Oro Valley traffic alert

Southwest Gas and Northern Pipeline will be replacing the gas main and services in the vicinity of the Oro Valley Country Club and surrounding subdivisions.

Work will begin on Jan. 3, and will take approximately four months to complete.

However, not all streets will be affected for the duration of the project. Some streets will be completed in a couple of weeks and others will take longer.

Officials are in the process of noticing the residents with door hangers.

In addition, message boards will go up this week.

The following is a list of the affected streets:

· Greenock Drive, from Desert Golf Place to Oracle Road

· Golf View Drive, from Calle Loma Linda to Landoran Lane

· Along Calle Loma Linda

· Valle Del Oro Road, from Calle El Milagro to Calle Buena Vista

· Along West Bangalor Drive

· Along Atua Place

· Along Desert Sky Road

· Along Linda Vista

All job-related questions should be sent to NPL's superintendent, Jim Riddle, at 928-237-7083. Permitting questions should be sent to Senior Civil Engineering Technician Mike Valencic, Town of Oro Valley, at 229-4869.

Build and fly Model Aircraft

On Jan. 7 and Jan. 8 from 9 a.m. to noon, bring your Christmas radio controlled electric planes to Naranja Park and have the experienced members of the Sonoran Desert Flyers, Inc. assemble, trim and teach you to fly it.

Bring canned food as a donation to Interfaith Community Services.

The event is sponsored by Oro Valley Parks, Recreation, Library & Cultural Resources; Pima Federal Credit Union, Interfaith Community Services, Academy of Model Aeronautics and Horizon Hobby.

For more information, call Bob Schumann 297-4664, on event day call 395-5547.

Walk the red carpet on Oscar night at the Fox Theater

Oscar Night America 2012 is Tucson's only event officially sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

For the seventh year, this special evening will take place at the Fox Tucson Theatre.

Guests are encouraged to dress for the Oscars, walk the red carpet, and experience a commercial-free Oscar night.

A silent auction in the main lobby will feature items to be bid on throughout the evening.

A variety of appetizers will be provided by downtown restaurants for VIP Red Carpet ticket holders.

Proceeds from the event support the Fox Tucson Theatre Foundation's efforts to keep the lights on, the doors open, and high quality entertainment coming to "the Fox," the crown jewel of downtown, year round.

Red carpet arrivals begin at 5 p.m. and the Academy Awards Telecast begins at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26.

The event will be held at the Fox Theatre, 17 West Congress.

General Admission is $25 per person, which includes complementary snacks and drinks are available for purchase.

Red Carpet VIP - $125 per person, which includes admission to the VIP lounge areas, hearty hors d'oeuvres, two drink tickets, Champagne toast; priority seating; dessert and coffee

Tickets can be purchased online at www.foxtucsontheatre.com at the box office at 17 West Congress, or by calling 547-3040.

Pima County Landfill closures

Landfills and transfer stations operated by the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality Solid Waste Division will be closed from Dec. 31 through Jan. 2 for the New Year's holiday.

The closures include landfills in Sahuarita and Ajo, the Tangerine Landfill, and the Catalina and Ryan Field Transfer Stations.

The Solid Waste Administrative office on Ina Road will be closed.

For more on the closures please call 243-7400 or visit www.deq.pima.gov.

Tribute to Chinese New Year

The Purple Bamboo Chinese Ensemble, a local club at the University of Arizona, invites the Tucson community to come watch a performance at the Resurrection Lutheran Church on Sunday, Feb. 19, starting at 3 p.m.

The church is located on 11757 N. First Ave. in Oro Valley.

The event is free of charge. The performance is a tribute to Chinese New Year, featuring traditional Chinese purple silk music as well as some pieces composed by our president, Charles Zoll.

For more information call, 638-6566 or 575-9901.

New tools to help pass AIMS

The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) recently announced the availability of a new educational resource for students, teachers and parents designed to help students improve their academic achievement.

In partnership with Pearson, the company that provides AIMS test scoring and reporting services to Arizona's schools. ADE is making the Perspective Learning Locator tool available.

The Learning Locator tool matches each student's individual needs to a specific set of learning materials that they can work through on their own, or with the guidance of a teacher or parent.

"We are so pleased to have worked together with Pearson to make the Perspective Learning Locator tool available to our students," said Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal. "Being able to tie educational resources to a student's unique educational needs is one of the best ways that we can work to improve student achievement. Learning Locator is going to be a powerful tool for improving student achievement in reading and mathematics, particularly on AIMS."

Pearson's office staff, in Chandler, contributed a large portion of the content used, which was reviewed and approved by the ADE to confirm alignment with Arizona Standards. In addition, Pearson is providing Perspective as part of the AIMS program at no additional cost.

Perspective, an award-winning online remediation and enrichment solution from Pearson, provides high-quality instructional resources that tie high-stakes assessment to classroom instruction. Students needing to retake the reading or mathematics portions of the AIMS High School assessment will receive a Learning LocatorTM on their confidential student state assessment report, personalized to their performance according to Arizona Standards. By entering their Learning LocatorTM on the Perspective website, students can receive immediate access to supplemental learning resources that are targeted specifically to their individual learning needs.

Crime mapping available

Do you know what crime is occurring near your home, near your job, or near your child's school? Do you know if known sex offenders are living near you?

The Pima County Sheriff's Department provides this information and more. Simply go to the crime mapping section of the Sheriff's Department's website at www.pimasheriff.org and click on the CrimeReports link.

Enter the address you are interested in and a map will pop up showing crime in that area. There is even a free downloadable application for your iPhone available from our website or the iTunes store under CrimeReports.

Crime mapping information covers unincorporated Pima County, Oro Valley, Sahuarita, Marana, and the City of Tucson. Being informed and alert to activity is an important step to not being a victim.

OV teacher recognized

Canyon Del Oro science teacher Rebekkah Diamond, of Oro Valley, was chosen from hundreds of applications nationwide to participate in the National Science Teachers Association yearlong fellowship program.

One of three teachers selected from Arizona, Diamond will receive a comprehensive NSTA membership package, online mentoring with trained mentors who teach the same discipline, and the opportunity to participate in a variety of web-based professional development activities, including web seminars. In addition, she will receive financial support to attend and participate in NSTA's 2011 National Conference on Science Education in Indianapolis.

State to return employee contributions to 50/50

Senate President-elect Steve Pierce and Majority Leader Andy Biggs announced today a bill will be offered in the upcoming legislative session ending the recent 53 percent employee/47 percent employer contribution rate split in the State Retirement System.

That split went into effect in July, as part of the fiscal year 2012 budget. The change plugged a $40 million hole in the budget and reduced employee paychecks.

The bill will return the contribution rate split to 50/50, and increase the paychecks of teachers and other state employees by $20 to $40.

"Last session we made a commitment to Arizonans to deliver a balanced budget. The 53/47 split helped that happen, but many members agreed it was one of the toughest decisions they had to make. Conditions have changed, and I am comfortable now running a bill to repeal 53/47," said Majority Leader Biggs.

The TSO Flute Viola Harp Trio coming in January

The TSO Flute Viola Harp Trio Presents Pip and the Pirate at the Tucson Symphony Center.

The next programs in the Tucson Symphony Orchestra's Just for Kids series are Saturday, Jan. 7, with two performances of Pip and the Pirate at 10 a.m. and again at 11:15 a.m. at the Tucson Symphony Center, 2175 N. Sixth Ave. (1 block south of Grant), and one performance of If You Could Talk to the Animals at 10:30 a.m. that day at the Town Hall, 375 W. Sahuarita Center Way.

Just for Kids is a popular series of fun, informal, interactive chamber ensemble concerts lasting 45 to 50 minutes. The performances use humor, storytelling, demonstrations and participation to introduce classical music and orchestral instruments in an entertaining and kid-friendly environment to families including those with very young children. The programs are presented on the first Saturday morning of each month from October through March. There is ample free parking at the Tucson Symphony Center.

The Just for Kids performances at the Town Hall in Sahuarita will be presented at 10:30 a.m. on the first Saturdays of January and March.

At the Tucson Symphony Center with the TSO Flute Viola Harp Trio, Pip and the Pirate tells the story of graduation day at the Pirate Academy. "Ye be a true Pirate today, Matey! Here be yer certificate. Here be yer parrot." "That's not a parrot" said the new graduate. "She be too small. I wants a big squawker, not a pip squeaker." "Nay! That be the last one we got. Take ‘er or leave ‘er." "Please take me," said the tiny bird. I'll make you proud of me." Join us for this new musical adventure by TSO violinist and composer Michael Fan.

For more information about the Sahuarita program, call the Parks and Recreation Department, 882-8896 or 445-7850.

The Just for Kids concert series in Sahuarita is sponsored by the Town of Sahuarita and supported by the Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Treasurer’s Mammoth office no longer accepting cash

Beginning the first of January, the Pinal County Treasurer’s satellite office in Mammoth will no longer accept tax payments in cash.

 Treasurer Dodie Doolitle said that the satellite office will continue to accept checks, money orders or cashiers’ checks.

 “There are other options including payment online,” Doolittle said.  “Payments can be processed through online banking or a bill pay website.  Payment must be scheduled to ensure that it is received in the Treasurer office by the due date shown on the tax bill to avoid late penalties.”

 There is also an option to pay your Pinal County property taxes through a third-party vendor that takes credit cards (please be aware: this vendor charges a fee for its service).  If you wish to use your credit card to pay property taxes, please call 1-888-2PAY-TAX (1-888-272-9829) and enter jurisdiction code 1302 or payments can be made through www.officialpayments.com.

 “My office ran a cost analysis on continuing armored car service to the Mammoth office,” said Treasurer Doolittle, “We found it to be cost prohibitive to keep the service.  The one run to Mammoth for the armored car cost as much as the same service for Apache Junction, Casa Grande and Florence combined.  We are charged with safeguarding the taxpayer’s money and this is a way to save expenses in light of other bill payment options that are now widely available.”


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