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Posted: Wednesday, February 9, 2011 6:00 am

Academy to help public view the stars

The public is invited to view and learn more about the night sky when the Sonoran Science Academy-Tucson presents Discovery Night from 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 12. The academy is located at 2325 W. Sunset Road. Presented by the school's science department, the free event will be a display of the microscopic universe all the way to the unfathomable macroscopic universe. In addition, visitors can view 150 science fair projects, tour Tucson's Physics Bus and view the Stellar Vision Astronomy Club's telescopes. There also will be robotics demonstrations, and biology and chemistry activities.

Drivers are asked to use their low beam while entering and exiting the parking lots so that the light will not interfere with the telescopes set up on the school field.

For more information, contact Crissie Rowley at crowley@sonoranacademy.org or call the school at 665-3400, ext. 215.

Marana, OV reschedule joint meeting for Feb. 9

The Marana and Oro Valley town councils will conduct a joint study session tonight, Feb. 9. The event begins at 6 p.m. at the Marana Municipal Complex, 11555 W. Civic Center Dr. It is being held as part of a continuing effort to collaborate on issues of importance to people in northwest Pima County.

Items on the agenda include water resources, the Tangerine Road corridor shared between the two communities and economic development/tourism. The public may view the agenda by visiting www.orovalleyaz.gov. Click on the "Online Services" drop-down menu and then on "Access Town Meetings."

The meeting was postponed from its original Jan. 12 date to allow council members to attend President Obama's appearance in Tucson that night.

Records indicate that this is the first study session involving the two councils since a 2000 meeting that also included Pima County, Sahuarita and Tucson.

Fire service continues during Sun City station remodel

Sun City residents will receive uninterrupted fire and emergency services while Golder Ranch Fire District is remodeling Station 374 at 1130 E. Rancho Vistoso Blvd., say fire district officials.

Earlier this month, firefighters moved into a villa in Splendido, the continuing care retirement community in Rancho Vistoso, while their permanent residence is being brought up to fire code with the installation of sprinkler systems, among other upgrades. The fire district expects the renovation to be completed by May.

Until then, residents can receive blood pressure checks at the fire station located at 12125 N. Woodburne Ave., in the Rancho Vistoso and Tangerine area.

This is the third time a Golder Ranch fire house has had to take up temporary residency.

For more information, call the GRFD administration office at 825-9001.

Marana police officer Pridgett earns honor

Officer Jeff Pridgett is the Marana Police Department's honoree for the Sons of the American Revolution Outstanding Law Enforcement Officers of Southern Arizona for 2010.

The SAR is a historical, educational and patriotic nonprofit organization that seeks to maintain and extend the institutions of American freedom, an appreciation for patriotism, a respect for our national symbols, the value of citizenship and the creation of one nation and one people from many nations.

Pridgett has been with the Marana Police Department since February 2003 and is currently assigned to the motor unit. Over the past year, he has made significant contributions to the department in traffic enforcement and collision investigations. While assigned to patrol, supervisors can count on Pridgett to go above and beyond his scope of responsibilities when completing calls for service, according to press release from the town.

"Even when the climate and elements are not ideal for a motor officer, you can always count on Officer Pridgett to maintain a positive attitude and sense of humor," said Marana Police Department Lt. Roberto Jimenez. "He has the respect of all divisions and levels within the Marana Police Department and members of other agencies."

Pridgett was among the honorees at the Tucson Installation of Chapter Officers and Law Enforcement Awards Banquet on Jan. 15 at Skyline Country Club.

New PAG board to protect solar installation customers

Pima Association of Governments' Regional Council has approved the establishment of a Southern Arizona Solar Standards Board. The new standards board, which will be housed under PAG's Energy Program, will act as an oversight board to work with solar installation companies to ensure "best practices" as solar installations soar in southern Arizona.

The new board, which will work with solar installers, jurisdictions, financial institutions and electric companies, will help streamline the process of solar installations in order to help protect consumers from substandard installations.

"PAG was approached with a need from the community to help consumers pick reputable solar installation companies, companies who adhere to the highest form of standards for solar installation," said Colleen Crowninshield, manager of PAG's Energy Program. "It is our goal to highlight companies that excel in this area, and assist those companies that are not at that level."

"The board will promote long lasting, quality installations that will add to solar's value for customers throughout the region," said Lon Huber, governmental affairs representative with Technicians for Sustainability, a local solar installer, and longtime solar advocate in Tucson.

"Tucson Electric Power Co. fully supports and applauds the efforts of PAG and the SASSB in bringing much needed self-regulation and guidance to the southern Arizona solar industry," said Carmine Tilghman, director of Renewable Energy Resources at TEP. "This entity will provide our customers with an independent solar oversight board where the average consumer can get honest answers and information. Knowing that the installer they have chosen belongs to the SASSB brings an added layer of comfort and protection to our consumers. "

The Southern Arizona Solar Standards Board (SASSB) is still in its infancy. A strategic plan was expected to be finalized by Feb. 7 in order to bring the plan to all solar installers in the region.

"PAG's Energy Program will work together with SASSB and the solar installation community to ensure the success and growth of solar in the region," Crowninshield said.

To learn more about Pima Association of Governments and its programs, visit www.PAGnet.org.

League to discuss charter school final report Feb. 19

The League of Women Voters of Greater Tucson will discuss Charter School Final Report/Concensus at its 10 a.m. general meeting Saturday, Feb. 19 at Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone Ave. in Tucson.

Refreshments will be served at 9:30 a.m. There is free parking in the library's underground garage, off Alameda Street.

The meeting is open to the public. Guests and prospective members are invited to attend.

For more information, call 622-0905.

Cairo conflict keeps pump prices above $3 statewide

Temperatures may have dropped across the state, but civil unrest in Egypt is keeping fuel prices on the rise. On Feb. 3, statewide price was $3.035, an increase of more than three cents from the previous week. Nationwide, prices increased a penny and a half to $3.116 per gallon that same week.

Average retail gasoline prices in Tucson have increased 1.9 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.94 a gallon Feb. 6. This compares with the national average that has increased 2.9 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.11 a gallon, according to gasoline price website TucsonGasPrices.com.

Including the change in gas prices in Tucson during the past week, prices Feb. 6 were 44.4 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 16.9 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 5.1 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 45.4 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

The price of crude oil spiked at a two-year high last week, closing above $92 Jan. 31 in response to political turmoil in Egypt. While the Middle Eastern nation is not a major oil producer, it hosts key points of transit for global oil supplies - the Suez Canal and the Suez-Mediterranean pipeline. Yet, amidst the unrest, these channels remained open and operational this week, and crude prices dropped to just above the $90 mark.

The price of retail fuel, however, teetered last week, dropping slightly before climbing in reaction to peak oil prices. A drop in fuel demand attempted to counterbalance the commodity's price, as several areas across the U.S. experienced severe winter storms, halting transportation in some regions. However, plunging temperatures also resulted in a rise in heating oil prices, which helped crude oil and fuel prices maintain their unseasonable high.

"The spectrum of events (last) week, from upheaval in Egypt to snow storms in the U.S., demonstrate the volatility of oil prices and their subsequent effects at the pump," said Linda Gorman, director of communications and public affairs for AAA Arizona. "Yet if the situation in Egypt tempers and quells market anxiety, and if oil prices stay at or below their current levels, drivers should not experience a significant shift in fuel prices in the short-term, barring unforeseen circumstances."

Tucson and Scottsdale held the low and high state fuel averages at $2.923 and $3.124 per gallon last week, respectively. Wyoming and California held these extremes for the lower 48 states at $2.867 and $3.338 per gallon, respectively. Last week, 37 states, including the District of Columbia, held averages at or above the $3 mark, while 16 states hold lower fuel averages than Arizona.

Motorists can visit www.AAAaz.com/news/fuelnews.htm for fuel price information and saving tips or www.AAA.com/fuelfinder to locate the station with the cheapest gas in their neighborhood. They can also visit www.FuelCostCalculator.AAA.com, which can help budget travel expenses.

OV to host virtual discussion session FEB. 15

The Town of Oro Valley is expanding its popular "Council on Your Corner" discussion series and will host its first-ever virtual event.

"Council on Your Corner 2.0," featuring a discussion with Councilmember Joe Hornat, will be held Tuesday, Feb. 15 from 6 to 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at Town Hall, 11000 N. La Cañada Drive. Reservations are not required, and the event is open to the public.

This event was rescheduled from Jan. 8 due to that day's tragic shooting in Tucson.

"Council on Your Corner 2.0" includes the face-to-face opportunity to interact with local council members in the traditional format. It also will allow those who are unable to attend in person the opportunity to log on and view the Town Hall live or download the archived meeting at their convenience.

The idea was encouraged by Councilmember Hornat.

"The Town Council, in its continuing efforts to expand outreach to the community, will stream this town hall live and archive it for those folks who may not be able to attend. Hopefully, we will get a lot of folks with good questions, and because these electronic town halls are archived, we can share this with more members throughout our community," Hornat said.

To view the meeting live, or to download later, citizens can visit www.orovalleyaz.gov and click the Meetings, Agendas and Minutes button on the Home page. Once there, click on the Live Meetings button.

Participants may submit questions prior to the Town Hall by e-mailing Pat Klein at pklein@orovalleyaz.gov no later than noon on Feb. 14, or using the Town's Facebook (www.facebook.com/orovalleyaz.gov) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/orovalleyaz.gov) accounts during the live broadcast.

For more information about the new format, call the Constituent Services Office at 229-4713.

10 Years of Humane Borders topic for Oro valley Dems

The Democrats of Oro Valley will host guest speaker Karl Tucker at their general meeting on Monday, Feb. 14. Tucker will present Views from the Water Truck, Humane Borders' 10-Year Anniversary and Planning for 10 More.

Tucker's presentation will include an update on such humanitarian issues as decreased migration and increased death, as well as a discussion of President Obama's State of the Union address and what it might mean for the possibility of comprehensive immigration reform and the Dream Act. A question and answer period will follow.

The meeting is open to the public. It will begin at 7 p.m. at the Oro Valley Library, 1305 W. Naranja Drive.

For more information, visit www.demsov.org or contact Mike Dayton by calling 742-3774.

 

 

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