community partners

Marana In The Media: MHC giving away "lock boxes" to combat opioid abuse

News 4 Tucson, KVOA had a story on Marana-based MHC giving away "lock boxes" to combat opioid abuse.

MHC Healthcare is fighting against the opioid abuse epidemic by providing lock boxes free of charge to patients who are prescribed potentially addictive drugs.

The MHC Healthcare foundation funded the purchase of 90 medicine lock boxes to begin rolling out to patients.

"This will help to secure the medicine for the patient and keep the medicine out of the wrong hands,” said Dr. Greg Redding, MHC Healthcare pharmacy director.

Redding noted the absence of any type of medicine security is a possible recipe for disaster.

"Somebody sees it in there who may have a drug problem of their own and they take some of the medication, it's stronger than what they're used to taking, then they're in real trouble,” Redding said.

Since June 15, 2017, the Arizona state health department has recorded nearly 1,000 suspected opioid deaths and over 6,300 overdoses.


The Town of Marana will be hosting a Dispose-A-Med event on April 14 at the Target on 3901 W. Ina Road from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. They will be collecting unused or expire prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. 

Spotlight on Schools: Ross earns certification


The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) announced that Ms. Sarah Ross, a teacher at Marana High School, has received national certification in Music/Early Adolescence Through Young Adulthood.

Ross has taught Fine Arts/Choir since 2007

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.

Ross is involved with the Marana Community Choir and Marana Community Theater who have performed at several Town of Marana events.

Learn more about the great teachers and programs within the Marana Unified School District

Spotlight on Schools: MUSD's Wilson honored

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Marana Unified School Districts’ superintendent - Dr. Doug Wilson – was selected as the 2018 American Association of School Administrators National Superintendent of the Year® for Arizona by the Arizona School Administrators.

Dr. Wilson has worked in public education for the last 36 years, and he is “humbled by this honor.”

According to an MUSD press release, Dr. Wilson “believes the ability to make a difference in the life of a child and influence the future through education is one of the noblest professions there is.”

“This recognition speaks more to the quality of the people who I am surrounded by, than anything I have accomplished,” Wilson added. “I cannot think of anyplace I would rather be, or anything I would rather be doing than serving the educational community in Marana as superintendent. The last nine and a half years working beside our dedicated teachers, support staff, administrators, Governing Board members, and parents have been the best years of my professional life… there is not a day that goes by that I am not inspired.”

The AASA, The School Superintendents Association National Superintendent of the Year® Program pays tribute to the talent and vision of the men and women who lead our nation's public schools. The program is designed to recognize the outstanding leadership of active, front-line superintendents.

Dr. Wilson will be recognized as the award recipient at the Arizona School Boards Association/Arizona School Administrators Annual Superintendents Conference in December and at the 2018 AASA National Conference on Education in February.

Marana News: MHC Healthcare celebrates 60 years


The Marana News wrote a re-cap from last week's MHC Healthcare Foundation’s 60th anniversary last Friday.

Clint Kuntz told a crowd of hundreds at the MHC Healthcare Foundation’s 60th anniversary last Friday that the organization started from a “little hut.” Now, MHC provides “healthcare with a heart” to about 45,000 patients at 15 sites across Pima County.

With its flagship, the Marana Main Health Center, the organization prides itself on being affordable to everyone and won’t turn anyone away, regardless of ability to pay for care. The gala’s keynote speaker Dr. Zubin Damania, aka ZDoggMD, fit right in.

Damania became an internet sensation after he started posting music videos on YouTube in which he parodied popular songs with his own lyrics. He entered the stage at the Ritz rapping, while one of his videos played on two big screens.

“You don’t usually see that performed in business casual,” he said as the song concluded. 

He also moonlights as a comedian, and his sensitive yet blunt humor around healthcare was not lost on the MHC crowd. He opened by talking about when someone first becomes a doctor.

“We’re idealistic,” he said. “We’re incredibly Disney. We barely curse.” 

Read the rest of the story on the Marana News.

Santa Cruz River workshops looking for input

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A number of Marana residents participated in a recent Santa Cruz River survey conducted by the Sonoran Institute. The survey yielded a number of insightful responses, and they already have big plans to use the information.

They are hosting a trio of workshops in the coming weeks to finish their research and start making recommendations to Pima County Regional Flood Control. As you took the survey, you may have noticed that some of the survey questions were kept at a very high level. Now in our workshops they will explore some of these questions further, exposing more nuance. They are also like your help identifying the preferred balance between opposing management trade-offs and will provide paper maps for your recreational improvements ideas. 

They hope to cover a lot of ground, and anyone can attend, even those who have taken the survey already. Each workshop will focus on a different segment of the river. Click the link for more info and to register:

Date & Time
River Reach
Workshop Location

October 10, 6pm
Grant – Ina
Ellie Towne Flowing Wells CC

October 12, 6pm
Avra Valley – Trico
Marana Municipal Center, 2nd floor

October18, 6pm
Ina – Avra Valley
Wheeler Abbott Taft Jr Library

More on the workshops:

Your voice is an important part of the Santa Cruz River!

Have you ever thought that your regular route on the Loop trail could use a drinking fountain? Would you rather see new flowing reaches of the river or protect the currently flowing & vegetated areas? Do you feel that erosion needs to be taken more seriously on your local stretch of the Santa Cruz? We want to hear all of your ideas, big and smallThis series of FREE workshops is a venue for sharing your experiences and ideas about the Santa Cruz River. Your input will be used in the upcoming management plan for part of the Santa Cruz River. You will help us ensure that the river remains a vital and thriving resource in our community.

How will I influence the future of the Santa Cruz River?

The Santa Cruz River Improvements Workshop and Survey is an opportunity to share your river management preferences and to share ideas for improvement projects. Your input will be used by Pima County as they develop a management plan for the stretch of river between Grant and Trico Road. This includes the flowing section that begins near Sweetwater Drive.

This management plan guides the future of our river in two ways, and you can influence them both.

The plan will describe goals and outline ways for reaching those goals. You help identify which areas need special attention by telling us what you like about the river and your values.

The Plan will also identify and prioritize river improvements related to flood safety, erosion, and recreation. Projects can include things that enhance your experience on the river, such as additional signage, restrooms, drinking fountains and anything else you come up with. Pima County wants to know your suggestions for improvement projects.

What will these workshops be like?

Come prepared to think in broad and fine scales & to share your experiences! As a workshop attendee, you’ll give your input in three highly interactive ways. First, you’ll watch a short video and tell us what information is new and exciting to you. Second, you’ll identify the preferred solution to realistic management scenarios. Finally, you’ll use maps to record suggestions for improvement projects along the river.

NOTE: There will be three workshops, each one focused on a subset of the management area. You can attend more than one workshop. If you know someone that might like to participate, but can’t attend a workshop please share our online survey.

Marana Chamber wins award, celebrates anniversary

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It has been a big year for the Marana Chamber of Commerce. They are in the midst of their 30th anniversary celebration and earlier this week they were awarded the Best Chamber of Commerce in the 2017 Arizona Daily Star/ Readers’ Choice Awards.

The award recognized the chamber for their hard work and dedication to growing the economy in the Town of Marana. The Town and Chamber have been partners since the start. According to current Marana Chamber President and CEO Ed Stolmaker, then Mayro Billy Schisler approached Phyllis M. Farenga about starting the chamber.

In a column he wrote for Tucson Local Media, Stolmaker explained that the early marketing materials were basic and low-budget.

“A yellow and blue bumper sticker sported a large ‘Marana’ with an up arrow on the N and read ‘We’re really growing places!’,” Stolmaker wrote. “The first business card for what was then called the Greater Marana/Avra Valley Chamber of Commerce featured a rising sun.

“An early map of the area given to members and visitors was hand-drawn,” Stolmaker added. “By contrast, today’s Official Chamber Map is a professionally-produced slick, full-color foldout full of pictures, information and advertising. It is updated and distributed annually.”

Today the Chamber has over 550 members and is adding new ones every month. As Marana grows, the chamber grows.

The Town partners with the Chamber to run the Marana Visitor Center, which also serves as the Chamber’s office, as well as other services like business retention. The Marana Town Council approve to extend the partnership for the 2018 Fiscal Year at a June council meeting.

“We have a strong partnership and many, many successes in working with the Marana Chamber of Commerce over the years,” said Marana Town Manager Gilbert Davidson.

The Town and Chamber work side by side on the annual State of the Town, and this year they have worked hard to help businesses affected by the Ina Interchange Project, including two business walks to help determine the needs of those area businesses.

“The agreement between the town and the chamber makes a lot of sense for both of us,” said Stolmaker. “It is a good partnership, we have a great relationship and I look forward to working with them in 2017 and 2018.” 

The role of the Chamber has evolved over the 30 years. Initially they ran some of the town’s events and did much of the town marketing. Stolmaker said slowly it evolved into what it is today, a way to attract and retain businesses in the area, and grown the local economy. Not that they have completely abandoned events, in addition to partnering on the State of the Town, the chamber has their annual golf tournament, the ever evolving Marana Earth Festival, and all of their weekly, monthly, and quarterly events.

In July the Chamber held their annual luncheon and they were able to recognize several members who had been there from the start: Marana Unified School District, Marana Health Center, CalPortland–Rillito Plant, the Town of Marana, Trico Electric Cooperative, Inc., Comcast Business, Hensley Beverage Company, The Planning Center, and Marana Stockyards and Livestock Market, Inc.

Ciao Down ready to feed Marana music lovers


The Town of Marana likes their Free Concerts and Free Movies in the Park series to be a full experience. In addition to fun movies and great music, we like to invite unique food trucks to fill out the evening. For this week’s Notes From Neptune Concert on Saturday, September 2 we are thrilled to introduce Ciao Down as one of our latest food truck vendors.

Not only does Ciao Down served fantastic pizza and Italian Sodas, but owner Paul Reyes has lived in Marana for over two decades, as well as working at a local resort. Or as Reyes says, his pizza may be new to Marana, but he is not.

“We are excited to bring signature flavors to Marana,” Reyes said.

The Ciao Down pizza truck is a key to the pizza itself. All of their pizzas are made on board their truck in our double deck 900 degree electric ovens.

“Having such high temperatures means we can go from dough to plate in under 2 minutes,” Reyes explained.  

The truck is also designed so that customers can actually see the Ciao Down crew making their pizza. They call it their “open concept kitchen” that leaves all of the mystery out of the pizza making process.

Their Italian sodas are handcrafted and available in hundreds of different flavor combinations, making it a near certainty that you will be able to find just the right style for your pallet.

Most of Ciao Down’s pizzas have their five-cheese mix and fresh ingredients. You can find traditional pizzas like supreme, pineapple, and peperoni, but also have their unique Prickly Pear Jalepeno Pizza, which includes cream cheese stuffed peppers, bacon, and Ciao Down’s prickly pear bacon jam.

Ciao Down is a true family affair. Reyes and his wife opened the truck as a way to spend more time with his daughter, and he admits his inspiration as a chef comes from his father, a great chef in his own right who also works on the truck.

“Without him the whole thing would not taste as great as it does today,” Reyes said.

Ciao Down will be at Crossroads at Silverbell Park beginning at 6:30 p.m. and Notes from Neptune hit the stage at 7:00, giving you plenty of time to indulge in some pizza and Italian Sodas before or during the show.

Town, Chamber partnership continues

The Marana Town Council approved the partnership between the town and the Marana Chamber of Commerce for another year.

“We have a strong partnership and many, many successes in working with the Marana Chamber of Commerce over the years,” said Marana Town Manager Gilbert Davidson.

As part of the agreement the Chamber will run the town’s visitor center at 13881 N Casa Grande Hwy, as well as to provide other services, most notably business retention. 

“The agreement between the town and the chamber makes a lot of sense for both of us,” said Marana Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ed Stolmaker. “It is a good partnership, we have a great relationship and I look forward to working with them in 2017 and 2018.” 

The Marana Chamber of Commerce is celebrating their 30th anniversary this year.

Marana competes in the All-America City 2016 competition

For many months, students, community members, and the staff of the Town of Marana have prepared for the All-America City Award Competition.  Every year, these awards recognize communities across the country who work together to identify and tackle community-wide challenges and achieve uncommon results. For two years in a row, the National Civic League has honored Marana as a finalist for this prestigious award. On June 17-19, Marana's delegation represented our community in Denver, Colorado in an effort to bring him this honor. Learn more about the delegation

Though the Town did not receive the All-America City Award this year, Marana's delegation admirably represented this community. This year, the competition targeted community programs which address the health and well-being of youth. With a performance celebrating many of the outstanding programs offered by Marana Unified School District,  a Spoken Word performance delivered eloquently and enthusiastically by Marana High School's Maddie Miller, and impromptu sing-a-longs on a city bus and in a conference center lobby, the delegation demonstrated how effectively Marana accomplishes that goal. These photos and videos offer a glimpse into the Marana delegation's incredible efforts.  

on the road

The Marana Delegation traveled for 15 hours to Denver, Colorado, and on the way they made several stops to admire the beautiful Colorado scenery. The first stop was at the City of Trinidad for breakfast, and the second was at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. By the time they reached their destination, they were ready to begin rehearsals. 


The Marana Delegation had already practiced for hours back home, but now they were able to run dress rehearsals on the actual competition stage. They continued to run rehearsals until their performance. 


The Marana Delegation had exactly 2.5 minutes to enter the room and setup on stage, and then 10 minutes to give their presentation. This year, the National Civic League wanted to hear from cities that show collaboration in programs that support students to succeed in school and life. The Marana Delegation emphasized the importance of a strong heart, body, and mind in order to succeed. 


After a long day of presentations, the 20 cities had a chance to unwind and get to know each other better during the All-America City Civic Fair and Cultural Entertainment Showcase. The Marana Delegation presented a moving Spoken Word performance followed by a joyful Haitian song. 


Before the opening plenary, the Marana Delegation brought out their instruments and began playing and singing popular radio songs while waiting in the lobby. It didn't take long before other cities wanted to join in, and everyone bonded over music. 


Cities shared program details with one another during the Festival of Ideas. Marana Delegate and Marana principal Tawnya Caldwell presented on the Marana Cares Mobile, a refurbished school bus that serves as a food truck during school holidays, vacations, and summer months. All children under the age of 18 receive free meals, and just this month doctors began conducting free health checks on the bus. Learn more about the Marana Cares Mobile here and here


Despite falling short of the All-America City designation, the Marana Delegation did not come home empty-handed. Filled with community pride and inspiration, the delegation is now eager to begin implementing new ideas in the Marana community. Before going on this Denver adventure, many of the students had little knowledge of local government. Now, they are ready to continue their civic engagement and bring more opportunities to youth in the Marana community. The students will meet with Town staff in the coming months to further develop their ideas and share their unique perspectives. 

Thank you to our community partners for their support:

Marana Police supports Special Olympics

If you chose to dine at the Texas Roadhouse in Marana on April 1, you might have been alarmed to see police vehicles swarming the parking lot. No criminal activity was to be seen here, however, as diners were treated to a different kind of police service: the food serving kind. 

Marana Police, Pima County Joint Task Force, Oro Valley Police, Marana Explorers, and Marana police volunteers gathered for their annual "Tip-A-Cop" event on Friday to support Southern Arizona Special Olympics. Marana officers handed out donation envelopes to diners and even helped keep glasses and bread baskets full. Representatives from Southern Arizona Special Olympics were also in attendance to speak to diners and thank them for their contributions. 

Southern Arizona Special Olympics provides kids with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to train and compete in state, national, or world-wide competitions at no cost. Marana Police Department began supporting Special Olympics over twenty years ago, and nine years ago began the Tip-A-Cop fundraising event at Texas Roadhouse. 

"This year, we raised about six thousand dollars," Sergeant Will Hess reported of the night's fundraising efforts. He has been actively involved with the event since its inception. 

"Marana Police Department does a lot for our kids in the community," Hess said. "Our youth are important to our future. Through athletics, kids learn teamwork, compassion, and camaraderie, and how to learn through failure and success. These are skills they can then use to lead a prosperous life."

Participating athletes are not charged to compete in Special Olympics. Funds raised by the officers go toward putting on the event and supporting the athletes. The 2016 State Summer Games is May 5-7 and will be held at Raymond Kellis High School in Glendale, Arizona. In addition to fundraising, Marana police officers participate every year in the torch run, and run beside Special Olympians through the Marana community. This year, the Marana torch run is scheduled for May 4. 

Josh Montgomery, Director of the Law Enforcement Torch Run, is grateful for the Marana Police Department's involvement. 

"Law enforcement is the backbone of our organization, both locally in Arizona, as well as globally," Montgomery said. "Police officers continuously give up their time and resources to help people with intellectual disabilities, and we couldn't be what we are without them."

Tip-A-Cop is one of the many efforts organized by Marana Police Department that focuses on positive police-citizen interaction. Marana police officers often find opportunities to interact with community members outside of the typical traffic stop. They visit regularly with business owners, provide educational opportunities through the Citizens Police Academy, and train high schoolers in the Marana Police Explorers program, to name a few. 

"Community policing is a mindset here at the Town of Marana," Police Chief Terry Rozema said. "We talk a lot about serving and protecting our community, and the community needs to trust us before we can effectively do those things. When the community trusts us, they join us in solving problems."

Marana police motorcycles flanked the restaurant entrance for photo opportunities, and spectators were invited to look at Pima Regional SWAT and bomb equipment. Officers answered questions and opened their vehicles for tours. The dashboard of a police vehicle was even covered in traffic citations--although upon closer inspection, those 'citations' were actually recruitment brochures for the Volunteers In Police Service program at the Town of Marana.  

Throughout this year's Tip-A-Cop event, it was clear how much Marana's officers enjoyed opportunities like this one.  To keep up with all the exciting activities our officers are up to every day, like the Town of Marana and the Marana Police Department on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @TownofMarana and @MaranaPD.  Periodically, you can also read stories about the Marana Police Department in the Marana Newsroom.  

ABC News: Arizona Hotel's Dine-in Gingerbread House Hits Sweet Spot

Written by Terry Tang, Associated Press.

Like something out of "Hansel and Gretel," a larger-than-life gingerbread house made with hundreds of pounds of sugar and spice has been luring in guests at one southern Arizona resort.

Much like the fairy tale, they are free to enter and sit down by a roaring fire. But there is no wicked witch.

Instead, there's a server with a three-course menu...

News Release: Town Council Passes Resolution Supporting Fisher House

On Tuesday, October 20, the Marana Town Council approved a resolution in support of the Arizona Fisher House to be located on the campus of the Southern Arizona VA Health Care Center in Tucson.  This facility will provide free housing for families of active military and veterans who are undergoing treatment provided by the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System at the Tucson VA hospital or area facilities.  As a Purple Heart Town, Marana firmly supports all efforts that support our veteran community.

There are 65 Fisher Houses located on 24 military installations and 24 VA medical centers across the United States, Germany, and England. Tucson will be home to the 66th Fisher House.  By recognizing that “a family’s love is good medicine,” the Fisher House network unites relatives as they gather in a time of need.  By removing the stress of finding a place to stay, Fisher Houses everywhere seek to ease the already heavy burden borne by military and veteran families.  Since its inception in 1991, the Fisher House community has saved families an estimated $282 million in out-of-pocket lodging and transportation expenses. In 2014 alone over 25,000 families were served.

In 2011, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs approved the Southern Arizona VA as the site for the newest Fisher House.  Construction is anticipated to be complete by the end of 2015 and hosting guests in early 2016.  When it opens its doors, it will offer 16 fully furnished suites to visitors, along with a large shared kitchen, laundry facility, and communal living space.

“The Marana Town Council is deeply committed to its veteran community,” says Town Manager Gilbert Davidson.  “With the new veterans cemetery to be completed next year, along with the Town’s Purple Heart designation, we are eager to support any effort that helps improves the lives of veterans.” 

In 2013 alone, the Southern Arizona VA in Tucson served over 2,000 veterans with families living outside Tucson.  Soon, those families will be able to stay nearby, rather than having to find a hotel or travel a long distance for a brief visit.  Marana is a proud supporter of this project and is pleased that the Southern Arizona VA will soon be able to offer this amenity. The Friends of Arizona Fisher House Foundation will continue supporting families by providing food, local transportation and other necessities for the families and needs of the house itself. For more information on how to help, please visit