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  • A World of Color

    Living in a teepee outside Taos, New Mexico in the summer of 1979, someone asked Jane Hamilton what planned to do once winter arrived.Hamilton wasn’t the only person in the hippy crowd she hung out with at the time trying to figure out where to go at the end of summer. She admitted to her friend that she had no idea and her friend suggested something that she never thought of doing before.“Why don’t you pray on it,” he suggested.One day, she thought about that suggestion and did just that. A gallery owner in Taos asked if she could fill in for their receptionist taking a vacation. When she walked into the gallery, she remembered feeling as if she was exactly where she was supposed to be.“I’m home,” she said to herself.What turned into a temporary job to just answer phones, turned into selling art and loving it and being good at it. They asked her to continue. Hamilton did, and she never forgot that moment of prayer.

  • Community bike swap returning to Oro Valley this weekend

    Riding back into Oro Valley this Saturday, March 25, at Steam Pump Ranch is BIKE. SWAP. SELL., the town’s bike swap servicing the communities of north Tucson. Celebrating the strong cycling culture in the region, the event will give area residents an opportunity to comb though a diverse selection of parts and components from more than a dozen vendors.The meet kicks off at the ranch, 10901 N. Oracle Road, at 9 a.m. and will include the swap meet, a bike rodeo riding path for children, educational activities, food trucks and fix-a-flat and minor maintenance service courtesy of the Pima County Bike Ambassadors every half-hour from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The event will also serve as a drop-off for bike donations for Wheels For Kids, which works to provide children with bicycles.Oro Valley Recreation and Cultural Services Manager and community cyclist Lynanne Dellerman, who helped launch the event, said the event is a must for anyone with free time on Saturday. The swap meet will coincide with Oro Valley’s weekly Heirloom Farmer’s Market, and Dellerman advised her fellow cyclists to peruse the stalls for some fresh ingredients after visiting the food trucks.“It’s so fun,” she said. “We will have music, snacks, bicycle valet, it’s very, very enjoyable and a good time for everyone.”For more info, Dellerman can be reached at 229-5052.

  • Pancake-loving sisters find success in breakfast mixes

    Oro Valley resident Kim Vanderwerf and her sister Jan Claxton spend their Saturday mornings at the Heirloom Farmers Market at Steam Pump Ranch, handing out miniature pancakes and showing off the versatility of their breakfast mix. Also known collectively as Girls From Arizona, the sisters have spent a great deal of time amongst whole grain and spices, perfecting their product.Though they deal in early morning meals, Vanderwerf said the inspiration behind the breakfast food was her own search for a suitable way to prepare one of her favorite weekend cravings, pancakes.“I just could not find a mix that I enjoyed that was also healthy,” she said. “I was talking with my husband one morning and he said, ‘Why don’t you just make your own?’ So we discussed the things that I like, consulted with my sister, and that’s how we came up with it.”The result of their hard work is a versatile, locally sourced multigrain breakfast mix including whole wheat, whole oats, light and dark flax seed, cinnamon and sugar which can be utilized to create pancakes, waffles and muffins. With their product in hand, Vanderwerf said they have “taken all of the guesswork out,” to make it easy for anyone to have a satisfying meal. For those with dietary restrictions like dairy or eggs, she said there are several substitutes available.Many of the changes and learned adaptations the sisters have added to the mix have come directly from their customers, Vanderwerf said, which she added is a huge benefit of their presence at the weekly farmers market.“We meet so many different people, and hear their different folk’s opinions,” Vanderwerf said. “What we 

  • Oro Valley council adds veterans’ preference policy to hiring process

    Any eligible, qualified veteran applying for employment with the Town of Oro Valley are now guaranteed an initial interview, a change in personnel policy unanimously passed by town council during its March 15 regular session.Oro Valley Human Resources Director Gary Bridget, himself a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, requested the item be brought forth, and recommended approval. Addressing the council, Bridget said the goal of adjusting the hiring process was two-fold. By creating a veterans’ preference the town will continue to abide by state law, which requires any U.S. veteran having ended their service under honorable conditions after at least six months of active duty be given five points of preference above non-veterans during the hiring process. In the case of a municipality which does not hire on a scoring system, like Oro Valley, veterans are to be given an applicable preference – in this case a guaranteed initial interview.The second goal Bridget mentioned is to “level the playing field for veterans, and to send a message to all who served in our armed forces that the Town of Oro Valley is a veteran-friendly employer.”Bridget also stressed that the policy does not guarantee any other preferences beyond the initial employment interview, nor is there a guarantee of employment.Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath, who encouraged the council to approve the policy change, said veterans can sometimes find themselves at a disadvantage – especially those having served in combat – in communicating how their skills best translate into civilian life.“We’ve come a long way since Oro Valley created its veterans’ support initiative, and I think that this really falls in line with Oro Valley catering to all groups and all people,” Hiremath said.

  • Autism Walk attracts support from all over Southern Arizona

    People from all over Southern Arizona will convene at the Kino Sports Complex on Saturday, April 1 for the Autism Society of Southern Arizona’s 11th Annual Autism Walk and Resource Fair. Over 1,500 people from 20 Arizona cities are expected at the event. The primary goal is to raise money for the Autism Society to provide programs, education events and resources for Southern Arizona Autism community. “All money stays local in southern Arizona,” said Oro Valley resident Pete Schwarz, the 2017 Walk Chair.While the event is designed to be a fundraiser, it is also a day of fun. There are a wide variety of activities and entertainment that are accessible for those on the Autism Spectrum. For younger children there are jumping castles, obstacle courses and face painters, but maybe more importantly, a place where no one will be judgmental if a child has a tantrum, because most of the parents have been there before. “Children on the spectrum can become over stimulated and act out,” Schwarz said. “No one it going to think twice if it happens here.”For teenagers and older kids on the spectrum there will be activities including a robotics area and a physics bus.

  • Town of Marana’s Founders’ Day continues to provide fun for kids

    Marana’s Founders’ Day has always been a family affair, with a lot of activities geared to the kids. This year’s edition was no different as there were plenty of things to do for kids of all ages, so who better to give a review of the event than 6-year old Tyler Allis? The following review is a verbal re-telling of the day, with some “guiding” by his father to make sure he covered the event in detail:Parades are great, but I especially like parades where they throw candy. They threw a lot of candy at the Marana Founders’ Day parade. All you had to do was wave to the floats and they threw you candy. Candy was not the only cool part of the parade, there was plenty to see. There were a lot of really neat vehicles. There were kids on BMX bicycles, including a two on unicycles. There were Shriners in little mini cars. They would do tricks and then give high fives to all the kids. There were a bunch of people on horses, and a lot of floats. There were fire trucks and police motor cycles and even a monster truck.At the end there were people from the Marana Health Center, and one of them asked his girlfriend to marry him. She said “yes” even though he was wearing a big purple heart and yellow tights. They called it a “proposal” and I learned that everybody, especially girls and ladies, really like proposalsThe rest of Founders Day was over at the park and there was so much stuff to do. Since the day was kind of hot, we decided to get something to drink. Although we could have gotten an Eeggee, ice cream or a snow cone, we just decided to get water so that we would have more money for good later on. 

  • “Life” an instant cult-alien space classic

    No Oscars are awarded to movies released in the calendar months of March and April. These two months are reserved for only fodder films—appetizers if you will—for huge blockbuster summer action adventures kicking off on Memorial Day weekend and lasting until “Back to School” commercials swarm us around Labor Day. Right now most audiences are hitting theaters to check out the Academy Award winners announced last month. So, to find an entertaining and very watchable (and scary) new release just as Spring is upon us, is as refreshing as landing your feet on a shady spot of sand on a hot Florida beach. “Life” quickly takes us aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and introduces viewers to a six-person crew of astronauts and one menacing lifeform gathered up from the soil of Mars. In a deadly orbital game of Hide and Seek, the alien creature dubbed “Calvin” emerges hell-bent on using humans as its new food source. A shocking and gruesome horror flick taking place just outside the Earth’s atmosphere, “Life” masterfully accomplishes the two tasks all successful cult-alien space stories must achieve: create a formidable, smart creature and, secondly, provide us viewers with constant, unrelenting tense, scary moments. It sells this instant alien classic with the genuine feeling of isolation and loneliness in space, using mostly incommunicado with Earth and an orchestrated weightlessness of bodies and liquids throughout the ISS.Wisely, the film’s energy on character development is expended mostly on the elusive alien monster. Yes, the bromance witnessed during December’s Golden Globe awards show between Jake Gyllenhaal (“Nightcrawler”) and Ryan Reynolds (“Deadpool”) continues in “Life.”It’s interesting to see these two Hollywood heavyweights costar in roles that so underutilized their overall acting chops. Obviously headlining “Life” for box office appeal, the duo capably bookend the film as a record-setting space junkie and the space station’s “Mr. Fix It” engineer, respectively. Beside the familiar Gyllenhaal and Reynolds, is a quartet of faces more remembered by their country’s flag displayed on the spacesuit sleeves than any character names. All six crew members and a stereotypical lab rat pose as alien bait for an extraterrestrial species that adapts and changes to its surroundings at the same rate it multiplies in size.“Life” gives us the pulse-racing space terror of 1979’s “Alien” and the suspense-filled isolation found in John Carpenter’s Antarctic in “The Thing” (1982). Make no mistake, the real star is the alien creature of whom we learn as much about as any other character in the film, and that’s the way it should be. After all, better movies are coming from Gyllenhaal and Reynolds later this year in “Stronger” and “The Hitman’s Bodyguard.” For now, just enjoy “Life.”  

  • Chef Ryan Clark’s new Spring menu at Casino’s Del Sol’s PY Steakhouse

    You might say Chef Ryan Clark has a compression obsession.Clark is among those of us who welcome the arrival of spring with enthusiasm. He fancies the lighter and brighter flavors of the season, and calls them the “perfect bridge” to summer.But while compression can threaten the integrity of a bridge in an architectural context, it’s a complement to this bridge in a culinary context at the Casino Del Sol’s PY Steakhouse, 5655 W. Valencia Road.Compression is a technique which enhances the flavor, color and texture of various foods by literally sucking the air right out of them. Foods are placed in small bags, and are vacuum-sealed to remove all traces of air. After that, Clark explains, science does the rest. “Once these foods are completely absent of air, their cell walls start to shatter and break down,” said Clark, executive chef at Casino Del Sol. “This allows them to slowly absorb the actual flavor back into the foods in a way that introduces an entirely different experience altogether.”Three of the four new dishes on Clark’s spring menu feature ingredients that have spent a good amount of time in the Casino’s compression chamber.

  • Cruise, BBQ & Blues Festival & Car Show this Saturday

    Though rain may have postponed the festivities, the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA) has rescheduled the Cruise, BBQ & Blues Festival & Car Show for this Saturday, April 1 at the Oro Valley Marketplace (12155 N. Oracle Road). In its ninth year, the event will include classic and muscle cars, activities for the whole family, food vendors and exhibitors from throughout the community.According to SAACA, up to 135 different cars and trucks, “antique and modern, domestic and foreign, modified and custom” will roll into the event to be judged and awarded trophies: Best of Show, Best Interior, Best Paint, Best Engine, Best Presentation and the People's Choice awards."It is important that we feature amazing cars and the craftsman that maintain, restore and enhance performance and call attention to the true art form that it is, but to also bring together the community of individuals and organizations that enhance the classic car experience," said Jonas Hunter, Special Events Director at SAACA, in a release. "This classic car show will bring all of these elements together and allow both car enthusiasts and novices alike to enjoy these works of art."The show will also feature live performances by Bryan Dean Trio and The Coolers. The event kicks off at 10 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase day-of at the gate: $5 for adults with a $1 discount for veterans and active military, children under 10 are free. The event raises money to support SAACA’s Veterans Art Therapy programming at the Southern Arizona Veterans Administration.More information is available at www.saaca.org, or by phone at 797-3959. Vehicle registration is available at https://saaca.formstack.com/forms/2017_april_car_show_new_participants

  • POP tennis arrives in Southern Arizona, giving active adults a fun court alternative

    If you hear a popping noise coming from the tennis courts at Heritage Highlands, it is not a premature New Year celebration of champagne corks or firecrackers, but the sound of the newest sport to arrive in Southern Arizona—POP tennis. Although the game has a distinctive noise, it is not as loud as pickleball, another tennis alternative played by many at Heritage Highlands and similar active-adult communities. POP is not only the sound of the ball hitting the racquet but it also stands for popular, because the game is designed for a wider variety of players than traditional tennis. Smaller court sizes and a pace of play that provides less wear and tear on the body, the sport is ideal for beginners, but is also perfectly suited for those older athletes who love the game of tennis but no longer want all of the running or had physical issues that no longer allowed tennis to be an option.“The people we are attracting are not so much active tennis players, but they are people that used to play tennis but for whatever reason they could not cover the court anymore or they have shoulder issues,” said Jim Hefele, vice president of the Highlands Tennis Association, and one of the people who introduced the game to community. Unlike pickleball, which uses a hollow ball similar to a whiffle ball and a solid paddle, POP tennis uses something resembling traditional tennis balls and racquets. The balls are a lot softer, and do not travel as fast or need to be hit as hard, while the racquets have the look of tennis racquets, but are thicker, and solid with holes drilled into them. Hefele explains that there is less compression to the ball, which means they do not go as fast, travel as far or hurt as bad if hit by one.

  • Several school athletes sign to college teams

    Soccer standout Victoria Guitierrez is the latest Marana student to extend her athletic career at the collegiate level. Guitierrez signed with Friends University, an NAIA school in Wichita, Kansas.“Victoria had the motivation and the drive to do this,” said Marana Head Soccer Coach Dan Tarquin. Guitierrez was a vital performer on the defensive end for the Tigers, playing a team-high 1,600 minutes. She scored one goal and had one assist as a senior. Ironwood Ridge’s Tommy Baden has committed to play football for Ohio Wesleyan. The senior linebacker/defensive back/wide receiver will join the Battling Bishops roster next fall. Baden had 48 tackles and two interceptions for the Nighthawks as a senior, and took one of the picks to the house. He also had seven catches for 80 yards and three scores last season. Ohio Wesleyan is an NCAA Division III school in Delaware, OH. Baden chose Ohio Wesleyan over Wittenberg and Ohio Northern.

  • Oro Valley snowbirds running, biking and swimming laps around the competition

    When Tim Cronk and Heather Webber retired from their careers as air traffic controllers, the exercise enthusiasts said they began looking for different outlets for their athletic inclinations. First the longtime couple turned to cycling, then skiing and snowboarding, though they would soon enjoy the thrills of rock climbing, base jumping and even develop a taste for skydiving. Though jumping from airplanes and leaping off cliffs contained a fair bit of thrills, they soon found themselves pursuing fitness goals of a different nature: triathlons. What began as recreational swims in a lake near their East Coast home was the beginning of an impressive endurance career for both athletes. As Cronk, now 54, tells the story, he and Webber, 53, were one day asked by a neighbor if they had ever considered participating in a triathlon. A new thought for both, before long the idea was reality. Shortly after the idea of becoming endurance athletes was brought to their attention the couple crafted their own event, the Cronkathon. Instead of a traditional triathlon—running, cycling and swimming—the Cronkathon substituted running for kayaking.“Considering that we were coming from rock climbing and base jumping, it was kind of like an aging, progressive thing,” Cronk said. “I became more interested in the triathlon from a health perspective, but as with anything I do, I had to take it to a higher level and be competitive. Competitors both, Webber and Cronk would soon becoming world-class marathon and Ironman participants for their age group. Marathons are running events spanning just over 26 miles, while the more demanding Ironman consists of a nearly two-and-a-half-mile swim and an 113-mile bicycle ride on top of a marathon run. While both Webber and Cronk have found great success in endurance sports, the latter has competed on the world stage at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii three times since his first half-Ironman in 2009, and said he is looking forward to a fourth trip later this year.“What drew me to [Ironman] is what initially drew me to skydiving,” Cronk said. “I had viewed skydiving as impossible and could never imagine leaving a plane on my own free will. It seemed impossible, but then after you do it, it becomes the possible when you break it down. An Ironman triathlon seemed absolutely impossible at one point in time—but if you break it all down, it becomes possible.”Shattering the concept of the impossible is an impressive feat in its own right, but the couple has also been vegans for almost a decade.

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