- Your Voice
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.
Nationally acclaimed for his research and procedures with the robotic-assisted cardiac surgery, Dr. Robert Poston now brings his 12 years of experience to Northwest Medical Center.Poston graduated from John Hopkins University School of Medicine, completed his general-surgery residency at the San Francisco Medical Center and his research fellowship at Stanford University Medical Center. In 2002, under the guidance of Dr. Bartley Griffith, Poston had his first clinical appointment, and in 2004 was asked to conduct further research on the cardiac robot – a request that did not appeal to him.Two years prior, the cardiac robot was approved for use. Initially it was used by heart surgeons at prestigious centers, but eventually faded out due to a lack of management, according to Poston. Coalitions didn’t support the product and few programs kept the robot for cardiac surgery. Due to the lack of success and disinterest in the robot, Poston wasn’t quick to accept the request. “I resisted, but they kept coming back. I agreed to sit down with the robot,” said Poston. “You see the power of that tool and as soon as I sat down, within 10 minutes I was like, ‘This is not a difficult machine.’ It’s such an elegant machine.”The cardiac robot provides three-dimensional viewing and consists of multiple arms that mimic the surgeon’s normal hand, wrist, arm and finger movements. Each arm also provides a small range of motion, scaled movements and no tremor, which allows for more precision. There are about 2,000 robots nationwide, but only 20 hospitals use them for heart surgery.The biggest advantage in using the cardiac robot is that the procedure is minimally invasive in comparison to open-heart surgery. The smaller incision also results in a quicker recovery. Though the robot isn’t the best option for every heart surgery, it has proven effective in the following surgeries: valve surgery, cardiac tissue ablation, heart defect repair, bypass, tumor removal and coronary artery, according to John Hopkins Medicine Health Library.
On Nov. 12, SaddleBrooke Troop Support (STS) distributed $4,500 in food gift cards for Army, Air Force and Navy/Marine active military/veterans and their families for the holidays. The Air Force National Guard received the donation and will distribute to the other organizations. The photo was taken at the Air National Guard grounds. A special thanks goes to Joe Voisine for collecting thousands of dollars toward this effort.Earlier this month, STS also provided 709 hardcover and paperback books, 179 articles of winter clothing for homeless veterans, 450 toiletries, and 75 greeting and playing cards to the Tucson VA Hospital. Throughout the year, STS performs a variety of services to assist our veterans, such as:• Stocking the Tucson airport Military Lounge with soft drinks, fruit juices, snacks, and comfort items. • Supporting the food banks at three military installations in Tucson.• Providing audio CDs and tapes to the Blind Unit at the VA.
Join staff of Tucson Local Media for the monthly Sippin’ Social on Thursday, Nov. 20, at Fox and Hound Smokehouse & Tavern, located at 7625 N. La Cholla Blvd. from 4 to 6 p.m.Pitch story ideas, discuss current news, or relax and enjoy food or drink.Tucson Local Media does not pay for food or drink.
On Nov. 6, the Town of Oro Valley received an award for Best Public Outreach General/Comprehensive Plan category from the Arizona Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA), for its work on Phase 1—Let’s Talk—of the Your Voice, Our Future project. Your Voice, Our Future is the Town’s general plan update, as required every ten years by Arizona state statute.The Arizona Chapter of the APA annually honors Arizonans who have made “outstanding planning achievements to the planning profession and their communities. The APA Arizona awards program is an important service to the membership for statewide recognition and celebration of the outstanding work of professional planners, citizen planners and others in making our communities a better place to live.” In September this year, the Town of Oro Valley also received the national 2014 Silver Circle Award in Citizen Participation from the City-County Communications and Marketing Association (3CMA), for the Your Voice, Our Future Public Participation Plan.
Here is your chance to win a variety of prizes in the name of helping those less fortunate during the holiday season. All you have to do is get into the giving spirit, as The Explorer and Tucson Local Media has teamed up with Interfaith Community Services (ICS) for a second year.The Explorer is currently collecting donations of new unwrapped toys, new clothes, food donations or cash. Every time you bring in a donation to The Explorer office, you will receive a raffle ticket, and automatically be entered into a drawing. Participants will receive one ticket per trip.Donations will be accepted at The Explorer office located at 7225 N. Mona Lisa Road, Suite 125.
Be a part of the 10th Annual Oro Valley Holiday Parade. Now is the time to show support for the town that you love! Everyone is invited to either be a participant or a spectator. It is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 13, at 9:30 a.m. and will last 90 minutes. This year’s parade will be celebrating the Community of Oro Valley.This event is open to individuals, businesses, local community organizations, and school performing groups. Entries may include adults and children, pets, decorated vehicles (including antique cars and golf carts), commercial mascots, choral groups and marching bands. The parade will begin east of Ironwood Ridge High School at the intersection of La Cholla and proceed east along Naranja Drive to the Oro Valley Library/Town Hall Campus. IMPACT of Southern Arizona (formerly Catalina Community Services) will have barrels along the parade route for the collection of non-perishable food items.All participants must complete an entry form, which can be submitted at www.orovalleyparade.org and must be received by Dec.1.Hiremath Family Dentistry is our Title Sponsor for the 9th consecutive year. The Town of Oro Valley and the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce are Platinum Sponsors.Plan to join the fun and festivities to support our wonderful community and showcase local talent, student performance groups, and city service providers!
Oro Valley Hospital has been named a 2013 Top Performer on Key Quality Measures® by The Joint Commission, the nation’s leading accreditor of health care organizations. The honor recognizes hospitals that excel at meeting the Commission’s stringent measurements for exemplary patient care. This is the second time Oro Valley Hospital has earned the designation.Only 1,224 – or approximately one-third – of eligible United States hospitals achieved this distinction for attaining and sustaining excellence in certain clinical measures. The prestigious annual list was released today in the Commission’s 2014 annual report, “America’s Hospitals: Improving Quality and Safety.”“This honor means that our community can turn to Oro Valley Hospital with confidence, knowing that we strive to provide excellent care every day,” said Jae L. Dale, Chief Executive Officer. “Following evidence-based clinical protocols close to 100 percent of the time is not an easy goal to reach, but one that has been achieved through the dedication of our physicians, nurses and other caregivers.”Top Performers are recognized each year for improving performance on evidence-based interventions that increase the chances of healthy outcomes for patients with certain conditions, including heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care, children’s asthma, stroke, venous thromboembolism, perinatal care, inpatient psychiatric services and immunizations.Oro Valley Hospital was recognized for attaining and sustaining excellence in accountability measure performance for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care. It was also recognized in 2011 for its performance on accountability measure data for the same measures.“We are proud of our physicians and clinical staff for their hard work to provide safe, effective care across the hospital,” said Tim Smith, M.D., Chief of Staff, Oro Valley Hospital. “The Joint Commission’s recognition of our efforts is very gratifying for our entire team.”
The school auditorium was packed last week at Ironwood Ridge High School with students, military veterans and local dignitaries as the school’s Veterans Heritage Project Club honored seven local WWII veterans.During the course of the school year, the club comprised of 35 students spanning grade levels ninth through 12th, has interviewed 30 local veterans for a book. The veterans’ stories were written down and will be published in the Veterans Heritage Project’s book, “Since You Asked: Arizona Veterans Share the Memories.” This will be the fourth year IRHS students have published a book for the national club and each year the stories are sent to the Library of Congress to be archived for future generations.Taking the reigns for the first time as co-sponsor for the club is Nicole Blanchard, who is a math special education teacher at the school. “It’s our connection with our veterans and our students,” Blanchard said. “So what we read about in history, it’s one thing, but talking to history is quite another. These gentlemen “the veterans” talk about the travesties, they talk about the lessons they learn. One gentleman used the words, ‘Educating failures.’”The books published in the past have spanned talking to veterans from all of the current wars to WWII.The students in the club spend numerous hours outside of school interviewing, writing, videoing and editing. In doing so, they get a deeper appreciation for not only the generalized overview of wars that are written and established in textbooks, but they have the opportunity to sit down and hear a veteran say that were scared the entire time and how much it hurt to be away from family and friends for so long.
The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety has granted the Oro Valley Police Department (OVPD) $30,000 in overtime funding to support driving under the influence (DUI) enforcement.Working in conjunction with the Southern Arizona DUI Task Force, the OVPD was also awarded an additional $2,500 for six new portable breathalyzers to be used by officers during DUI investigations. “This money will help us assist the Southern Arizona Task Force in preventing impaired driving,” said OVPD Lt. Chris Olson.Olson said the money will be used in a targeted fashion.“It help us have an increased presence on weekends, New Year’s, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Labor Day, Christmas – days where you see more drinking,” he said. “This keeps the pressure on drivers and we hope that means less injuries as a result of driving under the influence.”In the last year, OVPD made a total of 11,791 traffic stops, which accounted for 165 misdemeanor DUIs, 15 aggravated/felony DUIs, and 57 minors in consumption.
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.
Northwest-side school administrators are learning more about the new state standardized test set to replace the AIMS exam, but they’re confident their districts will be ready for the challenge.Arizona’s Measurement of Educational Readiness to Inform Teaching, or the AzMERIT, exam will come before students this spring, replacing the AIMS, or Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards, exam that has been in place since 1999. Monica Nelson, associate superintendent for Amphitheater Public Schools, said the AzMERIT is a different kind of test. It’s in a computer-heavy format, with drag-and-drop questions and word processing, and it requires critical thinking, such as essays comparing two literature passages.“It’s asking kids to think about things more deeply than a more traditional forced-choice test would have done,” she said.The Arizona Department of Education awarded a $19 million contract earlier this month to the American Institutes for Research to develop the set of exams, aligned with Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards. State education officials are still hashing out some details, such as whether to make this year a “hold harmless” period as schools and students transition to the new test.Nelson said logistically, Amphi is in good shape, although educators will have to decide whether the youngest test-takers are developmentally ready for a computer-based test.
BASIS Oro Valley high school student Charles Huang, left, and Canyon Del Oro High School students Hunter McAdams and Nicole Enos pose for a picture after being awarded a $1,000 scholarship at the 2014 CFO Awards hosted by Inside Tucson Business.
Those anticipating the arrival of the Big Horn Commerce Center in Oro Valley will have to wait a little bit longer.The applicant of the development – a 3.26-acre plat designated for general retail and restaurant uses – has asked for a two-year extension through September 2016, which Oro Valley council on Nov. 5 approved in a 5-1 vote. Councilman Bill Garner wasn’t present for the meeting. Zinkin said his decision not to support another extension was based on the fact the initial two-year development plan was approved back in 2006 and has received continuous extensions since that time.“This means the development plan would be in existence for 10 years,” said Zinkin. “That’s a long time, and there must be something askew with the development plan to make it so it’s not marketable.”Others felt rejecting an extension would be premature, Mayor Satish Hiremath pointing out that even town-owned sites like Naranja Park remained vacant for nearly two decades, and Vice Mayor Lou Waters noting that the well-known 40-acre Olson property sat vacant for far longer.Councilman Brendan Burns agreed, calling the extension approval a “no-brainer.”
Members of Catalina Mountain Elks Lodge #2815 distributed dictionaries to third-grade students at Casa Christian, Copper Creek, Immaculate Heart, Mesa Verde, and Wilson elementary schools in Oro Valley. Project Chairperson Joyce Garcia purchased 320 dictionaries, and with the help of lodge members, presented each student with a dictionary that includes the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the history of the American Flag. The Dictionary Project was founded in 1995 by a South Carolina teacher, Mary French. Her sole mission was to distribute dictionaries to as many third-grade students as possible. In 2002, the project was expanded to 12 states along the eastern seaboard, including New York. The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks proudly joined in the effort and now provides dictionaries to third-graders in all 50 states. Catalina Mountain Elks Lodge has participated in the Dictionary Project for the past eleven-years and has provided local students with over 3,000 dictionaries.