Compiled by Dana Boyd
Heritage and Harvest Festival
Nov. 29-Dec. 1
Old Tucson will offer a chance to go back in time during its Heritage and Harvest Festival Nov. 29-Dec. 1 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. each day.
The festival will showcase living history, traditional music and dancing, farming demonstrations and authentic food. Santa will make a special appearance, arriving by stagecoach to kick off a Christmas show.
Old Tucson Studios is located at 201 S. Kinney Road. Admission costs $16. 95 for adults and $10.95 for children ages 4-11, with discounts for Arizona residents.
Tucson Botanical Gardens will light the desert sky with luminaries and twinkling lights during its 27th annual Luminaria Nights Dec. 6-8 from 5:30-8 p.m. each day.
Thousands of visitors turn out to enjoy live performances, holiday decor and a visit with Santa. Complimentary cookies and cider is available, and popular Tucson food trucks will be on hand for purchases.
The Botanical Gardens are located at 2150 N. Alvernon Way.
Admission to Luminaria Nights costs $11 for adults and $5 for children. Parking is available at Emmanuel Baptist Church, with a free shuttle to the Gardens.
Reid Park Zoo will sparkle with holiday displays and falling snow during its annual Zoo Lights Dec. 6-23 from 6-8 p.m. each day.
Zoo animals won’t be on display, but school and community groups will perform. Visitors can enjoy free cookies and buy hot chocolate for $1.
Reid Park Zoo is located inside the park, off South Randolph Way just south of East Broadway Boulevard. Zoo Lights admission costs $6 for adults and $4 for children.
Pima Community College students and employees can attend a private Zoo Lights preview on Monday, Dec. 9, from 6-8 p.m. Admission is $5 per person, with children 5 and younger admitted free.
Admission includes free holiday entertainment, hot cocoa, coffee and homemade treats. Participants may have their photo taken with Santa Claus.
People planning to attend are asked to RSVP before Nov. 29 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 206-4888.
Tamal & Heritage Festival
Casino Del Sol will host the 9th annual Tamal and Heritage Festival on Dec. 7 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
The free festival offers activities for children and adults, including cultural dances, live music, food demonstrations and more than 50 food vendors.
Events will take place in the casino’s AVA Amphitheater, 7406 S. Camino De Oeste.
Celebration of Basketry and Native Foods Festival
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum will commemorate native traditions of basket weaving and food preparation during a two-day festival Dec. 7-8 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. each day.
Hundreds of native weavers and food producers will demonstrate their crafts. The festival will also feature traditional singing and dancing, and a film showcase.
The Desert Museum, located at 2021 N. Kinney Road, charges $19.50 for general adult admission. The festival is free with museum admission.
By DAVID J. DEL GRANDE
Pima Community College is taking corrective action after receiving a Notice of Deficiencies statement from the Arizona State Board of Nursing.
On July 30, the ASBN gave the college one year to either make significant progress towards, or completely correct, the deficiencies highlighted in the notice.
The state board issued the formal action after receiving an anonymous complaint and completing an investigation. The complaint said Pima undermined the authority of Marty Mayhew, the dean of Pima’s nursing program.
The notice says any interference compromises nursing education, places patient safety at risk and undermines the authority of the nursing program administrator.
If the college fails to address the ASBN concerns, the board could restrict nursing student admissions at Pima or remove state approval of the PCC nursing program.
PCC Chancellor Lee Lambert outlined a plan of corrections and met with ASBN in September.
Pima’s nursing program must follow strict guidelines set by the Arizona Nurse Practice Act.
“There are rules and regulations that in order to have a nursing program, the college has to abide by,” Mayhew said. “Things that are not necessarily in my control.”
Katy Challenger, Pima’s nursing program department chair, stressed the state action did not criticize the nursing program itself.
“It wasn’t something the nursing department did that they felt was inappropriate,” she said.
According to the notice of deficiencies, the violations began in December 2012.
The ASBN findings say, “On or about May 13, 2013, Ana Jimenez, President of Pima Community College Education Association (PCCEA), a representative faculty group, attempted to reverse a decision regarding clinical assignment of faculty made by the nursing program administrator (Mayhew) based solely on the report of the involved faculty.”
West Campus President Louis Albert said he reversed Mayhew’s decision to place a faculty member in a specialty-nursing course. Albert said he took the action due to pressure placed on him by PCCEA.
“I probably should not have leaned so hard, but I did,” Albert said. “It’s the one decision I regret.”
Jimenez denied the state allegations.
“Please know that PCCEA did not interfere with the administration of the nursing program,” she said in a written response. “In every case, PCCEA’s only role is to ensure uniform enforcement of policies that govern all Pima Community College faculty members.”
Jimenez said PCCEA was unaware of the sanctions placed on the nursing program and was not provided any opportunity to address the reported violations.
The ASBN notice also accused PCCEA of other violations, including:
- Not supporting an increase in salary for nursing faculty.
- Not supporting drug screening policies for faculty, despite the fact they relate to patient safety.
- Admonishing Mayhew for instituting a ‘dress code’ for faculty when there was no evidence that a dress code had been implemented.
- Requesting an opportunity to talk with faculty to seek out other areas of dissatisfaction.
Based on Arizona law, all nursing programs must provide an organizational chart that identifies the relationship, lines of authority and channels of communication within the program, and between the program and the parent institution.
Lambert wrote in his response, “The college recognizes that during the events described in the AZBN findings,
PCCEA was allowed to interfere with the administration of the nursing program contrary to the applicable AZBN standards.”
His letter was addressed to Pamela Randolph, ASBN associate director of education and evidence based regulation.
At a PCCEA informational meeting held Nov. 22, Jimenez said she was tired of the secrecy but was unable to fully disclose any information due to the ongoing investigation.
“When I read the complaints, I was pretty taken aback, and I don’t feel like the nursing board’s investigation was thorough,” Jimenez said. “I didn’t feel like I had an opportunity to provide a perspective.”
Albert said he expected that Pima would be contacted in August after ASBN completed its investigation.
“It didn’t surprise us, because we had all been asked questions about it by the state board,” he said. “We knew there was going to be a report coming later in the summer.”
Nursing students interviewed by Aztec Press were mostly unaware of the implications of the notice of deficiencies or were not overly concerned with administrative issues.
Instructors have kept their students on task as Pima nursing certification test scores rose to 92.49 percent, which is greater than the Arizona state average of 89.49 percent.
Albert said it was ultimately his choice to either disclose the notice of deficiencies and potentially negatively impact nursing students, or internally reform Pima’s policy shortcomings. His intention was to meet the requirements of ASBN and not add unwarranted concern to the student body.
“It was the students I had in mind,” Albert said.
By A. GREENE
The approximately 490-square-foot space that serves as the Veteran’s Center at Pima Community College’s Downtown Campus will be a thing of the past, come January 2014.
Relocation is underway to a new 1,500-square-foot room in the historic Roosevelt Building.
Student vets have been in need of a new space for some time, according to Scott Plotts, Student Veteran’s of America Club president.
Plotts said finding the room and approving it for a new veteran’s center turned out to be a breeze.
“We had a meeting with the stand-in president, Charlotte Fugett, and we discussed an area that was being underutilized,” Plotts said.
The proposed space was being used for storage. Plotts said when they pitched the idea to Chancellor Lee Lambert, the chancellor said yes “right off the bat.”
From there, Plotts said, the student vets gathered a team, came up with a rough floor plan and were given a budget of $35,000.
Plotts said the budget should be more than enough, because the amount of renovation needed is minimal.
With more than triple the current space, Plotts said the new center will help in many ways.
“For one, it’s going to increase the number of veterans we can serve on a daily basis,” he said.
The size of the current center is a known deterrent for many student vets. The new center will also be more open, and will have more computers and workstations for students.
Plotts is also excited to see the new dedicated quiet room, which vets use to decompress when they’re not in a good place emotionally or mentally. The current quiet room is too multipurpose, he said.
The new Downtown Campus Veteran’s Center is expected to be finished before the Spring 2014 semester starts.
Gary Parker, a recently hired veteran certifying official and a student vet, works with vets to make sure they are on track to receive their GI bill benefits. He is one of what will eventually be a team of four certifying officials.
Student vets must be certified through the VA to get money for school. Pima is adding the certifying officials as another effort toward improving veteran’s affairs.
There are currently 1,770 active student veterans at Pima, Parker said, noting “That’s a 300-plus increase from the last couple years.”
Parker cited predictions that about one million soldiers will leave the military, partly due to troops leaving Afghanistan. More vets at home means more vets in school.
He plans to have enough certifying officials trained by summer that he can send them to other campuses to help new and returning student vets get their money squared away.
To help make the process easier, college officials also took another look at the application process.
“We’re cutting down our paperwork intake by 50 to 75 percent,” Parker said. There are now two forms necessary when applying for benefits.
Other improvements are still in the works.
After the new center is up and running, Plotts hopes to get started on expanding to other campuses. In the meantime, he’s focusing on the new vet center and how it will help veteran students transition.
“Veterans are fairly boisterous at times,” Plotts said. “What’s nice about the new space is that it’s kind of a cross between the college environment and the veteran environment. It’s a great transition, it’s not just flipping a switch.”
Parker agreed, and encouraged students who are apprehensive to come to the Veteran’s Center.
“Vets don’t like help, generally. That’s my impression,” Parker said. “We think we can do things on our own.”
The transition to college can be difficult, he added.
“You ain’t in war, you ain’t in your unit, you’re in this huge environment. You get lost,” he said. “A lot of times, when people get out of the military some just don’t want to have anything else to do with it. But the reality of it is, you’re always gonna have that connection.”