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

  • Five candidates running for Metro Water Board

    Five candidates are seeking election for three open seats in this year’s race for the Metro Water District’s Board of Directors. Incumbents Judy Scrivener and James Doyle will look to retain their seats by fending off three newcomers in Danny Sargent, Jr., Helen Ireland, and Donovan Hemway.The third seat opened after Board member Richard Byrd chose not to seek reelection.Scrivener, who currently serves as Board Chair as of February 2013, also previously served on the Board from 2004-2008 and spent two additional years as Board Chair leading to her present term. Scrivener has worked for Pima County since 1993. She holds the position of Senior Special Staff Assistant to the Deputy Director for Pima County Wastewater Treatment. Doyle, who has worked for Pima County Wastewater Management for more than 30 years, has served on the board since 1994. He is the acting superintendent of the Ina Road Treatment Plant, and he has also served on the Board of Directors for Northwest Fire District. Ireland has experience in public works, transportation, flood control, and planning, working primarily for Pima County since 1984. She has also served as a Metro Water board member in the past, as well as an employee of Metro Water’s Engineering Division as a geographic information systems analyst. 

  • Amphi school board election

    Three candidates are running for the two seats available this fall on the Amphitheater Public Schools Governing Board. Jo Grant (incumbent)www.jograntforamphi.com   This is Jo Grant’s first time campaigning for the Amphitheater school board but she is well aware of the responsibilities, having served a partial term already.“Supporting education is the number one investment we can make for our future. I want to continue my commitment to the district by striving to provide a quality environment for teaching and learning in our schools,” she said. “Our stakeholders are the students and we owe them the best educational opportunities possible.”

  • The CD2 rematch is close in numbers, not on issues

    In a rematch of a razor-close 2012 congressional race, Democratic Congressman Ron Barber is in a fight for his political life against Republican challenger Martha McSally, a retired A-10 pilot who nearly beat him two years ago.Washington political forecasters Stu Rothenberg and Charlie Cook both call the race a toss up. The Fix blog at the Washington Post calls Barber the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent in Congress. Polls that have been released by operatives on both sides show a close race, although the D.C.-based newspaper The Hill recently removed Barber from the 10 most endangered members of Congress list, citing unreleased GOP polls that showed Barber in the lead over McSally.Given the makeup of Southern Arizona’s Congressional District 2, it’s not surprising to see such a tight race. The district, which includes eastern Pima County and all of Cochise County, has a wide variety of constituents: Ranchers who are on the front line of the nation’s ongoing immigration crisis. Seniors who fret about the future of Medicare and Social Security. Veterans who served the country and now worry whether the VA will take care of them. And families who are concerned about everything from overcrowded kindergarten classes to soaring tuition rates.While Republicans have a slight voter registration edge, the district is about as competitive as they come: One third GOP, one third Democrat, one third independent. And it’s winning over those independents that is key to capturing the seat.If you were to listen to Team McSally, you’d believe Barber is a lifetime government bureaucrat who is too weak to lead and nothing more than a lapdog for President Barack Obama. If you were to listen to Team Barber, you’d believe that McSally is an anti-feminist Tea Partier with little regard for the middle class and nothing more than a lapdog for the Koch brothers.The truth, while it’s likely to be overshadowed by attack ads, is more nuanced in both cases.

Today's Top Headlines

Local News

  • Mall progress discussed at chamber luncheon

    Ground has broken on the new Tucson Premium Outlets in Marana and things are running smoothly, according to one of the key developers of the property. David Scholl of Vintage Partners gave an update on the shopping center, as well as plans for the surrounding area, during last Wednesday’s Marana Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Scholl said he and his partners are still stunned at how quickly things have come together since closing on the property last December. “We got an amazing amount of things done in seven months,” Scholl said. “We got to take a quick breath, relax for a day, then get right back to it.“We’re just getting started but already an amazing amount of work has been done in the last seven months,” Scholl added. To get to the point where they are today, a number of people had to work in conjunction to make the project happen. “To watch that group of people pull it off is something I have never seen in 30 years as a developer,” explained Scholl. 

  • Oro Valley begins discussions of new or increased taxes

    Oro Valley Town Council spent the Oct. 15 meeting directing staff to compile elements for future agenda items and initiating a 60-day public notice process, which informs the public the council plans to discuss revenue options. The revenue options are primarily tax-based possibilities.After an uncharacteristically long executive session discussing the purchase or lease of real property, which ran about an hour and 20 minutes, the council directed staff to look into letting staff handle “insignificant” changes to a plan in which a developer is using the incentive of the Environmentally Sensitive Lands section of the zoning code. The incentive is a modified review process. The code currently states that a developer needs to be 100 percent compliant with their plan. Any changes to their plans, no matter how minute, would cause the developer to have council approval. The proposed change came about after a developer using the modified review process had to make a minor change in a few housing lot size due to an unforeseen sewer access point.The council then unanimously passed a condition of approval ordinance that no grading permits will be issued until there is a substantial completion of park amenities and that the item will be placed on the Nov. 5 council agenda.The council approved to give the public 60 days notice that they plan to discuss any proposed new taxes or increased fees or taxes. These discussions can be about sales, property, commercial, rental, and/ or utility taxes.The next council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 5 at 6 p.m.

  • Oro Valley Police Reports

    Oro Valley Police DeptartmentOn Saturday, Sept. 27, at 5:04 p.m., Oro Valley police responded to a report of shoplifting at Kohls, 7785 N. Oracle Road. Police were told staff at the store got into a verbal altercation with a woman who then fled in a Ford Thunderbird. The car she fled in was for sale and had a phone number written on the back window. Police called the number and left a message letting her know she could turn herself in for stealing a tank top, mascara and some Jennifer Lopez accessories all valued at $78.99. Police also said if she didn’t turn herself in, there would be a warrant for her arrest. About an hour later, the woman called police back and turned herself in. She was cited and released for shoplifting. On Thursday, Sept. 25, at 2:35 p.m. Oro Valley police responded to a report of four women who had been stopped for shoplifting at Walmart, 2150 E. Tangerine Road. One woman admitted to taking a coke, drinking it and throwing it away without paying for it. Another admitted to sharing the coke, which was valued at $1.68. The other two women admitted to drinking and sharing two Monster energy drinks valued at $1.88 and a Redbull energy drink valued at $2.68. One also admitted to stealing a pair of tweezers valued at $5.97 and a necklace valued at $12. All were cited and released for shoplifting.  On Monday, Sept. 22, at about 7:28 p.m., an Oro Valley officer spoke with a man in the lobby of the department’s main police station reporting an assault. The man told police that he had been shot in the left buttock by what he believed to be a bb or pellet gun. He told police that he was riding northbound on La Cañada Drive when he heard what sounded like an explosion of air and then he felt something hit him. He then heard what sounded like teenagers laughing from a car that sped past him. He was unable to get a license plate number and declined medical attention.

Entertainment

  • ‘Fury’ an intense, gripping WWII battle film

    Five-time Academy Award nominee Brad Pitt delivers another gritty performance in this intense, gripping World War II thriller.  The 50-year old actor more than holds his own as the very capable and confident Army sergeant leading a five-man tank crew against Nazis in 1945 Germany.  Pitt, along with the other well cast soldiers in the movie, poignantly demonstrate the horrors found on the battlefield while showcasing the courage to stand up for each other even when their situation turns dire.Moviegoers hoping that “Fury” resembles the 1998 Oscar-winning “Saving Private Ryan” (11 Academy Award nominations) will be mildly disappointed.  Some similarities, however, do exist between the two war stories.  The high point in “Fury” is marked by exceptional cinematography with very realistic, but gruesome, battle scenes.  In fact, the final 30 minutes of “Fury” are extremely captivating and will make audience members feel almost as though it’s them fighting the Germans from inside an American tank.  In several scenes, it’s easy to draw connections to Tom Hanks’ squad pinned down by enemy fire throughout France during “Saving Private Ryan”.“Fury” departs, though, from any likeness to the most successful war movies due to its blandly written script and the lack of any meaningful investment in the film’s characters—including Pitt’s—from the audience.  For most of the actors we’re never even told their names; instead only given a nickname…like the movie’s title for their armored ride and the real star of the film. Between the fascinating battle engagements, none of the characters or their actions becomes particularly endearing to viewers or noteworthy.  We care for these guys because of their vital mission and the extremely dangerous circumstances they find themselves, but the film doesn’t afford us much more than that on a personal level to the soldiers.The bottom line is that “Fury” is a violent war movie that graphically illustrates the heavy burden America carried to stop fascism and Adolf Hitler in Europe.  Rightfully, the movie pulls no punches on the violence of war and the high price paid by our nation and her greatest generation.  While “Fury” may have sold the military storytelling a bit short in detailing the bigger picture, it gets the small stuff spot-on. It exhibits the many superstitions and silly slogans of those wearing the uniform, along with the foxhole bonding found only in men under deadly fire.  “Fury” offers a grisly, unvarnished look inside one Sherman tank and her courageous men battling evil.  It honors all those who have ever served our country and found themselves fighting long odds for survival.  For that reason alone, “Fury” is  worth seeing and remembering.Grade: B+(Editor’s Note: Patrick King is a resident of Oro Valley and writer for the REEL BRIEF movie blog at www.reelbrief.com.  You may email him at reelbriefmoviereviews@mail.com.)

  • Sippin’ Social: Turnout growing for happy hour gatherings

    Staff of Tucson Local Media made its way to Harvest for October’s monthly Sippin’ Social – an event which the public is welcomed and encouraged to join to engage in conversation or simply enjoy happy hour selections. The turnout continues to grow each month, this go-around seeing about 15 faces – some new, some familiar. The idea behind the meetings – which take place on the third Thursday of each month, is twofold. First, it allows newspaper staff to collect public input on the type, quality, and amount of content being delivered through Tucson Local Media’s publications, which include The Explorer, Tucson Weekly, Inside Tucson Business, Foothills News, Desert Times, and Marana News. Tell us what you like or don’t like, what you’d like to see less and more of, or whether you think reporting is balanced. Have a story in mind? Pitch it to us. We as a newspaper rely on reader input when it comes to this. The second purpose is to provide a happy hour review of the particular month’s restaurant of choice. These restaurants/bars are generally located on the northwest side, alternating between Oro Valley and Marana, but with the acquisition of additional newspapers, could expand to fit the readership of those publications.In the case of Harvest, it’s a must try, if for nothing else than the mountain views and broad wine selection. Located in the heart of Oro Valley, Harvest, with its reasonable happy hour, won’t kill the wallet, either.  While abundant conversation in this case took priority over reviewing food and drink, I did enjoy a 20-ounce Deep Canyon Amber ($4.85), a familiar brew made locally from Thunder Canyon Brewery. Wine was a popular choice of the others at the table, but what is most important was our server’s ability to keep up with a 15-person group, always remaining courteous and prompt. Next month on Thursday, Nov. 20, staff will try out Fox and Hound, located at 7625 N. La Cholla Blvd from 4-6 p.m.

  • Prime Time Review: Disney may be planning three Obi-Wan Star Wars movies

    With all of the news, rumors, and spoilers surrounding the imminent release of Star Wars: Episode VII, it seems as though little else would hold importance in the Star Wars universe and its nearly unrivaled fandom. It has been quite the opposite, however, as the internet has been parsing over a new rumor.It seems as though Disney may be looking to expand its contribution to the Star Wars universe to even greater levels. Cinelinx has recently reported that sources inside Lucasfilm and Disney have told them there are some plans to create another movie trilogy, each film involving everyone’s favorite master Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi. These movies would be set between Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and Episode IV: A New Hope. While some have referred to the movies as a trilogy, the source of the rumor has stated the movies are planned to have as little interconnectivity as possible and would run independent of one another. This model would be similar to James Bond films.According to the source, one film would take place entirely on the planet Tatooine, while the other two would have Obi-Wan trekking across the galaxy. While the Jedi Master would likely encounter many familiar faces from the Clone Wars, the source specifically mentioned appearances by Darth Maul and Qui-Gon Jinn. As this is still in the rumor phase, no mention of possible casting is even on the horizon, though it would be wonderful to see Liam Neeson reprise his role as Qui-Gon Jinn and Ewan McGregor come back to his masterful performance as Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan has become one of Star Wars’ most popular characters, especially amongst younger fans. As one of the heroes of the prequel trilogy, and with his continued appearance in the animated show, it comes as no surprise that Disney is even considering the possibility of giving this character a three-movie treatment. The galaxy far,far away seems to be growing even larger in the coming years.

Sports

  • Nighthawks cruise past Mountain View

    Ironwood Ridge made a serious claim to being Tucson’s best team after beating Mountain View 42-7 on Friday night. The win is the Nighthawks’ seventh in a row and puts Ironwood Ridge in the driver’s seat for the sectional championship and an automatic berth in the Division II state playoffs.Their match-up on Friday with Salpointe is a game of the year candidate as both have just a single loss and are the last two state champions from the Tucson area. A win gives the Nighthawks the sectional title, while a Salpointe wins puts them in good shape for the section title, but still leaves the door open for Ironwood Ridge and even Mountain View due to some tiebreaker possibilities.The game was essentially a battle between the Nighthawks’ disciplined, physical rushing attack against Mountain View’s athleticism and ability to throw the ball, especially their ability to stretch the field with their speed.                                              The Nighthawks used multiple pre-snap shifts and unbalanced lines to help confuse the Mountain View defense and rushed for 437 yards and an even 500 overall, while their defense held the Mountain Lions gained just 238 yards, only 62 came on the ground.“It is one of those things that requires you to play ultimate team defense,” explained Mountain View Head Coach Bam McRae. “You have one guy who gets out of line or does not do his assignment, they crease you.”Both teams moved the ball effectively on their early drives but each had to punt. The Mountain Lions took advantage of a defensive pass interference call on their drive, something that hampered Ironwood Ridge all day. The Nighthawk defensive backs struggled defending the long ball in the first half, picking up a number of pass interference and defensive holding penalties, but only taking advantage on a single drive.

  • Sports Recap: Doucet dominates again, playoff picture shaping up

    Cross CountryCDO’s Bridgett Doucet won the girls seeded three-mile race at the 13th annual Valerie McGregor Rattler Invitational on Saturday. The race put on by Mountain View High School, but held at Marana High, gives the racers a bit of a preview of the sectional races which will be held in two weeks at the school, though the course will be altered a bit. Doucet finished the race in 17:07.49, nearly 19 seconds better than Allie Schadler of Rio Rico, the defending Division III champion. Catalina Foothills took second place among the girls, thanks to Richelle Sandin and Allison James who finished seventh and eighth, just a second apart. Mountain View finished fourth in the boys seeded race, with Ironwood Ridge finishing fifth. CDO’s Tim Ronan had the best individual finish among Northwest teams, taking fourth. Foothills’ Emilio Vasquez was seventh, six seconds better than Ironwood Ridge’s David Fernandez. 

  • Former Nighthawk/Mountain Lions earns academic honors

    Former Ironwood Ridge and Mountain View football player Cris Thorson was honored for his academics. The Colorado Mesa football player was one of 14 Mavericks named to the RMAC All-Academic honor roll.Thorson a redshirt freshman defensive back is a business major with a 3.31 GPA.To qualify for Academic All-RMAC, student-athletes must have a grade point average of 3.30 or better, be a starter or reserve, and have completed two consecutive semesters or three quarters at their current institution.Thorson played three years at Mountain View before moving to Oro Valley and concluding his high school career at Ironwood Ridge. He was a member of the Nighthawks’ 2012 state championship team. He was Mountain View’s starting quarterback for parts of two seasons prior to the move.Thorson has played in two games this season, amassing one solo tackle. 

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