Saturday, October 25, 2008

Renee Louzon-Benn

By Renee Louzon-Benn

Casa Grande, AZ – The Oasis Project, a community outreach, health and resource fair, held Saturday, October 18, at Peart Park in Casa Grande experienced a great turnout. The Oasis Project was organized to address issues that are paramount to the low income and homeless of the city. The fair provided blood pressure screening, oral health education, diabetes education, alcohol and drug awareness and counseling, resources for application assistance for enrollment in AHCCCS and KidsCare, and other discounted health and dental services. A "goodwill" table was set up for attendees to select new shoes, and gently used clothing items. Each family received a gift bag filled with hygiene items, and books for the children.

Throughout the event, entertainment was provided, including puppet shows, gospel and Christian rock. Through generous donations from Cottonwood Medical Center, Food City, Target, Walgreens and Wal*Mart, the Oasis Project was able to offer freshly prepared boxed lunches to all attendees and exhibitors.

"We estimate attendance between 125 and 200 individuals, and served over 200 meals," states Pastor Smith, Oasis Project's organizer. "Together we helped direct the homeless and low income individuals in our city to the resources that are essential to good health and independence."

Participating agencies included: Against Abuse, Cenpatico Behavioral Health, Casa Grande Alliance, Casa Grande Fire Department, Exodus Program, Home of Hope – Teen Challenge, More than Conquerors Ministries, Pinal County Health Department – Smoking Cessation Program, St. Michael & All Angels Catholic Church, Success by 6, Sun Life Family Health Center, United Way of Pinal County and University Family Care.

Oasis Project will be organized again for Spring 2009. To learn more about Oasis Project, to volunteer or sponsor, please contact Pastor Wayne Smith, Associate Pastor, More Than Conquerors Ministries, 371-9704.

Photo 002 – Pastor Wayne Smith, Oasis Project Founder with Reyna Villegas, Sun Life Family Health Center

Photo 001 – Misty George, Sun Life's Family Nurse Practitioner, with an attendee who just had their blood pressure screened.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Governor Napolitano tours Sun Life

By Renee Louzon-Benn


Casa Grande, AZ – On Wednesday, October 8, 2007, the Sun Life Family Health Center was honored by a visit from Governor Janet Napolitano.  The Governor, along with Senator Rebecca Rios, Representative Barbara McGuire, Health Director January Contreras, and Casa Grande Mayor Bob Jackson, enjoyed a tour of Sun Life's Casa Grande facility. The tour was followed by an informal health issues roundtable focusing on 'Kids as a Basis For Developing a Healthy Community.

Joining Sun Life and the Governor's group in the roundtable discussion were Tom Schryer, the Director of the, Pinal Division of Public Health; Aimée Kempton-Sarosi, Pinal Regional Coordinator; Barbara Mezzio, Pinal Regional Coalition Chair, First Things First; Russell Smith, Project Manager, Empowerment Systems; and Terry Stevens of Cenpatico Behavioral Health. The Governor lead discussion on four key topics: Immunization, Access to Care (AHCCCS/KidsCare), Oral Health, and Community Collaboration.

"It is always a pleasure to visit this part of Pinal County," said Governor Napolitano. "I'm impressed by the good work and good thinking that is occurring at the Sun Life Center."


Sun Life Family Health Center is a not-for-profit organization providing health care to Casa Grande, Eloy, Coolidge, Maricopa, Mammoth, Oracle and San Manuel. The Casa Grande facility is the flagship of the organization, offering multi-specialty services including Family Practice, OB/GYN, Dental, Radiology, Pharmacy and Laboratory. The San Manuel facility also offers Laboratory, Radiology and Pharmacy services. Behavioral Health services are also available at the Casa Grande and San Manual facilities. Sun Life is one of two community health centers in the state that are accredited by the Joint Commission.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Early Voting Sites Open to Pinal County Voters

By Joe Pyritz

FLORENCE- Voters who want to avoid the lines at the polls on November 4th's General Election can place their ballot at numerous locations throughout Pinal County.

     "We have our main office in Florence open for early voting as well as our satellite offices in Apache Junction and Casa Grande," said County Recorder Laura Dean-Lytle.  "These three sites are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, through the end of October."

     In addition to the three County Recorder offices, there will be regional early voting sites in various areas of the county, Dean-Lytle added.

     "We are working hard to make voting a little easier for those who want to place their ballot before the general election."

     If you were mailed an early ballot, please don't forget to vote it, sign it and send it back in to Pinal County.


Monday-Friday Early Voting Locations (8:00 am until 5:00)

  • Florence; Recorder's Office (Building E) County Complex
  • Apache Junction; Recorder's Satellite Office; 575 N. Idaho Road, Suite 110
  • Casa Grande; Recorder's Satellite Office; 820 E. Cottonwood Lane


Regional Early Voting Locations

  • Maricopa; 19955 N. Wilson Avenue (JP Court); Thursday, October 16 and 23
  • San Tan; 968 W. Hunt Highway (Next to Johnson Utilities); Tuesday, October 14, 21 and 25
  • Saddlebrooke; 63701 E. Saddlebrooke Boulevard, Suite C; Wednesday, October 15 and 22
  • Kearny; 355 Alden Road; Saturday, October 18
  • Arizona City; 13970 S. Sunland Gin Road; Saturday, October 18
  • Gila River Indian Community; Site to be Determined; Friday, October 17 and 24


     If you have any questions please call the Pinal County Citizen's Contact Center at (520) 509-3555 or 888-431-1311.

Monday, October 13, 2008

CGRMC Foundation Hosts “Lunch and Learn”

Casa Grande, Arizona - The Casa Grande Regional Medical Center Foundation (CGRMC), with sponsorship by SRP, invites the public to attend their first "Lunch and Learn" of the season.  It will be held on Monday, October 27, 2008, from 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Education Center at Casa Grande Regional Medical Center. 

After a complimentary lunch, Dr. Bhatnagar will address the audience with his presentation of "What's New in Prostate Cancer".  Dr. Bhatnagar is a specialist in radiation oncology at Cancer Treatment Services Arizona in Casa Grande.

Reservations are required for this event.  Please call the Foundation reservation line at 381-6300, ext. 5840, with your name, number of people attending and a phone number.  Space is limited to the first 70 reservations.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Governor Janet Napolitano to Visit Sun life family health center

WHO:             Governor Janet Napolitano

Senator Rebecca Rios (D-Arizona)

Representative Barbara McGuire (D-Arizona)

Travis J. Robinette, Chief Executive Officer, Sun Life Family Health Center, Casa Grande

WHAT:           Facility tour, followed by an informal health issues discussion "Kids as a basis for developing a healthy community."

WHEN:           Wednesday, October 8, 2008

                        3:15 PM – 4:00 PM

WHERE:        Sun Life Family Health Center

                        865 North Arizola Road

                        Casa Grande

WHY:              Health Centers are treating more low-income, chronically ill and uninsured patients now more than at any time in their 43 year history. According to a study conducted by George Washington University Medical Centers, community health centers (CHCs) provide significantly more preventive care to Medicaid beneficiaries and the uninsured than do other primary care facilities, which researchers said has saved the publicly funded health centers billions of dollars yearly. Sun Life Family Health Center provides medical and dental services, and health screenings to Pinal County's underserved population and is the only primary care provider in the county to offer a sliding scale discount for services provided to low-income residents.  Additional information about Sun Life Family Health Center is available at

Thursday, October 2, 2008


It's the time of year when I know I can leave some windows open to catch those delightful (low) nighttime breezes and my steering wheel won't leave burn marks on the palms of my hands when I first start the car.  Up north the leaves are starting to turn colors – as are the license plates on our streets and roads: it must be FALL!


Although the current stress in our national economy, financial institutions, and housing market has us all worried about investments, employment, and retirement – there are some very worthwhile (and fun!) events taking place this month.  In fact, if you sit at home on any given weekend in October, then you're just not paying attention to a very full calendar of community activities. 


For example, if you'd like to partake of some good, filling breakfasts while donating to a very worthy cause (helping the dependents of our deployed soldiers), VFW Post 1677 has the answer.  Their regular Saturday morning breakfasts – featuring eggs, breakfast meats, pancakes, and beverages for $5 a person – get underway on October 4th at the VFW Hall located at 111 E. Second Street (across from the downtown Food City store) in Casa Grande.  They are also selling snow cones on the following Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Safeway Store at Trekell Road and Cottonwood Lane in Casa Grande.  Proceeds from the snow cone sale will go to aid dependents of deployed soldiers as well as cancer research.


Before I leave the subject of our veterans and the debt we owe them for their service to our country, I'd be remiss if I didn't sneak in a heads' up for your calendar in November.  On Saturday, November 8th, Casa Grande will see an improved and expanded Veterans Day Parade: the route's been moved from Cottonwood Lane to the downtown area and a number of new floats and other entries have been added.  It's slated to get underway at 9:30 that morning – stay tuned for more information as we get closer to the parade date. 


And, as it does every year, Pinal County will also host a Veterans Day event in Florence on Wednesday, November 12th at 2 p.m.  Regardless of where you observe this holiday, please join me in thanking all veterans – regardless of dates of service – for all that they have done, are doing, and will do to protect our country.  It's their willingness to go in harm's way that keeps us our great nation free from tyranny's grip.


Moving away from the calendar and back to some current events, I'd like to briefly visit the topic of our process to review and revise the County's Comprehensive Land Use Plan.  As many of you know from many of these columns and other media outlets, a draft of the newly revised Plan was released for comment and review some months ago.  State law provides for a minimum 60 day public review and comment period and that "deadline" arrived in mid-September. 


But the County Board of Supervisors is committed to the concept of having the best possible plan to put into place so that it can guide the County's land use decisions during the coming decade and therefore, we will be reissuing a second draft of a proposed Plan in mid-October and establishing a second 60 day review and comment period.  I think the new version will be much stronger for the voluminous input from citizens and stakeholder groups – but we'll see at the end of November.  Please plan on checking out the new document at


Back to the calendar before I close out this month's column: on October 11th, the dedicated volunteers of the Eden Equine Rescue Center in the Maricopa-Stanfield area are holding their Fall Follies Horse Show.  Proceeds from this fun event (fun to watch and fun to participate) will go to provide shelter and relief for distressed or abandoned horses in the western part of our county.  For more information, go to or call 520.568.9315. 


My last word(s) for the month are focused on The Big Election on November 4th.  Regardless of who is elected President of these United States – or to any other office at the local, state, or Congressional level – this election cycle will go down in the record books as an historical event.  I'd like to think that part of that historic record will include the fact that voter turn out and participation at all levels was at an all time high as well.  As I said earlier in this column, our country's veterans have put their families and lives in jeopardy throughout the centuries so that we can participate in this grand exercise of democracy.  I hope to see you at the polls.


David Snider, Supervisor

Pinal County District 3