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  • Splendido Residents Demonstrate How to “Age Out Loud”

    Each May, the United States celebrates Older Americans Month, with each year featuring a unique theme. For 2017, older adults are encouraged to “Age Out Loud.” This theme highlights the fact that this population is choosing adventure and exploration over the rocking chair.The act of Aging Out Loud occurs regularly within Splendido, an all-inclusive community for those 55 and better in Tucson. There, residents pursue new interests and lifelong hobbies—enjoying a range of on-site programs including education opportunities and fitness classes. They also follow interests outside Splendido, whether they are signing up for the Tour de Tucson or diving into volunteer work. Here are three profiles of Splendido residents who are Aging Out Loud: Traveling the WorldElaine MacDonald, 77, has lived at Splendido for seven years, and jokes that she has become a seasoned traveler since moving there. “We had three kids, and I worked hard… but now I travel,” she says. She took a six-day rafting trip down the Colorado River with another Splendido resident, and took a very rainy camping and hiking trip in Chaco Canyon.But her big trip was this March, when she visited the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. “It was a 10-day trip, with two days spent in Quito, Ecuador, where I had a chance to straddle the equator,” she reports. “I was the only solo traveler—and one of the oldest—in a tour group of 100 people.” 

  • 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.

  • Sunshine Schools saying goodbye to founder after three decades of love

    When Cross Middle School eighth-grader, Dakota Broughton, and his mother, Sherri, walked on to the campus of the Sunshine School earlier this month, it was the first time the young man had returned in the better part of a decade.  A former student at the preschool, Dakota said a curious thought struck him when he walked out onto the back patio.Wasn’t the tire on which he used to climb a lot bigger?“I used to think it was big, but when I was smaller it looked big to me,” he said. “Now, it’s just tiny.”The observation drew a bit of laughter from his mother, though Dakota was not the only person taking a walk down memory lane when dozens of Sunshine families and former students came together on May 4 to celebrate the retirement of the school’s founder, Sue Trinacty. Founded in 1984 after family friends, local doctors and property owners John Haymore and Eric Hartvigsen wanted to develop the plaza surrounding their practice, Sunshine School began as the desire of Trinacty—a self-proclaimed born educator—to create a positive learning environment for the community’s youngest learners. Far removed from the days of a dozen students and three educators, Sunshine School now staffs 15 and handles a student body of nearly 60. Though her one-room schoolhouse may have grown over the years, Trinacty said the mission has remained the same, to prepare preschoolers for the rest of their lives by instilling a sense of self-confidence, decision- making ability and social skills in each child.

  • Summer Safari Nights returning to Reid Park Zoo

    Cool summer evenings in Tucson will soon receive an infusion of roars, growls, squawks and a medley of other animal sounds at the Reid Park Zoo, which kicks off its annual Summer Safari Nights this Friday. A weekly shindig, the animal attractions at the zoo will be joined by live musical performances, special dining menus and discounts at the gift shop.Every Friday will feature a different theme, and the zoo has chosen its two resident bear populations, the Andean and grizzlies, as its representatives of the safari’s first night: The Bear Necessities.The zoo’s two grizzlies, Ronan and Finley, were rescued from Yellowstone National Park four years ago, when the siblings were roughly 18 months old. As cubs the two bears were taught several problem-causing and dangerous behaviors by their mother, and the decision was made to relocate the duo.Ronan and Finley (now well-trained) live in Grizzly Crossing at the zoo, which was originally built to house the polar bear population. With some modifications, however, the furred siblings have found a new home and a new life.“These aren’t your average bears, but they do like picnic baskets,” joked zookeeper Chelsea Barber.The zoo’s Andean bears, Worf and Lucy, have been a part of the Reid Park family since 1996, and have long entertained Tucsonans and visitors alike with their penchant for climbing trees. Also known as “spectacled bears” for the white ring of fur around their eyes, Worf and Lucy have had two cubs of their own over the years, which have been sent to other zoos to help propagate the vulnerable species. 

  • Wilson math teacher recognized for fostering positive learning environment

    When Ironwood Ridge High School sophomore Lauren Anthony was in sixth grade at Wilson K-8, she was given the opportunity to skip a year in math and landed in a pre-algebra class mostly filled with seventh and eighth graders. A self-admitted over-thinker, Anthony recalled the anxiety she felt when first walking into her class.But then she met Christy Talmage, her new teacher.Anthony said Talmage was not only understanding of her anxieties, but willing to go the extra mile to make sure her sixth-grade transplant felt right at home. Her dedication did not go unnoticed, and Talmage was recognized by her former pupil earlier this month when Barnes & Noble handed out the seventh annual “My Favorite Teacher” award on Friday, May 5.High school and middle school students from across the country are asked every year to submit a poem, thank you letter or essay (in 500 words or less) which explains how one of their teachers between first and twelfth grade was a positive influence on their life.  Anthony was given the assignment by her English teacher Doreen Rouille, who discovered the contest, and soon realized it would fit perfectly with her own curriculum as she prepared her sophomores for AzMERIT testing.“There is nothing more fun than actually doing something with a purpose, rather than just for a grade,” she said.

  • Reel Deal: Q&A with the Loft's Peggy Johnson

    Peggy Johnson is the executive director of the Loft Cinema Foundation, the nonprofit that runs the Loft Theater. The Loft is getting a major makeover this summer with a renovation of the main auditorium that will bring in new, more comfortable seating along with other improvements. Johnson recently discussed what’s happening at the Loft on the radio edition of “Zona Politics with Jim Nintzel”, which airs Sunday afternoons at 5 p.m. on community radio KXCI, 91.3 FM. This Q&A is a condensed and edited version of that conversation. You’re doing a major makeover in the main auditorium of the Loft. You still have movies going on in your upstairs theater and on the relatively new screen next door to the big screen, so we don’t want people thinking that you’re closed for business. But before we get into this summer’s programming, let’s start with the work you’re doing with the main auditorium. This has been a long time coming, and we’re so excited it’s happening now. What we’re doing is really just bringing that big screen—the big theater that everybody loves so much—up-to-date.  It’s going to have stadium seating in the back. It’s going to have more aisles. It’s going to have new comfortable seats. It’s going to have better sight lines. It has to be fully accessible, which has been such a priority, and it’s just really a long time coming. There will be other advantages along the way. We’re going to upgrade the sound a little bit, and we’re going to upgrade the air conditioning system. You know, little things like that, so it’ll be totally a modern space. How old were those seats in there?

  • 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.

  • CDO softball wins title

    The Canyon del Oro softball team has advanced to the state title game 12 times in their history and with a 4-2 win over Sunrise Mountain the Dorados, won their ninth state championship Tuesday, May 9.The Dorados survived a late Mustang rally and a 30-minute lightning delay to win the title at ASU’s Farrington Stadium in Tempe. CDO struck first with a three-spot in the first inning. Hope Banales reached on single, then after the weather delay, Ellessa Bonstrom tripled to score Banales and put the Dorados up 1-0. Ari Acedo singled home Bonstrom, and she eventually scored on a Nene Campos single. The Dorado defense made several big plays to keep the Mustangs off the board, but the offense could not come up with key hits, and the game remained 3-0 until the fifth inning. A.J. Kaiser led off the fifth with a single and was moved over by an Anya Gonzales bunt. Stephanie Cota came in to run for Kaiser and scored CDO’s fourth run on an errant throw by the Sunrise Mountain catcher.

  • End of season for CDO baseball

    Canyon del Oro High School senior Mason Myhre racked up more than half a dozen strikeouts from the mound against No. 1 ranked Nogales High School when the two schools met in the 4A state semifinal last Wednesday. Though the Dorados kicked off a three-run rally in the fifth inning, it was not enough to overcome the Apaches, who beat No. 2 ranked Salpointe Catholic in the championship game over the weekend.

  • Oro Valley Town Talk: Have you met Jessica?

    Residents of Oro Valley: Did you know there is a full-time staff member whose primary job it is to answer your questions and make sure your feedback is provided to Council? Whether it’s a concern about an overgrown right-of-way or a question about road construction, Constituent Services Coordinator Jessica Hynd is your personal liaison to the Town of Oro Valley. Jessica’s goal is to make sure our residents never get the run-around or have to chase down information. Each time you contact Constituent Services with a question, she will research the matter with appropriate department heads and then provide you with the information you need. When you contact us with feedback, she’ll provide your comments directly to Council and executive staff, so that your voice is heard.Some of you have spoken with Jessica before and are already familiar with our Constituent Services Portal, but we have exciting news. This week, the Town has launched a new and improved portal, so it’s even easier to send us your feedback or ask a question.Unlike the old portal, this new tool offers our residents a more streamlined experience. You’ll be able to create an account so you can review your inquiry history and responses from the Town. Most importantly, the new portal has a simplified user interface, which means it’s easier to use. It’s also a more efficient tool for staff, which means faster turnaround for your inquiries.Why the change? The Town of Oro Valley currently uses Munis Software for several functions, including payroll, time cards and permitting. Munis also offers a constituent services portal that is more user-friendly than our current portal, and will save us money every year in licensing fees, since we’re already a customer. The Town is constantly evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of its programs, so when the old portal’s licensing came up for renewal, we took a look at all our options and decided to make the switch. With cost savings and improved service for residents, it was an easy decision.So here’s how you connect with the new portal. If you’re reading a printed copy of this article, grab a pen and write this website down. If you’re reading online, then go ahead and set a bookmark for: ask.orovalleyaz.gov. (Please note you do not use www before the address.) This is your key to the new Constituent Services Portal. Additionally, any button on the Town’s website that says “QUESTIONS/COMMENTS” will link you directly to the portal.

  • Gaslight Music Hall looking to expand its cast with new performers

    The Gaslight Music Hall in Oro Valley is holding auditions for its upcoming summer show, “The Gilligan’s Island Revue,” and for the rest of their 2017 season (including the Christmas show). The Gaslight is seeking strong actor/singers with huge personalities and musicians that consider themselves “showmen (women),” specifically searching for those musicians that can handle playing a character on stage as well as have great stage presence (must be over the age of 18). The position(s) will be paid and contracted.Please have a two-to-five minute audition prepared; this may include a song (if singing, please have sheet music in correct key), monologue, dance or whatever you feel would best display your skills for the Gaslight brand within the time frame. An accompanist will be provided along with the use of a piano, house drum kit and amp. Auditions will take place Sunday, May 28, 2 to 5 p.m. by appointment only at the music hall, 13005 N. Oracle Road. Please email Samantha to schedule auditions or with questions at hiretheredhead@gmail.com. Please bring a headshot and resume to the audition. You may be asked to perform a cold read or to sing/play another song, so please be prepared.

  • Planning for the community center’s future

    A member of the Oro Valley town council recently posed the idea of a cash infusion from the General Fund contingency reserve into the Oro Valley Community and Recreation Center Fund for capital improvements at the site.Councilmember Steve Solomon suggested the transfer at the April 26 special budget study session. Council members were discussing the community center fund as part of the parks and recreation department budget as laid out in the Town Manager’s Recommended Budget for the coming fiscal year. Also discussed at the study session was the town’s employee benefits program and Oro Valley’s water utility fund.“I know we are doing some updating at the community center, but there may be a good amount more that we might want to look at,” Solomon said. “I think we really want to take a look at some updating, even fresh paint inside or outside, changing the color scheme.”The town expects to start the new year in July with $12.2 million in contingency reserves, or 29 percent of total expenditures. According to council-adopted policy, the town must maintain at least 25 percent in reserve funds. Last fiscal year, the town completed roughly $500,000 of a budgeted $1.1 million in renovations and improvements at the community center, and just over $72,000 of a budgeted $527,000 in the current fiscal year by February. Within the recommended budget is a $50,000 cart improvement project slated for the Cañada course with funding from the dedicated half-cent sales tax. A $75,000 tennis court preservation project is listed, though the funding is from the Bed Tax Fund, and another $75,000 for a water main replacement at the community center via Water Utility Fund cash reserves. 

  • American Legion Auxiliary poppy symbolizes nation’s sacrifice

    A nation at peace must be reminded of the price of war and the debt owed to those who have died in war, and the American Legion Auxiliary Oro Valley Unit 132 has pledged to annually remind America of this debt through the distribution of the memorial flower, a red “remembrance poppy.” The members of the Oro Valley Unit 132 and the 800,000 members of the American Legion Auxiliary, the world’s largest patriotic service organization of women, are asking every American citizen to wear a poppy in observance of Memorial Day Monday, May 29.  “The wearing of a poppy on Memorial Day is a wonderful way to honor those Americans who willingly served our nation in times of war and conflict and made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Alice Bever, Oro Valley Unit 132 President.   “In addition to honoring our fallen heroes, the poppy also honors the hospitalized and disabled veterans who make the red, handcrafted flowers. The poppy continues to provide a financial and therapeutic benefit to those veterans who construct them, as well as benefiting thousands of other veterans and their families by the donations collected from poppy distributions. All proceeds directly impact the lives of our veterans in need.”Join American Legion Auxiliary Oro Valley Unit 132 in recognizing the sacrifice of our veterans by making a donation to the Unit’s poppy fund and by wearing a red “remembrance” poppy on Memorial Day weekend.  The Unit will distribute Poppies from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., May 19 and 20 at Fry’s Food Store, 10450 N. La Cañada Drive and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., May 26, 27 and 28 at Fry’s Food Store, 10661 N. Oracle Road.For additional information contact the Unit at ovunit132@gmail.com, www.ovunit132.info, or PO Box 69246, Oro Valley AZ, 85737, or via Onita Davis at 229-1064.

  • 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.

  • Mountain View honors seniors

    Mountain View High School held their first every 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 where they were called up based upon what their future plans were and handed a certificate.Over 20 four-year, two-year schools and trade schools were represented, as were four different internship opportunities and four branches of the military.Mountain View Principal Todd Garelick said the event was inspired by similar events at other schools, as well as Letter of Intent signing ceremonies held for student-athletes who accept athletic scholarships.The Marana News will have a full story and photos in the May 17 issue. 

  • Local businesses and women get support through YWCA Southern Arizona’s WBC

    The Women’s Business Center of Southern Arizona was recently awarded the 2017 Women’s Business Center of Excellence and Innovation Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration, making it the top center of excellence in the region including Arizona, California, Nevada, Hawaii and Guam. The WBC is a program of the Microbusiness Advancement Center, acquired last year by the YWCA Southern Arizona. The free program helps women start and grow their businesses through services offered in English and Spanish. “Thirty years ago it was still difficult for women to strike out on their own,” said WBC director Victor Mercado..Last year the WBC gave about $63,000 in loans and had about $500,000 in access to capital, Mercado said. A few services the WBC offers includes business classes and technical training, free one-on-one business counseling and access to capital. The WBC won the award, “for leveling the playing field for women entrepreneurs through programming such as innovative panel discussions aimed at shattering women’s stereotypes, for making world-class innovation tools accessible to Spanish-speaking communities and for dramatically increasing access to capital for its clients,” according to a press release from the YWCA.The WBC has done about 7,000 hours of training for folks of Southern Arizona, he added.

  • National Weather Service Seeking Storm Spotters

    The monsoons will be here before you know it and the National Weather Service is looking for help. The federal agency uses the public to help provide actual reports of severe weather to help the warning process. The National Weather Service provides weather forecasts and information that allow users to protect life and property in case of extreme weather. The agency accomplishes this in part by providing watches, warnings, and advisories, including flash flood warnings and severe thunderstorm warnings. As part of the warning process, what the staff calls call “ground truth” is vital. A NWS press release explained that ground truth “is actual reports of severe weather reported to our office as severe weather is unfolding. Such reports include heavy rain, hail, significantly reduced visibility due to blowing dust, closed roads due to flash flooding, or the rare funnel cloud.”  Sometimes the agency receives photos in real time via e-mail, Facebook and Twitter. These reports allow the NWS to include the most current and site-specific information in warnings.Most reports that come from the public come into the NWS from its Skywarn Weather Spotters. Skywarn Spotters are provided a free training session lasting around 1.5 hours. Those interested in becoming a Skywarn Spotter will be taught how to identify severe weather and what information they should report to the National Weather Service. They will also provide them with a variety of informative weather brochures. This training is voluntary and at no cost to the spotter. All ages are welcome, though they suggest a parent accompany adolescents who have an interest in becoming a spotter. There are several sessions being offered in Pima County this year. They are:

  • 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. 

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