Foothills News 01/25/2023

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Volume 13 • Number 2 January 25, 2023



Hobbs talks education and water protection | Page 6 Southern Arizona flavors invite sampling at festival | Page 13 Athlete of the Week: Asiel Colon-Torres | Page 15

art festival gathers artists in enchanting outdoor setting

There is something enchanting about strolling through a garden, surrounded by artists and their work, slowly absorbing all that there is to see.

It’s what has made the La Encantada Fine Art Festival a hit among art festivalgoers for the past 10 years. The festival is returning to the open-air shopping center of La Encantada from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5.

“It’s an experience of enjoying a weekend grabbing a hot or cold beverage from AJ’s and getting to spend your time slowly experiencing art,” said Kate Marquez, executive director of Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance (SAACA), which organizes the event. “In bigger festivals or much


student parlays scouting knowledge into prestigious job

Andrew Pongratz was always interested in law, how it regulates society, and its impact.

Inspired by the staff at BASIS Tucson North, the now-UA student applied for and landed a clerk position in the U.S. attorney’s offi ce’s civil division.

He landed the job as a senior at BASIS Tucson North, and the position was a natural fit for him.

“I have always been interested in the law, how it regulates society, the impact it has,” Pongratz said.

As a clerk, he assists paralegals and attorneys, organizes evidence for trials, and edits legal briefs. He networks with federal government employees, too.

“I’ve had the opportunity to meet different people, meet federal judges, meet court administrators,” Pongratz said.

“That’s been really nice. My colleagues in the offi ce, too. I’m in the civil division,

so we are a smaller division, but I talk with the folks in the criminal unit.”

The UA freshman is majoring in philosophy, politics, economics and law. Aspiring to be a lawyer, Pongratz has been involved with the UA’s pre-law fraternity.

He’s an Eagle Scout, which taught him the leadership skills he needed to obtain the clerk job. As a scout, he was part of Boy Scouts of America’s Troop 007, dur-


The Voice of the Catalina Foothills
Jacqueline Chanda is an oil painter and part of the La Encantada Fine Art Festival. (Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance/Submitted)


Hot Picks


Wednesday, Jan. 25, ongoing

A movement, not just a museum, the African American Museum of Southern Arizona has opened its doors at the University of Arizona campus. Co-founded by Beverly and Bob Elliott, the museum presents a cultural and educational experience through items of significance and intentional storytelling to preserve African American and Black life, culture and history in Southern Arizona to benefit the community. It’s located in room 244 of the Student Union Memorial Center. Admission is free; until regular hours are established; interested visitors can schedule an appointment by emailing Visit for more information. African American Museum of Southern Arizona, 4511 N. Campbell Avenue, Suite 255-2.

Wednesday, Jan. 25, to Saturday, May 20

It’s been a long journey for Willem de Koonig’s “Woman-Ochre” since its shocking theft in 1985 from the University of Arizona Museum of Art. Over three decades later it has returned home, on display through May. Tickets for “Restored: The Return of Woman-Ochre” are $8 general admission; $6 seniors 65 and older and groups of 10 and more; and free for students with ID, museum members, UA faculty, staff, military personnel, AAM members, visitors with a SNAP card or Tribal ID, and children. For more information about other ongoing exhibits, visit The University of Arizona Museum of Art, 1031 N. Olive Road.

Wednesday, Jan. 25, to Saturday, April 8

The Tucson Desert Art Museum presents its “¡Pleibol! In the Barrios and the Big Leagues/ En los barrios y las grandes ligas” Wednesday, Jan. 25, to Saturday, April. 8. Organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in collaboration with the National Muse-

um of American History, this exhibit examines the sport and how Latinos have helped shape what it is today. Tickets cost $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $6 students/ children, and free for active military. For more information about permanent and ongoing exhibitions, visit Tucson Desert Art Museum, 7000 E. Tanque Verde Road.


Tuesday, Jan. 24, and Wednesday, Jan. 25

Broadway in Tucson presents a new theatrical adaptation of an Emmy Award-winning children’s television series “Bluey’s Big Play” on Tuesday, Jan. 24, and Wednesday, Jan. 25, at Centennial Hall. Presented by BBC Studios, Andrew Kay in association with Windmill Theatre Co., join the Heelers in their first live theater show made just for you, featuring brilliantly created puppets. The runtime is approximately 45 minutes. For more information on showtimes and ticket prices, visit Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Boulevard.

Saturday, Jan. 28, and Sunday, Jan. 29

The Arizona Opera presents the political thriller “Tosca” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29. Set in 1800 Rome, “Tosca” tells a passionate tale full of love, lust and self-sacrifice during the Napoleonic wars. For more information about Arizona Opera and showtimes, visit Linda Ronstadt Music Hall, 260 S. Church Avenue.


Sunday, Jan. 29

Vocal fire cat Connie Brannock and her Little House of Funk return for their monthly Congress Cookout from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29. For a $10 advance, head to the Hotel Congress Plaza for a great night of energetic blues and soul. Visit for more information. Hotel

PICKS Page 4

Tucson Local Media Staff Your Trusted Source for Community News Federally insured by NCUA.


The Foothills News is published twice each month and distributed free of charge to homes and in single-copy locations throughout the Catalina Foothills. STAFF


Steve T. Strickbine, Publisher

Michael Hiatt, Vice President

Claudine Sowards, Accounting


Christina Fuoco-Karasinski, Executive Editor

Katya Mendoza, Sta Reporter

Hope Peters, Sta Reporter

Karen Scha ner, Sta Reporter kscha


Shannon Mead, Design/Production Manager

Veronica Thurman, Graphic Designer


Aaron Kolodny, Circulation Director

Brian Juhl, Distribution Manager


Gary Tackett, Associate Publisher

Kristin Chester, Account Executive

Candace Murray, Account Executive

Tyler Vondrak, Account Executive


Zac Reynolds, Director of National Advertising

Foothills News expresses its opinion in the editorial. Opinions expressed in guest commentaries, perspectives, cartoons or letters to the editor are those of the author. The content and claims of any advertisement are the sole responsibility of the advertiser. Tucson Local Media assumes no responsibility for the claims or content of any advertisement. Publisher has the right to edit for size or refuse any advertisement at his or her discretion. 7225 N. Mona Lisa Road, Ste. 125 Tucson, Arizona 85741 • 520-797-4384 To start or stop delivery of the paper, please visit: or call 480-898-7901 To receive your free online edition subscription, please visit: newsletter/signup/ Foothills News is distributed by AZ Integrated Media a circulation company owned & operated by Times Media Group The public is limited to one copy per reader. For circulation services, please contact Aaron Kolodny at Copyright: The entire contents of Foothills News are Copyright Times Media Group No portion may be reproduced in whole or part by any means without the express written permission of the Publisher, Tucson Local Media, 7225 N. Mona Lisa Rd., Ste. 125, Tucson, AZ 85741.

Congress Plaza, 311 E. Congress Street.


Wednesday, Jan. 25

Discover Sonoran Wines at the Winter Wine Tasting Series on Wednesday, Jan. 25, at Hotel Congress’ jazz club, the Century Room. Cost is $30. Doors open at 6 p.m. Featuring Keeling Schaefer and Sand Reckoner, the expert-led and curated flight tasting begins at 6:30 p.m. and live music starts at 7 p.m. For more information about the Century Room and the Winter Wine Tasting Series, check out The Century Room, 311 E. Congress Street.

Wednesday, Jan. 25, to Saturday, Jan. 28

The 37th annual Tucson Senior Olympic Festival comes to an end starting Wednesday, Jan. 25, through Saturday, Jan. 28. Support and cheer on your local seniors 50 and older, as they compete in categories such as badminton, darts, pickleball and swimming. Times and locations vary; visit for more information. Morris K. Udall Regional Center, 7200 E. Tanque Verde Road.

PONGRATZ from Page 1

ing which time he gave more than 392 hours to philanthropic activities, including his Eagle project.

The leadership skills also helped him become the inaugural student body president of BASIS’ student council. He served his sophomore to senior years.

He and his peers started and developed a constitution for the school’s student council.

“I wanted to make a community that would connect people in more than just academic ways, volunteering and things like that. I was so used to my scouting community being very connected, so I wanted the same thing in high school at BASIS,” Pongratz said.

“I think scouting really pushed me. I had some leadership experience. I was able to go into student council, work with teachers, administrators and students to connect them all together.”

Leadership is in his blood. As a scout, he served as patrol and senior patrol leader. In this role, he addressed large groups of people and developed

Friday, Jan. 27

Head over to the Brad DeSpain Stables at the scenic Marana Heritage River Park for Paint Night in the Park, from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27. Become the artist you never knew you were. Registration for the instructor-led class is $20 per resident, $25 for nonresidents, and includes a 16-by-20-inch canvas and painting supplies. No experience necessary. For information on how to register, visit

Friday, Jan. 27, and Saturday, Jan. 28

Get in, loser, we’re going to the Loft Cinema. Catch the late-night screening of the cult-classic “Mean Girls,” presented by Barrio Brewing at 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, and Saturday, Jan. 28. General admission is $8, or $6 for Loft members. For more information about tickets or showtimes, visit The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Boulevard.

Saturday, Jan. 28

The Oro Valley Historical Society invites the public to visit this month’s Pusch House Museum exhibit, “Cowboys, Cattlemen and Ranchin’,” from 9

Andrew Pongratz is a UA student and a clerk in the U.S. attorney's office's civil division.

his skills as a public speaker.

He said during his time in scouting, he was given the room to grow as a leader.

“It’s a low-stakes environment to lead in. … If you mess up in scouting, the whole thing doesn’t fall apart on you,” Pongratz said.

“There’s adults and other scouts. It

a.m. to noon Saturday, Jan. 28. It offers visions of rugged cowboys, wild horses and ranch life. This weekend, no reservations are required; visitors can sign up at the Oro Valley Historical Society booth at the south end of the farmers market. There is a suggested donation of $5. For more information about ongoing tours, museum hours and events, visit Steam Pump Ranch, 10901 N. Oracle.

Saturday, Jan. 28

The Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance, Local First Arizona and the Tucson Botanical Gardens present SAVOR, the Southern Arizona Food and Wine Festival, from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28. Showcasing Tucson’s culinary prestige and heritage food movement, SAVOR celebrates over 50 of the region’s finest chefs, breweries, wineries, local foods and restaurants through exceptional food tastings. Ticket prices are $100 for general admission and $150 for VIP with early admission. This is a 21-and-older event. For more information, visit Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way.

Saturday, Jan. 28, to Thursday, Feb. 12

The world-renowned winter Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase begins on Saturday, Jan. 28. Attracting nearly 65,000 visitors from around the globe each year at over 48 locations throughout the city, the showcase invites guests to enjoy rare gems, minerals and fossils. Shows begin anywhere between 8 and 10 a.m. lasting through 6 to 8 p.m. daily. For a full guide, visit


Saturday, Jan. 28

Support your local farmers, ranches and small food purveyors offering their seasonal produce, farm-fresh eggs, meats and other goods at the Oro Valley Farmers Market on Saturday, Jan. 28. Operating every Saturday, year-round at the Historic Steam Pump Ranch, the farmers market runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Attendance is free, but money is required for shopping. For more information about the Oro Valley Farmers Market or other Heirloom Farmers Markets, visit Steam Pump Ranch, 10901 N. Oracle Road.

Being an Eagle Scout taught Andrew Pongratz the leadership skills needed to obtain his job as a clerk with U.S. attorney's office's civil division. (Andrew Pongratz/Submitted)

gives you the room to fail and to learn from your mistakes, which I really like.”

The 19-year-old said scouting helped him mature.

“We have a good time in scouting. We’re not so serious. But everyone learns to be respectful and kind,” Pongratz said.

He’s been involved with scouting

since the first grade, as a Cub Scout. He moved up to Boy Scouts in sixth grade and continued until he reached the rank of Eagle Scout in January 2022. To earn the rank of Eagle Scout, Pongratz had to earn at least 21 badges and organize an Eagle Scout project.

HOT PICKS from Page 2

bigger crowds, there’s more of that intensity to move through quickly. This is one of those shows that allows you to really spend time with the artist.”

Marquez said they purposely keep the show smaller so no one feels they must rush and can instead have a deeper experience with individual artists and pieces of art.

The twice-annual festival started 10 years ago when the owners of the space reached out to SAACA to brainstorm how they could work together to host projects and programs that would bring the Tucson community in the Catalina Foothills together in a creative way. Their first partnership was the Salsa Tequila Taco Challenge, followed by a series of jazz concert events, a Community Four Corners Festival, scavenger hunts and art installations.

Sculptor Hiro Tashima will display works at the La Encantada Fine Art Festival. (Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance/Submitted)

and half be new so that there is always something for visitors to experience.




Among the collaborations was the fine art festival, which is held every October and February.

“There’s just a really good diversity of participating artisans,” Marquez said. “You have lamp makers, handmade scarves, textiles, wearable art all the way up to Native American fine art sculpture. There’s really modern painting, photography — some absolutely beautiful photography — and it’s just such a good, balanced show. It’s not a very big show, and it’s intended that way to really allow people to enjoy an experience with the ones that are there.”

Oro Valley, AZ – When it comes to chronic pain and/ or neuropathy, the most common doctor-prescribed treatment is drugs like Gabapentin, Lyrica, Cymbalta, and Neurontin. The problem with antidepressants or anti-seizure medications like these is that they offer purely symptomatic relief, as opposed to targeting and treating the root of the problem. Worse, these drugs often trigger an onset of uncomfortable, painful, and sometimes harmful side effects.

cannot survive, and thus, slowly die. This leads to those painful and frustrating consequences we were talking about earlier, like weakness, numbness, tingling, balance issues, and perhaps even a burning sensation.

The drugs your doctor might prescribe will temporarily conceal the problems, putting a “BandAid” over a situation that will only continue to deteriorate without further action.

1. Finding the underlying cause

2. Determining the extent of the nerve damage (above 95% nerve loss is rarely treatable)

3. The amount of treatment required for the patient’s unique condition

The number of treatments required varies from patient to patient, and can only be determined following an in-depth neurological and vascular examination. As long as you have less than 95% nerve damage, there is hope!

Kim Ozbrut's fine Native American sculptures will be featured at the La Encantada Fine Art Festival. (Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance/Submitted)

“The Fine Art Festival has just grown to be the best in the region and the artists have loved it,” Marquez said. “They really enjoy the venue. The venue is beautiful. There’s really nothing like it in Southern Arizona where people can meander and shop in beautiful, garden walkways at La Encantada and see beautiful jewelry, painting, sculpture and functional art.”

The February show, like the ones before it, will have about 45 vendors. Marquez said they try to have about half of the artists be returning ones

One example of a returning artist is Ashley Chamberlain, who creates mixed media, furniture and home décor. She paints representations of the Southwest on hardboard, a process that consists of layering and scraping over and over. She said she developed the technique while building furniture for 25 years. The Tucson native, who earned a degree in set design from the University of Arizona, chooses vibrant colors to go with her desert style. Each painting comes with a custom frame.

Another is Jill Crozier from HPSilver, who makes jewelry, leather and mixed metals. The hand-textured pieces include sterling silver and copper and common gemstones include Arizona turquoise and Brazilian amethyst. HPSilver is a family-run Tucson business that got its start in Bisbee, a his-

The only way to effectively treat chronic pain and/or peripheral neuropathy is by targeting the source, which is the result of nerve damage owing to inadequate blood flow to the nerves in the hands and feet. This often causes weakness, numbness, tingling, pain, and balance problems. A lack of nutrients causes the nerves to degenerate – an insidious and often painful process.

As displayed in figure 1 above, the nerves are surrounded by diseased, withered blood vessels. A lack of sufficient nutrients means the nerves

Thankfully, Oro Valley is the birthplace of a brandnew facility that sheds new light on this pressing problem of peripheral neuropathy and chronic pain. The company is trailblazing the medical industry by replacing outdated drugs and symptomatic reprieves with an advanced machine that targets the root of the problem at hand.

Effective neuropathy treatment relies on the following three factors:

Arrowhead Physical Medicine in Oro Valley, AZ uses a state-of-the-art electric cell signaling systems worth $100,000.00. Th is ground-breaking treatment is engineered to achieve the following, accompanied by advanced diagnostics and a basic skin biopsy to accurately analyze results:

1. Increases blood flow

2. Stimulates and strengthens small fiber nerves

3. Improves brain-based pain

The treatment works by delivering energy to the affected area(s) at varying wavelengths, from low- to middle-frequency signals, while also using Amplitude Modulated (AM) and Frequency Modulated (FM) signaling.

It’s completely painless!


Depending on your coverage, your peripheral neuropathy treatment could cost almost nothing – or be absolutely free.

Arrowhead Physical Medicine begins by analyzing the extent of the nerve damage – a complimentary service for comprises a detailed your friends and family.sensoryEach exam evaluation, extensive peripheral vascular testing, and comprehensive analysis of neuropathy findings.

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Arrowhead Physical Medicine will be offering this free chronic pain and neuropathy severity evaluation will be available until December 31st, 2022 Call (520) 934-0130 to make an appointment.

Arrowhead Physical Medicine will be o ering this free chronic pain and neuropathy severity evaluation will be available until January 31, 2023. Call (520) 934-0130 to make an appointment

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LA ENCANTADA from Page 1
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Kirk-Bear unveils new sensory program

Often children who are neurodiverse and autistic have trouble with children’s activities because of the crowds, noises and other distractions.

The Kirk-Bear Canyon Library is hosting a new sensory program for children with autism spectrum disorders and other neurological and developmental conditions.

The program takes place monthly on varying Tuesdays. In February, it will be held on Feb. 14 and Feb. 28. Capacity is limited, so reservations are recommended.

The library started the program in November, after several COVID-19-related delays. It was a collaboration between librarians, the Friends of Kirk-Bear Canyon Library, Hughes Federal Credit Union and the Autism Society of Southern Arizona.

The sensory program is the first of its kind in the Pima County public Library system. Previously, it offered Sensory Storytime.

The new program is meant to stimulate brain development in young people, in an environment with dim lighting and noise-canceling headphones.

Within this calming environment, there are different stations with sensory activities and toys for infants to children up to 5 years old.

The Autism Society of Southern Arizona consulted with the library and provided training for library staff through its Autism Friendly Communities Program.

“During our training, we discussed with them the challenges that autistic kids face and how to best work with them,” said Kate Elliott, executive director for the Autism Society of Southern Arizona.

The organization offers training for different groups, schools and businesses.

“We do training and talk to anybody about creating more inclusive spaces for autistic people, from employment to school. That’s definitely a big mission of ours, to be able to create opportunities for autistic individuals to engage in every space in a way that is successful to them.”

The new library program offers activities such as water and sand tables and a balance beam, as well as sensory toys.

“Each different station allows a different type of sensory input,” Elliott said.

There is a baby-specific area with toys for infants.

Reading rooms in the back of the li-

brary are set up as a calm-down area.

“If a child becomes overwhelmed or they have trouble transitioning when the program is over, they can go and be there. They have special lights that are calming and weighted lap blankets. It’s a nice place for them to transition, if they become too overwhelmed and need to be out of the main area,” Elliott said.

The program has been popular thus far. The January session was full.

“I think it’s a need that’s been in the community. The regular story times are wonderful, but they can often be sensorily overwhelming for neurodivergent and autistic kids. Having an opportunity, in a place that is sensory-friendly, for families with autistic kids to go really makes all the difference in them being able to get out of the house,” Elliott said.

“The typical story times are really fantastic, but there’s a lot more kids allowed in them. There’s also a lot of singing, running around and kids yelling. Everybody sits in line to listen to the story. A lot of those things can be really challenging for autistic kids. … Kids with autism often have sensory issues, so it can be very overwhelming to have all of that activity around them. Sitting still can be really challenging. Offering sensory play can

give them a way to engage while easing that anxiety, allowing them the opportunity to engage in a way that is friendly and inviting to them.”

Elliott said the program not only helps children to develop important skills, such as the ability to problem solve, but provides a space where they can socialize with others.

“Having this program provides an opportunity for these kids to get out, play and connect with other kids and for parents to connect with other parents in a way that is welcoming and possible,” Elliott said.

“There’s not a lot of places for us to go with our kids. This opportunity just provides an outlet for these families that’s really needed.” 

Kirk-Bear Canyon Library Sensory Program

WHEN: 10:30 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14; 11:15 to 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28

WHERE: Kirk Bear Canyon Library, 8959 E. Tanque Verde Road, Tucson PRICE: Free

INFO: 520-594-5275, pima.

Hobbs talks education and water protection

Arizona’s governor-elect Katie Hobbs presented an encore state of the state address at the Tucson Convention Center, Tuesday, Jan. 10.

Hobbs outlined her top priorities including investment in public education, lowering costs, securing the state’s water future, and tackling the affordable housing crisis.

“The people of Arizona have directed us to find solutions to these issues,” Hobbs said.

A self-proclaimed believer in the “power of prosperity,” Hobbs said her administration was committed to building a thriving and dynamic foundation for businesses

and the people who make them run, also noting cutting-edge companies moving to the state, offering healthy business environments and a top-tier workforce.

“Companies have record job openings, but far too many Arizona residents can’t afford increased rent,” she said.

The governor also called out the state’s failure to adequately invest in public education, which has resulted in high teacher vacancy rates. “One in 4 teachers leave Arizona schools each year, the highest rate in the nation,” she said, calling the state’s problem not with K-12 schools but a “retention crisis.”

Hobbs called upon legislators to override the Aggregate Expenditure Limit, which limits how much K-12 schools are allowed to spend annually.

In response, Hobbs stated that she will launch an education retention task force to develop a framework and make recommendations to improve class sizes, resources, working conditions and other factors that would put the state’s education system on a path toward finding solutions and retaining educators.

Addressing Arizona’s per-pupil funding approach, Hobbs said that her tentative budget will redirect $68.6 million to all schools across the state, also asking for transparency of schools that accept public dollars by participating in the auditor general’s annual school district spending report.

Hobbs mentioned the overwhelming

See HOBBS Page 8
Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs presented an encore state of the state address on Tuesday, Jan 10, at the Tucson Convention Center. (Kevin Van Rensselaer/Tucson Metro Chamber/ Contributor)

AGING WELL Smart Ways to Boost Your Brain Health

Just as you can improve your general physical health with good habits, so too can you improve the health of your brain—boosting your memory and mental agility, as well as reducing your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.

Although research has found links between genes and one’s risk of Alzheimer’s, the exact cause is more likely a combination of genetics and other factors. Practicing good brain health at any age can help stave o the disease, as well as build up your cognitive reserve. Cognitive reserve is a term describing the brain’s resilience toward damage.

The good news is that our brains are able to continue forming new neural connections throughout our life cycle, called neuroplasti-

city. In other words, no matter what your age, your brain health can improve as the internal structure of its neurons changes and as the number of synapses between neurons increases.

Brain health is an ongoing focus of Mather Institute, an award-winning resource for research and information about wellness, aging, trends in senior living, and successful aging service innovations. The Institute is the research arm of Mather, one of the two parent organizations to Splendido, a Life Plan Community for those 55 and better in Oro Valley. According to research gathered by Mather Institute, you can boost your brain health in a number of easy ways:

1. Get a Move on. Regular physical activity can prevent or delay signs of dementia. People who have

and mental agility, and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.

a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s Disease may be helped the most by physical activity.

2. Oooohhmmmm…. Meditation increases gray matter in areas of the brain associated with short- and long-term memory and complex cognitive processes.

3. Go for the “Good Fats”! Mono- and poly-unsaturated fats are good for your brain, be-

cause of their essential nutrients. Unlike saturated fats, they don’t clog your arteries!

4. Seek the Spiritual. In people with Alzheimer’s Disease, those who practiced religion or spirituality are associated with slower rates of cognitive decline.

5. Walking the Walk. Cardio exercise such as brisk walking has been linked to growth in the

area of the brain associated with creating new memories.

6. 1, 2, 3, Relax! Stress is bad for the brain and the body. Learn to counter it by activating your relaxation state. For example, you can sit quietly and focus on slowing your breathing.

7. Time to Go Back to School! Researchers believe that the most ecient way to build more connections between brain cells is to learn something new.

8. Eat Your Fruits & Veggies. Antioxidants reduce chronic inflammation, which has been linked to Alzheimer’s. They also relieve oxidative stress, which has been linked to a number of conditions and diseases including Alzheimer’s.

9. To Err Is Human . . . Forgiveness is good for the brain. Letting go of grudges and anger can

reduce stress and depression, and increase feelings of well-being— all benefits to the brain!

10. Be a Social Butterfly. Social engagement has been associated with preserving memory and thinking abilities. In one study of more than 1,000 older adults, the 10% with the highest level of social activity had 70% less cognitive decline than those in the lowest 10%.

The good news about brain health is that it’s never too late to start the healthy habits that can improve your cognitive abilities and protect you against dementia.

Interested in learning more about Splendido? For floor plans, photos, and information on upcoming events, visit

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we can control—such as making a habit out of a brisk walk every day—can improve our brain health, boost memory

caseload of school counselors throughout the state, who provide services for over 700 kids on average. “That is the highest ratio in the nation and nearly three times the recommended standard,” she said. “We must do better.”

The governor also called for investment in state community colleges and dual-enrollment programs statewide to offer students opportunities to earn college credits or get a good-paying job and the expansion of the Arizona Promise Scholarship program, which made college more affordable for over 4,000 families last year. Hobbs proposes an additional funding capacity for over 10,000 students and allocating $40 million to create a Promise for DREAMers Scholarship program.

“We need to work together to ensure Arizona’s higher-education opportunities are the best in the nation and put individuals on the path to future prosperity,” Hobbs said, taking the opportunity to state the flip side of prosperity is the high cost of housing.

The Hobbs administration shared its

support for the $150 million investment into the Housing Trust Fund as well as signing an executive order reinstating Community Council on Homelessness and Housing, which coordinates state and local agencies and helps identify solutions for individuals and families experiencing homelessness and housing affordability as well as offering support to those struggling with the rising costs of everyday items and services.

Hobbs’ budget also sets aside $50 million for a state-level, child tax credit for families who earn less than $40,000 a year to help pay for basic necessities and exempt diapers and feminine hygiene products from the state’s sales tax.

“These everyday items add up, and we can and should help provide this relief to individuals and families who too often must choose between paying their bills or paying for the things they need to be healthy,” Hobbs said.

Hobbs, whose stance on immigration includes working with local law enforcement, nonprofits and community leaders, has also invited Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to visit

the border and meet with community leaders.

In addition to protecting reproductive freedom for her constituents, Hobbs shared that her budget would match the federal Title X money that the state receives to provide reproductive health services and family planning medication, about $12 million to impact low-income women.

The governor brought home her speech regarding the protection of the state’s most precious resource, being water and how bipartisan solutions are crucial.

Earlier this month, the Colorado River Tier 2 mandatory water cuts went into effect, reducing Arizona’s water allotment by about 21% this year.

“This should be a wake-up call for all of us,” Hobbs said. Arizona will face the largest cut, 592,000 acre-feet of water.

Hobbs plans to reestablish the Governor’s Energy Office and relaunch the Governor’s Office of Resiliency to focus on water, energy and land-use solutions. Additionally, the office will collaborate with local organizations, tribal govern-

ments, universities and various state departments.

The administration also plans to issue an executive order to launch the Governor’s Water Policy Council to “modernize and expand” the Arizona Groundwater Management Act, Hobbs said. Her budget, which was released Friday, Jan. 13, included “targeted investments” such as a one-time $333 million general fund deposit into the Long-Term Water Augmentation Fund and other investments spanning across fiscal years 2024 to 2025.

Hobbs hopes to allocate funds to rural communities to set up Active Management Areas, a program to help “balance” and recharge the state’s water table.

“These challenges will not be easy,” Hobbs said. “Nor will the other issues we need to confront, including fixing prisons, improving accessibility for all Arizonans, lowering child care costs, supporting veterans, protecting older and vulnerable Arizonans, and so much more.”

Hobbs’ budget can be found at 






& 5 La Encantada Shopping Center 2905 E Skyline Dr, Tucson, AZ 85718
Oro Valley Marketplace 12155 N Oracle Rd, Oro Valley, AZ 85737 Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 10am-4pm Free Admission
Oro Valley Marketplace 12155 N Oracle Rd, Oro Valley, AZ 85737 Saturday 10am-3pm $5 Admission at the Door LIVE MUSIC | BBQ | 140+ CLASSIC CARS
HOBBS from Page 6

PONGRATZ from Page 4

For his project, he helped remodel the BASIS school theater.

“You have to choose a nonprofi t or choose an organization in your local area that you want to support, whether it’s a school, a church. You have to raise money, get supplies and ultimately do the project for that organization,” Pongratz said.

For the project, Pongratz, members of his scouting troop and his friends cleaned out the theater, painted the fl oors and walls and installed new shelving units. He wanted to give back to his school’s drama department because theater was big part of his life from sixth through 12th grades.

Before he started it, he had to endure an approval process, fundraise and fi nd volunteers.

He had to earn certain merit badges but had the chance to choose from others. The more than 135 merit badges are focused on a range of different topics, such as personal fi nancial and communication.

Pongratz did swim team in school, so one of his favorite badges was the swimming badge.

“We had to pick up heavy objects from the bottom of the pool, like weights. We had to pick up jugs of water. That was a lot of fun,” Pongratz said.

He also earned his law merit badge.

“We got to speak to a personal injury attorney, and then we also spoke to a Tucson Police Department investigator,” Pongratz said.

While a scout, he used and honed outdoor skills such as hiking, camping and cooking in the wilderness.

His experience also includes volunteering to revamp and redesign Catalina Council BSA’s website during the height of the pandemic.

He has worked with web design and social media previously. Pongratz learned both by watching YouTube.

“That’s what I did during COVID because I was so bored. I wanted to learn a new skill anyway. So, I picked up web design,” Pongratz said.

During his time in scouting, Pongratz guided and mentored other scouts, including his older sister.

LA ENCANTADA from Page 5

toric copper mining town. They also spent several years in Taxco, Mexico, a town known for its silver, and continue to work with the artisans there to source the finest silver for their jewelry.

Emily Mann creates metalwork sculptures with wired lighting. A Tucson native who traveled the world before returning to her home, the former teacher is now a full-time artist who said she is inspired by “the complex beauty of the Sonoran Desert … inspired by the countless color tones and textures, and the magic of rainstorms.”

She creates sculpture out of metal, glass and upcycled remnants. The metal is worked with intricate designs, tailored finishes and inlaid glass along with the solar-powered dancing lights. At her art shows, she always has Shadow Lights, which her website describes as ornate functional art with intricate patterns plasma-cut into all sides of a four-foot tall column that casts designs 6 feet around the sculpture.

In 2021, his sister, Annamaria, became one of the fi rst females to reach Eagle Scout status in Southern Arizona. A landscape architecture student at the UA, she was encouraged by Pongratz, her parents (Andrew and Andrea) and troop leaders during her 1 1/2-year journey.

“She did it all herself at the end of the day. She got the merit badges and got through it all,” Pongratz said.

They also have a younger brother, Adam, who is four years younger than Pongratz. He is also involved in scouting.

Their parents have always been supportive of their scouting. Their mom, who is from Hungary, became involved when Pongratz was in Cub Scouts.

A Boston native, their dad was a scout but didn’t advance to Eagle Scout.

“He really wants all three of his kids, my siblings and I, to get Eagle. He’s always been really involved. He’s been an adult leader. That’s been fun having my parents involved,” Pongratz said. 

Yvette-Marie Margaillan will return to the festival as a representative of Medera Ink Designs and Tucson Tea. She combines the art of woodwork with the art of tea to create art that is inspired by ancient rituals. The hand-crafted wooden accessories are designed to enhance tea rituals enjoyed with the Fair Trade sourced, locally blended tea.

Jessica Melrose founded Melrose Macrame in Tucson after returning to the art for the sake of her students. Melrose moved to Tucson in 2000 from New Jersey to study art education at the University of Arizona. For 15 years, she taught high school art, mostly focused on photorealistic drawing. However, she wanted to start exposing her students to more art forms and returned to macramé. As she taught it, it started to grow in her artistic work as venues around Tucson invited her in to conduct workshops and offer her DIY kits.

“The thing I love about macrame is it doesn’t necessarily represent anything in particular, but it brings the viewer to a place of tranquility and balance,”

Melrose wrote on her website. “With fine art, I may have created a drawing that people love or that they’re impressed by, but that doesn’t mean they can envision it in their space. Macrame has a place in beauty and function, abstract but organized, and creating it is the most cathartic experience once you get into a rhythm.”

Throughout the festival there will be demonstrations, music and other activities designed to engage festival attendees with live art in the gallery space. The Southern Arizona Artists Guild has a permanent gallery on-site at the courtyard level. During the festival weekend, it will host artists who will do various demonstrations and live art in the space. 

WHAT: La Encantada Fine Art Festival WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5

WHERE: La Encantada Shopping Center, 2905 E. Skyline Drive, Tucson COST: Free

Tucson Adult Chamber Players Spring Season Register by Feb 15th

Calling Amateur Musicians! 2023

Any string, wind, or piano player is welcome to join. Participants are matched based on level and receive eight (8) 90-minute coaching sessions from professional musicians. At the end, you get to show off what you’ve learned at a recital.

Learn more and register by February 15th at:

Adults of all levels and abilities are welcome to join!


Ireland’s We Banjo 3 prepares for hiatus

Arizona hasn’t been kind to the Galway, Ireland-based act We Banjo 3. Four of their shows were postponed in February 2022, and each time it’s been to the Grand Canyon State, it’s rained.

Vocalist David Howley is hoping for a better result — and some warm weather — when We Banjo 3 returns to the state: Wednesday, Feb. 1, at the Orpheum Theater in Flagstaff; Thursday, Feb. 2, at 191 Toole in Tucson; Friday, Feb. 3, at the Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts in Wickenburg; and Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Chandler Center for the Arts.

“These are very special shows for us,” he said.

“We have a lot of new music that’s creeping in from (the new record) ‘Open the Road.’ It’s more of an explanation and understanding as well of where the band is at. We’re probably going to ask the crowd to dance at some point. We love when people move. Movement in music is so important, particularly as we’ve had a break from it for a couple of years. We’re excited to be back.”

We Banjo 3 won’t be back for long,

however. The two sets of brothers — Enda (banjo, mandolin and tenor guitar) and Fergal Scahill (fiddle, guitar and Bodhran) and David (banjo, vocals, guitar) and Martin Howley (banjo, mandolin, tenor guitar) — are planning an extended break from their rolling banjos, soaring fiddle and mandolin runs

See WE BANJO 3 Page 11

‘Glass Menagerie’ reflects family dynamics

The co-founder of Soul of Broadway and United Colours of Arizona Theatre, Chanel Bragg, has 15 years of production under her belt.

She was a featured director at the Phoenix Theatre Company’s Festival of New American Theatre, where she helmed “Enferma” and “Click Bait” and produced and directed “The Alexander Project,” a touring “Hamilton” revue that visited Phoenix and Tucson.

Bragg recently directed an all-Black production of August Wilson’s “The Piano Lesson” for Pima Community College as her first show in Tucson. This month, she’s tackling Tennessee Williams’ iconic memory play, “The Glass Menagerie.”

The Arizona Theatre Company will stage the play in Tucson from Saturday, Jan. 21, to Saturday, Feb. 11, and in Phoe-

nix from Thursday, Feb. 16, to Sunday, March 5.

The show tells the story of the Wingfield family, who love each other but are trying to escape from their harsh conditions in their own ways.

In the play, Amanda Wingfield, an eccentric, faded Southern belle who was left by her husband, is preoccupied with trying to find a match for her daughter, Laura. Her daughter suffers from emotional and physical fragility due to pleurosis as a teen.

The two live in a rundown apartment with Tom, Amanda’s son and Laura’s older brother. He works at a shoe warehouse to support his family and writes by night. Tom acts as the narrator, showing the past through his eyes.

The show is set in 1937, when the country was just starting to emerge from the Great Depression. In the play, Tom reflects on events happening in the world.

Bragg said through Tom’s recollections, she wanted to show the mind’s unreliability. Bragg said that while the show is about this family, it is also a social commentary.

Throughout her career, Bragg has tried to be involved in projects with a larger message about society.

“It’s a form of my activism,” Bragg said. “I like to do shows that talk about things that are important and things that matter in the world. This story is so commonly felt by everyone, but this is really a story about a family that is struggling to make it.”

Bragg said the play is challenging because it is such as a personal look into Williams’ relationship with his sister, Rose.

“It’s a true love letter to her, but it’s also a moment for him to really deal and work through how he felt he should have been there more for her,” Bragg said.

“When you are paralleling it to the playwright’s actual life, alongside what is in the text, it’s a beautiful tribute, but it’s also very heartbreaking. I want to play the truth of the situation. These families exist. This kind of heartbreak exists.”

Bragg said, for her, the show is ultimately about love, which she wanted to show through smaller, intimate moments between the characters.

In one scene, Laura takes care of Tom, taking off his shoes and getting him tucked in when he comes in inebriated. Amanda and Tom have a complicated relationship because he has taken on a parental role in the family. While they quarrel, there are also tender mother-son moments. In one scene, the two stand together and look at the moon. Bragg can relate to Tom because she grew up with a single-parent mom and

We Banjo 3 plays four Arizona shows in early February. (Acacia Evans/Contributor)
See GLASS Page 12

3 from Page 10

that swirl around propulsive vocals and perfect harmonies.

“We all have a lot of projects that we’ve been working on,” he said.

“Since coming back after the pandemic, we have been on the road pretty much constantly. So, we’re going to do something mad and crazy that musicians never do — we’re going to take some time off.”

David has solo tours coming up. Martin plays mandolin in the Broadway show, “Come from Away,” while Fergal’s talents went viral during the pandemic when he played a tune every day on social media.

Enda has a “fantastic Patreon” where he has created a hub for learning Irish tenor banjo.

“We all have stuff happening,” he said. We Banjo 3 grew out of jam sessions among the four men. After Enda returned to Galway from a tour playing bluegrass and old-time festivals, he called David and Martin and asked them


to come over to his house to play music. In 2009, they started playing gigs, dubbing themselves We Banjo 3, as they all played the instrument. David added vocals and guitar, and Fergal joined later on fiddle.

After a performance at International Arts Festival, the biggest art festival in Europe, We Banjo 3 was awarded a grant from the Arts Council of Ireland, which the musicians used to record their first album and continued to tour Ireland.

Touring the world, they’ve showed off their musicianship, and recently they released “Open the Road,” a 10-track collection. Upbeat and powerful, We Banjo 3’s music is what the world needs, he said.

“Music is a very inclusive, communicative thing,” he said. “It brings people together. I think that that’s the beautiful thing about coming out to a show. You could come to our gig knowing every lyric of every song, and you could also come to our gig without ever hearing a single song. We build the gig around the idea that both of those people are


Reiterating that “Open the Road” is a statement record, David said the pandemic proved there was a lot more music within them that they weren’t exploring.

“The statement of that album is there are no rules,” he said. “There’s not even a destination really in the album. It’s very much just one large exploration of what comes out of your mind if you just let yourself have fun.”

He admitted it was hard to loosen up like that.

“I think that the natural thing to do, as a musician, is to say, ‘Well, everything has to be perfect — particularly with the pressure of having other albums gone before that have done pretty well,” David said.

“There’s always a pressure on a new album because the new album has to do better than the old album. But I think with this, we just said, ‘Let’s just make the album we want to make and enjoy it. Whatever it does, it does.’ The response has been beautiful though.” 

We Banjo 3

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1

WHERE: Orpheum Theater, 15 W. Aspen Avenue, Flagstaff COST: Tickets start at $30 INFO:

WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2

WHERE: 191 Toole, 191 E. Toole Avenue, Tucson COST: Tickets start at $28 INFO:

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3

WHERE: Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts, 1090 S. Vulture Mine Road Wickenburg

COST: Tickets start at $32 INFO:

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4

WHERE: Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Avenue, Chandler COST: Tickets start at $26 INFO:


had to take on some of the parental responsibilities in her household.

“When I was in high school, it was hard for me to shake that I wasn’t her equal because I helped to raise my brothers,” Bragg said.

In “The Glass Menagerie,” lighting and music differentiate between the characters and the time periods.

“The music is an embodiment of who they are,” Bragg said.

“Tom’s tends to be a little bit more moody and sad, whereas Amanda’s music when she’s thinking about the days back in the South, the music is more boisterous. … We have a theme for Laura as well. And, of course, the gentleman caller, who is the single embodiment of hope.”

In a dinner scene where Laura meets with potential suitor Jim, one of Tom’s work colleagues, both Laura’s and Amanda’s costumes fit with their personalities.

Amanda dons a cotillion-style Southern dress, and Laura wears a dress that is reflective of her fragility.

Throughout most of the show, the costumes highlight how the family is poor and living in poverty. One of Amanda’s costumes is a once-beautiful nightgown coat that has become faded.

A “Paradise” sign looming over the set also has great meaning within the show.

had an equal playing field, so I looked nationally and I looked locally. … I really focused during the audition process on who really understands these characters and who really embodies them,” Bragg said.

Bragg, who is a second-generation Arizonan, hopes to provide chances for local and out-of-state actors.

“Talent also lies here in abundance. The opportunity for our local actors to work on our stage is really special. We get to pair the best of our community with the best of national talent and put on beautiful work,” Bragg said.

Bragg is the first African American woman to take on the role of associate artistic director for the Arizona Theatre Company.

WHEN: Various times Thursday, Feb. 16, to Sunday, March 5 WHERE: Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe Street, Phoenix PRICE: Tickets start at $25 INFO: 1-833-282-7328, GLASS from Page 10

“I would say (Laura’s) is certainly more lyrical in that it has its highs and lows. She is such a gentle and fragile character. I want everybody to hear the music change when she is affected by different things. We are using music like an additional character in the show.”

“The sign will flicker, brighten up and cut out abruptly. It is used as a device any time we’re reflecting back to the theme that the characters are reaching for and wanting but never quite able to obtain,” Bragg said.

The production features a diverse cast of actors. Bragg chose the actors based on how well they fit the parts and their chemistry with each other.

“As simple as it is, I just hired the best. I wanted to make sure that our actors


actresses that there is room for you at the table, and you can get a chance to put your vision out there and see it actualized. The stories that you are trying to tell matter. That is a personal mission of mine. I’m so grateful for Arizona Theatre Company that they allowed me to fully be myself and share the things that are important to me with the community. Representation and inclusion are at the forefront for me.” 

Arizona Theatre Company’s Production of “The Glass Menagerie”

WHEN: Various times Saturday, Jan. 21, to Saturday, Feb. 11

For years, she has tried to bring more inclusivity and diversity into the theater world. She plans to continue this work with ATC.

“There’s not a lot of opportunities that come for people who look like me,” Bragg said.

“Me being there is historical occasion. I get to show young BIPOC actors and

WHERE: Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Street, Tucson PRICE: Tickets start at $25.


CFSD hosting teacher job fair

Catalina Foothills School District is hosting the CFSD Teacher Job Fair from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 11. Candidates are encouraged to visit to schedule an interview time and to bring resumes with their current contact information. The CFSD Teacher Job Fair is at the Professional Learning Center at Valley View Early Learning Center, 3435 Sunrise Drive.

Visit with principals and staff members from CFSD school sites, including Catalina Foothills High, Esperero Canyon Middle, Orange Grove Middle, Canyon View Elementary, Manzanita Elementary, Sunrise Drive Elementary and Ventana Vista Elementary schools, as well as Valley View Early Learning Center.

Learn about the benefits of joining Catalina Foothills School District. Administrators will be available to offer information about their compensation package and professional development opportunities. CFSD has the highest starting and average teacher salary in Southern Arizona, a comprehensive benefits package, an annual performance award for eligible teachers, a nationally recognized reputation of academic excellence, world-class professional development, and a commitment to igniting a lifelong love of learning, according to a statement. 

12 FOOTHILLS NEWS • JANUARY 25, 2023 Contact or call (520) 797-4384
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Southern Arizona flavors invite sampling at festival

At El Corral steakhouse on River Road, the food speaks for itself.

“It’s basically humble and simple; there’s no need to complicate things,” said Casey Wills, president of Argo Land and Cattle, which owns El Corral. “If we choose good ingredients, let’s just not stand in the way.”

Prime rib is the star of this historic restaurant’s show.

“It’s cooked low and slow,” Wills added. “The seasoning that we put on it is minimal: salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, that kind of thing. The goal of it is to let the beef be the star.”

He, along with kitchen lead Ray Figueroa, will hand out samples of their tender prime rib at SAVOR, Southern Arizona Food and Wine Festival, Saturday, Jan. 28, at Tucson Botanical Gardens.

Tickets for the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance event are $100, which allow samples of more than 70 restaurants’ offerings. The area’s best mixologists and bartenders

will serve sips from local breweries, wineries and distilleries.

Wills said guests can sample El Corral’s greatest hits at SAVOR, including prime rib, tamale pie and a small side salad with the house honey Italian dressing. It’s a shortened version of a visit to the restaurant.

Because SAVOR is a bit of a party, El Corral invites guests to quench their thirst with a prickly pear margarita.

“We’re trying to give people a little taste of what El Corral does, what it’s about and what it’s been doing since, basically, the late ’30s,” he said.

Borderland Spirits will serve a taste of the Wild West — bacanora, to be specific. It’s made from the agave plant.

“It’s a type of mescal,” said Michael Hurley, owner of the company. “It has its own designation of origin, so it’s a mescal with its own history and its own culture. Part of that culture comes from Tucson.”

Hurley represents two separate family producers, the Mazot and Batuq families. Their products will be available to be sampled.

Hurley said what he is interested in is the ethical import of these spirits, with no additives. What you see is what you get.

“Let’s compare it with tequila,” Hurley said. “Tequila is more of an industrial production, and there’s a lot of manipulation of tequila. There are lots of ingredients added. This is all small-scale, traditional, family (produced).”

Bacanora comes with an interesting history in Tucson, which can be traced back to at least the very early 1900s.

“It was probably second to whiskey, the primary drink in the bars so there was more bacanora per capita back at the turn of the last century than there is now,” Hurley said.

Due to greed, Hurley said he believes, importing it into the United States was outlawed from 1915 to 1992. That didn’t stop people here from having it, though.

“People had it — especially in the Latino community,” Hurley said. “It’s

been in every household, and a lot of the hipster communities have their Coke bottles of bacanora. It’s still used in the Latino community for quinceaneras and funerals and weddings and things like that. That’s often how the young people get introduced to it. It’s embedded in everyday life.”

Now, thanks to SAVOR, the public can be introduced to it, too.

SAACA Executive Director Kate Marquez said this is an opportunity

to see why Tucson was named a UNESCO City of Gastronomy. It shows the diversity of restaurants and libations found here.

“It’s all sampling wineries, breweries, restaurants, food makers like pastry chefs, and small businesses that make olive oil and tea, you name it,” she said.

SAVOR was last held in 2020, so participants are eager to show off their skills and products, especially as they’ve been teaching themselves to use heritage foods and foods products that are locally sourced.

“When (guests) support an event like this, they’re also supporting the culinary infrastructure here in Southern Arizona, which has just made so many strides toward international recognition,” Marquez said. 

SAVOR, Southern Arizona Food and Wine Festival

WHEN: Noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28

WHERE: Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way

COST: $100; proceeds benefit SAACA, Local Arizona Tucson and Tucson Botanical Gardens


Prime rib is one of El Corral’s most-requested cuts of meat. Get a sample of it at SAVOR, Southern Arizona Food and Wine Festival. (Argo Land and Cattle/Submitted) Michael Hurley is owner of Borderland Spirits, an import company that specializes in bringing a specialty mescal called bacanora to Tucson. He will have samples available to guests at SAVOR, Southern Arizona Food and Wine Festival. (Borderland Spirits/Submitted) One of El Corral steakhouse’s specialties is the prickly pear margarita. (Argo Land and Cattle/Submitted)

Local high schools: The region of doom SPORTS & RECREATION EXTRA POINT WITH TOM DANEHY

Consider the plight of the Canyon Del Oro girls basketball team. Back before the pandemic, the Dorados were regularly in the postseason state tournament. They sent teams to The Dance and sent individual players off to college. Then the bottom fell out and the program cratered. The Dorados won only three regular-season games and ended the season on a 10-game losing streak.

Over the summer, they hired a new coach, Chris Garcia, and he has the girls playing with passion and joy. However, if Garcia goes on to an illustrious, long-term, winning career as a coach, this will be forever a January to forget.

Every two years, the Arizona Interscholastic Association realigns all its nearly 300 schools. The schools are divided into classes, mostly based on enrollments, and then the classes are

subdivided into regions, mostly determined by geography. It sometimes appears that it’s a matter of Divisions by Dartboard, but for the most part, it works out OK — not great, but not often horrible.

The divisions are set for a two-year period, but the matchups from one sport to another can vary wildly. A school can have a really good girls volleyball team but a struggling boys soccer team. They can have a great rivalry with a nearby school in tennis but be completely overwhelmed when it comes to track and field.

That’s why, when it comes to baseball and softball, it’s great that Canyon Del Oro and Salpointe Catholic are in the 4A-Kino Region. They’re two of the best in the entire state in both sports (although it must be mentioned that Salpointe, with its baked-in competitive and recruiting advantages, doesn’t belong down in the 4A).

However, when it comes to girls basketball, it’s as though Edgar Allan Poe came out of the House of Usher to draw up the Kino Region. The Dorados have to face a murderers’ row of opponents. First is


Salpointe, which won the Class 4A state championship last year. Then there is Flowing Wells, which has been in the Class 5A state championship game the past two years before being dropped down to 4A this season. Rounding things out are Sahuaro and Pueblo, both of which have been in the 4A State championship game in the past few years. And CDO has to play all four of those teams — twice.

Top 10 in the state and looks likely to make a deep run at State.

In the most recent AIA Power Points rankings, Sahuaro, Pueblo, Salpointe and Flowing Wells are ranked second, fifth, sixth and 10th in the entire state, respectively. That’s just brutal! If the season were to end today, all four of the aforementioned CDO opponents would advance to the 4A State Tournament. Ironwood Ridge, which is just outside the Top 10 in Class 5A, seems a sure bet to make it to state. Marana’s girls are in the top class, 6A, and are likely to miss out on postseason play. Likewise for Amphi, which won the 4A Gila Region last year but lost three all-region seniors, including two who are now playing for Pima College. The Panthers are starting two freshmen and two sophomores and are sitting just outside the cutoff line for making it to State. Marana Mountain View is out of the running in Class 5A.

In Class 3A, Pusch Ridge is in the

In boys basketball, if the season were to end today, both Marana Mountain View and Ironwood Ridge would make the Class 5A State Tournament, but Marana would miss out in 6A. In Class 4A, Amphi is currently holding on to the final spot in the Top 24, but CDO and Flowing Wells would miss out, as would Pusch Ridge in Class 3A.

Soccer season is in full swing, with several big games to determine state participation being held in the next 10 days. Marana is just outside the state tournament cutoff at the moment but could climb into the Top 24 with a couple crucial wins. In Class 5A, Mountain View is in a good spot, but Ironwood Ridge is not.

The Amphi Panthers started out the season 0-2-1 but then put together a four-game winning streak straddling the winter break to climb back into contention for a spot at state. The Flowing Wells boys would also make it to state if the season ended this week, but CDO’s boys would not. The Pusch Ridge boys are currently in the Top 10 in 3A.

On the girls’ side, Marana is sitting in a good spot in the Class 6A rankings and has a good shot at reaching state. Mountain View is in a good spot in 5A, as are Flowing Wells and CDO in 4A. Ironwood Ridge in 5A and Amphi in 4A are struggling. Pusch Ridge is just outside the Top 10 in 3A. 

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Athlete of the Week: Asiel Colon-Torres

Marana High’s senior point guard Asiel Colon-Torres’ favorite NBA player is not who you might guess.

It’s odd that a point guard would have as his favorite Kevin Durant. To be sure, Durant is an all-time great scorer, but the next time he passes the ball will be the first time he passes the ball.

“Kevin Durant has been my favorite player since I was around 6 years old. I didn’t know that I was going to stop growing at 5-foot-9. I’ll bet he could pass if he wanted to.”

To even make the team at Marana is an ordeal. On an average year, coach Sean Roebuck gets over 100 kids out for tryouts. The tryouts themselves are crazy competitive, but that’s understandable with Marana High’s enrollment now so large that the Tigers have been moved up to the top level of 6A. There’s not much difference between the 5A and 6A when it comes to competition. The only significant difference is that most 6A schools are in the Phoenix area.

There is one other matter. “Since we got moved up to 6A, we only get to play (Marana) Mountain View once per season. We’ve always enjoyed playing them. They’re our main rivals, and they’re my favorite team to play against. I know a couple of their guys, and we would play at LA Fitness. You always want to beat Mountain View.”

There is if not bad blood then certainly heightened intensity when these two teams get together. Their two coaches — Marana’s Roebuck and Mountain View’s Corey Duck — are both former Tigers and they go back decades. During the pandemic, there was some unpleasantness over some last-minute negative COVID-19 tests that allowed certain players to play that night.

“I remember that night,” Colon-Torres said. “I got called up from JV that

Asiel Colon-Torres hopes to study sports medicine or civil engineering. (Asiel Colon-Torres/Submitted)

night, just in case we needed players. We played it in the small gym, and the crowd was pretty intense.”

The two teams will play each other at Marana on Friday, Feb. 3, at Marana.

Just like any senior playing the sport they love, Colon-Torres is looking down the road. In the short run is the end of his senior season, roaring his way at incredible speed. The Tigers are having an uncharacteristically tough year and are unlikely to qualify for postseason play.

“I would really like to play in college,” he said. “I know it’s a long shot with my height and all, but I can play the game. There are lots and lots of colleges that are out there. I just need to try to find the right fit.”

If he can’t find a place to play, he will attend the UA and study either sports medicine or civil engineering. His favorite class is AP calculus. (I taught him some crazy-tough math tricks over the phone and he picked them up in no time!)

But the one number he’s looking for is that one win over Mountain View at the end of his prep career. 


Edited by Will Shortz No. 1108


ARIES (March 21 to April 19) Shutting people out to avoid distractions, even under a deadline, can cause hurt feelings. Instead, return calls and emails, and explain why you need a zone of privacy for now.

TAURUS (April 20 to May 20) Although your keen Bull’s eyes usually can discern what’s fact from what’s faux, that upcoming decision will need really solid data before you can risk a commitment.

GEMINI (May 21 to June 20) As your confidence grows, you should be able to work toward your goals with more enthusiasm. Open your mind to suggestions. Some of them might even work for you.

CANCER (June 21 to July 22) Reconnecting with someone from your past stirs up that old sense of adventure. But before you do anything else, be sure to get answers to any lingering questions.

LEO (July 23 to August 22) Some people might resent the way you plan to resolve a di cult situation. But your commitment to making tough but fair decisions soon wins you their respect and support.

SAGITTARIUS (November 22 to December 21) Although your intuition will help you make some tough choices in the first half of the month, you’ll need more facts to back up your actions later on.

CAPRICORN (December 22 to January 19) All that hard work and research in the workplace finally pays o as you hoped it would. Ignore comments from jealous types who are out to get the Goat riled up.

‚“Are you sure about that?‚”

Home to more than 20% of Nevadans, informally


City famous for its French Quarter, familiarly

Wear away

18 A rmative at sea

20 Buzz up, perhaps

21 ___‚’easter

22 Dish of stu ed grape leaves

23 Prepared for serving, as a fancy dish

24 12 parts of a dodecagon

26 Hit BBC series of 1976

28 Arab League country

30 Name that‚’s found in ‚ “mesmerize‚”

31 Person who lives next to 28-Across

33 12 parts of a dodecagon

36 One supplying strong emotional support, metaphorically

40 Tax org.

41 Award-winning Chinese artist/activist

44 Eggs on a sushi roll

45 ‚“Busy‚” ones

47 Watch brand that‚’s the end-all?

48 ___-o

50 ‚“The Wizard of Oz‚” pooch

52 New Haven collegian

54 Bart catchphrase on ‚“The Simpsons‚”

59 What Jordan Peele‚’s ‚“Get Out‚” and ‚“Us‚” evoke

62 Comes to realize

63 First noble gas, alphabetically

65 Japanese for ‚“yes‚”

66 ___ Haute, Ind.

67 Enlightening experiences ... or what 18-, 26-, 41- and 54-Across have, phonetically speaking

69 Big kitchen brand

70 ___ Hendryx, ‚“Lady Marmalade‚” singer

71 DreamWorks ogre

72 Underhanded

73 Kind of citizenship

74 Uses a coaster Down

1 Big kitchen brand

2 Lustrous semisynthetic fabric

3 Activity tracked by the Nest or mySunPower app

4 Part of an Insta feed

5 Milieu with tenure tracks

6 Like many flights to JFK and LAX: Abbr.

7 ‚“Same here‚”

8 ___ crest (place for a backpacker‚’s hip belt)

9 Shade akin to camel

Travolta in 2018 13 ‚“I bid you ___‚” 14 Dispatches

19 Prepare to be painted, say 23 Out of fashion 25 Spearheaded 27 Wiggle room

29 One attending a parenting class, maybe 31 Bro or sis

32 ‚“___ we having fun yet?‚”

34 Barely passing grade

35 Band‚’s engagement

37 Sign at a takeout counter

38 Fish oil source

39 It jingles on a janitor‚’s ring

42 Tiny specks

43 Do-nothing state

46 Was given first billing

49 Lungful

51 Bad-tempered and combative

53 Perched upon

54 Cher and Sade, vocally

55 ‚“Come on, seriously?!‚”

56 Magna ___

57 Louisiana waterway

58 Locale for gladiators

60 Propelled a galley

61 They‚’re balanced against possible rewards

64 Figure in fund-raising

67 Break o

68 Hart Memorial Trophy awarder, in brief

VIRGO (August 23 to September 22) Mixed signals could be causing that vexing workplace problem. Before you choose to leave the project, ask for a meeting so that you can get things out in the open.

LIBRA (September 23 to October 22) Your good intentions could backfire if you’re not careful with other people’s feelings. Try using persuasion, not pressure, to get others to see your side of the situation.

SCORPIO (October 23 to November 21) Your dedication to finishing the task at hand is laudable. But be careful not to overdo the midnight oil bit. Take time for relaxation with someone very special.

AQUARIUS (January 20 to February 18) An unfair decision creates unnecessary problems. But avoid anger and move carefully as you work this out. Expect to get support from an unlikely source.

PISCES (February 19 to March 20) A fuzzy financial vista persists until the end of the month, when things begin to clear up. You’ll also gain a better perspective on how to handle pesky personal problems.

BORN THIS WEEK: You have a wonderful way of being there for those who need your help in di cult times.

Synd., Inc. Crossword Puzzle Answers
2023 King Features
Out” evoke realize gas, Ind. have, brand ter brand tracked or app ta flights X: (place backpacker’s 9 Shade akin to camel 10 Fine writing paper 11 Kindle or Nook 12 Mob figure por trayed by Travolta in 2018 13 “I bid you ___” 14 Dispatches 19 Prepare to be painted, say 23 Out of fashion 25 Spearheaded 27 Wiggle room 29 One attending a parenting class, maybe 31 Bro or sis 32 “___ we having fun yet?” 34 Barely passing grade 35 Band’s engagement 37 Sign at a takeout counter 38 Fish oil source 39 It jingles on a janitor’s ring 42 Tiny specks 43 Do -nothing state 46 Was given first billing 49 Lung ful 51 Bad-tempered and combative 53 Perched upon 54 Cher and Sade, vocally 55 “Come on, seriously?!” 56 Magna 57 Louisiana water way 58 Locale for gladiators 60 Propelled a galley 61 They’re balanced against possible rewards 64 Figure in fundraising 67 Break off 68 Hart Memorial Trophy awarder, in brief PUZZLE BY ENRIQUE HENESTROZA ANGUIANO
12345 6789 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 Across 1 Colombian
cake 6
Fine writing paper
Kindle or Nook
Mob figure portrayed by
17 FOOTHILLS NEWS • JANUARY 25, 2023 Worship Guide 520.797.4384 No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here! 520.297.1181 | | 6801 N. Oracle Road Join Us In-Person and Online Sundays at 9:30am In-person Taizé, 2nd Thursdays, 6:30pm Casas Adobes Congregational, UCC Open and Affirming RESURRECTION LUTHERAN CHURCH 11575 N. 1st Ave. • Oro Valley, AZ 85737 (520) 575-9901 Welcome to Resurrection Lutheran! Come join us every Saturday evening or on Sunday for worship! 5:00 pm Saturday evening Worship 7:45 am and 9:15 am Traditional Worship and our 10:45 am Contemporary Worship! Oro Valley Location SaddleBrooke 9:00 am Worship HOA1 Clubhouse Vermilion Room SaddleBrooke Location Online worship available anytime to fit your schedule. VISTA DE LA MONTAÑA UNITED METHODIST CHURCH Please join us for In-Person and Live Streamed Worship Service @10:00am, Sunday | or watch anytime using the previous brodcast button! Please visit our website and/ or VistaUMC on Facebook for viewing and daily updates on our Sunday services. (520) 825-1985 BEAUTIFUL SAVIOR LUTHERAN CHURCH Sunday 8am & 10am Wednesday Taize 6pm Office Hours Mon-Thurs 9am - 3pm Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church Pastor David Pavesic 7570 N Thornydale Rd • (520) 744-2665 LUTHERAN UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST Cowboy Church Christian Cowboy Ministries Feb. 5th. Benson Az. @10am Feb. 12th. Coolidge Az. @ 8am Feb. 19th Tucson Rodeo @10am Feb. 26th. Tucson Rodeo @10am Mar. 19th. Benson Az. @10am Upcoming dates for 2023 For more info, Contact: Mark (520) 991-8511 COWBOY CHURCH 1401 East El Conquistador Way (Off Oracle Rd., past Hilton Resort to top of hill) In person and live streaming Service Every Sunday 10 am 520-742-7333 ORO VALLEY UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST Enjoy our GORGEOUS mountain view location! UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST LUTHERAN METHODIST Get the word out! Call 520-797-4384 Reserve Ad space in your local Worship Directory
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High-energy fun that embraces the culture and artistry of Japanese drumming.



Ticket includes pre-show reception, post show Q & A, and a special gift!








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