Quail Run gets hoops, themes from the Starz

The Harlem Starz basketball team is performing for the student body at Quail Run Elementary School in Marana at 9 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 24.

The Starz, described as the "Generation X Harlem Globetrotters," bring a hybrid of 21st century street ball and Harlem Globetrotters theatrics to audiences. They're funny, skilled, high-flying dunkers who share a message of team building, healthy choices, respect and kindness, according to Beth Kelley, Quail Run fourth-grade teacher and student council adviser.

"We are very excited to have The Harlem Starz perform for our students as part of our Peace Builder Week," Kelley said. Their messages are "so important to continue to share with our students, and Peace Builder Week is a wonderful time for The Harlem Starz to perform."

Quail Run Elementary, within the Marana Unified School District, serves 625 students, grades K-6.

Solar panel workshop set Sept. 29

A free solar workshop Sept. 29 at the Tucson Botanical Gardens explores the benefits of and incentives for adding solar panels to the workplace or home.

People can "learn how using solar power helps reduce your utility bill," a release said.

The event, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. that Tuesday, is targeted toward independent professionals in the Tucson region. Sponsors are the Pima Association of Governments, the Southern Arizona Regional Solar Partnership, the City of Tucson and Solar America Cities.

"Tucson is a U.S. Department of Energy Solar America City with a great resource to save electricity, help the environment, and reduce your tax bill next April," said Bruce Plenk, Tucson's solar energy coordinator. "There's no better place than Tucson for abundant sunshine, which translates into energy savings and money for small businesses and independent professionals. Putting up solar panels is also a great way to demonstrate you run a green business."

The workshop is free to the public. Space is limited. RSVP to Melissa Minerich, Pima Association of Governments, at 792-1093.

Hearing about state parks fees Oct. 1 at Catalina

Arizona State Parks is seeking comments about proposed fee changes, and it has scheduled a series of meetings for public input.

One of those meetings is set for Catalina State Park on Thursday, Oct. 1 from 6 to 7 p.m. at the 11570 N. Oracle Rd. location. The phone number is 628-5798.

Among its proposals, the agency wants to raise daily entrance fees from $6 to $8 at Catalina, Oracle and Picacho Peak state parks, and from $8 to $10 at Patagonia Lake.

Non-electric campsite fees would be increased by several dollars (there is a range of fees) at Catalina, Patagonia Lake, Picacho Peak and Sonoita Creek state parks.

Comments are also accepted at AZStateParks.com or by mail at Arizona State Parks, Attn: Proposed Fee Changes, 1300 W. Washington St., Phoenix, 85007.

If approved, changes take effect in January.

For details on the proposed fee changes, visit AZStateParks.com/find/fees_2010.html.

Senior living center aiding school children

Sunrise Senior Living at River Road is collecting items for students through the end of September.

Donors are invited to fill a backpack with school supplies for a child between the ages of 4 and 18, and drop it off at Sunrise at River Road, 4975 N. First Ave. Donated backpacks are being distributed to a local school at the end of September.

"Many of the students at the Tucson-area school selected to receive a donated back pack are in need of supplies for the upcoming school year and we'd like the community's help to ensure every child is equipped with the proper tools for education," said Connie Burnett, executive director of the facility.

"We really want the children to know that we care, and we think giving back to our community is a wonderful way to show that," said Ellen Sigal, resident of Sunrise at River Road. "Together we can all make a difference in Tucson."

Thursday meet on changes at Hardy, Northern

A public meeting about improvements at the intersection of Hardy Road and Northern Avenue is set for Thursday, Sept. 24, in the Oro Valley Town Council chambers.

Oro Valley Public Works officials are hosting the session. A brief presentation begins at 6 p.m. Afterward, project team members, including town staff, are available to answer questions.

Oro Valley has assessed improvements for the intersection of Hardy and Northern, and is developing construction plans for a modern roundabout, a release said. Improvements would provide re-alignment of the intersection into a five-leg roundabout with a pedestrian path and landscaping.

Council chambers are located at 11000 N. La Cañada Dr. "The public is encouraged to attend or provide written input regarding the project," the release continued.

Interested people may contact Cheryl Huelle at 229-4873, or e-mail chuelle@orovalleyaz.gov for additional information.

Discounts on dogs, cats at humane society

Dogs and cats are rubbing elbows at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, with waves of homeless animals in its kennels as fall approaches.

"Significant" adoption discounts are being offered, a release said. Dogs and cats in the shelter 15 days or longer can be adopted for $15. Other pets are $40, which is half price.

All adoption fees include a microchip, up-to-date vaccinations, sterilization surgery, a bag of food, and a free vet visit. Adoption specials exclude puppies and kittens under four months of age, purebreds, and small dogs less than 25 pounds.

The society needs canned wet dog food and puppy food. Canned food is used to feed young, injured, senior or sick animals. Donations can be dropped off during open business hours or left at the front door or gate.

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona is located at 3450 North Kelvin Boulevard, just north of Fort Lowell between Dodge and Country Club. Hours are Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, noon-5 p.m.

For more information, contact the Humane Society at 327-6088, or visit its website at www.hssaz.org.

Gingrich and Sharpton come to BASIS Oct. 1

National political leaders are coming to Tucson on Thursday, Oct. 1, to tour the school BASIS Tucson and see the Tucson premiere of "Two Million Minutes: The 21st Century Solution," a documentary film featuring the school.

Next week's guests are both former presidential hopefuls, Democrat Rev. Al Sharpton and Republican Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the U.S. House. They're coming at the invitation of the National Action Network and American Solutions.

Gingrich and Sharpton helped launch the film by hosting a major education reform event Sept. 17 in Washington, D.C. The film, conceived and produced by venture capitalist and entrepreneur Robert A. Compton, is a sequel to his 2007 film "Two Million Minutes — A Global Examination." That documentary analyzed how six students from the U.S., India and China prioritized their four years or "two million minutes" of high school, demonstrating the Asian students were, academically, years ahead of their American peers.

In "Two Million Minutes: The 21st Century Solution," Compton discovers and reveals an open-enrollment charter school in the U.S. — BASIS Tucson — that teaches "ordinary" students at an extraordinarily high academic level.

"I was shocked to find what I consider to be the world's best high school in one of the poorest parts of America," said Compton. "This school is educating its students at a level that is globally competitive and preparing them to compete in the 21st century economy."

"I am looking forward to visiting BASIS Tucson in person and learning more about their innovative and highly successful approach to education," said Gingrich. "Education reform is crucial to America's success, and Compton's films bring the issues and solutions into light. I implore every American to watch these films and demand change. Our future depends on it."

The Tucson premiere of the film will be held at the Fox Theater at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1. The public is invited. Tickets are $10 at the door. For more information and to reserve tickets, visit www.basistucson.org.

Trico's energy workshop is Saturday, Oct. 10

An energy efficiency workshop is being presented by the Trico Electric Cooperative on Saturday, Oct. 10.

The event runs from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Trico's 8600 W. Tangerine Road location.

Guests can learn "where your home uses the most energy, along with ways to manage that energy use and your electric bill," a release said.

For more information, visit www.trico.coop.

Roundtable about meth is Sept. 30

A roundtable on issues surrounding methamphetamine abuse is being held in Tucson on Wednesday, Sept. 30.

Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall is presenting "Progress, Trends and Challenges in Combating the Dangers of Methamphetamine in Pima County" on Wednesday, Sept. 30, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the 14th floor conference room at her office, 32 N. Stone Ave.

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard is meeting with individuals across various disciplines in Pima County who have been dealing with methamphetamine abuse. He is seeking information and updates from law enforcement, prosecution, the courts, the treatment and prevention communities, and the neighborhood / community perspective regarding the current status of the meth problem in Pima County, a release said.

Goddard and LaWall are speaking on Wednesday. Guests are invited to make comments as well. Interested participants are asked to RSVP to Isabel Smutzer at 740-5622 or Isabel.burruel-smutzer@pcao.pima.gov not later than Monday, Sept. 28.

Bid Opening on La Cañada Tuesday

Opening of bids for reconstruction of La Cañada between Ina and Calle Concordia has been postponed a second time.

A review of proposals for the controversial road project had been scheduled for Sept. 16. It is now set for 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22.

A spokeswoman for the Pima County Department of Transportation said the agency received "a couple requests to extend" the deadline from contractors interested in bidding on the project.

"It's set for sure tomorrow," she said Monday.

Pima County DOT plans to use money from the Regional Transportation Authority and other funds to build a four-lane, 3.07-mile section of La Cañada. It has estimated the cost between $22.6 million and $24.5 million.

Sheriff's deputies find Marana man dead in Picture Rocks

Pima County Sheriff's homicide detectives are investigating the death of a man in the Picture Rocks area of the Northwest.

Deputies found Aaron Ham, 25, dead outside of a house on the 6500 block of North Hot Desert Trail Monday night.

The deputies reported to the house to investigate a domestic violence call. They later determined that there had not been a domestic dispute.

Ham died from injuries related to stab wounds, Deputy Dawn Barkman with the Pima County Sheriff's Department said.

Ham was visiting the house at the time of his death. He was a Marana resident.

Barkman said no arrests had been made as of Tuesday morning.

Homicide detectives continue to investigate the incident.

Town manager's contract up for discussion

The Oro Valley Town Council has called a special session for Wednesday, Sept. 23 to discuss the contract of Town Manager David Andrews.

Councilman K.C. Carter requested that a special session occur on the same night as a planned study session. Councilman Al Kunsich seconded Carter's request for the special session.

Andrews' contract was renewed Sept. 16 after his annual performance evaluation. The council conducted the evaluation in an executive session at that meeting.

The discussion of Andrews' contract is listed as an executive session item on the revised Sept. 23 agenda.

The contract discussion is also included as an item for possible discussion and action following the executive session.

Carter declined to talk about the matter Tuesday, because state law prohibits elected officials from discussing the details of an executive session.

Executive sessions are closed to the public.

The council meets Wednesday at 5 p.m. in council chambers at 11000 N. La Cañada Drive.

Grants forum for non-profits is Oct. 8 at YWCA

A grants forum for non-profit organizations in Tucson is slated for Thursday, Oct. 8, in Tucson.

The event is sponsored by the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, in partnership with the YWCA of Tucson. The YWCA hosts the event at its 525 N. Bonita Ave. location in Tucson.

The forum, from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Thursday, "connects grant seekers from nonprofits with funders to learn about opportunities for partnership, network with other nonprofits, and knowledge sharing," a release said.

Scheduled to present are Charlie Boyd of The Sundt Foundation, Romi Wittman of Trico Electric Cooperative, Susan Perkins Fry of the Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation, and Jessica Brisson of First Things First.

Price is $25, or $15 for alliance members.

For more information, contact Jill Thompson, program coordinator for the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, at 602-279-2966, extension 17, JillT@arizonanonprofits.org, or go to www.arizonanonprofits.org.

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