Friday, October 31, 2014

Bits and Pieces

Was It A Drone or A Model Aircraft?

We asked Oro Valley Communications Director Misti Nowak about drone use by the Town Of Oro Valley following our report last week that several residents saw what they thought was a drone flying in or near our town.  This is Misti's response.

"I checked with OVPD and with the Development and Infrastructure Services Department on your question about drones. To our knowledge, the Town is not using any drones or participating in any programs like that. I do know that the Desert Flyers remote-controlled aircraft club flies various sized planes in the area, especially out of Naranja Park. And based on some aerial photos I’ve seen, perhaps RC craft are used to photograph areas of land for sale or development. I’m just guessing here—I have nothing to substantiate that. If the person who spotted the aircraft is certain it was a drone and not an RC aircraft, they could check in with the FAA, because use of those is regulated through that organization."
Safe Treats Tonight

"The Oro Valley Police Department sponsors "Halloween Safe Treats", beginning at dusk throughout Oro Valley neighborhoods. Oro Valley police officers, department staff, volunteer patrol and Explorers are in marked patrol vehicles and wearing police department uniforms. All candy distributed by OVPD are in festive Halloween bags marked "Safe Treats". It's fun for everyone!

For several years, Department personnel have enjoyed making Halloween a safer holiday for Oro Valley families with the "Safe Treats" program. OVPD passes out approximately 2,500 bags of candy throughout various residential neighborhoods and apartment complexes."
Widening Of Some Some Oro Valley Streets To Start In 2016

According to the town's website, the widening of Tangerine west of La Canada Drive will start sometime in 2016.  It will be increased to 4 lands with sidewalks and multi-use lanes.    Other road projects include widening Lambert Lane west of La Canada Drive, to 4 lanes plus bike lanes. This one is to stare ing 2015.  The most important widening, however, will not start until 2021. That's making La Cholla a 3 lane divided street.  See all of Oro Valley's projects here.
Oro Valley Police Chief Sharp Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

"Oro Valley, Arizona (October 27, 2014)
The Town of Oro Valley is proud to announce that Oro Valley Police Department Chief Daniel G. Sharp has been selected to receive the prestigious 2014 J. Stannard Baker Award, given by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), in collaboration with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Northwestern University's Center for Public Safety." (Source: Town Of Oro Valley Press Release)
Ironwood Ridge High School Football Ranked In Top 10

Oro Valley's IRidge Football is ranked as a top 10 " at the moment regardless of division.  That is quite at accomplishment. "Ironwood Ridge has quietly won eight games in a row, beating good opponents, including a break-through 48-17 rout of defending Division II champion Tucson Salpointe Catholic last week. Centennial and Liberty know how well-equipped a Matt Johnson-coached team is in the playoffs." (Source)
Protected Owl Killed

Oro Valley, Arizona (October 24, 2014)
The Oro Valley Police Department (OVPD) and AZ Game and Fish are asking for the public's help with any information regarding a protected Great Horned Owl that was found deceased in the area of La Cholla and Glover Rd on October 24, 2014 at approximately 5:00 p.m. It appeared the owl was shot by a firearm. Local witnesses reported the owl was often perched on a telephone pole in the area. AZ Game and Fish is offering a reward to anyone with information leading to the prosecution of this incident. Please call 911, 88- CRIME, OVPD (520)229-4900 or Operation Game Thief (800)352-0700.  (Source: Oro Valley Police Department Press Release)

Town Of Oro Valley Offers  Prescription Discount Card

Thanks to a partnership with the National League Of Cities, the Town of Oro Valley offers a prescription drug savings card.  The card is free to all Oro Valley residents regardless of age, income, or existing health insurance. " By using this card you may say the average of 23% off the regular retail price of prescription drugs at participating pharmacies."  Learn more here.
"Shop Oro Valley This Holiday Season For Weekly Prize Drawings!

Oro Valley, Arizona (October 29, 2014)
The Town of Oro Valley’s annual “Shop OV Holiday Campaign” begins November 3, 2014, and runs through January 2, 2015. During the campaign, residents and visitors who shop in Oro Valley and spend $25 or more may enter their receipt for a chance to win great prizes in a weekly drawing.

There is no limit on entries, and the more receipts you submit, the greater your chances of winning! Participants can submit their receipts online at or in person at Oro Valley Town Hall, 11000 N. La CaƱada Drive, Mon. – Fri., 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (excluding holidays)." (Source: Oro Valley Press Release)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Personal Corner-Resident Chris Litten: Living Well In Oro Valley

We all want to enjoy a certain quality of life.

I’m guessing you moved to Oro Valley for that very reason. And getting away from scraping snow off your windshield for the nth time may have been another motivator. If your idea of quality involves braving one of countless hiking trails, participating in annual Oro Valley events such as the Arizona Distance Classic, playing golf and tennis at the El Conquistador Country Club, or living out your love for baseball on one of several Oro Valley softball teams, you will decrease your risk of injury and increase your enjoyment of your chosen activities with the investment in a solid personal trainer.

Team Body Basics
Here are five tips for finding the right one for you.

Tip #1:

Look for a trainer that is nationally certified and/or degreed in one of several exercise sciences. There are literally hundreds of certifications available for a trainer to pursue. However, there is only a handful that has more stringent standards to pass. Look for NSCA (National Strength & Conditioning Association), ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine), ACE (American Council on Exercise), and NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine).

Tip #2:
Participate in a complimentary session before committing to any purchase. This one is important because you’ll learn a lot about how your potential trainer interacts with you. I would even suggest challenging your person. Think of it as an interview. You want to see how they respond to problem solving because the success of your exercise program will depend on your trainer knowing how to tool it to suit your objectives best.

Tip #3:
Ask for references. I think this one is so valuable because you want to be able to talk to others that have already trained with your potential trainer and successfully accomplished what you’re hoping to. You want results. Inquire to determine if the trainer you are looking to hire can produce them.

Tip #4:
Find a trainer that has been in business for greater than 5 years. The world of personal training as a whole has very high turnover. The last thing you want is to hire a trainer only to find out that they are moving on to something else a year later. Look for a trainer that is established. Even better would be to find one that has been running a business that is inclusive of other trainers as well for 5 or more years.

Although this list is not exhaustive, it does provide some solid start points to find the right trainer for you. You want someone that understands the importance of providing you with a solid experience that ultimately produces the results you want.
Chris Litten, Oro Valley resident, is the owner of BodyBasics Health & Fitness. He has been a personal trainer for nearly 20 years and has been a business owner for 10 of those years. His business focuses on providing results for the young at heart providing both small group and individual training at his facility. His website is and his phone number is 520-498-0359.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

2015 General Plan: Should Oro Valley Grow By Happenstance or Grow By Design?

One of the things that we’ve observed and written about during past years was that one of the four criteria for amending a general plan land designation, market demand, always seemed to be the single most important criteria to both the petitioner and the Council. We’ve written about what these criteria are. They include: list. Still, when all is said and done, the criteria of market demand always seems to stand “front and center.”

So we asked Oro Valley Resident Bill Adler, an expert on Oro Valley’s general plan and zoning codes, what he thought.

"The three committees appointed to work on future policy direction for a 2015 General Plan will need to evaluate how to choose land use between pressure from market demand or thoughtful planning."

According to Bill: "Market demand can originate with residents, but the term is typically used to reflect demand from prospective tenants for a development or builders of a development. However, citizens need to be reminded that they represent a market also. Demand is "voice" and the Town wishes to identify our voice with our future. At least in theory, the General Plan should represent "demand" from the citizen market."

Planning is visionary. Market demand is reactionary. When a Town reacts to demand it winds up with a lot of the same, smaller lots; larger homes, fewer parks, many so-called senior care facilities. When a town relies on planning, it winds up with the town that it envisioned.

Planning requires more discipline because a plan has to survive downturns when market demand presents opportunities not called for in the 'plan". This is why we have so many General Plan Amendments and PAD Amendments every year. We're reacting to pressure. We are being urged to not follow the plan.

Citizens needs to become acquainted with the difference between planning for development, and reacting to development market pressure. Clearly, Town revenue from one, market demand, is more immediate than from the other.

"What the committees need to judge is the 'greater good'. Not always easy," noted resident Adler.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Heather's Corner: It's Halloween-Read If You Dare

In honor of Halloween, I am offering Oro Valley a spooktacular opportunity.

Did you know there is an organization committed to paranormal activity? The Southern Arizona Ghost and Paranormal Society ("SAGAPS") is a team of investigators with over 7 years of experience. They are are willing to assist with any of your paranormal concerns.

Currently, they have a team of four members, all passionate about seeking the truth and have made it their upmost priority to have honesty amongst them with professionalism, dedication, and confidentiality for each case.

Hector Barragan Jr. Is the founder and lead investigator. His work has been featured on the Syfy channel and his fascination with the paranormal began at a young age after watching "Poltergeist." Jim Rundel is co-founder and Tech manager. He's had several motorcycle accidents and brushes with death prompting him to investigate what lies beyond the living. Laura Ziegler is research investigator. She examines case historical evidence and understands the importance of documentation and verification with a U of A background in Psychology and a paralegal degree. Finally Nicole Amy who assists Laura with historical investigation and is herself a seasoned in investigator.

There are so many people that have inquired about hauntings that they are booked for the rest of October and November. They are always looking for new cases. Mr. Barragan shared with me.
"We have had a few residential cases in the past in Oro Valley that gave light evidence (which is usually the case), but no real hot spots. It would be great if you could lean us towards businesses or historic locations in Oro Valley to try and investigate at. Abandoned buildings, old burial sites, things like that. We are never to scared to find answers!"
SAGAPS offers no charge investigations for your home or business through audio, video, and sensor data with a complete analysis from the given location. Clients will receive discs of all data gathered and a consensus of the teams conclusion. They take evidence gathering very seriously, hoping to cross reference all levels of collected material but warn the "interviewing, researching, planning, and executing an investigation takes patience, practice, and persistence."

If you don't feel there are ghosts lurking in your closet that require their services, I still suggest checking out their website. It is loaded with featured cases, interviews, and do it yourself videos on how to build your own ghost hunting gear. That alone might be worth doing. I, however, can not watch a scary movie without every light on and my feet tucked under a blanket, so ghost hunting is a no-go for this Oro Valley resident.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!
Heather Nenadovich has lived in Oro Valley a total of five years. She has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Arizona. Her husband is Canadian so she is a hockey fan by default and so are her two very clever children. When not being a mommy, she enjoys hiking in Catalina State Park, hand building pottery, and gardening. Her favorite things about living in Oro Valley are the towns recognition of art and culture, their commitment to preserving nature and the Christmas parade. (Also anything from GMG Chinese Bistro.)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Oro Valley's Economic Opportunities Must "Show The Money"

Last week in "Here's Some Whine To Go With Your Cheese," we wrote about whining that some in the business community did at a recent Economic Development Forum that was hosted by the Town of Oro Valley and The Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce.  It was a forum in which business had the opportunity to make a contribution to Oro Valley's 2015 general plan.

We felt that we needed to dig deeper. After all, "There were approximately 47 members of the business community in attendance at the forum, along with town staff, several council members and some "Your Voice Our Future" committee members.  Certainly, there must have been more than complaining.

We found that there was. We asked for, we received and we reviewed a summary of and detailed notes from that meeting.  Here's what we learned.

The business community made some unique recommendations.  Some were even bold!

When asked, for example, how Oro Valley could create a downtown, one team suggested that the town look into Las Vegas' "Container Park.".  What is that, you ask?

It is a gathering place that was created through the leadership of the Las Vegas business community.  "The Container Park is the work of Downtown Project, the $350 million private redevelopment agency." (Source)

This is an inner-city project that was created to rejuvenate downtown Las Vegas. Essentially. It is a park that uses shipping containers for shops and entertainment activities. There are 40 shops and every shop is in a shipping container.

Innovative? You bet. Something Oro Valley could use to create a downtown? Who knows. Bold? Yes.  Led by the business community. You bet.

Other ideas from the forum included:

  • Education: thee theme of developing and fostering a relationship with Pima Community College and The University of Arizona came up frequently. "
  • Annexation: Designate the fullest possible utilization for undeveloped State lands."  
  • Jobs: Create meaningful (our term for professional level) job growth and diversifying Oro Valley's employment base.  Here, the "business incubator" concept we've previously explored was mentioned.

Clearly, the forum was a worthwhile endeavor.

What was missing?

Tucson's "Heavy Hitters"  The money people.

For it is money and the prospect of making more money that drives economic growth.

Yes. One of the  County's "heavy hitters", Diamond Ventures, attended.  HSL Properties (La Encantada at Steam Pump Ranch) didn't come.

These are land people.  And, in addition, there were many real estate people.

There should be far more to Oro Valley's economic growth than more homes.

Indeed, Oro Valley needs to attract significant businesses.

Yet, no one from the venture funding community attended. None were invited.  There was no one from the Arizona Desert Angels investment group.   They weren't invited.   Two banks attended. Others were invited who failed to attend. No one from University of Arizona came, though they were invited.

Many of the things that happen Oro Valley take place out of view of the public. So, the fact that someone or a particular group didn't attend a meeting doesn't mean that the town is not in contact with them. Indeed, there may be some very significant dealings that are taking place of which we have no knowledge. Criticizing the town's outreach efforts to the business community as insufficient because it doesn't have broad enough coverage would be wrong.

Still, it would be good for the Tucson, county and State  community to take a stronger interest Oro Valley, an interest beyond the obvious benefit of simply buying a piece of property intended for one use and then having it rezoned or re-planned for a more profitable use.   That is not creative.  That is lazy schlock.  But that has been Oro Valley's history of business and economic development.

There are moneymaking, business opportunities galore in Oro Valley.

The Las Vegas business community built something of substance and value for themselves and for the community. It was something well beyond a "real estate" grab. Would you agree that it's time for the business community to build something wonderful in our town?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Bits and Pieces

OV Public Art Tours Return For 2014-15 Season

Oro Valley, Arizona (October 17, 2014) - This fall marks the return of Oro Valley's guided public art tours, which take place on the third Tuesday of each month at 1 p.m. This FREE, two-hour tour begins and ends at Oro Valley Town Hall. Seating is limited, so reservations are required. Reservations can be made online at and click on the Arts & Entertainment link.

Due to the increase in development and construction, there are several new public art pieces that art enthusiasts will enjoy. The tour will also include stops at the impressive public art collections at Oro Valley Marketplace and Oro Valley Hospital.

Are you interested in hosting a large group? Special art tours may be reserved for groups of 8-10 people. Please contact William Vicens, economic development specialist at or call 520-229-4758.

(Source: Town Of Oro Valley Press Release)
Town Of Oro Valley Has Many Volunteer Commission and Board Seats Open

The Town Of Oro Valley is seeking candidates to fill the following volunteer Board and Commission openings:
  • Historic Preservation Commission
  • Parks and Recreation Advisory Board 
  • Planning and Zoning Commission
  • Stormwater Utility Commission
  • Water Utility Commission
Visit this link to learn more and to apply.  November 4 is the deadline for applying.

(Source: Town Of Oro Valley Press Release)
Town's Report Shows Not Much Happening On Oro Valley's Economic Commercial Development

The Town Of Oro Valley has issued its October commercial economic development report. Though there is little new reported, it is interesting to scan through the businesses that are operating in Oro Valley.  Did you know, for example, that "Spirit Halloween" is located in the Oro Valley Marketplace?  Sounds like a good place to visit before October 31.
Oro Valley Crime Statistics

The Oro Valley Police Department has issued Oro Valley's latest crime statistics.  What do you think is Oro Valley's #1 major crime in terms of number of incidents?
  1. Residential Burglary
  2. Larceny (Theft)
  3. Aggravated Assault
  4. Homicide
You tell us by posting a comment.

We'll give the answer as a comment on Monday.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Personal Corner- Resident Frank Alles: Create Your Own Home Concert Hall

It seems to me that lots of Oro Valley residents love music. My wife and I used to go to the free concerts when they were held at Riverfront Park off of Lambert Lane and the turnout was usually very good for the different types of musicians and bands. Now of course with Oro Valley’s recent expansions they have moved the concerts to Oro Valley Marketplace, which is a bit too commercially oriented for my taste, so we haven’t attended any of those events.

Fortunately, I am an expert in setting up home audio systems and I have been able to put together a couple of really great sounding audio systems in my own home that provide a nearly live concert experience.

I have done this mainly by concentrating on the good old 2-channel stereo format, which for most music seems to provide a better musical experience than a large and complex multi-channel A/V system. I believe in keeping things simple and using fewer high-quality components and speakers to give me the intimate and palpable musical experience I am looking for.

The Author Enjoying His Cave
There are many equipment options such as types and sizes of speakers and amplifiers, and different types of music source components you may elect to use including both digital and analog sources as well as computer audio options. I can help you sort this out and make sense of it. There are many audio components that are very expensive if that is your preference and taste, but there are also many budget bang-for-the-buck components that provide a high percentage of the performance at a fraction of the price.

Please know that I am not in the business of selling audio gear and it is not my intention to personally profit from any choices or decisions you may elect to make. Likewise I will not be held responsible if you buy equipment and it fails to live up to your expectations in any way. I am doing this because my music and my music systems have given me a lot of musical enjoyment (and stress relief) over the years and I’d like to share my passion for great sound.

My idea is to form a group of like-minded music lovers who are interested in assembling systems that can provide concert-like musical experiences in their own homes. We would discuss topics like addressing room acoustics problems, matching the system to the room and the owner’s expectations, and improving existing systems. We could also make a list of suggested recordings of many genres that are particularly well recorded and should provide an enjoyable music-listening experience.

With an appropriate and properly set up audio system you can put on your own home concerts any time you like.

Interested parties can contact me at
Frank Alles moved from New Jersey to Oro Valley with his wife and son in 2003. Before he came to Oro Valley, Frank owned his own bicycle shop and also worked as an Assistant Editor for a medical ad agency. He has had his poetry published in magazines and newspapers. Since he was a teenager Frank has been interested in constructing audio systems and in the 1980’s he joined the New Jersey Audio Society (NJAS), a group devoted to music and improving their audio playback systems. Frank later became President of the NJAS and published its newsletter “The Source.” From there Frank went on to write product reviews and articles for consumer audio magazines: The Audiophile Voice, SoundStage!, and Positive Feedback. He has been a Senior Editor at The Stereo Times since 1998.  Frank was featured in an article in the Arizona Daily Star.