Fire pit ashes cause blaze that ruins home

 Three people were burned out of their home early Sunday morning, when fire pit ashes ignited a trash bin against the side of their Shannon and River house.

The Northwest Fire District responded to the single-family home at 5:03 a.m. Sunday, according to a release. The home is located at 2671 W. Fanbrook.

Twenty-two firefighters responded to the scene, and had the fire under control in 48 minutes.

Residents were wakened by popping noises as fire traveled the length of their attic space. All three people — a couple, and his brother — and the family pets made it out of the house without injury. Smoke detectors were activated.

The accidental fire was traced to placement of fire pit ashes in a Waste Management garbage bin. The bin was placed against the side of the house. Ashes smoldered into a fire, which traveled up the exterior wall and into the attic space.

Damage was estimated to be $60,000, the release said.


OV getting clubs in 'Sticks for Kids'

Oro Valley has been selected to participate in 2010 Sticks for Kids, which is providing 10 sets of junior golf clubs for use in the town's junior golf program.

Sticks for Kids is managed by the National Recreation and Park Association, in partnership with Golf Course Builders Association of America. The national initiative is intended to "increase participation and create sustainable programming for youth in communities," a release said.

Sticks for Kids introduces youth to the fundamentals of golf through recreation programming. Oro Valley plans to use its clubs in conjunction with Oro Valley's current junior golf program, which starts the week of July 26.

Beginning in February, families can reserve the clubs at no charge.

"The greatest benefit of this grant is the ability for kids without clubs to have a set while they are in the program," the release continued.

"This will give the opportunity for more personal attention when it comes to teaching golf to our youth," said assistant recreation manager Robert Carmona.

Oro Valley was one of 100 agencies selected to "take a leadership role and ensure that junior golf is available to all members of the community," the release concluded.

To learn more, visit or


 Catalina lodge seeks apps for its scholarships

 Applications are now available for annual scholarships provided by Catalina Mountain Elk Lodge #2815.

Each year, the lodge offers scholarships, a minimum of $500, to U.S. citizens residing in the northern Tucson metropolitan area who are pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree or post-secondary vocational/technical certification in a vocational institution or college.

Applicants must have successfully completed at least one grading period of study in a U.S. post-secondary educational institution of learning, a release said.

Applications are available at, or by submitting a request to Catalina Mountain Elk Lodge #2815, P.O. Box 8742, Tucson, Ariz., 85738.

Deadline for submission is March 1, 2010.



Holy Needles donations top 1K needed items

 In its eight months, the Holy Needles sewing group has created and donated more than 1,000 items to needy people in the Northwest.

In early December, Holy Needles made new deliveries to local hospitals, donating beanies, blankets and booties to social worker Martha McKibben at the Northwest Medical Center's Women's Center, and giving 100 infant beanies to University Medical Center.

Holy Needles was created in March, formed "to bring people together to share a common goal … to provide fellowship while crocheting, knitting, sewing, quilting or crafting fleece," a release said.

Holy Needles' current mission is to "prayerfully, generously create blankets, beanies and booties for needy newborns in our community."

It meets twice a month, the third Monday and the last Saturday, at Casas Adobes Church on La Cholla in Oro Valley. Participation has grown from eight individuals to more than 50.

For more information, contact Holy Needles coordinator Donna Bishop at 668-9180, or through



OV pool staff gets top marks in safety audit

 The Oro Valley Municipal Pool staff received top marks after its unannounced, quarterly safety audit, according to a release from the town.

A safety audit was conducted Dec. 4 by Jeff Ellis & Associates, Inc., an international aquatics safety and risk management consulting firm.

Safety audits evaluate lifeguard response to lifesaving scenarios and emergency situations, a release said. Lifeguards on duty — Nick Patzke, Kyndal Culbertson, Jordan McCabe and Logan McNutt — each passed the individual lifeguard evaluations and the simulated emergency evaluations.

Patzke was chosen to complete the Vigilance Awareness Training test. He passed with an "exceeded" rating.

The auditor also checks the pool's records for licenses for the facility and all lifeguards. 

Catherine Atalla, aquatics manager for the town's pool, said she was proud of her team but not surprised.

"I'd trust them with my life," Atalla said. "They blow me out of the water with what they can do."



Holiday shows on public TV

Arizona Public Television is airing several holiday specials this week.

They are:

Christmas at Belmont, Wednesday, Dec. 23 at 10 p.m. and Friday, Dec. 25 at 3 p.m. on PBS-HD Channel 6

Three-time Grammy Award winner and Belmont University alumna Trisha Yearwood hosts a holiday program of traditional carols, classical masterworks, world music and light-hearted seasonal favorites.

Heidi 4 Paws, Friday, Dec. 25 at 2 p.m. on PBS-HD Channel 6

Heidi 4 Paws is a live-action re-telling of Johanna Spyri's classic tale of the adorable orphan sent to live with her cranky Grandfather in the Swiss Alps. Voiced by Angela Lansbury, Stephen Rea, Julian Sands, Richard Kind, Steve Gutenberg and Majandra Delfino, Heidi 4 Paws mixes old-fashioned storytelling with modern special effects.

A Soundstage Special Event

Faith Hill: Joy to the World, Thursday, Dec. 24 at 11 p.m., and Friday, Dec. 25 at 9 p.m. on PBS-HD Channel 6

Faith Hill, backed by an orchestra led by esteemed conductor David Campbell, sings favorites from her holiday album, Joy to the World, a collection of standards amped up with challenging vocals and ambitious melodic structure.

Great Performances

From Vienna: New Year's Eve Celebration 2010, Saturday, Jan. 1 at 7 p.m. on PBS-HD Channel 6

Continuing its long-standing holiday tradition, Great Performances returns to the stately splendor of Vienna's Musikverein for its 26th annual New Year's Day celebration with the Vienna Philharmonic. Stage and screen legend Julie Andrews returns as host to welcome the New Year, with Georges Prêtre leading the Vienna Philharmonic in a festive selection of Strauss Family favorites.

More information on programming and community events can be found at



OV gets $500K to complete CDO linear park

 Oro Valley has received a $500,000 grant from the Arizona Department of Transportation to support the final phase of the Cañada Del Oro linear park along the east bank of the Cañada del Oro Wash.

The CDO Linear Park is a 2.5-mile multi-use path which first opened in October of last year.

With the transportation enhancement grant, Oro Valley should be able to complete the park's final phase, which includes extending the path an additional half-mile north along the east bank of the CDO, as well as constructing a bridge across Foothills Wash.

When it's complete, the path will connect to the ADOT bridge currently under construction over Big Wash, as well as into Steam Pump Village.

The town has three years to complete the project, a release said. Plans are to begin the design phase in early 2010.



OV has slot on historic preservation

Oro Valley is now accepting applications for volunteers to fill an interim vacancy on the town's historic preservation commission. Applicants must be residents of the town of Oro Valley.

The historic preservation commission was formed "to promote the educational, cultural and economic welfare of Oro Valley by insuring the preservation of historic buildings, districts, landmarks, structures, documents, photographs and other artifacts that represent the historic background and development of the greater Oro Valley area," a release said.

The commission meets the second Monday of every month at 6 p.m. at town hall.

Applications for the historic preservation commission are available at the Oro Valley Town Center, 11000 N. La Cañada Drive, or at the town clerk's website at  The deadline for submitting the completed application is Friday, Jan. 29, 2010.

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