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  • Estes Elementary celebrates kindness as part of greater goal

    While “kindness” can be sort of a catch-all term used in schools, a number of Marana Unified School District schools are using the concept as a way to reduce behavior problems. Kindness is a cornerstone of the district’s integrated behavior system, Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support, which emphasizes the importance of respect, responsibility, accountability and kindness in all classrooms and areas of school. Last Thursday night, March 9, Estes Elementary had a fun-filled evening that also strived to reinforce the ideas of kindness. The event had a variety of booths and displays that shared resources and information on how to promote kindness as well as family activities, health and wellness checks, and displays on conservation, planet resources and animals.“At Estes, we place an emphasis on demonstrating and promoting kindness,” said Principal Colleen Frederick. “We understand that when students feel respected, supported, and safe, they feel a sense of belonging and their overall academic experience is positive. We are pleased to offer this event to our community in order to share the important role we all play in promoting kindness.”The school has held a number of events to promote kindness in the school. In February the school had their Kick-Off to Kindness Assembly, at which Ben’s Bells founder Jeannette Maré shared her message on the power of kindness. This message has been a core part of the PBIS program which utilizes “positive interventions and system changes to achieve socially important behavior changes.”The strategy works best when students are taught respect, responsibility, and accountability from an early age. As part of PBIS, clear expectations for the behavior for the classroom and school as a whole are established and reinforced. 

  • Mountain View St. Baldrick’s event raises over $7,000 for research to help kids

    The cafeteria at Mountain View High School resembled a school carnival than a fundraiser for pediatric cancer, but that was the point. The third annual St. Baldrick’s night at the school was meant to bring some levity to a serious cause. It also brought some good money, raising more than $7,000. The event is on target to raise over $8,000, with two more dine to donate nights at Dickey’s BBQ and Boston’s Bar and Grill.  “The event went well,” said Chris Dow, one of the event’s organizers. St. Baldrick’s raises funds for cancer research in kids and young adults. The main way people participate is to have their heads shaved. Not only are they going bald in solidarity with those who have lost their hair during cancer treatments, but they also collect donations and sponsors to get their heads shaved. “At the event we honor several local kids, young adults that are battling cancer and their families,” Dow said. “We make it a point to get to know these families and support and encourage them.”Sports Clips was on hand to do the hair trimming duties with four stations. For the first few hours the hair stylists who donated their time were busy shaving heads (as well as a few beards).

  • Marana hires new assistant town manager

    Town of Marana has hired Steven Romero to be their new assistant town manager. He began the new position on March 6 and returns to the town after working on the East Coast. Romero will oversee the departments of technology services, economic development, community relations, and parks and recreation. He will also assist the town attorney and the town’s legal department on a number of legal matters. The town has long had three town manager slots, but when a position became available during the 2008 recession, the town did not fill it as part of a cost-cutting measure.  Town Manager Gilbert Davidson had been working Deputy Town Manager Jamsheed Mehta in the Town Manager’s Office as a two-man team, along with other staffers, before the addition of Romero. “For a number of years, we’ve been able to maintain everything with two people, and sometimes one person, we are at a point with the amount of growth and activity from one end of town to the other it is nice another person involved,” Davidson said.Romero previously worked for the Town of Marana in 2008 when he became the Town’s first intergovernmental affairs administrator. At that time, he worked with Southern Arizona’s congressional delegation, then-Sen. Jon Kyl’s office and state representatives in an effort to further the town’s legislative goals. Before joining the town staff, Romero worked for the international consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton in Virginia.  

  • Marana, Oro Valley could benefit from site selector conference

    Saying you want new businesses to locate to Southern Arizona and making that happen are two different things. Most businesses don’t choose a city independently, but instead use professional site selectors, who are management consultants who specialize in matching companies with municipalities. Last week the top professional corporate location consultants in the world convened in Tucson, giving the region and the state a shot at impressing them. Both Marana and Oro Valley are involved in the event and hope to benefit from being part of the hosting group. Tucson and the state of Arizona won the right to host the Site Selectors Guild’s Annual Convention, which not only allows them to bring these consultants to the Old Pueblo in March, but provides opportunities for the local municipalities and other organizations to get face time with all the key players in one location.  The guild is an organization made up of the cream of the crop of those in the site selector profession, the top professional corporate location consultants in the world. “We’re management consultants,” said Phil Schneider, board chair of the guild. “We are hired by companies to figure out where they should place an operation and why. We look at all of the factors involved.” Those factors include operating costs, labor force, infrastructure, access to customers and access to suppliers. There is also the livability of the community.“All of those issues are analyzed and modeled and due diligence is done before a company selects a location,” Schneider said.  

  • Marana to handle their own animal control

    The Marana Town Council voted not to renew their contract with Pima County to provide animal control services. Instead the town will create their own animal control department.The vote was 5-2, with Roxanne Ziegler and Herb Kai objecting.The town was concerned with rising costs from the county combined with customer service that they found unacceptable. The town has seen the cost of animal control services from the town rise from $10,000 less than a decade ago to over $230,000 this fiscal year. The estimated cost for the town to run their own service in 2018 is $212,000 with an initial cost of about $156,000 to get things started. The town estimates a return of at least $75,000 in licensing fees, which they would now handle themselves.The town would hire two full time animal control officers, purchase at least one vehicle and build temporary kenneling facilities. The town would contract with the Humane Society for sheltering and veterinary services.Several people spoke out in favor of remaining with Pima County, mostly due to their concerns no longer utilizing Pima Animal Care Center, which they feel is better equipped to take in Animals from the community, as opposed to the Humane Society which typically takes in adoptable animals.Marana will take over their own animal control services on July 1.

  • Surface treatment on Silverbell

    The Town of Marana has contracted Sunland Asphalt to apply a surface sealant on Silverbell Road between Twin Peaks Road and Sunset Road starting March 8 – 13. Expect daytime lane restrictions.For your safety and that of the contractor’s personnel, please comply with traffic control devices, flagging personnel, and/or detour signs.Travel time through the project area may increase during construction so please adjust your schedule accordingly. Construction may restrict traffic lanes and create congestion. Taking alternate routes is suggested.If inclement weather or other events cause delays, the work may be rescheduled without further notice.For more information, please contact Town of Marana Public Works Office (520) 382-2505.Town of Marana Press release

  • Marana budget on target for fiscal year

    There were few surprises at the recent Marana Town Council meeting when Finance Manager Erik Montague reported on revenues and expenditures half way through the fiscal year.Montague said most of the numbers aligned with projections and those that did not, were either expected or easily explained. Sales tax revenues are at 50 percent of the projected amount, perfectly in line with the projections. Through the second quarter the town has collected $12.2 million, which is an increase of 3.2 percent from 2016 and a nearly $2 million increase since 2014.Similarly, intergovernmental revenues are at 49 percent, having collected $5.2 million. That is an increase of 17.6 percent from 2016.However, revenues collected from licenses, permits and fees are down. This is still at 46 percent of the projected total for the year, but they are down 13.2 percent from 2016 and are off from the total collected at this point in 2015 as well. Overall, Montague is not worried. “We are expecting that to catch up based on the economy and the new population estimates under the new calculation,” said Montague. Single family housing permits for January were strong and the town is expecting the same for February, which contributes to this category. 

  • Support youth in tobacco prevention

    Pima County is fortunate to have parents, youth, and community organizations working together to prevent tobacco use in Pima County. Recently, in part to their effort, as well as state and national partners, cigarette usage has been on the decline, and is particularly evident among America’s youth. There has been a dramatic national push among tobacco prevention advocates to create a generation of nonsmokers which has seen gradual success and is championed by a younger generation.In 2010, roughly 16 percent of Pima County youth had smoked cigarettes. In 2014, that number dropped to 12 percent.  Although the recent decrease in cigarette use among Pima County’s youth has been a powerfully positive trend, the timing of the decline coincides with a rise in the promotion and availability of electronic devices that act like a cigarette called e-cigarettes with a majority of the marketing targeting youth. The e-cigarette orally gives the user a similar habitual comfort of cigarettes, but instead of burning tobacco, the devices vaporize nicotine, water and other solvents inhaled by the user. Let’s support our youth as they fight this new challenge. I know I am talking to my boys, Diego, age 10, and Marco, age 7, about the dangers inherent to tobacco and e-cigarette use. As you reflect on the coming year and contemplate resolutions that positively impact you and your family, I hope you will carefully consider how you can be an example to not smoke or use e-cigarettes. In doing so, you will take an important step for your health as well as inspire youth in our community to stand strong against tobacco use. There are a variety of ways the Health Department team might be able to help you, why not give us a call and let’s talk about how to stop smoking today 724-7904.

  • Monster truck brings hope to Roadrunner student

    It is not everyday that you see a Monster truck at your school, so you can imagine the surprise as students at Roadrunner Elementary School ventured out to their basketball court to find a 10,000-pound truck, complete with spikes and a menacing face on the side. In reality, there was nothing menacing about the truck’s appearance as Monster Jam and Hope Kids teamed up to give one Roadrunner student a special day. Max-D, the truck also known as Maximum Destruction, was on hand to help surprise 5-year-old Gabe Gutierrez. The kindergarten student was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the beginning of 2016. He has completed a full year of chemotherapy and is now back in the classroom and continuing his recovery, but Hope Kids knew he loved big trucks and helped plan the special day for him. “Gabe came to mind,” said Kimberly Trichel of Hope Kids. “Based off of his treatment and what he was going through, we thought his family could use a little hope.”At first Gutierrez was all smiles, but after getting a small tour of the truck, the moment became a little too much for him and he showcased his shy side, burrowing his head into his mother’s shoulder. Max-D driver Jared Eichelberger then turned his attention to the rest of Gabe’s class and handed out Monster Jam postcards and autographs. Soon the whole school was out to check out the truck and when Gabe was more outgoing he, his family and Eichelberger got to interact some more. “He likes monster trucks, there is just a lot going on,” said Gabe’s father, Mike Gutierrez. “It has been a year and a half now of constant change for him. It is a lot for a kid like him to take in.”His father added that Gabe had always been a very independent kid, so having to rely on others during his treatment was not always easy for him to do. 

  • Strong January for housing permits in Marana

    Marana had a strong 2016 in terms of new housing permits and 2017 has started off much the same. The town issued 54 single-family residential permits in January, which is in line for projections of just over 600 for the year.Eastern Marana, which included Dove Mountain, Sky Ranch, Tangerine Crossing and The Preserve developments accounted for the bulk of the permits with 32. 13 were issued for Southern Marana, while nine were granted for Northern Marana.In the calendar year 2016 Marana issued 581 permits. They issued 39 last January.Eastern Marana also accounted for most of the permits last year with 250.

  • Remembering Hurvie Davis, the man who “legitimized” Marana

    There have been a number of people who have played an important role in Marana. From the town’s matriarch Ora Mae Harn, to the Chinese farmers who prospered in the area decades before the town incorporated and even Juan Bautista de Anza, the Spanish explorer who travelled through the area in the 1700s. Former Town Manager Hurvie Davis carved out his own legacy and in many ways carved out a legacy for the town.Davis passed away last month and is remembered for many things, but is best known for “legitimizing” the town and leading the charge for the annexation of the “golden triangle,”— the Orange Grove/Ina/Thornydale area responsible for most of Marana’s sales tax collection until other areas were built up. While Davis did not come up with the idea, it was Davis who not only re-introduced the concept and really pushed to make it happen, using his Tucson area contacts and people skills to get area business owners and residents to sign off on the plan. “He was kind of the mastermind behind the annex,” said Marana Mayor Ed Honea. “Hurvie was the guy who had the vision. He said ‘Let’s just go do it.’”At Davis’ behest, the town quietly drew up a map of the area they planned to annex and submitted it to the state, through the county, with little or no fanfare. That gave them one year to get the necessary property owners, both from a numbers standpoint and a value standpoint, to agree to the plan. 

  • Top Golf coming to Marana

    Top Golf is coming to the area behind Costco that was occupied by the Practice Tee. The multi-tier golf center is geared as much to nongolf fans as it is golf fans. “For those of you that golf and even for those of you who do not golf, this is a great facility,” said Marana Economic Development Director Curt Woody. While it is a state of the art driving range, the goal is to provide entertainment aspects with target games and high tech lighting. There is also plenty of food, drink and television screens. “It is almost like a bar and grill like atmosphere,” Woody said. The site plan approved, permitted and according to Woody the building plans could be approved at any time. They want to be open by fall of this year. This originally appeared in a bigger story about Marana Development that ran in the Feb. 8 issue of the Marana News. 

  • Turns out the magical mystery dam in Santa Cruz River was not much of a mystery afterall

    In terms of mysteries, the “Mystery of the Santa Cruz Dam” will never rival those tales crafted by Agatha Christie or Raymond Chandler, in fact it was no mystery at all, but for a few days last week a new dam in the river raised some questions. Marana residents who like to walk near the Santa Cruz noticed a dam that diverted a section of the Santa Cruz River between Cortaro and Twin Peaks roads had caused some problems. The project created small pools and puddles where fish became trapped and could not continue down the river. “I walked up the now dry channel north of the earthen dam, and found dozens of pockets of dead and dying fish,” said area resident Les Beard. Beard contacted the Town of Marana, but found that they had nothing to do with the project. A call to Pima County Flood Control initially yielded limited results, but he soon discovered the dam was put in place to help perform repairs on the cement embankment on the east side of the Santa Cruz. Beard was not the only area resident concerned about the dam and Pima County released a statement about the project explaining why it was necessary to make the repairs. “Erosion along the soil cement banks has caused the river to undercut the banks,” said the release. “The repairs are necessary to prevent a breach.”According to the county the repairs to the bank protection are due to substandard work by the developer and have to be made “on a regular basis.” The original developer did not ensure that the levee could “prevent or minimize subsurface water seepage into adjoining low-lying properties.” 

  • Marana Prepares for Growth with Major Infrastructure Projects

    The Town of Marana has enjoyed considerable growth in recent years. In order to manage that growth effectively, we are currently committed to a number of key projects that improve our infrastructure and aim to ensure a high quality of life for all Marana residents, including those who don’t even live here yet!One project which has generated quite of a bit of excitement is the Tangerine Sky Community Park, located along the Tangerine Corridor. This will be the first Town-managed park east of I-10, and as a result is filling a major need in our community. This 10-acre facility will include a dog park, basketball court, playground equipment, and walking paths that showcase the park’s beautiful Sonoran Desert setting. Nearby, the Town is also installing a new art installation that will add a creative element to Tangerine Road. As soon as this project is complete, we hope to see you out there enjoying a day in the park with your family.Along one side of this new park, Tangerine Road currently connects both Marana and Oro Valley to Interstate 10. As the population of this region has increased, the demands on this road have grown commensurately, and so Marana is currently collaborating with the Regional Transportation Authority, Oro Valley, and Pima County to widen Tangerine Road and to eliminate the dips that are vulnerable to flooding. Phase 1-A of this project, stretching from Dove Mountain to Thornydale, will finish this summer, and will include two lanes in each direction and a landscaped center median. There will also be widened shoulders on both sides of the road, as well as a car-free shared-use path on the north side of Tangerine. While Tangerine Sky Park becomes a reality in northeast Marana, we are also working on a major improvement in northwest Marana. The Town is working to realign the Marana Road intersection west of I-10. This new alignment will greatly improve the safety of this intersection and allow for improved access to the Downtown Marana district. The Town will add a new roadway that pushes eastbound traffic on Marana road to a roundabout south of the current intersection with Sandario. Eventually, this roadway will continue on the east side of Sandario and curve south to connect with Marana Main Street. The vision for this area is all part of the Downtown Marana plan, and this new roadway is a preliminary step toward achieving that vision. One consequence of Marana’s growth is the heightened demand that is placed on the Marana Police Department. Marana’s officers do a tremendous job of policing our community and developing strong relationships with residents. However, their current facilities simply do not provide adequate capacity if they are going to keep providing the same level of service. That’s why the Marana is building a new police headquarters. This summer, we are excited to break ground on this facility, and we expect to complete it by summer 2018. It will include a public community room, holding cells, shooting range, booking areas, and much more. During the design of the facility, Marana’s engineering team interviewed every police employee, including uniformed officers and support staff, to determine how they complete their jobs. This new facility will perfectly complement those processes. When it’s finished, the new Marana PD Headquarters will offer a beautiful and efficient space that will benefit the entire Town.One final project that we are particularly excited about is the extension of the shared-use path from El Rio Community Park to Avra Valley Road. This project coincides nicely with the closure of the path at Ina, as it provides 1.5 more miles of path to cyclists starting at Crossroads at Silverbell District Park. When the Ina section of the path reopens, the new segment will connect with the rest of the Loop system, offering cyclists well over 100 miles of car-free cycling throughout this region.

  • Town’s “Project Ina” app is live

    Since plans for the Ina Road Interchange project were announced several years ago, the town of Marana has been examining ways to help businesses with the impact of the construction. Ina Road’s closure on both ends of I-10 was going to cause a number of problems, including difficulty for cops and firefighters responding to calls in the area and traffic issues at neighboring interchanges. But the biggest concern was for the area businesses, whose customers are likely to avoid the congestion and hassles that come with a major road project.The town came up with a number of strategies to help those businesses, including the creation of an app to help promote businesses and inform residents about what was happening in the area. The town’s “Project Ina” app has gone live and is now available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play. The goal of the free app is to allow people to keep up with the traffic alerts in the area, as well as learn about any deals or promotions from those businesses affected by the construction. The app was first presented to the Marana Town Council back in October, when a beta version was available. The goal was to have everything someone heading to the area would need to know in one place. “It will really serve as a central hub of information about the program,” said Marana Assistant to the Town Manager Tony Hunter at the time.

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