Q: Walking my dog around Green Valley Park every day, I notice that the beautiful lake is turning into an ugly mess. There is debris, green algae scum and dead fish floating all over. I counted 20 dead fish in just one small area. I don't understand why people fish and toss the fish back in. Don't they know they'll die?
A: According to Craig McMullen, local field supervisor for the Arizona Department of Game and Fish, the algae problem is an annual event that has to do with water temperature. "Blooms of algae, weeds and other aquatic crops grow every year when the water temperature gets right," he said. "We've been looking into putting grass carp in there to deal with the problem, but there are a lot of steps that have to be taken before we can introduce non-native fish."
It may, in fact, be the algae blooms that are killing off the fish, and not anglers who throw them back. "Algae blooms can change the pH of the water and the amount of dissolved oxygen and cause a fish die-off," McMullen said.
But for anglers who do want to throw their catches back, he offers this advice: "It all depends on where the fish is hooked. If the fish swallows the hook, don't jerk it out. Simply cut the line as close as you can to the hook and release the fish. If the fish has not swallowed the hook, remove it as fast as possible."
In either case, keep the fish out of the water for as short a time as possible, and handle it as little as possible before returning it to the water.
Finally, McMullen says that anybody who notices a large number of fish dying should report it to Game and Fish at (480) 981-9400.
Q: In a recent What's Up, you referred to the Half-Moon Inn. Is that a new motel, and when will it be open?
A: They prefer not to call it a "motel" because that word carries some negative connotations, so owners Austin and Mary Lou Myers hope to have their brand new 23-room, two-story "inn" open for business in October. Zoning has been approved by the county, a new well has been drilled, and a new, 11,000-gallon storage tank is already on site. The Myers, who once owned Prescott's historic Hassayampa Inn, say they are building a first class facility.
Q: Whose decision was it to move the Relay for Life into a heavily residential area? While I have friends who have died of cancer and believe we need to raise money for cancer research, this was something that violated the sound ordinances. We heard it at 10:30 at night and we heard it at 5 in the morning. It kept us awake and it woke us up, and it should have been at the Payson Event Center outside of town where there wouldn't have been the problems it caused in a residential area.
A: "We had no intention of upsetting anybody," said Jody Stovall of the American Cancer Society. "We had it at the high school in the past, but were told they were doing some work on the field." After scouting a variety of sites, the group settled on the Rumsey Park location, primarily because the large ramada offered a great facility for honoring local cancer survivors a big component of the event. "We had all the OKs to use the park, and we didn't know it would be a problem for anybody until the following morning," Stovall said. "We hope to move the event back to the high school next year." The site, incidentally, is chosen by a committee of local volunteers.
Q: Are the restaurants at the casino inspected by the county health department like other restaurants in the Rim country?
A: They do their own inspections, according to Robbie Sranton, health inspector for southern Gila County. "They have their own sanitarian they hire. We wouldn't go out there unless they requested us to."
Call 474-5251, ext. 147, to reach Roundup's What's Up? line. Leave your question on the answering machine and we'll try to find the answer.