Attention: Save your AZ State Parks or Kiss them BYE BYE Forever!

Sorry to interrupt your day with this but its really important and you should understand why. Currently Arizona is facing a huge budget shortfall because of the slow economy. One idea that the legislator has is to close down the state parks to save a few million dollars against the $4 Billion deficit that the state currently faces.
The problem with this is not just that we are shutting down everyday peoples access to affordable outdoor recreation but that we are eliminating a significant portion of revenue for local business and in turn State revenue:
AZ Family Channel 3 report:
http://www.azfamily.com/news/Az-state-parks-closing-81323372.html
“State parks take nothing from the general fund and actually give back to the state budget a big fat $22.7 million in state and local taxes. The state legislature has swept millions from state parks to help balance the budget, leaving them too short to operate the 30 parks in the system.
Three have already closed.
Does this make sense since state parks bring in more than $225 million dollars to the state’s economy through the 2.5 million visitors each year.”
AZ Republic
http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2010/01/11/20100111arizona-park-closures.html
“But even those will close unless the parks system gets a $3 million infusion of cash before the end of the fiscal year, said Renee Bahl, the parks director.
Parks officials hope that money will come in the form of a loan from the state’s General Fund, which will be repaid as the parks generate revenue.
Bahl said deep budget cuts to her agency have left her staff with no other choice but to recommend the closures.
Bahl noted that last year parks contributed $25 million to the General Fund, even though parks themselves receive no General Fund dollars. A Northern Arizona University study found that the parks generated $266 million annually in economic activity for rural communities.
“We’re important to the economy,” Bahl said. “We’re important to the people right now. Folks can’t afford to do much these days, and parks are one affordable luxury that we want to keep open.””
The AZ State Parks foundation points out that if this is allowed to happen we may be looking at a huge land grab of pristine public land handed back over to private owners. Maybe they will put a chairlift on the Superstitions and install a KFC on the Flatiron…
AZ State Parks Foundation
http://arizonastateparksfoundation.org/
“The cuts will force major reductions in Parks staff and closure of more than half of the State’s 30 parks this fiscal year.  The resulting loss of Park revenue is projected to leave the Parks System with no money to start the next fiscal year, July 1, 2010.  The next step will be to shut down the entire system and dispose of Parks properties, returning most of them to their original owners.”
According to the AZ State Parks Foundation there are a number of ways you can take action:
#1 – Call Governor Brewer and Email this sample letter (Word Doc):
Phone:  602-542-4331 or 800-253-0883
Email via Governor’s Contact page at:
www.governor.state.az.us/Contact.asp
Mail:  The Honorable Jan Brewer, Governor of Arizona,
1700 West Washington, Phoenix, Arizona 85007
#2 – Attend the AZ State Park Board Meeting on Jan 15th at the Phoenix Zoo and let them know how you feel about this:
http://azstateparks.com/board/index.html#downloads
#3 – Email this sample letter (Word doc) to your legistators (find yours here):
#4 – Let the AZ State Parks Board know where you stand:
http://azstateparks.com/find/contact.html

Sorry to interrupt your day with this but its really important and you should understand why. Currently Arizona is facing a huge budget shortfall because of the slow economy. One idea that the legislator has is to close down the state parks to save about $20 million dollars against the $4 Billion deficit that the state currently faces. Thats less that 1/10 of 1% yet the parks generate around $250 Million in local business revenue each year, and guess what? That revenue is taxed and helps out the State… Huh?

The problem with this is not just that we are shutting down everyday peoples access to affordable outdoor recreation but that we are eliminating a significant portion of revenue for local business and in turn State revenue:

AZ Family Channel 3 report:

“State parks take nothing from the general fund and actually give back to the state budget a big fat $22.7 million in state and local taxes. The state legislature has swept millions from state parks to help balance the budget, leaving them too short to operate the 30 parks in the system.

Three have already closed.

Does this make sense since state parks bring in more than $225 million dollars to the state’s economy through the 2.5 million visitors each year.”

AZ Republic Report on AZ State Park Closures

“Bahl noted that last year parks contributed $25 million to the General Fund, even though parks themselves receive no General Fund dollars. A Northern Arizona University study found that the parks generated $266 million annually in economic activity for rural communities.

“We’re important to the economy,” Bahl said. “We’re important to the people right now. Folks can’t afford to do much these days, and parks are one affordable luxury that we want to keep open.””

The AZ State Parks foundation points out that if this is allowed to happen we may be looking at a huge land grab of pristine public land handed back over to private owners. Maybe they will put a chairlift on the Superstitions and install a KFC on the Flatiron…

AZ State Parks Foundation

“The cuts will force major reductions in Parks staff and closure of more than half of the State’s 30 parks this fiscal year.  The resulting loss of Park revenue is projected to leave the Parks System with no money to start the next fiscal year, July 1, 2010.  The next step will be to shut down the entire system and dispose of Parks properties, returning most of them to their original owners.”

According to the AZ State Parks Foundation there are a number of ways you can take action:

#1 – Call Governor Brewer and Email this sample letter (Word Doc):

Phone:  602-542-4331 or 800-253-0883

Email via Governor’s Contact page at:

www.governor.state.az.us/Contact.asp

Mail:  The Honorable Jan Brewer, Governor of Arizona,

1700 West Washington, Phoenix, Arizona 85007

#2 – Attend the AZ State Park Board Meeting on Jan 15th at the Phoenix Zoo and let them know how you feel about this.

#3 – Email this sample letter (Word doc) to your legistators (find yours here: AZ senateAZ houseFind your District)

#4 – Let the AZ State Parks Board know where you stand.

Take 30 minutes out of your day today and address this issue. Please.

Feelin the Love: Do you give as much as you get?

Maybe it’s the time of year what with the holidays, or maybe it’s the end of the year and things are catching me up. In the end it doesn’t matter what the excuse is: we all need to slow down and take stock on what’s real and important. For me this means my relationships with friends, family, and myself and how I keep them in balance.

Throughout our day, month, year, and life we go through a number of exchanges. These may involve money and/or other people. A lot of the time they involve neither. Taking time to appreciate non monetary exchanges is something easily overlooked in a busy day. Even more difficult can be the ability to look at the exchanges we have internally with ourselves.

What do you think? Do you practice giving and getting equally? Are you feeling the love?

Hacking Yoga: Can Yoga help me lose weight?

This is a great question and the answer is: yes it can! (surprised?)

Yoga can affect your weight in a number of ways:

  1. Yoga increases your metabolism
  2. Use yoga to prevent injury from other exercises
  3. Learning to calm the mind with yoga allows you to recognize unhealthy eating patterns

Also keep in mind that weight loss is not the best measure for health. As you start working out you will build muscle which weighs more than fat and you may see some weight gain. Do not be discouraged. Think about how you feel. Are you stronger and more comfortable during the day? How about your energy levels? Consider that Western Science may not have all the answers.

If weight loss is your biggest concern exercise will only get you so far. The biggest factor here will be your diet. Focus on eating more vegetables and fruits while reducing overall consumption especially of Corn Syrup.

What do you think? Has Yoga helped you lose weight? What have I missed?

Doing too much

If you know me at all you know that I am pretty much full on ADD, but if you know me then you know that this is also what makes me who I am. The toughest part of having ADD is deciding on something and doing it. I have so many ideas all the time that I often get overwhelmed and end up doing none of them. So far for 2008 I have decided to start back up on Yoga, cooking all of my meals, keeping my house clean, shaving everyday (even saturday and sunday), coaching youth soccer, playing in an adult soccer league, reducing my alchohol intake, going to Toastmasters, finding a new job, reading a book a month, and getting involved in politics. Phew! and its only February!

So far I have kept good on the Yoga, the cooking, the cleaning, the shaving, the playing, and the reducing. While I have been able to accomplish all of this I am still sad that I havent been able to do all of the other things.

This is the problem with doing too much. Yes you have been successful at accomplishing a lot of your goals, but you focus on what you havent dont, primarily because it is unfinished and therefore still on your mind.

This is why it is critical to write down your goals and then break them up into peices that are reasonable to accomplish. Most goals are lifestyle changes that will eventually become something that you just do everyday, but the hard part is getting them started. So the key is to break up these lifestyle goals into manageble peices. If you are trying to make too many lifestyle changes at once you will get overwhelmed. Ease up. You have plenty of time to get everything done, but not all at once. Start with something easy like shaving everyday, then go on to making it to the gym three times a week, and then start eating healthy. The shaving is easy cause its part of waking up and takes only a few minutes. Going to the gym is a bit more complicated as you need to get a routine, then the clothes, and finally the gym membership. The eating healthy takes the most work to accomplish as you need to get the recepie, buy the ingredients, and then cook the food. Plus the eating is something you have to do multiple times each day so there is a lot more planning involved.

Another thing to consider is that some goals may need your to accomplish other goals first. For example Toastmasters is a weekly commitment that I need to make to the group and myself. The problem is that there are a few different locations that I can go to, but since I am in job transition I need to hold off until I know where I will be working. This is because I want to make it as convenient as possible so that I make it consistently.

Get a list put together of everything you want to accomplish in life. Then start prioritizing. I went with Yoga and eating because I want to be in good shape and save money. Cleaning the house came next because I just feel better about having a clean and organized house. Now the career one is really slapping me in the face so I have to get that done next. Then I will get the Toastmasters thing going which will lead to becoming a public speaker and finally a politician. Phew! Thats a lot but now its manageble.

When you feel overwhelmed, stop and take stock of everything you are doing and then break them down into their individual parts. Find out what is priority and what is dependent on doing something else first. Then put a timeline together. A good rule of thumb for getting a lifestyle change started is 30 days. Do it for 30 days to make it a habit and then move on to the next one.

Most of all though make sure you want to do it and then make sure you have fun doing it. There is nothing worse than accomplishing something that you dont care about.