By Anne Gibson

With the coming November 3rd election, the pandemic due to Covid-9, and weather-related disasters, we are constantly bombarded with negativity. Often times we forget all the good that is right here in our backyards.

Organizations have implemented exciting changes to make their annual events possible during these challenging times. The Greater Vail Area Chamber of Commerce has done so with its 11th VailFest. It will be held Saturday, October 24th from noon to 8 p.m. at the Tucson Speedway with plenty of room for social distancing. The event will have go-kart races, a petting zoo, horseback riding, corn hole and horseshoe tournaments, and lots of food. Topping of the day will be a drive-in movie. Members of the VailFest committee are Brad Anderson, Rosemary Bright, Fiona De Young, Ericka Gomez, Tim Looney, Peter Loya, Darcy Mentone, and Stacy Winstryg. These members are going above and beyond to provide a quality program for us all.

The Vail Preservation Society under the leadership of President and CEO J.J. Lamb has initiated a conversation with Pima County agencies regarding creating a quality of life amenity: a trail from Mountain View east to Vail. The trail will follow the historic rail bed as identified on the Pima County Trails’ master plan. The plan will be highlighted at the upcoming Southeast Region Council Meeting. Vail Preservation Society Board members are Davita Mueller, Mike Pena, Calvin Baker, Sandy Knowlden, David Yubeta, Carla Kerekes-Martin, David Hook, Lily Collins (student representative), and Max Allen Emeritus. These volunteer board members are working to provide a new historic trail for walkers and runners.

Shoppers did happy dances when ReSources Thrift Store reopened by reservation after being closed during the Covid-19. The Thrift Store manager is Tabitha Johnson. The Thrift Store financially benefits the ReSources Food Bank. The Food Bank has been very busy feeding families and housebound seniors in the greater Vail area during these challenging times. Liana Hicks is the Food Bank Manager and Stefanie Stark is the general manager for ReSources. Board Members are President Connie Plummer, Vice President Evelyn Campbell, Treasurer Pam Kelty, Secretary Ken Knas, Samreen Kahan, Don McMasters, Jeanne Osgood, Bill Plummer, Heather Stough, Susan Summers, MaRico Tippett, Hollie Warnick. These volunteer board members are giving of their time and energy to assure those in need are fed.

The Vail School District has also been affected by challenging times. Superintendent John Carruth reached out to the 1,900 district employees with a virtual all staff meeting on Monday, August 24, 2020. Currently in-person student classes will begin September 21st for 13,000 plus students. Students may continue their schooling with a virtual model through the Vail Innovation Center.

Co-chairs Heather Stough and Linda Kubiak held their first planning committee by Zoom on Tuesday, September 1st for Vail Pride Day with a three-tier approach. The three-tier approach has each of the committees planning for a totally virtual, a hybrid/combination of virtual and in-person, or a totally in-person program with a form of social distancing for the Saturday, February 13th program. Elected members of the Vail School District Governing Board are President Callie Tippett, Clerk Jon Aitken, and members-at-large Claudia Anderson, Allison Pratt, and Mark Tate. Governing Board members serve as volunteers to the district with no monetary compensation. Here is one more example for an opportunity to appreciate good people doing good work.

The South East Regional Council (SERC) was the brainchild of Lucretia Free that began meeting four years ago in the community room at the back of the CVANO Coffee Shop. The council graduated to holding its quarterly meetings at the Vail Innovation Center. Ms. Free divided the area into three sections each with their own chairperson. J.J. Lamb serves as the Vail SERC Chair, Robert Nemitz as the Southeast Tucson SERC Chair, and Glenn Taylor, also known as John, serves as the Corona SERC Chair. The idea was to allow each area to keep its own uniqueness but speak as one voice around issues they have in common and that are important to them. The council takes a neutral position but provides information from all opinions on an issue. Thank you Ms. Free for providing this community forum.

The point is there are good things happening by good people. Embrace life and smile while being thankful for the many blessings in our lives.

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Anne Gibson