She and her husband Robert used to live at 226 W University Blvd. Long before moving there with Robert she would visit that house every summer as a child. Her grandfather Landy W. Johnson, Head Deacon and a Trustee at the Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, had his barber shop in the house. His image is on the historical crossroads sign at 11th Ave and University Blvd. You will also see the Batiste family represented, from Rita's mother's side. Joe Batiste was an international track star and Fred Batiste was a star football player at the University of Arizona. Rita wrote a wonderful memoir about the family histories and the times in which they lived, "Tucson's Forgotten Generation: Biographical Memoirs of the Dunbar Neighborhood in the 40's and 50's."
I highly recommend all Dunbar/Spring residents read the book. You can find it at www.RitaElliott.com.
There was a memorial service for Rita today at the Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church.
Non-native South American mesquites are a serious problem around much of Tucson. They are very weedy and sprout and grow quickly - see before half of image below. They are contamitaing the gene pool of the native velvet mesquite to the point where any mesquite that come up now on their own are either hybrids or mostly non-native genes. Velvet mesquite is a keystone tree of our region and is very important for everything from firewood to wildlife habitat. Due to many characteristics these South American varieties are not desirable.
The growth you see below is only ~6 months after the entire chicane had been clear-cut. These mesquites will outcompete most any other plant if there is extra water such as on First St.
We need to get native, desirable trees established, which help to minimize space and sunlight, helping to prevent this kind of invasion.
I know many of us do a lot to save water. Conserve2Enhance (C2E) is a simple program that helps you put your water conservation efforts to work for the environment, including the environment in our own neighborhood. The Tucson C2E program links your water conservation to riparian restoration projects in the Tucson area. To date over $55,000 has been spent on 7 community led riparian and urban wash enhancement projects.
As a neighborhood, Dunbar/Spring can apply for C2E grants for rainwater harvesting along streets that serve as our water courses to restore the wash-like qualities of shade, flood attenuation, stormwater quality improvements, and habitat.
(Recommended reading section - pages 20-23) From October 2013 through May 2014, Living Streets Alliance conducted a Neighborhood Walkability Assessment Program in five neighborhoods. The Program was informed by participant feedback and lessons learned from the pilot phase of the program (February to April 2013).
We’ll show you how to collect, scarify (for germination), and plant native food tree seed within simple rainwater-harvesting earthworks in the public right-of-way to sustainably grow shade and enhanced habitat for people and wildlife. We’ll also plant multi-color flowering cacti with delicious fruits – a different color on each block so you are encouraged to walk around the neighborhood to see every variety.
Desert Harvesters is organizing two events on June 22 (the peak of our native bean trees’ harvest season) to help people dramatically enhance the quality of their harvests, what they make with them, and how to better rhyme with the Sonoran Desert’s annual cycles in a way that enhances our shared home and biome.
Around a dozen neighbors came out to help Living Streets Alliance (LSA) cunduct a walkability assessment for the Dunbar/Spring Neighbrohood on May 3rd, 2014.
The event helped many folks get a better sense for our walking assets and problem areas in and around the Dunbar/Spring neighborhood. The walk also served as a forum for a lively debate on right-of-way issues and owner responsibilities. (click read more for photos)
The Living Street Alliance (LSA) will be conducting a ‘Walkability Assessment’ in the Dunbar Spring neighborhood in the coming weeks and this event is the first phase (see attached files for more details).
First workshop is April 28th at 7pm at the Dunbar School - click on this story for more details.
This is where neighbors and community members come together to brainstorm and give input on where we walk and what encourages/discourages walking in our neighborhood. There will be refreshments and door prizes provided by neighborhood businesses.
This meeting will be held in the meeting room of the Dunbar School (325 W 2nd St - SW corner of the building.