DUI task force makes 55 arrests over the Fourth

Over the Fourth of July holiday, the Southern Arizona DUI Task Force made 55 arrests for people driving under the influence, including seven felony charges and nine people with prior DUI records.

Three arrests were made of people under 21 years of age. Eighteen were "extreme" DUI arrests, with blood alcohol content of .15 of 1 percent or higher.

Citations were also issued for 16 seat belt violations, two child restraint offenses, 19 underage drinking incidents and 328 moving and non-moving violations.

Officers from agencies within the task force were deployed July 3 and 4. They intended to "detect, investigate, and remove those drivers found to be impaired to the slightest degree from the use of alcohol and / or drugs on the public highways and streets of the community," a release said.

Among the participating agencies are the Tucson, Marana and Oro Valley police departments, the Pima County Sheriff's Department and the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

GED classes in Oracle, San Manuel

General Education Development courses are being offered by Central Arizona College in San Manuel, Mammoth and Oracle.

GED classes are divided into a pair of eight-week sessions, and are free to Arizona residents. The first sessions begin Aug. 18, with the second sessions starting Oct. 12. Preregistration for the sessions is Aug. 3 and Sept. 28, respectively.

GED courses for both sessions are being held at San Manuel Junior / Senior High School, Mammoth Elementary School and the Mountain Vista School in Oracle.

First-session classes at Mammoth Elementary take place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Aug. 18 through Oct. 6. GED classes for the Mountain Vista School and San Manuel High School are set for 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday evenings Aug. 17 through Oct. 7.

Students who have lived in Arizona for less than a year must pay a $186 out-of-state fee. All students registering for the GED classes must show proof of legal presence in the U.S., a release said.

Ronny Douglass, who coordinates the district-wide GED programs, encourages people to register early.

"Many of our GED classes fill up within just a few days," she explained. "We encourage people to sign up as soon as possible to ensure they get the classes they want."

For more information on GED classes sponsored by CAC's Aravaipa Campus, contact Maria Muñoz by phone at 520-357-2808, or by e-mail at AdultEducation@centralaz.edu

For information en Español, call 520-494-5983.

Radiology firm closes doors at Northwest hospital

After 25 years of service to Northwest Medical Center and Northwest patients, Radiology Ltd. Northwest Diagnostic Imaging has closed its doors within the hospital at 1908 W. Hospital Drive, Suite 113.

Radiology Ltd., maintains three other locations in the Northwest — the Rancho Vistoso Diagnostic Imaging facility (2551 E. Vistoso Commerce Loop Road); La Cholla Center for Diagnostic Imaging & Treatment (5960 N. La Cholla Boulevard); and La Cholla Center for Women's Imaging ( 5840 N. La Cholla Boulevard).

Displaced employees from the Northwest Medical Center location are being transferred to a new Radiology Ltd. Midvale Imaging Center, or to one of eight other facilities the company operates in greater Tucson, a release said.

Radiology Ltd., is a physician-owned group practice providing diagnostic imaging services for more than 70 years. There are more than 45 radiologists (doctors trained to use their knowledge of medicine and technology to diagnose disease and injury with the use of internal imaging devices) and more than 400 employees at its nine Tucson locations. and Interventional Radiology Services.

State panel signs off on OV's Steam Pump historic application

Application for Steam Pump Ranch to be listed as a national historic site has been approved by Arizona's State Historic Sites Review Committee, moving the process of federal designation ahead, according to a release from the Town of Oro Valley.

With state approval and minor revisions, Oro Valley's application can move forward for federal review by the Department of Interior. Once approved, Steam Pump Ranch would be listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

At a meeting held by the state committee June 30, all seven members approved Oro Valley's application to move forward, stating Steam Pump Ranch holds "local significance" as an integral part of launching the region's ranching history. The steam pump itself, one of two in operation during the 1800s in Arizona, represented the first use of groundwater in the state at that time.

If and when national historic site designation is approved, Oro Valley can move forward with its quest for federal funding to help stabilize and restore the property for public viewing. U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has included a $1 million appropriations request for the project in the next fiscal year.

Organization sending popcorn to U.S. troops

Special event July 18

A philanthropic service organization is launching "Operation Popcorn," sending bagged popcorn with personal messages to U.S. troops serving overseas.

A big event for public support is planned for Saturday, July 18, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Copper Kettle Popcorn, 3701 W. Ina.

Kappa Delta Phi national sorority is sponsoring Operation Popcorn.

"Say thanks to our troops overseas, ante up to send a bag of popcorn," the organization said.

People can write their names and messages on poker chips, with one chip going on each bag of popcorn. White chips are three for $5; red or blue chips are three for $10.

For more information, call 572-4846, or go to copperkettlepopcorn.com. Donations may be made to Kappa Delta Phi.

PCC Northwest campus gets a new boss

Pima Community College's Northwest Campus has a new president.

Jana Kooi, formerly president of the Community Campus, is taking over campus president duties at the school, located at 7600 N. Shannon Road.

Kooi was at the Community Campus for 18 years.

Former Northwest campus president Sylvia Lee has been assigned to take over at the Community Campus, located at 401 N. Bonita Avenue on Tucson's west side.

Lee had been president of the Northwest Campus since it opened in 2003. It has served more than 10,000 students in that time.

Ice cream store won't be opening at OV Marketplace

A tenant at the Oro Valley Marketplace has pulled the plug on a planned opening.

Cold Stone Creamery had intended to open a franchise near Century Theaters in the shopping center. A spokeswoman with Cold Stone's corporate offices confirmed the pullout.

"Unfortunately that store in no longer opening, due to personal reasons of the franchisee," Veronica Graves said in an e-mail to The Explorer.

No information on the franchisee or a possible replacement tenant was available.

Top cops hold public event on crime prevention

Attorney General Terry Goddard and Tucson Ward 4 City Councilwoman Shirley Scott are hosting a crime and fraud prevention forum this Wednesday, July 8, beginning at 6 p.m.

The forum will take place at the William Clements Recreation Center, 8155 E. Poinciana Drive.

Local law enforcement officials, including Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall, Tucson Police Chief Roberto A. Villaseñor and representatives from the Pima County Sheriff's Office, will join Goddard and Scott.

The public forum is intended to increase awareness of local crime trends, discuss prevention strategies and give citizens an opportunity to ask questions, a release said.

Topics include mortgage fraud, methamphetamine abuse, border crime, consumer fraud and identity theft.

For more information, contact Tom Reade at (602) 364-0850.

PACC to hold animal adoption special Friday

Pima Animal Care Center plans to hold an adoption special on July 10.

The event, Monsoon Muttness, runs all day, with special events from 5 to 10 p.m. that include free food and drinks, all-day adoption specials, music, animal experts with information about native wild animals, dog trainers, the cruelty task force, a jumping castle, games, a scavenger hunt and a raffle.

Pima Animal Care Center is located at 4000 N. Silverbell Road.

Classes at ICS on life's-end plans

End-of-life decisions are the subject of a class series beginning Monday, July 13, at Interfaith Community Services, 2820 West Ina Road.

Tani Bahti, R.N., presents the series on three Mondays, July 13, July 20 and July 27.

All sessions are free and run from 10 to 11 a.m.

Bahti represents "Passages" which provides support and education on "end of life" issues. Topics to be covered include "Navigating the Storm: Tools for the Caregiver," "Pain Hurts Everyone: Understanding and Managing Pain," and "Worst Fear Meets Best Friend: The Hospice Alternative."

For more information, call Karen MacDonald at ICS, 520-297-6049, e-mail her at kmacdonald@icstucson.org, or go to the Passages website, www.passageseducation.org.

Park officials to use herbicides on buffelgrass

With the monsoon in effect, workers at Saguaro National Park will use herbicides to control buffelgrass.  Other city, county, state and federal agencies are spraying buffelgrass at this time of year as well.

Buffelgrass is an aggressive, non-native grass that competes with native plants such as saguaros and palo verdes. The invasive species also provides fuel for wildfires that can harm native Sonoran Desert flora. 

If buffelgrass continues to spread, it will be a serious threat to biological conservation efforts in the area, and buffelgrass fires may also become a major threat to public safety and property, according to park officials.

The state has classified buffelgrass as a noxious weed.

The park plans to treat approximately 50 miles of roadway and 450 acres of wilderness in both the Tucson Mountains and Rincon Mountains during the next 3 months, beginning in mid-July. 

No public closures are anticipated. Treated areas are safe to enter as soon as the herbicide dries, which takes about 30 minutes. Blue dye will be mixed with the spray to mark plants that have been treated.

Buffelgrass is the primary target of eradication, but other non-native grasses such as fountain grass, natal grass, African lovegrasses, and Bermuda grass will be treated opportunistically if they are encountered. 

Park employees and volunteers, including local residents and groups such as Eagle Scouts, high school and college clubs and employees from Citigroup and Tucson Electric Power, have helped with manual removal of buffelgrass in the park.

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