Southwest Wildlife Discovery Series: The Tiny Kit Fox — A True Desert Fox

By Marcia Sawyer, Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center docent

Maybe you have seen this little fox running through the desert at dusk — if so, consider yourself lucky indeed. Although the kit fox is not strictly nocturnal, it usually comes out of its den at dusk to hunt for food and therefore isn’t seen very often.

The relatively shy but curious kit fox (Vulpes macrotis) is the second smallest canid in the world (the Fennec fox from Africa being the smallest), weighing only 4–5 pounds as an adult and growing to 12 inches in height. These foxes can be found in desert areas from southern Oregon south into Mexico, preferring mostly flat, sparsely vegetated areas for their homes.

With its long bushy, black-tipped tail and large ears, the kit fox is well-adapted to the low desert areas it inhabits. Those large ears, which allow them to hear prey that is underground, serve another useful purpose as well. Their ears help the kit fox dissipate heat to keep it cool. Its mottled gray, white and tan color helps it blend in with its surroundings. Kit foxes even have extra fur on their paws and between their toes — yet another dual-purpose characteristic. That extra fur protects their paws from the hot desert ground and helps muffle the sound of their footsteps while they are hunting. Amazingly, the kit fox does not need water to survive. Although it will occasionally drink water if available, the kit fox gets most of its hydration from the food that it eats! What a perfect desert specimen!

So, what does a kit fox like best when it is dining? Leaving its cool den to hunt in the evening, its favorite food is the kangaroo rat, but it also eats rabbits, pack rats and other mice, lizards, small birds and even plants and seeds.

The kit fox has a range of a few miles. Not content with a single home however, it will have several dens within that range. The entrances are narrow (to keep coyotes out) and there are multiple entrances and exits to each den. Tunnels within their dens can be 9–18 feet long! The kit fox rotates between its dens, both to get away from fleas and to keep coyotes from finding them easily.

Kit foxes are solitary except during mating and while raising their families. Babies are born in April and May, with dad bringing food for mom in the den while she nurses the newborns. By 5 months of age, the babies are ready to go out on their own, find their own areas and dig their own dens and start the life cycle all over.

While it may be pure luck to see a kit fox in the wild, Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center in Scottsdale has some resident kit foxes who would love it if you came to visit. Make your plans by registering for a tour at southwestwildlife.org.


Photos courtesy of Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center

Mix It Up at Home This Summer with Iconic

Summer is here, and with many of us still staying at home, it is the perfect time to hone our home mixologist skills. So, we turned to the experts at Iconic Cocktail Co. for some inspiration.

Led by owners Matt Farrow and Kaylee (soon to be Farrow) Nedley, Iconic creates handcrafted cocktail mixers. The company produces its mixers seasonally in small batches and says that its focus is fully on flavor.

“At Iconic Cocktail Co., every bottle starts with real ingredients,” the team says, “like fresh citrus, local prickly pears, or honey sourced from the Valley (just to name a few!) We’re focused on the flavor of these real ingredients, so we cut back on sugar and leave out the fake stuff. This results in a product that is low in natural pure cane sugar with a clean label. We never use high fructose corn syrup, artificial ingredients, or preservatives. Every ounce is packed with flavor so all you have to do is, just add spirit.”

The company also teams up with local winemakers, distillers, bartenders and baristas for inspiration, and Iconic was kind enough to share some of that inspiration with some summertime favorites to try at home.

To learn more about this Arizona-grown company, purchase mixers or for additional inspiration, visit iconiccocktail.com. |CST

Melo Rosé Sangria

Iconic says, “This sangria calls for our summer seasonal, Iconic Watermelon Rose Tonic. This mixer is made with fresh melons and fragrant roses, all balanced out with the right amount of quinine. To complement the rose flavor, we are using a Rosé instead of white wine. Garnished with slices of cucumber and melon balls from watermelon and Korean melon, this will be your new favorite summer sipper.”

Makes about 8 servings

1 bottle of Rosé
1 cup Iconic Watermelon Rose Tonic
¼ cup lime juice
1 12oz can sparkling water

Garnish with cucumber, melon balls, and lime wheels
Combine all in a pitcher
Garnish your glasses and serve with ice

Tiki Mule

“A new take on a Moscow Mule made with rum and a little Spiced Honey. This tropical mule is perfect for summer!”

2oz rum
1/2oz Iconic Ginga Syrup
1/2oz Iconic Spiced Honey
1/2oz lime juice
2-4 pieces of pineapple
Splash of sparkling water

Muddle pineapple and lime juice in a shaker
Add Ginga Syrup, Spiced Honey, lime, and rum. Shake all with ice
Double strain into a stainless steel or mule mug over fresh ice
Garnish with a pineapple wedge and leaf

A Walk in Oaxaca

“Sharing one of the three recipes we created with our friends at Provision Coffee!”

1.5oz Corazon Tequila
.5oz Yuu Baal Mezcal
1oz Iconic Prickly Pear Sour
.25oz Creme De Violet
.5oz Lemon juice

Shake with ice
Strain into a chilled coupe
Garnish with a lemon twist


Photos courtesy of Iconic Cocktail Co.

Take a Virtual Adventure on the Arizona National Scenic Trail 

Passage 39, Grand Canyon — North Rim; Photo: Larry Simkins

Residents looking for a big goal to keep them healthy and motivated during a time of social distancing are invited to sign up for the Arizona Trail Virtual Adventure.

Passage 34, San Francisco Peaks; Photo: Larry Simkins

This do-it-yourself event encourages participants to hike, run or ride anywhere and accumulate miles toward completing all or a portion of the 800-mile Arizona Trail. There are great rewards for various miles completed, and all proceeds benefit the Arizona Trail Association (ATA) to help supplement revenue the ATA has lost through cancellation of its trail running events, Arizona Trail Day and other community events that are an important source of financial support for ATA programs and operations.
Choose from the 25-, 50-, 100-, 200-, 400-, 600- or 800-mile challenge. Participants can walk around their neighborhood, ride trails close to home, run on a treadmill or any form of non-motorized locomotion anywhere. Those who complete an average of 4 miles per day between now and the end of the year, will reach the 800-mile finish line. Shorter distances have a completion date of Sept. 30.

Passage 31 – Marshall Lake Trailhead, Walnut Canyon

Every mile achievement has Arizona Trail rewards to keep folks motivated, including a hat, bandana, Buff, coaster, coupons, socks, custom 3-D wooden map of Arizona and more.

Coconino National Forest; Photo: Daniel Snyder

Learn more about the event by visiting the Arizona Trail Virtual Adventure website. Visit raceroster.com to sign up.

The Arizona National Scenic Trail is a complete non-motorized path, stretching 800 diverse miles across Arizona from Mexico to Utah. It links deserts, mountains, canyons, forests, communities and people. The ATA’s mission is to protect, maintain, enhance, promote and sustain the Arizona Trail as a unique encounter with the land. Learn more at aztrail.org.


All photos Courtesy of Arizona Trail Association

Whiskey and Popcorn Reviews: 5 Movies Directed by and Starring Black Filmmakers

Tuesday Mahrle and Kaely Monahan

—By Kaely Monahan and Tuesday Mahrle

With the death of George Floyd, Dion Johnson here in Phoenix, and many other people of color, conversations about race, racism, policing and the abuse of power are back on center stage. Hollywood has not been immune to promoting hurtful and tone-deaf narratives. The big studios have long promoted white, cis-gendered, male stories over those of women, people of color and the LGBTQ community. In recent years we have seen efforts to make changes. Waves of “Oscars So White” and “Time Out” sought to varying degrees of success to change the conversations in Tinseltown. And while there have been efforts to increase the visibility of Black film in particular, there is still a very long way to go.

As two white women, one identifying as pansexual and the other as cisgender, we strive to be aware of our own inherent biases when viewing films. With that in mind, we want to introduce you to five Black-made films that you might not have seen, and that we love.

Blindspotting

Directed by Carlos López Estrada, Blindspotting is a 2018 comedic drama both written, produced and starring Daveed Diggs (who you might recognize from the Broadway hit Hamilton) and Rafael Casal. The film follows parolee Collin Hoskins (Diggs) as he finishes his last three days of probation. His best friend since childhood Miles, is short tempered and reckless. Having grown up on the rougher side of the San Francisco Bay, Collin and Miles experience the divides between race. While Miles can get away with acting tough and being a troublemaker, Collin faces prejudice, bigotry and racism. Through humor and drama, Blindspotting examines the complicated nature of race and racism and who belongs.

You can watch it now on Amazon Prime.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco 

In a semi-autobiographical story, Jimmie Fails longs to return to the Victorian home his grandfather built in the heart of San Francisco. Each week he lovingly and covertly tends to the home, while avoiding the current occupants. When the homeowners are suddenly forced to leave the house, Jimmie seizes the opportunity to move in. But family secrets lay buried there and Jimmie realizes that family history isn’t always certain. Joined on his adventures by his best friend and artist, Montgomery, Jimmie searches for identity and belonging in a city that is ever changing.

The film was co-written by Jimmie Fails and JoeTalbot, and directed by Joe Talbot.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco is one of our top picks from Sundance 2019.

You can see it now on Amazon Prime.

BECOMING; Courtesy of Netflix

Becoming

Michelle Obama is just as iconic as her husband President Obama, and in the Netflix documentary on her life, we get a close and intimate look at the First Lady’s life. For those who haven’t read her memoir by the same name, the Netflix documentary allows for a speed round of Michelle Obama’s life, through the lens of her book tour.

Directed by Nadia Hallgren, Becoming shows the First Lady reflecting on her eight years in office with her husband and children as well as all the years that led up to that time.

You can see Becoming on Netflix.

American Son

In this Netflix adaptation of the Broadway play by Christopher Demos-Brown, American Son the film version premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film festival. Starring Kerry Washington, Steven Pasquale and Jeremy Jordan, the plot examines the unjustified killings of Black men at the hands of white police officers. A timely subject that is still exceptionally raw even today. Washington plays Kendra Ellis-Connor, a mother of a missing teenage boy. She is on the hunt to find out what happened to her son.

You can find American Son on Netflix.

Moonlight

The 2017 Academy Award winner for Best Picture, Moonlight explores three periods of life for Chiron. From young adolescence, to mid-teen and then to young adulthood, we see Chiron navigate what it means to grow up Black in a crime-ridden neighborhood in Miami, Florida. Chiron is shy and aloof, often observing his life instead of actively participating — at least until he is forced to interact. Bound up in this, is Chiron’s discovery of his sexuality as a gay man. Moonlight is poetic, stirring and beautiful.

Moonlight was written and Barry Jenkins, who also directed the fantastic 2019 film If Beale Street Could Talk.

You can watch Moonlight on Netflix.


Whiskey and Popcorn is a movie podcast by local film critics Kaely Monahan and Tuesday Mahrle. You can hear their full movie reviews on whiskeyandpopcorn.org.

Annual Women’s Film Festival Pivots to Virtual Event

LUNAFEST, a fundraising film festival dedicated to championing women filmmakers and bringing women together in their communities, has been rescheduled as a virtual event, set for Sunday, Aug. 2, at 4pm. It was originally scheduled to be held at Madison Center for the Arts in March but was canceled due to COVID-19 closures.

Hosted by Soroptimist International of Phoenix (siphx.org) for its fifth consecutive year, LUNAFEST is a unique film festival that highlights women as leaders in society, illustrated through seven short films by women filmmakers. The films range from animation to drama, and cover topics such as women’s health, body image, relationships, cultural diversity and breaking barriers.

All proceeds from the event will benefit local nonprofit Soroptimist International of Phoenix, whose mission is to empower women and girls by providing access to, and support of their educational objectives, and Chicken & Egg Pictures, a nonprofit organization that supports women nonfiction filmmakers whose artful and innovative storytelling catalyzes social change. Visit the event Facebook page at facebook.com/lunafestphoenix2020.

Thus far, the festival, which is created and funded by LUNA®, The Whole Nutrition Bar, has raised more than $5 million for nonprofit organizations across the U.S. and Canada. (lunafest.org)

Tickets for the virtual event are $20 per household and are available for purchase online at https://bit.ly/LunaFestPhx. A streaming link and password will be sent to all those that have purchased tickets the morning of the event. Purchasers will have 24-hour access to view the films until 4pm, Monday, Aug. 3.

The 2021 LUNAFEST is tentatively scheduled for March 7 at Madison Center for the Arts, featuring a return to the full cinematic experience.

Love Your Neighbor as Yourself … Really?!

Rabbi_headshot2

Click to learn more about Rabbi Kravitz

By Rabbi Robert L. Kravitz, D.D. 

On the internet, on the radio, on television, in the newspapers. We began our summer at the end of May 2020 and into June with reports and graphic images of violence, outrage, tears of pain marching across the USA and around the world.

Right in front of our eyes we saw, over and over, the killing of a Black man on a city street. People stood around and watched. Some videotaped. Some created a human barricade around the dying man. NOBODY moved in to help!!

There are excuses for non-action, usually weak answers to critical questions. Why didn’t anybody do anything? It has become too frequent in our country to stand around and watch, then to respond with complaints and anger and violence.

The violence of the action of killing someone in real time and plain view does not seem to motivate the same kind of response as after the fact. What is wrong with this picture? Why don’t human beings reply to horrific events immediately, or work to prevent them? Why are we so jaded as to become voyeurs? Where are our values?

After the event, we will hear calls for “love your neighbor as yourself,” and we will listen to offers of assistance in the cleanup of the communities’ splinters and ashes. Where were the voices of support and caring prior to these acts? Where were the offers to reshape our society into a civil land for all, prior to devastation, riots and burnings?

Absent are the voices of national leadership. Missing are the offers to try and heal the historical pain of dysfunction that prompts these revolts. Lacking is an honest desire to create a planet with peace and harmony FOR EVERYBODY.

And sadly, when the terrifying acts and horrible images of death and fire soon become part of history, who will stand to truly love their neighbors as themselves?

Will you join me?


Rabbi Robert L. Kravitz, D.D. is known Valley-wide for his more than three decades of support for civil and human rights, and the positive efforts of law enforcement. Serving as a volunteer police chaplain for more than 30 years, he regularly addresses civic and religious gatherings on related subjects, while working part-time as Hospital Chaplaincy Coordinator for Jewish Family & Children’s Service. Contact him at rrlkdd@hotmail.com.

PVSchools to Host Virtual Job Fair July 9

For the 2020–21 school year, the Paradise Valley Unified School District (PVSchools) is looking to hire certified full-time and part-time teaching positions, as well as employee support professional positions, including bus drivers who are paid based on K–12 driving experience.

PVSchools will hold a Virtual Job Fair Thursday, July 9, from 10am to 1pm.
Prior to the job fair, applicants may explore the district’s school sites and departments, view current vacancies, share their employment interests directly with administrators and apply for positions.
During the job fair, applicants may view vacancies, share their information, apply for positions, attend live meeting rooms with administrative teams and may be selected to participate in personal interviews.

To learn more about open positions and available benefits, visit pvschools.net/jobfair.

HER Certified Review: 2021 KIA Seltos SX Turbo AWD — See Ya in a KIA

Click to learn more about Cathy.

By Cathy Droz –

Several years ago, there was a KIA dealer in Phoenix who did his own radio and TV commercials. His voice was much like the character George Costanza in “Seinfeld” and he would end all his commercials (in a high-pitched voice) with “See Ya in a KIA.” It was so irritating, but it became an iconic phrase like “Where’s the Beef?” or “Just do it.” Folks would use that phrase to say goodbye after a lunch meeting or leaving the office. “See Ya in a KIA” … Talk about great marketing.

Well that was then, and this is now. The KIA brand, along with its model lineup, does not need a quirky saying or a hamster to get your attention.

KIA has brand recognition because they listen to their customer base, strive to be on every person’s shopping list and have created outstanding vehicles. Taking cues from other luxury and utilitarian vehicles, they have come up with some winners. The Sportage, Niro, Soul, Sorento, Rio, Forte, Optima, Stinger, K900, Sedona as well as the “impossible to keep in stock” Telluride and my test vehicle, the 2021 Seltos.

The Seltos is a very good-looking vehicle. My test vehicle was white with a black roof. It caught my attention immediately as it did other drivers on the road. I was stopped at a red light when a woman, lowering her window, asked me what kind of SUV I was driving. When I told her she yelled back, “How much?” And I said, “Under 30,” where she immediately gave me thumbs up.

The KIA warranty is one of the best in the mass market brand with 10-year/100,000 Mile limited Powertrain — 5-yr/60,000-Mile limited basic warranty and 5-yr/60,000 Mile Roadside Assistance.

You need to test drive the Seltos and see for yourself if it will meet your needs. My friends (empty nester golfers) took mine for a spin and then tried to get their golf bags in plus other accessories. The cargo area, when the back seats are down, is huge.

You have a choice of driving “feels.” The Drive Mode (DMS) made a difference in how the vehicle responded, once I changed from Eco to Normal, I felt the ride was smoother for me. The “golfers” went to my friend’s KIA dealership and wound up purchasing a Kia Sorento, finding the Seltos a tad small for their needs. I say test drive several! It is like Cinderella’s glass slipper… test drive until the right one fits.

In the case of my “golfer” friends, I suppose we could say “See Ya in a Kia” as they also own a Sportage.

For more information go to kia.com or for more reviews go to hercertified.com

Here are some of the outstanding features of the 2021 Kia Seltos SX Turbo AWD:

  • 6L Turbo 4-Cylinder Engine, 195 lb.- ft Torque, 175 Horsepower, 7-Speed Quick-Shift DCT Automatic Torque. All-Wheel Drive w/Center Lock Drive Mode Select (DMS)

KIA Drivewise Driver-Assist Technology

  • Forward Collision -Avoidance Assist, Blind Spot Collision Warning, Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist Rear
  • Rear Cross Traffic Warning Lane Keeping Assist, Lane departure warning, driver attention warning, high beam assist.

SAFETY

  • Dual Front Advanced Airbags, Dual Front Seat Mounted Side and Full- Length Curtain Airbags
  • ESC and Downhill, Brake/Hill-start Assist Control

INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR HIGHLIGHTS

  • 8” Touchscreen w/Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • Rear Camera, USB Multimedia Port, heated front seats, 60/40 Split-Folding and reclining, dual level cargo floor.
  • 18” Alloy Wheels, roof rails, fog lamps, upgraded grille with integrated LED light bar, compact spare tire

SX Turbo AWD Features – All Included in price 24 items – Here are the Highlights

  • UVO Link w/Navigation, 10.25 Display, Bose Premium Audio, sound connected lighting, smart cruise control W/stop and go, highway driving assist, Sofino Seat Trim, 10-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar, remote star (on Key fob), wireless phone charger, rear USB charge port, cargo cover

EXTRA
Clear White with Black Roof Paint: $345
Carpeted Floor Mats: $130
MSRP: $27,890
AS TESTED: $29,485
Fuel: 25 mpg City and 30 mpg Highway


Founder of H.E.R. Certified and co-founder of Smart Women Series USA, Cathy Droz has test driven over 520 cars for manufacturers and reviewed them on her website, hercertified.com, radio, TV, YouTube and print.  She is a consumer advocate for women car buyers and training expert for the auto industry.  Her book, A Woman’s Guide to Buying a Car with Confidence and Street Smarts — Don’t let these High Heels fool you, is an easy and informative guide to car buying. 

Cave Creek Mayor Issues Emergency Proclamation Restricting Use of Consumer Fireworks in the Town

Today, Cave Creek Mayor Ernie Bunch issued a proclamation declaring an emergency due to fire dangers and restricted the use of permissible consumer fireworks in the Town.  The Town had already prohibited firework displays since the Town Code bans them once the fire level reaches”High,” and the Town’s fire level is currently at “Extreme.”

The Proclamation is in effect from 5pm today, June 30, through 11:59pm, July 6.

Read the proclamation here: https://www.cavecreekaz.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=460.

Arizona Governor Announces New Restrictions Amid Rise in COVID-19 Cases — Bars, gyms and other businesses to pause operations effective 8pm tonight

“Arm yourself with a mask. It’s your best defense against this virus.” — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey

At a press conference this afternoon, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced new statewide restrictions as positive COVID-19 numbers continue to rise.

Executive Order 2020-43: Pausing of Arizona’s Reopening — Slowing the Spread of COVID-19, includes pausing operations of bars, indoor gyms, fitness clubs or centers, indoor movie theaters, waterparks and tubing operations, effective 8pm tonight, June 29. The state has a “targeted” reopening date of July 27.

The governor stated that, “This will help relieve stress on our health care system and give time for new transmissions to slow.”

Today’s announcement stated that in order to reopen, the establishments must attest to and adhere to all public health regulations, and post it for the public to see. The governor said that enforcement will be led by local public health officials and local authorities.

The Executive Order also limits mass gatherings.

“Effective June 29, 2020, organized public events of more than 50 people are prohibited unless the city, town or county in unincorporated areas has approved the event, and only if adequate safety precautions are implemented, including physical distancing measures.”

Guidance is also offered for public and private pools. Read the full Executive Order here: https://azgovernor.gov/sites/default/files/eo_2020-43.pdf

Also issued today is Executive Order 2020-44: Protecting Public Health for Students and Teachers. The Order delays the start of in-person classes for the school year that begins July 1 until Aug. 17, “but schools may begin the school year on their regularly planned start date prior to August 17, 2020 through distance learning.”

The governor stressed that Aug. 17 is an “aspirational” date and that State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman continues to work with district superintendents and other stakeholders on plans to educate students safely this school year.

Read the full Executive Order here: https://azgovernor.gov/sites/default/files/eo_2020-44.pdf

Dr. Cara Christ, director of Arizona Department of Health Services, provided updated guidance for Independence Day, encouraging residents to celebrate with “immediate household or daily contacts” and to protect vulnerable family members and friends by sharing time virtually.

She also shared that the state is partnering with Banner Health and Arizona State University**, among others, to increase availability and timeliness of testing statewide.

Also announced today, by the end of this week, the state will have in place a program to provide access to masks for every Arizonan.*

Ducey closed the press conference with this reminder: “Arm yourself with a mask. It’s your best defense against this virus.”

WATCH today’s press conference in its entirety here. |CST


[*This story is developing and will be updated.]

[** Link updated July 9, 2020.]

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