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HEAT IS ON! Summer’s sizzle about to intensify

Temperatures will sear, lightning will strike, thunder will roll and the rains will pour. That’s a given in the desert, the San Pedro Valley being no exception.

Inasmuch as this has been an atypical year as far as weather, it should come as no surprise the National Weather Service is predicting a potentially later start to Monsoon 2019.

By definition there is an official start to the season, June 15-Sept. 30, declared so in 2008 by the NWS. In years prior that was determined when dew point readings, the measure of moisture in the atmosphere, hit 55 or higher for three consecutive days.

Despite the official mid-June start tag, the summer rains will hit peak activity in the valley in August and September. And any wishful notion that the cooler May temperatures would persist throughout the summer should now be cast aside.

Conditions in the valley will slowly give way to the baking and searing desert heat valley residents have grown accustomed to, the NWS reports.

And with the summer recreation sports camps now underway, health professionals remind parents to ensure their children are properly hydrated, especially as temperatures continue to escalate. That goes also for anyone else who will find themselves in the elements during heat peak time.

Folks afflicted with chronic conditions, and the elderly, should avoid exposure during those times if possible.

This week temperatures are expected in the mid to upper 90s for the most part, exception being a 92 on Wednesday and 93 Thursday, with a high of 99 expected Saturday. Beyond that mercury readings should consistently range from the upper 90s to triple digits, with a hotter-than-usual summer predicted.

Time to bake in the valley.

Chris Dabovich|News-Sun  

Paul Kerchum, WWII veteran, POW and survivor of the Bataan Death March, is a frequent speaker at the veterans’ commemorations in Benson.

Search on for new high school principal

With summer break barely a couple of weeks old, start of the 2019-20 school year at Benson Unified School District is only eight weeks away.

Surely that’s not what returning students are turning their attention toward. But that’s not the case for members of the school governing board and administration who are looking to fill key vacancies.

The search is on for a new high school principal with the impending departure of Ben Rodriguez who will take on the role he held at BUSD at Buckeye Unified School District.

The exit will bring an end to Rodriguez’s eight-year, accolade-laden tenure at Benson. He acknowledged mixed emotions following the recent graduation ceremony. He described his years at Benson as “amazing” and said he would miss the students, faculty, colleagues, and especially the community, noting he “loved” his time at BUSD.

“It’s bittersweet,” he said. “I thoroughly loved my time in Benson, and I’ll certainly miss everyone and the community. At the same time this is going to be good for my career and family.”

Schools Superintendent Micah Mortensen said Rodriguez’s passion and energy would be missed while he thanked Rodriguez for going beyond and above what is expected of a school principal.

“He’ll definitely be missed,” noted Mortensen.