ICS offers free income tax help
IRS-trained and certified volunteers are preparing tax returns for free for low- and moderate-income individuals and families at Interfaith Community Services.
As a partner with United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, ICS is offering Volunteer Income Tax Assistance from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through April 16 at its office at 2820 W. Ina Road.
The volunteers prepare both state and federal returns and counsel clients to make sure they claim tax benefits for which they are eligible, including the Earned Income Tax Credit and child tax credits.
Last year, volunteers as ICS helped individuals and families get $278,117 in federal and state income tax refunds.
To receive help, people must bring: Social Security cards for each family member; photo identification for each taxpayer and spouse (if applicable); proof of income including W2s and 1099 forms; documentation of deductible expenses; account and routing numbers of checking and savings accounts for direct deposit of refunds; and last year's tax returns if possible.
No appointment is necessary. Clients are taken on a first-come, first-served basis.
For more information, call the ICS office at 297-6049 or go to www.unitedwaytucson.org.
$2,500 prize in Rotary fundraiser
Ticket-buyers will have a 1-in-200 chance to win the top prize of $2,500 as part of a fundraiser hosted by the Dove Mountain Rotary Club. Another eight people will at least get their ticket money back during the same drawings.
Tickets are now on sale for the Golden Opportunity Banquet, which will take place Friday, March 11, in the Heritage Highlands ballroom in Marana.
Only 200 tickets will be sold at $100 each; $70 of each ticket price is tax-deductible. The cost includes a sit-down prime rib or pasta primavera dinner with a selection of desserts, musical entertainment and dancing.
Proceeds from the event will fund a number of the club's local programs. They include the annual distribution of free dictionaries to all third-graders in five Marana elementary schools, the presentation of up to four $2,000 college scholarships to seniors attending Marana high schools, and support for the Marana Community Food Bank.
Tickets for the event are available from any Rotary member or by calling Terry Chick at 572-9440.
The Dove Mountain Rotary Club meets Thursdays at 7 a.m. at the Heritage Highlands Clubhouse, 4949 W. Heritage Club Blvd.
Marana Farm stand seeks new vendors
The Community Food Bank's Marana Farm Stand is looking for new vendors for the Monday afternoon weekly Farmers' Market.
Farm stand vendors sell a variety of fruits and vegetables each week. However, farm coordinator Maggie Whiteside believes that a vendor selling tomatoes, cucumbers, meat or dairy would be a major addition.
"We would also consider anyone who bakes or wants to sell prepared food," said Whiteside. Those interested in becoming a vendor should contact Whiteside at 468-1416.
Selling ready-to-eat food may require vendors to follow certain health standards, but the MFS staff is willing to discuss these requirements with individuals.
The Marana Heritage Farm is a partnership between the Community Food Bank's Community Food Resource Center, the Town of Marana Parks and Recreation Department and dedicated community members. The Farm Stand is located at the Marana Heritage Farm, 12375 N. Heritage Park Drive, and operates on Mondays from 3 to 6 p.m.
Founded in 1976, the Community Food Bank provides education, advocacy and food for people throughout Southern Arizona including Pima, Santa Cruz, Cochise, Graham and Greenlee Counties. The Community Food Bank is a member of Feeding America.
For more information, visit www.communityfoodbank.org.
Skimmers reported at OV gas pumps
The Oro Valley Police Department is advising Oro Valley area residents and people pumping gas in Oro Valley to be aware of several credit card skimming devices that were found last week in Oro Valley and other areas in Tucson.
During the last week in January and first week of February, Oro Valley residents reported thefts of their personal financial information, including the numbers of their credit and/or debit cards, which were used by unknown subjects. The victims' credit information was used to make cash withdrawals at ATMs in California.
The suspects acquired keys to unlock various kinds of gas station pumps and once opened, they were able to connect the device and record the credit card data as well as the victims' PIN numbers. The suspects would later return to retrieve the skimmers, which took less than 30 seconds to remove.
Citizens are urged to check their financial statements to see if any fraudulent withdrawals have been made. The OVPD advises citizens to contact their financial institutions to confirm the frauds prior to contacting the police department.
Gas service stations in Oro Valley have been advised to check their pumps for any tampering or suspicious devices.
To report information related to this crime, contact the Oro Valley Police Department, Detective Division, at 229-4900.
Drivers, beware of OV landscape maintenance
Motorists driving along Rancho Vistoso Boulevard in Oro Valley should use extra caution due to workers conducting maintenance and upgrades to the thoroughfare's median and landscape. Work is taking place between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily.
The work, which began Feb. 15, has closed the southbound lane closest to the median on Rancho Vistoso Boulevard between Arrowsmith Road and Rincon Peck. Speeds for northbound traffic have been reduced along that same stretch of road.
AAA Landscaping expects to complete the work by the end of February.
Poachers Fined more Than $25K
Three Mammoth residents face a total of more than $23,000 in fines and restitution, and 25 years of hunting license revocations, for four poaching incidents in 2009 in which seven deer were unlawfully killed.
The "Operation Mammoth Bones" case, concluded last Friday by Arizona Game & Fish Commission action, resulted in hunting license revocations of 10 years each for Dominic Rodriguez and Kyle Roan of Mammoth. The commission ordered Rodriguez to pay $4,500 in restitution and Roan to pay $3,000 in restitution. The civil assessments were in addition to a $7,633 criminal fine against Roan and a $6,177 criminal fine for Rodriguez.
The commission also revoked the hunting license of Logan Formo of Mammoth for five years. He was also ordered to pay $1,500 in restitution and criminally fined $537.
"Poaching is not hunting. It's a crime against nature and the citizens of Arizona," said Regional Supervisor Raul Vega of the Arizona Game & Fish Department (AGFD) in Tucson.
The investigation began in May 2010 with the discovery of two mule deer carcasses in the Tucson Wash area west of Mammoth.
"This was a tremendous team effort, and as a result we were able to put together a good case against the three individuals involved," said AGFD Wildlife Manager Ben Brochu, the lead investigator. "We are especially grateful to the public for providing information that helped us solve these crimes, and to the Pinal County Attorney's Office for prosecuting them."
Information provided by the public to the AGFD Operation Game Thief Hotline (OGT) at 1-800-352-0700 led to a break in the case. OGT is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Information may be provided anonymously if needed, and online at www.azgfd.gov/ogt_form.shtml.
Citrus gleaning canceled due to cold temps
The Community Food Bank will not glean citrus fruit this season due to damage from recent cold weather. The cancellation applies to community food banks in Marana, Green Valley, Green Valley-Sahuarita and Tucson.
"The recent Southern Arizona area record freeze has destroyed the citrus crops available for this year's gleaning project," said Bill Carnegie, the CFB's president and CEO. "We are sorry for this development, but much of the fruit left on the trees is not edible."
Homeowners who pick their own citrus and verify that it is good may call the Community Food Bank and arrange for a pickup.
For additional information, contact Jacob Coldsmith at 622-0525, ext. 260.