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  • Tip line designed to make Marana schools safer

    The Marana Unified School District, like most school districts, frowns upon bullying, violence and substance abuse. Unlike many districts MUSD is trying to go the extra mile to do something about it. The District has set up SPEAK UP! Tip lines at the three area high schools so students can anonymously report on incidents of bullying, violence, drug or alcohol abuse. “These tip lines are another tool for our students to take an active stand against bullying, alcohol, or anything which affects the well-being of their campus.,” explained Tamara Crawley, Marana School District’s Director of Public Relations. “They offer a 24 Hour safe and anonymous option for students and parents to speak up.”The tip line debuted in late October at Marana High School and has since been implemented at Mountain View and MCAT. Each school has a tip line specific to that high school, where students can leave an anonymous message, which is reviewed each school day by school administrators. “All reports will be reviewed by that schools’ administration,” Crawley added. “All credible reports are investigated and acted upon in accordance with District policies.“All of that information is then investigated and acted on if necessary” said Marana High School Dean of Students Sarah Whaley who oversees the program. “We want to have a way for those in our community, parents, and students to pass along information that they feel will help keep our school safe and secure.”

  • Local finds her creative niche

    Sticks and stones may break your bones, but for Stacy Gowler, they make great custom cutting boards and coasters.Stacy, a Tucson native and Marana resident, has spent the last year focusing her attention on her custom home goods, which she sells out of her home, online, and at local artist fairs. Her coasters are made from her own secret mixture of concrete that is smooth, light and durable, and her cutting boards are made from 100 percent bamboo that she cuts down to size. But that is simply where her products begin. These products are then customized with laser engraving.The University of Arizona grad spent some time in school studying architecture. Though her final degree wasn’t within the field, she always enjoyed making and assembling the smaller projects, such as the models. And during her tenure she learned how to use a laser engraving machine, how to pour concrete and woodworking skills. Since 2012 Stacy was working within the real estate industry, but quickly realized that wasn’t where her passion was.“I wanted to get back into being able to make things more,” Stacy said. “So I finally decided to jump in and see if it was something that I could actually make money in.” Using a facility in Phoenix, Stacy would gather her supplies and make the 100-plus mile trek once a week to work on and create her coasters and cutting boards. 

  • Season in Review: All-Northwest performers

    The 2014 fall sports season has come to a close for teams on the Northwest side. Multiple state titles were won, winning streaks were had and records were broken. Here are the best of the best, your All-Northwest selections.Boys Team of the Year: Catalina Foothills Boys There were so many good teams out there. The Ironwood Ridge football team was arguably the best team in Southern Arizona but stumbled in the playoffs. The CDO boys golf was also No. 2 in the state, but in the end a state title is the ultimate goal. Girls Team of the Year: Catalina Foothills Girls Cross CountryThe Ironwood Ridge girls volleyball team was dominant, but ultimately it was the Falcons who won a state title. Story of the Year: Mountain View football

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  • OV council amends code for signs, driveways

    On Nov. 19, the Oro Valley Town Council amended two portions of the town’s zoning code. One portion dealt with businesses temporary signs during extended road construction periods and the other gave the town engineer discretion when it came to where a complex can have an access point off Tangerine Road. Both were approved unanimously with a 6-0 vote. Councilman Mike Zinkin was not present.There was little discussion about the access point topic, which included wording within the zoning code to allow the town engineer to take into account public safety when an access point does not fit with the current separation requirements. The current code states that driveways must be at least 1,000 feet from another driveway or street, and at least 330 feet from a main intersection. The change allows an access point to a property outside of these constraints only when it poses a safety concern.For temporary signage, the current town code allowed for a 16-square-foot banner, with a maximum height of four feet. Each business was allowed one for a maximum of 30 days per permit, which could only be renewed four times a year. Each time the sign was renewed, there was a permit fee of $50.The amended code was brought to town staff’s attention after numerous case-by-case scenarios continued to come through council, such as the property at Rancho Vistoso Blvd. and Oracle Road during the Oracle Road Expansion Process.

  • High Five: Week of Nov. 26

    1 Bring the entire family to Fantasia live in concert with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra accompanying scenes from Walt Disney’s original 1940 animated film as well as the 2000 version. Details: 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 29; 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 30; Tucson Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave.; $28-$84; 882-8585. 2 Enjoy traditional and contemporary folk standards along with original compositions by singer/songwriter Judy Collins. Details: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2; Fox Theatre, 17 W. Congress St.; $22-$55; 547-3040. 3 Celebrate Christmas with the Celts performing a combination of fiery Scottish/Irish traditional instrumental tunes and vocals as well as their own hybrid style of Celtic pop rock original songs. Details: 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 29; Diamond Center, Desert Diamond Casino, I-19 and Pima Mine Road; $15 and up; www.startickets.com

  • Foothills art show

    The Foothills Artists’ Group will be holding its annual Art Show and Sale at the Foothills Clubhouse off Tucson Estates Parkway on Sunday, Dec. 7, from 1 to 4 p.m. The art group began in 2005, with the artists meeting weekly from October through April.  Each artist brings a different perspective to these classes.  Members’ skills range from beginning to professional.  They bring a diverse collection of fine art.Instructors teach a variety of art forms including drawing, watercolor, acrylic and oil painting, pastels, colored pencils and many other techniques.  The Art Show reflects many unique affordable offerings of fine art including all types of mediums and styles ranging from traditional, modern, contemporary and abstract.   Admission to the show is free, open to the public and refreshments will be served. 


  • ‘Mockingjay’ sets up viewers for 2015 finale

    With Hollywood trending in the direction of more movie franchises, viewers are beginning to see problems down the road. The same directors that create these mega-popular films are the ones trying to roll these collections into one long, continuous story. Miss one movie along the way--or fail to read the next book by opening weekend--and you may not be able to stay up on the running plot when the next film debuts. Now throw in release dates of every year for these epic saga movies and you’ve got theater audiences either completely bought-in to the product line or baffled altogether as to what’s just happened. This predicament is where “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1” finds itself...the third movie in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy novel split up into two parts--all in an attempt to fully capitalize (financially) on the franchise’s shining end next November.“Mockingjay - Part 1” faithfully returns its fine “Hunger Games” cast, led once again by Jennifer Lawrence as rebel Katniss Everdeen. Staunch fans will marvel at the film’s immediate starting point, picking up exactly where last year’s “Catching Fire” left off. We find out that District 13 actually survived total destruction from the Capital and a President Coin (Julianne Moore) is massing a rebellion from a headquarters deep underground. Lawrence’s character Katniss must inspire the people of Panem to take President Coin’s words and turn them into action against the Capital and President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks resume their unusual “Hunger Games” roles, as does the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in his final film appearance.True “Hunger Games” loyalists will enjoy this film’s set up for the final chapter in 2015. It connects enough dots to satisfy the avid readers and those who’ve seen the first two films of this stellar collection. New viewers who use this film as their introduction to the mayhem called “The Hunger Games”, will find themselves overwhelmed with questions and throwing their theater money away by the time the credits roll.The film could have been better served by condensing the first 90 minutes in half, giving us more J-Law in action on the big-screen. I also hungered for more bow & arrow precision from Katniss...and competition among ‘The Games’.  All of these skill-sets and themes nearly absent throughout the film.  Those fan favorites must wait until “Mockingjay - Part 2” and the conclusion before getting screen time.This movie, however, accomplished what it was set out to do; to keep “The Hunger Games” franchise heading towards its climatic ending in November 2015. Although “Mockingjay - Part 1” reassembled its wonderful cast, the plot missed its real target.  What makes “The Hunger Games” trilogy so special are the action scenes between the survivalist in the Quarter Quell competitions and the Districts’ rebels taking the fight to the Capital government. Both quantities of these ingredients were inadequate in “Mockingjay - Part 1”. Director Francis Lawrence, who is also heading up “Part 2”, spent this entire movie gearing us up for 2015’s final act. By holding back more action scenes for the viewers in this film, director Lawrence reduced “Part 1” to mostly dialogue and commentary. While still interesting and relevant to the overall “Hunger Games” timeline, “Mockingjay - Part 1” lost some of its magic that was in abundance for both the original and Catching Fire blockbuster hits. With an overall pedestrian “Part 1” film experience, expect next year’s finale to be the best film of “The Hunger Games” series.Grade: B

  • Tucson Symphony Orchestra to perform Disney classic

    Ask any music connoisseur and they will tell you, compositions are meant to be experienced in the flesh. The modern advancements of iPods, try as they might, simply cannot do justice to the enchantment of a live performance – the way a photograph is not telling of the expansive beauty within a Tucson sunset. This is even more true with the orchestra. There is a carnal syncopation with the soul as wood and brass fuse together to create a symphonic wall of sound. The Tucson Symphony Orchestra is well aware of the magic within a live spectacle, which is why they have decided to take one of cinema’s greatest musical accomplishments and perform it live at the Tucson Music Hall. As part of its “Superpops!” series, the orchestra will be performing Disney’s iconic “Fantasia” live in concert over the holiday weekend.Guest conductor Kietaro Harada will be taking the helm for two performances. Behind the players, an enormous high definition screen will display fan favorites such as “Nutcracker Suite” and “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” from the original 1940 Disney milestone. But the night does not end there. After the orchestra finishes with the eight original shorts from “Fantasia”, they will also perform the entire sequel, “Fantasia 2000.”  The “Superpops!” series is part of a broader vision that blends popular and diverse music entertainers with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. After the orchestra performs the cinematic staple that is “Fantasia”, they will move on to other avenues of music. On Feb. 7 and Feb. 8 the orchestra will hold the “Ultimate Symphonic Rock Show”, which will include music from The Moody Blues, Peter Gabriel, Jethro Tull, Electric Light Orchestra, and David Bowie. On Feb. 28 and March 1 the Orchestra will perform with The Texas Tenors, a vocal group that gained notoriety after appearing on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”. The group blends country, gospel, classical, and Broadway styles of music. Their debut album, “Country Roots-Classical Sound” was the first album to be number one on both the country and classical music charts. The final leg of the four-part “Superpops!” series will feature child phenom Ethan Bortnick on March 28 and March 29. The 12 year old is the youngest performer to headline his own international tour with over 200 concerts. Bortnick is a composer, pianist, and entertainer, playing some familiar melodies such as “Rock Around the Clock”, “Lean On Me”, and “Crocodile Rock”. Bortnick’s performances have raised over $30 million for children’s charities. 

  • Happenings for Week of Nov. 26

    THEATERSaturday to Saturday, Nov. 29-Dec. 20• Catch a performance of the Arizona Theatre Company’s hilarious production of Murder for Two with a perfect blend of music, mayhem and murder. Details: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday; Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave.; $37-$57; 622-2823.Saturday to Sunday,Nov. 29-Dec. 28


  • Marana’s Mr. Baseball

    There is hardly an aspect of baseball in Marana that Allen Gillespie has not had his hand in. Gillespie has taken his love for the game and literally made it his life. He is truly Marana’s “Mr. Baseball.”Gillespie gave up the game for a number of years. Growing up in Casa Grande, Gillespie played baseball until he was 14 years old, when he gave up the game to concentrate on rodeo. He had grown up ranching and began competing in rodeo at age nine. Gillespie later competed in the sport at Central Arizona College, where he made the college national finals, and later professionally for five years. “Rodeo took over,” Gillespie said. “I always loved the game of baseball during that time, but I was set out to be a cowboy.”He eventually moved to Marana and in 2000 he started playing Men’s Senior Baseball League (MSBL) and it lit a spark. “I fell back in love with the game,” Gillespie said. “I started coaching.” He played for 10 years and at the same time his son Garrett started playing Little League. At that point it became a real family affair, something that has not changed. 

  • Season in Review: All-Northwest performers

    The 2014 fall sports season has come to a close for teams on the Northwest side. Multiple state titles were won, winning streaks were had and records were broken. Here are the best of the best, your All-Northwest selections.Boys Team of the Year: Catalina Foothills Boys There were so many good teams out there. The Ironwood Ridge football team was arguably the best team in Southern Arizona but stumbled in the playoffs. The CDO boys golf was also No. 2 in the state, but in the end a state title is the ultimate goal. Girls Team of the Year: Catalina Foothills Girls Cross CountryThe Ironwood Ridge girls volleyball team was dominant, but ultimately it was the Falcons who won a state title. Story of the Year: Mountain View football

  • Basketball tournament updates

    The Marana girls basketball team has won their first three games in the Mountain Lion Shoot-Out. The Tigers will face Cienega for the tournament championship on Wednesday night.The Tigers have not just won their first three games under new coach Camron Dozier, but have dispatched two area opponents, including rival Mountain View.The Tigers opened the event on Monday with a 49-34 win over Salpointe. After going up seven in the first quarter, the Tigers used an 11-4 second quarter run to boost their lead.The Tiger defense was again on point in their win over Mountain View. Marana held the host team to single digit scoring in each of the first three quarters.  It was again another big second quarter run, this time a 17-4 run, that put the game out of reach.

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Catalina Bighorn Sheep Releases

Arizona Game and Fish released 30 Bighorn Sheep in a 2-Day period into the Catalina Mountains ...

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