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

  • Parsons’ passions keep her busy

    Erin Parsons is busy. The Marana-based rodeo competitor not only competes nearly every weekend in rodeo, but balances that with her career in real estate. It can be a lot to have on one’s plate, but she is used to it. She has been balancing rodeo with other endeavors since high school. Parson competes on the Turquoise Circuit Pro Rodeo, which is part of the circuit system devised by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. The Turquoise Circuit is one of 12 sections in the Unites States and is composed of events primarily in Arizona and New Mexico. For 20 weeks in the fall and winter, Parsons competes in the Turquoise Circuit, while also making a living in real estate. Any week with a competition and her career can be hectic, but his week is the toughest of the year with the Fiesta Del Los Vaqueros taking place in Tucson. “It can be challenging, especially the week of Tucson because there is so much going on,” explained Parsons. “This week is particularly busy.”She competed last Friday in Buckeye and was back in town that night to prepare for the Tucson Rodeo. She will compete on Monday and Thursday, has a real estate auction on Tuesday and then will head to Scottsdale for another rodeo over the weekend.That schedule is a little busier than most, but she is one of many to balance a job during the week, with rodeo over the weekend.  

  • Furniture dealership believe they are head of the Class

    Class Commercial Furnishings feel they take a slightly different approach than other commercial furniture companies in town and that leads to better customer service and more attention for the customer. Owner Michelle Class believes that the sales person and the project manager, as well as herself as owner, should be involved as much as possible. Their philosophy is to assign a project manager to each project and that project manager is involved from the beginning to the end along with the salesperson and designer. In turn, the salesperson stays involved for the duration of our project.  “What I have seen with our competitors is once sale is made it is passed off to the project manager who then has to take it through completion and the sales person goes on to the next project,” said Class. “A lot of what goes on during the sale is in your head and to take your sales person out of that, and not keep them in the loop is a poor decision and bad practice. “We keep our sales people involved through the process during the entire time, but we also bring our project managers in early enough so some of that information that has been happening during the sales process is in their head as well,” Class added. Class stressed that she is involved in nearly every project as well. “As the owner I am pretty much involved in every project that goes on, in some degree,” Class said. “I am either doing the space plan, or I am at the install or there during the sales process.  I don’t know any owners that are as active in the sales process as I am.”

  • BOS approves surcharge, cessation classes for nicotine users

    Tobacco and nicotine users working for Pima County will be required to enroll in a cessation program of their choice in the 2015-16 fiscal year after the Pima County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to support the measure last week. The approval will also subject tobacco and nicotine users to surcharges – $30 per pay period, and increasing $10 per pay period until reaching a maximum of $60 per pay period until the course is completed. The measure differs from the initial recommendation of County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, which asked the board to approve a more comprehensive plan that in addition to increasing health care premiums would have prohibited the hiring of county applicants who are tobacco users. District 5 Supervisor Richard Elias said that would be “way out of touch,” and urged the board to amend the measure to allow hiring of smokers.Though differing from his original suggestion, Huckelberry said the approval was a step in the right direction, but added there is still work to be done to ensure non-smokers receive additional perks.“We hope to continue to improve program implementation in the future by offering much larger insurance premium discounts to employees who do not smoke,” said Huckelberry. “The surcharge viewed as a financial penalty for smoking is only a first step; the next is to significantly reward employees who do not smoke.”

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Local News

  • Eleven architects apply to design new Pima County animal facility

    Eleven architectural firms submitted applications to design the new Pima Animal Care Center facility Feb. 24, following a national search that opened in early January. This is the first major step in constructing the new facility, which was approved Nov. 4 as part of a Pima County bond vote. Proposition 415 authorizes the county to borrow up to $22 million to improve Pima Animal Care Center. “We’re extremely pleased with the number of architects applying for this project,” said Facilities Management Director Michael Kirk. “We need the cream of the crop to help us execute our vision for a facility that will better accommodate the thousands of animals brought to us daily for shelter, and allow for more modern animal care practices.”Kirk said the county advertised for a design team that had worked in the recent past on similar projects in terms of size and complexity, with LEED-certified project experience, who had worked with the “construction manager at risk” method of project delivery.The current PACC facility will need to remain open and operational during the construction phase of the new facility, which Kirk said makes this an “extremely challenging project” that requires a creative, flexible design team.

  • Council approves sales tax increase to fund police station

    The Marana Town Council held a special study session in addition to their normally scheduled meeting on Feb. 17 and a few major decisions were made.Marana came one step closer to a new police station. At the end of the study session on Tuesday, the Marana Town Council unanimously agreed to initiate the process to adopt a dedicated 0.5 cent sales tax.“I think it is a real positive thing, obviously,” said Marana Police Chief Terry Rozema. “The council and the town continue to move this project in a very positive direction. It is a great thing for the town, it is a great thing for the community and I think, of course, it will help our department grow more and get better and better.”The council approved the sales tax on the condition that it is only in effect until the money to pay for the station is raised. The initial estimates are $18 million, though a final number will be determined later in the process and could be adjusted down if the cost of the station is less than $18 million. According to Marana Town Manager Gilbert Davidson, this is the first of seven steps that will lead to the completed police station being built and paid off when the sales tax period expires. Conservative estimates have the tax expiring in 2018.The town will now go through the process of getting the tax raise implemented, which includes notifying the public as well as the state. In addition, the town will identify and select a construction project manager and hope to have the position filled by May at the latest.

  • Give blood in March

    During Red Cross Month in March, the American Red Cross reminds eligible blood donors that it doesn’t take a cape or superpowers to be a hero. By donating blood, donors can become a hero for patients in need.Red Cross Month is dedicated to the everyday heroes who support the Red Cross mission by giving blood, volunteering their time, learning lifesaving skills or making a financial contribution.The need for blood is constant. The Red Cross depends on blood donor heroes in communities across the nation to collect enough blood to meet the needs of patients at approximately 2,600 hospitals nationwide. Donors with all blood types are needed, particularly those with types O negative, A negative and B negative. To learn more about donating blood and to schedule an appointment, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).How to donate blood: Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.


  • See an orchestral performance of 'The General' this weekend

    Last year, Tucson favorite ChamberLab set a live orchestra to Buster Keaton's classic Civil War silent film "The General." This weekend, the show is getting a rare second run.Chris Black, who founded ChamberLab, says last year this was the show everyone was devastated to have missed."We did it right on Easter weekend, or around then, so a lot of people were out of town. People didn't know how awesome it was going to be," Black said, adding that this is the show he's been asked to repeat above all the others."If you haven't seen Buster Keaton before, he's just incredible. I don't know how he does what he does. This no special effects, no anything, just pure deranged athleticism a he leaps around and takes all kinds of chances with his life," Black explains. "It's about 78 minutes and all but about 15 minutes of it is train chases—so it's action packed."This time, ChamberLab will be filming the event for DVD and digital download. They're running an IndieGoGo, from which proceeds are being split up between production costs for the filming and paying the musicians. "It's just to make sure that we stay healthy and that we pay the musicians for the really ridiculous amount of rehearsal we'll be putting them through for the next week," Black said, noting that while his shows usually just split up the profits from ticket sales, that's just not enough for the amount of work people are putting into this. "Everyone is really amazing that they're giving us their time in the way that they have been I'm trying to get a little bit more into their pockets."

  • ‘Still Alice’ bravely battles Alzheimer’s

    This film’s heartfelt and frightening look at the early onset of Alzheimer’s leaves viewers to ponder and question their own mortality.  It offers the unpleasant and unfair ending to a brilliant life, the result of a ruthless disease that attacks, degrades and then destroys one’s mind over time.  The movie feels like a punch to the stomach for audiences, as it calculates the disease’s heaviest toll; the loss of one’s ability to reflect back on their most precious moments accumulated over a lifetime.  It focuses on one family’s response to Alzheimer’s, underscoring the need for acceptance and understanding of this terrible life sentence.  The movie saddens and shocks in a world where one’s Bucket List of all the must-do sights, sounds and tastes to remember before death, are replaced by the disoriented, forgotten and mistaken lists of an Alzheimer’s sufferer. Academy Award winner Julianne Moore is phenomenal as Dr. Alice Howland, a married mother of three, who is diagnosed at the age of 50 with Alzheimer’s.  Ironically, Howland is a renowned linguistics professor at Columbia University and understands, better than most, the difficult and unpleasant journey ahead for her and the Howland family. Moore’s chilling transformation in physical demeanor and mental acuity, as her condition worsens, leaves the audience in the uncomfortable position of bystander--wanting to help, but unable to do so.  Whether it’s answering the simple questions Howland has placed in her phone or seeing a family member go unrecognized, viewers can’t help but feel unnerved and disheartened seeing Moore’s sad story unfold before their eyes. Based upon first-time author Dr. Lisa Genova’s 2007 best-selling novel by the same name, “Still Alice” superbly illustrates the struggles and coping mechanisms used by Moore as she attempts to slow down the disease. The film, though, doesn’t go nearly far enough in describing the vastly different relationships Howland develops with her children. As a result, the supporting cast equates to average overall, leaving the Oscar-winning Moore to cope and carry the film herself, alone—just as Alice must do.This story is Moore’s to live and tell, in the moment.  Her courageous fight reminds us to cherish our memories and live today.  We are a society of etched memories stored on Go-Pro videos and selfie-sticks for reflection later.  But what if there were no later, only a now? It’s that question which “Still Alice” answers unabashedly, triumphantly raising awareness to Alzheimer’s and its frightening aftermath following diagnosis.Grade: B

  • Sippin' Social - Monthly gathering at Poppy Kitchen

    If not for the view alone, which overlooks miles of winding desert scenery and encapsulates the distant downtown skyline, Poppy Kitchen is worth a try for an inexpensive yet upscale happy hour experience.Staff with Tucson Local Media gave the new establishment a try this month for the regularly scheduled Sippin’ Social, a public event that allows readers a chance to share their voice for everything newspaper related.Opened in February and located at the 3770 E. Sunrise Drive in the prestigious La Paloma Resort, Poppy Kitchen offers a bar happy hour Monday through Friday from 3:30 – 6:30 p.m. and daily specials on Sundays and Mondays that feature half-priced bottles of wine. Saturdays feature a 10:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. happy hour.Poppy’s is suitable for any demographic. It has a kid’s menu that features such basic options as grilled cheese sandwich, while its regular menu features delights like duck breast, rib eye steak and salmon. Vegetarian options are also available, as are gluten-free items. Those arriving for a social gathering, such as was the scenario in our case, will be pleased to find a full bar including a handful of wines, craft beers and infused cocktails. I gave a try to the Oak Creek Amber Ale ($4.50), brewed out of Sedona. This beer was pleasantly malty and clean with a hint of bitterness trailing and a scent of hop flowers. At a mild 5-percent alcohol-by-volume beer, the amber is mellow enough to enjoy more than one of, and offers a flavorful experience with a touch of caramel balance.The beer paired well with an order of the crispy goat cheese ($9), pecan crusted and fried, and with fig jam, roasted garlic cloves, and pumpernickel toast.


  • IRHS advances to state semis

    Ironwood Ridge scored the first six points of overtime and shocked No. 1 Cienega 47-43 to advance to the state semi-finals.Lanea Tuiasasopo scored the first five points in overtime for the Nighthawks. Lexy Ram missed a runner, but Tuiasasopo was there for the putback. The senior then drove the lane and her lay-in made it 42-38. She added a foul shot after being fouled in the lane two possessions later.The Nighthawks got a Natalie Bartle free throw to go up six, but her second free throw was wiped out by a lane violation. For a moment it looked like that lost point might come back to hurt them. Cienega’s Kelaiah Dillard buried a three and less than four seconds later Treyana Clay got the steal and the lay-up to cut the lead down to one.For the second straight possession the Nighthawks struggled with the Bobcat press, but eventually got the ball into the frontcourt. Cienega had a chance to trap the ball handler in the corner, but committed a quick foul to stop the clock.Ironwood Ridge missed both foul shots, but Ran grabbed the offensive rebound and was quickly fouled herself and made one-of-two.The Nighthawks got the ball back, and were pressured in the backcourt until they found Ram all alone behind the defense. Ram took the pass, considered trying the pull the ball back out, but changed directions and converted the lay-up to essentially seal the win with less than 10 seconds to play.

  • Marana dance team finishes fourth in the nation

    The Marana High School Hip Hop Dance Team took fourth place at the National Dance Team Championships earlier this month. It is the team’s third straight top-six finish, and their highest ever.The Tigers competed in two events, taking fourth out of 69 teams in the Small Varsity Hip Hop competition and also competed at Small Varsity Pom, but did not place in that 89-team event. To qualify for a small varsity event teams must have 14 or fewer dancers. The Tigers use 12 and carry one alternate. The competition was fierce, as less than a tenth of a point separated the Tigers from third place, and that was also true of the second place finisher from first and third from second. “The top teams are all neck and neck,” said Marana Head Coach Kandace Hale.What makes the National Dance Team Championships so competitive is that all of the teams have to qualify to participate. “Out of all the teams we competed against, all of them were first, second or third in a competition,” said Hale. “You had to qualify.”

  • Sports Overview: Nighthawks, Lions still alive in tourney

    The Ironwood Ridge and Pusch Ridge girls basketball teams have both advanced to the quarterfinals of their respective state basketball tournaments. Fifth-seeded Pusch Ridge will meet No. 4 Safford on Thursday after beating Alchesay 42-29 last Saturday in the Division III state playoffs. The Lions opened up the game on a 13-4 run and never looked back. Ironwood Ridge had to win a pair of games to make it to the quarterfinals and now has to face No. 1 Cienega on Wednesday night. The game features two southern Arizona teams, so it was moved to Amphi High School to reduce travel. The Nighthawks beat No. 8 Cactus Shadows 55-47 in the second round of the Division II state playoffs. It was a close game until the final quarter. The Nighthawks trailed by two, but outscored the Falcons 18-8 over the final eight minutes, thanks in part to a trio of technical fouls. The Nighthawks’ Lanea Tuiasosopo and Natalie Bartle had 15 points each, and Lexy Ram added 13 points of her own, including seven in the fourth quarter. 

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