Easier Access to Rocky Point in Works; Governor Brewer Headed to Hermosillo This Weekend

Construction on a second lane into Mexico at the U.S. Port of Entry in Lukeville, the gateway to Rocky Point beaches, will begin by the middle of next year, state officials say.

The easier cross-border access will be among the topics discussed this weekend at the Arizona-Mexico Commission Plenary Session in Hermosillo, Mexico. Governor Jan Brewer is slated to attend the seminar-like event, to be held at the Fiesta Americana Hotel.

Bids for the work will be accepted this spring, says Matt Burdick, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation. The additional lane will make the border easier to cross going south, but the bottleneck on the Mexico side will continue to delay partiers coming back home.

Other port-of-entry improvements will be discussed at the plenary session's transportation committee meetings, as will various topics from the Arizona-Mexico Commission's 13 committees.

  Margie Emmermann, (at left), executive director for the state Arizona-Mexico Commission, tells us that several announcements will be made during Brewer's upcoming trip to Hermosillo, Mexico.

But she didn't want to tell us what they were, saying that if she did, there would be no need to make announcements at the event. We pressed her to at least say whether they were all good surprises.

"To me, they're all good surprises," fires back Emmermann, whose banker husband, Carl, chairs the Commission's Financial, Business and Legal Services Committee.

We tried Brewer's office in an attempt to find more information. As usual, Paul Senseman wasn't available for a comment. And when we called Kim Sabow, Brewer's deputy director of communications, we couldn't even leave a message because her voicemail storage space was full. Weak.

We found out about two other marginally interesting things that'll be discussed at this weekend's event:

*Les Caid, a planner in Nogales County on the Emergency Management committee, tells us about a great program he oversees that gives hand-me-downs from Arizona firefighters to their counterparts in Mexico.

In some small towns south of the border, volunteer firefighters are using little more than "garden tools" during emergencies, Caid says. They could use older firefighting apparel, like boots and gloves, that norteamericanos might throw out.

If you want to help Caid's effort, e-mail him at [email protected].

*William Neubauer, a retired surgeon in the Tucson area, says one topic of discussion at the Hermosillo event will be a pilot program that puts basic medicinal knowledge in the hands of southern Arizona farmworkers. The information will focus on diabetes, high blood pressure, drug use, pesticides and other subjects that uneducated farmhands need to know about, Neubauer says.

You'll just have to wait to find out the other "good surprises."

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.