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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
8:32 PM Wed, Jan. 16th

Friday Catchall: Courthouse lighting expands ... sort of

The Friday Catchall:

• ALL AGLOW - For years now, each Christmas season, our community lights up the courthouse. It makes sense because Prescott is "Arizona's Christmas City," a label then-Gov. Rose Mofford gave to us Dec. 2, 1989.

This year, in honor of Arizona's Centennial, the number of glowing trees on the courthouse plaza will more than double the past two years' 35 and 37 lighted trees. The number will, in fact, be equal to that 2012 milestone - 100 for the Centennial, Prescott Chamber of Commerce CEO David Maurer said.

Unfortunately, this costs money, and the result is ... well, in a way, less.

To help cover the additional trees, for example, the decorations for many will not be as high - about 25 feet versus 40 or 50 feet - this year as in years past.

The work for the courthouse lighting, which is Saturday, Dec. 3, is already under way, and Maurer expects the final decorations to go up on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

Amazing. It reminds me of the Denver courthouse, which our display was modeled after decades ago. I loved seeing it each Christmas when I was growing up. I hope Prescott's "more" is not "less" in the end.

• ANOTHER CITY - A German city with a population similar to Prescott's has expressed interest in forging a Sister City relationship. That was the topic of a meeting Thursday where the Honorary Arizona Consul of Germany, Bernard Otremba-Blanc, was slated to gauge interest in the east-central German city of Zeitz forming a Sister City link with Prescott.

It sounds like it would be beneficial, considering "Germans have a great interest in all things Western, particularly cowboys, rodeos, and the Western way of life," according to a news release, and it attracted the attention of some local groups, including Prescott Frontier Days and the Prescott Regulators and Their Shady Ladies.

If this comes to fruition, it could benefit tourism and would bring to three the number of "sister cities" (the other two being Caborca, Mexico, and Suchitoto, El Salvador); however, the family certainly is growing. I cannot help but wonder: How many "sisters" should one city have?

• NOT A MEMBER - Earlier this week we published a letter to the editor from Bob Pastor of Scottsdale about the Yavapai Downs racetrack woes, and in it he suggested county Supervisor Tom Thurman lied about his involvement.

Well, Bob, you were wrong. Thurman declined an invitation to be on the board, but a County Fair board official sent his name to the Arizona Corporation Commission for inclusion anyway. And the ACC's website includes an amendment removing Thurman's name. "I never gave any approval to become a member of either board," he said, adding, "I did not want taxpayer funding going to bail out private enterprise - horse racing - that across our nation is on the way out."

That makes Thurman's stance clear regarding Pastor's claim, and it also hints at what Thurman thinks about the future of the venture.

• WHAT? - According to CNN, an aircraft carrier-sized asteroid - a little bigger than four football fields in diameter - is heading toward Earth and it will pass closer to our planet than the moon.

NASA has classified the asteroid as a "potentially hazardous object," and on Tuesday, Nov. 8, it will pass to within 0.8 lunar distances - the closest approach to Earth of an object this size in more than 30 years.

What would happen if an asteroid this size crashed into Earth? It would result in a 4,000-megaton blast, magnitude 7.0 earthquake and - if it falls into the ocean - could cause a 70-foot high tsunami within 60 miles of the crash site, according to an expert at Purdue University.

For reference, the Meteor Crater east of Flagstaff was the result of an asteroid 150 feet across, causing an explosion estimated at 20 million tons of TNT. It left a hole 0.75 miles across and 575 feet deep.

Hmmmm. Good thing NASA's Near Earth Object Program says this space rock poses no threat of an Earth collision for at least the next 100 years.

By the way, it will provide a rare opportunity for amateur astronomers to directly observe an asteroid with optical telescopes. It will approach Earth from a sunward direction and it will be a daylight object until the time of its closest approach Tuesday. The best time to see the asteroid will be after the hours of 1 p.m. Arizona time.

• MY PICK OF THE WEEK is the 15th annual Toys for Tots Bike Run and Bandfest on Saturday at the Prescott Valley Kmart parking lot, sponsored by the Americans M/C and the Jackass Bar & Grill.

Cost is $15 for singles and $20 for couples plus a canned good and an unwrapped toy. The event starts at 9 a.m.

An after-run party takes place at the Jackass Bar & Grill with live entertainment, raffles and a silent auction. Slow-smoked barbecue starts at 3 p.m. Call 772-7777.