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Candidates for Legislative District 11 State Senate and House of Representatives will appear at the second 2014 Election Forum sponsored by Citizens for Picture Rocks (C4PR) on Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 6:30 p.m. at Picture Rocks Community Center, 5615 N. Sanders Road. Former State Representative from Picture Rocks Jennifer Burns will again moderate as invited Senate candidates Jo Holt (D) and Steve Smith (R) respond to questions submitted from the community. They will be followed by invited State Representative candidates Mark Finchem (R), Vince Leach (R), Holly Lyon (D) and Barry McCain (D-Write-in). The event is open to the public, and a social hour with face time with candidates will begin at 6 p.m.Fire District candidatesThe candidates met in September at a forum that featured candidates for the Picture Rocks Fire District Governing Board (PRFD). Two of those, recently-appointed incumbent Sandra Watson and former board member David Putnam, will appear on the ballot; Sherryn “Vicki” Marshall is running as a write-in candidate. The forum was moderated by former state Rep. Jennifer Burns, who posed questions developed by the community.
Kristy Brower has a bright, open space for children to sit on the floor with their xylophones and a roomy niche to store her class set of violins— space that was once something of a luxury in a school that, until recently, just wasn’t big enough for all the enrichment educators wanted to provide at Harleson Elementary School.Until this summer, Brower, an encouraging, quick to smile music teacher, was demonstrating rhythm, pitch and beat in a tightly packed portable. Along with cafeteria stages, such cramped quarters were once typical for music programs around Amphitheater Public Schools. But thanks to a bond package that district voters approved in 2007, there’s now a place for everything and everything in its place.“It seems to have made things like five times easier,” Brower said. “Everything has a place.”The music room at Harelson is just one of dozens of completed projects paid for with the proceeds of the bond sales. Building projects are now winding down but the district still has plenty of developments ready to come off the drawing board, culminating in an all-new elementary school in Oro Valley expected to open in two years (see accompanying story).So far, Amphi has encumbered about $110 million, and will finish all of its planned renovations and build-outs having spent between about $130 million and $135 million, said Chris Louth, district bond projects manager.Voters approved the sale of up to $180 million in bonds for capital improvements, but the district shrunk the grand total after scrapping a proposed middle school when the housing bust slowed projected enrollment growth. Contractors keen to make the most attractive bids during the worst of the recession also allowed Amphi to realize some savings in labor and commodities, Louth said.
Marana Unified School District is going to the voters in November to ask for $125 million in bonds.The money, if approved by voters, would be spent on two new elementary schools, a performing arts center, a centralized transportation and maintenance facility, and replacement of portable classrooms with permanent brick-and-mortar expansions, along with building and stadium renovations, buses and furniture. “As our district is growing we need to be able to meet those obligations, such as in the form of construction and the ability to build new elementary schools and equip those schools, in addition to those necessary renovations and capital projects that are needed in order to maintain buildings and keep infrastructure operational,” said district spokeswoman Tamara Crawley.State funding cuts in recent years have eliminated monies for building renewal, new-school construction, and soft capital – which is used for textbooks, computers and classroom supplies – across Arizona. This leaves school districts to turn to voters to approve tax increases in the form of bonds and budget overrides for building and maintenance projects and purchase of vehicles, equipment and supplies. This loss comes out to about $4.7 million a year for MUSD.
Oro Valley Police DepartmentOn Saturday, Sept. 13, at 12:21 p.m., Oro Valley police responded to a house on the 9000 block of N. Calle Loma Linda after receiving a call about a violation of a court order. The woman told police that her son had come to her house and damaged her garage door. The son and his wife had recently moved out, but left some of their belongings at the house. The woman left the items outside and told the two to come pick up their items. After month, the rain ruined the items because they were left outside. The son and his mother got into a verbal argument, left and hit her garage door with a shovel. She said it would cost about $500 to repair the door. On Monday, Sept. 8, at about 7:50 a.m., an Oro Valley police officer working as student resource officer at Canyon Del Oro High School responded to a fight that had recently occurred between two female students. A verbal argument took place between two students after one student was accused of writing on the other student’s cellphone case. The two exchanged words and separated, and then a short while later one student returned, threw her backpack on the ground and sttuck the other student in the head. The two exchanged strikes, hair pulling and kicking in front of about 10 to 20 students until a teacher broke up the fight. One student was arrested for disorderly conduct and the other was arrested for assault. Both were released to their respective parents and suspended for three days. On Sunday, Sept. 7, at about 3:39 p.m., Oro Valley police responded to a report of shoplifting at the Kohl’s at 7785 N. Oracle Road. The shoplifting was taking place when police arrived. On security cameras, police watched as the man made his way around the store concealing items on his person and in his backpack. After detaining and questioning the man, police found $290.98 worth of stolen merchandise on him. He had also broken a watch by trying to remove the security tag. He was arrested for shoplifting and criminal damage and transported to the Pima County Jail.
Hikers from the Picture Rocks Community Center Hiking Club (PRCCHC) started their season with a Sept. 25 stroll around the SASCO smelter, which closed in 1919.Their next hike, Thursday, Oct. 23, is a flat 1.5-mile round-trip stroll from the Community Center, 5615 N. Sanders Road, to the ruins of the Civilian Conservation Corps’ Camp Pima. Bring water and a light lunch, wear sturdy shoes and a hat, and a walking stick is always useful. No dogs. Free; reservations recommended: 682-7166. Civilian Conservation Corps Camp Pima, which contained 32 frame and adobe buildings, was open from December 1933 to June 1941. The CCC was set up early in Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “New Deal” to help rescue the nation from the deep economic depression that followed the collapse of the stock market. With more than 25 percent of the workforce unemployed, the government became the employer of last resort to provide jobs and get wages circulating in the economy.The Civilian Conservation Corps put three million young men and thousands of young women to work on environmental conservation jobs, not in competition with the private sector. That included fighting fires, reforestation, erosion control, trail and dam building, and building the ramadas and picnic areas at many national parks, including Saguaro National Monument, as it was then called. CCC workers also built the scenic overlook and parking areas at Gates Pass. Camp Papago was established briefly at what is now the Gilbert Ray Campground, putting Native American youth to work. It shut down after one year due to lack of water.Charles Sanders was one of the first 95 recruits who were put up at a temporary tent camp while a well was dug at the new camp. Clarence George Lundquist and Red Wills were sent to the site to monitor the flow from the new well. During this time the camp sent food over to them. “Peanut butter and jam sandwiches. That’s all we got, morning, noon and night. Oh, and apples. For two weeks.” Lundquist later remembered. Later, enrollee Francisco “Chico” Bejerano, who was at Camp Pima in 1938, was asked if he could recall any particularly memorable meals he had had in the CCC. He replied, “Yeah. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”Rudasill Road had not yet been built, and a dirt road ran from Mile Wide to the CCC camp. There is a circle of saguaros that marked Camp Pima’s entrance. Saguaro National Park plans to build an interpretive trail in the future. Please remember that anything over 50 years old is legally considered to be an artifact and is protected by law. What looks like old trash is part of an archaeological record that should not be disturbed.
The Marana Unified School District senior leadership and Marana Schools’ 2340 Foundation recognized Sue Richey for her 40 years of teaching during a surprise celebration on Sept. 30 at Coyote Trail Elementary School. At the celebration, district superintendent Doug Wilson presented Richey with her 40-year longevity pin. She is the first employee in the Marana district to receive this recognition.Richey began teaching in the Marana Unified School District in 1975 and the 2014-15 school year marks her 40th year of teaching. She is currently a second-grade teacher at Coyote Trail Elementary School.“Ms. Richey and I began working together 19 years ago when the school opened. We are the only two from the original staff that opened Coyote Trail in 1996,” said Dan Johnson, principal of Coyote Trail Elementary. “We have seen so many changes in public education over the years with curriculum and test requirements, yet Ms. Richey’s dedication to student learning and her love of teaching has never waned.She truly loves what she does and is so committed to seeing her students succeed. She gives her heart and soul to our students. I remember how she initially had reservations about leaving her students and colleagues at Thornydale to open a new school; yet she is often heard saying how she has loved every minute at Coyote Trail. It has been a true pleasure knowing her and working with her all of these years.She is loved by students, parents, and staff alike. It is my hope she continues doing the wonderful work she does for the next 40 years.”
Hundreds of neighbors visited Picture Rocks Community Center on Sept. 20 for a Community Resource Fair. Over 30 displays brought information on local resources and issues along with flu shots, popcorn and sno-cones and useful take-aways. Scouts, 4H Clubs, United Way’s Elder Alliance, Sheriff’s Auxiliary, Abbett Library, Marana Health Center and Food Bank, Citizens for Picture Rocks, Neighbors Helping Neighbors and others spoke to community needs. Arts and crafts were represented, along with recreation opportunities in Saguaro National Park and Arizona State Parks. The Avra Valley Coalition opposed an I-11 Canamex Highway through the valley, while state legislature candidates Jo Holt and Holly Lyon introduced themselves to potential voters. Trico Electric and Avra Water Co-ops were available for customer queries, and the Picture Rocks Fire Department provided red helmets to young potential firefighters. Picture Rocks Community Center Coordinator Adam Bernal put it all together with help from community organizations and Teen Club volunteers. At the end of the morning participants said they felt a stronger sense of community, and there were a lot of “thank yous” all around.
After devastating floods in Arizona in 1976, 1977 and 1978, the Arizona State Legislature established county flood control districts as special taxing districts to provide floodplain management and flood control improvements. In Pima County, the Board of Supervisors created the Pima County Flood Control District in 1978 with the board serving as the district’s decision-making body.The district has been an overwhelming success. Last month, a tropical storm funneled thick gulf moisture into Arizona and up to four inches of rain fell across parts of the metropolitan area. Streets flooded, washes raged and streams ran bank-to-bank.Two unfortunate souls lost their lives trying to cross flooded streams in their cars and another six motorists had to be rescued for trying to do likewise. But the heavy rain, which in decades past would have caused devastating flooding, caused little property damage. That wasn’t luck. It was by design.
Last week, the Golder Ranch Fire District hosted a special ceremony to celebrate the new fire facility in a partnership between Robson Communities and Golder Ranch Fire District. This collaborative effort is what made the station the community possible.
If you are new to the area, you may not know a wide variety of herbs and vegetables grow well here in the winter months ahead. The only secret to growing a great winter garden is to plant the right kinds at the right time. And the time is now!Vegetable gardening does not need to take a great deal of space or time — unless you want it to. Vegetables can easily be grown in large pots on the patio. An advantage to large pots is that you can grow your vegetables in nice rich potting soil, and never have to dig a garden. Pots also lift the vegetables out of reach of most vegetarian critters that may squeeze under the gate.If you want to turn over the earth rather than use potting soil, great! Go for it. Start small, you can always add more garden next season. You will be surprised the amount of fun you can have with a strip only two feet wide and ten feet long. Wherever you grow, try to find a spot with six or more hours of full winter sun. What to plant? For the shorter cooler days ahead, it is best to plant green vegetables. Plants with fruits, like tomatoes and peppers, usually do not survive the winter cold, and will not set fruit in the winter months. Thus the fall and winter garden in Tucson has mostly leaf, stem, and root produce. The notable exception is peas.Garden peas come in a vast array of types, but they all want something to climb on. The fence between your townhouse and the next is one option for small spaces. A length of chicken wire hooked on the wall or a chain link fence work equally well. Edible pod peas are the most fun to have in the garden, because you can munch them straight off the vine. Start now for longest availability of snacks. Root crops will do best with a soil that is a little more sandy than most normal garden soil. I have a patch of the garden with extra sand for carrots especially. Even with this aid, the short varieties, called “half-long” or “thumbelina” do best in Tucson. Along with carrots consider radish, beets and parsnips. These last two take longer to reach a decent size. All of these root crops are good candidates for growing in a giant pot on the patio. Interplant with annual flowers like pansies for color if you wish.
The University of Arizona Medical Center is one of 60 trauma centers in the United States, Canada and Europe selected to conduct a clinical trial of a new investigational drug that could help people with acute spinal cord injuries (ASCI) experience less spinal cord damage and have improved function.Researchers are evaluating the safety and efficacy of an investigative new drug called SUN13837 to determine whether it can protect and regenerate the spinal nerves in ASCI patients. To be considered for the study, a participant must have suffered a spinal cord injury within 12 hours prior to receiving the first dose of the medication and be available for daily dosing for 28 consecutive days.UAMC is the only Level I Trauma Center in the Southwest involved in the two-year study. UA Department of Surgery surgeons Randall Friese, MD, associate professor, Division of Trauma, Critical Care, Burn and Emergency Surgery, and Rein Anton, MD, PhD, assistant professor, Division of Neurosurgery, are leading the study.Acute spinal cord injury occurs in 13,000 to 15,000 individuals in the United States each year; well over half of the cases experience quadriplegia. The estimated lifetime cost of acute spinal cord injury for a 25-year-old patient is in the millions of dollars.At present, no drug has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or Health Canada to treat the paralysis and sensory loss that occurs after ASCI. The study is sponsored by Asubio Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a Daiichi Sankyo Group Company.In this randomized trial, patients will be assigned to receive either a placebo or SUN13837 within 12 hours of injury and then daily for 28 days. Researchers will determine if subjects receiving SUN13837 are more likely to respond to the treatment (and to what extent) compared to those in the placebo group. The drug level in the blood stream will be compared to the response to determine the relationship between dose, effect (efficacy or clinical symptoms) and safety.
Families of Oro Valley will soon be able to enjoy a fun, interactive and hands-on learning space for their children as the town is looking to open a Children’s Museum in the first quarter of 2015.The town is partnering with Children’s Museum Tucson who opened its doors in 1986 and receives about 162,000 visitors per year. The museum, which caters to children zero to 10 years old, educates through hands-on learning activities. “Mr. Rogers said something along the lines of “play is the job of childhood.” I believe this is how children grow and develop and experience the world – through leaning and play,” said Michael Luria, executive director of Children’s Museum Tucson. “The museum is also an opportunity for quality family time.”Mayor Satish Hiremath visited Children’s Museum Tucson about a year ago where he expressed interest in bringing something like it to Oro Valley. The conversation continued in the coming months and in time the idea was brought before the Children’s Museum Tucson board. After conducting research studies on the effects of another museum and the pros and cons involved, the Tucson museum decided to move forward with the project.“We wanted to ask ourselves if having another museum made sense, because we didn’t want to be cannibalizing ourselves downtown,” said Luria. “We did research with member in Oro Valley, Sahuarita and Green Valley to help.”The initial cost of the project is $600,000. The Children’s Museum Tucson will contribute $200,000 and the town has budgeted a one-time $200,000 amount along with a yearly subsidy of $75,000 for maintaining the museum. The town approved the amounts in May of this year. The remaining costs for the project will be fundraised by the town.
An Oro Valley couple gathers traditions from many ancient media.One of the best painters of the American West says, “I’m a storyteller.” And thinking of his audience, he adds, “Maybe they’ll understand the story or inject their own interpretation.”Enter Carmelita and Darrell Martin, who are also storytellers, but storytellers who use neither words nor oil on canvas. Carmelita uses gourds, and Darrell uses silver. You can meet Carmelita and Darrell at the Sun City Oro Valley Arts and Crafts Festival in Oro Valley on Saturday, Oct. 25. At the festival you can enjoy the challenge of interpreting the stories embedded in Darrell and Carmelita’s work—and you can be creative in making and injecting your own interpretations. That’s a great feature of an arts and crafts festival, the opportunity to interact with the participants and their stories. If a piece of Darrell’s jewelry resonates with a story you like, then you go home with a new piece of wearable art. If one of Carmelita’s gourds reminds you of a story from your life, you can enhance your home with this reminder.Decorated gourds go back some 4,000 years in Peru. And both Europe and Asia have long histories of artists working in silver and other metals. Many gourd artists like the way this medium pulls in the world of nature, with its beauty of shape and line, plus its variability and unpredictability. Every gourd is unique, nature’s guarantee of originality.Carmelita had painted some gourds she had grown, but she says she didn’t find the process too satisfying. She then began to add traditional techniques like burning and carving designs onto the gourds. The carving led to inlays, which then led to adding objects such as beads.
Tucson’s salsa dance community is coming together this fall to celebrate what promises to be the largest dance event in Southern Arizona. The Tucson Salsa Bachata Dance Festival (TSBDF) is kicking off Oct. 17 through Oct. 19, for three days and two nights of performances, lessons, workshops, competitions, and late-night dancing. From the streets of Havana, to the towers of Tokyo; salsa has become a worldwide addiction that is bringing people together unlike ever before. TSBDF wants to invite this world to our doorstep and put Arizona in the headlines for all the right reasons, with a dance party that is as eccentric as the city of Tucson. Salsa dancing will be at the heart of the event, but organizers of the conference hope for this to reach all corners of Tucson’s rich culture. This will be an opportunity to showcase the beauty, talent and diversity of our Latin dance community. Who: Tucson, Phoenix, Flagstaff and surrounding areas, Salsa, Bachata, Latin and other forms of dancers and artists What: Tucson Salsa Bachata Dance Festival (TSBDF) focuses mainly in Salsa and Bachata but prides itself on putting together amazing line-up of performers of all dance backgrounds, for three (3) straight days and two (2) nights, to showcase the beauty, talent and culture of Latin dance community. Where: Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Tucson Airport-North, 4550 S Palo Verde Road.
Working smoke alarms can make a life-saving difference in a fire. That’s the message behind this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month!”Along with firefighters and safety advocates nationwide, Golder Ranch Fire District is joining forces with the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) during Fire Prevention Week, October 5-11, to remind local residents about the importance of having working smoke alarms in the home and testing them monthly. According to the latest NFPA research, working smoke alarms cut the chance of dying in a fire in half. Meanwhile, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign includes the following smoke alarm messages:• Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.• Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. This way, when one sounds, they all do.
Startup Tucson was awarded a $1.44 million, five-year contract from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s ScaleUp America program. Startup Tucson was one of only seven successful applicants nationwide out of over 60 proposals. Tucson is the only community west of the Mississippi River to receiveScaleUp America funding. “Tucson is on the verge of an economic transformation and the ScaleUp America program is injecting over $1 million into our community at a critical time,” said Justin Williams, CEO and founder of Startup Tucson. “According to the Kauffman Foundation, over the last 30 years, 100% of all net-new jobs nationally came from high-potential startups committed to rapid growth. Startup Tucson will use this award, combined with the investments made this summer by the City of Tucson, the Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation, and Holualoa Properties, to accelerate the growth of our region’s high-potential early stage companies.” Startup Tucson’s ScaleUp America contract will support the Thryve Next growth accelerator program focusing on high-potential, growth-oriented companies with annual revenues between $150,000 and $500,000, approximately two years old and in the early growth business cycle. Thryve Next, powered by Startup Tucson, is a national model for entrepreneurial cultivation. “The Desert Angels invests significantly in high-growth companies like those supported by Startup Tucson,” said Dan Janes, Co-Founder of 42Six Solutions and a member of the local Desert Angels investor network. “These high-growth companies bring in new dollars and grow new jobs in the regional economy.” With a focus on local impact, inclusion and innovation, contracts awarded by ScaleUp America provide intensive entrepreneurship education and a growth-support program to achieve the following goals: increase business scalability, create local jobs, and positively impact the local economy. The contract also supports undeserved and underrepresented businesses. As the leading resource for early stage startups and growing businesses in Southern Arizona, Startup Tucson continues to transform the economy through entrepreneurship and innovation. Small businesses interested in Thryve Next can email Thryve@startuptucson.com or visit www.startuptucson.com/thryve. About Startup Tucson Startup Tucson is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit committed to transforming Southern Arizona’s economy through innovation and entrepreneurship. Founded in 2011, Startup Tucson delivers programs to support the launch of and growth of high-impact businesses. Investors in Startup Tucson include the City of Tucson, the Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation, Holualoa Properties, and the Desert Angels. Visit www.startuptucson.com for more information.
Pima Community College is proud to host the Trane® “Acceleration Now” tour, a national trade show highlighting products and services available to the building and construction industry. The Acceleration Now Tour, the first ever for Arizona, will bring Trane’s commercial heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) solutions to its customers and the community. When: Friday, Oct. 3, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Where: PCC Downtown Campus, 1255 N. Stone Ave., west parking lot To register: To register, click here. Students and PCC employees not based at Downtown who are attending the event, as well as members of the public attending, are asked to park at the West Campus, 2202 W. Anklam Road, and ride the event shuttle to the Downtown Campus. Media: Invited to attend “Pima Community College is honored to host the Trane ‘Acceleration Now’ Tour and partner with industry for the benefit of our students, the college and the community,” said William Ward, PCC’s Vice Chancellor for Facilities. “Trane and PCC also share the common goal of helping raise the level of technical education for the students and developing the most effective workforce of tomorrow. I see Facilities as a foundation for education that supports the environments for learning that makes learning deeper and more effective.”Trane is a leading global provider of indoor comfort solutions and services and a brand of Ingersoll Rand. The Trane “Acceleration Now” Tour provides information about how the right energy conservation measures can help organizations and businesses increase their energy and operational efficiency and the benefits they can gain as a result. These results can include improved academic performance in schools, optimized healing in healthcare environments and higher productivity and better health for employees in commercial buildings.During the Trane “Acceleration Now” tour, a semi-truck and two flatbeds carrying the newest equipment, controls and interactive displays will visit 70 communities in 39 weeks. Customers can learn about these new technologies and innovations at each stop:
In what will likely be the only debate in Tucson, the three candidates running for Arizona governor gathered at the Jewish Community Center on Sept. 18 to take part in the event hosted by the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.In attendance was Republican Doug Ducey, who is currently the state treasurer, Democrat Fred DuVal and Libertarian candidate Barry Hess.With nearly 500 in attendance, it was standing room only as education and the economy were the main topics along with audience-generated questions centering on social issues, water and the border.To start the night, the candidates were questioned about policy decisions made by current Gov. Jan Brewer regarding an executive order to bar immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals from getting a state driver’s license — An order that is currently being challenged in court.While DuVal said he would repeal it, Ducey said he supports the action taken by Brewer. When it comes to the economy, the candidates fielded several questions surrounding the slow recession recovery and how the winning candidate would help small businesses succeed.
It rained. But the sun came back out.Oro Valley residents Sarah Bechman and Barbara Anderson watched their children enjoy the steady downfall at James Kreigh Park last Friday afternoon. A little bit of water didn’t stop Sarah’s daughter, 5-year-old Brooke, from riding the swing with an ear-to-ear smile.And it didn’t stop Jude, Barbara’s 2-year-old son, from running around the playground in his new shoes – though he did trip once or twice while adjusting to them.He got back up though. He didn’t cry. Instead, he wiped his hands off and continued life. At one point, Brooke offered her hand and led him back to the playground.The moms watched on. They watched their children exude strength, optimism and kindness. They watched them enjoy themselves while others may have fled the park to dodge the rain.But to Sarah and Barbara, rain wasn’t something to be afraid of. And it certainly wasn’t to Brooke and Jude.
Although their methods and locations have changed, the focus of A.C.M.E.stuDio has remained constant. To provide opportunities to people with special needs and to bring art to might not otherwise be exposed to it. In 1993, Sharon Harrington was working for the only daycare in Tucson that cared for special needs students as well as their siblings, and she created an afterschool program for the students to experience art.“It was a place for the whole family to go,” explained Harrington, who was a special education teacher. “One location, one interactive location.”The school/daycare eventually closed, but Harrington opened up an art studio that would not only service special needs students but become an art center for all ages and abilities.A.C.M.E., or Artisans Crafters Masters and Educators, all had a common bond in that they knew someone with a disability and had a desire to share their experience, time and talents with those who want to learn more about art. She had a great deal with the landlord, but eventually a new tenant was slated to move in and A.C.M.E was on the move, eventually settling in Marana. The non-profit could not afford a brick and mortar location, so Harrington and her volunteers converted to a mobile arts studio that that travels to local schools, organizations and community settings. In addition to working with local school districts, A.C.M.E. would go to town events and host art camps through Marana Parks and Recreation.
The Explorer Newspaper won several awards during the annual Arizona Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Contest on Sept. 20, including third place for overall General Excellence.The Explorer took several first place honors, including Departmental News Excellence, Best Special Section and designer J.D. Fitzgerald won for Best Feature Photo Layout.The Explorer took second place for Best Newspaper Website; and third place for Editorial Page Excellence and Best Special Section.Fitzgerald also won a second-place award for Best News Photograph.Randy Metcalf won a second-place award for Best Feature Photo Layout, and third-place for Best Feature Photograph and Best Photograph.Reporter Hillary Davis took second-place for Enterprise Reporting, in Inside Tucson Businss.