Office supply firm, Tucson Values Teachers in reward effort

A Tucson group formed to recruit, retain and reward K-12 teachers in Southern Arizona has initiated a partnership with OfficeMax to provide recognition to local, deserving teachers.

Tucson Values Teachers is working with the national office supply retailer to conduct its "Teacher Excellence" award campaign. People in Southern Arizona can nominate area teachers who excel in and outside the classroom. The organizations' executives then select one winner each month to receive a $50 gift certificate from OfficeMax and a recognition page on Tucson Values Teachers' Web site,

"Our teachers are spending $1,200 of their salary on average for basic classroom supplies," said Jacquelyn Jackson, executive director of Tucson Values Teachers. "This program is a way to thank those who go above and beyond for their students by helping them keep their hard-earned money in their pockets or purses."

More than 10,000 teachers at district, private and charter schools are eligible to receive prizes and praise from the project. The organization is accepting nominations now, with the first winner to gain recognition Dec. 15. Subsequent awards will be announced each third Tuesday of a month.

To nominate a teacher for the "Teacher Excellence" award, visit



Buy 'Dancing with Stars' tix by December 29

Tickets for "Dancing with the Stars of Northern Pima County," the Jan. 9 fund-raising gala for the Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce, are on sale, a chamber release said.

The deadline for tickets is 2 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 29. Individual tickets are $100, while a table for 10 costs $950. Call the chamber at 297-2191 or e-mail to purchase tickets.

This year's dancing stars are Olympic hurdler LaTanya Sheffield of Sports Extravaganza, Dr. Mahesh Tipirneni of Vitality Medical and Wellness Center, Keri Ruffell of 1-2-3 Fit, Oro Valley Chief of Police Danny Sharp, Mary Davis of the Town of Oro Valley and Richard Underwood of AAA Landscape. They are each dancing to raise money for a charity, as well as the chamber itself.

Dancing with the Stars opens with registration at 5:30 p.m. that Saturday, Jan. 9, at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain. The event, with dinner, program and live auction, begins at 6 p.m.

Donated auction items are needed by Friday, Dec. 18, at 2 p.m. at the chamber office.



Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain opens Friday

The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, the company's 72nd hotel and its first Southern Arizona property, opens this Friday, Dec. 18, in the Tortolita foothills of Marana.

Doors open to the public at 4 p.m., with dining outlets and spa open for business.

More than 40 Ritz-Carlton leaders from around the world have arrived to assist in the orientation and training of more than 300 recently hired employees.

"The key to a successful property is their indoctrination into The Ritz-Carlton culture," a release said. "This is enlivened through the new Gold standard, producing an unwavering commitment to excellence.

"It is about providing an experience that creates memories that last a lifetime through refined, personalized service and attention to detail," said general manager Allan Federer. "This is a resort that is true and authentic to the unique surroundings and we are focused exceeding guests' expectations. This setting coupled with a spirit of adventure permeating the entire guest experience, sets us apart."

The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain features 250 guest rooms and suites, and multi-bedroom casitas. There are 27 holes of championship golf, designed by Jack Nicklaus and host to the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

The resort sits upon 850 acres. There are 20 miles of hiking trails, biking, jeep tours, and stargazing. Among the restaurants are the CORE Kitchen and Wine Bar, the Ignite lobby lounge, and Cayton's. The Ritz-Carlton Spa is a 17,000 square-foot retreat.

A gala opening celebration is scheduled for New Year's Eve, benefiting Angel Charity for Children.

For general information, call 1-800-241-3333, or visit

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