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  • 75-cent kids admission at Old Tucson

    Join Old Tucson over the Martin Luther King weekend as we conclude our 75th Anniversary celebration with a 75¢ Kids Weekend!Families will enjoy a great day together with Old Tucson's signature live stunt, comedy, and musical shows along with living history presentations that describe life in the real Old West. Old Tucson historians will lead guests on film history tours highlighting movies that were made on the historic sets over the last 75 years.Fun for the whole family! Kids will love riding the train, antique cars, and vintage carousel. Stagecoach and trail rides also are available (additional charge). It's a great day of Western family fun at a great anniversary price!Children ages 4-11 are just 75¢!Children 3 and under are always free!

  • Such the Spot - When are electronics going too far?

    Q. I see more and more children with electronic devices everywhere - They use them to be entertained at restaurants, they use them in vehicles. When is it too much? Should we as parents do a better job at having our children behave without some form of electronic entertainment?A. Your point is well-received. I once witnessed a mom and her child eating lunch together at a sit-down restaurant in Walt Disney World. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that not one word was exchanged between them throughout the course of the meal because the child was preoccupied with an iPad. I couldn’t help but feel so sad for them that even in the Happiest Place on Earth they couldn’t engage in conversation. I do believe that we as parents could do a better job at limiting screen time and encouraging face time (and not the iPhone variety). To that end, I believe we need to take Michael Jackson’s advice and start with the man (or woman) in the mirror. When our kids see us so consumed with our phones and various devices, they take cues from us. I know I’m guilty of burying my face in my phone when I should be actively engaged with the people in my presence. When my kids were little, I used to set a microwave timer for fifteen minutes at random intervals throughout the day and set that time aside strictly for playing with them. Whether it was Barbie dolls or Matchbox cars, that time was theirs and theirs alone; the phone went unanswered and laundry was put off. Now that they’re older, I think I need to revisit that same concept, only this time designate it at as screen-free time and spend it simply by being engaged. The new year seems like the perfect time to jump back in to that effort!Q. We have a neighborhood child that invites himself over to our house every day when I pick my kids up from the bus stop. This child isn’t particularly well-behaved and I would rather limit the time he spends with my kids, but I feel badly always saying no. Should I give in and allow him to come for playtime?I’ve been there many a time myself so I know just how sticky a situation that can be. Here’s the thing though: you should not be made to feel guilty when someone else is in the wrong. In this case, it’s a child who is acting rudely by inviting himself to your home. More than likely, his behavior is the result of never having been taught proper manners. In that situation, I think you are being completely reasonable by correcting him. You could say something like, “My kids have a lot of fun playing with you, Johnnie, but it’s not polite to invite yourself to our house. You should wait to be invited. Maybe you can come over one afternoon next week and play LEGOS with Adam. I’ll talk to your mom about it.” In doing so, you are gently directing the neighbor boy to respect not only your parameters but appropriate social behaviors as well. I think it’s a win-win response.Q. My daughter’s best friend has invited my daughter on a weekend trip to Disneyland to celebrate the best friend’s birthday. Her mother offered to cover the cost of the trip for my daughter completely but I feel awkward accepting and allowing my daughter to go. What do you think is the appropriate response?A. Is sending me in her place an option? Just kidding. My general stance on accepting gifts (even the most generous ones) is to do so graciously. I believe that when someone gives a gift or extends a generous offer, he or she is doing so with the best of intentions. In light of that, I think you are well within reason by accepting the offer gratefully. If it were me, I would allow my daughter to go and I’d send her along with some spending money. As a follow-up, I’d be sure to have my daughter write a genuine thank you letter to the best friend’s parents once they returned from the trip.  

  • County Health - Simple steps to improving your heart health

    Every year, people all across the country participate in a time-honored tradition and make bold New Year’s resolutions. Many of these resolutions have to do with improving our health and, sadly, many of them are broken by the end of January. It isn’t that we give up so much as we are overwhelmed. We have the best of intentions, but sometimes our resolutions are a bit too super-sized. Running a marathon might sound great on January 1, but thirty days later it can feel impossible. So this year, let me help you be a success at your resolution by suggestion you choose a life-saving resolution – improving your heart health – and then breaking it down into four manageable steps.First, let’s consider these facts:In 2013, heart disease was the leading cause of death for adults in Pima County and was responsible for one in every five deaths.According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the factors that lead to heart disease are similar for both men and women but women, on average, develop heart disease seven to ten years later than men.Your heart works 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, and mostly, you don’t realize the amazing work this vital organ is doing. In fact, most of us don’t pay any attention to our hearts until something goes wrong. When that happens we go into high-gear trying to fix what is wrong. 

  • AMVETS Post 770 – Important January dates

    Starting in November AMVETS Post 770 collected new, unwrapped toys and monetary donations for Toy For Tots.  On Monday, Dec. 15, Past Commandant Manny Munguia of the Marine Corps League, Tucson Detachment 007, came to the AMVETS Post to pick up the toys and the check.The AMVETS Post and Clubroom are open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. or earlier/later (bartender’s discretion) Monday through Saturday.  On Sundays when breakfast is served the Post and Clubroom open at 9 a.m.  Happy Hour is Monday to Friday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.  There is no Happy Hour on weekends or federal holidays.  Be sure to check the bulletin board on the front of the Post for the weekly menu and activities.  Then come on in and join us for food, fun, and your favorite beverage.The AMVETS Post meets the first Sunday of each month at 10 a.m. The next meeting will be Jan. 11.  The Sons’ Of AMVETS meets at 6 p.m.  Official days to fly the flag in January are: Monday, Jan. 19 – Martin Luther King Day.January dates of interest: Saturday, Jan. 17 to Jan. 24 anniversary of the start of Desert Storm; Tuesday, Jan. 27 – 42nd anniversary of the Vietnam cease fire; Wednesday, Jan. 28 – 70th anniversary of the end of the Battle of the Bulge; and Friday, Jan. 30 – 47th anniversary of the 1968 Tet Offensive.

  • Wounded veteran now helping others

    Two fortunate occurrences helped save Mary Jessie Herrera’s arm, and possibly her life, after being hit by two rounds from an AK-47 during an ambush in Iraq. Today, Herrera and the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes organization try to come in to aid combat-wounded veterans when they need it most.Herrera is a field rep for the Coalition to Salute Heroes, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting combat wounded veterans from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Much of their support is financial, helping those who are discharged make ends meet until their veteran benefits can kick in. Once the group identifies qualifying veterans, they step in to work with bill collectors to get things paid until the benefits arrive. “It does fill in those gaps,” Herrera said. “We act as a buffer until the benefits begin. We want to help them get on their feet.”According to Herrera if things go well, it only takes a month or two after discharge for the benefits to start. Although the financial relief is a one-time thing, the group has additional resources to help veterans in their acclimation to life after the military.Herrera, who grew up near Yuma, decided to join the National Guard in 2000, but had her enlistment delayed after breaking her shoulder riding dirt bikes. Because of the delay, she ended up going to basic training after the attacks on Sept. 11.“I think it was probably the best time for anybody to go to basic training. The patriotism was just wonderful. There was such a mixture of people. Usually everybody is younger, but there were a lot of people in their 30’s. It was great to see such a mixture at basic training.”

  • Sahuarita wins road project award

    The Town of Sahuarita was recently recognized at the Metropolitan Pima Alliance’s (MPA) 10th annual Common Ground Awards Ceremony for the successful Sahuarita Road Improvement Project.The project on the heavily traveled Sahuarita Road was aimed at better accommodating the town’s increasing population, which grew 700 percent between 2000 and 2010.Town officials say as the primary east-west regional corridor between interstates 10 and 19, the project further helped balance mobility needs of regional traffic with the access needs of local traffic, existing businesses, schools, churches, and residential neighborhoods. The voter-approved project received funding from the 2006 Regional Transportation Authority half-cent sales tax, Highway User Revenue Funds (HURF), and town capital funds. At the award ceremony, the MPA recognized Town Mayor Duane Blumberg and Assistant Town Engineer Joel Harris for their collaboration and ability to overcome obstacles that came with the project. A town press release says the project “realized partnerships from a wide variety of funding partners, local stakeholders, land developers, regional agencies, utility providers, consultants, and contractors.

  • Gardening With Soule - Crown your month with color

    I have to confess, I love my job as a garden writer. I may work 60 or so hours a week, and my fingernails are always short and hands dry due to digging in the dirt, but market research is a blast. Walking into a nursery or garden center at any time of the year is a treat in my book, but in the winter it is especially wonderful. The sight, scent, and even subtle sounds of so many healthy growing and flowering plants in one small space is delightful. The idea that I get to take some home with me is dazzling. Flowers, flowers, and more flowers! And living flowers no less – they will last far longer than any bouquet.Right now our local nurseries offer an awesome array of colorful plants and flowers that prefer cooler weather. Most commonly you can select from: calendula, stock, pansy, poppy, ornamental cabbage, ornamental kale, snapdragon, Johnny-jump-up, violet, achillea, alyssum, feverfew, gypsophilia, and last - but not least - two sister species, dianthus and carnation. I call your attention to carnation and dianthus for a special reason: they are considered the “birth flower” for the month of January. Just like birthstones, birth flowers are there to help us celebrate. This concept has been around since at least the 1500’s in England, and is also found in a number of other cultures. Why not celebrate the anniversary of a birth with flowers?To plan your year ahead, here are the birth month flowers. January – carnation and dianthus, February – violet and pansy, March – daffodil and narcissus, April – daisy and sweet pea, May – lily of the valley and hawthorn, June – rose and honeysuckle, July – larkspur and water lily, August – gladiolus, September – aster, October – marigold and calendula, November – chrysanthemum, December – holly and poinsettia.Dianthus are also known as “pinks.”  In the wild they are pink, but brought into cultivation plant breeders have selected for colors and color blends ranging from almost purple through magenta to lavender and lilac, on to red and scarlet, orange, yellow, and even pure white. Note that these same flower colors can be found in a local carnation cousin - cacti. Like cacti, carnations are more tolerant of our alkaline soils than many other popular garden flowers.Along with their bright attractive colors, the shape of carnation and dianthus are quite charming. The petals have zig-zag outer edges. Altogether, the blooms look somewhat like little crowns, or coronets, which is derived from the Hebrew word “koren” meaning rays, as in rays of sunlight. How appropriate that a winter flower is crowned with color, bringing sunlight and good cheer into our hearts during this month of short days and long nights. The word definitions are courtesy of my well-worn, old-style, giant, printed edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. This same tome mentions that carnation was also known as “gillyflower,” which would come into modern English as Jill flower. 

  • A conversation with two American heroes

    Former astronaut James A. McDivitt and four-star general Earl T. O’Loughlin are special guests at the SaddleBrooke Troop Support (STS) luncheon on Wednesday, Feb. 4, at SaddleBrooke One clubhouse. Don’t miss this opportunity to listen in to the conversation between these two American heroes as they discuss their phenomenal Air Force and NASA careers and decades of service to our country. Following their conversation there will be an opportunity for Q&A with attendees.James A. McDivitt, Brig. General, USAF Ret. and former NASA astronaut, joined the Air Force in 1951. He flew 145 combat missions during the Korean conflict in F-80s and F-86s and has logged over 5,000 flying hours. He was selected as an astronaut in 1962 and was command pilot for Gemini 4, a 66-orbit four-day mission in 1965. He was commander of Apollo 9, a 10-day earth orbital flight in 1969 and became manager of the Lunar Landing Operations and then manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program the same year. He was program manager for Apollo 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16. Following his retirement from the USAF and NASA in 1972, he held executive positions with a number of corporations.Earl T. O’Loughlin, a SaddleBrooke neighbor, joined the Air Force as an enlisted man and retired as a four-star general, the highest rank in the Air Force with the exception of the only five-star general, Hap Arnold. Early in his career, he flew 29 combat missions over North Korea. He went on to serve in Vietnam, where he logged 7,000 hours at the controls of 22 different types of aircraft. During his service, he managed a budget exceeding $5 billion a year and a workforce of 128,000 men and women.A color guard of active Marines will present and retire the American flag.Tickets for the luncheon program are $30 per person of which $10 is a tax-deductable donation. Doors to The Vistas at SaddleBrooke One clubhouse will open at 11:30 a.m. with plated lunch service at noon. The program will end at 2 p.m. To reserve your place and purchase tickets, go to www.saddlebrooke-troop-support.com/luncheon/ or send a check payable to “SaddleBrooke Troop Support” to Joe Rink, 38967 S. Serenity Ln., Tucson AZ 85739. For information, call 825-2211.For information about SaddleBrooke Troop Support, a 401(c)(3) organization, visit the website at www.saddlebrooke-troop-support.com.

  • DWE Double Dribble Dibels --- WHAT?

    So what are DIBELS?  The acronym stands for Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy, a state test for kindergarten through sixth-grade students required three times a year.  DIBELS measure vocabulary, comprehension, phonics and fluency and give the school information as to a student being on-track for grade-appropriate reading levels.  Desert Winds Elementary School made a fun event out of sharing information with parents in early December with their Double Dribble Dibels Night.  First grade teacher Chloe Patmore told us that first-graders advance from reading 23 up to 47 words in one minute.  With the help of Marana High School honors students, DDD Night provided parents with written assessments of their children’s progress, along with fun and games to encourage reading.  A two-for-one book fair packed the school library.  There were nutritious snacks and free hamburgers, and even a little Christmas store.  Parents interested in helping their children read at home should contact the school for some handy tip sheets.   

  • Rozema looks to build new police station

    In the wake of the Marana Town Council’s 6-1 vote favoring a half-cent sales tax increase for the construction of a new police facility – a measure widely supported by community members – town officials will next seek bids to complete architectural and schematics plans for the project, which is anticipated for completion in the latter part of 2016.And it’s a project that’s been a long time coming, according to Marana Police Chief Terry Rozema, who says current facilities are grossly inadequate to accommodate the needs of the town’s police department, made up of 113 employees, 85 of which are sworn officers.The current offices at the Marana Municipal Complex are used primarily for administrative purposes, while the police substation on Ina – a mere 2,000 square feet in size – lacks the space to accommodate weapons storage, evidence storage, locker rooms, showers, exercise equipment, and even worse – holding cells.“We have no holding cells for goodness sakes,” said Rozema. “How do you operate a fully functioning police department of nearly 100 officers without holding cells? It is mindboggling.”It only negatively impacts officers’ abilities to do their jobs, Rozema adds.“You want your government to be efficient and you want them to be effective,” he said. “A fully functional police department goes a long way to do that. If we were to go down the list of inefficiencies … I think people would be scratching their heads.”

  • Drexel Heights Fire to offer CPR training

    CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, which is commonly performed when someone goes into cardiopulmonary arrest. CPR does not have to be performed by a medical professional. Anyone can learn CPR so that they can use it in a situation where a medical professional has not yet arrived on the scene.Cardiopulmonary arrest basically means that both your heart and your lungs are not working, preventing you from breathing on your own. Things like a stroke, heart attack, near drowning, or choking can all lead to cardiopulmonary arrest. If someone goes without oxygen for six minutes, brain cells begin to die quickly. CPR can help save lives.CPR is a life-saving first aid method that is used to keep air flowing in and out of someone’s lungs and to keep blood flowing through the body. CPR is usually performed while professional medical help is on the way. Anyone can learn how to do CPR by taking CPR courses.CPR statistics prove Lives can be savedStudies have been done in various communities and it has been learned that early CPR has been beneficial for victims in an emergency situation. It has been discovered that rapid defibrillation and early CPR, when combined with early advanced medical help can end in good long-term survival rates. CPR statistics generally show that early CPR can be an important factor in saving someone’s life. It has been shown that CPR can prolong life while advanced care is on its way. Sometimes it has been said that CPR actually doubles the victim’s chance of survival from cardiac arrest. And when considering that 75 percent of those cardiac arrests occur in people’s homes, knowing CPR is really essential. It has also been noted that if CPR is administered within four minutes of the victim’s collapse and if defibrillation is done within 10 minutes, the victim now has a 40 percent chance of survival.

  • Planning Commission recommends rezoning projects and approves building of a Taco Bell

    In a recent meeting, the Marana Planning Commission approved a development plan and voted to recommend two rezoning requests, which will now go before the town council for final approval. One of the re-zoning plans came with a number of conditions. The 61.2-acre parcel of land at the southwest corner of Ina and Silverbell roads will now allow 59 residential units and a 37 percent site disturbance instead of 41 residential units and 30 percent site disturbance. The Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection supported the rezoning as long as the commission included a few conditions to the plan, which the coalition and property owner worked together to create.  The commission agreed. Those changes included restricting homes to one story, removal of three lots, and a minimum lot size of 16,000 square feet.Another restrictions included all outdoor lighting must be downward facing and “dark sky-friendly.”All other restrictions were related to keeping animals and the subdivision separate, including restricting the developer from putting gates leading to undisturbed open spaces, including two on-site washes. “The 60-acre parcel contains important habitat for wildlife movement between Saguaro National Park and the Santa Cruz River, primarily through the Animal Wash and undeveloped swaths of land on existing developed parcels,” wrote Carolyn Campbell, Executive Director of the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection.

  • Pump and Circumstance: Why the price gap between premium and regular gas is wider than ever

    The price of gas has many drivers jumping for joy this holiday season. Drivers who drive vehicles that require premium gas, however, aren’t experiencing as much relief.Owners of vehicles that require premium gasoline now pay about 30 to 40 cents more a gallon than regular unleaded, depending on the region. Up to 2012, the price differential usually was less than 20 cents a gallon, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.  Overall, gas prices are affected by a number of factors, including weather, demand, refinery issues and the price of crude oil. When one or more of those factors change, gas prices will rise or fall. As an automotive resource, AAA notes a few reasons for the price discrepancy between regular and premium gas. First, not many vehicles in the United States require premium gas nowadays. For example, regular unleaded gas comprised 88 percent of U.S. gasoline sales in September, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. About 10 percent was premium.Experts such as Tom Kloza, who is the co-founder of Oil Price Information Service, point out that premium-buying consumers have come to terms with buying more expensive gasoline, and they say that the owners of vehicles that require premium can afford the price difference. As a result, stations can charge a premium for premium. Plus, some stations still have stores of premium gas that were purchased at higher prices, so the prices are being passed on to consumers.

  • Arizona Department of Transportation board advances I-11 project

    In December, Arizona’s State Transportation Board (STB) approved $15 million to initiate the environmental impact studies (EIS) needed to build the proposed Interstate 11 highway from Wickenberg to Nogales.  The unanimous action followed a two-year study by the Arizona and Nevada Departments of Transportation urging construction of the new highway.  Funding came from putting a number of just-approved construction and repair projects on indefinite hold.While the three-year study will run from Wickenburg to Nogales, a number of residents of the Avra Valley showed up to voice their concerns.  Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry has proposed that the Canamex Highway run through the Avra Valley following a route similar to the I-10 Bypass approved by the STB six years ago.  That action, in a Tucson meeting, was taken without hearing from any of the dozens who had signed up to speak and provoked a near-riot.  Outgoing Chair Steve Christie made it clear that this time all who had something to say would be heard.Endorsements of the I-11 Canamex Highway came from a parade of public officials.  Pima County Director of Strategic Planning John Moffatt, who said he also spoke for Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bronson, urged approval of the planning study.  The Southern Arizona Leadership Council, Tucson-Metro Chamber of Commerce, Town of Oro Valley, and Pima County Transportation Director Priscilla Cornelio also endorsed the  EIS, along with Christian Price, Mayor of Maricopa and Anthony Smith, Chair of the Pinal County Board of Supervisors.  Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild took a different approach, stressing the importance to Tucson of trade with Mexico, but calling for expansion of State Route 189 at the Port of Mariposa along with I-19 improvements and I-10 expansion. Residents speak out

  • Doug Ducey sworn in as Arizona's 23rd governor

    At a ceremony in Phoenix today, Doug Ducey was sworn into office as Arizona's 23rd governor. Starting out by enacting campaign promises, Ducey started his reign by issuing an executive order putting a moratorium on all new regulatory rulemaking by state agencies. Ducey says the order will increase job growth by keeping unnecessary rules away from private sector employers.“This moratorium underscores my steadfast commitment and pledge to create a pro-business environment that fosters long-term economic growth,” Ducey said. “As a state that has yet to fully recover from unprecedented job losses during the recession, it is imperative that we take every possible action to ease the burden on Arizona employers and continue to move our economy forward. This order is a significant first step toward achieving that mission.”During in his inaugural address, Ducey also listed the state budget among his primary concerns and focuses for his time in office."In resolving this year’s budget challenges, we have plenty of good examples to follow. Tightening the belt on spending is the common experience of every family and small business in our state.  They make tough choices and we are elected to do the same," Ducey said. "So I will say to the legislature: we can do this – we can get these fiscal troubles behind us.  Exactly as the Arizona constitution demands, we can put the Arizona budget in balance and we can keep it there."Congrats to @DougDucey on taking the oath & being sworn in as Arizona's 23rd governor today! #AZfuture pic.twitter.com/tTFlmSsMJF

  • 2015 could be a big year for Pima County and our regional economy

    Happy New Year. I hope you are still adhering to your New Year’s resolutions. While county governments don’t necessarily make New Year’s resolutions, they do have goals and plans for the year, albeit generally geared toward fiscal years, which in Arizona are from July to June.Nevertheless, calendar year 2015 should be a big one for Pima County. This month, I will be releasing an update to the county’s Economic Development Plan, which the Board of Supervisors first adopted in 2012.This updated version builds on the 2012 plan and seeks to continue or develop policies and plans that help keep and protect our region’s major employers; develop and maximize new job centers; leverage the science and technology discoveries at The University of Arizona into new companies and new jobs; enhance and develop our international commerce, especially with Mexico, Canada and South Korea; and continue to develop a trained and desired workforce ready to fill new, good-paying jobs.Pima County and Arizona have been slow to grow coming out of the Great Recession as compared to other parts of the country, mostly because the recession was caused by a burst housing bubble; and Arizona’s and Pima County’s economy were overly reliant on homebuilding.This Economic Development Plan seeks to move our region’s growth beyond just population increases and homebuilding by capitalizing on many of our existing or emerging industries, as well as our unique geographic location that makes Tucson an ideal logistics hub for North American and international trade.Many of these economic development initiatives involve continuing already successful county programs, such as our OneStop Career Centers that help match employers with job-seeking employees. Many other initiatives will require public investment in capital projects and regional and cultural amenities.

  • Body cameras for officers: Local departments weigh in

    In the wake of much-debated cases like that of Michael Brown, the Ferguson teenager who was shot and killed by officer Darren Wilson following an altercation, the subject of body cameras has become a common talking point – President Barack Obama going so far as to request $263 million from Congress to equip officers across the nation with them.Locally, it’s a practice that has already been employed in at least one Arizona police department, and others agencies say they are on board with the idea.While it wouldn’t serve as a cure-all, it would create an atmosphere of transparency, local officers say.Oro Valley Police Chief Danny Sharp, who in 2012 implemented body cameras within his department, has been helping pioneer the movement, which he says has a peaking interest from other agencies like the Tucson Police Department and Florence Police Department.“There is interest out there,” said Sharp. “I’ve had a couple departments consult with us on our experiences with body cameras.” There is also interest from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department and Marana Police Department (MPD), MPD Sgt. Chris Warren saying cameras, while costly, are something the department is considering on behalf of officers and community members.

  • Two locals collaborate on children’s book

    Marana resident Rhonda Banuelos used to live in Hawaii. Though she moved back to the main land, she has always kept the “aloha way” of treating your neighbors like friends and caring for your community.Now, she is passing along that way of life in her children’s books, which are inspired by both the Hawaiian islands and a cat she adopted while living there. “The Adventures of Hayley Cat” stars a cat named Hayley who goes around the island meeting and making new friends. In her first adventure Hayley meets up with a dolphin and in her second adventure, she meets a horse.“When you make a friend in Hawaii, it’s like a friend for life,” Banuelos said. “And that is what had happened to me when I lived there and I made a friend for life who was my next door neighbor.”She said the culture there brought people together as friends and neighbors try to include each other in what ever they might be doing, such as festivities or luaus.“My idea was to promote friendship, to promote the ‘aloha spirit,’” she said.“I wanted to bring that concept through a children’s book to give them an idea of how it is to get along from different backgrounds and put that into children relating with animals.”

  • Desert Museum’s Mineral Madness

    Now’s the time to gear up for the annual Tucson Gem & Mineral Show by attending the Desert Museum’s Mineral Madness event on Jan. 17 through Jan. 18. Attendees will want to spend some time viewing the Museum’s mineral collection in the Earth Sciences Center cave before heading to the gem and mineral showcase and sale in the Baldwin Education Building. The Desert Museum’s mineral collection is recognized as one of the most comprehensive regional collections in the world. “The geology of the Sonoran Desert sets the stage for everything that lives here, and has lived here in the past. This is true on the largest scale of landscape features like mountains and valleys, all the way down to micronutrients in the soil”, states Debra Colodner, the Museum’s Director of Conservation Education & Science. This event offers a great introduction to the geology of the region and guests can learn some interesting fun facts about rocks, minerals and fossils. “For example, copper wires carry electricity but copper also transports oxygen in the blood of tarantulas and other spiders. Humans and other vertebrates need iron in their diets for this same purpose,” adds Colodner. Two new features have been added to the event this year enticing attendees to “rock out” in a new way. At the entrance plaza, visitors will be able to test their athletic ability by climbing the 25-foot rock-climbing tower from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. And for those that enjoy rockin’ to live music, the Nap Skippers and Dr. Nature will make appearances beginning at 11 a.m. each day. From the novice to the serious collector, the mineral showcase and sale is the place to discover and purchase new treasures. The marketplace will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day and bargain hunters will find specimens starting for as little as $1. The Museum’s expert staff and docents will be available to help guide visitors in making their selections. Free jewelry-making demonstrations will run throughout the day. Fun family activity stations around the museum grounds will be hosted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. Stations will include activities like Walking through a Geode, Wooly Wonders, and Ride through the Rock Cycle. At each activity station, children can collect a free rock or mineral specimen in their own egg-carton collection box. Children are encouraged to bring their own egg-cartons but the museum will provide them while supplies last. The Museum’s Art Institute will host a variety of art activities for kids and families including painting with minerals. Admission to the Museum always includes the opportunity to explore all 21 interpreted acres and attend the free live animal presentations that run daily. See native mammals and birds at Fur, Feathers and Fangs, venomous reptiles at Live and (sort of) on the Loose, and birds-of prey at Raptor Free Flight. Most of the specially-themed Mineral Madness activities are free with museum admission. Regular admission prices apply. 

  • Governor Ducey coming to Tucson for 2015 State of the State

    The Tucson Metro Chamber just announced that Governor-elect Doug Ducey will host the State of the State address in Tucson on Tuesday, January 13.  The event, which will be coupled with the Tucson Metro Chamber Business Expo, is being held at the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort, 10000 N. Oracle Rd. "During the address, Gov. Ducey will define his priorities, the challenges that Arizona faces and important initiatives he will be driving during the next year. His comments are expected to have a distinct Southern Arizona slant," the Tucson Metro Chamber said in a press release. Registration for State of the State and the Tucson Metro Chamber Business Expo open at 10 a.m., with a luncheon and Ducey's address beginning at noon. Tickets are $85 for Tucson Metro Chamber members and $115 for non-members. RSVP by Tuesday, January 6 at TucsonChamber.org/StateofState. The Tucson Metro Chamber Business Expo is free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

  • Winter fire safety tips

    Below are some safety tips from Drexel Heights Fire District and the U.S. Fire AdministrationHeating Fire Safety and Carbon Monoxide Home fires occur more in winter than in any other season. Many of these home fires are caused by space heaters, as well as fireplaces and wood stoves. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) advises the following heating and carbon monoxide tips to stay safe this winter season:Portable Heaters•Only use portable heaters from a recognized testing laboratory.•Make sure the heater has an automatic shut-off so if it tips over, it shuts off.


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