Young people fill chambers for council meeting
The Yuma City Council Chamber was nearly full for Wednesday's council meeting, and most of those in attendance were young people there to observe city government in action, to be honored and to exercise the public's right to be heard.
A large contingent was from Australia, here to participate in the annual three-day Southwest Rotary Classic Basketball Tournament Thursday through Saturday at Cibola, Kofa and Yuma high schools. Lending an international presence to this year's event, the team from King's School in Sydney, Australia, will play Cibola at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Cibola to open the tournament.
The team members were recognized during Wednesday's council meeting by Mayor Al Krieger, who welcomed them to Yuma and invited them to visit again. In turn, Krieger was presented with a booklet about Australia and King's School, which was founded in 1831 by command of King William IV of England to provide Australia with its next generation of leaders.
Also recognized Wednesday were members of Boy Scout Troop No. 92, who were honored for their community service and meeting the needs of others. The troop helped with a Neighborhood Services project by doing extensive yard cleanup for a person with physical disabilities.
Another Boy Scout troop, No. 868, was at the meeting as part of its work on the citizenship badge.
And exercising their right as citizens to be heard, several students from Arizona Western College approached the council as a group to show their support for a municipal curbside recycling program.
Leading them was student body president Tim Taylor, who also spoke about AWC's recycling program during Tuesday's work session.
“We're here to voice our support for recycling,” he told the council. He noted that educating students about recycling was made a priority this year. In two months, the program has grown dramatically, he said, and contamination by waste materials of recycling bins has dropped significantly.
Others spoke up in favor of the city adopting a recycling program.
Lori Stofft said she was there as a resident whose household already does a lot of recycling and composting. She also was there as a Girl Scout leader whose girls have identified recycling and sustainability as a major focus for the year. And she was there as director of public relations and marketing for AWC, which has been focusing on sustainablity.
Pedro “Mike” Olague also expressed his support for a recycling program, saying it's the right thing to do.
Mary Ann Easterday, a member of the city's Clean and Beautiful Commission, illustrated the amount of waste material that can be recycled by bringing a large box to the speaker stand, a box she filled up four times on election day with paper she recycled.
“Our community needs recycling,” she told the council, adding that it's a project the commission has been pushing for five years.
However, she was critical of an option discussed by the council Tuesday of issuing green bags to residents for disposal of recyclables that could be picked up during regular trash collection.
“Maybe the bags work for smaller communities but not one of our size,” she said, questioning whether such bags would be used for the purpose intended. She also expressed concern they would be stolen, so the city wouldn't realize any revenue from the recyclables.
On another subject, Easterday expressed concern about the escalating abuse of a substance known as “bath salts” and urged the community to take action to stop their sales.
She said police officers recently had to stun a 21-year-old on bath salts seven times with a Taser to subdue him at Crossroads Mission. And that's an occurrence that is happening at the mission weekly, she said.