Tucson Local Media: Home of The Explorer, Marana News, Foothills News, Desert Times, and Inside Tucson Business

  • Oro Valley Town Council approves land use amendment

    The Oro Valley Town Council has unanimously approved a general plan future land use amendment as related to a longstanding debate over a master planned community pertaining to 191 acres at the southwest and northwest corners of the La Cholla Boulevard and Naranja Drive intersection. The item was continued from Dec. 10, when the council decided to delay the item, requesting that developer WLB Group meet with area residents to address their concerns, of which residential density, buffer areas, home heights, traffic mitigation and allowed uses were included.In a May 6 meeting, WLB Group’s Paul Oland said those issues have been agreed upon in large part. The areas of compromise as addressed by Oland were outlined in the May 6 meeting agenda and included:• Increasing the depth of the buffer and single-story height limit along the southern boundary of the property;• Providing more in-depth traffic analysis and traffic mitigation;

  • Universal charging stations hit Arizona

    Electric vehicle owners traveling between Tucson and Phoenix no longer have to worry about whether their vehicle will work at a particular charging station.On May 12, GOe3, a company that concentrates largely on renewable energy, kicked off its campaign to create a route with universal charging ports that will work with all makes and models of electric vehicles.This will eliminate the hassle of having to worry about proprietary plugs that are predominately found across the state and country, says Bruce Brimacombe, founder and CEO of GOe3.“There is a battle of the plugs. This is something that is just broken in America, and we are looking to fix it,” he said. The ultimate goal is to provide coast-to-coast universal charging stations. The Tucson-Phoenix route was the first of those efforts.“We are looking at having one to 10 universal charging stations every other month. We don’t want to slow down,” said Brimacombe.  

  • Mature Mountain View senior has his future mapped out

    It is hard not to come away impressed with the maturity of Nicholas Ochoa-Reyes. The Mountain View senior is one of those young men who has his head screwed on straight and has a plan. In fact, he has three plans. Ochoa-Reyes has mapped out his future. He was awarded the Gates Millennium Scholarship, which will pay for his college through getting his Ph.D. Next fall he will move to Atlanta to pursue a 3-2 degree. First, he will attend Emory University, where he will major in finance. After getting his finance degree, hopefully in three years, he will attend Georgia Tech to get his computer science/computer engineering degree.Eventually, he will get his master’s and his doctorate. Ochoa-Reyes loves the idea of working with computers. In fact, he has already built his own computer and he not only built it from scratch, but purchased all of the components with his own money. He is also intrigued with the idea of being in business, possibly in an entrepreneurial fashion, but he hasa third passion, soccer. Ochoa-Reyes has not completely given up the dream of being a professional soccer player. 

Today's Top Headlines

  • (May 22) Today's Top Headlines - Islamic State 'seizes key Syria-Iraq border crossing'

    BBC News: Islamic State militants have seized the last Syrian government-controlled border crossing between Syria and Iraq, a Syria monitoring group says.Government forces withdrew from al-Tanf - known as al-Waleed in Iraq - crossing as IS advanced, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said.Read the full story on BBC News.

  • (May 22) Today's Top Headlines - First round of Hillary Clinton State Department emails released

    CNN: The State Department released Friday its first round of emails from Hillary Clinton's time as Secretary of State, offering a new look at her handling of the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.The roughly 300 emails, about 850 pages, are part of the 30,000 that she turned over to State from her private email server, which she used almost exclusively to conduct both private and public business during her time at State.Read the full story on CNN. 

  • (May 22) Today's Top Headlines - Quarter of skin cells 'on road to cancer'

    BBC News: More than a quarter of a middle-aged person's skin may have already made the first steps towards cancer, a study suggests.Analysis of samples from 55- to 73-year-olds found more than 100 DNA mutations linked to cancer in every 1 sq cm (0.1 sq in) of skin.Read the full story on BBC News.

Local News

  • Oro Valley will hold open house for Building Safety Month

    The Oro Valley Development and Infrastructure Services Department will host a Building Safety Month Open House on Thursday, May 21, 3 – 5 p.m. in the Town Hall Council Chambers, 11000 N. La Cañada. Members of the community are invited to stop by and meet Oro Valley building safety staff, share messages of support and learn about the services provided by the Town’s building safety inspectors.Development and Infrastructure Services Director/Town Engineer Paul Keesler and Building Official Chuck King will speak about the importance of building safety and the critical role it plays to ensure safe, efficient and livable buildings. At the May 6 Oro Valley Town Council Meeting, Mayor Satish Hiremath read a proclamation supporting May as Building Safety Month. 

  • Coronado students win bikes in achieve program

    Five students in first through fifth grades from Coronado K-8 School, 3401 E. Wilds Road, received bicycles and helmets at the end of the school year for their accomplishments in the Achieve Program. The Lions Club of Catalina/Oro Valley sponsored the giveaway.The Achieve Program offers before and after-school classes such as reading and math core classes, homework help, chorus and dance, educational games, picture book activities, language arts support and art activities. The program served a total of 200 elementary students this year with 113 students participating 30 or more days. It is funded through a 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant, which is supervised by two teachers at Coronado — Nancy Casagrande and Suzan Brown. Thirty other teachers assisted with teaching the classes before and after school. Class sizes were small with 8 to 12 students per teacher. Names were drawn from each grade level for students who participated in the program.Some of the comments from the winners include these remarks: “I’m excited about having seven gears and good brakes.” “My old bike is too small for me.” “My brother will be jealous of me and my new style bike.” “This cool bike will replace my old one with a flat tire.” “This helmet is really what I wanted with the spikes on top.”The students who won the bikes were the following:First grade - Angel KellySecond grade - Thade Northcutt-Anderson

  • Longer terms in auto loans have become the norm

    It’s taking a lot longer to pay off that new or used car nowadays.Consumers have longer-term auto loans to thank. Ten years ago, a 60-month loan was typical. Today, as new vehicle prices increase and credit becomes more available, the five-year loan has been replaced by the 72- and even 84-month loan.The reasoning behind these longer terms is simple: People are comfortable paying a certain monthly amount. Because car prices have risen, longer-term loans allow consumers that same car payment over a longer term. Those who opt for a longer loan amount will pay more in interest over the life of the loan, making the total cost of the car greater.According to Experian Automotive, 24.9 percent of all new car loans were 73 to 84 months long during the first quarter of last year. Just five years ago, fewer than 10 percent of loans had terms that lengthy.  “The longer term allows for lower payments, which make the purchase more affordable for the buyer on a monthly basis,” said Don Nunnari, vice president of automotive for AAA Arizona who oversees the auto club’s Car Buying program. “Of course, the extended loan term brings increased profit for lenders. And for those whose credit isn’t great, the lenders will increase interest rates and assess fees.”Times have changed. In the 1970s, car loans averaged 35 months and interest rates hovered around 12 percent. Then again, the cost of a car averaged a mere $3,000. In 2002, rates hit a low of 2.72 percent and had an average length of 60 months. Thus began a history of low rates and longer loan terms.

Entertainment

  • ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ — Post-apocalyptic series returns after 30 years

    This year’s growing anticipation and buzz surrounding writer-director George Miller’s return to lead the fourth installment of his “Mad Max” series has been palpable and on a level only attained by one other 2015 cult classic…this December’s release of “Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens.” In fact, many might argue that Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” dwarfs J.J. Abrams’ “The Force Awakens” since it’s been 30 years since Max Rockatansky roamed the Australian post-apocalypse Outback desert on film.“Mad Max: Fury Road” begins with one of the best opening sequences of any movie so far in 2015. After a quick (although too short) narration by Tom Hardy as Mad Max, an all-out suspense thriller ensues for the next 15 minutes. During this time we’re introduced to the roving band of marauders sporting a guitar lead and one renegade fighter named Imperator Furiosa, played convincingly by Charlize Theron. Similar to other strong female rebels found in the Mad Max movie collection, viewers will have to determine if Theron’s Furiosa is a good character or an evil one. Beyond the film’s exciting start lies continuous battle scenes that become so repetitive and numbing to the eyes, only younger iGeneration Mad Max fans and “Transformers” filmmaker Michael Bay will applaud.Aside from its impressive choreography and cinematography throughout the film, “Fury Road” lacks a compelling, understood story. Viewers are given plenty of sand skirmishes and scantily clad concubines to follow, but no backstory on Max Rockatansky — the former Australian patrol officer who goes mad after seeing his family killed by gang members during society’s breakdown in the 1979 original movie.This is Max’s story to tell, yet Hardy rarely strings more than two or three words together at a time. The lack of dialogue in “Fury Road” becomes noticeable to viewers and takes focus away from Max’s background story, as well as his current predicament. No explanation or character development is offered on Theron’s sparkplug Furiosa either.

  • Prime Time Review: Blues legend B.B. King passes away at 89

    Legendary blues musician Riley B. King, better known by millions across the world as B.B. King, passed away peacefully in his sleep last Thursday, sources close to the musician announced. King was 89.Though the cause of death is as of yet unclear, King had been suffering heavily due to complications from diabetes for well over a year, eventually spending the last few weeks of his life in hospice care in his Las Vegas home.It’s hard to imagine what the blues would be like if King had never picked up his first guitar. Known for his smooth, velvety voice and expressive instrumental style, King is one of the most popular southern blues musicians of all time. With a career lasting more than six decades, the “King of Blues” influenced multiple generations of musicians of all genres: Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayer, Stevie Ray Vaughan and many others trace some of their musical stylings to the legendary Blues man. While many may argue there have been more talented Blues musicians throughout history, no other artist has been as responsible for popularizing the genre to the masses as King had. Winner of over a dozen Grammy Awards during his life, as well as the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987, King brought the soulful sound of the Blues to whole a level of exposure. Originally finding more mainstream success in the 1960s, King would eventually become a Top 40’s radio hit with the 1970 release, “The Thrill is Gone.” Scores of more hit songs and records followed as King never slowed his impressive pace, known for playing up to 200 shows a year well into his 70s. King was born to a family of sharecroppers in the heart of the Mississippi delta, the place that many consider to be the birthplace of American Blues music. Beginning his music career as a child in his local gospel choir, King quickly acquired his first guitar and found his life’s passion. “I picked a lotta cotton,” King once said in an interview discussing his childhood years, “I was good, too. I could pick 500 pounds a day. That was hard. I figured the guitar was easier.” 

  • 'Mad Max' fails to give characters depth

    Do you enjoy the color of sand and dirt?  Are grunts and screams something you yearn to hear?  What about watching somebody drive for three hours?  If all of these apply to you then you will love this film.Mad Max begins with a very vague description of the character Max and then has him immediately captured and imprisoned. It will be another twenty to thirty minutes before he actually does or says anything. This was already a red flag for me. The movie is called “Mad Max,” but he is not the main character. Instead the main character is a woman named Furiosa. We get a little bit of backstory through her exposition to Max, but other than that, she is relatively unknown. She also is missing a part of her arm, and of course, that is never explained.Max’s background isn’t fleshed out either. He mentions that the dead haunt him, and there are flashes of dead people from his past that he couldn’t save but that’s all. No explanation of who these people are or what they meant to him. Without watching the movies from the 80s, you would have no idea who he was or what he has been through. That being said, the movie shouldn’t rely on the audience’s knowledge of the old films because of how long it has been since they were released. Instead, there should have been backstory or at least real flashbacks to show the events that shaped Max into who he is.I do have to admit that the action scenes were well put together. The camera didn’t shake or move around too much to make action scenes impossible to follow, and there didn’t seem to be an overabundance of CGI except for the storm scene. Fight scenes were also very brutal like they should be in this series.This movie should have redeemed the franchise. The originals were long tedious films, and I was hoping that this iteration would be an enjoyable, updated, modern take on it — like what J.J. Abrams did for Star Trek. He took something that had long, drawn out, overly dry movies, and then turned them into something that everyone could enjoy. Mad Max needed a new coat of paint and unfortunately this movie is still just as rusty as the cars in it. This movie is Waterworld but with sand instead of water.Warning: Spoilers ahead!  Stop reading if you don’t want to know what happens!

Sports

  • CDO wins state title

    CDO beat Tucson High 3-1 to claim the Division II State Baseball Championship on Tuesday night at Tempe Diablo Stadium.Gabe Benavides pitched five strong innings, allowing just the single run. Nick Ames pitched the final two innings of the game to earn the save.Tucson High struck first. The Dorados walked the first two batters and Joseph Marquez hit a grounder up the middle, which Felix fielded next to the bag. The umpire ruled that Felix missed the tag and that loaded the bases. Martin Garcia grounded into a double play, but that allowed courtesy runner Nicholas Sandoval to score from first and give the Badgers a 1-0 lead.Max Smith drew a walk in the third inning and was on third when the Dorados appeared to ground into an inning ending double play, except the shortstop mishandled the throw, allowing the senior to race home and tie the game 1-1.CDO took the lead for good in the fourth. Spencer Packard led off the inning with a single, was moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt and moved to third on an Anthony Felix single. He scored on a passed ball to give CDO the lead 2-1.The Dorados added an insurance run in the sixth. Senior pinch hitter Adam Hoyos reached on a fielder's choice, moved to second on a wild pitch and raced home on a Felix single.

  • Sports update Dorado softball sees season end in extra innings

    Last year, the Canyon del Oro softball team advanced to the state title game through the elimination bracket. This year, the Dorados came up two games short, falling to Sunrise Mountain 2-1.Last year, the Dorados won four elimination games before finally succumbing to rival Ironwood Ridge. CDO lost several seniors from the team that went 30-8 and also underwent a coaching change.In her first year back, Kelly Fowler led the Dorados to a 32-7 record but had the challenge of being the No. 7 seed in the state tourney. Although the Dorados received a first-round bye, they had to go through No. 2 Salpointe. The Lancers beat CDO 12-4, but with their backs against the wall, the Dorados beat Sahuaro 12-11 in eight innings to set up their meeting with Sunrise Mountain. For the second straight game, the Dorados went eight innings, but the outcome was different against the No. 9 team in the state at the Rose Mofford complex in Phoenix.Senior catcher Whitney Chamberlain smacked an RBI single to bring home fellow senior Brianna Ray in the top of the eighth for a 2-1 victory.

  • CDO advances to state title game

    With their 8-5 win over Tucson High, the Canyon Del Oro baseball team advanced to their first state championship game since the 2009 season.The game was tied 1-1 when the Dorados exploded for six runs in the fifth inning. With two runners on, Max Smith showed bunt, but after barely fouling his first attempt he laced a double down the right field line that scored a pair.Two batters later Nick Ames came up to bat with a pair of runners on and he crushed a ball to right, to drive in two more.The Badgers got two back in the fifth, but trailed 8-3 heading into the final half inningTucson High loaded the bases thanks to a pair of walks and a hit batsman,  and added their fourth run of the game on a sacrifice fly to right. A single made it 8-5 and the next batter hit a hopper to short, which was mishandled, but scooped up quickly and fired to third, which forced the runner coming from second to get caught in a run-down. After a few steps he slipped and was tagged out to end the game.Smith got the win, pitching 4 1/3 innings scattering five hits

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