A grand opening ceremony was held Wednesday morning for the new city of Phoenix Helen Drake Senior Center, 7600 N. 27th Ave. The 12,766-square-foot facility offers a daily nutritious meal, a variety of health and educational programs, and special events.

The center is named in honor of Helen Drake, who worked for the city of Phoenix from 1965 to 1986. She was a pioneer and visionary for aging services and in 1968 began studying the nutritional needs of minority and low-income elderly. In 1973, as the first administrator of the city's Aging Services area, she secured funding and created the Senior Companion Program to assist homebound seniors.

Funding for the new senior center was secured through the 2006 Bond Program.

• Briefs compiled from staff and wire reports

Gun barrels from USS Arizona and USS Missouri legislation passed

In a demonstration of bipartisan support from Arizona's Legislature, Senate Bill 1126 was passed last week by the Committee on Veterans, Military and Government Affairs with a 6-0 vote. The legislation authorizes the placement of gun barrels from the U.S.S. Arizona and U.S.S. Missouri in Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza near the U.S.S. Arizona's anchor and mast as a dedicated memorial for the war. The Plaza is home to numerous memorials but does not include a complete memorial for the fallen soldiers from World War II.

As a tribute to the fallen soldiers of WWII, Secretary of State Ken Bennett and the Salute the Fallen Committee have spearheaded an effort to bring a 14-inch gun barrel from the Arizona and a 16-inch barrel from the Missouri to Phoenix for permanent display in front of the State Capitol. It's their hope that adding two visible bookends from the war will encourage people to reflect and admire the strength and courage it takes to defend a nation.

For more information on the project or to make a contribution, visit www.GunsToSaluteTheFallen.com.

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