Three Points Has Many Good People, but They Need Help

I've read the article that appeared in your paper on Three Points ("The Saga of Three Points," March 18) and agree that Leo W. Banks did his research, and to the best of his knowledge, the information is true. I do feel, however, that we need to give credit to the organizations and people who are trying to improve the attitudes and conditions in Robles Junction/Three Points. As I said, there are some really great people who live here:

· Robles Junction Community Council: Made up of citizens who want to initiate programs that will help the area as a whole. The group meets at the Robles Junction Community Center once a month. They are always looking for new members and new ideas. They were just awarded a grant to pay for help in organizing a cleanup program in the different residential areas.

· Friends of Robles Ranch: Primarily involved with improvements and activities having to do with the community center. They also get involved with local youth programs such as 4-H and the Altar Valley Little League. They've bought equipment for the ranch, and built improvements in the Community Clothing Bank. They also got a grant that paid for the landscaping. They welcome new members.

· The Community Clothing Bank is a part of the Friends of Robles Ranch but is run by a fantastic group of volunteer men and women who give generous amounts of their personal time. It is located on the grounds of the community center and, we hope, will be open on a regular basis before long.

· 4-H is made up of many different projects. Meetings and activities involve parents and children ages nine to 19. They show their projects at the Pima County Fair. It is an organization that builds citizenship and responsibilities while having fun. The leadership is all-volunteer.

· Mr. Nick Buckelew and Buckelew Farms add to the economy of the area by putting on the Pumpkin Festival each year. He has donated prizes for the Community Clothing Bank Fashion Show and money to help Little League get back on its feet.

· The Altar Valley Conservation Alliance is an active group of ranchers and local residents interested in our threatened rangelands. They have worked with county, state and federal governments.

· The Three Points Fire District is a first-rate fire department. It boasts a brand new fire station and two sub-stations. Many local citizens worked long and hard to acquire the land and raise the funds for this district. The Board of Directors is a hardworking group of volunteers.

· Our Community Emergency Response Team is a premier group of volunteers. They have been awarded money to buy equipment and continue to grow. They also get involved in community activities.

· The Community Substance Abuse Action Committee meets monthly at the Altar Valley School. We address ways to prevent substance abuse and have been successful in receiving grants to help our cause.

· Our VFW is small but serves a definite need in the community.

There are other activities and groups that have improved our community. The sad thing is that if you look at the leadership and persons involved in any of the groups, you will note that many of the same people are working in two or more areas. We need a broader involvement and more awareness before we can really make a difference.

Marion T. Whitfield

Three Points: No Worse Off Than Any Other Community

The March 18 Tucson Weekly has been sitting at my bedside for three days. I am a busy stay-at-home mother who rarely finds time to read much more than bedtime stories to my children, but this issue has sparked an interest due to its cover article.

I reside in Three Points, and I was unaware that we were caught up in a "saga" that differed from the rest of Tucson, Arizona, the United States or even the world, for that matter. During the 72 hours that this publication rested on my nightstand, numerous murders were reported in central and south Tucson. Is there hope for this fair city, which recently topped the national crime-rate list? You will have to decide for yourself, because according to the Tucson Weekly, there is something worse: a black hole of illegal, drug-running stench 25 miles southwest of Tucson that only "eight or so" people care about.

Ironically, one of the definitions of the word "saga" is "any long story of heroic deeds." This highly cynical story made mention of a few exceptional individuals who have extended their time and service into our apparently war-torn community, but I suppose the countless, daily, run-of-the-mill good-deed statistics were not available to its writer by press time. I would like to make Mr. Banks and his cohorts aware of a few Three Points residents that he failed to interview.

My next-door neighbor has lived here for 25 years. She and her husband have been successful in raising their five children to be well-behaved, intelligent, responsible young adults who have goals to achieve in life. Their family has encountered hundreds of illegal immigrants, fought fire, heartache and a lack of money without discouragement. Their unfailing hope played a large part in getting them to this point and will continue to carry them into the future.

I have a close friend who lives within a couple of miles of the Range Market. She and her husband are undoubtedly discouraged. They have neighbors who heap trash in their yard. There is open talk about immigrant safe housing and drug-running in their neighborhood. Local dogs that pack up at night and cause havoc have attacked their horse. Illegals destroyed a property fence in order to trespass through their yard at 2 a.m. They have good reason to be discouraged, but they refuse to give in. While speaking with me on the phone about this literary ambush of her community, my friend commented: "I look out my window and see a jackrabbit, a family of quail and the desert turning green, and I know that things are still good."

I will name two public figures who have made a heavy impact on my life because of their dedication to many communities, including Three Points: Brad Cowan and Mike Duffy. These two men have dedicated their careers to the ethical and legal treatment of pets and livestock in Tucson. Staying abreast of the conditions in which animals are cared for in a yard, or neighborhood, or entire community often leads these men and their respective departments to criminal activity.

I live in the Coleman Road vicinity, and I carry a pistol on my side at all times. This is not because I fear my surroundings, but because it is my right to protect and defend what I hold dear if I need to. We have seen one immigrant after another at our gate begging for a ride or the use of our telephone. The few extreme occasions that I have needed the Border Patrol on my property, they were there.

Three Points is no more in need of improvement than any other community in existence. However, inhabitants of any area can form an unbreakable chain of resistance by simply joining together, one link at a time. Building a better community begins at home, and as long as there are citizens who care about what they possess, there will always be hope.

Shannon Baca

Stay Away, You Ignorant Tucsonans!

How-dee there, city folk!

I'd just like to say your treatment of Three Points culture in the gripping cover article is yet another example of your utter ignorance of anything outside of your white-dominated, upper-middle-class, liberal, urban-hipster, pseudo-reality bubble.

Your bias and your lack of ability to even peek around the corners of your self-satisfied naivety are truly amazing. So, please, just go back to shopping, hitting the clubs, swinging and trying desperately to prove to yourselves that you are "not normal." But be aware: There are some of us who seek something more in life than trying to live up to some cable-TV-inspired, cooler-than-thou aesthetic.

We are hiding outside the city limits. We are hiding from you. Let us alone, please.

Erewyn Remington

Your Paper Isn't Known for Being 'Fair and Balanced'

No one has ever accused the Tucson Weekly of writing "fair and balanced" news. Your description of Three Points was cruel, and it failed to present the beautiful, intelligent, hard-working people who make up the population. In addition, your article neglected to mention the impact our new school has on the area, providing a wholesome atmosphere, jobs and an education with culture for children. Further, you did not reference the many decent organizations, families, businesses and churches that provide a solid base for Three Points. At the end of your article, you did acknowledge students who went on to high school in town and did well. We have quite a few students who have gone on to be a credit to the community in academics, sports, drama, music and ROTC.

Your presentation of Three Points began by naming an alleged notorious criminal, but you cleverly noted that this was not the average citizen of the area. Even so, as the article goes on, your implication and interviews supported your emphasis on the negative aspects of the community. I would like the opportunity to turn that around and emphasize the positive:

1. VFW Post 10254 deserves respect and commendation for their charitable contributions to the community: the yearly Easter-egg hunt, Halloween carnival, Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas party, where every child receives a gift. In addition, the VFW Ladies Auxiliary donates food and clothing monthly to the downtown homeless shelter for the city of Tucson.

2. We were the first community in Pima County to organize the Community Emergency Response Team, formed to help in case of a local or national emergency. Currently, there are 65 members, and it is growing.

3. Catholic and Baptist churches sponsor well-attended child and teen youth groups.

4. Fred's Arena hosts hayrides, rodeos and chili cook-offs.

5. You will find good, solid citizens who like living away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Many participate in equestrian and animal-husbandry endeavors that cannot be done in town on a city lot or in an apartment. For example, there is a high involvement in 4-H. That might be why people have goats.

6. The new elementary school facility was completed in November 2003. The news media was called to come out the day we moved in, but not one station showed up or responded to our invitation. However, they were at the old school to take pictures when a roof leaked rain into a classroom. It was the community members who pulled together along with the Air Force, friends, family and school staff to move boxes and equipment into the new facility.

Thanks to the slanted article you published, good people might hesitate to move to Three Points. Real-estate prices could suffer. What are you doing?

In fairness, we must acknowledge that there is crime all over Arizona, but Three Points' families don't like it any more than those who live in the foothills or the middle of town.

When describing Three Points or Robles Junction, one and the same, please remember that the great, wonderful, beautiful attributes are stronger than the negative you can dig up.

Linda Johnson

Winterhaven Folks May Use Lots of Water, but They're Giving, Too!

Your recent article, "Lawn and Order" (Feb. 19) takes to task the Winterhaven neighborhood association, but there's another side to the story that was completely overlooked.

Each year for more than 50 years, residents of Winterhaven have organized and participated in the Festival of Lights to provide the public with two weeks of entertainment and magic that is a holiday gift to all Tucsonans. But the contribution doesn't end there!

Winterhaven also offers the Community Food Bank the opportunity to receive food and funds for the benefit of those who need food assistance in a land of plenty during a season of abundance.

Last year alone, food bank volunteers and helpful Winterhaven residents collected more than $11,000 and 10,000 pounds of food from grateful visitors to the Festival of Lights. And during its 18-year history, the Winterhaven Festival has made it possible for the Community Food Bank to collect well more than $202,000 and 237,000 pounds of food.

The need for food assistance grows steadily, 10-15 percent each year for the past three years. By their generosity and community spirit, Winterhaven residents help us to stave off the most devastating effects of this fact on our lives. One in five people in our town live in poverty. The majority of them are children and senior citizens.

On behalf of the Community Food Bank Board of Directors, I want to express our appreciation to Winterhaven residents for this annual holiday activity. We could not do our job as effectively without the opportunity provided by events such as the annual Festival of Lights. Thanks to all involved!

Carla J. Keegan

Another Side of 'A Sad Dog Tale'

I am the Animal Rescue League volunteer who tried to help Randy Hawkins save his dog, a 14-pound Chihuahua mixed-breed named Bruiser, after she was attacked and mauled by two pit bull dogs. The account of this incident, as written by D.A. Barber ("A Sad Dog Tale," March 25), is 95 percent fiction.

If Barber had bothered to return my phone calls, he would have learned a completely different account of what transpired. Both the reporter and City Councilwoman Kathleen Dunbar are mistaken when they imply that our organization refused to pay for Bruiser's medical treatment unless the dog was spayed at the same time she was treated. Obviously, that would have left six tiny babies without the mother's ability to nurse them, something we would never allow to happen if at all possible to avoid.

The truth is that we authorized the complete medical treatment of Bruiser's wounds at Ajo Veterinary Clinic, at our expense. Our only condition for this was that Mr. Hawkins would spay her after the puppies were weaned, which would have been approximately 10 weeks later. Hawkins initially refused to agree to that condition, saying that he wanted to breed the dog again to make money from selling puppies from future litters. After much discussion, he reluctantly agreed to spay her at a future date.

At that point, I believed Mr. Hawkins and I had reached an agreement and that Bruiser would receive the treatment necessary to try to save her life. I was stunned to learn that he had removed her from the intensive care she was getting at Ajo Veterinary Clinic. What is truly amazing about all of this is that even after Randy Hawkins was charged with cruelty, medical neglect, and failure to license and vaccinate, he refused to allow the Animal Rescue League to pay for Bruiser's care. The only reason he ever gave me for this refusal was that he wanted to breed her for the income from selling puppies.

Kathleen Dunbar commented on this story without first talking to anyone from the Animal Rescue League. In so doing, Ms. Dunbar did a terrible disservice to an organization that is dedicated to helping animals. And, without comment from the veterinarian, the reporter had no facts concerning the dog's plight.

If Randy Hawkins really cared so much about his dog, why wasn't she vaccinated and licensed? Why did he remove her from life-saving treatment at Ajo Veterinary Clinic and claim he would "sew her up" himself?

The most basic requirement for ethical reporting is to get all sides of a story before publication. The reporter portrayed Randy Hawkins as a victim of a bureaucratic animal control and a demanding and uncaring animal rescue group. It was Randy Hawkins' own greed and negligence that caused the slow and cruel death of his dog.

Barbara Drews
Volunteer, Animal Rescue League

Quit Feeding Your Readers Garbage

As I read "A Sad Dog Tale," I felt sorry for your readership, as they were being fed a bunch of garbage only to jerk a few heartstrings. The story that should have been told was the one about the irresponsible dog owner who failed to get medical care for his torn-up, ailing dog--all because he didn't want her spayed.

Mr. Hawkins was given 24 hours to get medical attention for his dog, and he declined, so the dog was taken, and care was given. I had to laugh when City Councilwoman Karen Dunbar said, "Nobody has fought with Dr. Sylva like I have. If I thought Animal Control was acting inappropriately, I'd say so." You gotta love a layperson who thinks they know more than a veterinarian about animal care and state laws concerning animals.

You can make Mr. Hawkins the victim all you want, but the real victim was poor Bruiser, and anyone with half a brain will read between the lines and see the real story that should have been told.

Annette Schild

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