The Explorer: The Voice of Marana, Oro Valley and Northwest Tucson

  • OVPD suspect who broke into more than 50 vehicles never used forced entry

    A suspect linked to the break-in of more than 50 vehicles in the Town of Oro Valley is considered to be in hiding, according to Oro Valley Police Department Public Information Officer Lt. Kara Riley.The 26-year-old Tucson resident Torey Reinhardt is wanted for numerous counts of trafficking in stolen property, as well as third-degree burglary.A recent press release states the break-ins begun around Aug. 15.“As far as we can tell, he was going through residences in different Oro Valley communities and finding unlocked vehicles, and stealing items – wallets, iPhones, iPods – things he could pawn or sell on the street,” said Riley.None of the 50-plus break-ins saw forced entry.A forensics unit was sent to more than one of the crime scenes to process evidence, and at least one of those examinations led police to Reinhardt, Riley said.

  • Now is the time to spray for buffelgrass and fountain grass

    Oro Valley resident John Scheuring sees a lot of buffelgrass and fountain grass in and around town alive, well and green, but would like to see those plants dead, dying and brown.The invasive and non-native plant buffelgrass has received a bit of attention over the years for its aggressive nature, non-value to the ecosystem, and its high burn temperatures when dried out. While these points are all true, Scheuring says buffelgrass and fountain grass go hand in glove.“Buffelgrass sits on hills, fountain grass chokes out the bottoms of our canyons and then climbs up on rocks where buffelgrass doesn’t grow,” Scheuring said. While buffelgrass was listed as a noxious weed in 2005 for Oro Valley, fountain grass has, until recently, been looked at as a pretty plant to landscape with. “You go up into the Catalinas, all of our beautiful riparian canyons are choked with this stuff and it loves to climb steep rocky areas,” he said.With help from Oro Valley resident Ed Nigl, Scheuring has spent the past three years spot-spraying buffelgrass and fountain grass along 38 roadside miles within the town, slowly chipping away at the plant’s growth and aggressive nature. The portion that has seen the most attention is along Tangerine Road between the town limit to the west and First Avenue. The duo, who volunteer about 30 hours of their week to spraying, have nearly eradicated the two plants along that route.

  • AIA opts to continue investigation

    Three Mountain View football players have been held out of action while the Arizona Interscholastic Association continues to investigate allegations of improper conduct. The case was discussed during an executive session of the regularly scheduled AIA meeting last week. “We continue to work with the AIA and hope the process will work itself out in a timely manner,” said Mountain View Athletic Director Todd Garelick. “We have done everything we can to cooperate with the AIA and are confident that it will work out for our student athletes.”At the center of the controversy are three former Tucson High players who moved into the Mountain View boundaries over the summer. Senior Demetrious Flannigan, his younger brother Deshaun Flannigan and Bryce Coleman are voluntarily being held out of action after the AIA advised Mountain View to not play them until the matter is resolved. Although the players have not been ruled ineligible, the team would have to forfeit any games the players participated in if they are found to be ineligible at the conclusion of the investigation. The case is a convoluted one, but stems from the boys’ transfer to Mountain View after Harold Coleman, Bryce’s father and the Flannigans’ guardian, was dismissed from the football staff at Tucson High. They moved to the Mountain View area, but the debate seems to be whether or not they did so before or after talking to the Mountain View football staff. AIA General Council Mark Mignella said the investigation could look at both recruiting and improper prior contact. Recruiting is using “undue influence” to attract a player to a particular program before they change domicile. Improper contact could stem from a student athlete receiving private coaching, whether paid for or not, prior to changing enrollment, even if the player has changed domiciles. Mignella did indicate that there were special circumstances and that waivers could be granted in the case of improper contact.Part of the transfer process included filling out a 520 form, which is a request for transfer students seeking eligibility. On the form the previous school must give a reason for leaving and initially Tucson High officials put “recruiting” as the reason, though a source close to the situation has indicated that new forms without the recruiting allegation were submitted on behalf of Coleman and Deshaun Flannigan. Despite these new documents, the AIA is still looking at their eligibility. 

Local News

  • Pima College hires Director of Veterans and Military Affiliated Services

    Dr. Daniel L. Kester is Pima Community College’s Director of Veterans and Military Affiliated Services.Dr. Kester will be responsible for strategic planning, administration and coordination of the multifaceted programs serving PCC’s more than 1,450 Veteran Education Benefit Recipients, as well as overseeing programs for active-duty military personnel and their families.He will be PCC’s point of contact with the Veterans Administration and our key compliance officer for VA and state regulations regarding veterans. PCC earlier this year regained its ability to certify enrollment of new Veterans Education Benefit Recipients after falling out of compliance with VA and state rules.“In creating this position, we are ensuring that our student-veterans consistently receive the best-possible administrative services,” PCC Chancellor Lee D. Lambert said in informing the College community.The director will report to Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Development, Dr. Karrie Mitchell.Dr. Kester currently serves as the Superintendent of the 612th Air and Space Operation Center's Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Division at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, a top leadership role involving oversight of more than 120 military personnel and management of a facility with $58 million in assets.

  • PCC career, job fair Sept. 19 to help jobseekers 50 and older

    Pima Community College organizers of the Plus 50 Career and Job Fair for mature workers say the event will have resources and opportunities geared to jobseekers age 50 and older, who face unique challenges in their search. What: Plus 50 Career and Job Fair for mature workers When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday, Sept. 19, 2014 Where: Aztec Gymnasium, PCC West Campus, 2202 West Anklam Road Details: Open to all jobseekers 50 and older; free parking; on Sun Tran bus routes Info: 520-206-7430 or Hundreds of people age 50 and older are expected to attend the Sept. 19 event at PCC West Campus. There they will be able to promote themselves to more than 50 local employers, including The University of Arizona, Carondelet Health Network, Tucson Unified School District and Desert Diamond Casinos and Entertainment. Job seekers attending are encouraged to wear appropriate job interview attire as employers will have access to a private job interview area. PCC staff also will present information and offer assistance on PCC education programs and career resources.“On average, it takes a mature worker much longer to find employment than it does a younger applicant,” says Roger Forrester, Plus 50 Encore Completion Program program coordinator for PCC.Due to the aging baby-boom generation, workers ages 55 and older are expected to make up over one-quarter of the labor force in 2022, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. But, a recent article on Forbes pointed out that it takes mature workers nearly twice as long to find work as those who are younger.PCC has two programs that are part of national initiatives to help people age 50 and older complete certificates and degrees in high demand occupations, improve their job search skills and provide job placement assistance. Plus 50 is supported by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). The Back To Work 50+ initiative is supported by AARP Foundation.

  • Pima County prepares for tropical storm Odile

    The Pima County Office of Emergency Management continues to monitor the weather situation associated with the remnants of Hurricane Odile, now Tropical Storm Odile.PCOEM is responsible for coordinating Pima County’s response to emergencies and other events such as flooding. And its Emergency Operations Center serves as a communications hub and coordination center for dozens of regional government agencies, first responders and nongovernmental organizations. The PCOEM has been working with all of these agencies and organizations in preparation of this week’s expected heavy rainfall as a result of Odile.The EOC will activate at 8 a.m., Sept. 17 and remain activated 24 hours a day until potential threats subside. Among the agencies that will staff the EOC are Pima County Flood Control, the National Weather Service, the Red Cross, Pima County Public Works and representatives from the city of Tucson and other jurisdictions and utility companies. All will be maintaining situational awareness and be prepared to support first responders. No media are allowed in the EOC during activation but Pima County Communications will have a staff member there sending out confirmed information to the media via email and social media. The county also will open a Joint Information Center in the first floor of the County Administration building, 130 W. Congress St., to provide timely updates to the media. Any media requests will be handled through the County Communications Office, 520-724-9999.Odile Information WebpageThe county will have a temporary webpage,, active at 8 a.m. Wednesday to provide the public information about the county’s response to any emergencies that may be associated with the expected rainfall this week.Sandbags

Today's Top Headlines

  • (Sept. 19) Today's Top Headlines - Voter registration fraud probe looms in Georgia

    Fox News:As the pastor of Atlanta's famed Ebenezer Baptist Church, Rev. Raphael Warnock knows how to deliver a line for maximum effect. He employed that skill Wednesday, decrying a fraud probe the state has launched into a minority voter registration drive."You don't have to wear a hood -- you don't have to be a member of the Ku Klux Klan to be engaged in voter suppression. We know voter suppression when we see it," Warnock told a press conference in Georgia's Capitol building.For the full story, visit:

  • (Sept. 19) Today's Top Headlines -

    Fox News:Police looking for clues in the disappearance of a University of Virginia student found enough evidence in a car to obtain a warrant to search an apartment, and a news conference was scheduled for Friday afternoon to discuss the latest developments in the case.The flurry of activity indicated a possible major break in the case of Hannah Graham, 18, who disappeared Saturday morning. She was last seen on a security camera early Saturday at the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville. A person of interest who a witness saw with Graham was being sought, and neighbors at the apartment complex said they saw police talking to a man who matched that person's description, according to the Charlottesville Daily Progress.For the full story, visit:

  • (Sept. 19) Today's Top Headlines - CIA halts spying in Europe

    MSN News:The CIA has curbed spying on friendly governments in Western Europe in response to the furor over a German caught selling secrets to the United States and the Edward Snowden revelations of classified information held by the National Security Agency, according to current and former U.S. officials.The pause in decades of espionage, which remains partially in effect, was designed to give CIA officers time to examine whether they were being careful enough and to evaluate whether spying on allies is worth running the risk of discovery, said a U.S. official who has been briefed on the situation.For the full story, visit:


  • Saturday Puzzles 9-20-14

  • Born & brewed: Tucson beer cup at Hotel Congress

    September 19, 2014Event Location: 311 E. Congress St., Tucson, AZ 85701 Venue: Hotel Congress Time: From: 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM Admission: Cost is $30/person ($35 day of). Phone: 520-622-8848 

  • ‘Calvary’ results in average showing on the big screen

    A couple of times every year a movie will come out that completely surprises me  where I find the plot cleverly disguised and 180 degrees from what I was expecting after the first 20 minutes.  Like most everyone else, I detest movie trailers for the simple fact that they’ve become too long and too specific for my taste.  Trailers today spoil our movie experience by connecting too many dots in the storyline and test driving all the laugh lines on us viewers-- all before we’ve even settled into our theater seats.  The interesting part of the film “Calvary” is that not only did I have no idea what the story was about ahead of time, but that once I started watching the movie my perception of it changed dramatically with how I felt afterwards.The “Calvary” is about Father James (played splendidly by Brenden Gleeson), a priest in a small Irish town having to face parishioners who display little, if any, moral character or reverence for the man of the cloth and the Catholic church.  The stakes are high for Father James, personally and professionally, as he must continue to stay true to his faith while answering difficult questions about past Catholic priests’ behavior.   Gleeson’s exceptional performance captivates audiences with his earnestness and likeability in what is easily his best role to date.The beginning of the movie was extremely slow and nondescript, making me seriously contemplate getting up and leaving the theater by the 20-minute mark.  The film’s middle and ending, however, generated interest with the stark contrasts it draws between a society that openly rejects religion and those servants attempting to preach God’s word.  Gleeson convincingly does his best to chart a corrective course for the sinning souls at the remote outpost while nearing his own personal threshold in tolerating others.  It was due to Gleeson’s endearing role of Father James that viewers not only see right from wrong, but more importantly, are left asking how and why our world has become so mean and nasty?This film painstakingly builds its case for society’s mean-streak and how that lost moral compass may be due to the irrelevance placed upon religion.  Rather than forgive and understand, we tend to discard and dismiss others and their feelings.  Withstanding Gleeson’s moving performance, the “Calvary” is just an average showing on the big screen. Its message, however, resonates and intensifies upon further reflection afterwards.  That introspect is the film’s best message and one that makes it worthy seeing. Grade: B-


  • Big third quarter propels Mountain Lions

    Mountain View used a big third quarter to beat visiting Desert Vista from the Phoenix area 44-20. The Mountain Lions scored 21 in the quarter and 30 straight point to get past the Thunder.Mountain View led 14-13 at the half thanks to two Stan Berryhill touchdown catches. Quarterback Justice Summerset found Berryhill on a 73-yard score in the first quarter, then in the second quarter they connected on a 65-yard strike.Summerset threw his third touchdown toss when he found Tommy Lawrence for 29 yards.A Romello Michaels pick six put the Mountain Lions up 28-13. then Sam Ross added two more rushing touchdowns and the defense added two points on a safety.Summerset’s accuracy was off, as he was just 7-23, but he did throw for 191 yards and the thee scores. He ran for 121 yards.Berryhill had 153 receiving yards, while Ross added 66 on the ground.

  • Marana dominates Catalina

    Marana quarterback Connor Leavens was involved in four touchdowns, two passing and two running as they beat Catalina 52-2 and evened their record to 2-2 on the season.Leavens had his best game of the season on his birthday. The sophomore passed for 141 yards on 7-9 passing and ran for 117 yards on just six carries.Marana led 8-2 after the first 12:00 thanks to a 48-yard run by Garrett Gillespie. Sammy Preder added a 33-yard run and the Tigers got a safety to lead 16-2 when Leavens went to work. First he connected with on a 49-yard scoring ass then had scoring runs of 26 and 82.The Tigers scored 30 points in the second quarter to effectively seal the win.Leavens found Caleb Reeves on a 52-yard score in the third quarter. He gave way to back-up quarterback Joe Kidd and the junior closed out the scoring with a 72-yard touchdown toss to Zach Riblett.

  • Nighthawks cruise to easy win

    The Nighthawks rushed for 328 yards in their 53-16 win over Buena on Friday night in a game that was never in doubt.Ironwood Ridge led 25-0 in the first quarter and were up 46-0 at the half.Sandwiched in between two safeties, Dalton Pakkala scored on a 13-yard run. Pakkala scored from 29 yards out to go up 19-0 and the score was 25-0 with Christopher Babyak’s 25-yard touchdown grab from Dylan Key.Pakkala ran seven times for 93-yards and the two scores, while Babyak caught just two passes, both for scores. Midway through the second quarter he and Key again connected on a second touchdown.Ironwood Ridge has used a two-quarterback system all year and Key was not the only one to have success. Michael Franzese scored on a one-yard run then connected with Matt Solverson on the final score of the first half.With the big lead the two teams played with a running clock, limiting the number of possessions. With many of the Nighthawk reserves in the game Buena’s Jordan Haymore threw a pair of touchdown passes, while the Nighthawks’ John Cherrington closed out the scoring with a 19-yard run.

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