The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain is one of the many Ritz Carlton Hotel Company properties to offer electric car charging stations. In a press release the resort said this was part of their dedication “to superior service and fostering a sustainable future.” The idea was that electric car owners would now be able to experience all that The Ritz-Carlton has to offer, with extraordinary destinations and exceptional service.The idea behind the Ritz-Carlton network of charging stations was to make long distance travel convenient and easy. The installation of two charging stations at each property gives travelers the ability to charge up for the next 150 miles of driving in two and a half hours.“Our organization is committed to seek ways to inspire people to live differently,” said Ritz-Carlton Chief Sales & Marketing Officer Ed French in a release. “To adopt a lifestyle in which we can travel responsibly, comfortably and create memories that will last a lifetime. Commitment to the community and environment was part of our original 1983 mission statement. Globally, we focus our efforts in three areas, of which one is environmental responsibility. Our approach is to merge our global strategy with local perspective – allowing us to integrate sustainable initiatives across the broad range of geographic locations in both remote and urban communities where our company has operations.”This is the second way in which the resort has catered to those looking for eco friendly travel. In June guests were able to test drive Teslas, as well as meet Tesla experts. Electric charging station locations at Ritz-Carlton hotels include: Amelia Island, Bachelor Gulch, Bal Harbour, Boston, Charlotte, Cleveland, Coconut Grove, Dallas, Denver, Dove Mountain, Fort Lauderdale, Half Moon Bay, Lake Tahoe, Marina Del Rey, Montreal, Naples, Rancho Mirage, Reynolds Lake Oconee, San Francisco, Sarasota, South Beach, St. Louis, Toronto, Tyson’s Corner, Pentagon City in Washington, DC and Westchester across the United States in addition to, Hotel Arts, Barcelona, Beijing Financial Street, Chengdu, Hong Kong and Shenzhen in China with additional international locations to follow in the coming months.
The Town of Marana and the Marana Unified School District have been working together to find new and different ways to work together. One of the newer programs was the Marana 2.0 internship program that debuted last year. By all accounts the program was a success, but like any new programs, it had its share of growing pains and things both the town and the district hope to improve in year two. The program allowed students from Marana High School to get a hands on internship opportunity within the various departments within the town government. The goal for the program is to give students some insight into local government, to show them how it works, what services it provides to residents. “So much of what Marana does as a town impacts our students, and our interns have said they had no idea what the town does,” said Marana High School teacher and program advisor Alex Ruff. “This opportunity gives students a real understanding of how the police department, parks and recreation, special events, or the town manager’s office really impact their daily lives and improve our community.”The program evolved from the Marana Strategic Plan, specifically an initiative for citizen engagement, similar to the town’s citizens forum. Town staff had seen similar programs being done at the elementary level, but the idea was to create an immersive internship experience for the students. “The other main objective is to provide students with an internship opportunity which will provide them with some real world skills once they leave high school,” Ruff said. “Students work alongside mentors at the town and learn to network, improve their professionalism, and their public speaking.”At the conclusion of the program all of the students involved had to create a PowerPoint presentation on their experiences and present it at a special session of the Marana Town Council.
Despite protests from several area residents, the Marana Town Council approved the rezoning of 36.79 acres, known as the Twin Peaks Oasis general plan, located on the northeast corner of Twin Peaks Road and Oasis Road.The plan is actually the third revised plan for the land after the developer worked with area residents to try to create a plan that better met their approval. Despite the revisions, the town received 25 letters or complaint, as well as those in attendance.The main area of complaint was the fact that the new development had multiple lots per acre, while most of the homes in the area had a single dwelling on 3.5 acres. “The Twin Peaks corridor is an opportunity for Marana to be special,” said area resident Ron Isaacson. “Walls of houses up and down the Twin Peaks corridor on 6,000 square-foot lots is not special, it is ordinary.”Isaacson proposed that the land have a mix of lot sizes, with some homes sitting on lots of 1-3 acres, and others on the 6,000 square feet. “We are in full support of a responsible development that is in keeping with the original vision for this area and we feel this is not responsible,” said resident Ashley Flint.
The final opportunity for the candidates for mayor and town council to debate occurred last week at the Marana Chamber of Commerce’s monthly Community and Regional Update. Unlike the other three candidate forums, which were held around town for the public, this was conducted in front of local business owners and focused more on business issues, though many of the same themes from previous forums were addressed.Of the four candidates in attendance, council member Roxanne Ziegler was absent, most stayed consistent with their messages from the previous three forums. Mayoral candidate Dan Post did not stray from his core message, but did unveil his vision for Marana as a “world class town” and read from his plan frequently throughout the forum. “It is a good town, a great town, but it is not quite a world class town,” Post said.Despite the unveiling of the plan, most of his message remained consistent. He preached better relationships with the county, his desire to be a team builder within the council and the need to bring high wage jobs to Marana. He also felt that Marana does a lot of things well, but needs to put a bigger emphasis on the arts. Mayor Ed Honea continued with his constant theme of Marana’s success. He pointed towards many of the same benchmarks that he has in prior forums including the relative lack of storefronts, the best housing numbers in the region and successful projects the town has undertaken. Council member David Bowen has used his background as a certified financial planner to highlight his expertise when it comes to budget and financial maters.
Monday, Aug. 8 marked the first day of school for the Marana Unified School District. Over 12,500 students returned or started school at one of the district’s 18 schools. As has become tradition, Superintendant Doug Wilson rode the bus with elementary school students. This year he rode with students from Roadrunner Elementary and then greeted students and handed out pencils to students in front of the school. Thornydale Elementary welcomed their new kindergartners with a photo opportunity. The youngest students at the school were able to pose with a giant pencil in front of a decorated background, allowing their parents to get a lasting memory of their first day of school.Marana High School continued their tradition of making incoming freshmen walk the “Gauntlet.” It is not as daunting as it sounds. With upbeat music blaring, teachers form a human corridor from the front of the gym to tables with nametags to welcome the new student to orientation. It is a positive way to start a new school year and an attempt to make the transition to high school a little easier. The district opened one new school in Gladden Farms, and saw the first day of classes at the newly combined Picture Rocks Elementary who opened the doors of their new building, as well as their refurbished building, for the first time. It also marked the first day of classes at Mountain View High School, which is celebrating its 30th year.
Marana is set to host its own leg of the El Tour de Tucson on November 19. It marks the second year of a two-year sponsorship agreement with the Perimeter Bicycling Association of America.In 2015, the town received a variety of advertising packages with the race, including print ads, signage, and the town logo on the official race T-shirts. That was the first part of the deal that included the Marana portion of the race. Marana will host a 28-mile leg, which is designed to appeal to those who want to participate, but find the longer distances too daunting. In addition to the 28-mile Marana leg, the race also offers distances of 106, 76, 54, or 37-milers.According to a press release, race organizers expect 500-1,000 riders will race in the Marana leg. “Cyclists will find the distance and the later start time an attractive alternative,” the Town of Marana said in the release. The race will wind through the Marana Heritage River Park and the Gladden Farms area.
The Marana Town Council approved a deal between the town and the Avra Water that will help provide the Marana Water Company with enough water to have a surplus between the expected usage of town residents and the town’s overall water supply. Marana Utilities Director John Kmiec called the agreement “historic” and puts Marana in position to actually add to their overall water supply until at least 2026.“Between the two renewable resources, the Colorado River and effluent, we will be able to use on an annual basis what our customers need as well as storing excess water for our current and future users,” Kmiec said.The actual deal is for the town to assume the entire 808 acre-foot per annum allocation of Central Arizona Project municipal and industrial water entitlement. That will push the town’s CAP allocation to 2,336 acre feet per year. Beginning in 1999 Marana began receiving just 47 acre feet of water from CAP. By way of comparison, the City of Tucson receives over 145,000 acre-feet of water. In 2006 the town began getting an additional 1,481 acre-feet from the Flowing Wells Water Co-op. Over the last several years the town has been working with Avra Water, who was allocated CAP water although they have no access to the canal. Since Avra Valley has a large number ground water credits, which are more cost effective than CAP water.
These are turbulent times to be a police officer, but even with the recent violence towards law enforcement there are still those who want to don the blue. The Marana Police Department recently recognized eight new officers at a shield pining ceremony at the Marana Municipal Complex. Jerry Ysaguirre, Mason Lacaillade, Allicia Caughlin, Dionysius Cazares, Aubrey Lopez, Quan Nguyen, Daniel Nicholas and Jeff Couch were all honored on July 20.Marana Police Chief Terry Rozema began the tradition of the shield pining ceremony a few year back and feels now more than ever it is important to gather their fellow officers and publicly welcome those that complete the rigorous training.“Our Police Academy and Field Training program offer a chance to instill our culture in these new officers,” Rozema said as he officiated the ceremony. “The men and women who go out into Marana wearing this badge are important to this community.”Rozema did not shy away from the tragic events in Dallas, Baton Rouge and other communities. Quite the opposite, he made it a focal point to address it. He began the ceremony with a moment of silence to honor the fallen and then discussed the recent events. “It’s hard to bring people into this profession at a time when it’s scary to be an officer,” Rozema said “Everything that’s going on, though, does not change how we conduct ourselves every day. We treat every person we meet out on the job with total respect.”
All of the candidates for the Marana Town Council have their own path to service of the town. For John Officer it was a speeding ticket. Officer, who is the lone challenger for one of the two council spots up for re-election, received a speeding ticket shortly after moving to the town. He was given the option of working off the ticket and has been involved one way or another with the town since. Officer brings an interesting mix of experience to the table. He has spent nearly 30 years working for the Central Arizona Project, so he knows a lot about how government agencies work. He also owns a weed control side business, which gives him the perspective of a small business owner. His professional experiences combined with his volunteer work with the town has given him an appreciation of a good plan and Officer has been constant with his praise of the town’s general and strategic plans. With any plan Officer has a saying he likes to follow, “who’s taking out the trash?” Officer feels even the best plan has to be thought out all the way through, including the smallest details like when a project is over, who is responsible for making sure all the trash is taken care of. “To me it means you are thinking the whole thing through,” Officer said. “If you haven’t planned down the final detail of who is taking out the trash, you really don’t have a complete plan.”After getting the speeding ticket, Officer volunteered with the Public Works Department. At the time Marana offered offenders the option of volunteering in the place of paying money for the infraction. He was inspired to stay involved with the town and served on the now defunct Parks and Recreation Commission and currently serves on the Planning Commission. In both groups having a consistent plan was key.
Law enforcement officers and fire and emergency crews from all over Southern Arizona descended upon Marana High School last week for a two-day Rescue Task Force Training to help instruct them in how to handle a variety of emergency scenarios where there are both assailants and wounded civilians present. “The purpose of this training is to deconstruct the nature of these threats as well as offer integrated point-of-wound care instruction specifically focused on dynamic active violence, all-hazards and/or explosive threats,” wrote Pima County Sheriff’s Department’s Bruce Whitney.This course was open to any police and fire department in Pima, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties. According to Whitney, the recent adoption of a RTF SOP by the Pima Regional Fire Chiefs “police-fire integration has gathered new momentum and many departments throughout the three counties plan on proactively making this type of response to active violence events the norm.” The specter of active shooters and other such violence hangs over all law enforcement personnel yet many public safety organizations throughout the country have yet to develop response paradigms to meet these challenges. As students were reconvening on the second day word of the Munich mall shootings were just starting to come in, broadcast in the Marana High School Library which was serving as the staging area for the training. Picture Rocks Fire District and the Marana Police Department hosted the training, which included instruction and education, hands on simulations and full-blown scenarios, utilizing the school’s campus facilities. The instructors for the training came from the law enforcement, fire and EMS communities.
More than 300 people turned out Wednesday, July 20, for the ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of Gladden Farms Elementary School, the newest school in the Marana Unified School District.MUSD officials, along with representatives of the town, the builders and the community were on hand to celebrate the opening and tour the new building. “It is very exciting as a board member to be able to come and share in the opening of a school,” said MUSD Board President John Lewandowski.Lewandowski praised voters for providing bond dollars to get the school built.“It takes a local bond to build anything in Arizona and our taxpayers have been very generous and this is the result,” Lewandowski said. Principal Nancy Paddock also thanked the voters.
The town of Marana’s recent efforts to boost tourism have been recognized by Gov. Doug Ducey’s office.The Arizona Office of Tourism awarded the town’s tourism website www.DiscoverMarana.org with the Governor’s Tourism Award for Interactive Technology. In 2015 Marana boosted its efforts to grab a larger slice of the billion-dollar tourism industry by adding a new tourism and marketing manager and launching a new website. The campaign paid off with a successful staycation program for the 2015 Star Spangled Spectacular and a summer convention to the Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain.But the website has played a big role. www.DiscoverMarana.org is described by the town as “a state-of-the-art tourism portal that attracts visitors to Marana from across Arizona, the United States, and abroad.”The site is designed to get the word out to potential visitors about Marana’s resorts, golf courses, new outlet mall and natural attractions, including the town’s extensive hiking trails, which attract hikers from all over the state and beyond. As the first community on I-10 from the north, Marana is also positioning itself as the “Gateway to Southern Arizona.”
Since opening in Marana the Bisbee Breakfast Club has carved out a place for itself as an old-fashioned, family-friendly, locally owned diner.The restaurant was born in Bisbee in 2005 and was such a success that an ownership group that included local Pizza Hut frachise owner Brent Kyte bought the restaurant with hopes of expanding it.When Brent’s son, Terry Kyte, moved back to Tucson after living in the Pacific Northwest, he had the job of launching the Ina Road Bisbee Breakfast Club in an old Pizza Hut location in 2011.There was a real question whether the concept would work outside of Bisbee, but it did not take long for the Tucson location find a foothold. As one of the only locally breakfast options, the BBC found a number of fans. The restaurant was popular with families and retirees and its proximity to hotels and the freeway help it develop its following. In 2014, the Kyte family added a location in Mesa and then looked to add more locations in Tucson. Kyte said as the Ina location’s reputation grew, they found more and more people were driving from across town to eat there. The search was on for a new location. A new Bisbee Breakfast has already opened at Swan and Sunrise roads and new one is planned in central Tucson at Broadway and Country Club Road.Being a local option has been key for the Bisbee Breakfast Club. While there are other breakfast options in the area, most are either fast food or big chains. Although they occupy an old Pizza Hut, there is no doubt this is a locally owned and operated business.
The candidates for mayor and Marana Town Council battled over the town’s current leadership and future opportunities at a final forum last Thursday, July 21.Mayor Ed Honea downplayed issues with his fellow council members and said the town was on the right track with its strong growth in recent years.But challenger Dan Post, while acknowledging that Marana is doing well said that the town fights too much with Pima County government, rather than working together on a regional basis. He said he would strive for better communication and partnership within the council itself. Honea has never denied that the relationship between the town and county is strained due to a battle over a wastewater plant Marana forced the county to hand over by changing state law. But he downplayed problems within the council, pointing towards the council’s track record of voting together. “In the last year, with probably 300 or 400 items coming before the council, we haven’t had 10 that weren’t unanimous,” said Honea. “Our staff educates us on every process and every program that we are doing and we work well together.”Post told voters that experience on the Marana Unified School District board makes him the perfect
Motorists, prepare yourselves: The dust is about to start flying on several large road construction projects in Marana this year. The two biggest are the Tangerine Corridor Project and Ina Road Traffic Interchange Project. Preliminary work began some time ago, but major construction has now started.• Utility work got underway earlier this month on the Tangerine Corridor Project. Crews began working on utility crossings on Tangerine Road from Camino de Oeste to just west of Dove Mountain Boulevard.Motorists can expect intermittent lane restrictions in the area. Traffic will be guided through the work area one side at a time. Flaggers will be on site to direct traffic through the work area and delays are expected. The speed limit has been reduced to 25 mph.Work is expected to continue for the next several weeks and the work will only be done on weekdays. • Work on the new Ina Road bridge over Interstate 10 is now underway as well. Although Ina Road will not fully close until early 2017, there are portions of the project people should be aware of this summer.