Gcc Report Is A Good Start

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A gust of transparency has lifted the spirits of those fighting for information in the case of Gila Community College’s mysterious finances.

Eastern Arizona College finally provided GCC board members and the public with projected deficit figures and the numbers to back it up.

Looks like the college is on course to have a roughly $743,000 shortfall by the end of this fiscal year. That number includes various unknowns, like a potential $420,000 nursing grant. However, many entities are facing similar unknown fates these days and we understand the possibility for change.

We congratulate EAC for finally providing the public with this information. The exercise in transparency is long overdue, especially after the mother institution has so frustratingly laid off and furloughed staff without providing as much as a progress report to the the public.

Board member Larry Stephenson was even castigated at one point by chairman Bob Ashford for asking how layoffs would affect programs. Ashford said the item wasn’t on the agenda, and so the board couldn’t discuss it.

However, the budget projections discussed Thursday night weren’t on the agenda either.

This financial disclosure, coupled with the news the Arizona auditor general will continue its examination of GCC’s finances until the reports are up to date, is pleasing. We urge GCC to continue expediency in providing the auditor general with financial documents so its financial doings can be appropriately verified.

We also urge EAC to continue providing disclosure to board members and to the public. When the institution hides information and refuses to answer phone calls, we start to wonder what the college is hiding.

This absurd fight to gain comprehensive information about how an outside institution spends Gila County money needs more chutzpa. Curiously, hardly anyone attends the college’s board meetings.

EAC stands to earn more profit the more profligately it spends, and it’s time GCC stopped feeding the beast.

And so, while we applaud EAC’s latest disclosures, our appetite for transparency will not be satiated with a bone. GCC should demand more power in tracking its own finances.

And for our part, we will continue calling EAC until they pick up the phone.

Everyone needs to pay attention

Rim Country’s elk have been paying attention.

They noticed our habit of loading up our cars on the weekends and tramping up the highways.

Like many who live in the Rim Country, this is the exact time we avoid leaving our homes. Instead, we prefer to stay in town and watch the RVs, trucks, ATVs and the like pass through before we venture out past our mailboxes. Well, it seems the elk have the same idea.

They apparently realized a vehicle is not something they want to meet up with on the roadway, so they avoid crossing Highway 260 during the weekends.

This means elk cross the roadway in greater numbers on Monday and Tuesday, when fewer cars are found zooming down the highway, according to Arizona Game and Fish research.

Sounds like the elk are doing their homework to avoid crashes. Now, if Game and Fish authorities could just teach these elk to look both ways before crossing, maybe they could avoid meeting the nasty vehicles at all.

But alas, since elk wait for the weekdays to cross, local motorists have a higher chance of hitting an elk. This risk increases, especially during the early morning and early evening hours around sunrise and sunset, when 30 percent of all elk-vehicle accidents occur.

Perhaps to no one’s surprise, 49 percent of such accidents happen when the Rocky Mountain elk are more interested in breeding or migrating for the winter.

From what we can tell, no one agency keeps track of vehicle-elk incidents, but the Gila County Sheriff’s Office pulled out some statistics for a Star Valley Town Council meeting, which revealed that nearly three-quarters of all accidents in that community involved elk.

“You don’t have an accident problem, you have an elk problem,” Adam Shepherd, undersheriff with the Gila County Sheriff’s Office told the Star Valley Town Council Tuesday night.

To give elk a safe way to get from one side of Highway 260 to the other, Game and Fish officials constructed a crosswalk of sorts just east of Star Valley.

Two years after the crosswalk was installed, elk collisions decreased by 96 percent. However, even with a high-tech crosswalk in place, it all comes down to motorists being aware of the potential for an elk or a deer to leap in front of their vehicle, especially around sunrise or sunset.

If motorists would drive slower during those times, they may avoid collecting an unwanted hood ornament.

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