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Latest News in Oro Valley, AZ

Local mother gives back to Casa de los Ninos through community market

Copy This Embed Code: Ad TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A local mother is using her business and personal past to help pave the way for single moms right here in our community.Jackie Krestel of Oro Valley is the organizer and a vendor of the Artisan and Friends Community Market where each month, she strives to make a difference.“If all of the markets out here donated their proceeds to a charity, imagine the difference that we can do," said Krestel.On Sunday, Jan. 8 the Artisan and Friends Community...

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TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A local mother is using her business and personal past to help pave the way for single moms right here in our community.

Jackie Krestel of Oro Valley is the organizer and a vendor of the Artisan and Friends Community Market where each month, she strives to make a difference.

“If all of the markets out here donated their proceeds to a charity, imagine the difference that we can do," said Krestel.

On Sunday, Jan. 8 the Artisan and Friends Community Market will host a small group of local businesses to come together to support the community through charity donations. Each month, the market picks a different organization to donate to.

This time around they will be giving a percentage of the proceeds to Casa de los Ninos, a local organization helping families facing adversity, and for Krestel, this hits a little closer to home.

“I myself was a single mother of three children so without programs like Casa de los Ninos, I would not have been able to raise my girls and raise girls," said Krestel. "It’s really important for me to give back to those charities that are changing lives and making a difference.”

Not only will the market be donating cash to Casa de los Ninos, but they are also looking to collect hygiene products for adults and children in need.

The Artisan and Friends Community Market has been able to donate over $1,200 to Southern Arizona organizations since June 2022, and they are hoping to add to that amount as they give back to Casa de los Ninos this month.

The Artisan and Friends Community Market is from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Jan. 8 at 102 North Alvernon Way.

——-Brooke Chau is a reporter for KGUN 9. She was a part of Fresno State's newscast, Fresno State Focus and interned at KFSN-ABC30 in Fresno, CA before coming to KGUN 9. Share your story ideas and important issues with Brooke by emailing brooke.chau@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

BEAR SIGHTING: Arizona Game and Fish trying to locate bear in Oro Valley

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A warning out for folks who live in Oro Valley: Arizona Game and Fish says a bear has been spotted several times in the area, including right on people’s doorsteps.They’re working to find the bear so they can relocate it, but they need your help.Wednesday, the bear was spotted in a neighborhood off of Oracle and Ina.Jerry Quesnel lives in the area.“We were surprised, taken back, shocked, because nobody expects to have a bear walk across their porch in Tucson,”...

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A warning out for folks who live in Oro Valley: Arizona Game and Fish says a bear has been spotted several times in the area, including right on people’s doorsteps.

They’re working to find the bear so they can relocate it, but they need your help.

Wednesday, the bear was spotted in a neighborhood off of Oracle and Ina.

Jerry Quesnel lives in the area.

“We were surprised, taken back, shocked, because nobody expects to have a bear walk across their porch in Tucson,” he said.

Quesnel couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw a bear walking just outside of his home in the middle of the day. He’s lived in the area for more than 30 years and he’s seen all kinds of wildlife, but never a bear.

In the video, the bear makes its way across the property. It passes a fruit tree and walks right up to the camera. Quesnel says it also visited several of his neighbors.

“Why was it here? it’s hot. there’s been plenty of rain so why isn’t it up in the mountains where they normally hang out?” he asked.

That’s what many people are asking. We saw a number of bear sightings back in May, but Arizona Game and Fish expected the bears to return to their natural habitat once monsoon hit.

“It is unusual, but if it’s a young bear it may be just separated from its mother and learning new territory. those bears typically get into more trouble than not when they’re wondering about,” Mark Hart said.

Hart says there’s a possibility this bear could be the same one that was spotted at Fort Lowell Park in May. He estimates that it’s a two to three year old black bear.

“He hasn’t done anything dangerous per se, he hasn’t menaced anyone or stood on his hind legs, huffed or done any of the tell tale signs of an immanent attack. It’s just looking for resources and probably learned from its last time in Tucson that there are food sources to be had,” he said.

Hart says the bear hasn’t shown that it’s dangerous yet, but wild animals are unpredictable. Game and Fish is asking people in the area to do what they can to keep the bear away from their homes.

″Make sure you’ve left no pet food outside. Then if you have fruit fallen trees, pick it up. Take down your bird feeder, even take down your hummingbird feeders cause bears love hummingbird nectar,” he said.

And if you have trash pick up, don’t put your trashcans out for pickup until the day of.

Right now, Game and Fish’s goal is to locate the bear so they can tranquilize it and move it out of the area.

They are asking for the public’s help. If you see the bear, you’re asked to call them as soon as possible at 623-236-7201.

Copyright 2022 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.

Oro Valley resident already writing the book on new nature preserve

By the time Oro Valley officially opened its new nature preserve on Friday, Jake Smith had already gotten to know more than 250 of the residents there.Smith lives about a block from Vistoso Trails Nature Preserve, and he rides his bicycle there almost every day. Since February, he has identified more than 1,000 plants and animals from 255 different species within the preserve, recording each of them using the biodiversity social networking website iNaturalist.org....

By the time Oro Valley officially opened its new nature preserve on Friday, Jake Smith had already gotten to know more than 250 of the residents there.

Smith lives about a block from Vistoso Trails Nature Preserve, and he rides his bicycle there almost every day. Since February, he has identified more than 1,000 plants and animals from 255 different species within the preserve, recording each of them using the biodiversity social networking website iNaturalist.org.

Now he has turned his observations — and some of the photographs he took to go with them — into a digital field guide for visitors to the new preserve, which snakes through the Rancho Vistoso community north of Tangerine Road.

“The goal is to reflect what’s most common and most notable out there,” Smith said.

The 202-acre desert green space surrounded by homes used to be an 18-hole golf course that operated for more than 20 years before going out of business in 2018.

When the owners of the property floated plans to cover it with homes or an assisted-living facility, a group of neighborhood activists teamed up with national nonprofit The Conservation Fund to buy the land and save it from development.

The neighborhood group known as Preserve Vistoso raised $1.8 million in just five weeks late last year to acquire the abandoned Golf Club at Vistoso.

The land was donated to the town of Oro Valley earlier this month, but not before a conservation easement was placed on the property to ensure it is only ever used as a park.

On Friday morning, more than 100 people gathered under shade tents on what used to be the ninth hole, as town officials, members of Preserve Vistoso and others involved in the conservation effort held a celebratory ribbon cutting for the preserve.

Later this year, with input from Oro Valley residents, the town will begin drafting a master plan to guide improvements to its newest outdoor amenity, which already features 6 miles of paved pathways perfect for walking, bicycling and bird watching.

Smith and his wife moved into Rancho Vistoso with their son, Kip, 8, and daughter, Bell, 5, less than two years ago. They started using the trails through the abandoned golf course in January.

“It’s been a real resource for our family to be outdoors with our kids out there,” he said.

Smith didn’t set out to make a field guide for the preserve. He was just trying to log as many iNaturalist entries as he could from the area.

The website, now operated jointly by the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society, is designed to make it easy for citizen scientists to observe, map and share information on biodiversity around the world. It is free and open to anyone who wants to report a plant or animal sighting.

Smith said he started posting his nature encounters on the site about a year ago. As of now, he is responsible for about two-thirds of all the observations that appear on iNaturalist for the Vistoso Trails area, though he said there are also sightings on there that date back to when the golf course was still open.

Those older observations include “stuff that’s not there anymore” such as water fowl that used to hang out in the ponds on the golf course before they went dry, Smith said.

His quest to document stuff living in the preserve intensified about two months ago, when he set out to compile all the iNaturalist sightings for the area into a field guide for the new park.

“Hours turned into probably hundreds of hours spent out there making observations and taking pictures,” he said.

The resulting guide is 167 pages long, with sections devoted to mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, insects, plants and even fungi. There are roughly 180 photos, all but about a dozen of which he took himself.

Smith said his favorite observation came on June 25, when he got to watch a bobcat stalk and catch a roadrunner. “I got some good pictures of it, too,” he said.

The guide is now undergoing final edits and rewrites with the help of some experts who are more well-versed in desert flora and fauna than he is.

Once that’s done, Smith plans to hand the whole thing over to Preserve Vistoso so it can be made available for free on the group’s website, perhaps in as little as a few weeks.

There are no immediate plans for a printed version of the guide, though he said Preserve Vistoso might decide to sell it that way someday as a fundraiser for the preserve.

Smith was still adding entries to the guide as recently as Tuesday night.

That’s when he went for a ride through Vistoso Trails after a monsoon storm and encountered what he described as “a biblical quantity of toads” hopping along the old golf cart paths in search of, um, playing partners.

He cataloged four different types of amorous amphibians during his bike ride that evening, including two species that were new to him.

Until this week, Smith hadn’t seen a Couch’s spadefoot or a Great Plains toad out at the preserve. Now he’s bumped into them both, and he has the pictures to prove it.

The saga continues: Pima Community College continues work on accreditation

Sometime back in the days of Wyatt Earp — or maybe before Instagram (same thing, right?) — Pima Community College got put on probation over its accreditation.This week, the PCC Governing Board will discuss the next in a long line of action steps required to get right with the Higher Learning Commission, which put the college on probation in 2013.The Chicago-based commission has largely approved of the steps Pima has taken so far bu...

Sometime back in the days of Wyatt Earp — or maybe before Instagram (same thing, right?) — Pima Community College got put on probation over its accreditation.

This week, the PCC Governing Board will discuss the next in a long line of action steps required to get right with the Higher Learning Commission, which put the college on probation in 2013.

The Chicago-based commission has largely approved of the steps Pima has taken so far but still wants more transparency and better internal communications within the system.

So that's what the board has in the works. The plan is for better communication with faculty, staff and students and a shared governance model.

This process is unfolding while Chancellor Lee Lambert remains the focal point of angst for what detractors call a heavy-handed approach. He's also under the authority of a new board majority looking for changes.

It's all very much like a new reality TV show called: Real Governing Boards of Tucson. At any given time, one of them is at another's jugular with a hunting knife. This has been going on at Pima for more than 10 years.

The college needs to right itself. In the coming economy, an argument can be made a solid community college will be more vital than a four-year university built for superstars. Community colleges are perfect for the kind of training, retraining and updating of skills required beyond a four-year degree.

It's a fifth Tuesday of the month so it's a light week for public meetings, so let's just whip around the horn.

The Oro Valley Town Council will get a look at a new plan to start developing bigger parks.

Now, the town largely relies on developers to build park space into their single-family housing projects. That's fine and all, but the result is a lot of small parks (3 acres and less) thrown about the town.

Town residents noticed and during last year's master plan update included the need for bigger parks as a priority. The town staff now wants the council to take a study session and discuss options, including changing the code to get developers to consolidate their park lands into a larger swaths of public space.

Smaller "pocket parks" can be cool, too. The town is just out of balance and now wants to make corrections. If there's one thing I'm not worried about, it's the jackboot of the OV council smashing business with socialism.

The council will also vote on a conditional use permit for a Surf Thru car wash (that's not literal) next to an In 'N Out Burger on North Oracle Road and West Water Harvest Way.

Traditionally, a "non-conforming use" of the property requires either a rezoning or a conditional use permit specific to the project. In this case, as part of the development agreement with the Oro Valley Market Place, car washes require these permits to operate. They must comply with noise, traffic and water concerns the community may have.

The Amphitheater Unified School District Governing Board will also hold a discussion about how to approach their "letter grades" applied by the state.

The Arizona State Board of Education grades each school and if they end up with a D or F, the schools must adopt an improvement plan following a public hearing. Amphi will have a general conversation about how to do put together improvement plans.

The board will also discuss it's legislative priorities for the new conclave of representatives and senators in Phoenix. The district wants the Legislature to get their butts in gear and approve an override of the state's spending limit on K-12. Lawmakers have said they'll do it, but they are going to take their time and almost certainly include demands that schools promise never to teach a white person did anything wrong, ever and make sure students know Jehova Loves Trump and Guns.

I may be exaggerating just a bit... a tiny bit.

The rest of list is an absolute laugh-riot. The board is being asked to vote on more money for K-12 schools, less cumbersome state mandates and the money to comply and protect and support due process rights for educators.

What? Is it open mic night at Laff's? This is a Legislature that hates spending money on public school and – public school in general – and more than that despises teachers unions that secure due process rights.

If it were constitutional, they'd zero out the whole schools budget and spend the money on horse dewormer. It's good to dream, I guess. Maybe new Gov. Katie Hobbs will be some help.

The Tucson Unified School District Governing Board will hold a special meeting Tuesday to discuss good governance, the open meeting law and better leadership and communication.

Those are all the items on the agenda other than pro-forma roll call and adjournment.

The Sahuarita Town Council will hold a similar meeting Monday night. During a private meeting (though publicly posted) with lawyers, they will discuss their options with security in town buildings.

And that's all we got this week. Enjoy your day.

Bobcat attacks Saddlebrooke man at his home

Copy This Embed Code: Ad RELATED: See how researchers hope to learn more about urban bobcats in the video player above.A Saddlebrooke man is getting treated for rabies after a bobcat attacked him just before 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, say Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) officials.The unprovoked attack occurred at his home on East Flower Ridge Drive, while the man was sitting on his porch.According to Mark Hart of AZGFD, the man was able to fight the bobcat off with a lawn chair, but ...

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RELATED: See how researchers hope to learn more about urban bobcats in the video player above.

A Saddlebrooke man is getting treated for rabies after a bobcat attacked him just before 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, say Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) officials.

The unprovoked attack occurred at his home on East Flower Ridge Drive, while the man was sitting on his porch.

According to Mark Hart of AZGFD, the man was able to fight the bobcat off with a lawn chair, but sustained injuries on his right leg and left arm during the incident. Golder Ranch Fire Department transported him to Northwest Hospital for treatment.

At this time rabies is suspected, says Hart, due to the circumstances surrounding the attack: Bobcats rarely attack humans, he says, and the violent nature of this attack leads AZGFD to speculate that late-stage rabies in this bobcat is likely what lead to the incident.

If anyone sees a bobcat in the Saddlebrooke area, officials say to call the AZGFD at (623) 236-7201 as soon as possible. Do not approach it.

Hart says no other rabid animals have been spotted in the Saddlebrooke community recently, and this was likely an isolated incident. While this particular bobcat may die soon of the disease, residents should avoid any bobcats in the area, and report any wildlife they may see acting "erratically."

Erratic behavior in wild animals can include:

Rabies is most common in the Sonoran Desert in bats, foxes and skunks, says Hart, though bobcats and javelina can sometimes become infected.

The Saddlebrooke community is located north of Oro Valley, in southeastern Pinal County.

——-Anne Simmons is a digital content producer for KGUN 9. Anne got her start in television while still a student at the University of Arizona. Before joining KGUN, she managed multiple public access television stations in the Bay Area and has worked as a video producer in the non-profit sector. Share your story ideas and important issues with Anne by emailing anne.simmons@kgun9.com or by connecting on Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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