Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Heather's Corner: Oro Valley Seasonal Allergies; Leave it to the Bee's Knees

Palo Verde, Mesquite, Desert Ragweed, Tumbleweed, and Arizona Ash. What do these mean to someone living in Oro Valley?

Well, for those of you who stand with me in this time of seasonal immune system overload, you know them well. For those that don't, these are a few of the pollen culprits responsible for the throat-tickling, eye-itching, ear-throbbing symptoms of hay fever. But there is a natural and delectable occurrence in nature that just might have the ability to stave off some those symptoms. And it just so happens to be easy on the taste buds as well. Let's talk about honey!

Quick science refresher

Flowering plants reproduce by creating seeds, an occurrence taking place only after pollen comes into contact with it's pistil. Though some plants can self-pollinate, we need flying insects (butterflies, bees, wasps) on search for nectar from these plants, to travel between flowers, carrying the subsequent pollen stuck to their body after nectar consumption. This is called cross-pollination and ensures the strongest chances of plant survival.

What does this have to do with allergies? Well, a lot.

It turns out, much of the pollen remains on and in the bodies of bees and is carried back to the hive. While nectar is regurgitated to make honey, so is the pollen. Because of this, a theory stands that eating local honey introduces your body to much of the same pollen spores causing your allergies. Over time and exposure, your body could potentially become more immune, much in the same way vaccines work by introducing a dummy version of a particular virus.

This process is called immunotherapy. Ideally there would be enough spores found in honey to help the body become accustomed to this "intruder" but not enough to trigger a histamine-producing response. Sounds easy enough.

So where to get local honey?

Holly's Little Farm is a local Marana bee farm specializing in honey and hive products. They invite you to stop by and taste the difference between raw local honey and that you can commercially buy in the stores. Their "Desert Blend" is just what the name says, a nice mix of local plant life and exactly the kind, should the above mentioned theory ever prove scientific, that might help alleviate seasonal allergies. Personally I prefer my honey strained, meaning raw and never pasteurized or filtered, but they do offer a "hardcore" option where you might just get some particles of wax. Currently you can purchase this local honey from Oro Valley Ace Hardwares or straight from their website

So where's the proof?

Actually, almost all of the evidence of the immunizing effects of eating honey Is anecdotal. However, an unpublished scientific study conducted by Xavier University in New Orleans found that after six weeks of honey consumption, subjects suffered less allergic symptoms. For this allergy sufferer, that, and speaking with others that have found relief through honey use, is all the proof I need to give it a go.

As always, you should check with your doctor before trying any holistic approach to your allergies. In the mean time, allergy sufferer or not, what's to lose having a teaspoon of local honey on your toast or in your tea each morning? I'll let you know how it goes. Anyone else have any experience with the benefits of honey--we'd love to hear from you!
Heather Nenadovich has lived in Oro Valley for 6 years. She has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Arizona. She loves gardening, nature, art, and travel. Currently her two young children fill up most of her days (and nights) with chaotic bliss. Oro Valley favorites: memorial bench at the entrance of Romero Canyon Trail in Catalina State Park, Toscana Studio and Gallery, OV Fall Festival, the gumption and determination of OV residents!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Oro Valley Resident Offers To Purchase El Conquistador Country Club From Town Of Oro Valley

"My group is offering to purchase the El Conquistador Country Club from the city of Oro Valley for the amount of $1 million dollars."

Thus begins a letter dated today from Oro Valley resident Rick Chandler to Oro Valley Mayor Hiremath and council. He sent us the letter also.

You may recall our January posting "Oro Valley Businessman Would Have Loved To Have Leased The ELCon Golf Courses". That posting highlighted a Chandler offer to lease the property from the town. That posting includes a video of his offer. Chandler made that offer at the December 17th council meeting. That was the meeting in which the Majority-4 authorized the formal negotiations to purchase the El Conquistador Country Club from a major contributor to their reelection campaign, HSL Properties.

In the letter, Chandler notes: "In return, our group would lease back to the city, all areas of the property and facilities that would benefit the city and satisfy all the amenities the city was initially looking for. i.e. Rec. Center , Swimming Pools, Camp Space, Tennis & Racquetball Courts."

He also estimates that acceptance of his proposal would save the town $9 million.

We spoke with Chandler. "This is a bone fide offer." He is willing to demonstrate such with earnest money as soon as someone in authority at the Town Of Oro Valley responds.  "My partner and I have ample funds to complete a deal with the town."

Whether the town could move forward on this with Chandler depends on the nature of the agreement to purchase the El Conquistador Country Club. That is under negotiation. We believe that the purchase will come with a "locked in" management contract for Troon Golf; and, perhaps, a right of refusal by HSL Properties on any sale or lease of the property." That purchase contract is still under negotiation.

Four Residents Speak On Issues Important To You

At last week's Oro Valley Town Council meeting, four Oro Valley residents spoke of four different topics. Each topic is important to you as an Oro Valley resident. These are matters on which we have previously reported. We're publishing the comments because they are important to you and because you will never hear them otherwise.

Oro Valley leaders should use valid, documented assumptions when making important decisions

Last week, we reported a dialogue between Paul and Mayor Hiremath.

It was about what has turned out to be an  unsupported assumption that 33% of Oro Valley sales tax revenues come from people who do not reside in Oro Valley. That number was used by the Town and Mayor Hiremath in justifying why a sales tax increase s should be used to fund the El Conquistador Country Club purchase.

As it turns out, the town had no substantiation for the assumption. Mayor Hiremath told Emmert to prove the mayor wrong.

Emmett brings it all to a conclusion in his remarks to council.

The Oro Valley Town Council should not advocate a property tax through Pima County

There is no one on town council advocating for Oro Valley to have its own property tax.

Yet, there are members of this council who enthusiastically hope for a Pima County bond issue that would fund Naranja Park, Steam Pump Ranch and Innovation Park.  All of these are worthy endeavors. However, as resident Geri Ottoboni pointed out to council, all result in a property tax.

As Otoboni points out in her remarks,  Oro Valley residents will pay more than their share of the repayment for the bonds because our property values are much higher most other Pima County communities. This, LOVE has also observed.

Frankly, as Ottoboni notes, we would pay less as individuals if issued bonds, instituted a secondary property tax with a sunset to pay back the debt.  This will likely never happen.

Listen as Otoboni explain the logic. Read our February posting on the matter.

With Golf Course purchased, Oro Valley also gets the liability and the law suits that follow

Resident Don Barnett is a member of the El Conquistador Country Club  discuss the condition of one of bunkers on the course. There are liners in the bunkers.  Barnet was significantly injured when his club hit the liner.

Barnett wants to town to fix the problem, even though the town does not yet own the course. He cautions that serious injuries could result and law suits could follow.

Liability and law suites are one of the unattended consequences of owning a golf course.  Add to this the many issues that will likely be brought to council when something is awry on the golf course; or when the manager of the course, Troon Golf, does not do something a member want them to do.

Train Oro Valley town staff and commissioners on the content of the general plan and "law"

Resident Don Bristow observed that there are some town employees and some members of the Planning and Zoning Commission who don't know the requirements of the general plan or Oro Valley legal zoning requirements (termed: "code").

He had observed a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting where staff failed to provide complete information on these matters and that some on the commission had no idea of the requirements.

Bristow also observes that there have been more than 30 changes on Oro Valley's sign codes since 2010. None were to benefit resident  scenic views or way of life. All of these have been favorable to business.

He wonders why the people's interests, as demonstrated by the  general plan and law are not considered.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Bits and Pieces

Archery Demo Day Tomorrow At Naranja Park

Interested in learning Archery? Then do go over to Naranja Park from 9 to Noon tomorrow to join in the festivities. They will be basic archery instruction, vendor booths, a competitive shoot, a course walk-around, and food trucks.

It is billed as "fun for the whole family." Call 520-229-5050 to learn more.

Oro Valley's First Settlers

No. We're not the first settlers!
Former Oro Valley Mayor Loomis, Richard
and Archeologist Allen Denoyer
Saturday's Setter's Day festivity at Steam Pump Ranch gave us pause to think about Oro Valley first setter's, the Hohokam.  There is a replica of a mud adobe hut on the north side of the site, .  It looks in move-in condition.

Its not terribly big. Could probably comfortably fit 4. Maybe a bit risky of getting flooded in the rain. But, then again, we don't have much of that in Oro Valley.

Governor Ducey Signs Wrong Bill

Face with a choice to make the referendum process even more onerous than it already is or simplifying it a bit, Arizona Governor Ducey signed a bill (HB2407) that will make it impossible to have a successful referendum:

"House Bill 2407 by Republican Rep. David Stevens, R-Sierra Vista, modifies requirements for voter referendums and recalls, tightening rules on the signature-gathering process and the wording of the measure. Thousands of signatures can be invalidated over minor mistakes including margin spacing and serial numbers, while single signatures can be disqualified for not matching a voter’s registration or marking the wrong date." (Source)

Does anyone know of a case that the Supreme Court could hear that would give them the opportunity to overturn this legislative overreach?

Oro Valley Optimist Club Sponsors Golf Event on May 16 To Raise Funds For Youth

The Oro Valley Optimist Club, of which Heather wrote this past Tuesday, is sponsoring a "Scramble For Youth" at the El Conquistador Country Club.  All proceeds will go to support Oro Valley Youth Programs.  Learn more and register here.

Sprint Triathlon Tomorrow

The 3rd annual Oro Valley Sprint Triathlon is tomorrow. It is a 800 meter swim, a 14 mile bike ride, and a 3 mile run.  The event runs from 6-11am. The event will impact traffic on Concordia, La Canada, Lambert Lane and Oracle Road.

Visit Tucson Estimates $4million Impact On Oro Valley

Visit Tucson, Oro Valley's external marketing arm, reported to the Oro Valley Town Council this past Wednesday that its efforts have increase the Oro Valley economy by $4million in the past year. It estimates hat 27,000 visitors have come to town as a result of their efforts. Watch this brief video of their report.

Visit Tucson received $175,000 from Oro Valley's Bed Taxes last year. This funds 2.5% of their revenue. Next year, the town is committed to funding it for $225,000.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Oro Valley Town Manager Caton To Present $120 Million 2015-16 Budget Request To Council Tonight

Oro Valley Town Manger Greg Caton will present his recommended fiscal year 2015/16 budget to the Oro Valley Town Council tonight. The budget amount of $120.1 million is a 12% increase from the Adopted FY 2014/15 Budget totaling $107.1 million.

El Conquistador Country Club and Community Center has huge impact
Over 50% of the $13million increase in spending over prior year is to support the costs of operating the El Conquistador Country Club  and Community Center. The project is budgeted to lose $600,000 after inclusion of an estimated $2million from the half percent increase in the sales tax that went into effect in March.

Almost 80% of the 16 new positions in the budget are to support the El Conquistador Country Club and Community Center. "The FTE increase attributable to the Town’s new Community and Recreation Center totals 12.36." (TMRB 2015-16 Page iii)

The budget also includes $1.115million for improvements to the El Conquistador Country Club and Community Center. This is for "...for ADA accessibility improvements, aesthetic interior and exterior improvements and golf course improvements." (TMRB 2015-16 Page viii)

Health care "Self Insurance" costs going up
Several years ago, LOVE's John Musolf asserted that the town's change to a self-insured health claim program would result in a one or two year gain. The savings achieved in the early years are really "phantom." This is because there are no preexisting claims at the start of the program.  It seems that our assertions were correct:

"After years of trending low in our health claims costs, we have seen a spike in these costs during FY 2014/15. The FY 2015/16 Recommended Budget includes 10% health insurance premium increases for both the employee and the Town contributions, and it is expected that annual, incremental increases will continue over the next few years in order to adequately prepare for possible future large claims." (TMRB 2015-16 Page iv)

Giving planned at $362,200
The budget plans the following contributions.
  • $30,000 for the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • $215,000 for Visit Tucson ($175,000 last year)
  • $75,000 for the Oro Valley branch of the Childrens Museum
  • $32,200 for the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA)
  • $10,000 for Tohono Chul Park
Police Evidence Facilty On Tap
The Oro Valley Police Department has voiced a need for a police evidence facility. $1.134million is included in this budget to "... begin the design and possible construction" of this facility in 2015-16. The building would occur in 2016-17.

Some New initiatives
The budget includes new initiatives, some of which were pilot tested in 2014-15. These include:
  • The overseeding of Riverfront and Naranja parks ($50,000)
  • A pilot program to test outsourcing as part of the maintenance of Oro Valley parks ($100,000)
  • Use of inmates to perform maintenance and vegetation removal projects ($100,000)
Contingency Fund to remain at higher than required levels
"The estimated year-end contingency reserve balance in the General Fund for FY 2015/16 is $10.2 million, which equals 31% of the recommended expenditure budget. The Town’s adopted policy level is 25%."  (TMRB 2015-16 Page x)

Mr. Caton's presentation tonight should be an interesting one.  We will post it for you to see when it becomes available together with any visual materials.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Heather's Corner: Oro Valley Optimist Club-Serving Our Youth and Looking for New Members

The Oro Valley Optimist Club ("OVOC") began in 2002 and has been running strong ever since. What does an Optimist Club do you ask? In short, they "strive to bring out the best in kids." Though they are a "small but mighty" club, with current membership topping out at 25, they are incredibly active and support 12 different youth groups in our community.

Once a year they sponsor the very effective, not to mention fun, fundraiser "Scramble for Youth" Golf Tournament, this year to be held May 16, 2015 at the El Conquistador Country Club. If interested, you can register online through their website or print a form to mail. Other events include an annual Rummage Sale to support their ongoing projects such as Dispose-A-Med, Drug Awareness Day, Student of the Year Scholarship, and Optimist Junior Golf Tournament among others.

But perhaps my favorite Optimist worthy cause is the Pennies Campaign, which raises money for the University of Arizona Children's Cancer Care Center. The One Million Pennies for Childhood Cancer campaign does exactly that; collects donations via their website, or as many local businesses have done, displays canisters for donations, with all proceeds going toward the cause. If you would like to donate or know of a business that might be interested in displaying a canister more information can be found here.

One thing OVOC would like to see is membership expansion. I recently spoke with their president, John Klipstein, who informed me that unlike other "clubs" that are designed for networking and social gatherings, this is a club endeavoring to improve the lives of youth in our community whether that be through education, financial disposition, or even those orphaned or on their own.

"We are looking for good people who can donate an hour and a half of their time each month who are dedicated to improving the lives of youth."

Cheers to what sounds like a devoted and conscious group of people! If you are interested in donating to one of the above causes or if you would like more information about becoming a member of the OVOC please contact info@orovalleyoptimistclub.org.
Heather Nenadovich has lived in Oro Valley for 6 years. She has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Arizona. She loves gardening, nature, art, and travel. Currently her two young children fill up most of her days (and nights) with chaotic bliss. Oro Valley favorites: memorial bench at the entrance of Romero Canyon Trail in Catalina State Park, Toscana Studio and Gallery, OV Fall Festival, the gumption and determination of OV residents!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Oro Valley Mayor Hiremath's "33% Solution"

Last September, we met with Mayor Hiremath to discuss a community center for Oro Valley. LOVE has advocated for a community center for many years. The Mayor said, during the last month of his campaign that he was in favor of the town having a community center. We were thrilled. Finally, some common ground on which we could build.

 At our meeting with the Mayor, he said that, in order to finance the community center, Oro Valley would have to raise the sales tax a half penny. He also said that "33% of Oro Valley sales tax revenues come from people who do not reside in Oro Valley."  The Mayor thought that, by raising the sales tax a half-penny, a larger share of the sales a tax dollars would come from these people. They would, in effect, pay for the community center.

(At that time we had no idea that the Mayor was talking about purchasing the El Conquistador Country Club and converting the club house to a community center. Had we known it at that time, we would have told you.)

Our conversation with Mayor Hiremath was not about the "33%" number."  We never questioned it. We "assumed" [there is that word again] that Mayor Hiremath and the Town Of Oro Valley had a valid financial analysis that substantiated this fact. After all, the Mayor has asserted that sales tax revenue derived from tourism was way to fund the community center. This financing method would be of less burden to the residents of Oro Valley than any alternative financing method.

Oro Valley resident Paul Emmert was curious regarding the number. He asked Mayor Hiremath, via email, about the support for the number. According Mayor Hiremath, the number was calculated when he was president of the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance ("SAACA). It was based on a methodology that he gave to Emmert. When Paul investigated further he found that neither the Mayor nor anyone Paul could contact in that town of affiliated with SAACA could find the actual calculation.

In his correspondence to Emmert, the Mayor recalls the SAACA study. As SAACA applied the methodology, "...it was apparent that a pattern was beginning to develop and that pattern was that, on average, we were looking at roughly 33% of revenues were coming from visitors."

Emmett would  like to see the calculation. The 33% number differs from a number from a study done by the Arizona Department of Tourism that shows that 10.4% of sales tax revenues comes from tourism.

Mayor Hiremath asserts in his email correspondence to Emmert that it is Emmert's job to prove the 33% number is wrong rather than him proving that the number is right. We thought his position on this a bit curious so we  did follow-up with the Mayor. He told us that methodologies provided by American For The Arts [which SAACA uses] and the Destination Marketing Association International [which TREO] would, when their results are combined, exceed the 33% number.
"If you combine the two percentages, you will see that they will be above the 33% and keep in mind that's not even including the daily sales tax [revenue] we receive from Catalina, Oracle, Marana, San Manuel, Tucson, and Pima County residents to name a few."

Friday, April 10, 2015

Bits and Pieces

Settler's Day Tomorrow At Steam Pump Ranch

Last week we posted about Oro Valley's Settler's Days. It's tomorrow from 9am-3pm at Steam Pump Ranch. It is going to be a good time for the entire family.There is a kid's zone with a Petting zoo, Pony ring, Bugs and Snakes with the Olson Brothers, and Baby goats. And food trucks.
Bill (HB 2450) Requiring Town Clerks To Enter Serial Numbers Awaits Governor's Signature

A bill that requires town clerks to put the serial numbers on referndum forms has passed both the Arizona House and Senate. The bill was sponsored by Oro Valley resident and state representative Mark Finchem.

According to Finchem:
"My statement on this is intended to be neutral on the golf course matter per se, but focused specifically on government controls imposed on citizens attempting to use the political system (the ballot box) to put a matter to a -vote of the people.  
When voters feel they have been disenfranchised it is a responsibility of the appropriate body to provide relief, if needed. In this case, it was clear the issue would have been a non-issue had the number been placed on the first petition in the series. 
In my short time at the Arizona Legislature I have confirmed my suspicion that statues and ordinances are most often the result of a perceived “bad act” by someone, and they seek only to prevent another happenstance, a repeat of the bad act by another." 
The bill is awaiting the Governor's signature.
Oro Valley Youth Advisory Council Sponsors BBQ Field Day Event for Oro Valley High School Students Tomorrow

Oro Valley, Arizona (April 1, 2015) - All Oro Valley high school students (grades 9-12) are invited to the annual BBQ Field Day on Saturday, April 11, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Riverfront Park lower field, 551 W. Lambert Lane.

This FREE event, which is hosted by the Oro Valley Youth Advisory Council, will feature music, volleyball, capture the flag and free food. No RSVP necessary; just show up and join the fun! To view photos from last year's event or learn more about the Youth Advisory Council, visit www.orovalleyyouth.com." (Source: Oro Valley Press Release)
Watch The Naranja Park Grand Opening

The Town Of Oro Valley has posted a video of the Naranja Park grand opening. This took place in March. You can watch it here.
From Our Web Mail

From Ben.:
"Speaking of Snakes The first rattler of the year just came out of the snake freeway put in by the town and called gabion baskets. It would take a flame thrower to get the snakes out of these things."
Those are some sturdy baskets!

AK sent us a link on why golf has lost popularity in the US.

Anonyous wrote: "I saw another blogger mention that maybe OV should annex property further south. My question is- what is the northern boundary of Tucson? How far can OV go? I think Ina West of Oracle is county. Is that a place to start?."
The northern boundary of Tucson is just north of River Road. (Tucson Boundary Map)

CF Asked: "Did the Supreme Court take up the case regarding the purchase of El Con golf courses?'
The Court has not yet ruled on whether or not they will hear the case.
Pima County Assessor Data: Oro Valley/Catalina House Sale Median Values Rank Third In County

"Economic Districts are a grouping of neighborhoods that have similar economic forces or geographic location. Pima County has 22 such areas." Oro-Valley and Catalina are combined into one of these districts.

The median value of a home used in the 2016 valuation in assessing home in this region was almost $270,000. This ranks third behind homes in the Catalina Foothills ($416,500) and the Northeast ($275,000).

This is a drop from a second raking last year, when Oro Valley values ranked ahead of the Northeast district.