Early voting is under way; Y has a modular

Early voting for the Aug. 24 primary election has begun.

Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez is urging people to "vote early and avoid the long lines at the polls on Election Day."

Voters who are not on the permanent early voting list, but who would like to vote early, may do so at any of nine early voting sites throughout Pima County.

In the Northwest, early voting can take place at the Northwest YMCA, 7770 N. Shannon Road between Thornydale and La Cholla north of Ina, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. There is a modular unit on the parking lot. A special early voting date is established at that location on Saturday, Aug. 21, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

People may also order an early ballot to be mailed directly to their homes. To do that, log onto the Pima County Recorder's web site at www.recorder.pima.gov and click on the link for "Early Ballot Request," or download a request form to mail in. Ballots may also be ordered by phone at (520) 740-4330, extension 4330.

Early ballot requests must be received by the recorder's office no later than 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 13.

Kids' fitness center collects food, clothing

An Oracle Road children's fitness center is holding an open house Saturday, when it is collecting food donations for the Community Food Bank and clothing donations for the Amphi Foundation.

My Gym Children's Fitness Center invites people from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $5 per child, or four canned or priority food items, or three new pairs of children's socks, or two new pairs of children's underwear, or a pair of new children's shoes.

The business is located at 7366 N. Oracle.

Folks enjoyed Marana Fourth; traffic an issue

Fireworks watchers and businesses who took part in Marana's Fourth of July celebration had a great time, people agree.

"All in all, it was a great event from our viewpoint," said Tom Ellis, Marana Parks and Recreation Department director.

Members of the Marana Town Council concurred with Ellis, and congratulated him and his staff. But they expressed concerns about the drive home.

"We've got to try to figure something out on that traffic," said Mayor Ed Honea, who reported a long personal wait at a stop light near Arizona Pavilions.

"Traffic was a bit of a disaster there at The Pines," Councilwoman Carol McGorray said.

Ellis said the Marana Police Department did make a change in the traffic pattern when it realized the bottlenecks.

For the second year, the Marana Fourth of July event was held in the area of Arizona Pavilions. People came to the commercial district off Cortaro Road, and thousands gathered at The Pines Golf Course to watch fireworks.

While attendance was down from a year ago, "all of the businesses that participated were just ecstatic," Ellis said. "They complimented the town for bring the event back down there. They'd be willing, again, to help. There were no disparaging remarks."

Marana church to break ground on its expansion

A Marana church is breaking ground this Saturday, Aug. 7, on an expansion project.

Community Christian Church of Marana is building on to its sanctuary and children's center, and adding a youth room. Interior renovation of the sanctuary is also planned.

Saturday's event runs from 9 to 10:30 a.m., and everyone is invited. The church is located at 13610 N. Sandario in Marana, on the corner of Grier and Sandario next to the Marana Health Center.

Community Christian Church has provided ministry and mission services in Marana since 1953. It averages 130 people in worship each weekend, up from an average of 39 in 2006.

"The church, wanting to welcome all people, feels called to create more space and opportunities for everyone who comes, to serve Christ, congregation, and the community," a release said.

The Rev. Dave Hedgepath is the pastor.

Opinions on MUSD bonds may be given

Marana Unified School District has proposed a $43 million bond election for the Nov. 2 general election ballot, and arguments for or against the question are now being gathered for an information pamphlet.

The pamphlet will be sent to all MUSD voter households.

MUSD is asking its voters to approve $16.1 million in bonds for athletic and school facilities, $12.3 million for student transportation, $11.1 million for school security and technology systems, and $3.5 million for land.

Arguments for or against the bonds must include an original signature, as well as the resident's name, address and phone number. They must be 200 words or less.

Arguments may be sent to the Office of the Pima County School Superintendent, attn: Susan Hankinson, 130 W. Congress, Fourth Floor, DT-AB4-127, Tucson, 85701.

They are needed by 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 6.

For more information on the ballot question, contact Dan Contorno, chief financial officer, 11279 W. Grier Rd., Marana, 85653.

Women can learn how to do things in the great outdoors

An adventurous "girlfriends getaway" weekend is Aug. 13-15 near Prescott.

Women ages 18 and up can learn to shoot pistols and shotguns, rappel backwards down a climbing wall, canoe, kayak, fly-fish, use a compass, slide tree-to-tree on a zip line and more at the annual Becoming An Outdoors Woman camp.

It's a camp taught by women, for women, challenging women and building self-confidence while learning outdoor skills, a release said.

The camp is two days and nights, a full weekend of classes, meals, cabin lodging and camaraderie for $250. Register online at azwildlife.org, or call 480-644-0077 for more information.

Marana may move, 'reinvent' founders day

Marana may "reinvent" and move its annual Founders Day celebration from the spring to the fall.

Tom Ellis, director of the Marana Parks and Recreation Department, told the town council last week that people have suggested a longer celebration in the autumn, with broader community participation to encompass youth, school and other events.

Marana was incorporated in 1977, and it celebrates its birthday each March with a day-long Founders Day celebration at Ora Mae Harn Park.

"The community has told us instead of a single-day celebration, what about a week, 10 days, to celebrate this special heritage and history that makes Marana so great?" Ellis said.

Parks and recreation staff has identified potential partners, and "they are all very interested," Ellis continued. He suggested incorporating events like rodeo, music in the park, youth activities, school homecomings and more into "a slam-bang event for the town."

A move of the Founders Day to autumn 2011 would save $15,000 from the current budget, Ellis said, and it would help Marana align with the upcoming Arizona Centennial Celebration.

"We'll keep you informed with updates as we move along," Ellis said.

Blood drive Aug. 26 at Marana facility

The American Red Cross and Town of Marana are hosting a blood drive Thursday, Aug. 26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Marana Municipal Complex, 11555 W. Civic Center Drive.

Donating blood takes 45 to 60 minutes. People do not need to know their blood types in order to give.

The Red Cross supplies blood to patients at all local hospitals. Because the need for blood is constant, the Red Cross requires about 300 donors each day in Arizona, a release said.

Donors receive a free T-shirt and a $5 Starbucks gift card. They'll also be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift card to Walmart. The drawing is only for people who give during the town's drive.

To sign up, contact Marana Public Information Officer Rodney Campbell at rcampbell@marana.com or 382-1936.

Two longtime Northwest chiefs retire from service

Two chiefs have retired from years of service with the Northwest Fire District.

Assistant Fire Chief Jayme Kahle and Division Chief James Grasham completed their service at the end of July.

Kahle has served the Northwest Fire District for more than 25 years, beginning as a firefighter in December 1984. He rose through the ranks to support services assistant chief.

Kahle is looking forward to having more time to care for his parents and to be involved with activities of two teen-age sons. He and wife Karen plan to remain active with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, the Marana Parks and Recreation Committee, and other community organizations.

Grasham is retiring after more than 40 years in fire service. He began his career with Tucson Fire Department on July 7, 1969, moving to Northwest Fire as a fire marshal in April 1997. Grasham served most recently as division chief of special projects, working on accreditation, strategic planning, insurance ratings, and grant writing.

Grasham's plans for retirement include spending time with his wife and family, lots of home projects, traveling for pleasure and to visit children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, golf and fishing.

Grasham says he plans to stay active with the Last Alarm Foundation and look for other opportunities in the community.

Hayworth to speak at OV GOP club Aug. 13

J.D. Hayworth, Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, is speaking to the Oro Valley Republican Women's Club on Friday, Aug. 13.

The club's monthly luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. that Friday at the Oro Valley Country Club, 300 W Greenock Drive.

Guests are asked to RSVP to Sherese Steffens at 520-275-5836.

Former MUSD Staffer heads state teachers

A former Marana Unified School District teacher is the new president of the 31,000-member Arizona Education Association.

Andrew F. Morrill was elected president of the AEA at its annual meeting in April, and took office on July 7.

Morrill had been vice president of the AEA for six years. He taught English and journalism for more than 16 years at Mountain View High School.

"My years in the classroom were rewarding beyond all measure," said Morrill. "The only pursuit that could have taken me from Mountain View was to work in support of educators and public education across the state of Arizona.

"The members of the AEA are committed to our mission to keep the promise of quality public education for every student in Arizona," said Morrill. "AEA will remain a powerful voice for fairness, equity and respect for all – both in and beyond our public schools. We will continue to work toward the best possible learning conditions for students and working conditions for those who educate them."

Morrill, an Arizona native, was a nine-time Top 10 Inspirational Teacher in MUSD. That award is presented by a student. He is married to a former Marana English teacher, Pam Roggeman, also an ambassador of excellence. They have five children.

New officers to lead Casas Adobes Rotary

Wayne Morrison is the new president of Casas Adobes Rotary Club.

He succeeds Fred Sowerby.

Other new board members include Mike Harris, president-elect; Matt Sullivan, secretary; Ray Naylor, treasurer; John Eichinger, membership; Ron Hutchings and Pat Welchert, service projects; Bob Bohacik, club administration; Cheri Cross, public relations; Adel Ziady, Rotary International Foundation; and Ed Wilkinson, CAR Foundation president.

The Casas Adobes club meets every Wednesday morning at La Paloma Country Club. The breakfast buffet opens at 6:45.

Independents can affiliate, cast ballots

Independent voters are able to cast ballots in the partisan primary election Aug. 24, Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez said in a Friday release.

Those registered as "independent" or "party not designated" may choose a ballot, be it Democrat, Republican or Green, Rodriguez said. The Libertarian primary ballot is limited to registered Libertarian voters by law.

"Independent voters are missing out on this opportunity and could have a very large influence in some contested primary races," Rodriguez said.

Voters on the permanent early voting list may contact the recorder's office at (520) 740-4330 for a ballot. Independents who are not on the early voting list can vote early by ordering a ballot, receiving it at home and casting it at one of nine early voting sites in Pima County. The recorder's website is www.recorder.pima.gov.

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