More than 3,300 gift-filled shoe boxes in Oro valley

More than 3,300 colorful shoe boxes filled with toys, school supplies and other items were dropped off at an Oro Valley collection site last week.

Operation Christmas Child is distributing the gift-filled shoe boxes to needy children around the world.

More shoe boxes are welcome. Operation Christmas Child has launched “Build A Box,” an online tool offering a personalized way to send Christmas gifts to more children.

“One more shoe box means one more child — one more life that can have hope and joy this Christmas,” said Southwest Regional Director Andrea Uhl, who has personally helped hand out shoe box gifts with Operation Christmas Child in Ukraine. “The power of a simple shoe box gift is incredible.”

At, donors select a child’s age and gender, shop through an online selection of toys, necessity items and school supplies, and finish with a personalized note of encouragement. Gift boxes are assembled by volunteers at Operation Christmas Child’s processing center in Charlotte, N.C. Through tracking technology, donors can “follow the box” to find out where it will be delivered.

“In just minutes, you can highly customize your gifts to bring hope to a child in a desperate situation,” said Jim Harrelson, vice president of Operation Christmas Child. “This process is unlike anything we’ve ever done, and it will allow even more children to receive gift-filled shoe boxes. We want each of these children to know the true meaning of Christmas.”

Operation Christmas Child is part of the international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan’s Purse. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered more than 77 million gift-filled shoe boxes to needy children in more than 130 countries.

For information, call 303-745-9179 or visit

Three artists in open studio tour receive awards

Three artists who participated in the 2010 Open Studio Tour have been honored with awards by the Tucson Pima Arts Council Board of Directors.

Lauren Rabb, curator at the University of Arizona Museum of Art, selected the winners.

Diane Davis received the first-place award and $500 for her watercolor titled “Not Alone.”

Diane Mansfield Colligan’s mixed media collage was selected for the second prize.

Marvin Shaver’s untitled work of plaster, wire, wax, oil and paint was third.

Both Colligan and Shaver received gift certificates to Sarnoff Artists Materials.

Awards were presented at the artist’s reception at the Jewish Community Center on Nov. 11, at the close of the open studio tour exhibition that featured more than 200 artists.

TPAC presents the free annual open studio tour each fall. The public is invited to visit artists working in virtually every medium in their creative spaces – from downtown barrios to foothills studios and open-air desert sanctuaries. The event has been held for more than 20 years.

For a list of participating artists and samples of theirs work, visit the TPAC website at

Armed robber strikes twice at OV bank

Oro Valley Police say a man robbed a bank patron at gunpoint on Monday, Dec. 13.

The robbery occurred at 11:34 p.m. at a drive-up ATM at the Wells Fargo Bank, 550 E. Tangerine Road.

Police say a male suspect armed with a handgun and wearing a black bandana across his face approached the victim, demanding money. The suspect was given an undisclosed amount of money, but the victim refused to hand over the ATM card.

The suspect then fired a gunshot at the vehicle and fled the area in an unknown direction.

The victim was not injured, according to a news release from Oro Valley Police.

This is the second robbery at this location in two weeks, police said. The suspect remains at large.

Anyone with information pertaining to this armed robbery or the identity of the suspect is urged to call 911 or 88-crime.

Casas Adobes church has 3 Dec. 24 services

Casas Adobes Congregational Church is offering three Christmas Eve services this Friday, Dec. 24.

Worship begins with a traditional candlelight service with bell choir and communion at 3:30 p.m. Friday. A child-friendly, 40-minute family service begins at 5:30 p.m. A traditional candlelight service with church choir and communion is planned for 11 p.m., preceded by a musical prelude at 10:30.

The Rev. Lee Milligan, new senior minister at the church, and the Rev. Marie Bacchiocchi, associate minister, lead all three services.

The church, which has served the Northwest area for more than 50 years, is located at 6801 N. Oracle Road. It is an open and affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ.

Info meeting at BASIS is Monday, Jan. 10

An informational meeting for parents and students who want to learn about the fifth-grade program at BASIS Oro Valley is set for Monday, Jan. 10.

The session begins at 6:30 p.m. at the school, located at 11155 N. Oracle Road in Oro Valley.

Parents can learn if the fifth-grade program “would be a good fit for their student,” a release said. Information is being shared about the BASIS registration process, including deadlines. Prospective students can attend and engage in activities led by the BASIS faculty. And they can meet teachers, administrative staff “and your child’s future classmates.”

BASIS Oro Valley opened this fall as the charter school’s third campus, joining BASIS Tucson and BASIS Scottsdale. BASIS schools have been ranked highly for rigor and advanced academics by national publications, the release said.

“We have an incredible teaching faculty — 59 percent of our academic teachers have master’s degrees and 10 percent have Ph.D.s. — and we have a campus full of students who are eager to learn and willing to work hard,” said Carolyn McGarvey, head of school for BASIS Oro Valley. “I have every reason to believe that BASIS Oro Valley will be just as successful as its sister schools.”

For more information, call 308-5220.

Oro Valley has three openings on boards, panels

The Town of Oro Valley is now accepting applications for volunteers to fill several positions on boards and commissions.

There is a three-year term on the historic preservation commission, and two two-year terms on the parks and recreation advisory board, a release said.

The historic preservation commission meets the first Monday of every month at 5 p.m. at the town hall. PRAB meets quarterly starting in February, with planned sessions the third Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m.

More information regarding duties of these positions is available on the town clerk’s webpage at, clicking on “Boards & Commissions.”

Applicants must be residents of the town of Oro Valley, and must attend the town’s Community Academy during their term, if they have not already done so.

Applications are available at the Oro Valley Town Hall, 11000 N. La Cañada Drive, or at the Town Clerk’s website at and click on “Volunteer Opportunities.”

Applications will be accepted until all positions are filled.

‘Blue Christmas’ at OV church this Thursday

A “Blue Christmas” service is being held this Thursday, Dec. 23, at the Resurrection Lutheran Church in Oro Valley.

It begins at 6 p.m., and the community is invited.

“Blue Christmas” is intended for people “who might be hurting during this time of year,” according to the Rev. Al Jensen, pastor for family life and pastoral care.

Many people have “a difficult time coping during the Christmas season due to experiencing loss and pain,” Jensen said. “Inspiring music and the news of hope discovered in Holy Scripture will be the primary sources of renewal during the service.”

Resurrection Lutheran Church is located at 11575 N. First Ave., the corner of Tangelo and first just south of Tangerine Road.

Golder Ranch has gifts for nearly 500 kids

With the help of generous residents and businesses — among them the Catalina Crusaders, who gave $13,500 — the Golder Ranch Fire District Toys for Kids program expects to provide toys and grocery store gift cards to nearly 500 children throughout Oro Valley, Catalina and the Southern Pinal County region.

Firefighters distribute gifts this Wednesday, Dec. 22, beginning at 9 a.m. at fire administration headquarters, 3885 E. Golder Ranch Road.

Golder Ranch serves about 65,000 people over 220 square miles in northern Pima County and southern Pinal County, including Catalina, SaddleBrooke and much of Oro Valley. The district has sponsored the Toy for Kids program for more than 25 years.

Woman, found near roadside, from Marana

The body of a woman found along a roadside last week has been identified as that of a Marana woman.

Amber Christine Padilla, 21, was found by a man walking his dog near Houghton Road and Camino Aurelia on Tucson’s Southeast side on Tuesday, Dec. 14, at about 9:20 a.m. Her body had been burned.

Cause of death is pending while police wait on autopsy results. They are also trying to determine the last time she was seen alive, according to Jason Ogan, the public information officer with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.

Police do not know what she may have been doing in the area, and are still processing evidence collected from the scene.

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