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Posted: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 12:00 am

OV library accepting story entries

There is a hungry magic box in the children’s room of the Oro Valley Public Library that loves to eat stories written by young writers. Some of the stories it eats will be brought to life in a live performance.

The library is collecting original stories written by young writers for Stories that Soar, a literacy and performing arts program that merges the talents of professional adult performers and children’s original stories to create innovative and insightful theater productions for school and community events.

The deadline for submissions is Feb. 12. About 20 stories will be chosen to be performed at a free show at the Tucson Festival of Books on Saturday, March 12.

The competition is open to writers ages 5 to 18. Story length is limited to 500 words. There is no limit to the number of stories that can be submitted.

Stories may be written on any topic, in any language and in any style (poetry, fiction, nonfiction, etc…). Submissions can include pictures. Young writers may get help from a scribe, but the ideas must be theirs.

The stories will not be returned; writers are encouraged to make a copy of their work

Submissions must include the writer’s name, age, address, phone number and library branch (an e-mail address is optional) so the writer can be contacted if their story is selected. The information will not be shared with any other organizations

For more information about Stories that Soar, visit">

Chamber to host three candidate forums

Candidates running in Marana’s mayoral race and for two seats on the Marana Town Council have been invited to participate in three forums that will begin tonight, Jan. 19. It will take place 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Estes Elementary School, 11279 W. Grier Road, and is presented by Marana Chamber of Commerce and the Gladden Farms Community Association.

On Jan. 26, the next forum will take place 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Heritage Highlands at Dove Mountain, 4949 W. Heritage Club Blvd. It is presented by Marana Chamber of Commerce and the Heritage Highlands Civic Group.

The final forum will take place 6-8 p.m. on Feb. 3, at the Wheeler Taft Abbett, Sr. Branch Library, 7800 N. Schisler Drive. It is presented by Marana Chamber of Commerce and the Metropolitan Pima Alliance.

All events are open to the public. For more details, call 682-4314.

Bomb squad investigates beeping package

At approximately 8:05 a.m. on Jan. 10, Oro Valley Police responded to a call at Overlook at Pusch Ridge Apartments, 8851 N. Oracle Road, after an employee heard a beeping noise coming from a package inside the complex office mail area.

Oro Valley Police called for the Pima Regional Bomb Squad to investigate as a precaution. The only area of the complex evacuated was the office staff.

The bomb squad evaluated the package and discovered it contained cell phones, one of which had not been turned off. After deeming the contents harmless, police contacted the sender, who took possession of the package.

Oro Valley Planning & Zoning approves Steam Pump changes

The Oro Valley Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday, Jan. 13, approved ad amendment to plans for the Steam Pump Village shopping center.

The biggest changes removed terminology that limited structures to a single story; the allowable building height remains the same.

The approved changes have to be approved by the town council before they can be enacted.

The item has not yet been placed on the council’s agenda.

Marana seeks citizen advisory commissioners

The Town of Marana has open positions on its Utilities and the Business and Economic Development citizen advisory commissions.

The Utilities Commission meets at 3 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at the Marana Operations Center. Commissioners study and make recommendations to the mayor and council on all matters related to the management and operation of the Town’s utilities enterprise fund and utilities, such as stormwater, electrical, water, wastewater, irrigation district, street lighting, franchises for natural gas, cable and phone.

The Business and Economic Development Commission meets at 9 a.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at the Municipal Complex. The BEDAC advises the Town Council on the planning of economic development efforts, business assistance programs provided to help businesses affected by public improvement projects, and on legislation proposed at the local, state and national levels.

All applications will remain active for one year from the date of receipt. Applicants must be Marana residents.

The positions will remain open until filled. Applications are available at under the Town Clerk department/Citizen Advisory Commissions and can be submitted online. Call 382-1961 for information.

Local gas prices rise 4 cents/gal

Average retail gasoline prices in Tucson rose 4 cents per gallon during the week of Jan. 9-15, averaging $2.82 per gallon on Jan. 16. This compares with the national average that has increased 0.9 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.07 per gallon, according to gasoline price Web site">

Including the change in gas prices in Tucson during the past week, prices on Jan. 16 were 21.7 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and 9.7 cents per gallon higher than a month ago.

The national average has increased 10.4 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 33.8 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

Marana traffic accident reports now online

The Town of Marana Police Department is now offering the convenience of accessing and printing motor vehicle accident reports online.

The 24-hour-a-day service can be found at"> Reports are usually available three to seven business days following the incident.

Online motor vehicle accident reports are in PDF format, making it easy to view, save and print the requested report, saving citizens and insurance companies the time and expense spent either visiting the Marana Municipal Complex or mailing written requests.

“The Marana Police Department pledges to provide the best and most efficient services possible to its citizens,” said Marana Chief of Police Terry Rozema. “Offering accident reports online is another way we will fulfill that promise.”

Citizens can still acquire accident reports in person at the Marana Police Department or by mailing a written request to MPD Records Unit, 11555 West Civic Center Drive, Marana, AZ 85653.

There are small fees associated with accessing records online, in person or through the mail.

PCC to establish memorial scholarship

Pima Community College is establishing a memorial scholarship in memory of those who perished in the Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson. The scholarship will be awarded to eligible students who devote themselves to careers in community or public service.

“Words are inadequate in expressing the sadness that I feel, as surely we all do, following the horrible events of (that) Saturday,” PCC Board Chair Marty Cortez said.

She offered condolences to the families of the victims and wished for the full recovery of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other survivors. Six people were killed during the shooting, which took place at Ina and Oracle roads.

Founded in 1969, Pima Community College serves more than 75,000 students annually and is the eighth largest community college in the United States.

To learn more, visit"> or call 206-4500.

Lincoln Park ball fields to break ground Jan. 26

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held for a new joint project between the City of Tucson Parks and Recreation, and Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation departments.

The ceremony for a new softball field complex will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 26, at Abraham Lincoln Regional Park, 8280 E. Escalante Road, behind the children’s outdoor performance area. Parking will be available at the William Clements Center, 8155 E. Poinciana Drive.

When completed, the $3.4 million project will provide:

• four lighted softball fields

• lighted walking paths

• concessions building with restrooms

• vehicle entrance from Escalante Road

• lighted parking lot with 211 spaces

• turf/landscape/irrigation

Participants will include Ramón Valadez, Pima County Board of Supervisors, District 2; City of Tucson Ward 4 Councilmember Shirley C. Scott, and Parks and Recreation Director Fred H. Gray, Jr.

Construction is underway and scheduled to be completed by August 2011. Funding sources for the project came from 2004 Pima County bonds.

For more information, contact Recreation Supervisor Liz Baechler at 791-5787.

Giffords’ husband to meet with local media

The husband of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords spoke on Wednesday to a group of local news media.

Mark Kelly met with reporters at University Medical Center Wednesday afternoon to speak about his wife’s recovery following her being shot in the head on Saturday, Jan. 8.

Giffords remains hospitalized and in serious condition. Her doctors, however, have commented that her condition has steadily improved since the shooting.

The meeting with Kelly followed The Explorer’s production deadline. Look for a story about the discussion with Kelly later this week online in The Explorer at">

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