New principal at Rattlesnake Ridge school

A new principal has been named at Rattlesnake Ridge Elementary School.

Cindy Lewis' appointment was approved by the Marana Unified School District board on July 21. She assumed her position immediately.

Lewis succeeds Jamie Meek, who has accepted a position in Iowa as a pre-K-8 school principal.

"I am thrilled and grateful to have the opportunity to serve the students, parents, and teachers of the Rattlesnake Ridge community as their principal," Lewis said. "I look forward to working closely with the many people involved in each child's life to create a successful and rewarding experience for each student."

Lewis has 11 years of experience within public education, including more than six years in school administrative and management roles. She was a business education teacher at Mountain View High School, and has served as associate principal at Tortolita Middle School for the past six years.

Lewis has bachelor's degrees in education and public administration from the College of Santa Fe. She earned a master's degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University, and is currently pursuing her doctorate in educational leadership at the University of Arizona.

"I firmly believe that is it so important to set the bar high and challenge our students through a rigorous and relevant curriculum in order to provide them optimal opportunities and experiences," Lewis said.

Feds announce $13.8M in funds for AZ border

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano recently announced the government has release more than $47 million in Operation Stonegarden grants for the Southwest border states.

Arizona received $13.88 million of that total.

The announcement was made during Napolitano's speech at a visit to a Texas border crossing station. Texas has received more $17 million in Stonegarden grants.

"Operation Stonegarden is one part of our overall strategy to provide state, local and tribal law enforcement on the frontlines the resources they need to confront the complex and dynamic challenges that exist along our borders," Napolitano said.

Nationwide, the federal government has distributed $60 million to states through the operation.

OV community Foundation now taking grant apps

The Oro Valley Community Foundation is accepting applications for its fall grants program that begins in October.

Charitable organizations located in Oro Valley or Northwest Tucson have benefited from Foundation grants. Among previous recipients are Kid's Closet, which provides school clothes for about 2,500 disadvantaged children; Gap Ministries, for a fire suppression system in a home for abused and neglected children; Friends of the Oro Valley Library, for a children's summer reading program; and Teens Sew Cool, an after-school program that provides training and sewing machines for economically disadvantaged teen-agers who learn to sew for themselves, their families and how to make a living by sewing.

All grant applications for the Foundation must be submitted by Sept. 30. Grant requirements and applications are located at The information can also be found on the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona website,

A separate fund has been established by the Oro Valley Foundation's board of directors for contributions to the 21st Century Amphitheater Schools Project. Funds are being used to update current computer labs that are "poorly equipped," and provide for new computer labs in Amphitheater schools.

Donations are tax deductible. They can be sent to OVCF, 2250 E. Broadway Blvd., Tucson, 85719.

July 29 event calls attention to impacts of child drowning

August is "Drowning Impact Awareness Month" in Arizona, with a Thursday, July 29 press conference in the Northwest calling attention to the cause.

Safe Kids Tucson and its community partners are appearing at DeMont Family Swim School, 2850 W. Ina Rd., Suite 130.

Arizona ranks second in the nation for child drownings, and summer months bring an increase in incidents. So far this year, there have been nine non-fatal water incidents involving children in Pima County. "All of them were preventable," a release said.

Speakers at the press conference include representatives from Safe Kids Tucson Coalition, the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona and local fire agencies. Miss Arizona is speaking, along with representatives of a family whose child nearly drowned last summer in Tucson.

The conference starts at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

National Night Out this Tuesday in Oro valley

On Tuesday, Aug. 3, the Town of Oro Valley, the Oro Valley Police Department and Target are sponsoring "National Night Out," a crime and drug prevention event held annually in communities all over the U.S. and Canada.

The Oro Valley event will be held at Target on Oracle Road and First Avenue.

The event includes numerous activities, presentations and safety information. These include Oro Valley Public Library, Oro Valley Parks & Recreation Department, Oro Valley Municipal Pool, Food Bank, Golder Ranch Fire District, Child ID, Child Care Resource & Referral, Child Shield, USA, PG Key, Department of Public Safety, Sonoran Behavioral, OVPD Explorers, Target, Sublime K9, Child Birth Education and Zumba.

There will be music, food and special visits from McGruff the Crime Dog and the American Red Cross. Additionally, winners of the safety art contest, judged by Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath, Oro Valley Police Chief Danny Sharp, Golder Ranch Fire District Chief Randy Karrer, and Erick Collins from Target, will be announced.

Attendees are asked to bring a non-perishable food item. For more information call 229-5084.

BASIS cuts its ribbon on Tuesday, Aug. 3

BASIS Charter School holds a ribbon-cutting event at its new Oro Valley building at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 3.

The campus is BASIS' third in Arizona. The school, regarded as one of the nation's top charter schools, also has campuses in Tucson and Scottsdale.

BASIS Oro Valley exceeded its goal of 400 registered students for August 2010 within four weeks of opening registration, and is at capacity with 560 students for the fall semester. It has a waiting list for grades 5-12.

"The high regard in which the Oro Valley community holds education has, no doubt, helped BASIS exceed enrollment expectations" for the new school year, a release said.

"We have an exceptional group of teaches coming on board and students who are willing to work hard," said Carolyn McGarvey, BASIS Oro Valley head of school. "We have a recipe for success, and all the ingredients we need to get us there."

Basis Oro Valley is located in Steam Pump Village, 11155 N. Oracle, Oro Valley.

Attendees are asked to RSVP to Andrea Devereux, communications assistant, at

No candidates yet signed for 2 school boards

People interested in running for the office of school district trustee in the Nov. 2 general election have until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 4, to file with the county school superintendent's office.

As of Monday, no one has filed for Marana Unified School District or Amphitheater School District, according to Susan Hankinson, senior administrative specialist in elections with the Office of the Pima County School Superintendent.

Candidates for governing board members must meet qualifications, among them residency in the school district for at least one year, and registration to vote in Arizona. Candidates and their spouses cannot be employed by the school district.

There are two positions open on the ballot for both Marana and Amphi districts. The Marana positions are currently held by Eric Brandriff, president, and John Lewandowski, vice president.

Amphi's governing board positions are currently held by Jeff Grant, president, and Patricia Clymer.

Anyone interested in governing board positions may contact Hankinson to request a candidate campaign packet, 740-8037.

Groups donate $31,328 to state Special Olympics

A check for $31,328 has been presented to Special Olympics Arizona by Catalina Mountain Elks Lodge.

The funds were raised at a series of events sponsored by Catalina Mountain Elks Lodge #2815, The Players Pub, Catalina - Oro Valley Lions Club, Best Western Catalina Inn, and Jay Salazar State Farm Insurance.

Special Olympics' vision is to empower the more than 180,000 Arizonans with disabilities to be healthy, productive, and respected members of society through year-round sports training, competitions and programs, a release said.

On hand for the presentation were Richard Esparza, exalted ruler of Catalina Mountain Elks Lodge; Holly Thompson, outreach manager for Special Olympics Pima County; Tim Martin, president and chief executive officer of Special Olympics Arizona; Al Peterson, golf chairman for Special Olympics; Lee cook, chairman of the Arizona Elks Association South District Special Olympics; and Jack Baillargeon, chairman of AEA Special Olympics.

First phases of OV Miller Ranch project get a 'go'

The Oro Valley Town Council has unanimously approved the first two phases of a five-phase development plan for the Miller Ranch commercial property at Tangerine Road and La CaƱada Drive.

The 21-acre site would be mixed technical park and commercial once all phases are complete.

Some neighbors in the residential properties nearby have expressed concerns with the plan. Among those are building height, parking lights and headlights of exiting vehicles that might shine into neighbors' homes.

The developer of the property, Desco Southwest, has agreed to keep building heights between 20 and 34 feet, install low-rise parking lights and have vegetation planted at an offsite area to mitigate auto lights exiting the property.

In addition, the developer has agreed to re-vegetate a wash and riparian area that runs through the site, and it reduced the density of buildings planned for the development from 15 to 13.

The project has been in the planning since 2004.

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