One of the largest crowds in recent memory to witness a preseason scrimmage showed up to Armando de Lucas Stadium last Thursday night to watch the Douglas Bulldogs practice against the Morenci Wildcats.
Despite being just scrimmage, the fans were able to get a glimpse of what’s in store for the upcoming season which begins this Friday night with a 7 p.m. home game against the Tanque Verde Hawks. Tickets for the game are $4 for adults; $2 for students.
Quarterback Trey Rose had some nice completions Thursday to Christian Estrella, who is drawing the attention of some major college scouts, including an Ivy League university. Senior running back John Ballesteros showed some of his explosiveness with some impressive runs and Alex Molina had some key receptions. The defense was as tenacious as it has been in the past, leveling some big hits that received cheers from the crowd.
In all, 80 plays were run by each team with 60 coming from the varsity and 20 from the junior varsity. The scrimmage lasted close to two and a half hours, after which the Douglas coaches encouraged the players to go thank the fans for showing up.
Afterwards, first year head coach Hunter Long said he was somewhat surprised by the turnout.
“I think a lot of people were kind of anxious to see what kind of program we’re building and developing here,” he said. “I was very happy to see the crowd that we had tonight.”
The coach said overall, he was pleased by what he saw from his players and said Morenci was a good test for them.
“Those guys are tough,” he said of the Wildcats. “They didn’t back down from us tonight. I think our depth hurt us a little tonight. Our guys got a little winded.”
The coach added it took a few series for his offense to get going, but once it did, he was pleased by what he saw from the execution of some of his key players.
“Offensively we’re a little banged up right now,” Long said. “Our depth at line is a little weak. Right now, our guys are playing the entire time with no breaks. As far as Rose, Estrella, Ballesteros and Molina, they had a hell of a scrimmage. Having playmakers like that on the field makes my job a little bit easier.”
Lineman Poncho Galindo was injured in the scrimmage. Long is hoping the injury is not that serious and that he is able to play in the season opener, if not for sure the game with Bisbee Aug. 30.
Defensively, the coach said, his team played well but they also gave up some big runs to Morenci on what he describes as broken plays.
“I thought our intensity and mental toughness tonight was good,” he said. “A lot of our guys stepped up and made some big plays. Our motto this year is ‘stay in the fight” and our guys did that tonight. They stayed in it, kept their nose to the ground and played hard. I’m proud of them.”
Now the focus turns to the season opener.
“Time to break down film and get ready to go,” the coach said. “After banging up on each other the last couple of weeks, it was good to face an opponent and see where we’re at, our weaknesses and strengths, and pick it up from there.”
The Douglas City Council is moving forward with its annexation efforts for Bay Acres.
At the Aug. 14 City Council meeting, Cochise County Planner Christine McLachlan updated the council on the efforts to bring Bay Acres inside the city limits in addition to what she described as three other small areas of land that are owned by the county throughout the city.
Bay Acres currently has 707 parcels, six of which are owned by the city. There are 615 property owners in that area and the land has a total assessed value of $24,350,170. McLachlan said for annexation to occur, 309 property owners totaling $12,175,086 are needed. She also identified some flood hazard areas, the Sunnyside Fire District, 830 acres of small parcels, and 193 rentals/investments.
She said the plan going forward is to continue to provide the council with updates, distribute brochures to those living in in those areas as well as hold community meetings, neighborhood meetings, distribute a city newsletter/email, and take advantage of social media using also the city website.
Following the presentation, the council then passed a resolution that establishes an annexation policy for the City of Douglas that will serve to establish guidelines and provide the process required for future annexation in the areas identified.
In other action at the meeting, the council granted the request from city staff to submit the five-year consolidation plan for fiscal years 2019-2023 and the annual action plan for fiscal year 2019 to the State of Arizona department of Housing for CDBG Funds totaling $173,759.
The money would be used for the following at the Aquatic Center: to install a dehumidifying system, LED lighting for the city basketball courts in that area, poles for those lights, a new pump system, and a roof over that system.
The project is estimated to cost $134,741. The remaining funds would be used to cover administrative costs.
The mayor and council also approved the final City of Douglas Municipal Airport (DMA) Master Plan update which would allow them to put some of those recommendations into effect, one of which is the reconstruction of a new runway while another option was to utilize the vacant land in the Airport for other uses such as leasing to a third party for economic development purposes.
The council then agreed to enter into a lease agreement with Southwest Valley Constructors (SVC) for use of some of that land at the DMA. The city will be paid rent of $15,000 on the property. Southwest Valley Constructors are coming here to extend the border wall east of Douglas. It is estimated SVC will bring up to 400 people to Douglas who will reside here for anywhere from a year to 18 months, contributing to the local economy, stated City Finance Director Luis Pedroza.
Pedroza then added SVC will come in and grade and clear 15 acres of land they need for space; install a new gate at the Airport for access that will keep them off the runway, pay half of the waterline connection costs as well as pay up to $20,000 towards sewer connections. Pedroza estimated this move will bring in $270,000 to the city providing the 18-month lease is fulfilled not counting the revenue potentially raised by the SVC staff living, eating, and shopping in Douglas.
The council also granted the Douglas Merchants Association permission to block off Ninth to 12th Street on Saturday, Oct. 12 so they may hold their Second Annual Douglas Merchants Fall Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more on what happened with the remaining items on the council agenda visit the city website at https://www.douglasaz.gov/AgendaCenter/City-Council-2.
In an effort to protect the public water supply against contamination or pollution the City of Douglas has taken steps to further enforce its backflow prevention rules and regulations.
According to Eddie Gonzales, environmental specialist for the city of Douglas, the ordinance regarding backflows and cross connections has been on the city books since 1993.
“It’s available online for anyone that wants to read it,” he said.
“It hasn’t been dormant, we have been doing inspections just not the way they’re supposed to be done regularly,” Luis Pedroza, Douglas’ finance director added. “The process that needs to be followed according to the ordinance. We were trying to prevent back syphoning into our water system.”
Pedroza said with Gonzales now on board, the city is trying to “get ahead of the game” where he can actually start notifying commercial businesses, they will have an inspection of their backflow due by a certain date. That inspection will be required at least once a year.
Gonzales recently sent out a letter to all Douglas merchants (included apartment complexes) advising them that beginning with their August 2019 utility bill, (that businesses will receive in September) a $1 monthly fee will be assessed to their bill for backflow prevention and administration costs.
“This monthly fee allows for one inspection per calendar year and in the event more than one inspection is required, an additional fee of $30 for each additional inspection shall be charged to the customer,” the letter states. “This fee shall be applicable for all buildings to have in place a backflow prevention assembly.”
“The $1 fee that we are charging helps us run the program,” Gonzales said. “The fee has been on the ordinance since it was written, it just hasn’t been enforced.”
Both Pedroza and Gonzales understand there are a lot of old businesses in Douglas who could be impacted.
“We’re here to help the smaller businesses,” Gonzales said. “It’s really the smaller, family owned ones
that can’t afford the financial impact should something go wrong.”
Gonzales added there are currently two certified backflow testers that are local that can do the testing.
A complete list with all the names of certified backflow testers from around the county as well as the state is available through Gonzales at City Hall.
“Backflow protects our residents,” Gonzales said. “It keeps whatever you have on your side on your side and it doesn’t come back into our fresh water.”
Gonzales shared the example of someone filling up a bucket to wash their vehicle and inside that bucket are chemicals they may use to clean that vehicle, and while washing their car and someone down the street with a bigger line or more pressure is going out, whatever is in your bucket will be sucked out to the bigger line.
“It’s like a straw,” he said. “The water in that bucket could be contaminated. It could suck it back in and put it into our system. We have to keep our fresh drinking water protected.”
“It’s a public and health safety concern,” Pedroza added.
Pedroza emphasized it’s not the city doing testing, its certified testers doing the testing with the city conducting follow up inspections as needed.
“We’re having to make sure those inspections are getting done and getting done correctly,” he said. “If no one follows up on that, those backflows can very well malfunction. We have to make sure you are getting your inspections done and done properly.”
“Everybody is responsible to do what’s right,” Gonzales said.
Anyone with questions may contact Gonzales at (520) 417-7310 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will also have an informational booth about backflow prevention as well as other programs like FOG (Fats, Oil, Greases) at the upcoming Cochise County Fair, Sept. 26-29.