OV Library is getting device that magnifies

The Oro Valley Public Library is acquiring a device to help the visually impaired.

SmartView Synergy, which magnifies and enlarges text, objects and actions to help restore and maintain independence for people with low vision, is being unveiled to the public on Friday, March 19, from 10 to 11 a.m.

The technology is "adjustable to suit the needs of each user," a release said. Synergy was created in a collaborative effort between HumanWare and RNIB. More information is available at www.humanware.com.

The main branch of the Pima County Library is the only other location with such a device. Friends of the Oro Valley Public Library provided the funding for the Synergy.

For more information, contact the library at (520) 229-5300 or www.orovalleyaz.gov.


April 10 event marks 10 years since fatal crash

A 10th anniversary memorial service for 19 U.S. Marines killed in a helicopter crash in Marana is set for Saturday, April 10, at Marana Regional Airport.

The commemoration begins at 10 a.m. at the airport. It is presented by the Marine Corps League, the Town of Marana and the airport.

"Please come out and show your support," a release said.

The Marines died April 8, 2000, when their Osprey helicopter on a flight from facilities in Yuma crashed and burst into flames.

For more information, contact Mike Flynn at 904-2460 or Terry Byron at 982-0023.




Town gets 13 applicants to fill open council seat

The town of Oro Valley has seen much interest in filling the town council seat left vacant by former council member Al Kunisch.

At least 13 people submitted letters of interest and resumes to fill the unexpired council term.

The council plans to appoint one applicant during a special session scheduled for this Friday, March 12 at 1 p.m.  The council could decide at that time to name the appointee, who would serve a term of office until June 2.

Applicants for the seat are Don Cox, Lyra Done, Gary Forrest, Joe Hornat, Doug McKee, Mel Martin, John Musolf, Clark Reddin, Phil Richardson, Mary Snider, Rick Stilgenbauer, Lou Waters and Wes Ward.

Three of the applicants — Hornat, Snider and Waters — are also candidates for Oro Valley Town Council.



Marana gets A-plus rating on its bonds

The Town of Marana has received an "A-plus" revenue bonds evaluation from Fitch Ratings.

The rating is driven by "prudent management practices, including expenditure reductions," as well as "high, although reduced, fund balance levels," Fitch said in a release.

"Fitch views continued maintenance of healthy reserve levels as crucial to preserving current credit quality, given the town's exposure to economically sensitive excise tax revenues (70 percent of general fund revenues) as well as the potential for state funding cuts," the release continued. Town reserves stood at $16.1 million for fiscal 2009.

"They've held our bond rating consistent, and we're very stable. That's huge," Town Manager Gilbert Davidson said of the Fitch evaluation. "They specifically cite our management philosophy, holding on to reserves, and very aggressive steps to limit expenditures."

"Conservative and timely budgeting and spending control remains crucial to sustaining the current reserve levels," Fitch wrote.



Honors for two counselors in Marana schools

Two Marana Unified School District counselors have earned accolades from the Arizona School Counselors Association.

Tina Verville, a counselor at Tortolita Middle School, has been named the Arizona Middle School Counselor of the Year 2010.

Shari Attebery, counselor at Twin Peaks Elementary School, is the Arizona Elementary School Counselor of the Year 2010.

They'll be honored by the MUSD governing board this Thursday, and by the Arizona School Counselors Association at a March 26 luncheon in Mesa.

Verville has worked in the district for six years. She is "most recognized for empowering students to become leaders in action through Tortolita's Words of Wisdom program, Youth Empowered for Success program and The Breakfast Club," all focused on serving students while developing a positive school culture and climate, a release said.

Attebery is also a six-year district employee. She has taken on a leadership role at both her school and at the district level, training new counselors and serving as a mentor.

"It is Mrs. Attebery's hope to inspire students to make our school and world a better place through their choices, friendships and actions," a colleague said.



Coalition asks town to expand habitat bounds

The Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection is urging the town of Marana to expand the boundaries of its habitat conservation plan beyond the current town limits.

Christina McVie, representing the coalition, said Marana should apply tenets of the habitat conservation plan within the town's planning boundaries, which extend past the town limits.

While Marana's environmental engineering department "has been working very diligently for years to meet the needs of the community," a "lack of communication and integration" with the planning and zoning commission has prompted the recommendation by the coalition's technical advisory team and stakeholders to expand enforcement, McVie said.

McVie said she was not making reference to any specific proposal for annexation now before the council. "It's a policy of looking forward so the town doesn't have surprises," she said.

"We can't cover every eventuality from a planning and zoning" perspective, Councilwoman Roxanne Ziegler said. "We've spent a lot of time on the habitat conservation plan, and we're very proud of it."



New pre-school hosts an open house on Friday

A pre-school has opened in Catalina, and it's holding a grand opening event and open house this Friday, March 12.

Guests are invited to the First Baptist Church of Catalina preschool from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday. People can meet director Amy Nelson and teachers, enjoy food and refreshments, participate in a silent auction, view art done by students and hear music from teacher Debi Breen.

The pre-school is for children ages 3 and 4. Its building has been painted as the ark, with a pink elephant, a camel with long eyelashes and other friends in the ark. Children enter the school through the "ark door."

For more information, call 818-9360, or send e-mail to Firstbapprek@aol.com.



Marana may keep 'routine' e-mail up to four months

Marana is determining a directive for town staff and elected officials regarding the length of time individuals must retain "routine" electronic mail correspondence.

Deb Thalasitis, assistant town manager, told the Marana Town Council on March 2 that the policy would define when an e-mail is a public record, and therefore subject to longer retention, and when an e-mail is more routine and not considered a public record, and how long it must be kept.

In other towns, employees must keep "routine" e-mails for 30 to 90 days. Marana has the ability to keep those e-mails for 120 days, and that is the recommended requirement. After 120 days, an e-mail not considered a retained public record would be deleted.

Employees have "many, many months of e-mails" that are not part of specific public records, Thalasitis explained. They consume server space, she said.

Training would be conducted so the directive can be implemented. "We're going to try to move quickly," Thalasitis said. "The server space is precious, and costly."


Pinal supe is re-opening office in Saddlebrooke

Pete Rios, Pinal County supervisor representing District 1, is re-opening a satellite office at the sheriff's substation in SaddleBrooke.

The office, located at 63701 E. Saddlebrooke Blvd., Suite C, is going to be open the first Thursday of each month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Residents are able to pay property taxes, apply for passports, and pick up Clerk of Superior Court forms. A notary will also be available, a release said.

"I am delighted that we will be once again able to offer this service to the people of Saddlebrooke," Rios said. "This is a way to make county government more convenient to all residents who use our services."




Local initiative to hook mature workers and employers

A new local employment initiative, in its formative stages, is intended to connect Oro Valley job seekers age 50 and over with local businesses.

Oro Valley Mature Worker Connection is a partnership among the Town of Oro Valley, Sun City Vistoso Homeowners Association,  the Pima Council on Aging's Mature Worker Connection and the Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce.

It will allow employers to post job opportunities and to review pre-screened, qualified applicants at no cost.

"You can hire experienced and dependable workers with a strong work ethic," a chamber release said. "They require minimal training, are fast learners, quickly become productive, and can work flexible schedules. This new approach can save you time and money in your search for qualified workers."

For more information, contact the Pima Council on Aging at 623-3304, or go online at www.matureworkerconnection.com.


 Winter rocket launch March 27-28

The Southern Arizona Rocketry Association (SARA) will hold its 6th annual winter rocket launch March 27 and 28.

The event, Desert Heat 2010, will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday with a night launch from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, launches with be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The two-day rocket launch event will be at the Tucson International Modelplex Park Association, located on N. Reservation Road, between Manville Road and Mile Wide Road in Tucson.

Two 50 rocket mass launches will take place on Saturday at 11 a.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.

Rocket rentals are available for $2 per launch, which includes a motor. Free for spectators. Launch fees are $10 on Saturday, $5 on Sunday. Kids under 18 fly free.

Along with rocket launches, the Desert Heat 2010 will have raffles, prizes and events for the whole family

Food and rocket vendors will be on-site and RV parking will also be available.

SARA is a group of model rocketry hobbyists and enthusiasts dedicated to advancing the model rocketry sport in a safe and responsible manner. For more information about SARA and this event, go to www.sararocketry.org



Babysitting class on March 17 at Golder site

Golder Ranch Fire District is conducting a babysitting class on Wednesday, March 17.

The course, for teens ages 12 to 16, is being held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Golder Ranch training facility, 3845 E. Golder Ranch Road.

Students can learn First Aid and CPR, tips on child safety and care, and more, a release said.

The cost is 25, which includes lunch, a book and materials.

Class size is limited, so students are urged to register soon by calling 818-1017.

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