Roll's family uplifted by outpouring of support

Editor's note: The following is a message from Maureen Roll, wife of John M. Roll, the late chief federal judge in Arizona. Judge Roll was among those killed Jan. 8 when he went to visit his friend, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, at her Congress on Your Corner event at North Oracle and West Ina roads.

There are no words to describe how my world was shattered on Saturday morning, Jan. 8, 2011. Not only did I lose John Roll, my husband and best friend of more than 40 years, but our three sons lost a wonderful father and our grandchildren their beloved papa.

But something else happened that day and in the days that have followed.

My family's spirit has been lifted by the outpouring of support and kindness from our community. That community begins with friends and neighbors, and expands to include the community of Tucson.

It does not end there. We are a community as a state and as a nation. When a tragedy like this takes place, we come together as a people - and this is exactly what occurred for my family after the events of Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011.

The expressions of kindness and concern have been beyond measure and came from friends and neighbors, many of whom brought food for our family. Safeway, Basha's, A.J.'s Fine Foods and Macaroni Grill also delivered meals to serve the many family and friends who gathered at our home. Flowers and plants arrived to brighten our dark days.

As a family, we received hundreds of cards and letters expressing condolences and prayers. These expressions of concern included a card from the person from Supercuts who has cut my husband's hair for the last 19 years. She said he was the nicest man she ever knew.

Condolences also arrived from our veterinarian's office, the staff of the Desert Foothills Post Office and the person who treats our home for termites, to name just a few.

On the evening of this tragedy, I looked out our front window to see two small, lighted votive candles sitting on our fountain. I have no idea which neighbor committed this small act of kindness but I certainly felt their concern for my family and me.

A small memorial with the words, "For our friend and neighbor," and an American flag stands in front of another neighbor's home. Someone left a Ben's Bell, which symbolizes kindness toward one another.

On Friday, Jan. 14, as my family and I traveled the route to the cemetery, our hearts were uplifted when we observed fire trucks from the Northwest Fire/Rescue District, Station 30, parked by the side of the road with their lights flashing and a large American flag displayed. A row of firemen stood at attention.

All along the route people got out of their cars or stood by the side of the road and saluted or waved American flags. I don't know who these people were but their kindness and concern were evident, and I know they are part of our community.

Tucson suffered a tremendous tragedy in lives lost and people injured on Jan. 8-but we also had many heroes that day. Throughout this week, my family has observed a variety of agencies working together to assist not only our family, but to make our community a better place.

We are a caring and resilient people and we will rise above this tragedy, hopefully becoming a kinder and more respectful people.

My husband strived in his life to treat each person with dignity and respect. He loved America and was proud of our tradition of democracy.

Thank you.

Maureen Roll

Appalled by officials' rhetoric

As an American, as an Arizonan and as a resident of the greater Tucson area, I (was) appalled at the rhetoric offered by our locally elected political officials regarding the tragic shootings. It does not serve the public good when those in office inject their own partisan opinions as the to cause and effect of this senseless tragedy.

It appears we have fools in office when the Sheriff states we are the capital of bigotry and intolerance, and an elected congressman calls for an economic boycott of his own district.

If we are the capital of anything, it is that of having genuine horse's rear-ends in office.

Norman Schwartz, Oro Valley

Wants more public input on county budget

After attending seven months of Pinal County Board of Supervisors meetings, several town hall meetings, and one-on-one meetings with key county personal, the three board members ran behind the power of the gavel in an effort to block county residents from participating in the budget process for FY 2012.

Mind you, this is the same board that chastised many of us for not coming forward soon enough to be involved in the FY 2011 budget.

Our effort at the board fell on deaf or blocked ears. This was representative government at its worse.

The public will see the proposed budget in mid-May 2011, with the budget scheduled for passage in June 2011. Not much time to review and change as there are limited board meetings before passage.

The board wishes us to make our thoughts known at the board meeting in the two to three minutes that the board chairman graciously grants to the public. No discussion. A $400 million budget gone over with sound bites.

However, there was a bright spot. Our new county manager, Fritz Behring, is indicating his willingness to involve the public in the formation of the budget. He has taken a monumental first step in at least getting this issue on the board agenda for discussion. It sends a good signal to the public and to the board that he is trying to open the closed-door policy that plagued Florence for years.

Today is a good time to write, call or e-mail your Pinal County supervisor and implore them to open up the budget process to the public. It is our money, and it is our duty to question every penny of every expenditure.

Vince Leach, SaddleBrooke

Teacher thanks those who remembered Christina

I was lucky to share Christina Green's life as her third-grade teacher. From the moment I heard the devastating news of her death, my concern was how I would be able to help her classmates cope with such a tragic loss.

Nothing in my 23 years of teaching had prepared me for such a daunting task. I had no way of knowing then that people from Tucson, around Arizona and across our country would help me restore the feeling of security that was taken from them on that day.

To Amphi's (Amphitheater School District) crisis team who arrived at Mesa Verde (Elementary School) early Monday morning to help us speak to our students and to the hundreds of people who made phone calls, sent notes and e-mails, made banners and tied ribbons to let us know they shared our grief - thank you. You have helped us get through a very sad time.

Her classmates and I miss Christina. She will always be in our hearts. The memories of your kindness will be there too.

Kathie DeKnikker, Mesa Verde Elementary

A-frame Signs Coming to Oro Valley

At the Oro Valley Town Council, on Jan. 19, the 90-day performance data received from 16 of the 35 businesses, which participated in the Town's Temporary Sign Waiver Program, was presented. The signs requested and approved were almost evenly divided between banners and A-frames (sandwich boards).

Banners are allowed under the Town's current sign code. The business community could have used them without a temporary waiver, and can continue to use them. A-frame signs are another story.

A-frames are currently prohibited in Oro Valley's sign code. The Town staff had difficulty doing an accurate analysis of the economic data received; therefore, they could not determine if signs were the only factor leading to improvement for 12 businesses. The Town staff also evaluated the use of A-frames and recommended no use of A-frames.

In spite of this, a council member stated A-frame signs should be allowed under the new upcoming sign code. You can be assured that the very active vocal minority of the Town's stakeholders (chamber of commerce, real estate establishment, developers and builders) will be sending e-mails and/or speaking in favor of A-frame signs.

In my opinion, based on performance results submitted by only eight businesses, there is no justification for businesses or the town council to support the permanent or temporary usage of A-frames under the new sign code.

Do not expect your town council to prohibit the use of A-frame signs. It will allow them and then tell the Town's major stakeholders-the residents-that it heard no loud and clear messages from residents not wanting the Town's scenic roads lined with A-frames and additional signage.

This is the Oro Valley residents' last chance to decide if they are for or against sign clutter (including A-frames), and the resulting degradation of Oro Valley.

Don't let the vocal minority stakeholders make the choices for you. Contact the mayor and council members. Attend and speak at the March 2 council meeting. Let your opinions be known about A-frames signs coming to Oro Valley.

Signs beget signs!

Donald Bristow, Oro Valley



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