Study: Phoenix-Area Cities Among Best for Single Homeowners

With sunsets like this one, it's no wonder single people are opting to settle down and buy houses in Scottsdale and other Phoenix-area cities. | Matt Heacock

A new study places the Phoenix suburbs of Chandler, Scottsdale and Mesa high on the list of U.S. cities where single people own homes.

As Phoenix radio station KTAR reported last week, the study by Smart Asset looked at one-person households in cities across the country and determined how many of those residents own, rather than rent, their homes. In Chandler, the study found, 54 percent of singles own their homes, putting the city fourth on the nationwide list for home ownership by singles.

Not far behind were Scottsdale, which placed sixth, at 52 percent home ownership by singles; and Mesa, which was eighth, at 51 percent. In Mesa, the study noted, 52 percent of those owner-occupied one-person households are owned by seniors, the highest such rate in the country.

Two Virginia cities, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, took the top two spots on the Smart Asset list. Aurora, Colorado, was third.

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Join the Debate: What Is 'Arizona Food'?

Los Corrales, Pinetop-Lakeside | Paul Markow

A lively discussion on the social-media site Reddit this week centered on a simple question about our state: "When you think about Arizona food, what dish do you think of?"

The Reddit user, posting on the site's /r/arizona subreddit, continued, "I’m making a web series on how to make the most iconic dish from each state. What Arizona dish would you like to see made?"

As you might imagine, in a state as big and diverse as Arizona, there were plenty of different responses. Here are some of the highest-rated ones:

  • "Mexican food and Bosa Donuts make up 90 percent of my diet." (That probably isn't healthy.)
  • "Carne asada ... you can find it in almost every town in Arizona."
  • "Sonoran hot dog. It's not my favorite, but it can be quite good."
  • "Chimichanga." (By some accounts, this Mexican dish was invented in Arizona.)
  • "Navajo fry bread."

Of course, food is one of those topics about which people can argue endlessly and never reach a consensus. But what do you think? When you think of "Arizona food," what comes to mind? Let us know in the comments.

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Throwback Thursday: Arizona Highways, April 1987

From the issue: "Jennifer Hinshaw's photograph of a rustic cabin overlooking Oak Creek won her first place in the Youth category — and a Nikon camera and lens — in the Arizona Highways Amateur Photography Contest. A Prescott, Arizona, native now attending Northern Arizona University, Hinshaw has been nurturing her interest and talent in photography since childhood."

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Arizona-Based NASA Project Detects Large Asteroid

Karen Martin | Wupatki National Monument

An Arizona-based group that scans the night sky for near-Earth asteroids recently detected one that passed within 119,000 miles of our planet.

That might not seem very close, but according to KTAR radio, the asteroid — which is about as wide as a football field is long — is the largest space rock of its size to come that close to Earth in recorded history. (To put it in perspective, the moon is about 239,000 miles from Earth, on average.)

The Catalina Sky Survey, based in the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson, detected the asteroid, which passed by Earth on April 15. (You might remember the Catalina Sky Survey, a NASA-funded University of Arizona program, from the June 2017 issue of Arizona Highways.)

The asteroid was detected only a day before the close encounter. A similarly sized asteroid created Meteor Crater, east of Flagstaff, about 50,000 years ago, KTAR reported.

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It's Official: Sonorasaurus Is Arizona's State Dinosaur

This illustration shows what Sonorasaurus, the only known specimen of which was found in Arizona, might have looked like. | Creative Commons

A bill signed this month by Arizona's governor gives the state something it didn't previously have: an official dinosaur.

Governor Doug Ducey's signature means that Sonorasaurus — the only known specimen of which was discovered near Sonoita in 1994 — is now Arizona's state dinosaur, KTAR radio and other outlets reported recently.

The push to honor Sonorasaurus came from Jax Weldon, a Phoenix 11-year-old who last year wrote to Ducey and state legislators about the dinosaur. As KTAR reported, the large reptile, which was related to Brachiosaurus, likely lived in the Middle Cretaceous, roughly 112 million to 93 million years ago.

Sonorasaurus is thought to have been about 50 feet long and 27 feet tall. A previous effort, in 1998, to honor the dinosaur never advanced in the Legislature.

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Kartchner Caverns State Park Adds New Hiking Trail

Courtesy of Kartchner Caverns State Park

One of Arizona's most distinctive state parks is celebrating the opening of a new hiking trail, along with an existing trail's renovation, this weekend.

Kartchner Caverns State Park, south of Benson in Southeastern Arizona, will hold a grand opening event for the Ocotillo Trail on Sunday, April 22, at 10 a.m. Following the grand opening, there will be a guided hike for the public at 10:30 a.m. The cost of the event is the park entrace fee of $7 per vehicle.

Kartchner Caverns is best known for its namesake caves, but it also features multiple hiking trails above ground. The park said in a news release that the Ocotillo Trail was constructed in response to visitor requests for additional and more challenging hiking trails. All trail work was completed with hand tools by Arizona Conservation Corps trail crew and park staff. The work was funded by a federal grant, the park said.

The new trail is 1.75 miles long and considered challenging. Those hiking it should wear appropriate shoes and clothing, and take plenty of water. Also being celebrated Sunday is the renovation of the park's existing Foothills Loop Trail, a moderate 2.5-mile route.

Guided tours of the caves will be available for an additional fee during the grand opening, but those seeking tours should make advance reservations by visiting the park's website. And if you stay until evening to do some stargazing, keep in mind that the park has been recognized for its dark skies.

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Adopt a Highway Volunteers Put Up Big Numbers in 2017

Daniel Clarke | San Manuel

From our friends at the Arizona Department of Transportation:

Almost 1,500 miles of landscape cleaned along state highways. Fourteen-thousand bags of trash collected. Half a million taxpayer dollars saved. 

That’s what nearly 11,000 volunteers wearing lime-yellow vests accomplished in 2017 through the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Adopt a Highway program.

With many other highway stretches available for adoption, even more can be accomplished in 2018.

“As a frontier state, Arizona has a long history of self-sacrifice and volunteerism, and these impressive numbers illustrate those values,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “Highways provide a first impression of Arizona for many visitors, so we all owe a debt of gratitude to those who are investing time and effort through Adopt a Highway.”

Regardless of how many people volunteer for Adopt a Highway, Halikowski said, everyone has a responsibility for keeping Arizona litter-free.

“We have to continue changing the culture until everyone instinctively knows that littering is absolutely unacceptable,” he said.

Volunteer groups can apply for two-year permits to adopt highway stretches using an application available at azdot.gov/AdoptAHighway. Highways are available in ADOT engineering and maintenance districts around Arizona, and each district has someone available to help groups make selections.

Those accepted for the program get their own instantly recognizable blue sign featuring the name of the organization or group. Groups are expected to clean their stretches of highway at least three times a year.

Volunteers must be at least 12 years old, and cleanup crews should consist of six to 10 people. Groups schedule their cleanups ahead of time with their local ADOT districts, which provides trash bags, scheduled collections and safety training.

Adopt a Highway also has a sponsorship program through which businesses use ADOT-approved providers to clean up along busier highway stretches that tend to attract more litter. Participants in the sponsorship program can have their names and approved logos on blue Adopt a Highway signs.

Mary Currie, who oversees Adopt a Highway volunteer programs, said volunteers include those drawn to service, including retirees, civic organizations and faith groups, as well as families who adopt in memory of a loved one who has passed away. Volunteers tend to have two characteristics: a lot of drive and a love of the outdoors.

“It’s not easy working under the Arizona sun,” Currie said. “But it’s a great way to get exercise and have fun with friends, family or colleagues while providing an invaluable service to Arizona.”

More information on Adopt a Highway opportunities is available at azdot.gov/AdoptAHighway.

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Video Captures Bobcat, Rattlesnake Facing Off in Phoenix Area

A rattlesnake battles a bobcat on a Scottsdale sidewalk. | Laura Lucky via ABC 15

A real estate agent in Scottsdale recently came upon a startling sight: a bobcat doing battle with a rattlesnake on a nearby sidewalk.

As Valley news station ABC15 reported, Laura Lucky was out showing houses when she spotted the animals. In the video she shot, the bobcat paws at the snake as it tries to slither away. The snake strikes at the bobcat, but it's unclear whether it lands any bites.

Ultimately, the bobcat clamps down on the snake near its head and carries it out of view, into the desert.

Wildlife experts told the news station that bobcats are not immune to rattlesnake venom, but that it isn't unusual for the opportunistic felines to go after animals. As we recently reported, rattlesnakes are a more common sight in the Sonoran Desert this time of year, with temperatures on the rise.

You can watch the video here.

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