Community partners

Marana In The Media: Marana theater group hosting ‘Guys and Dolls’

From the Marana News:

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Both guys and dolls around Marana are preparing for an upcoming community-oriented performance. The Marana Community Music Theater is a volunteer group that organizes multiple theater events in Marana throughout the year, and is putting the final touches on this year’s summer production: Guys and Dolls.

Started in Fall 2017 by two Marana High School teachers, MCMT hosts theater, musical and choral performances by the community and for the community of Marana.

“We have a lot of students who graduate, but they don’t have anywhere in Marana to continue performing,” said MCMT co-founder Sarah Ross, a Marana High choir teacher. “We realized we needed to do something to give these people an opportunity to do performing arts.” 

Read the rest of the story at the Marana News

Marana Community Music Theater will perform “Guys and Dolls: A Musical Fable of Broadway” on Friday, July 26 and Saturday, July 27 at Marana High School’s auditorium. 12000 W. Emigh Road. 7 p.m. $10.



Ina Road Celebration Weekend video and photo gallery

Marana Town Manager Jamsheed Mehta. Photo courtesy JD Fitzgerald.

Marana Town Manager Jamsheed Mehta. Photo courtesy JD Fitzgerald.

On Saturday, May 4 the Town of Marana, the Marana Chamber of Commerce, the Regional Transportation Authority, and and a collection of Ina Road businesses came together for the Ina Road Celebration Weekend. The event was a celebration of the completion of three major road projects on Ina Road.

The weekend began with a business expo and cake cutting ceremony that included speeches by Marana Town Manager Jamsheed Mehta, ADOT District Engineer Rod Lane, Marana Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Audra Winters, RTA Chair Mike Hammond, and Marana Mayor Ed Honea.

The rest of the weekend saw local businesses host a variety of events, including block parties, concerts, pony rides, and Kentucky Derby Parties.

The Ina Road Interchange project is in its final stages. The bridge that extends Ina over I-10 and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks is completed and the on and off ramps are open. Additionally the Town of Marana and the RTA teamed up to expand Ina west of the freeway to four lanes, which included building two new bridges over the Santa Cruz River. The Town of Marana has also completed the bulk of the work on the Ina Road Beautification Project, which completely milled and repaved Ina Road, added new sidewalks and ADA safety improvements, and added improved landscaping.

Photo Gallery

Photos courtesy JD Fitzgerald Photography


Marana State of the Town 2019 presentation summary

Mayor Ed Honea speaks at the 2019 Marana State of the Town held at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain.

Mayor Ed Honea speaks at the 2019 Marana State of the Town held at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain.

MARANA - Mayor Ed Honea along with members of Town staff gave a presentation at the annual Marana State of the Town luncheon held at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain on Thursday, April 18. Topics discussed included latest developments, parks and recreation programming, and strategic planning for the future.  

NOTABLE TAKEAWAYS

  • Marana is one of the fastest growing communities in Southern Arizona. This past year, over 800 new single-family resident homes were built, yielding approximately 2,300 new people moving to the Town of Marana and making our population surpass 48,000 people.

  • Increased development has led to the creation of a new Marana Unified School District School in Dove Mountain, and a new Northwest Fire District station in both Dove Mountain and Gladden Farms.

  • Marana welcomes the film industry to the region with the opening of Modern Studios. Located near the AZ Pavilions Shopping Center, this 12,000 square foot facility features 7,000 square feet of production studio space, more than any other facility in the entire state. It also features the most advanced high-speed camera in the film industry, the BOLT Highspeed Cinebot.

  • Two new Parks and Recreation facilities were opened to the public, including Tangerine Sky Community Park in northeast Marana and the Crossroads at Silverbell District Park Splash Pad.

  • A brand new Parks and Recreation mobile app takes program accessibility to a new level, where users can now stay up-to-date with park closures, programming events, and trail conditions. Users can check the status of their favorite park amenities in real time, and sign up for activities.

  • In North Marana, the Town completed the new water reclamation facility and aquifer recharge facility. These plants can now handle up to 10,000 new homes or businesses coming into the area. The recharge facility will receive credits for 100 percent of the water stored from the Arizona Department of Water Resources. These credits allow the town to provide safe, reliable, and sustainable resources for our customers, and it secures Marana’s water needs for future generations.

    In December, the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona approved a $15 million-dollar loan to the Town of Marana to address the issue of unregulated compounds affecting two Marana Water systems. Staff is now working on the design and construction of two unique advanced water treatment plants to reduce or remove those unregulated compounds. 

  • After nearly two years, one of the region’s largest projects has come to completion. The reopening of the Ina Road Interchange has revitalized our major commercial hub making it a destination once again.

  • 2018 also saw the grand opening of the new Police facility located at the Marana Municipal Complex. This building was the result of months of public education and outreach, years of planning and development, and paid for with a community-supported half-cent sales tax.

  •  The Town of Marana is designing the blueprints for the future. Important documents in the works include the 2040 General Plan Update, Land Development Code, Marana Parks and Recreation 10-year Master Plan, North Marana Drainage Study, Sewer Conveyance Master Plan, and Potable Water Plan.

PRESENTATION TRANSCRIPT

EXCITING THINGS ARE HAPPENING IN MARANA

Economic Development Specialist Heath Vescovi-Chiordi speaks on the development in Marana.

Economic Development Specialist Heath Vescovi-Chiordi speaks on the development in Marana.

Marana is one of the fastest growing communities in Southern Arizona. This past year, over 800 new single-family resident homes were built in our community. By our calculations, this yielded approximately 2,300 new people moving to the Town of Marana, making our population surpass 48,000 people. Because of this rapid and sustainable growth, developers have plans to expand those numbers and challenge the 824 single-family home permits we issued in 2018. 

Right now, we have ten new subdivisions with 1,500 new lots planned throughout the community, including the Gladden Farms area, Dove Mountain area, and Saguaro Bloom.

This year, Encantada at Continental Reserve began construction. The addition of this 304-unit multifamily residential product gives rise to new living opportunities for both young families and young professionals alike. With this addition of multifamily housing to Marana, we position ourselves to better attract and retain a newer skilled workforce. In addition, this housing product will help increase the critical mass of people in this area that is necessary for further development of quality retail, restaurant, and other valuable commercial activities. 

2018 saw many new businesses and restaurants come to Town, which not only enriches the local economy and quality of life in our community, but serves as great destinations for people passing through or visiting our beautiful region.  

Last year, the new Hampton Inn & Suites at Marana Center opened next to the Tucson Premium Outlet Mall, creating an amazing retail opportunity for our region. With the pairing of the hotel and the luxury shopping experience at the Outlet Mall, Marana is now able to attract a significant number of travelers from Mexico who come solely for the purpose of shopping and staying overnight in our community. This retail-tourism helps contribute significantly to our sales tax and bed tax, allowing the Town to continue its strategic efforts related to Tourism-based Economic Development. Not only has Marana Center attracted multiple types of new developments, but it has become an area of note in our region, helping to solidify the identity of Marana in Southern AZ.

In 2019 we will welcome Dutch Bros., located at Cortaro Road and Interstate 10. Dutch Bros. will be just one small part of a larger master development on this corner. Also, in this new retail and service center, we will see a new 32,000 sq./ft micro hospital featuring a 14-bed emergency department and two operating rooms. ATI Physical Therapy will also join the mix, as well as a Tucson area favorite- Serial Grillers.

Top Golf celebrated their first full year here in Marana, and continues to be a destination for people all over our region.

Playing sports is a vital past time in this community, and we are so excited to welcome the Hitting Factory for ball players both young and old.

Modern Studios in Marana, Arizona.

Modern Studios in Marana, Arizona.

In the spirit of Tourism, The Town of Marana has also bid welcome to a new type of entertainment industry sector with the opening of Modern Studios. Located near the AZ Pavilions Shopping Center, this amazing 12,000 square foot facility features 7,000 square feet of production studio space, more than any other facility in the entire state. Including two studios, dressing and makeup, a post-production editing suite, and the most advanced high-speed camera in the film industry, the BOLT Highspeed Cinebot, Modern Studios truly has revolutionized the film production game in Marana and the entire region.

Medical and healthcare is an industry that is finding a home in the Town. Last year we welcomed the Northwest Emergency Center at Twin Peaks, and the Watermark at Continental Ranch Senior Living. 2019 will see a continuation of that, as the Carondelet Health Network Micro-Hospital and Dove Mountain Senior Living facilities will open. With the healthcare industry rapidly expanding, and Marana seeing much benefit from this expansion, we will continue to facilitate appropriate healthcare sector development to add quality jobs to our community, and quality services for our residents. To that point, we are currently working on six expansions of current businesses within the Town, and two brand new locates.

Due to the Town’s growth, Northwest Fire District is relocating one of their stations, and building a brand new one to better serve the Marana community. Station 37 in Dove Mountain is moving to its new location near the Gallery Sports Club. Upon its completion later this year, Station 37 will better serve the northern portions of Dove Mountain, while Station 39, located at Thornydale and Tangerine, is optimally located to serve the southern portions of Dove Mountain. 

The resurgence of development in the Gladden Farms community has also spurred the construction of Station 41, located on Tangerine Road near the Gladden Farms II development. This station will improve response time and increase overall safety in north Marana.

Dove Mountain CSTEM K-8 School.

Dove Mountain CSTEM K-8 School.

Growth also means more schools. The new Dove Mountain CSTEM K-8 School opens this fall, providing even more opportunities for our children to get a good education. Students will experience rigorous computer science, technology, engineering, and math academics with direct relevancy to real-world challenges.

At the Town of Marana, we pride ourselves on being business friendly, but to do that we have to continue to evolve and innovate. This year, we will begin using a new business license software package that will aid in making the process easier than ever. By streamlining several processes and procedures, and making the overall process easier to understand, this will allow future business development in the Town with even more ease than we currently offer. When you come do business in Marana, you’ll quickly find out that Marana means business.

 

QUALITY OF LIFE IN MARANA

Technology Services Director Isaac Abbs speaks on quality of life in Marana.

Technology Services Director Isaac Abbs speaks on quality of life in Marana.

 It is important to invest in the qualities that make living in Marana meaningful. And for our residents, we understand how important the everyday experiences are for you and your family. Whether it’s participating in your very first race, teaching your child the fundamentals of a new skill, or enjoying a walk outside in nature, we understand how impactful those moments are and why having a strong quality of life means having a strong Parks and Recreation department. 

I am excited to share with you the following accomplishments from the past year.

Tangerine Sky Community Park

Tangerine Sky Community Park

Marana Council cut the ribbon on two new attractions. Tangerine Sky Community Park is the first major public park serving our northeast Marana residents— nestled in the natural desert environment against a stunning Tortolita Mountain backdrop. It features ramadas, playgrounds, trails, dog parks, ziplines, and a basketball court. The field is even powered to accommodate small concert events, including our free Movies & Music in Marana series.

Located in the heart of Continental Ranch, the new Crossroads at Silverbell District Park splash pad enhances an already robust district park where families can now splash in the water by day, and enjoy a stunning light show by night. The splash pad is located close to the existing playground area and several ramadas, making it the perfect destination for parties. And when the July 4th Star Spangled Spectacular comes around this year, the music, fireworks, and water will top off a perfect evening with your family and friends.  

Both amenities bring new recreational opportunities to key areas around the community. Vibrant and dynamic communities are where residents can walk to, and from, a park in just minutes. Now, both north, south, and east Marana have access to park amenities and programs.

The Town also grew its recreational offerings this year by 30 percent, including horseback riding, art expos, job training, painting in the park, and musical theatre.  

We also created two inclusion programs for our residents with special needs. Last year, Marana Parks and Recreation began offering Sensory Splash classes at the Marana Pool where people can meet up in a safe, positive and inclusive aquatic environment.  

Cape Chase Adaptive Fun Run.

Cape Chase Adaptive Fun Run.

This year, the Cape Chase Adaptive Fun Run debuted with over 120 participants. Young athletes with special needs traveled through a sensory obstacle course, including a cone maze, bubble pit, and mirror tunnel—all while dressed as their favorite super heroes.  

Experiences like this matter for our residents, where opportunities are accessible by anyone in the community.  

Now, we take that accessibility a step further with the release of the new Parks and Recreation mobile app. This app provides residents and visitors with everything they need to stay up-to-date with park closures, programming events, and trail conditions. Users can check the status of their favorite park amenities in real time, and sign up for activities.

Our success isn’t just measured by the new programs and events we roll out each year, it’s also measured by the continued maintenance of all our facilities, and by our strategic planning as we anticipate the future.  

This year, we extended our Tortolita Mountain trail system and the Santa Cruz shared use path. We completed facility improvements throughout all our parks, including installing the new solar structure over the Crossroads at Silverbell District Park basketball court. This very simple upgrade opened up new opportunities for events, and in celebration, this facility became home to the new Hoops for Heroes Challenge between Marana Police Department and Northwest Fire District. We won this year, but who knows what the future may bring for Northwest Fire?

We continue to find recreational opportunities in surprising places. Even in the heart of the desert, residents can enjoy the waterfront at El Rio Preserve. We plan to bring back disc golf with the addition of a recreation area nearby, and we are accommodating our nature lovers and bird watchers with an observation deck. This surprising oasis is one of Marana’s best kept secrets, but now we plan to maintain and enrich this preserve so anyone can come and enjoy the beautiful outdoors that is unique to our community.

We understand that people come to Marana for our quality of life, and we are dedicated to keeping this momentum going as we grow into a larger community. Marana is truly a place where you can live, work, and play.

 

 PUBLIC SERVICES IN MARANA

Deputy Town Clerk Hilary Hiser speaks on public services in Marana.

Deputy Town Clerk Hilary Hiser speaks on public services in Marana.

 Right now, the Town of Marana is working hard to secure continued growth for our community by making essential investments in our built public infrastructure. A strong foundation for growth means a strong investment in infrastructure.

From water improvements to major roadways, 2018 had several fantastic projects that directly benefit our citizens’ quality of life and ensure businesses can thrive. 

North Marana water reclamation facility.

North Marana water reclamation facility.

In North Marana, we completed the new water reclamation facility and aquifer recharge facility. These plants can now handle up to 10,000 new homes or businesses coming into the area. More importantly, the recharge facility will receive credits for 100 percent of the water stored from the Arizona Department of Water Resources. These credits allow the town to provide safe, reliable, and sustainable resources for our customers, and it secures Marana’s water needs for future generations.

In December, the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona approved a $15 million-dollar loan to the Town of Marana to address the issue of unregulated compounds affecting two Marana Water systems. We are now working on the design and construction of two unique advanced water treatment plants to reduce or remove those unregulated compounds. 

Investments in new water resources are essential to attracting new residents; however, the Town of Marana is just as committed to ensuring our current residents have the most up-to-date infrastructure necessary for an enhanced quality of life. The Adonis wastewater system project is just such an example of the Town’s continued commitment.  This project replaces one of our historic neighborhoods’ outdated over-capacity lagoon system by connecting residents to our new wastewater reclamation facility.

Tangerine Road.

Tangerine Road.

This past year we had two major road projects that will address the future traffic needs of Marana. The Tangerine Road expansion involved the combined efforts of the Town of Marana, the Town of Oro Valley, the Regional Transportation Authority, and Pima County.  All of us worked together to build this major transportation corridor between our communities while maintaining wildlife linkages. This project literally paves the way for future development, and it establishes Marana as a regional destination. We anticipate that this road will serve as a center for commercial activity creating economic development opportunities for our local community for years to come.

After nearly two years, one of the region’s largest projects has come to completion. The reopening of the Ina Road Interchange has revitalized our major commercial hub making it a destination once again. This project was an incredible feat by the Arizona Department of Transportation. It eliminated at-grade crossings for the Union Pacific Railroad, it reconstructed the frontage roads, and it installed fiber optic communication cables. The Town of Marana and the Pima Association of Governments designed and funded two bridges over the Santa Cruz as part of the Ina Road Interchange project.

Yes, losing access to 1-10 during construction was challenging for both residents and businesses. But all good things are worth the time and the effort to do it right. With this new overpass, we now have improved accessibility to Ina Road. Thank you to the Department of Transportation for pulling off this amazing project.

The Town also made significant investments in the functionality of the Ina commercial area. The Ina Road Beautification project makes the area even more appealing to our customers and residents.  It includes new asphalt pavement, fresh landscaping in the right of way, new street lights, sidewalks, accessibility ramps and fiber optic cables. By early summer this project will be entirely completed, and Ina Road will be unrecognizable from what it was over two years ago. The Town is excited for Ina Road’s re-opening and we invite the community to join us on May 4th for the kickoff of the Ina Road Celebration Weekend.

Ina Road has been a team effort, and I would like to thank the Regional Transportation Authority for the role they played helping to get information out to our businesses. I would also like to thank the Marana Chamber of Commerce for their continued advocacy of the business community.

Marana Police Facility grand opening.

Marana Police Facility grand opening.

Let’s not forget that 2018 also saw the grand opening of our new Police facility located at the Marana Municipal Complex. This building was the result of months of public education and outreach, years of planning and development, and paid for with a community-supported half-cent sales tax. The new Police Facility is state of the art with amenities to accommodate our department’s various services and our officers’ continued focus on “unparalleled service, unwavering protection”. This new building has the capacity to meet the safety needs of Marana’s growing population for the next twenty years.

All of these amazing projects took years of strategic planning, and they were not designed or built in a day. Providing citizens good public service, means foreseeing the future needs of the community, and making strategic decisions now, in the present, to ensure Marana is a better place for future generations.

 At this very moment, the Town of Marana is designing the blueprints for the future.

The General Plan is the Town’s roadmap for tomorrow. Town staff is working hard with members of the public to draft the 2040 General Plan Update. This visionary document along with the updated Land Development Code will help guide all aspects of the town, from growth and development, to health and safety, to town services, and the environment.  

Other strategic documents in the works include the Marana Parks and Recreation 10-year master plan, the North Marana Drainage Study, the Sewer Conveyance Master Plan, and the Potable Water Plan.

These strategic plans and our many public infrastructure projects lay the foundation upon which the Town of Marana can support a strong quality of life for our residents and businesses. However, it is just as important that we continue to provide a high-quality level of service to maintain our assets. Our Public Works Department works hard every day in our community, and the Town is proud of the work they’ve done to keep Marana clean and beautiful.

Thank you for this opportunity to share the amazing things we’re doing here in Marana. We’ve accomplished so much, and we have plans to accomplish so much more. Thank you. 

Second Marana Macro Machines a hit + photo gallery

On Friday, April 12, the Town of Marana held their second Marana Macro Machines event. The event allowed people to get up close and personal with the machines that help Marana Town Staff and their community partners do their jobs to make Marana a great.

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This event featured departments and divisions from the Town including Streets, Traffic, Facilities, Fleet, Pavement Preservation, Engineering, Police, Water, Animal Services, and Parks and Recreation. Additionally Northwest Fire, the National Weather Service, the Air National Guard, and several contractors were also on hand.

“This is a great way for our employees to interact with the public and show them what they do,” said Marana Public Works Deputy Director Fausto Burrell.

“The kids really love seeing all of the equipment we use to keep the parks looking great, and their parents love seeing all of the tools we use every day,” said Marana Parks Superintendent David Herman. “I’ve had a lot of questions from some dads about the battery powered chainsaw that we use.”

Marana Macro Machines was held at Marana Heritage River Park and was attended by students from area schools as part of a field trip opportunity, as well as a number of residents.

NW Fire among top 1% of nation's fire districts

Northwest Fire engine.

Northwest Fire engine.

The Northwest Fire District, a community partner of the Town of Marana, announced that they have received an improved Class 1/1Y Public Protection Classification (PPC) rating issued by the Insurance Service Office (ISO) which places the District’s fire protection community in the top 1% in the country.

The enhanced score takes effect on July 01, 2019 and works to ensure lower insurance costs for property owners within the Northwest Fire District, including much of the Town of Marana and areas of unincorporated Pima County northwest of Tucson.

ISO collects and evaluates fire suppression capabilities in over 48,000 communities in the United States. ISO notes that most insurers use the PPC classification for underwriting and calculating premiums on residential, commercial, and industrial properties. The PPC score is a measure of the community’s overall ability to reduce property losses due to fires.  

The scale of a PPC rating ranges from 1-10, with Class 1 being the highest rating. Northwest Fire’s community Class 1 PPC rating, improved from Class 2, comes on the heels of a recent analysis performed by the ISO on the Northwest Fire community’s fire prevention and suppression systems. The ISO is one of two third-party entities that regularly assess the Northwest Fire District.

The Commission on Fire Accreditation International also evaluates Northwest Fire District is one of only 258 accredited fire and rescue agencies in the country.

Northwest Fire Boundary Map

Map of Northwest Fire’s coverage area.

Map of Northwest Fire’s coverage area.

Arizona Daily Star: Arts thrive in Marana

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The Arizona Daily Star had a terrific article on the Marana Community Music Theater and their performance this Friday of The Wizard of Oz, as well as how the arts are thriving in Marana. 

Nearly 70 cast members, when you include the full orchestra, have spent weeks this summer getting ready for a one-night-only performance on Friday, July 27.

 For the past six weeks, they have filled one of the conference rooms of the Marana Senior Center next to Ora Mae Harn Park two nights a week. For several hours on those nights, they follow the direction of MCMT founders Sarah Ross and Heidi Barker to prepare for that performance.

But this is about more than a night at the theater…

“If this is something that brings pleasure and gets people involved because you’re going to have young and old and every ethnic group and every neighborhood involved, we invest in our people,” said Mayor Ed Honea.

The town places artwork by high school students and area artists in its parks. One of the most ambitious recently was steel statues of a deer family designed by Tucson artist Trevor O’Toole and crafted by welding students from Marana High School that was installed on Tangerine Road as a centerpiece of the upcoming Tangerine Sky Park. It also hosts school choirs for performances at town events, from Founders Day to the Fourth of July.

Read the FULL STORY

Marana based animal shelter in dire need after flooding

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Hope Animal Shelter opened its doors in Marana in August 2015. Yesterday’s flooding destruction is by far the worst they have seen. Tuesday’s monsoons flooded much of the outdoor facilities and all the rooms in the shelter. The roof is also leaking in many locations.

Town of Marana Animal Services will be collecting donations for the next week. The shelter is in need of cleaning supplies, trash bags, dog and cat food, and general animal supplies.

Donation can be dropped off at the 1st floor reception area of the Marana Municipal Complex at 11555 W Civic Center Drive, or at the Water Department portion of the Marana Operation Center at 5100 W. Ina Road.

Monetary donations can be made through HOPE Animal Shelter. They are also in need of assistance repairing the shelter, outside fencing, sheds, and water lines. If you would like to help repair the shelter, please contact Justin Gallick or Susan Scherl at 520-792-9200 or 520-820-9448.

Marana Founders' Day provides free family fun

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Float through time and learn about the community's history at the annual Marana Founders' Day. This year Founders’ Day will take place on Saturday, March 10, 2018 in Downtown Marana.

EVENT SCHEDULE (subject to change)
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM Parade (food vendors will open at 10:30am)
11:30 AM - 2:00 PM Founders' Day Festival
11:30 - 11:45 AM Chinese Cultural Center presentation
11:45 - 12:00 PM TBA
12:10 - 12:40 PM TBA
12:50 - 1:20 PM Ballet Folkloric Dancers                 
1:30 - 2:00 PM Saguaro Stompers

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The parade is what makes Founders’ Day unique. The parade begins at 10 a.m. with a theme of “Float Through Time.” As in year’s past, the parade is a great way for all different aspects of Marana’s diverse community to be on display. This annual spectacle attracts lots of Marana residents to line the sidewalks and watch all the great vehicles, floats, and people glide by.

The parade has had a number of great features. There have been monster trucks, farm machinery, and even a marriage proposal. Floats with local school children and the great high school marching bands are a great way to celebrate Marana’s youth. You can count on local first responders to be part of the parade, and Marana’s great history is represented with antique tractors and plenty of skilled horseback riders.

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The event emcee is Terri Murphy. No stranger to community, charity and events, Murphy has always had a passion for bringing people together and for assisting those in time of need. She has had the pleasure of working with several great people in our community to create and develop events such as the Marana Junior Rodeo Association and Marana’s Exceptional Rodeo for handicap children. She has served as Vice President for the Arizona Women’s Professional Rodeo Association, President for Cowboys Cowgirls Barrel Racing Association, has held numerous local fundraising events and sponsored several local charity events.  Teri’s main passion is preserving the western lifestyle and is able to do so by volunteering her time to the Western Heritage Committee and arena.  She has served as Chairperson for the Marana Main Street Festival and is avid with education and does fundraisers for both the University of Arizona and CAC College.

Like all of Marana’s Signature Events, there will be plenty of fun activities for young families. Inflatables are always a popular attraction, but there will be other fun things to do including artists doing temporary henna tattoos and fantastic balloon creations.

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Founders’ Day is all about learning about the past. Visitors can explore booths and exhibits that display Marana's history. These exhibits are brought to you in partnership with Marana Heritage Conservancy and local historical organizations. 

There will be more than 30 non-foot vendors on hand as well as plenty of food options. More than 10 food vendors will be on hand serving everything from ice cream to German food to Hawaiian favorites, and more.

Previous Founders' Day Blogs:
A Kid's Eye View
Favorite Parade Moments

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Spotlight on Schools: Awards and Certifications

Several Marana Unified School District educators and staffers earned awards or certifications over the past month. All of these honorees have dedicated themselves to their schools, their district, and in turn, the Marana community

Dondi Luce, Twin Peaks Elementary principal, is a finalist for the 2018 Woman of Influence Awards. Dr. Luce has been ranked in the top three in the Education Champion category. Dr. Luce will be honored as a finalist at a special dinner and awards event on Wednesday, March 7, where the 1st place winner will be announced. Tucson Local Media’s publication, Inside Tucson Business, has been honoring outstanding women in our community annually since 2004.

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The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) announced that Ms. Kelly McGarity, a Social Studies teacher at Marana Middle School who has worked in the Marana Unified School District since 2001 has received national certification in Generalist/Middle Childhood.

National Board Certification is an advanced teaching credential in which teachers have met the profession’s highest standards and have the knowledge and skills necessary to advance student learning. Similar to certification in fields like medicine, National Board Certification is a rigorous, peer-reviewed process that ensures that Board-certified teachers have proven skills to advance student achievement.

Aimee Katz, DeGrazia Elementary School teacher, is one of two teachers in Tucson nominated for the prestigious 2017-2018 LifeChanger of the Year.  This is not only exciting news for DeGrazia Elementary but for #maranaschools. LifeChanger is a national program that recognizes educators for the positive difference they make in the lives of their students, for being a leader in the school community, for exemplifying excellence as an educator and for creating a nurturing atmosphere in our schools.

Beth DeWeerdt was selected as the Marana Unified School District’s Teacher of the Year. DeWeerdt is in her tenth year teaching in MUSD and is regarded as an outstanding educator and a leader by her peers. Her exemplary teaching at Quail Run Elementary is evident in her work with students, in her support of colleagues and in her positive outlook on life.

Dena Reninger, Tortolita Middle School Counseling Secretary was the 2018 Support Staff of the Year, while Christina Noriega, MUSD Family Resource Coordinator, as the 2018 Exempt Employee of the Year.

James Attebery was been selected as a finalist for the 24th annual Arizona Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the Circle K Corporation “Outstanding High School Faculty Awards Program,” which honors outstanding high school teachers in Southern Arizona. He was honored at a pre-game recognition ceremony at the Arizona men’s basketball game on Saturday, January 27. He will also be recognized at a special Awards Banquet held at the UA Hall of Champions on Friday, March 2, where the Teacher of the Year will be announced.

Please see the MUSD Website for the latest information and news on the school district. 

Donated toys allow police to bond with community

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The Marana Police Department uses stuffed animals officers to give to children during emergency situations, but thanks to a generous donation, found themselves with more than they knew what to do with. 

PetSmart donated hundreds of stuffed animals for Marana police officers to utilize. Giving them to children during emergency situations was a primary use, they have also been useful in reaching out to the public as part of the MPD’s community policing.

Marana PD officers at the Marana Holiday Festival handed out a number to children at the event, giving officers a great opportunity to interact with young people in the community. Here’s the story behind the stuffed animals!

“It is a great way for our officers and the children of Marana to get to know each other,” said Officer David Danielson Community Resource Unit. “We think it is very important for officers and the community to get to know each other and build up a level of trust.”

The Chance, Lucky and Stanley stuffed animals have been placed in first responder vehicles and will be handed out at police sponsored events. They are also available for purchase at PetSmart now through December 24 for $5 each.

PetSmart will donate 10 percent of the sales from its Holiday Philanthropic Collection to PetSmart Charities and PetSmart Charities of Canada, the largest funders of animal welfare in North America, to help pets in need across the U.S. and Canada.

Marana PD has received hundreds of stuffed animals and expects to receive hundreds more as the holiday season approaches. The next time you see a Marana PD officer out and about, have your kids ask for a stuffed animal!

Spotlight on Schools: Marana Cares Mobile provides Winter Break meals

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For many students, the meals they eat at school are the only healthy food they get, so when school is not in session during holidays, a healthy meal may be hard to come by. The Marana Unified School District’s Marana Cares Mobile hopes to rectify that problem.

Marana Cares Mobile offers FREE nutritious and delicious meals in an air conditioned mobile facility with interior and exterior serving areas. Nutrition and health are critical to a child's ability to learn and be successful. Marana Cares Mobile meets these critical needs during school breaks and summer months so students are better prepared to return to school ready to learn. 

"Nutrition and health are critical to a child's ability to learn," said MUSD Superintendent Dr. Doug Wilson.

Handicap accessible, the mobile unit offers a fun dining experience, with Wi-fi, Chromebooks and literacy encouragement, for children. These services are brought to our community through private donations, corporate sponsorship, and charitable foundations. 

Marana Cares Mobile travels to residential areas with a high density of children who traditionally receive meal benefits during the school year.

Marana Cares Mobile will set up at two locations during Winter Break. From Tuesday, Dec. 26 through Friday, December 29 and Tuesday, January 1 through Friday, January 5th the mobile unit will be at the Southeast corner of Sandario Road and Anthony Road (next to Marana Congregation of Jehovah’s Witness Church) from 11:00 a.m. – 12 p.m. and then from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. it will be at 16560 W. El Tiro Road (El Tiro Road and Anway Road, at Marana Domestic Water).

Follow #MCM on Facebook for updates and daily menus at www.facebook.com/MaranaCaresMobile/.

Spotlight on Schools: Second grade students in Marana develop student-run business

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Tucson News Now posted a great story about second graders at a Marana Unified School District school that have started their own business to raise money for charity.

Second grade teacher, Aimee Katz, and her students at DeGrazia Elementary, within the Marana Unified School District, have embarked on a unique journey and are learning real-world business skills. 

Made possible through a Real World Scholars EdCorp grant, these young hard working, entrepreneurial thinking students have developed their own student-run business, Corky Kidz, making a variety of creative designs and items out of reused corks!

Learning entrepreneurship skills through real-world learning, students developed their business from the ground up. After creating their business name, Corky Kidz, and tagline, "Fun, Funky, and creative cork designs made by Kidz," students spent months seeking cork donations from local businesses, family and friends; researching and developing product prototypes; and learning various aspects of business.

"I wanted to start an EdCorp to provide my students with the opportunity to do some real-world learning but also do something that they will remember," states Aimee Katz, second grade Degrazia Elementary teacher. "I want students to be able to understand that what they are learning is and will be used in their life. While students are having fun, they are learning. They are learning real-life skills and if there is something they don’t know how to do, we research it."

Spotlight on Schools: MHS earns Special Olympics honor

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The Marana News had a great story on Marana High School being honored for their participation in Special Olympics.

A shower of gold glitter unveiled Marana High School’s new title: National Unified Champion School for the Special Olympics of Arizona. The title came on a new banner revealed at the high school’s pep rally last Friday, Dec. 1.

“Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools equip students with the necessary tools and training to create inclusive sports, classroom and community experiences that reduce bullying, promote healthy activities, combat stereotypes, eliminate hurtful language and improve the overall school climate,” Holly Thompson,  area director for Special Olympics Arizona announced at the school assembly. “Marana High School continues to excel in all these areas and this is why you have received this national recognition.”

The dozens of special education students at Marana High School kicked off the assembly by parading into the school gym holding a sign announcing their new title. They marched into the gym among applause and through a tunnel formed by cheerleaders and mascots. Thompson awarded a certificate to Brett Secemski, the school’s life skills teacher and Special Olympics coach.

Mountain View High School also won the award though a celebratory assembly is still being planned.

Read the whole story at the Marana News

Spotlight on Schools: Marana High singers among "best of the best"

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Marana High School singers, Cassandra Brandriff and Nick Victoratos will perform at the National Association for Music Education's 2017 All-National Honor Ensembles this week at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort/Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. This is a collection of the “best of the best” high school singers.

“These outstanding artists qualified for their state-level honor ensemble program and competed against top students for one of 609 spots in these national honor ensembles,” explained the Marana Unified School District in a press release.

Brandriff and Victoratos will have the honor to perform under the baton of five of the most prominent conductors in the United States. The All-National Honor Ensembles consist of a concert band, symphony orchestra, mixed choir, and jazz ensemble.

Marana News: Newly expanded Marana Resource Center opens

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The Marana News has a very good story about the expansion of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona - Marana Resource Center.

A buzz of excitement hummed as a group of three-dozen locals waited on the cement patio linking the past, present and future of social services in Marana. 

The crowd gathered to witness the opening of two new slate grey portable office buildings, donated by Cottonwood Properties in May. 

The 3,000-square-foot expansion to what is now called the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona - Marana Resource Center (formerly known as the Community Food Bank in Marana) was the result of years of work by members of the community. 

The Oct. 31 ceremony was the coronation of a project launched two years ago when the food bank received an $80,000 Community Development Block Grant from Pima County, which has been given out to community facilities and infrastructure projects in low-income and rural areas since 1978. 

Read the rest of the story at the MARANA NEWS

National Night out a success

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The Marana Police Department made an effort to expand their National Night Out event, and the decision was a success. On Friday, October 6, MPD and their community partners took over a good portion of the parking lot of the Target at Ina and Thornydale to put on the event which allowed the public and law enforcement officers to interact.

At one point during a Police Explorers exhibition it appeared as if there were at least 300 people in attendance and Marana Police Department representatives reported that there were steady crowd throughout the entire event.

“The turnout was great,” said Officer David Danielson of the Marana Police Department’s Community Resource Unit. “We did not know what to expect, but people just kept coming.”

Many of those in attendance were families, and it proved to be a great opportunity to not only meet many of the men and women who serve with the Marana Police Department, but to see many of the vehicles and equipment that they use to keep Marana safe.

On display from the Marana Police Department were several squad cars, the SUV used by K9, and the Crime Scene Unit Van. Pima County SWAT had an armored vehicle open to view, while Northwest Fire had a few vehicles on hand to look at.

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The Marana Police Department performed three demonstrations. The department’s motor officers showed off their motorcycle driving skills, while the K9 unit showed off the great training that one of the department’s police dog has undergone, including the apprehension of a well-padded mock suspect. One of the spectators had a service dog, who barked encouragement to his fellow German Shepherd during the demonstration.

The Town of Marana’s Parks and Rec Department and the Animal Services Division were on hand to promote events and hand out goodies to the kids, while community and business partners also had plenty of giveaways for the kids and their parents.

Last year’s event drew about 35 people with less activities, so the Marana Police Department took a creative approach and decided to expand the event in hopes of making it more enticing to the community. The move paid off as a full parking lot and long lines at neighboring restaurants showed just popular the evening was.

Cotton Festival Blog No. 3: Meet Buzz

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Marana’s Signature Events are all about bringing the community together. They are about giving the Town’s residents a unique, fun experience and about working hand in hand with our community partners. This year’s Cotton Festival will give us the opportunity to combine both.

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Our emcee for the event is Kiim 99.5 DJ Buzz Jackson. Not only does he represent Kiim FM and the Cumulus family of radio stations who are a important partner in our event, but Buzz is a resident of Marana.

Buzz has lived in Marana since moving to Southern Arizona 16 years ago and has remained a presence in the community. He has been involved in the Town’s Holiday Festival and Fourth of July Star Spangled Spectacular and is excited about the Cotton Festival.

 “Anything I can do to expand my involvement is something that I look forward to,” Buzz said. “Being a part of the community and bringing my family to these events is a lot of fun.”

At Kiim 99.5 Buzz plays all of our country favorites, but tries to add a little fun to every broadcast. He must be doing something right as he has won air personality of the year awards from both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association. His broadcasts are also heard on many of Westwood One's country stations across America every day.

Buzz has also embraced Marana. He likes to ride his bike on The Loop and can be seen walking Wrangler the Dog in the neighborhood. He is excited to interact with the Marana community at the Cotton Festival.

 “These people are my neighbors,” he said. “It is great to share these events with them and be a part of them with them.”

The Cotton Festival is not possible without our community partners. This year the event is presented by Comcast, in partnership with Core Construction.

PD honored as Dispose-A-Med Program continues to grow

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The Marana Police Department has worked hard with their community partners to conduct Dispose-A-Med Events, which have been successful in getting unused prescription drugs off the street.

The program had one of their best outings last month when 569 pounds of drugs were collected in a two-hour period. Because of this great community effort, one of MPD’s officers was given an award at Tuesday’s Marana Town Council meeting.

Nancy Lyngby, president of the Marana – Foothills Optimist Club, recognized Marana Police Officer David Danielson by presenting him with a certificate for his service to Marana. He was specifically recognized for the Dispose-A-Med program and for “Bringing Out The Best in Kids.”

“He has been absolutely fabulous to work worth,” said Lyngby.

Danielson recently began overseeing the program, inheriting an already successful model from prior officers Lori Shepherd, Steve Johnson and Kevin Litton and trying to keep building it bigger and bigger.

“They laid the foundation for this program and provided me the tools for me to make sure that this goes forward in the right direction,” Danielson said.

Previous events were averaging between 120-150 pounds of drugs collected and the idea was to expand it. Between Marana Police, the Optimist Club and other community partners they worked hard to expand coverage of the event, utilizing the media and social media accounts. The exposure worked, as they collected almost 600 pounds of drugs.

Now their goal is to get 1,000 pounds at their October 14 event. So far this year they have collected over 1,200 pounds and still have additional events in October and December.

Lyngby praised Danielson’s ability to motivate volunteers, while Danielson praised the hard work of the Marana Police Department’s volunteers, the VIP’s.

“I have not seen this many volunteers show up to do a dispose a med in years and that is a real testament to him,” Lyngby said.

Marana’s two final Dispose-A-Meds will be Saturday, October 14 and Saturday, December 9 in front of the Target at Ina and Thornydale from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Dispose-A-Med allows safe disposal of medications

Abuse of prescription medications is a problem in communities all over America. Unused or expired prescription medications have become a real safety issue as they are leading to accidental poisonings, overdoses, and abuse. The non-medical use of prescription drugs ranks second to marijuana as the most common form of drug abuse in the country.

The Marana Police Department and their community partners are trying to do something about it. Since 2010 they have held Dispose-A-Med programs to try and get expired and unused prescription medications off the street and properly disposed of. To date the program has been a huge success.

Since the program’s inception they have collected over 4,100 pounds of medication. Since the start of 2017 they have already properly disposed of 642 pounds.

The events are held once a month at the Target at 3901 W. Ina Rod. The events are from 10 a.m. – noon. This month’s event is Saturday, August 12.

At these events residents are able to safely dispose of any unused or expired prescription medications. Prescription and over-the-counter tablets and capsules will be collected, as well as liquids, creams, veterinary medications, vitamins, and needles.

“We can collect almost anything,” said Marana Police Department Volunteer Thomas Cox, who assists with the program.

The only limitation is that they cannot accept drugs from commercial organizations.

Unused prescription drugs that are not disposed of safely can be retrieved and abused or illegally sold, while unused drugs that are flushed down the toilet can contaminate the water supply. Proper disposal of unused drugs saves lives and protects the environment.

The Marana Police Department partners with the Marana Health Center, Marana-Foothills Optimist Club, and the Marana Prevention Alliance to put on these monthly events. 

They do caution that for safety and confidentiality reasons, any items turned over for collection cannot be returned. They cannot accept drugs from commercial organizations. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

For more information contact Officer David Danielson at the Marana Community Resource Unit at 520-382-2051 or 520-382-2055.

Countdown To Cotton Festival Blog No. 1

By the time the last of the fireworks exploded over the skies at the Fourth of July Star Spangled Spectacular we were already jumping head first into planning our next signature event, the Cotton Festival. In reality planning for the event began long before, but now that Independence Day is behind us, we go full bore into not only planning October’s Cotton Festival, but also the Holiday Festival & Christmas Tree Lighting, which occurs six weeks later.

All of our events take a lot of teamwork to happen. While we have an events coordinator who oversees the operation, we cannot put on an event that hosts thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people without the help of most of our departments, as well as Northwest Fire and other community partners. To make sure your experience at the Cotton Festival is an enjoyable one, all of our departments meet weekly to ensure their role in putting on the event is clearly defined and is working in harmony with all the other departments.

Like most of our signature events, this year’s Cotton Festival promises to be our biggest yet, and that means we have to plan to accommodate for more people, more traffic, and in turn, give them more fun things to do. Although we are in the early stages of planning, we have already expanded the number of carnival rides that will be available. This year we will have five FREE attractions for children of all ages, sizes, and thrill seeker levels. There will be things for adventuresome teens, to the most cautious toddlers.

That is just a start. We have already been hard at work coordinating our rodeo activities, looking for the perfect musical act to provide the soundtrack for the evening’s festivities, and are looking at how to get more volunteers involved. We truly want this to be a community event.

We have just begin putting together the plan for the “Chili Bowl”, the chili cook off hosted by the Community Food Bank in Marana. They are beginning to gather local businesses and organizations to compete for the best tasting chili. Cotton Festival attendees can pay to try bowls of chili and vote for their favorite. The funds raised from the tasting go to the Food Bank in their efforts to fight hunger in the community.

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Yummy chili and a good cause sounds good to us.

We have listened to your feedback and we know that the animals at the petting zoos are very popular and that the kids just love to play in the fluffy cotton pile. We are hard at work brainstorming on how to make both of those experiences even better.

Soon it will be time to turn our attention to the food vendors that make Cotton Festival so much fun (and delicious.) Once again we are working with Marana High School to use the Cotton Festival as a way to let their clubs entertain the kiddos, while also fundraising for their own activities.

While October 21 seems like a long way away, it will be here before any of us know it. Although we are getting an early start on things, there is still so much left to do to make sure you have a great time at Cotton Festival.

We will keep posting updates at the Marana Newsroom as well as on our social media platforms, so keep an eye out.

See you in October.