Don Sorchych My View

DECEMBER 8, 2010

A lost cap • Lost friends
• Property tax

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A dear friend of ours has lost a treasure. Blaine Keith who has an incredible background in the military, test piloting, trouble shooting for the space shuttle and executive management lost a cap with visible proof of his accomplishments.

When he visited a while ago he wore the distinctive black baseball cap with a marine emblem on it to which numerous emblems and awards were fixed and explained their significance. He started with his silver wings which depicted his flight training at Pensacola Florida. Then a Guadalcanal emblem where he flew in WW II with the famous Ace, Joe Foss, as a 17 year-old marine pilot. Then a Korean War emblem where he flew combat missions. There was a miniature plane called the 83J that he was an early test pilot for, which was secret at the time he flew it. The plane was capable of mach 2 speed. There were an abundance of NASA awards for his accomplishments in the space shuttle program. One was an astronaut award for flying a NASA plane with a six foot wingspan that was a precursor to later space exploration.

lost hat cartoon
The next day Blaine went to Kiwanis and Alan Haugner asked him to save a seat for his wife, Kathy, since she was running late. He put his cap on the seat to save it and left without the cap. He called Herb Hyde who printed the loss in the Kiwanis newsletter, but no response. Blaine went to the next Kiwanis, still no results even though Harold’s turned their place up side down looking for it.

Blaine had promised a grandchild would inherit the cap and is desperately seeking its return. It is no exaggeration to say the cap is irreplaceable and priceless. If you know anything about this heirloom please contact me at 480-488-2021 EXT. 25.

Lost friends
Our obituaries are always sad to print. They are especially sad this week because two friends have left us. T.J. (Jerry DeSantis), that wonderful hardware entrepreneur, has passed. I’ll bet most readers of Sonoran News did business with T.J. in Joe Podolak’s shopping center next to the Dairy Queen. Amongst his jungle of hardware he could find exactly what you needed and sell it to you at competitive prices. You also got the latest local news and you could be sure he would remember you. RIP our unforgettable Creeker.

Carefree’s Mel Clingan passed. Mel retired here after years of running successful newspapers in Kansas. I hadn’t seen Mel recently but in the past few years we had lunch together at least monthly. He was a dapper individual and always wore a hat. Everyone at Sonoran News knew him and although he came here weekly to get early copies of Sonoran News he always had time for a chat and left with employees saying, “What a nice guy!” He was prince and will be missed. RIP, our friend.

Property tax?
Our survey was online last week and because of its importance I will run it for a few more weeks to see what the temperature is among Cave Creek voters, about fire protection, specifically, and property tax, generally.

We asked if you were for, against or undecided about property taxes.

Sonoran News was strongly in favor of property tax to fund the acquisition of Spur Cross, a position I never thought I would take. I was surprised, but pleased, that the vote had a record turnout and 78 percent were favorable to the method of purchase.

In July 2012, the current Spur Cross Ranch tax will be completed and according to past promises from town hall, the tax will end.

Now there are rumbles at town hall that the recent Rural/Metro subscription hike may necessitate a property tax. The rumor is that subscriptions are now less than 50 percent. According to Rural/Metro Fire Chief John Kraetz, Cave Creek has been below 50 percent for several years.

Well, with every subscription hike one would expect subscription losses. And why, in a year of essentially no inflation, is the price going up and why isn’t the town asking for an explanation?

Fire Chief John Kraetz gave me the name of a Rural/Metro employee named Luther Moorhead who cleared a lot of cobwebs about this whole area.

It turns out Cave Creek doesn’t have below 50 percent participation. As of now and including some county island properties there is a little over 60 percent who subscribe.
It was surprising that the subscriptions in Carefree were 48 percent of properties in 2006 just before the town began to provide sales-tax funded fire services.

Moorhead said Rural/Metro did market for subscriptions by direct mail to people in Cave Creek. They explained the value of having subscriptions and the penalties if they had to respond to a fire or ambulance need when people were not current with their subscriptions.
Moorhead defended price increases by the loss of some subscriptions due to foreclosures and by people’s inability to pay in the depressed economy. He said costs have also risen because of rising prices in materials and supplies.

This is a problem which won’t go away. We will keep am eye on it and report our findings.