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  • Students take a virtual tour of the Great Barrier Reef

    A group of students at Copper Creek Elementary School gave the OK sign letting everyone know they were ready, then, within a few seconds, they were transported underwater with a scuba diver at the Great Barrier Reef Aquarium in Australia.The students stayed dry, though, as they embarked on a virtual field trip – a first of its kind.For the following hour, the motionless students watched a scuba diver tell them about the Great Barrier Reef. The students and the scuba diver each could listen and speak to each other.Lisa Hopper, founder and CEO of World Care, and her colleague Andrew Foley, worked together to create and develop an infrastructure that provides an independent portal for educators to access new, different and relevant curriculum content. The project is called STEM Learning.“The evolution of education is changing,” Hopper said. “We have to change with it. We looked in many different areas in identifying what was missing. And it was this portal of getting great content and bringing the world to the United States.”  World Care’s STEM Learning is not a school and is not a product provider; it is simply the gateway to connect students with information about science, technology, engineering and math with the hopes of trying to ignite an interest in education.

  • Northwest Fire has new life-saving device thanks to grant

    The Northwest Fire District has a new lifesaving device thanks to a grant. The fire district purchased a hydraulic extrication tool, which are used to free trapped motorists after a crash, thanks to a $20,868 grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.The tool is commonly referred to by the general public as the “Jaws-of-Life”, though technically that is a specific brand of extrication tool. The new tool will replace an older tool and is a “more powerful piece of equipment compatible with other extrication tools in the district’s inventory,” according to a Northwest Fire district press release. “This new extrication unit is going on one of our front line engines,” said David Arneson, Public Information Officer for Northwest Fire. All 11 engine companies in the Northwest Fire District are now be equipped with this same type of hydraulic tool, which allows means that there is now standardization across the District, which will simplify things for training purposes.A demonstration of the tool was given to the media last week in a simulation of a car crash with a person stuck inside the vehicle. “They will be pulling up and acting as if this is a real accident and using this

  • OV council set to vote on tax increase, $1M acquisition

    The Oro Valley Town Council will vote tonight (Dec. 17) on whether to purchase the golf and other recreational amenities of the El Conquistador resort, spending $1 million to acquire the property and committing to a half-cent sales tax increase for improvements and its continued operations.Mayor Satish Hiremath has touted the property as a turnkey operation that gives locals the community center they’ve long wanted. But Councilman Mike Zinkin is doubtful. He said it’s clear that residents want a community center. But he said he would rather have them specifically define what they want in such a center, which should be built new. Then he would want the town to determine where to put it and how much to spend before taking a temporary secondary property tax to the ballot.But as it is, the process is rushed and opaque, he said: “This thing smells.”For $1 million – spread over an interest-free, three-year payment plan – the town would get 45 holes of golf, 31 tennis courts, two pools, a fitness center, and a restaurant and café, allowing residents to have a community center by early 2015. Local apartment and hotel developer HSL Properties is purchasing the entire distressed El Conquistador property but with plans to keep only the hotel and convention center, spinning off the recreation components. HSL plans to close on the property on Dec. 18.The country club and golf courses need renovations, as town staff detailed earlier this month, and the venture would take some time to become profitable. In its first year, the community center would operate at about a $1.2 million loss, almost entirely on the golf side, the town estimates—“however, it is anticipated that this deficit lowers each year and turns positive by (fiscal year) 2018/19 as a result of increased capital investment, marketing of the facility and programs, and quality management,” according to a memo attached to the meeting’s agenda.

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  • Golf tournament at Quail Canyon Golf Course on Dec. 27

    For those looking to enjoy some golfing in the next week, a 18-hole golf tournament will take place on Saturday, Dec. 27 at Quail Canyon Golf Course.The course is located off of Oracle and Rudasill roads and the tournament will start at 10 a.m. Entry fee is $30 and the green fee is $20. The tournament will include prizes and drawings as well as the honorary player, 102-year-old Jerry McWayne. Reservations for the tournament can be made at 520-405-7278.

  • County delays vote to ban smoking

    Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry is asking the Board of Supervisors to delay a vote on a controversial Tobacco/Nicotine-Free Healthy Workplace Initiative that was slated for a decision yesterday.Now requesting a Feb. 10 vote, Huckelberry has touted the measure as an effective way to increase employee productivity while creating a healthier workplace.If passed, the initiative would require current county employees and those seeking employment to submit to nicotine tests.Those who refuse to test or who test positive for nicotine would be subject to higher health premiums; a 30 percent surcharge for nicotine users in the first year, 40 percent increase in 2015-16, and 50 percent increase in 2016-17. Would-be employees are also subject to testing. Anyone refusing testing, or testing positive for nicotine would be denied a county position. Approximately 32 percent of county employees are nicotine users. 

  • Community Food Bank “School Pantry Initiative” Food and Fund Drive

    The Corporation for National Community Service, Tucson Police Department, Arizona Serve, Prescott College and the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona will partner to hold a special food and fund drive specifically benefiting the new “School Pantry Initiative.”The Food and Fund drive will run from Dec. 29 through Jan. 19. The goal is to provide a readily accessible source of food to children and their families who are in need of food assistance.  Distribution models and frequencies are determined according to the needs of each school.For more information about the food and fund drive, contact Sarah Smolowitiz at 800-950-8681 x 7232 or cell at 282-0697.


  • Movie new releases 10/19

    New movie releases for 1/19The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies - PG-13| 2 hr. 24 min. “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” brings to an epic conclusion the adventures of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and the Company of Dwarves. Having reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, the Company has unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world.Cast: Ian McKellen , Martin Freeman , Richard Armitage , Evangeline Lilly , Lee Pace , Luke Evans , Benedict Cumberbatch , Ken StottDirector: Peter JacksonGenres: Fantasy, Adventure

  • Chris Rock brings laughter, reality to ‘Top Five’

    Written, directed and starring Chris Rock, this romantic comedy delivers this holiday season’s funniest movie—albeit with shocking language and lewd behavior at times.  In only his third time sitting in the director’s chair, the famous comedian potently combines an unsettling, crude style of humor with a milder storyline centered on relationships.  The former cast member of Saturday Night Live takes moviegoers on a wild adventure involving strong sexual content and profanity-laced outbursts as we see his fallible character attempt to remain viable in the comedy business.In “Top Five”, Rock plays a comedian turned movie star about to marry the next Kim Kardashian in front of Bravo television cameras and the world. The media frenzy over his upcoming wedding overshadows Rock’s latest movie release and leaves him with serious trust issues as he’s about to begin a scheduled interview with a New York Times reporter—portrayed perfectly by Rosario Dawson.  This movie’s hilarious, yet always edgy, ride through New York City lambasts the stark differences between the media’s sensationalism of Hollywood stars and the deeply rooted insecurities often held by those in show business.  That’s why this film works so well—it breaks down all the walls surrounding a person’s alcoholism, fame, and mistrust issues and replaces them with honest feedback and self-reflection.  The movie’s realistic look at one’s personal difficulties despite stardom and wealth, gives the plot plenty of room to work in laughs.  The catalyst for Rock’s character is Dawson’s hard-nosed interview, where she very shrewdly returns targeted verbal fire in his direction after every personal attack and joke he attempts at her expense.  Chris Rock, as the director, makes very effective use of flashbacks in the film to vividly describe his character’s destructive behavior in the past.  Likewise, we see a rising comedy star currently surrounded by friends and family--all wanting to hear his ‘Top Five’ picks on hip hop artists, rappers and comics of all-time.  Lastly, we feel for this comedian who isn’t sure he’ll get another laugh if he remains sober.  It’s each of these situations that make this film so entertaining, real and watchable.  “Top Five” offers audiences nearly non-stop laughs with a flawless blend of nightclub comedy, mind-numbing sexual exploits and classic romance plot twists.  Chris Rock is magnificent in a role he was born to write, direct and star in.  Rosario Dawson’s strong performance both compliments and keeps pace with Rock’s genius work.  Together, they bring an eye-opening, funny, and romantic stand-up routine to the big-screen.Grade: B+

  • Happenings for Week of Dec. 17

    THEATERWednesday to Saturday through Dec. 20• Catch a performance of the Arizona Theatre Company’s hilarious production of Murder for Two with a perfect blend of music, mayhem and murder. Details: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 8 p.m. Saturday; Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave.; $37-$57; 622-2823. Friday to Sundaythrough Dec. 21


  • Annual program a success

    Prince Elementary School kindergartener Malaysia Tatum tries on one of the 200 pairs of shoes that was donated along side 450 hoodies during the Canyon Del Oro High School football team’s annual hoodie drive. TEP donated $2,500 along with numerous other goodies for the students.

  • Marana Cheer to perform at Holiday Bowl halftime

    Months of fundraising and planning are about to pay off for the Marana High School junior varsity and varsity cheer teams. The teams were invited to perform at the Holiday Bowl in San Diego later this month. “The girls are really excited,” said Marana Cheer Coach Andrea Burke. “It is the first time Marana has ever gotten this opportunity.”The Tigers will join a number of other teams in performing a seven and half minute routine choreographed by Mandy Moore. Moore is best known for her work choreagraphing duet and group numbers for “So You Think You Can Dance” but she has also worked with American Idol, America’s Got Talent, Dancing with the Stars and a number of Disney shows, as well as music videos and stage and screen productions. In addition to the halftime show, the teams will be involved in the National Anthem prior to the kickoff of the Dec. 27 bowl game. The Tigers will also march in the Big Bay Balloon Parade on Dec. 26 and participate in a comprehensive dance/cheer convention with Moore. The Tigers got the invitation based upon their performance at a cheer competition in California last year. 

  • 2014-15 girls soccer preview

    Hopes are high around the Ironwood Ridge girls soccer program. The Nighthawk girls are coming off a playoff appearance and are off to a great start this season after winning the Brandon Bean Kickoff Classic. The Nighthawks have gotten very balanced scoring this season, with 10 players finding the back of the net in the team’s first eight games and six players with multiple goals. Seniors Jessica Nelson and Valarie Cooper should be counted on heavily in the attacks, as will junior Alexis Hernandez. The offense is bolstered by the likes of Abbey Goodman, Sarah Bock and Kaylee Wallentine. Holly Ross joins Nelson as the team’s best playmakers. The two have assisted on almost 40 percent of the team’s early season goals. Megan Logue will get the bulk of the time in net this season, but sophomore Jasmyn McEwen is a very reliable back-up.Marana came a game short of winning their preseason tournament, falling in the finals of the Amphi Panther Invitational, but they know that the key to the season will be the second half of the season, as well as the second half of games. Last year the team started off 10-0, only to go 4-6 down the stretch. They were essentially one win from the playoffs and can look back to an overtime loss to Ironwood Ridge and a bad half against Maricopa for their season ending in January, instead of February. 

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