Chamber backs override for MUSD schools

After "careful deliberation," directors of the Marana Chamber of Commerce have voted to support the March 9 question on a higher property tax override in the Marana Unified School District.

That day, district voters go to the polls to decide whether the district should replace its current 10 percent override with a 15 percent override, generating $3.1 million in additional annual funds for the school district's general fund.

"As business professionals in the school district, the Marana chamber directors believe education is one of our most important investments for both the short- and long-term viability of our community," the chamber's directors said in a release.

"Quality schools attract young families to our town to work and raise children, while an educated work force contributes to sustained economic growth," they continued. "The Marana Unified School District has earned a reputation for providing a high quality education and we support giving the district the necessary tools to maintain this reputation."



Group gives camera to fire district

On Monday, the Atlanta based 500 For Life ( and the Roger I. and Ruth B. MacFarlane Foundation presented a thermal imaging camera to the Mountain Vista Fire District.

The Bullard T-320 Thermal Imager, valued at $12,500, is going to be used by the Rural / Metro Fire Department in providing fire and emergency services to district residents, a release said. It allows for improved night vision. Mountain Vista contracts with Rural / Metro for service.

The foundation 500 For Life is a charitable organization "dedicated to saving the lives of fire victims and firefighters," the release said. It was founded by Frank Buonanotte, an Atlanta real estate mogul turned philanthropist, and raises funds to purchase thermal imaging cameras for fire departments across the country. Since its inception in 2007, 500 for Life has provided more than a half-million dollars worth of thermal imaging cameras and training to 44 fire stations in 30 states throughout the United States.

County Supervisor Ann Day, fire district board chairman Earl Ruhnke and Buonanotte were expected to speak at Monday's donation event.




Senior fair scheduled for Saturday in Pinal County

The 35th annual Pinal-Gila Senior Fair & Fiesta returns to Central Arizona College Saturday, Feb. 27, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Signal Peak Campus.

The Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens, the city of Casa Grande and Central Arizona College sponsor the event.

The event features vendors selling a variety of hand-made crafts and items, music from Central Arizona College's Jazz Band and Jazz Choir, and events for families such as the display of CAC's heavy equipment and local antique tractors.

This year's event is geared toward families and will include crafts, health information and screening, food booths, inflatable jumping castles, face painting, balloons and more.

There is no fee for admission or parking.

The Central Arizona College Signal Peak Campus is located at 8470 N. Overfield Road, in Coolidge.

For more information about the Senior Fair, contact the Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens directly at 800-293-9393.


New law allows guns in national parks

Effective Feb. 22, a change in federal law allows firearms inside national parks.

The new law makes possession of firearms in national parks subject to the laws of the state and communities where the parks are located.

"We have been working closely with local, state and federal officials to ensure that we clearly understand the provisions of the laws that will now apply to our visitors when they are in the park," said Darla Sidles, Saguaro National Park superintendent, in a news release.

The new federal law has no effect on existing laws and regulations regarding the use of firearms in national parks or hunting.

Federal law continues to prohibit firearms in certain facilities, such as park visitor centers. 

For more information about firearms laws that apply to Saguaro National Park, please visit Type "firearms" into the "search phrase" box, then click search. 



Last big push for Girl Scout cookie sales

Sales of Girl Scout cookies in greater Tucson are coming to a close this week.

Young ladies are selling cookies at shopping centers across the Northwest this Thursday through Sunday, Feb. 25-28. People can also go by the Sahuaro Girl Scout Council headquarters at Broadway and Columbus to purchase cookies.

Supporters can buy cookies to donate to troops overseas.



AZ to be cut $1.5B in foreclosure relief funds

President Barack Obama announced last week that Arizona was among five states with high foreclosure rates that would receive federal Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds.

In the federal program, state housing departments in Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan and Nevada will share $1.5 billion for foreclosure aid.

In Arizona, foreclosures have risen 567 percent between the third quarter of 2006 and the third quarter of 2009, according to the Center for Responsible Lending.

The center forecasts an additional 451,590 foreclosures by 2012.



Media resources March 9 topic at arana chamber

A workshop on media resources is being conducted by the Marana Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, March 9.

The event runs from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. that Tuesday at the Marana Municipal Operations Center, located at 5100 W. Ina Road. The program begins at 8. It's free to chamber members with an RSVP to

Topics to be covered are "how to get free newspaper coverage" and other tricks of the trade "to save you money and maximize your buying power," a release said.

Martin unveils transparency Web site


State Treasurer Dean Martin unveiled a new Web site to provide government transparency to taxpayers. 

The site, called, provides the daily status and monthly comparisons of the state's operating cash balance.   

"This Web site is the result of two years of work to provide the greatest level of transparency in Arizona history and is a reflection of my commitment to provide Arizona taxpayers with a searchable, user-friendly website that discloses all revenues and expenditures for Arizona State government," Martin said.

Users of can search detailed information about how the state spends taxpayer money, and how much it receives from all sources, including the federal government.  

The checkbook data appears as it is recorded in the official state accounting system and will eventually become part of the annual financial report for the State of Arizona. 

The spending data is captured each month from data collected and stored by the General Accounting Office of the Department of Administration.  It will be updated monthly, as new spending data becomes available.

The governor's General Accounting Office only would provide historical data from previous years for an $800 fee for every additional month's balance requested, according to news release. 

 "Unfortunately, we have no appropriation to pay nearly $10,000 per year for this information.  We will continue to capture this data monthly going forward, but until the fee is waived or an appropriation provided, year over year comparisons will be limited to fiscal year 2009 and forward," Martin said in a news release.



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