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Posted: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 11:00 pm | Updated: 1:27 pm, Mon Apr 18, 2011.

Hunt on for mass blooms at Tohono Chul

There's a "treasure hunt" going on at Tohono Chul Park.

Monsoonal moisture has brought about "Mammillaria Madness," with mass blooms of the "sometimes shy" fishhook pincushion cactus (Mammillaria grahamii).

 "Since the July 3 rain, the park's mammillaria are earnestly flowering, with many slightly hidden by other low-growing desert vegetation," a release said. "You'll have to keep your eyes open for large shocks of pink." Guests are meandering through the Saguaro Discovery and Desert View trails in search of the mass blooms.

The best times to view open blooms are between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. The park hopes blooming continues through July 24.

Art by Marana pupils goes up at NW park

Marana Unified School District students are featured in "Creative Connections," the 14th annual school student art exhibition now on display at Tohono Chul Park.

The work of Marana Middle School students went up Wednesday, July 15, and stays up through Aug. 10. Works by Mountain View and Marana high school students is shown in The Gallery at Tohono Chul from Aug. 12 through Sept. 8.

For the last 13 years, the park "has been an advocate for local school art education programs by presenting student art exhibits to show the importance of visual literacy in education," a release said.

"In formal art education programs, students are given another avenue for expressing their thoughts and ideas," it said. "Living in an era when they are bombarded by visual images in the mass media, students can learn to decipher these symbols and visual messages, examine the objects and events of their daily lives and those of other cultures, and unravel the meaning and significance of the world around them.

"Our exhibit salutes the students' visions and fresh perspectives, and encourages them in their endeavors," the release continued. "We also recognize the outstanding art teachers who have a deep commitment to their students, inspiring and instructing them along the way."

Art is on display from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at the park, located at 7366 N Paseo del Norte. Park admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and active military, and  $3 for children ages 5-12. It's free to members and children under 5. There is no additional charge to enter the galleries.

Picture Rocks FD may join Northwest

Citizens for Picture Rocks plans to hold a community forum on the possible merger of  Picture Rocks Fire District and Northwest Fire District.

The public forum is set for Tuesday, July 21 at 7 p.m. at the Picture Rocks Community Center located at 5615 N. Sanders Road.

Participants including Picture Rocks Fire Chief Kathy Duff-Stewart, Northwest Fire Chief Stephen Piechura, firefighters union representative Alan Douglas and retired Picture Rocks Fire Chief Chuck Hay.

Participants will be available to answer to questions and community concerns.

On 'Muttness' weekend, more than 100 adoptions

More than 100 dogs and cats were adopted out by the Pima Animal Care Center during its "Monsoon Muttness" event Friday, and through the weekend.

The official count was 107 adoptions.

Monsoon Muttness was held Friday evening, and it lived up to its name.

"Once again, in spite of the weather, our community came forward and opened their hearts to provide good and loving homes to some of the animals currently being housed at the center," said Kim Janes, manager of the facility. "We are extremely pleased with the turnout at this year's event."

There was food, drink and entertainment. People got to meet K9 officers and the Pima County Sheriff's Department's mascot McGruff.

More animals are available for adoption at the Pima Animal Care Center, which is located at 4000 N. Silverbell. For additional information visit http://www.pimaanimalcare.org/, or call 243-5900.

Sotomayor hearings broadcast in formats by AZPM

Arizona Public Media is presenting live television coverage of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor on a new channel, PBS World.

Live video streaming of the national event is online at the AZPM.org website.

A live, unanchored audio feed of the hearings is available on the Radio page of the AZPM.org website at http://radio.azpm.org/kuaz/ On KUAZ-FM 89.1 and 1550 AM, wrap-up specials are scheduled at 6 p.m. for each evening of the hearings and special coverage from NPR's "Talk of the Nation" radio program is scheduled at noon Tuesday and Thursday.

PBS World is broadcast on digital channel 27-3 and is available in the Tucson area on major cable providers Cox (channel 83) and Comcast (channel 203). The confirmation hearings will also be available as a live video stream from the Live Events section of the AZPM.org website at http://ondemand.azpm.org/videoshorts/

Marana police, officers' group donate to fund

A $5,000 donation has been made by the Marana Police Department and the Marana Police Officers Association to send children to camp through the Sportsmen's Fund.

Chief Terry Tometich and MPOA President Jason Cann presented checks totaling $5,000 to Debbie Kornmiller of the Arizona Daily Star.

The police department's share of the donation came from the Pima County Anti-Racketeering Fund, a release said. Members of the MPOA donated on behalf of the organization.

The Sportsmen's Fund has helped send local children to camp for more than 60 years.

Tom Foust of the Sportsmen's Fund and Jacque Humphreys from Wells Fargo also participated in the check presentation.

Marana airport employees added to department

Marana is adding two employees from the Marana Regional Airport to its newly formed public works department, the town said in a release last week.

To save money in the new fiscal year that began July 1, the town consolidated its operations and maintenance department with the capital improvement project division to form a public works department. The department is headed up by interim director Orville Saling.

Charles Mangum, airport director since 2003, has left town employment. Until a replacement is hired, Saling, who has his pilot's certificate, will handle the airport's day-to-day operations, the release said.

Saling has been a contracts administrator with the town since 2007. He came to Marana from the city of Nogales, where he served as risk manager-purchasing agent. Saling has held management positions in the private sector and has earned numerous certifications as a safety and environmental professional.

Arts group takes on a new name

The Greater Oro Valley Arts Council announced Tuesday that it has changed its name to the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance.

"The major factor was funding," said Kate Marquez, now executive director of the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance.

In the past decade Oro Valley had been consistently one of the largest single funding sources for the group. Budget constraints this year meant the town had to cut in half its contribution to the group.

In fiscal 2009, the group received $120,000 from the town. This year, the town is contributing $61,930. Oro Valley's total funding for all outside groups this year fell to $277,717, down from $487,154 last year.

"They just don't have the resources that they used to," Marquez said.

Marquez said the newly named group would still serve Oro Valley while expanding its reach throughout the region.

"To move from a rural arts non-profit to a regional non-profit qualifies us for more grants," Marquez said. "What it means is more for Oro Valley and Southern Arizona, not less."

Marquez added that this year the group has more events planned in Oro Valley than any previous year.

She said the group would seek funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and other national funding sources.

Oro Valley Town Manager David Andrews and town council members were consulted before the group announced the name change, Marquez said.

GOVAC was founded in 1997. The newly designated group has a new Web site as well. The Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance can be found at saaca.org.

District offers tips to prevent poisoning

Northwest Fire/Rescue firefighters responded to two child-poisoning incidents last week.

In both cases, 2-year-children had swallowed prescription medication, after possibly mistaking the pills for candy.

"It's often brightly colored and they think it looks like candy," according to Northwest Fire Captain Adam Goldberg. "And if it's children's medication, they've probably had it before, and it probably tastes good, so if the opportunity is there, in many cases, kids will take it."

Fire officials offer the following poison-prevention tips:

• Keep all chemicals and medicines locked up and out of sight.

• Keep the numbers to Poison Control by every phone. (Tucson-area Poison Control at 626-6016/National Poison Control (800) 222-1222)

• Call Poison Control immediately in case of poisoning. Keep on hand a bottle of ipecac syrup, but use it only if the poison center instructs you to induce vomiting.

• Properly close child-resistant packaging on containers.

• Keep items in original containers with original labels.

• Be aware of any legal or illegal drugs that guests may bring into your home. Do not let guests leave drugs where children can find them, for example, in pillboxes, purses, backpacks or coat pockets.

• Check the dosage every time you give medicine to a child.

• Avoid taking medicine in front of children. Refer to medicine as "medicine," not "candy."

• Clean out the medicine cabinet periodically and safely dispose of unneeded and outdated medicines. Safely dispose of them out of the house to prevent children or pets from finding it in the trash.

CPR and First Aid training can help you prepare for and respond to poisoning and other emergencies. Northwest Fire District offers training every month. Call 887-1010 for dates and times.

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