Tucson Local Media: Marana


Recent Headlines

  • 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.

  • Flight expo has something for all fans of flight

    The Marana Regional Airport will host the US Flight Expo beginning on Wednesday May 3 and it promises to offer something of interest not only for Marana, but the entire region.The four-day event is billed as the “first of its kind fly-in expo and tradeshow” in the Southwest United States.The expo will feature an indoor and outdoor tradeshow venue for venders to showcase and sell aviation and avionics equipment and services. In addition to the trade show there will be fly-bys, seminars, contests, displays and educational opportunities.“The US Flight Expo offers something for everyone who has an eye for flight,” said Jack Norris, one of the event organizers. “Fly on down or drive on over to see and fly the aircraft of your choice or to shop for your airplane and to enjoy the end of spring in Arizona.”Marana was selected to host the event due to the size of the airport and the configuration, which offers plenty of room to house the exhibits and shows. Although this is the first event in Marana, the goal is to build an annual event that competes with similar events in Florida.“It is an opportunity for pilots out west to see vendors a lot closer to home,” Norris said. “It is close enough for most to fly to, whereas, the east coast represents a sojourn that can be fraught with weather challenges in late winter and early spring.

  • Controversial development plan will go before Marana council

    A controversial proposed housing development is again slated to go before the Marana Town Council for approval after being approved by the Marana Planning Commission on April 26. The commission voted 4-1 to approve a rezoning for the area once occupied by the Lazy K Bar Ranch.The 138 acres of land was once a working guest ranch, but now just a few buildings remain and the current owner is attempting to develop the property located near Pima Farms Road and Scenic Drive, near Safford Peak, Sanctuary Cove and Saguaro National Monument West.Two previous plans passed the commission but were not approved by a super majority of the town council. Changes to the newest plan would keep houses far enough away from any neighboring homes, which would eliminate their right to protest the plan and negate the need for a supermajority.Under state statute, a supermajority is required for zoning changes that are opposed by 20 percent of adjacent property owners who live within 150-feet of the land being rezoned. The latest plan had a 150-foot strip of land around the property that would not be re-zoned, hence why just 103 acres of the 138-acre property are requesting rezoning. The move would mean a simple majority could pass the re-zoning and allow the development to move forward.Representatives of the land owner called the 150-foot strip a compromise to keep the new houses away from existing homes."The developer was willing to give up 35 acres of the site as natural open space to buffer the property and to take it out of the protest area," said Linda Morales of the Planning Center who represented the land owners at the meeting.

  • More stops and less tickets working in Marana

    Those breaking traffic laws in Marana are more likely to get pulled over than they were five years ago, but are also less likely to get a ticket. It is part of the Marana Police Department’s goal to educate drivers instead of punishing them. So far the tactic has worked; the number of traffic accidents has dropped slightly the past five years. In 2011, over 12,000 citations were given out and there were over 830 collisions. Since then, the number of traffic stops has tripled; the number of citations has dwindled and the number of collisions has dropped. Three of the past four years have seen 800 or less collisions. “Prior to my time here at the town, the approach to keeping our streets safe for driving was to enforce traffic laws via citations, and since officers are very good at following orders, they did just that,” said Marana Police Chief Terry Rozema.Rozema felt that by handing out so many citations, an average of nearly four per traffic stop, that it was creating a negative feeling towards those interactions. The goal was to improve the public perception of the police and, hopefully, have them listen to what they were being told during those traffic stops. Rozema has long felt that the goal of the police is to help people, so he wanted to find the best way to help people be safer drivers. “Sometimes writing a ticket helps, but in many cases it may not,” Rozema said. “And as our philosophy of policing began to take root in the hearts and minds of our officers, a fascinating thing happened. Armed with the mission and freedom to go forth and simply help people, officers began to go out and make more traffic stops than ever before, however, at the same time they began to write fewer and fewer citations.”

  • MUSD preschool renamed for innovative teacher

    Marana Unified School District’s Play and Learn (PAL) Center is undergoing a name change to honor a key member of the district. The preschool program at Estes Elementary School has been renamed the Dr. Marianne Valdez Play and Learn Preschool.At last weekend’s PAL Family Fun Day, the program was renamed in memoriam for Valdez, who was know for her “tireless commitment, passion, and service” to the students, families, staff of MUSD. Valdez worked for the district for more than 20 years, and before her passing she was the cornerstone of the Marana Unified School District special education department. She was originally hired as a special education teacher in 1984 by Marjorie Estes, for whom Estes Elementary was named. In the early 1990s she moved to Thornydale Elementary and began a program to bring technology into the special education classrooms. She wrote grants and developed partnerships, including a project in which students designed and created a beautiful butterfly habitat on the Thornydale campus.After a stint as an inclusion facilitator in the early 2000s, she became the director of Educational Services in 2004. In that role, Valdez championed many special education initiatives, but the closest to her heart was co-teaching. As a result of her vision, the Marana district became known for “exceptional services and support for students with special needs.”

  • State of the Town speech honors the past, while eyeing the future

    With the Town of Marana celebrating its 40th Anniversary, it was only fitting that the State of the Town speech celebrated the town’s rich history. Mayor Ed Honea reminded attendees at the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain on Friday, April 14, that he has lived in the area before it became a town and was part of the effort to get signatures to incorporate back in 1977.“It seems,like just yesterday, when a group of community members walked through the neighborhoods, in North Marana to obtain signatures for incorporation,” Honea said. “To get these signatures, we walked from house to house … talking to residents about providing services and protecting our own community. I am happy to report, 40 years later, we have never stopped talking about providing services and protecting this community.”Although Honea has been actively involved with the town for most of those 40 years, serving on the town council and as mayor, he shared the stage with four other town employees who each touched on the past and future of the town. Marana may be best known for its agrarian roots, of late the town has tried to be at the forefront of development and providing innovative ways to attract and retain businesses and residents. Marana’s Director of Human Resources Curry Hale has only been a town employee since 2015, but it did not tale long for the town’s “culture of excellence” to make an impact. “Providing outstanding service is our core mission here at the town,” Hale said. “Everything we do must directly serve our larger community. Our vision ensures that even though we may not always agree, everyone always pushes in the same direction. In Marana, we believe you don’t have to be disagreeable to disagree.”

  • Local urgent care to close, new emergency facility to open

    Northwest Healthcare, while planning to move out of one facility in the Marana area, plan to have a larger presence in early 2018 when they open a freestanding emergency department (FSED) adjacent to the Tucson Premium Outlets at Twin Peaks and I-10.The new Northwest Emergency Center (NEC) Marana will be their second FSED. They opened their first in Vail in 2015. The new location will be open 24 hours a day, seven-days-a-week to serve patients who experience medical emergencies. Northwest Healthcare will break ground this spring to open in the first quarter of 2018. The town has worked with Northwest Healthcare to expedite the process to insure the new facility is built in a timely manner. lease ends at the end of the year. Those needing urgent care can use the QuickMed Urgent Care on Tangerine and Thornydale or Northwest Urgent Care at Orange Grove, the second of which is open seven-days-a-week from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.The family medicine physicians currently located in the Continental Reserve Urgent Care building will move to new offices at Silverbell and Cortaro and as Marana grows Northwest Healthcare will continue to explore other options in the area. With their departure from the continental Reserve Urgent Care building it gives the town something it had been lacking, a pre-built spot suited for a corporate headquarters or another larger facility. Marana Economic Development Manager Curt Woody said one issue the town has had luring corporations is a lack of existing facilities. While having Northwest Healthcare leave an “empty storefront,” it does give the town options.  


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