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Saturday, March 18, 2000

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Archaeology Fair

The Archaeology Fair is at the Arizona State Museum on the University of Arizona campus this year. It's every year during Archaeology Month, which is usually March and all kinds of organizations participate such as the state universities, BLM, Arizona State Park, several private archaeological companies and all kinds of archaeological organizations, including Arizona Archaeological and Historical Socieity, of which I'm a member.

I volunteered to help this year and spent the morning at the info booth handing out brochures and directing people. It was fun. Someone built a huge mammoth cutout and you could get your picture taken next to it. It had black, slanted almond eyes and I immediately though they looked like the eyes you see on pictures of aliens. Later a group of boy scouts arrived and they all started shouting "Look at the alien mammoth".

I did a little wandering after my shift but I'm going back tomorrow to see most of it and to go on the tour of the tree ring labs. I did pick up a fair amount of brochures with just a quick run through, but I avoided eating any of the indian tacos or fry bread since I am back on my diet. The museum is holding it's open house at the same time. They always have an open house during Archaeology Month and it's great as they open up the storage rooms so people can see all the things they have. I love the pot room as there are pots on shelves to the ceiling and stacked all across the room. They have one of the largest research collections of pottery.

I thought about my mother at the fair as she always loved anthropology and archaeology and I learned to love it from her. She went back to school in her 50s to get her master in anthropology (with honors) so she could write about it. She never did get anything published but I remember how much she enjoyed studying it and learning about it. Where she was in Mexico she picked up quite a bit of information about the area we lived in that probably is gone now.

In the afternoon I went to a public meeting with the Sun Trans people. Sun Trans is our public transportation system and they are short on money. They laid out the possibilities from cutting back service to raising fares. Everyone seemed to prefer raising fares as it's already difficult for some people to get to work or do anything in the evening. This is only one of many meetings around town and then all the responses they get will go to the city council. The best idea for the future was to raise the sales tax by a fraction as it would cost much more if they have to build more roads.

This was the first time I've been to something like this but many people seemed to be regulars and even greeting the Sun Trans officials by name. There was a blind lady there to see if this would impact her and several people who talked about how they hadn't been able to take some jobs because the service was already so poor. One lady wanted to read a statement even though they kept telling her that this was just to get our input and not the read major statements. She can do that when it goes before the city council.

I think that public transportation is a conservative issue as many people can't get jobs if they can't get to them. This is especially true of people who are just entering the job market or people who stay at the bottom end due to education, language, racism, or whatever. If they can't get a job, or get to the job they have, they end up on welfare or unemployement. Even if they have a car it is often a junker, like I've had so often, and isn't dependable for getting to work. To me it's stupid to refuse to spend money on transit and end up spending much more on welfare and unemployment. Several people at the meeting brought up this point also. Money spent on public transit is a tiny fraction of the money spent on roads, plus there aren't the other costs such as emergency services due to accidents.

It goes before the city council in a few weeks, but that is at night and the people who need the public transit most can't go because the bus service stops on most routes by six or seven in the evening. I think I would like to go and just see how it's done but I would have to ride my bike back home.

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3/17/00 - Walked 5 miles
3/18/00 - Walked 1 mile

(c) Rachel Aschmann 2000.
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