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Posted: Tuesday, June 15, 2010 11:00 pm

Church letting recruits train in burned building

On April 30, the Community Friends Church at 5950 N. La Cañada Drive was damaged by arson fire.

The arson "was a terrible experience," according to a release from Northwest Fire District, but church members are trying to ensure something good comes from it.

This Thursday, June 17, from 7 a.m. to about noon, firefighter recruits are practicing "vertical ventilation cuts" atop the church, and using the interior to perform search and rescue drills. Academy instructors have invited Raytheon firefighters to join in the drill, the release said.

The Northwest Fire District Academy  has 21 recruits who have completed ventilation training using props at the Northwest Training Center. With the church's offer, "they will get to hone their skills practicing on a real building," the release said. "The Community Friends Church has turned the experience into something that will benefit the public."



Student is collecting packs, supplies for foster kids

A Mountain View High School senior is collecting backpacks and school supplies for foster children.

Aubree Abril, 17, has placed a drop box at the Nanini Library on Shannon Road. Items -- backpacks, pencils, binders, spiral notebooks, pocket folders, rulers and more – are being given to Aviva Children's Services for distribution to foster children.

Abril gathered items for needy children when she was 12, the summer after sixth grade. "I was looking for something to do to help the community," she said. "I've been trying every summer since then, but didn't manage to make it happen. This summer, I figured this was my last one in town, so I would try to make it work this year."

Aviva officials told Abril "they really needed backpacks and school supplies," she said.

Collections are planned from mid-June through mid-July, giving time for gathering, sorting and distribution through Aviva Children's Services. Backpacks and school supplies can be dropped off at the Aviva office, 1735 East Fort Lowell Road, telephone 327-6464, or at the Nanini Library, 7300 N. Shannon, 594-5365.

Abril may be reached at 219-8292 or 668-4866.


Joint chamber luncheon with gov, legislators

Two chambers of commerce have teamed for a joint luncheon featuring appearances by Gov. Jan Brewer and Southern Arizona legislators.

The legislative wrap-up starts at noon Thursday, June 17, at the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador, 10000 N. Oracle Road. Cost is $40 per person.

The Marana and Tucson Metropolitan chambers of commerce and their leaders, Ed Stolmaker and Jack Camper, decided to have a joint luncheon rather than compete with one another. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m.

For $750, guests can secure a "premium" table of nine with a legislator, and a private reception with the governor and legislators from 11 a.m. to noon. Other options are available.

Tickets go to $50 per seat after Monday, June 14.

To RSVP, e-mail or call 682-4314 to make a reservation.



Man shot down in Northwest restaurant

Tucson police are investigating the killing of man at the Chick-fil-A restaurant last Thursday morning.

Thomas Piazza, 39, was gunned down at the fast-food restaurant at 4585 N. Oracle Road by an unknown assailant while preparing for a Christian businessperson-networking group.

Piazza had a wife and four children.

The killer was described as a stocky male between the ages of 40 and 50. He fled the scene of the killing westbound on Auto Mall Drive riding a bicycle.

The man apparently was in the restaurant when he approached Piazza from behind, shooting him in the head and killing him.

Piazza was a loan officer who had been implicated in a rent-to-own home purchasing scheme. In 2009, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard named Piazza a defendant in a civil lawsuit, which also included Tucson area real estate agents.

Some have speculated that Piazza's killer may have been a victim of the scheme, which resulted in at least 130 foreclosures.

Anyone with information is asked to call 9-1-1 or 88-CRIME.



Quick call helped keep fire in check

Early notification through 911 kept an apartment fire in Marana from spreading beyond one unit, according to the Northwest Fire District.

Firefighters were called at 7:32 p.m. Tuesday, June 8 to a report of smoke from a second-story balcony of a Cantora Apartments building at 3500 West Orange Grove Road.

They discovered an active fire in the apartment. Firefighters and the Marana Police evacuated nine occupants from the building and the fire was controlled within 12 minutes. No one was injured.

One apartment unit was damaged, with costs estimated at approximately $10,000.

Investigators have determined that careless disposal of smoking materials on the balcony caused the fire.

The Northwest Fire District reminds the public that assumptions should not be made that smoke is from a BBQ. If smoke is visible and the source cannot be verified, call 9-1-1.



Father's Day BBQ dinner at the zoo

Father's Day is celebrated at Reid Park Zoo this Sunday, June 20, with a barbecue dinner buffet, power tool demonstrations, gift bags for dads and a free family photo.

The event runs from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Activities for children such as face painting, games, woodcrafts, and visits from select zoo animals are also available.

Cost is $20 per adult and $15 for children ages 2-12. Proceeds benefit the Reid Park Zoological Society.

For more information, call 881-4753 ext. 12.



Volunteer with Golder Ranch Fire

Golder Ranch Fire District is seeking volunteers to assist with receptionist / phone duties and light clerical work.

Days and hours are flexible, but a four-hour per week minimum commitment is preferred, according to a release.

For a job description and application, visit"> For more information, call 818-1017.

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