Cage wishes Melvin a fast, full recovery


Cheryl Cage, the announced opponent to Sen. Al Melvin in the 2010 race for a seat in the Arizona Senate from District 26, has wished Melvin "a speedy recovery" as he undergoes chemotherapy for cancer.


In November, Melvin, the SaddleBrooke Republican, announced he was being treated for non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Cage, the Dove Mountain Democrat who ran for the seat in 2008 was saddened by the news. Her thoughts "are with Al and his wife Kou," Cage said in a release.


"I look forward to a vigorous campaign debating the future of Arizona but this is not the time to think of politics," Cage said. "All of us on Team Cage wish Al good health and hope he is well soon."








Legion riders come through with 'turkey run'


Motorcycle riders with the American Legion Riders, Post 109, delivered about $1,000 worth of food in their fifth annual Turkey Run on Saturday, Nov. 21.


The riders blazed a trail of "turkeys and pies across Tucson" to benefit the Salvation Army's community dinner.


"This is a great community event to not only draw attention to the importance of working together to help our community, but also provide needed supplies for The Salvation Army's Holiday Community dinners for our local homeless and friends in need," said Tamara McElwee, Salvation Army public relations director. "We're delighted."




Prison for 1, detention for 2nd in cactus thefts


U.S. District Judge Raner C. Collins has sentenced two Tucson men for the theft of saguaro cacti from Saguaro National Park.


Joseph Tillman, 50, was sentenced in late October to eight months in federal prison. Tillman's co-defendant, Gregory James McKee, 42, was sentenced recently to six months of home confinement and 100 hours of community service.


Both McKee and Tillman pleaded guilty to violations of the Lacey Act, which prohibits trafficking in plants and animals collected in violation of any federal or tribal law, treaty or regulation, according to a release from the national park.


Saguaros are protected under Arizona's native plant law. They require protection from illegal collection "because of their vulnerability to loss or damage from theft, vandalism, development, off-road vehicles, and air pollution, and because of their slow reproduction and rate of growth, which have made nursery propagation difficult," a release said.


On Jan. 12, 2007, McKee and Tillman removed two saguaro cacti from within the boundaries of Saguaro National Park. Earlier that day, National Park Service rangers had discovered several saguaros had been dug up and cached for later transport, along a roadway adjacent to the park's Tucson Mountain District.


"This activity will not be taken lightly," said Dennis K. Burke, U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona. "Indeed, this is one of the longest sentences ever for cactus-rustling in this district. Creative landscaping is no excuse to plunder natural treasures from our national parks."


"Saguaros have become a valuable commodity and are increasingly targeted by thieves and poachers," said Saguaro National Park Chief Ranger Robert Love. "Sentences like the ones imposed on Tillman and McKee send a strong message to those who plunder our nation's natural resources."


Upon release from prison, both defendants will be placed on supervised release for a term of 36 months.






'Huge' garage sale in HH this Saturday morn


Marana's Heritage Highlands community is holding a "huge" garage sale this Saturday, Dec. 12, in the parking lot outside its clubhouse.


Hours are 8 a.m. to noon. The public is invited.


Those who attend are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for the Marana Food Bank.




Next Marana buffelgrass pull Dec. 19


Marana's next buffelgrass pull is planned for Saturday, Dec. 19, with pullers gathering at Wade McClean Park.


They'll work from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. that Saturday at the 8000 N. Silverbell Road location. They can meet behind Coyote Trail Elementary School.


Trash bags and digging bars are supplied by the town, which is also offering water and snacks.


"Please bring a rake and wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, a hat, and please wear sunscreen," said organizer Rebecca Kunsberg . She may be reached at or at 382-1984.


The next buffelgrass pull is Jan. 16, also gathering at the park. Beat Back Buffelgrass Day is Feb. 6.




Renovations of OV council chambers begin


The Oro Valley Town Council held its last meeting of the year on Dec. 2, beginning a holiday break that also allows for a renovation to council chambers.


Oro Valley staff will be doing the work for the project, a release said. Town building official Suzanne Smith designed the project, and development services staff will handle all of the construction.


Work will include:


• Extending the council dais to accommodate seating for town directors and the town clerk's recording station (a total of nine new seats);


• Adding entries to the dais, utilizing the existing security system;


• Adding a built-in media cabinet for audio/visual equipment;


• Adding a sign-in counter/cabinet for the public at the end of the dais extension;


• Adjusting the projector for better visibility;


• Relocating the mural from the council chambers to the library.


All meetings have been moved from council chambers or cancelled for the remainder of December, although work is expected to be completed before the Christmas holiday. The council resumes meetings on Jan. 6 with a regular session.




Food banks are short on cereal for December


The Community Food Bank regularly hands out 32,000 boxes of cereal, one of its major food items, in family food boxes each month.


As of last week, the food bank is short 20,000 boxes of cereal to fill December food boxes.


It is seeking donations of cereal, or money, to the Community Food Bank at 3003 S. Country Club Road, Tucson, 85713 (between 36th Street and Ajo on Country Club) or dropped off at donations sites throughout the city. Among those sites are Interfaith Community Services, 2820 W. Ina, and the Canyon del Oro Assembly of God, 2950 N. Lambert.


Locations are on the Food Bank Website at under "Food Drop Off Sites" in the upper right corner.


Monetary donations may be made on-line at or by calling 622-0525.






Salvation Army opens 'Operation Deep Freeze'


Each winter, the Salvation Army and other agencies team up to provide warmth and shelter to the homeless in what they call "Operation Deep Freeze."


The operation begins when the mercury drops below 35 degrees, or to 40 degrees when raining.


People in need of help are encouraged to go to the Salvation Army's shelters at 1021 N. 11th Ave. or 1001 N. Richey Blvd., both in Tucson.


The shelters provide transportation, food, showers and a place to sleep.


Last winter, Operation Deep Freeze helped an average of 200 people per night.






OV Councilman to hold public discussion


Oro Valley town councilman Barry Gillaspie plans to hold a "Council on Your Corner" meeting this Saturday, Dec. 12.


Residents are invited to come and hear Gillaspie speak and answer questions from constituents.


The event is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. and run through 1 p.m.


Gillaspie will meet constituents at the Oro Valley Public Library at 1305 W. Naranja Drive, immediately following the Oro Valley Holiday Parade.


For more information call Pat Klein at 229-4711 or e-mail at







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