- Your Voice
A new study by the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission (ACJC) shows that overall, high school students in Pima County are using fewer drugs than they were in 2012, the last year data was collected.The report – which sampled grades eight, 10 and 12, and also considered elements like bullying – questioned students on drugs they’ve used in their lifetime as well as any drug usage within the 30 days prior to the survey being issued. The commission surveys nearly 50,000 students from each county in Arizona.Lifetime UseOf the 16 drug-types included in the survey, 12th graders showed declines in 11 categories. Spikes came in the usage of alcohol (71.9 percent versus 70.8 percent in 2012), marijuana (47.9/45.4), inhalants (7.2/7.1), steroids (2.6/1.2), and over-the-counter drugs (11.4/11.1).Declined usage was reported for such drugs as cigarettes, prescription drugs, cocaine and methamphetamine.
Despite the objections of many in attendance, the Marana Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend two proposals to the Town Council in regards to the Lazy K Bar Ranch development. The commission voted to recommend rezoning the 138 acres of land from ‘RR’ Resort and Recreation to ‘F’ Specific Plan, which would allow the developer, Mattamy Homes, to place up to 178 units on the land and convert it into a high density, gated community. The current zoning limits them to 42 units. The commission previously recommended a similar plan, but it was rejected by the Marana Town Council in October. The council must approve the plan by a super majority, but Councilwoman Patti Comerford voted against it and Vice Mayor Jon Post was not in attendance. Although Mattamy Homes made some changes from the last proposal, the commission asked them to add animal-safe fencing to the south edge of the property, although with the current steep slopes the fencing is not really needed. “It doesn’t make sense,” said Scott Stonum of the Saguaro National Park. “I think the commissioner misunderstood the usage of the fencing.”Stonum and Darla Sidles, the superintendant of Saguaro National Park, explained that wildlife-friendly fencing is used to separate property and keep people off of each other’s land.
If you step into Krisha Leyva’s class be prepared for a lot of energy, a lot of hands-on activities and not a lot of handholding. Leyva believes in being upbeat and animated, but she also believes in letting kids make their own discoveries. This philosophy has led her to being a finalist for STEM Superhero Awards for Most Dedicated STEM teacher, which is sponsored by the Arizona Super Bowl committee.“When one walks into Ms. Leyva’s classroom, they enter a living Learning Lab,” explained Marana Middle School principal Kristin Reidy. “Ms. Leyva recycles resources on campus and encourages her students to use them during their investigations. Students are encouraged to think outside the box when solving problems and as long as their proposed ‘solution’ fits within the parameters of the project and it is “safe” anything goes.”Leyva believes that the best way for students to learn science is for them to discover science by exploration, note memorization. “I don’t give them the recipe to do these things, I let them explore and guide them through these things,” Leyva explained. Leyva got into teaching nine years ago after making a career change. “Before I went into teaching I was a banker and that was not a good fit,” said Leyva. “I wanted to get into something where I could actually make a difference, make a difference with children.
Someone once asked me what my favorite thing about Gaslight Theatre is.I asked them how much time they had.That couldn’t be truer than of the playhouse’s newest comedic gem, “The Secret Santa,” which debuted last week and runs through Jan. 4.Set in the 1960s, the play revamps the age-old tale of Santa Claus with a modern twist – his sleigh has broken down in the Town of Merryville – but that’s not the real dilemma.The Cogsworth Toy Factory is under siege by its owner, CC Cogsworth (Brian Hale) and manager, Barkely Simpson (Todd Thompson), who together plot to halt toy production in order to launch a potentially more lucrative lawnmower factory. Initially unaware of the devious plan, the spirited toymakers are caught off-guard when they discover management’s true motives, and things look grim for the factory workers and Merryville alike. The potential shutdown could mean Christmas passes by as just another day.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department is moving forward with relocating an estimated 30 bighorn sheep into the Santa Catalina Mountains, despite the controversy surrounding the project.Last November, the department began a reintroduction project by relocating 31 sheep into the Santa Catalina Mountains from Catalina State Park. Public outcry spawned from the project as sheep began to be killed by mountain lions and the department killed three mountain lions that were suspected of killing the sheep.Up until last week, the project had continued without a mortality for more than seven months. On Nov. 11, at about 4:30 p.m., the GPS collar on one of the sheep transmitted a mortality signal, which is sent when a sheep does not move for 10 hours. The following morning, personnel with the department located the carcass and began to investigate the scene. There were no obvious signs of trauma, which eliminated the possibility that the sheep was killed by a predator. Tissue samples were collected for further testing.To date, 13 of the 31 sheep are alive.On Monday, the game and fish department held a press conference issuing credentials for two separate release locations and dates for the additional 30 sheep to be relocated to the area. Those dates and locations were not disclosed as of press time, and the events are closed to the general public for the welfare of the sheep being released, as well as the existing 12 collared and one un-collared sheep.
A large number of local northwest area athletes will continue their athletic careers at the college level. In total 21 area high school athletes signed National Letters of Intent to accept athletic scholarships, with at least five more signing this week. More athletes, including football and soccer players will sign in the February signing period. There is also a spring signing period in April. CDO had the most athletes sign, with 14 getting an opportunity to sign with four-year schools. Chris Meyers signed with Stanford, a week after winning the Division II state golf championship. That concluded a standout senior season for Meyers, who also won the Gary Durrenberger award for the lowest average. “Its really awesome,” Meyers said of signing day. “We had 14 sign yesterday. We just have a great school. I am just glad that I chose to go to CDO where all the kids are so great. I have made friends that I will be friends with for a really long time. I feel fortunate.”Girls golfer Morgan Messick signed with Northern Arizona, but after verbally committing to the school she decided to take the season off from high school golf and focus on her academics.
Mountain View High School has had five former students killed in battle in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is believed to be the most of any high school in America. This somber fact led to the construction of a veterans’ memorial in front of the school. Nov. 8, the school dedicated the monument to the five, as well as any United States military veteran.“These kids gave their lives for our country, so it’s important,” said Mike Dyer, a former assistant basketball coach at Mountain View and a longtime coach in the Marana Unified School District. The project was spearheaded by Dyer and school equipment manager Tony Esparza, who knew many of those who were slain. Dyer approached former school administrators and was turned away. When Patricia Cadigan became principal, he again made his sales pitches. This time he found a receptive ear but the project could not proceed due to district restrictions regarding memorials being dedicated to individuals due mostly to getting all of the proper permissions from the families. Dyer said he made monthly pitches to Cadigan in an attempt to make it work.“My wife calls me a pest, I call myself persistent,” joked Dyer.Eventually Dyer pitched the idea of a memorial to all veterans and this time he got the OK, but there was a catch.
The Town of Marana’s efforts to improve citizen engagement through the use of new technology were recognized this week when Marana was named one of the best governments for its size by the e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government and Digital Communities Program.Marana tied for sixth with Evanston, Ill., among communities with fewer than 75,000 residents. Marana finished first in the category in 2012; the City of Dublin, Ohio came out on top this year.Among the Town’s technology services accomplishments was the development of mobile web sites for signature events, videos for its Community Connections program, cloud-based solutions and a project implementation process.Judging criteria was based on results achieved by cities via the use of technology in operating efficiencies and realizing strategic objectives despite fiscal constraints.The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. The Center is a division of e.Republic, a national publishing, events and research company focused on smart media for public sector innovation.
The Town is seeking members for its Marana Citizens’ Forum. The group brings together residents, business owners and community partners to study and address issues facing the Town. Recommendations are then presented to Town Council.The Forum holds as many as three sessions each year. Each session consists of five 1½ hour meetings, held on Thursdays at the Marana Municipal Complex beginning at 5:30 p.m. The next session begins in January or February 2015.Applications are available at http://www.marana.com/forms.aspx?FID=93 (at marana.com under Community/Citizen Engagement). All applications remain active for a year from receipt.Call 382-1960 for additional information.
Northwest Fire crews responded to a single vehicle roll-over accident on Thursday morning at approximately 7:30AM. Crews found an SUV with heavy damage on the side of Interstate 10 near Tangerine Farms Rd.The vehicle had rolled several times, landing in a dry irrigation canal. The driver was wearing her seat belt and the three children that were in the vehicle were all properly restrained in child car seats. The driver was transported with minor injuries to UAMC. The children were uninjured and evaluated by Paramedics for precaution. On scene crews contribute the lack of serious injuries to the driver as well as the children being properly restrained with seat belts and car seats.Northwest Fire would like to remind all drivers and passengers of vehicles that seat belts truly save lives. Adults responsible for children in their vehicle should always ensure children are properly restrained in child safety seats. For information about car seats or assistance with car seats contact Northwest Fire Life Safety Services at 520-887-1010 or visit our website at www.northwestfire.org.The cause of the accident is under investigation.
The Marana Police Department, in conjunction with the Marana Health Center, Marana-Foothills Optimist Club, and Pima County Wastewater will be hosting the final Dispose-A-Med of the year on Dec. 13 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at Target, 3901 W. Ina Road. Participants are encouraged to bring unused or expired prescription medications, which if not properly disposed, can lead to accidental poisoning, overdose, and abuse. Unused drugs that are flushed can contaminate water supply, while those thrown away can be retrieved or sold illegally. All over-the-counter medications will be accepted at the event, including veterinarian medications and vitamins, tablets and capsules. All pills should be kept in their original containers.Metal or glass inhalation aerosol bottles, syringes, epi-pens, liquids, and creams will not be accepted. In its last event in September, Dispose-A-Med collected 187 pounds of medication.Volunteers are being accepted for the coming event. Contact Nancy Lyngby at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 275-0902 to sign up or for additional information.
Nearly 300 people, mostly veterans and their families, were on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony of the new State Veteran’s Cemetery in Marana. “I think this is the perfect site for a veterans’ cemetery,” said Ted Vogt, Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services Director.The cemetery is due to be open in early January 2016 and is the culmination of many years of effort to get it approved and opened. The project was spearheaded by Paul Marsh, a Pima Country resident and veteran who has been pushing for the cemetery to be built. “For over a decade Paul has been championing the establishment of a veteran cemetery that serves Pima and Pinal counties and surrounding communities,” Vogt said. “He is a one man thorn in the side of elected officials everywhere,” added Vogt. “It has been a long hard slog.”Marsh was singled out by nearly every speaker as being the catalyst for the cemetery.
The race between Democratic Congressman Ron Barber and Republican challenger Martha McSally remained too close to call as of the Explorer’s Monday deadline, with McSally holding a slim 341-vote lead over Barber.More than 9,000 provisional ballots remained to be tabulated, according to Pima County election staff.The vast majority of the provisional ballots—or ballots that needed a double-check by the Pima County Recorder’s Office to ensure that they were legitimate—were expected to be counted by the end of the day Monday, Nov. 10.But on Sunday, an attorney for McSally asked county staff to set aside provisional ballots that did not bear the proper signature of a poll worker until it could be legally determined whether the votes were valid. The questioned ballots were in four heavily Democratic precincts. Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez refused the legal demand and processed all the county’s provisional ballots before transferring 9,335 to the county’s election division and dismissing 767 as invalid ballots.Attorney Eric Spencer said that based on rules in the state election manual issued by the Secretary of State, the McSally campaign “formally challenges the validity of all provisional ballots that have a provisional ballot form with a missing election official signature.”Barber campaign spokeswoman Ashley Nash-Hahn blasted the legal maneuver.
The officials behind one of two planned Marana outlet malls celebrated the construction of their major project Thursday with an official groundbreaking.The Tucson Premium Outlets, at Twin Peaks Road and Interstate 10, will have more than 90 stores when it opens next fall. Workers have already been at the site for some time, preparing the dirt and beginning to put up the bones for what is expected to be a regional shopping draw.Tucson Premium Outlets will anchor Marana Center, a 170-acre mixed-use commercial center being developed by Vintage Partners. The mall, owned by Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group, will have more than 360,000 square feet of leasable space.This project is Simon’s first in Southern Arizona. The company also owns Arizona Mills in Tempe and Phoenix Premium Outlets in Chandler. The Marana center will most closely resemble the Chandler mall.The Marana project is expected to create 300 to 500 construction jobs plus more than 800 full-time and part-time retail jobs upon opening.Marana Mayor Ed Honea is among the town leaders eager to have the mall. He added that the mall will be a $2 million per year tax base.
Inside Tucson Business hosted its annual CFO of the Year awards on Nov. 5, with town officials from Oro Valley and Marana bringing home awards.Stacey Lemos, the finance director for the Town of Oro Valley, took first place in the government category.From Marana, also in the government category, the town’s finance director Erik Montague took third place.More than 200 attended the event held at the Hilton El Conquistador in Oro Valley.Other winners included CFOs from companies with more than $15 million, companies with less than $15 million and a nonprofit category.For more photos from the event, visit www.insidetucsonbusiness.com.