Tucson Local Media: Oro Valley

Oro Valley

  • Oro Valley Town Talk: Have you met Jessica?

    Residents of Oro Valley: Did you know there is a full-time staff member whose primary job it is to answer your questions and make sure your feedback is provided to Council? Whether it’s a concern abou...
  • Gaslight Music Hall looking to expand its cast with new performers

    The Gaslight Music Hall in Oro Valley is holding auditions for its upcoming summer show, “The Gilligan’s Island Revue,” and for the rest of their 2017 season (including the Christmas show). 

Recent Headlines

  • Planning for the community center’s future

    A member of the Oro Valley town council recently posed the idea of a cash infusion from the General Fund contingency reserve into the Oro Valley Community and Recreation Center Fund for capital improvements at the site.Councilmember Steve Solomon suggested the transfer at the April 26 special budget study session. Council members were discussing the community center fund as part of the parks and recreation department budget as laid out in the Town Manager’s Recommended Budget for the coming fiscal year. Also discussed at the study session was the town’s employee benefits program and Oro Valley’s water utility fund.“I know we are doing some updating at the community center, but there may be a good amount more that we might want to look at,” Solomon said. “I think we really want to take a look at some updating, even fresh paint inside or outside, changing the color scheme.”The town expects to start the new year in July with $12.2 million in contingency reserves, or 29 percent of total expenditures. According to council-adopted policy, the town must maintain at least 25 percent in reserve funds. Last fiscal year, the town completed roughly $500,000 of a budgeted $1.1 million in renovations and improvements at the community center, and just over $72,000 of a budgeted $527,000 in the current fiscal year by February. Within the recommended budget is a $50,000 cart improvement project slated for the Cañada course with funding from the dedicated half-cent sales tax. A $75,000 tennis court preservation project is listed, though the funding is from the Bed Tax Fund, and another $75,000 for a water main replacement at the community center via Water Utility Fund cash reserves. 

  • American Legion Auxiliary poppy symbolizes nation’s sacrifice

    A nation at peace must be reminded of the price of war and the debt owed to those who have died in war, and the American Legion Auxiliary Oro Valley Unit 132 has pledged to annually remind America of this debt through the distribution of the memorial flower, a red “remembrance poppy.” The members of the Oro Valley Unit 132 and the 800,000 members of the American Legion Auxiliary, the world’s largest patriotic service organization of women, are asking every American citizen to wear a poppy in observance of Memorial Day Monday, May 29.  “The wearing of a poppy on Memorial Day is a wonderful way to honor those Americans who willingly served our nation in times of war and conflict and made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Alice Bever, Oro Valley Unit 132 President.   “In addition to honoring our fallen heroes, the poppy also honors the hospitalized and disabled veterans who make the red, handcrafted flowers. The poppy continues to provide a financial and therapeutic benefit to those veterans who construct them, as well as benefiting thousands of other veterans and their families by the donations collected from poppy distributions. All proceeds directly impact the lives of our veterans in need.”Join American Legion Auxiliary Oro Valley Unit 132 in recognizing the sacrifice of our veterans by making a donation to the Unit’s poppy fund and by wearing a red “remembrance” poppy on Memorial Day weekend.  The Unit will distribute Poppies from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., May 19 and 20 at Fry’s Food Store, 10450 N. La Cañada Drive and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., May 26, 27 and 28 at Fry’s Food Store, 10661 N. Oracle Road.For additional information contact the Unit at ovunit132@gmail.com, www.ovunit132.info, or PO Box 69246, Oro Valley AZ, 85737, or via Onita Davis at 229-1064.

  • Oro Valley names four finalists for town manager position

    The Oro Valley Town Council named four finalists for the town manager position. Council has been working with CPS-HR Consulting to recruit qualified candidates and narrow down the field from 61 applicants.The Town of Oro Valley began the process of recruiting a town manager in June 2016, following the departure of former Town Manager Greg Caton. Council did not select a candidate from the initial recruitment effort, so on Feb. 22 the position was re-posted.Oro Valley Police Chief Daniel G. Sharp has been serving as interim town manager during this process. The four finalists will interview with Council and executive staff next week, May 11-12. Their names, current positions and educational backgrounds:Mary Jacobs, assistant city manager, Sierra Vista, ArizonaMs. Jacobs has served more than 17 years in her current position. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Arizona.

  • 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.”

  • Golf operations and accusations rattle the cage in Oro Valley

    With three quarters of the year logged in the record books the financial standing of the Oro Valley Community and Recreation Center has found its way into regularly scheduled council discussion on more than one occasion this year, including most recently during the April 19 meeting.Forming as a tangential discussion to the council’s upcoming decision to submit a bond question to the Nov. 7 elections for improvements at Naranja Park, councilmember Steve Solomon aired his frustrations with what he referred to as “fake news” and “fake stories” circulating through town relating to the Community and Recreation Center Fund.“On any given day when you drive to the community center and attempt to park, you will find the parking lot full, people driving around looking for spaces,” Solomon said. “The community center is thriving, it is not failing. That is an outright lie no matter how you look at it. … These are black and white numbers, these are not open to interpretation and it’s a shame that you are getting this false information and this false news story from a few residents in this town, and it can only have a negative impact.”Though Solomon referred to several members of the community, he specifically named former councilmember Mike Zinkin, former council candidate Shirl Lamonna and town resident Diane Peters as culprits behind the leaking of “fake news.”Up for debate are millions of dollars coming in and out of the fund’s balance sheets, and the interpretation of trends developed from those figures.Through the first eight months of the current year, July through February, the community center has brought in roughly $3.7 million in revenues and $4.2 million in expenditures (including $1.4 million in dedicated sales tax revenue). As of February the fund is operating at a near $500,000 deficit, though town documents indicate a projected $156,000 deficit by year-end. The fund will begin the new fiscal year in July with a $297 balance, as per the Town Manager’s Recommended Budget (TMRB); the fund began the current fiscal year with a $161,000 balance.

  • Oro Valley Town Council to discuss more fields at Naranja Park

    At tonight’s Regular Council Meeting (April 5) the Oro Valley Town Council will discuss community requests and a proposed plan to build and finance additional sport fields and related amenities at Naranja Park. The proposed plan, which was developed in response to requests from residents and park user groups, is a partial build-out of the Council-approved 2015 Naranja Park Master Plan, and aligns with the voter-approved 2016 Your Voice, Our Future General Plan.Since this project represents a significant long-term investment in town park infrastructure, staff has suggested general obligation bond funding to finance these improvements. Ultimately, any decision to issue bonds would be up to Oro Valley voters. Before the voters can decide, town council must consider the proposal and decide if it will be referred to the ballot.The Town of Oro Valley has been taking a phased approach to developing Naranja Park in recent years. This slower development timeline has been based on fund availability.At the Feb. 15 council meeting members of the community—including youth sport parents, athletes and Oro Valley user groups—asked council to take action to construct additional sport fields at Naranja Park. Council then directed staff to return at a future meeting with a proposal that meets the community’s request and a plan to finance the proposal.While citizens are prohibited from running a referendum on bonds due to state statutes and the Arizona State Constitution (Article 4, Pt. 1, Sec 1) the law still allows citizens an opportunity to make their requests known to town council. Council must then decide whether or not to put a bond up for a public election. Since a general obligation bond is repaid with a dedicated secondary property tax, any potential question on the ballot to issue bonds and implement a property tax as payment would have to be referred by Council.In the coming weeks, town council will be carefully considering the proposal and public input to determine if it should be placed on the November 2017 ballot for voters to decide.

  • Golder Ranch and Mountain Vista fire districts considering consolidation

    The Golder Ranch and Mountain Vista fire districts may one day operate under a unified banner.The prospect of consolidation, in one form or another, is by no means a new topic, said Mountain Vista Fire District (MVFD) Fire Chief Cheryl Horvath, who explained that the proposition arose as part of ongoing efforts to improve services to residents living within both districts.Responding to a community of roughly 38,000 across 19 square miles of northern Pima County, Marana and Oro Valley, Mountain Vista was formed in 2008 after the merger of the former La Cañada, North Ranch/Linda Vista and Heritage Hills districts, and maintains a total of 54 employees at two stations. To the north, Golder Ranch Fire District (GRFD) has operated for four decades, and currently serves more than 60,000 with a team of 191 personnel from eight stations.Additionally, GRFD maintains a Certificate of Necessity (CON), awarded by the Arizona Department of Health Services, which grants ground ambulance services the right to operate in a specific region. MVFD contracts through American Medical Response.Improving and expanding services eventually requires an increase in revenue, a fact on which Horvath and GRFD Fire Chief Randy Karrer agree. MVFD, which maintains a roughly 80 percent residential district with little potential for commercial build-out, relies on property tax as a significant source of revenue. In the district’s currently adopted budget, $5.7 million of a $6.2 million in projected income derive from its 2.1 percent secondary property tax. Though the district’s rate can be raised by governing board approval, fire districts are ultimately limited by a state-mandated 3.25 rate cap.“As fire districts get closer to that tax cap we’re required to start talking with our neighbors about how we can create efficiencies, create shared services and things of that nature, in lieu of just increasing taxes,” Horvath said. “I think that has set a legislative precedent for why these things might need to occur. Every time we want to increase service and we raise our tax, it hits the homeowner. …Golder Ranch has more potential for commercial growth and development, and that is going to be very helpful in the long run.”

  • Spring Festival of the Arts returning to Oro Valley this weekend

    One of the largest and most captivating arts festivals found anywhere in Southern Arizona is soon to make a return to Oro Valley when the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance (SAACA) hosts the Spring Festival of the Arts this Friday and Saturday, Feb. 25 and 26.The free event, which will take place at the Oro Valley Marketplace, 12155 N. Oracle Road, will feature dozens of artists, exhibitors and food vendors – both local and visiting – which collectively offer a sample of the art, culture and cuisine for which the region is well known.According to SAACA, the festival “supports our creative artist communities, while driving economic development in Oro Valley.  Drawing thousands over the two-day festival to the region, the arts mean business for Oro Valley.”In addition to craft vendors and artists’ booths, another one of the southwest’s most well known cultural pastimes will be on display at the festival: the rodeo. Strolling performances will make their way through the crowds; including cowboy, western and instrumental performances.  Free children's activities will also be available.Parking for the free event will be available throughout the marketplace shopping center. SAACA also asks guests to keep the desert climate in mind by bringing water bottles, sunscreen, jackets or even an umbrella if the weather calls for it. Dogs will be permitted if leashed.For more information on the festival visit the event’s website. Below is a partial list of participating vendors:

  • OVPD: Suspicious person in Oro Valley

    On Jan. 18 at approximately 7:40 a.m. in the area of Glover and Verch the Oro Valley Police Department (OVPD) responded to a suspicious activity call. A male attempted to contact a minor child at a bus stop. The male was described as an older Caucasian with mostly gray hair, a mustache and wearing glasses. The driver of the vehicle sat at the bus stop area for a few minutes, rolled down his window and twice told the child to walk to his vehicle. His vehicle was described as a black (oxidizing paint), possibly a two-door sedan. OVPD would like to remind children of some safety tips:Never approach strangers sitting in a car,Never get into a car with a stranger, andAlways tell an adult if a stranger tries to approach you.

  • [UPDATE]OVPD seeking public’s help in locating missing 63 year-old women

    Sheryl Forte has been found safe. Thank you to everyone who helped OVPD find her.ORIGINAL STORYThe Oro Valley Police Department (OVPD) is asking for the public’s help locating a 63 year-old woman.Sheryl Forte has not been seen by her friends or family since Jan. 9, 2017. She is described as a Caucasian female, with brown hair and brown eyes, 5’08” in height and weighs 130 Lbs. with blue eyes and brown hair. The associated vehicle is a 2007 blue Lincoln town car, Arizona plate 289-HMS. If anyone knows the whereabouts of Sheryl, you are asked to call 911 or 229-4900.

  • Oro Valley youth making musical connection within the community

    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.

  • Council sets liaison positions for next year

    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.

  • Planning and zoning appointment draws outburst of ire

    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 

  • Oro Valley, Marana among state’s safest cities

    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.

  • Oro Valley decides on 2017 legislative priorities

    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.”

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