Originally published Thursday, December 27, 2018 at 08:19p.m.

The Friday Catchall:

• BARK BEETLESWe told you about the dead and dying trees in the forests of Arizona and New Mexico this week. What the Associated Press article did not say is what can and should be done.

The Prescott area was hit hard about 20 years ago by bark beetles, killing many trees on the Prescott National Forest. Essentially, bark beetles are normal in nature — but when drought happens they are attracted to stressed trees. Pine trees, for instance, would usually protect themselves with sap to push beetles out as they try to bore into the bark; stressed trees don’t have enough sap or have temporarily lost ability to produce it.

The result is an evergreen that turns red, brown or yellow. Death is imminent and not avoidable at that point — at least for that part of the tree, possibly the entire tree, according to Daily Courier archives.

What to do? Watering trees on your property might help, and I have heard of sprays; however, honestly there’s not much you can do. Once you see the damage, it is too late.

I recall this from our prior stories on the subject, but did place a call to the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Office, which is at the Prescott Rodeo Grounds. They’re closed for the holidays.

Side note — For people like me, who heat their homes with firewood, the ability to cut these trees down in the forest would be great (not always allowed). Just sayin’.

• BAN THIS! — Outlawing the use of mobile devices and texting while driving does not include amateur radios, also known as ham radios, according to the Yavapai County website.

Simply put, hams are licensed and federal law — at least in this case — supersedes local laws and ordinances. Other exemptions to the Yavapai County ordinance, which went into effect in November, include:

  • Use of a hands-free mobile device (key here is “hands-free”);
  • When calling an emergency into a law enforcement agency or fire department, hospital or physician’s office, or an ambulance;
  • Someone driving an authorized law enforcement or emergency vehicle (using the device as part of official duties);
  • A person driving a school bus or transit vehicle;
  • Driving a motor vehicle on private property; and,
  • A driver who has pulled off of the roadway in a safe and legal location, placing the vehicle in park, to operate a handheld portable communications device.

Keep in mind that the City of Prescott’s law for this goes into effect next week, and one in Prescott Valley kicks in Jan. 19.

Also, I have found that most of these devices — think cell phones and even ham radios — can be easily adapted to hands-free use.

• WHERE TO WRITE — We have been receiving a lot of calls regarding an updated Where to Write (Write to Your Elected Officials) list. Apparently many people are wanting to contact Sens. Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema.

We are updating the listing and will be publishing it soon. Until then McSally’s Tucson office is at 520-881-3588. Sinema’s is in Phoenix at 602-956-2285.

• QUOTE — “Glory is not a conceit. It is not a decoration for valor. Glory belongs to the act of being constant to something greater than yourself, to a cause, to your principles, to the people on whom you rely and who rely on you in return.” – Sen. John McCain (1936-2018)

• PICK OF THE WEEK(Proving there’s always something good to do in the Prescott area that’s cheap or free): The Boot Drop, in downtown Prescott on Dec. 31 at 10 p.m. and midnight. Great music, food and fun — visit dCourier.com or bootdrop.com for more info.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Tim Wiederaenders is the senior news editor for The Daily Courier and Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter @TWieds_editor. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 2032, or twieds@prescottaz.com.