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  • Council gives direction for new roadway

    Project to create four-lane parallel roadway east of 1-10The Marana Town Council held a study session last week to hear three proposals for the extension of Adonis Road to Tangerine Road. None of the proposals were selected, but the council did give town staff direction on what they wanted to see from the project.As per the Town of Marana’s General Plan, town staff has been working for some time to create a four-lane parallel roadway east of 1-10. One of the main reasons for the project is to give secondary access to some of the area’s current and planned developments, including San Lucas. Portions of what will come exists today as Adonis, Postvale and Grier roads, all of which are currently two-lane roadways. Eventually, the three will become one and be given a single name that does not benefit any one major development. Currently the town is using Adonis Road as the working name for the project.Complicating the project is the decision in 2007 to relocate the Tangerine Interchange to accommodate some of the planned development in the area. Most of that development was either stalled or scrapped after the recession of 2008 and in 2015 the town formally voted to keep the interchange in its current location. While this was good news for some developers in the area, others bought land or changed development plans because of the new interchange and were displeased when the town decided to keep the original placement.  The first option presented to the council was proposed by developers of the Mandarina project, who are negatively affected by keeping the interchange where it is. They currently have a lawsuit pending against the town over the decision not to move the placement. Their proposal would have a roundabout on Tangerine that leads onto Adonis, and the road would briefly cut through the middle of their property before running parallel to the Union Pacific Rail Road near I-10. 

  • Marana cops to don anniversary badges

    As part of its 40th anniversary celebration of Marana’s founding, the Marana Police Department will be wearing special badges that are replicas of the town’s original 1977 badge. when the town was first formed, the police department was called the Marana Marshal’s Office and the badge was a seven-point star, said MPD Public Information Officer Chris Warren. At the time, the police chief was called the Marshal, and officers were dubbed Deputy Marshals.“The 40th Anniversary badge was designed to celebrate the town’s 40th anniversary as well as pay respect to the original Town Marshals,” Warren said. Marana Police Chief Terry Rozema has granted permission for officers to wear either the current badge or the 40th anniversary badge for the remainder of the year.  Having the badges made was not an easy process. The town did not actually have any of those first badges in its possession, so Warren got to work to piece together the design. “I actually researched the original badge by meeting with several of our original officers and taking pictures of their old badges,” Warren said.

  • Biz owners hanging on through Ina Road, I-10 construction

    Now that Ina Road has been shut down at Interstate 10 for several months, Marana town officials and representatives from the Chamber of Commerce took a stroll to businesses in the area to see how the project has affected them.The reaction was mixed: Some businesses, particularly restaurants and hotels, are seeing an expected drop in business, while other businesses—such as contractors—say there’s no real difference and a few even say business is up.The business walk was a follow-up to a similar survey done before the massive road project, which will allow drivers on West Ina Road to pass over both the railroad tracks and the freeway. On the first business walk, the team listened to concerns and tried to let business owners know about the services that were available via the town, chamber and Arizona Department of Transportation.Marana Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ed Stolmaker called the feedback “very positive.” “People wanted to talk and share their experiences, which was a big help,” he said.The volunteers on the business walk asked a standard set of questions and that data is being crunched, but there were a few obvious takeaways.

  • Marana parks and rec offers programs for all ages

    The Marana Parks and Recreation Department is hoping they have a program for you this summer. They have programs for teens, adults and retirees. Whether your interests lie in art, fitness or sports, they have something to offer you.  FitnessMarana Parks and Recreation wants to make fitness fun. They are offering a wide variety of classes to appeal to different interests. Want to dance? Then Zumba with Janet may be the class for you. The class mixes low-intensity and high-intensity moves for an interval-style, calorie-burning, dance fitness party. The Barre Above workout mixes Pilates, yoga, and aerobics into what Parks and Rec describes as “dancer’s strengthening exercises.”

  • Marana Council approve controversial development

    Despite vocal opposition, the Marana Town Council approved the rezoning of a 103.2 acre portion the Lazy K Bar Ranch property opening the way for a 178 unit housing development.The council approved the plan 4-2, with some caveats, including added protection of the open space to ensure that no further development is done on the property. Council members Carol McGorray and Patti Comerford voted against the plan. Council member Herb Kai was not present.The lengthy meeting included 49 speakers, with 40 speaking in opposition to the plan. Of the nine who spoke in favor of the plan, just one identified themselves as a Marana resident, while several others were either Marana area business owners or owned property within the town.The biggest complaint about the proposal was its proximity to Saguaro National Park and Sanctuary Cove. That area is a major wildlife corridor and the fear is the housing will disrupt animal migration.Linda Morales of the Planning Center, who represents the landowners, said the move to smaller lots was made to provide more open space. She said larger, spread out lots, would actually make things more confusing for animals travelling through the area.Lot size was another concern. Currently all of the adjacent properties sit on big lots, with many having three acres of property. The new design would average 1.29 homes per acre, but would actually have smaller lots because the design calls for the homes to be close together to preserve large uninterrupted open spaces.

  • Mountain View honors seniors moving on to future endeavors

    Mountain View High School held their first ever College Signing Day to honor seniors who will be moving on to colleges, trade schools, internships and the military. Nearly 275 students took part in the ceremony.After a brief speech by Mountain View Principal Todd Garelick, the students were honored.“I couldn’t be more excited and proud of what we are doing today and what you have accomplished and where you guys are going,” Garelick told the students at the event. “This is a great day and we could not be happier.”The video board showed the logo of each individual school and listed the students who were planning on attending that college. The students were called up by school and handed a certificate. By the end of the procession the 275 students were on stage where they posed for pictures, including a few selfies by the school staff.More than 20 four-year, two-year and trade schools were represented, as were four different internship opportunities and each of the four branches of the military. Pima Community College led the way with 97 students, followed by the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona, which are slated to have 65 and 48 students attend, respectively.

  • Public invited to view new Marana district school textbooks

    The Marana Unified School District invites the public to view the following high school textbooks prior to possible adoption and use at Mountain View High School and Marana High School.Members of MUSD’s Professional Practice Advisory Committee are evaluating a variety of textbooks for use in high school French World Language courses, Spanish World Language courses, and German World Language courses.The textbooks are available for public viewing Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. through June 11. The textbooks can be viewed at the Marana Unified School District Office of Professional Practice, 11290 W. Grier Road., Suite 121A, Marana.The public is invited to provide any questions or comments to the Marana Unified School District’s Office of Professional Practice, 11290 W. Grier Road, Suite 121A, Marana. Call 520-682-4745, ext. 2745 for more information or visit maranausd.org.

  • Marana joins county emergency communications system

    The Marana Town Council voted unanimously on Tuesday, May 2, to join the Pima County Wireless Integrated Network as part of the regional emergency communications system.The network enables 55 public safety and public service agencies from across the region to talk to each other by radio in real time on a single system, regardless of their jurisdictional boundaries. The area ranges from Tucson to Ajo, from Sahuarita to Mount Lemmon and from the Rincon Valley to Avra Valley.Until the decision to join the network, Marana was the only public safety agency in Pima Country that was not a member and were unable to communicate with the other agencies as effectively. “Marana’s participation on the network bolsters public safety for all of Pima County,” said Assistant Pima County Administrator John Voorhees, in a prepared statement. “The citizens of our county will derive a great benefit from the increased effectiveness in radio communication.”One of the reasons Marana agreed to join the network was the fear that the lack of communication could put Marana police officers at risk when they are deployed to a situation where multiple agencies are responding. “This will enable all of our command staff at Marana police to communicate with other public safety agencies when there are multi agency events that occur in the region,” said Town of Marana IT Director Carl Drescher.

  • The Tucson Touch: local businesses form and flourish in Tucson

    If there are four things all Tucsonans can appreciate, it’s sauce, shots, snacks and sofas. Luckily for Old Pueblo patrons, products for all four are manufactured right here in Tucson. This town might not be known for it’s booming industry, but these southwest mainstays are definitely desert diamonds. Whiskey a Go-Go Local firm uses mesquite to flavor Whiskey Del BacThe idea that would eventually blossom into Hamilton Distillers and their product Whiskey Del Bac began over a cocktail and barbecue.Stephen Paul and his wife Elaine were having a Scotch while grilling with mesquite wood when the question of whether you could make whiskey with barley malted over mesquite instead of the traditional peat wood used in Scotch. 

  • Marana updates animal care regulations

    Critics of the Marana Town Council’s decision to form its own Animal Control Department complained that many details of the plan hadn’t been developed at the time of the vote to split from Pima County’s Animal Care Center.But supporters of the plan were confident that town staff would be able to not only meet the level of service of Pima County, but exceed it through proper planning and preparation. The Marana Town Council last week voted 4-1 to approve changes in the town code that clearly define the role and responsibility of Marana Animal Control as well as clearly define some of the procedures and rules.“We took the opportunity to re-write the code,” said Deputy Town Attorney Jane Fairall when presenting the changes. She said that the original code was written in a “piecemeal fashion,” so town staffers reorganized the code, improved vague and ambiguous language, removed repetition and updated it to better reflect the current state of the law and best animal control practices. Council Member Herb Kai, who has opposed leaving PACC from the start, voted against the move. Roxanne Ziegler, who has also opposed the move, and Carol McGorray were not present for the meeting.

  • Mayor visits elementary schools for Career Week

    As part of the celebration of career week in Marana Unified School District, two elementary schools got a visit from Marana Mayor Ed Honea. After speaking at Quail Run and Thornydale Elementary, Honea had high praise for the students as well as the staff at the schools.“One thing I can say in Marana: We all may think our world may be going south, but we got some good kids here,” Honea said at the May 2 Marana Town Council meeting. His first stop was at Quail Run, where he spoke to about 400 students. One of the first questions he was asked: “How old are you?”“Kids are so honest,” the Mayor said laughing. “It was really rewarding.”At Thornydale, he spoke to the older students grades 3-6 and came away just as impressed as he did at his previous stop. 

  • Local A+ school celebrates award

    Rattlesnake Ridge was one of just four Tucson-area schools to earn the A+ School of Excellence Award from the Arizona Educational Foundation.Principal Cindy Lewis received the award at a school assembly on on Monday, May 1.“We are very excited to receive this award,” Lewis said. “Our students and teachers work incredibly hard every day and our committed to doing what is right for our students. Receiving the A+ award is a wonderful validation of that commitment.”Lewis believes that the award goes hand-in-hand with what the school tries to accomplish every day.“In addition to our commitment, our school mission is to provide our students with a rigorous and challenging educational experience while making learning fun,” Lewis said.  “The A+ award also recognizes and celebrates that as a community we are living our mission each day.”Rattlesnake Ridge celebrated the award with a performance by the Marana High School band and a parade by students and staff members. 

  • Water project will help aquifer recovery

    The Town of Marana, Oro Valley and Metro Water have entered into an agreement to create the Northwest Recharge, Recovery, and Delivery System (NWRRDS) to help reduce groundwater withdrawals and allow the north area of the Tucson Basin aquifer to recover.The Marana Town Council approved Marana Water’s participation in the project at their April 18 meeting and Oro Valley and Metro Water have also formally approved their roles.As the Tucson area has grown, water levels in the area water table have dropped. Over the past 100 years water usage has led to groundwater with drawls in the Tucson Basin that have caused the drop. Some areas of the basin dropped by over 400 feet before efforts were taken to replace the water. The good news is that in the past 30 years the use of water from the Central Arizona Project and other effluent sources has helped halt dropping, and in some areas raised, water levels in the local aquifer.Locally, thanks to utilization of CAP effluent from 2000-2014, there have been positive changes in the local aquifer conditions. According to Marana Water Director John Kmiec, water levels have risen in Avra Valley and there was a “significant increase” in North Marana, despite the growth of the area,“You still have significant agriculture, you still have growth in the population of North Marana, but you still see growth in the aquifer conditions in North Marana,” Kmiec said.There has also been a rise in central Tucson.

  • Fire chief Horvath honored for longtime commitment to female empowerment

    Mountain Vista Fire District Chief Cheryl Horvath was recognized last week for her commitment to positively affecting the lives of women and girls within her local community, and across the nation.Horvath was honored by the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona (WFSA) at its 24th annual luncheon last Wednesday, April 24, as the recipient of the 2017 Laura Penny Community Impact Award. Paying tribute to accomplishments of former WFSA CEO Laura Penny, the award recognizes female leaders for positively affecting the lives of women or girls and furthering their status in Southern Arizona.Shortly after moving to the region in 2006,  Horvath was introduced to fellow emergency service pioneer and current Tucson Fire District Assistant Chief Laura Baker. Realizing a shared desire for change, the duo embarked upon a journey to create a reality in which any girl or woman interested in becoming a first responder could do so, and join a support network of likeminded individuals along the way.As part of an industry in which women make up less than ten percent of the work force, Horvath said they soon realized they had their work cut out for them.“The numbers are discouraging, but Laura Baker and I knew that giving up was not an option,” she said. “If we could increase the number of women interested in the firefighter career, eventually our numbers would grow.”From that determination Camp Fury was developed. Originally designed for high school-aged girls to highlight the fire service as a profession, the camp will begin its ninth year this summer, and its model has since integrated exposure to law enforcement and military careers. Since its founding in 2009, the program has helped more than 200 girls “find their voice and be part of a greater whole.”

  • New strategic plan designed to keep Marana business friendly

    Marana prides itself on being a business friendly community and that does not happen by accident. The town’s strategic plan specifically highlights commerce as one of the five focus areas, but more importantly they have an economic development strategic plan that provides the specifics to bring business to town and how to support the businesses once they call Marana home.Specifically the plan is designed to provide “a long-term vision for how the town will continue to grow and nourish Marana’s local economy.”The town worked with consultants IO, Inc. throughout the fall to work with town staff, business owners, industry experts and the public to help craft the latest edition of the plan and it was formally approved by the Marana Town Council in March. Thanks in part to a grant from the Tohono O’odham Nation, the town was able to hire IO, Inc.One of the most important aspects of the new plan is that it highlights four key industries that the town should be pursuing. The idea is that these four sectors, information technology; advanced business services; manufacturing; and transportation, logistics, and distribution, are industries that Marana is well positioned to court and support.“It is an important exercise to do an economic development strategic plan,” said Economic Development Director Curt Woody. “If you don’t have this in place, you don’t have those guiding principals and strategies to laser focus on the type of industries that fit your community.“You can take the shotgun approach and chase all of the industries out there, but if your assets don’t line up with those industries, then you are spending money where maybe you shouldn’t be,” Woody added.

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