While most high school students see an iPod and a set of headphones as a source of distraction or a way to listen to their favorite tunes, members of the Oro Valley Youth Advisory Council recently learned that music also provides a unique and memorable opportunity to give back to the community. Working with the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance, YAC members spent a morning with residents of the Catalina Springs Memory Care facility as part of the Music & Memory project, which helps those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia find renewed emotion and joy by listening to the music of their youth. “Music & Memory is a great project to assist people living in memory care units, those suffering from Alzheimer’s or Dementia, especially late-stage,” said SAACA communications director Cait Huble. “Music has been found to be stored in a different part of your brain – and is one of the last places that Alzheimer’s touches. Because of this, those ‘music memories’ sort of stay in that spot, and a lot of times listening to certain songs from the past can trigger a reaction with the residents that may otherwise be nonverbal or uncommunicative. The music kind of brings that spark back.”After spending the better part of a year fundraising, conducting research and laying out plans, YAC members were finally able to see the impact of all of their hard work. Since starting in the summer, the council raised more than $4,000 in support of the program, which was used to purchase the individual iPods as well as build the customized playlists the YAC members developed after working with residents.For YAC president and BASIS Oro Valley senior Bodo Lee, and many other members of the youth council, the introduction to Music & Memory came after watching “Alive Inside,” the documentary developed by Music & Memory detailing the specifics and successes of the program.Lee said that after watching the film he was interested in what he believed to be a fantastic way to learn more about an important issue within the community, as well as an opportunity to give back to others.
Though the assigning of Oro Valley town council liaisons received no mention during the Dec. 7 session, being approved unanimously on the consent agenda, the positions play an important role in the communication and understanding of developments between the town’s governing board and the various boards, commissions and associated organizations which dictate numerous aspects of Oro Valley’s development. The current liaison assignments were approved by council last December and will expire at the end of the calendar year. Assignments approved will last through the entirety of the 2017 calendar year.Since last December, former councilmembers Mike Zinkin, Bill Garner and Brendan Burns failed to retain their seats during the August primary election. Though their liaison assignments would not directly pass on to new councilmembers Bill Rodman, Rhonda Pina and Steve Solomon, Mayor Satish Hiremath still held the responsibility of doling out new positions.“My job is to find people that have an interest in the subject, then they will take an interest in the position.” Hiremath said. “The idea really for council liaison is not to manipulate the board or commission, but to show up and take an interest in that board or commission because the reverse certainly holds true. … All board and commission members serve as an extremely valuable resource to both the town and the council, and I want to make sure they all want to be there.”Solomon will be the liaison for both the Historic Preservation Commission as well as the Board of Adjustment – both previously handled by Zinkin. In relation to Solomon’s two selections, Hiremath said it made perfect sense given the man’s history with land and real estate development within the community. Councilmember Rodman will take over for Councilmember Joe Hornat as the liaison for the Planning and Zoning Commission, a move Rodman suggested given his time on the commission as its president. Councilmember Pina will be taking over the position for the Water Utility Commission, a position also previously held by Hornat.Councilmember Hornat will be taking over as the liaison for the Stormwater Utility Commission, previously held by Garner.
When Oro Valley resident Don Cox first heard that several members of the community strongly opposed his appointment to the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission, he said he wasn’t surprised to see who had written letters of concern – even joking about the objections.“I think it’s just people expressing their great, passionate love for me,” he said. “There are people out there that really don’t have anything better to do than to find something to ‘gritch’ about, and if there is nothing else to ‘gritch’ about – there’s always Don Cox.”Not sharing in Cox’s levity are several residents, including former members of the town council, all of whom wrote to the town stating their opposition to the appointment, which took place as part of the Dec. 7 session.“All readers of the opinion page of the Northwest Explorer are aware of Don Cox,” wrote resident Donald Bristow, also a former candidate for council. “He has defined himself as a name caller, fact twister, and mean spirited just to name a few of the descriptors that can be used. … There is no doubt that this council owes Don Cox and you want to reward him by appointing him to the Planning and Zoning Commission.”Bristow referenced Cox’s work with the Triple E Political Action Committee (PAC), which has been active since the 2015 unsuccessful recall election of Mayor Satish Hiremath, Vice Mayor Lou Water and councilmembers Mary Snider and Joe Hornat. Since its founding, the PAC has received over $7,000 in funding from several real estate developers and investors from throughout the community, $500 each from the PACs established for the campaigns of Hornat, Waters and Snider and another $500 from a member of the Hiremath family. The single greatest monetary benefactor to the Triple E PAC has been Cox himself, who
Marana and Oro Valley are two of the safest cities in Arizona, according to a statistical data analyzed by the Orent Law Offices in Phoenix and data visualization firm 1 Point 21 Interactive. They looked at the 40 communities in the state with populations over 10,000 and determined that the two northwest communities were among the five safest in Arizona.The actual study was used to find the most dangerous cities and Tucson was found to be the most dangerous, while Oro Valley was the safest, ranked 40th out of 40 for most dangerous. Marana was 36th. Sahuarita was also among the safest, ranking 38th on the list.The rankings were determined by looking at 14 different metrics in three different categories. Those categories were crime, police investment and effective strength and community socioeconomic factors.FBI crime stats were used to find the Crime Rank, looking at per capita stats for violent crime, murder, rape, robbery and assault. Oro Valley ranked 39th for crime, while Marana was 30th. Conversely, Tucson was No. 1, statistically the highest crime rate in the state. ““The FBI has a lot of other things that they feel that impact crime and safety in an area and we try to sort out some of those that are easy to look at,” said 1 point 21 Interactive Project Manager Brian Beltz.The Community category looks at socioeconomic statistics such as poverty rate, unemployment rate, percentage of high school graduates, the median income and the average temperature. In these rankings Marana is the top ranked community, while Oro Valley is third best. Marana edges Oro Valley with a lower poverty rate and slightly higher median income, while Oro Valley gets a slight edge in the percentage of high school graduates and a slight edge in unemployment.
The Oro Valley town council recently voted to approve the town’s legislative agenda, identifying recommended priorities for the upcoming 53rd state legislative session. With the document approved by unanimous vote, the town now has a reference to guide requests and lobbying activity.“It gives our representatives an idea of what our expectations are for their representation of Oro Valley, and quite frankly the rest of the state, too,” said Oro Valley Councilmember Joe Hornat, who also serves as the liaison to the legislative district. “We are just trying to make them understand what the impact is on us when the legislature, in its infinite wisdom, decides to change something. It is a great opportunity for us to let them know how those decisions impact us, but it’s also a great opportunity for us to understand the process and the attitude.”Working with town staff and communicating with representatives from Legislative Districts 9 and 11, as well as with the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, Hornat will be able to keep his finger on the legislative pulse at the state capital and ensure that legislative efforts regionally, statewide and federally align with the town’s agenda. The League of Arizona Cities and Towns is a membership organization of municipalities from throughout the state devised to provide services in representation of interests to the legislature, as well as to provide technical and legal assistance, among other services. The town’s representation among the league comes in the form of Mayor Satish Hiremath’s membership on the Resolutions Committee, comprised of mayors from all member municipalities.According to Oro Valley Assistant to the Town Manager Chris Cornelison, keeping track of all of those interests at the legislative level is a difficult – if not outright daunting task. With well over a thousand pieces of potential legislature proposed every session, Cornelison said that it takes a keen interest and constant communication to stay on top of everything.“Each year we have to account of the legislative session,” he said. “We account for what occurred last session, as well as things that we’ve heard from the League of Arizona Cities and Towns - things that a senator or other legislator may send them asking for their thoughts. We can get an idea from the league what hot topics are coming up in the next session. We also utilize some of the things that have been a concern for us in the past like local control and the impact of policy decisions on our budget.”
Oro Valley took a moment during the Nov. 16 council session to honor another of the community’s youth. Grant Grimit – pictured alongside Councilmember Mary Snider – has the right to call himself an impressive young man. Grimit is a Boy Scout who works within his local community, assisting on annual food drives and community projects and is as an usher and altar server. A sixth grader at Wilson K-8, Grimit is also a straight-A student and a multi-sport athlete: baseball for the CDO Little League, cross country and soon he will begin his wrestling career. Perhaps Grimit’s greatest achievement to date are his medical battles two years ago when he underwent surgery to have a tumor removed from his spinal cord. “His story isn’t just about service to our community and personal success—it’s about overcoming incredible obstacles, that takes a lot of courage and a lot of determination for a young man,” Snider said.
Bethany Wilson, a former police officer and member of The United States Air Force, has found her calling between the neat and orderly rows of the Oro Valley Public Library as the institution’s young adult librarian.A studious spirit, Wilson said that her life’s journey has gone in several different directions over the years, though her passion for knowledge has been a constant—a love which has found its match among the books, magazines, movies and more.Childhood passion has blossomed into a full-fledged career for Wilson, and she has proven to be an incredibly capable leader, recently being selected to participate in the American Library Association’s 2017 Class of Emerging Leaders.“It’s an amazing opportunity for me and for Pima County Public Library,” she said. “I was really excited and I was really nervous, because now I am going to be representing my organization. I want to do a good job for them and I feel as though I have responsibility on my shoulders, to do a good job and represent them well.”Wilson is just one of 50 librarians from across the nation to be included within the program, which gives participants the opportunity to work on career-shaping projects, network with one another and create unique professional experiences to be utilized locally.A Dallas native, Wilson joined the Air Force after high school and was stationed in Tucson before leaving the service in 2001. She returned to her academic pursuits, beginning at Pima Community College and eventually ending with a Master of Library and Information Science with a focus in archives and special collections from the University of Arizona. While in school, she also spent the better part of a decade as a police officer for The University of Arizona Police Department.
Bathroom argument leads to disputeOfficer with the Oro Valley Police Department arrested one local man for two separate counts of domestic violence after engaging in a verbal argument with his wife.Just before 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19, OVPD officers responded to a northside apartment complex in regards to a call of a man punching a hole in his bathroom wall. Upon arriving on scene, one officer spoke with the woman, who said that she and her husband were going through a divorce which was not proceeding well, and that while she was putting on makeup on the bathroom her husband yelled at their children for being “rambunctious.”The woman told the officer that she voiced her displeasure to her husband in regards to his discipline, which she said upset the man. After trying to disengage from the argument, the woman reportedly said that her husband punched a hole through a dividing wall in the bathroom.In the police report, the officer indicated the presence of a “large hole” in a wall in the apartment’s bathroom, as well as several chunks of drywall and dust on the ground. The officer indicated in his report that the woman had no impact or injury marks on her hands.Meeting with another officer who was interviewing the husband, it was later discovered that the man indeed admitted to losing control—but because he thought his wife was off to meet another man. After admitting to the damage the man was arrested for domestic violence, criminal damage and disorderly conduct.
The Oro Valley Town Council voted last week to approve the results of the Oro Valley’s Nov. 8 election.On the ballot was the town’s Your Voice, Our Future General Plan, which appeared as Proposition 439. According to the official canvass prepared by the Pima County Elections Department, Your Voice, Our Future received more than 70 percent of the vote.“Seventy percent is significant,” said Oro Valley Town Clerk Mike Standish. “This is certainly confirmation of our voters’ overwhelming support of this community-developed general plan.”Arizona state law requires all cities and towns in Arizona to have an updated General Plan every 10 years that is approved by voters. A plan must include topics such as water, land use, growth and circulation.The Your Voice, Our Future General Plan will help determine decisions made for Oro Valley over the next 10 years on range of important topics such as public safety, natural beauty, parks and recreation.
Santa will have lots of help from his merry elves and a little magic this December as he makes an early appearance for a special celebration at all Kneaders locations across the state in honor of patients at local children’s hospitals.Next Thursday, Dec. 8, Kneaders will host its annual “Evening With Santa” from 5 until 7 p.m., the only night of the year when diners can enjoy Kneaders famous Chunky Cinnamon French Toast for dinner. One hundred percent of French toast sales from all Tucson-area locations this special evening will benefit Tucson Medical Center for Children.A fan favorite, Kneaders delicious Chunky Cinnamon French Toast is made fresh daily using Kneaders Chunky Cinnamon bread, and served with fresh strawberries, fresh whipped cream and heavenly homemade caramel syrup.“With two new locations in Tucson and Oro Valley, we are giddy with excitement to bring this tradition to families in our Kneaders communities,” said Kneaders CEO James Worthington. “We love to give back to the communities that we serve, and children are a special focus for us. Tucson Medical Center for Children is an incredible partner to the community and we are proud to donate our French toast sales for the evening from all Tucson-area locations to this amazing organization.”Santa will be on hand for pictures and guests are invited to bring their own cameras for snapshots with jolly old St. Nick. Kneader’s is located on the north side at 9660 N. Oracle Road.
Join classic music lovers for a free concert that combines familiar music with great works you may not have heard before. You’ll likely know Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, and you will recognize the Romeo and Juliet Overture and Polovtsian Dances, even if you couldn’t place their names. Prokofiev’s Overture on Hebrew Themes is filled with fun, rhythmic melodies featuring the clarinet, giving it an almost Klezmer feel. The beautiful cello solos are not to be missed. The series starts Saturday, Dec. 3, 7 p.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center, 3900 E. River Road, and Sunday, Dec. 4, 3 p.m. at the Vistoso Community Church, 1200 E. Rancho Vistoso Blvd. in Oro Valley.
The Pima County Sheriff’s Department happily reported at 1:55 p.m. that 12-year-old Julia Davis has been located and reunited with loved ones.--The Pima County Sheriff’s Department is seeking the public’s assistance in locating 12-year-old Julia Davis. Julia was last seen yesterday, Nov. 20 around 9:00 p.m. and is believed to be somewhere on the Northwest side.She is described as:CaucasianApproximately 5’0” in height, 80 pounds in weightBrown hair, green eyesUnknown clothing descriptionAnyone with information on the location of Julia Davis is urged to call 9-1-1.
On Sunday, Nov. 6 between 5:45 and 6:30 p.m. two male suspects shoplifted numerous items from Marshalls and Kohl’s in the area of Oracle and Magee. The stolen items were loaded into the trunk of a blue, newer model Ford Mustang with red stripes down the front fenders and black wheels. Suspect one is described as a Hispanic or white male, 18-25 years-old, with short dark hair with longer bangs. He was last seen wearing a black Adidas hooded sweatshirt with stripes down both sleeves, a pair of tight, light blue jeans and black and white shoes. Suspect two is described as a Hispanic or white male, 18-25 years-old, with short dark hair. He was last seen wearing a red t-shirt, a pair of light blue jeans with holes in the thigh area and black and white shoes. The Oro Valley Police Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspects. Images were captured on surveillance and are shown below. Please contact 88-CRIME, 911 or 520-229-4900 with any information.
The Oro Valley Police Department (OVPD) would like to thank the community for your responses to this incident. The juveniles have been identified. The cat, Amiga, was safely returned to Petsmart. Amiga was uninjured and in good health. The investigation is ongoing with charges pending. ORIGINAL RELEASEOn Sunday, Nov.13 at approximately 3 p.m. two male suspects entered the Petsmart located in the 10600 block of North Oracle Road. One male grabbed a cat that was up for adoption; both males ran out of the store. Both males were described as approximately 15 years old, approximately 5’10”, both having brown hair. One male was last seen wearing a brown hat, brown tank top and brown shorts. The other male was last seen wearing a gray shirt, black pants and red shoes.The Oro Valley Police Department is asking the public’s help in identifying the males. An image of the male wearing the gray shirt, black pants and red shoes was captured on surveillance and is shown below. Please contact 88-CRIME, 911 or 520-229-4900 with any information.
On Nov.5, 2016 at approximately 10 p.m. the Oro Valley Police Department’s patrol responded to a report of an armed robbery that occurred at the Giant station on Oracle and Magee. The suspect went into the store and paid cash for a small amount for gas. He then departed the gas pump area, returned a few minutes later and asked to use the restroom. The suspect entered the restroom to put on a bandanna or ski mask of some type, rushes towards the clerk with a black handgun pointed at her and demanding money. The suspect left the store heading southbound. OVPD patrol searched the area; however, they did not locate the suspect. OVPD is asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspect who is described as a either a Hispanic or Caucasian male, approximately 5’09” 150 lbs., under 30 years-of age wearing black denim shorts and white tennis shoes with black laces. The suspect was described as have scarring on his face. Please contact 88-CRIME, 911 or 520-229-4900 with any information.