Volunteers needed to preserve OV history

The Town of Oro Valley is now accepting applications for volunteers to fill a vacancy on its Historic Preservation Commission. Applicants must reside in Oro Valley. The term will run through Dec. 31, 2013.

The Historic Preservation Commission was formed to promote the educational, cultural and economic welfare of Oro Valley by ensuring the preservation of historic buildings, districts, landmarks, structures, documents, photographs and other artifacts that represent the historic background and development of the greater Oro Valley area. The commission meets the first Monday of every month at 5 p.m. at Town Hall.

Applications are available at the Oro Valley Town Center, 11000 N. La Cañada Drive, or at the Town Clerk's website at www.townoforovalley.com/TownClerk/oro_valley_citizen_volunteer_app.htm. Application submission is open until the position is filled.

Marana participating in hazard mitigation plan update

The towns of Marana and Oro Valley will join representatives from South Tucson, Sahuarita, Tohono O'odham Nation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, City of Tucson and Pima County as part of a planning team that will meet regularly to help update the ways in which local agencies mitigate natural and manmade hazards.

Communities will be responsible for updating their own plans, which were previously approved by FEMA.

Hazard mitigation planning is used to identify risks and vulnerabilities associated with disasters and to develop long-term strategies for protecting people and property in future hazard events. The process results in a mitigation plan that offers a strategy for breaking the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction and repeated damage, and develops a framework for appropriate mitigation projects.

Committee members will address ways to alert the public about such disasters as floods, hazardous materials spills and severe winds, said Marana police Sgt. Steven Johnson. One such tool is the website www.mystateusa.com, an emergency alerting system that provides information about severe weather conditions and evacuation routes.

The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 requires local, county, tribal and state governments to have FEMA-approved plans in order to be eligible for federal hazard mitigation grant funds. The plan focuses on an area's most threatening hazards and establishes a strategy to reduce or eliminate the risk from those hazards to the people and property of Pima County.

The team anticipates having a plan draft in August, at which time the public will have the opportunity to comment.

AARP nat'l spelling bee seeks mature word lovers

Can you spell "m-a-t-u-r-e"? Older word lovers in Arizona are being sought to participate in the AARP National Spelling Bee, scheduled for June 18 in Cheyenne, Wyo.

It's the 16th year AARP Wyoming has hosted the event. Its state director, Tim Summers, says the idea grew out of a brainstorming session to come up with fun ways to inspire older folks to keep learning.

"Spelling bees offer wonderful chances for folks to exercise their minds, to pit themselves against formidable colleagues, and have a little bit of fun," Summers said.

Some spellers focus on the social aspects of the bee, Summers said, including meeting like-minded people from around the country. Others take studying very seriously by reading the entire dictionary. It's all good for mental health, according to Summers.

"They recognize that this is a real key way of keeping their minds sharp and healthy," he noted.

The bee is open to anyone age 50 and over, including previous winners. Words will come from Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition. Spelling word lists, study resources and registration are all available online from AARP at AARP.org/spellingbee. Registration costs $40.

Marana resident named to Emory College dean's list

Keerthana Nimmala, daughter of Sreehari and Padmasree Nimmala of Marana, was named to the dean's list of Emory College, the undergraduate, liberal arts college of Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., for the 2010 fall semester.

Students must be in the top 20 percent of Emory College or have approximately a 3.86 grade point average or higher to be named to the dean's list.

Emory University is perennially ranked as one of the country's top 20 national universities by U.S. News & World Report. It encompasses nine academic divisions as well as the Carlos Museum, The Carter Center, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center and Emory Healthcare, Georgia's largest and most comprehensive health care system.

Marana chamber supports SB 1171

The Marana Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors on Feb. 15 voted unanimously to support Senate Bill 1171, which would clear the path for the Town of Marana to enter the wastewater business.

The bill has passed the State Senate and is headed to the House of Representatives some time this session. If the House approves SB 1171, it will go to Gov. Brewer for her signature.

"The chamber is 100 percent in support of the town's position," said Ed Stolmaker, chamber president and CEO. "It makes good business sense for the town to control its water resources for the benefit of all who live or do business here."

Fire destroys one apartment, displaces other tenants

A 5-year-old child playing with a lighter Feb. 19 ignited a fire that burned through an apartment complex in Northwest Tucson.

Around 9 that morning, the Northwest Fire/Rescue District received multiple 9-1-1 reports of a fire at the Palm Canyon Apartments, 2255 W. Orange Grove road. Crews arrived within five minutes to find the first floor apartment well involved in fire.

The apartment was located in the far southwest corner of the complex, forcing crews to add hose in order to reach the fire from the closest parking lot. It took firefighters about 16 minutes to bring the fire under control.

The fire caused extensive fire damage to the apartment. Three nearby units also suffered smoke, water or fire damage. The occupants of the fire unit and two others were relocated to other apartments on the property. The complex's management team and the Red Cross are assisting the displaced tenants.

A 5-year-old child in the first-floor apartment caused the fire after playing with a lighter left in the apartment by a visitor several days before. The child lit an incense stick, which began to smolder. This caused the child to panic and place the burning stick in a bedroom closet. The child's parents, who were asleep at the time, were alerted about the fire by the child's siblings. By then, the fire was too large for the father to put out with a fire extinguisher. The home's smoke detector was disabled two days before after burning food caused it to go off.

Northwest Fire/Rescue District officials urge all parents to teach children about fire safety and the dangers of lighters and matches in the home. Homeowners should also make sure they have a working smoke detector in their house or apartment at all times.

Damage estimates were not available at press time.


Motorists should avoid Hunt Highway

Road construction on Hunt Highway, in the vicinity of Attaway Road near Florence, will cause congestion and delays for vehicular traffic.

Motorists are asked to take an alternate route, if possible.

The work is expected to begin on Monday, Feb. 28, and is expected to last about two weeks. Poor weather and other factors may delay the completion date.

The road construction is on Hunt Highway, 1300 feet west of Attaway road and continuing west to the Pinal county line.

For motorists who are not able to take an alternative route, flag persons and the use of a pilot car will direct traffic on bypass lanes through the construction zone.

Motorists are asked to slow down and obey all signs and directions given by construction personnel.

Knochel Brothers Inc. Construction was commissioned to improve the roadway, which includes the milling of the roadway and a complete overlay of asphalt.

For more information, call Tim Payne at Knochel Brothers at (602) 694-2738.

Tucson Water adds two new conservation rebates

Rebates of up to $200 are available to residents who install gray water irrigation systems in their homes and to businesses that replace old urinals with high-efficiency models.

The Single Family Residential Gray Water and the Commercial High Efficiency Urinal rebate programs are new for 2011. A resident who installs a permanent gray water irrigation system in a new or existing home may be eligible for a rebate of one-third of the cost, up to $200. A business that replaces an older, water-wasting urinal with an approved 1-pint flush model can be eligible for the same rebate.

"During these tough economic times, Tucson Water is offering more rebates to help our customers save water and money in their homes and businesses," said Fernando Molina, the utility's public information officer. "We have staff available to help customers decide which conservation program is best for them."

Information on all Tucson Water conservation programs for residents and businesses is online at www.tucsonaz.gov/water/rebate or by calling 791-4331.

New group ‘friends’ Catalina State Park

The Friends of Catalina State Park will hold their first meeting March 2 at the Oro Valley Public Library, 1305 W. Naranja Drive. Citizens are invited to attend, learn more about the new organization and enjoy that evening’s program, which includes the screening of the documentary film “Postcards from the Parks.”

The film documents an all-volunteer project led by four friends who undertook a six-month journey to visit all of Arizona’s state parks.

The film will be shown at 6 p.m. The meeting will follow at 7.

For more information, call 628-5798.

Arts temple tour is this Saturday

A free tour of the historic Temple of Music and Art is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 26. It is presented by the Arizona Theatre Company.

The Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave., was dedicated on Oct. 21, 1927. Tours begin in the venue’s courtyard and are guided by ATC docents. They are typically one hour in length.

Docents will discuss the history of the building, its restoration and renovation, and take visitors on a backstage tour for a behind-the-scenes look at the theater.

Following the tour, patrons will receive a voucher for discounted tickets to the current Arizona Theatre Company production.

All tours are open to the public free of charge. Space is limited.

For tour information and reservations, call Don Gest at 884-8210, ext. 8610. Reservations are required.

AZ bans fake pot, for real

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill on Tuesday, Fed. 22, that outlawed the sale of chemicals used to make the synthetic substance known as “Spice.”

The bill, an emergency measure that takes affect immediately, prohibits the sale of the substance that has been called synthetic marijuana. Many smoke shops in Arizona carry the product.

Spice, also know by the commercial name “K2,” is a mixture of herbs and spices sprayed with chemical compounds that create similar effects of THC, the stimulant found in marijuana.

Smoking the substance can cause giddiness, paranoia, panic attacks and increased heart rates, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The law expands the legal definition of dangerous drugs to include 10 additional chemical compounds that compose synthetic pot. 

Lawmakers in several other states have enacted similar bans of synthetic marijuana.


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