awards:

• West Valley Excellence in Leadership

• West Valley Regional Advancement

You are encouraged to submit nominations that you feel deserve recognition. To nominate yourself or someone else, download nomination forms here.

Submissions must be postmarked or delivered by 5 p.m. Friday, August 28, 2015 . The Best of the West Awards will be presented Thursday, November 5, 2015 starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Wigwam Resort.

EcoFlight, sustainable environment, Photo: Valley Forward

Sonoran Institute, Arizona Wilderness Coalition Encourage A Sustainable Environment

Two non-profit organizations are working together to foster a sustainable environment and vibrant economy in the West Valley, recognizing the natural and cultural assets of these communities.

I was honored the Sonoran Institute and the Arizona Wilderness Coalition recently invited me to take an airplane tour to see and hear first hand about their efforts. Our six-person EcoFlight plane took off from Deer Valley Airport for an arial exploration of public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management that may be suitable for solar/renewable energy development. These lands are included in the Sonoran Desert Heritage conservation proposal and are the target of a desert protection campaign to protect BLM lands for current residents and future generations.

A vast expanse of public lands are included in the conservation proposal, forming a crescent from the Lake Pleasant area, expanding west to the county border region, then curving east to the Sonoran Desert National monument. This comprehensive solution for ecosystem protection ensures the best possible integration of a variety of uses and users. The Sonoran Institute has been reaching out to a wide cross section of stakeholders, including land managers, developers, the military, local governments, user groups and other like-minded organizations, such as Valley Forward, that have an interest in both conservation land and renewable energy.

EcoFlight supports the initiative and helps foster public outreach by providing aviation services to those interested in land use issues associated with solar facilities and wind generating turbines. This unique group educates its passengers on how these renewable energy facilities will affect wildlife and conversation efforts. Seeing is believing; it’s an amazing perspective to view from above the corridors that exist or must be created to transmit and harness natural energy.

Conservation of these public lands provides many benefits, including protecting cultural resources, key wildlife habitat, water and air quality and recreational opportunities. As Western Maricopa County continues to grow over the coming decades, these valuable landscapes will be protected into perpetuity.

The bottom line is a robust renewable energy industry, and the economic prosperity that comes with it can be realized in a thoughtful manner that is respectful of our natural resources, including our wildlife, water and public lands.