Marana may restrict some park smoking

Marana is considering a ban on the smoking of tobacco within 25 feet of athletic fields, sports facilities and children's play areas in public parks.

"We've had quite a few complaints about smoking around athletic facilities in the parks," parks and recreation director Tom Ellis said at the June 23 town council meeting. "We went to the books and, lo and behold, nothing says you can't smoke."

Marana's parks commission is proposing the restriction. "We wanted to let you know what we're thinking," Ellis said.

The proposal would not ban smoking near all "park facilities," which might be more broadly interpreted to denote picnic tables or benches. More specifically, "we really don't want folks smoking around play areas, fields and dugouts," Ellis said.

A 25-foot rule would keep smoking beyond grandstands adjacent to fields. "We'll be generous in our interpretation," Ellis said.

Parks monitors do not have enforcement abilities. Jane Fairall of the town attorney's office said smoking within the 25-foot zone could constitute a misdemeanor, with potential fines, if amendments are made to Title 13 of the Marana Town Code, Section 13-1-3.

At a later date, a proposal is being brought to the council for its consideration.

Marana farm, food bank get federal grants for projects

Grants totaling $14,000 have been awarded to the Marana Heritage Farm and the Marana Community Food Bank by the USDA Rural Development Office.

A $6,000 grant to the Marana Heritage Farm is being used with other funding to provide a portable refrigeration unit, extending shelf life of newly harvested produce, as well as a ramada structure to protect the unit, a release said. Door flaps are also being purchased to keep a constant temperature while loading and unloading produce.

An $8,000 grant to the Marana Community Food Bank is tagged to move interior walls of the building, making the facility more user friendly and the warehouse areas better suited for food storage and handling. Additional warehouse racks are also being purchased.

The Marana Heritage Farm and the Marana Community Food Bank are affiliated with the Community Food Bank in Tucson.

As always, the USDA Rural Development Office staff is offering "hands-on assistance with these projects," the release said.

For more information, contact Tony Bruno at 622-0525 extension 245, or Jack Parris at 622-0525, extension 215.

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.

Cortaro / Magee open house is July 9 at Pima

A public open house on the Cortaro Farms / Magee road improvement project is planned for Thursday, July 9, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Northwest Campus of Pima Community College, 7600 N. Shannon Road.

The event, put on by the Pima County Department of Transportation and the Regional Transportation Authority, is intended to provide a summary of a noise analysis, a draft environmental assessment and mitigation report, and a draft design concept report. Discussion of public art is also expected.

As part of the RTA improvement plan, Cortaro Farms / Magee is being improved between Oracle and Thornydale roads. Representatives from the county and the project team plan to answer questions and address concerns, a release said.

A formal presentation is set for 6:15 p.m. Thursday. The session is held in Community Room A-207 on the Shannon Road campus.

For information, call Julie Simon at 740-6410.

Northwest Fire to start work on10th fire station

Groundbreaking for Northwest Fire District's 10th fire station is set for 10 a.m. Friday, July 10 at 12095 N. Thornydale Rd., just north of Tangerine Road.

Northwest Fire Station 39 is planned as an 8,673-square-foot facility able to house seven firefighters and, initially, one fire engine, a release said. Green design and construction elements include the construction of walls made with the use of "autoclaved aerated concrete" to increase heating and cooling efficiency, and variable refrigerant volume energy efficient air-conditioning system, a solar hot water, dual flush toilets and xeriscape landscaping. Architectural design is by WSM Architects, with construction by Sundt Construction Inc.

Land for the new station was donated by The Ault Companies, which owns the neighboring Villagio shopping center.

The $2.4 million station is part of a bond project approved by district residents in 2004 "to help reduce response times and maximize efficient use of district resources," the release said.

Station 39 is expected to open in July 2010.

The public is invited to the groundbreaking. Refreshments are served.

Catalina church sets events, to open a pre-school

The First Baptist Church of Catalina has a busy July and August.

On Sunday, July 5, a special 10 a.m. service features patriotic music.

Vacation Bible School is held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. July 20-24, with a program for parents at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 25. This year's program is called "Gadget's Garage," teaching how "Jesus makes all things new," a release said. It's open to children ages 3-11, with a requested $5 offering.

A "Gospel Jamboree" continues to meet on Saturday nights starting at 7 p.m.

A new pre-kindergarten opens at the church in August. Finishing touches are being put on the playground, with classes set to begin Aug. 6. A director is being pursued.

For more information on events and ministries at the First Baptist Church of Catalina, go to or call the church office at 818-2555.

OV benefit drug cards become available July 1

A benefit for Oro Valley residents to help make uninsured prescription drug purchases begins Wednesday, July 1.

The town has joined with the National League of Cities in a new prescription drug program, "offering relief from the high cost of prescription drugs," a release said. Council members Barry Gillaspie and Salette Latas learned about the benefit when they attended a National League of Cities conference in March.

Discount cards offer an average savings of 20 percent on the retail price of commonly prescribed drugs, the release said. There is no cost for the cards, and no restrictions based on the resident's age, income level, or existing health coverage.

CVS Caremark administers the discount card program. Cards are distributed to participating cities and towns based on population size, so a limited number of cards are available for Oro Valley residents. The discount price obtained with the card is not always the lowest price.

The NLC card can be used when purchasing prescription drugs at many pharmacies around Oro Valley, as well as at more than 59,000 participating retail pharmacies across the country. "Simply show the card when purchasing medication to receive the discount," the release said.

There is no enrollment form, no membership fee and no restrictions on its use when prescriptions are not covered by insurance.

Cards are available at Oro Valley Town Hall, the Oro Valley Public Library, and on Coyote Run buses. People may visit Oro Valley's website for a complete list.

For more information, visit or

China trip has July 15 date for commitments

Commitments are needed by Wednesday, July 15,  for an October "Mission to China" through the Marana Chamber of Commerce.

Participants are traveling in China Oct. 15-23, with time scheduled in Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou and Hangzhou. Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the National Embroidery Institute and many other places are on the itinerary.

The price is $1,799 per person, based on double room occupancy and round-trip airfare from Los Angeles to China. It also covers tour buses, three meals a day, fees, taxes and English-speaking tour guides.

For more information, contact Vicki Soman at 488-6274, or e-mail

Hearing on La Cañada south of Ina is July 7

A public hearing on the environmental assessment and mitigation report for widening of La Cañada Drive between River and Ina roads is scheduled for Tuesday, July 7, before the Pima County Board of Supervisors.

The supervisors are scheduled to consider public comments at or after 9 a.m. Tuesday in their hearing room, 130 W. Congress.

La Cañada between River Road and Ina Road would be widened to improve safety, reduce congestion, improve operations and increase mobility, according to a release from the Pima County Department of Transportation and the Regional Transportation Authority.

Improvements include more lanes, a raised landscape median, drainage culverts, outside curbs, provision for pedestrian and equestrian uses, and noise mitigation "for adjacent residential areas where warranted," a release said.

A copy of the report is available at the Nanini Branch Library, 7300 N. Shannon, or at

For more information, call the Pima County Department of Transportation at 740-6410.

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