- Your Voice
As Marana continues to grow, the town has the challenge of keeping things working as smoothly as possible, to avoid the bureaucratic gridlock that hampers so many larger communities. They have looked at ways of making the experience of working with the town as easy as possible, streamlining things wherever they can. Some of these plans have been integrated into the latest edition of the strategic plan, where improved communication is a major theme. The town’s website is another key aspect to these goals. The town is working hard to improve the ways of citizen engagement through their website and it will be an ever-evolving process. The town launched a new website last year and not only does it work better, but it has a slightly altered purpose. “The town web site has evolved from being structured like the town government organization to being a more citizen-focused, service-oriented format,” explained Carl Drescher, Marana’s tech services director.Ease of use was the key, so not only is the site geared more towards the citizens, but it has been adapted so that citizens may use it in a variety of ways depending on their needs.“The latest revision also is a responsive design that is more easily able to view on tablets and smart phones,” said Drescher. Although the site was just revamped, changes are ongoing. Case in point, a new search feature was added in early December.
The Marana Police Department took an afternoon to honor their own. The department held its 3rd Annual Awards Ceremony on Jan. 14, at The Highlands at Dove Mountain Conference Room. Marana Police Chief Terry Rozema handed out 13 awards to 24 recipients.“Your attitudes of humility and hearts of true servants make me proud to be a part of this noble profession in general, and this department specifically,” said Rozema. “Thank you all for doing a job that very few people are willing, qualified, and capable of doing and for doing it with excellence. Be safe out there.” The ceremony recognized officers, civilians, and volunteers for their outstanding performances over the past year. The idea of the ceremony is to honor those who exemplify the true meaning of the department’s mission statement, “To provide Unparalleled Service and Unwavering Protection to every person in the Town of Marana.”Chief Rozema presented the following 13 awards. 1. Chief’s Citation Medal: Ofc. Jason Cann, Ofc. Bradley Clifford, Ofc. Daniel Sample, Ofc. Robert Quackenbush, Ofc. Lucas Wilkinson 2. Chief’s Citation Medal: Ofc. Josh Corn
The Marana Town Council meeting set for Tuesday, Jan. 20 will have two public hearings on rezoning as well as a presentation to recommend amending the Town Code relating to utilities.The first public hearing will be whether or not to rezone approximately 3.2 acres of land located on the southeast corner of Twin Peaks Road and Tangerine. Currently the land is zoned for “C” (Large Lot Zone) and Steve Cheslak of the Planner’s office is expected to recommend that council change the zoning to “NC” (Neighborhood Commercial).The second public hearing will be whether or not to amend Marana Ordinance N. 2002.19, which rezoned 61.2 acres of land located on the west side of Silverbell Road, south of Ina. Cynthia Ross of the Planning office will discuss whether they should increase the maximum number of residential units from 41 to 56 and increasing the total site disturbance from 30% to 37%, as well as a few other modifications.Those who wish to address the council about either item are encouraged to do so.The final council action will be a presentation by Town Utilities Director John Kmiec about adding a section to the Town Code Title 14 (Utilities). He will present Chapter 14-10 which is an industrial wastewater ordinance.Also on the agenda are eight items for the consent agenda including the authorizing of the Marana Signature Event Series, which is just a name for events the town already presents like the Star Spangled Spectacular and the Christmas Tree Lighting. The other items would just give consent to agreements already made by various town departments and outside parties, such as the acceptance of a grant for the Marana Regional Airport, Marana Parks and Recreation working with a company to put on the Marana Bluegrass Festival and more.
The problem was spelled out for the automotive students at Mountain View High School: Find the volumetric efficiency of a 10-cylinder Dodge Viper with a bore of 4 inches and a stroke of 3.88 inches when it is idling at 920 RPM with the throttle open 13 percent and an air flow of 8.85 g/s.Within a few minutes, the students solved this real-world problem along with three others during zero period – a class that takes place before the regularly scheduled start of classes around the school. Within this unique Career and Technical Education (CTE) class, students are taught by two teachers. One is an automotive teacher and the other is a math teacher.Of the CTE classes in Arizona, which range from biosciences and engineering sciences to culinary arts and cosmetology, there are 20 CTE courses within the state that give students dual credits in math, economics or science. The math-in-the-automotive-class process began in 2010 with the students in beginning auto. They were the first to be eligible to receive the math credit if they remained in the program for three years.“This is not an easy option for the kids,” Damiani said. “This is not an easy way to get your fourth-year math credit – it is a different way.”Wyatt Bowman, who is a senior at the school, explained that he didn’t understand math and was usually getting D’s in his math classes. That is, until he began taking the automotive math class.
A new strain of flu for which there is no complete vaccine has made national headlines and created murmured concern locally after Pima County saw its first pediatric flu death since 2009.But it was never confirmed that the child, who had underlying health issues, died from the new strain of flu, nor is the strain as big a concern as news outlets have made it, according to Pima County Health Director Dr. Francisco Garcia. Noting the child’s death as a “big deal,” Garcia hopes to defuse rumors that might have some quick to label the new A(H3) subtype strain as generally lethal – though he acknowledges its form is known historically to lead to more dramatic flu seasons that can result in higher mortality rates than other strains.“This is nothing new,” he said. “Every year there is a variation of the type of flu we see. It will make you miserable, make you miss work, and will take you a few days to recover from, but generally it won’t kill you. And when I worry about the flu is when we see excessive deaths, and currently the county isn’t experiencing that.”On the national scale, there have been 21 pediatric deaths this flu season, measured from Sept. 28, 2014 onward. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, there were 105 pediatric deaths during the 2013-14 flu season, which peaked in late December and began a downward trend in January.The CDC reports the number of flu-associated pediatric deaths has ranged from 37 to 171 since 2004-2005, when pediatric flu deaths became nationally reportable.
Two programs at Marana High School have made the school safer. A Marana High student was arrested last Thursday after allegedly talking about “shooting up the school” the day before. A student told school officials about the threat Thursday morning and the student was apprehended a short time later. Thanks to a new program, the school once again has a School Resource Officer (SRO), a Marana Police Department officer on campus. It was the SRO Cole Hunter, who informed Marana Police about the threat and they intercepted the 17-year old before he could reach campus. “Since we have a Marana Police Department School Resource Officer on campus, he was able to immediately respond to this situation,” said Dr. Allison Murphy, the school principal. “I served as the investigating officer in the situation,” explained Hunter. “Marana administration learned of the threats Thursday morning when students arrived and immediately notified me. I was able to brief responding patrol units and they were at MHS, with all pertinent information, within 5-10 minutes. Under ordinary circumstances, it can take that long just to get an officer dispatched to an incident. MPD already has outstanding response times but having an Officer at the campus enabled us to respond to the incident instantly.”Although the student maintained he was just making a joke, he was arrested on charges of interfering with an educational facility. The school implemented their Shelter-In-Place policy, which is a lock-down procedure, while the police were talking to the suspect. The lock-down only lasted a few minutes until the student was removed from campus. The school had scheduled a lock-down drill for that day.
The people behind the Tangerine Road corridor improvements are getting together this Wednesday, Jan. 14 to present updates on the project. The event will begin at the Oro Valley Council Chambers, 11000 N. La Canada, at 6 p.m., with the presentation beginning at 6:15 p.m.Representatives from the Town of Marana, Town of Oro Valley, Pima County and the Regional Transportation Authority and the contractor will all be there to answer questions.The design for the 5 mile stretch of road between La Canada and Interstate 10 should be completed this coming Fall, with construction beginning in 2016.The project will widen the roadway to four lanes, add turn lanes, make room for bicycles and pedestrians, and smooth out the land for a less bumpy drive. The goal is to improve safety and circulation throughout the community.More information on the project can be found over at the project’s website.
In what was seen as a surprise, the Marana Town Council failed to pass a proposal to change the zoning for the Lazy K Bar development.The council voted 5-2 to approve the measure, but needed a super majority of six votes to pass the proposal.Council women Patti Comerford and Carol McGorray voted against the measure.“If we destroy it, we’re not going to get it back,” McGorray said of the habitat in and around Saguaro National Park. “It’s vital.”The measure failed once before in October on a 5-1 vote, with Vice-Mayor Jon Post absent. At the time Comerford was the lone dissenting vote.A modified proposal was resubmitted, with additional changes made Tuesday afternoon after meetings between the developer and the Coalition for Sonoran Preservation.
Representatives form the Town of Marana, Town of Oro Valley, Pima County and the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) would like you to join them for an open house to get an update on the Tangerine Road corridor improvements.Project team members will be available after the presentation to answer individual questions.The open house is on Wednesday, Jan. 14 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at the Oro Valley Council Chambers at 11000 N. La Canada Dr.The final design of the 5-mile segment from Dove Mountain Blvd/Twin Peaks Rd. to La Canada Dr. is underway with the completion of design scheduled for the fall of 2015. In addition, the project team has chosen to utilize the Construction Management at Risk approach to construction, which combines the efforts of the design engineer, the owner and the contractor to work together as a team to complete the improvements. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2016.More information on the project can be found at www.tangerineroadinfo.com.
Many businesses do philanthropic work during the holiday season. It is common for a business to adopt a struggling family and many businesses will take on bigger challenges. Dove Mountain Long Realty is one such business. This holiday season the employees at Long provided a better Christmas for 28 students at Roadrunner Elementary in the Marana Unified School District.When Cara Mancuso joined the Dove Mountain Lion Realty three years ago she was involved in adopting a family. The next year she became Chairman of the Christmas committee and the employees voted to expand their efforts and helped students on need at Estes Elementary. “It was a unanimous vote to help as many families as we could,” Mancuso said.This year the employees again voted to help a school and decided that Roadrunner was a school that could benefit from some help. “Out agent council selects the school,” explained Branch Manager David Winter. “The names of all the adopted families are placed on our office tree where agents ban pick a family to adopt and buy for.”The school counselor provides a list of the deserving students and a list of what they want and need and then the agents at Long go to work.
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.”
Last Tuesday’s Marana Town Council meeting saw the town make a proclamation declaring it a Purple Heart Town, as designated by the Military Order of the Purple Heart. The honor recognizes cities and towns that go above and beyond to support veterans.Only two other Arizona communities, Scottsdale and Sierra Vista, and one county, Coconino, share the distinction.“On behalf of, if I am allowed to say on behalf of, the over six million men and women who have been wounded in action for our country, a million and a half who have been killed in action for our country, we just want to thank you so much for what the town is and is doing moving forward,” said Marana resident and member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Mike Dyer to the council. “This is a great honor that you have bestowed upon us to make this a purple hear town.” Dyer, a longtime teacher and coach in the Marana Unified School District, nominated the town for the distinction and spoke positively about the council’s role in earning the award. “It is just a great recognition of all the men and women who have served,” Dyer said. “It is just so heartwarming that council was so willing, never asked a question other than what do we need to do to make it happen?”
The State Transportation Board has unanimously approved $15 million in funding to conduct a tier one environmental impact study for the proposed Interstate 11, a multibillion-dollar project designed to connect Nogales to Las Vegas – and, likely in the longer run, Mexico to Canada. The study, funded by the Statewide Contingency Fund, will examine land and wildlife impacts between Nogales and Wickenberg, and will likely take three years to conduct, beginning next year, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). The board approval comes after a two-year I-11 feasibility study that concluded this summer.The section of highway stretching between Nogales and Wickenburg is also being referred to as the Canamex Highway, and it has received a nod of approval from a number of public officials like County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, Department of Transportation Director Priscilla Cornelio, and the Tucson-Metro Chamber of Commerce.Others like Avra Valley Coalition organizer Albert Lannon worry Interstate 11 would infringe on historic and sensitive lands in the valley, simultaneously increasing traffic and noise in a quiet residential community.In the State Transportation Board meeting on Dec. 12, Lannon also claimed the interstate, though touted as a way to incorporate freight and passenger rail with high-tech facilities, would ultimately lead to the outsourcing of jobs while exacerbating Southern Arizona’s drug smuggling problem.
With so many new building projects occurring in Marana, the Metropolitan Pima Alliance invited Town Manager Gilbert Davidson to speak at their December Membership breakfast, last week.Davidson spoke for just over 30 minutes, beginning with a brief overview of the town and how they have changed over the past few years. “In terms of economic development we’ve done quite a bit over the past number of years to invest in this, to get to think of Marana not as just a bedroom community, but we want to make sure that Marana is a place where you can live and can work and that corporate interests see Marana as a great investment,” Davidson said. Davidson spent most of the discussion talking about the big projects in the town.“Over the next few years you are going to see a lot of dirt turning in Marana,” said Davidson. The most anticipated project, the “Grand Daddy of them all”, is the premium outlet Mall going into the Twin Peaks and I-10 area.
On Dec. 16, prior to Marana’s Town Council Meeting, the council held a special study session to discuss the adoption of the Marana Strategic Plan III. For nearly an hour, Town Manager Gilbert Davidson went over the plan.The town reviews the plan every two years, with the most recent process starting last fall.“We started the process right on schedule but it has taken a year to get through everything in the course of this one,” Davidson said. “The concept is the same thing, there are five focus areas that kind of lay the framework of the type of community we are trying to create.”Davidson said the hear of the plan remains the same. The five focus areas are commerce, community, innovation, heritage and recreation. One of the noticeable changes is the inclusion of principle statements, actions for the town to accomplish.“We are driving toward more principle statements of you we are,” Davidson said. “If you look at each focus area there are principle statements, and the initiatives under that drive that and try to make it a reality.”Each statement tells the public what the town is going to do in broad terms to promote a particular focus area and the initiatives give a more detailed list of actions.