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  • Female body found at Craycroft and Sunrise identified as Ann Pardo

    Update 4:30 p.m. The Pima County Medical Examiner has confirmed the body is that of missing woman Ann Pardo.Original Story:Deputies with the Rincon Patrol District responded to a 911 call at Craycroft Road just south of Sunrise Drive at approximately 4:13 p.m., about about a human body found a the wash. Detectives with the Sheriff’s Homicide Unit responded and took over the investigation.A fanny pack possibly belonging to the deceased was found on a ledge near the sidewalk on Craycroft Road. The body was located at the bottom of a large retaining wall. A set of keys to local missing woman Ann Pardo's house were found with the body. Pardo had been reported missing by her husband on March 31.Officials were not immediately able to determine if the deceased was Pardo because of decomposition. No signs of foul play were observed on scene. Detectives will need to rely on DNA tests and dental records. An autopsy will be performed by the Office of the Medical Examiner. Check back for more details on this developing story.

  • Courage to fight: Steele shares personal story of sexual abuse in effort to fight for women’s rights

    When it comes to sexual abuse, talking to the police takes courage, trusting a family member or therapist with the details is hard, but speaking out on the floor of the Arizona House of Representatives to stop a bill from violating women’s rights takes guts.Guts is what Arizona lawmaker Victoria Steele, D-Tucson, had last month when she spoke out against Senate Bill 1318. In what became a contentious four-hour debate on March 12, Steele could have just disagreed with major aspects of the bill, which on its face is said to just stop taxpayer dollars from funding abortions, but in the fine print started out by allowing abortion doctor’s addresses to become public record, and requiring the victims of incest and rape to convince insurance panels that insurance should cover an abortion.Instead of making the same argument that had already been expressed, Steele quieted the room by talking about her own abuse. Her own abuse that she kept secret for decades. Her own abuse where she thought she was the only victim, only to find out years later that there were others.“I didn’t even plan on testifying,” Steele said. “After the recess, I thought I need to go up there and I needed to say something. If I would have just said ‘yes’, it wouldn’t have reached them. I wanted (fellow representatives) to see this bill has real effects with real human beings.”While Steele has problems with a lot of language in the bill, which appears to be on its way to the governor’s desk to be signed into law, she takes personal exception to what it would mean to victims of sexual crimes.SB1318 states that rape and incest victims who also get pregnant could qualify for insurance to cover an abortion. However, there is a catch. Those victims, Steele stressed, would have to testify and/or convince an insurance agent or panel that they are victims of a crime.

  • Buyer’s market: Foothills’ luxury home market improves in 2014, with price adjustments

    The Catalina Foothills’ luxury home market rebounded last year after seeing its worst performance in 10 years.John Schneider, a Foothills specialist with Tierra Antigua Realty, says that the 47 homes that sold in the $1 million-and-up bracket in 2014 represented a 40 percent improvement over 2013, which, after modest gains in 2011 and 2012, was the worst year for the most luxurious homes since 2003.After a sluggish first half of the year, sales at the highest price points accelerated dramatically. “That market in a sense recovered in 2014, or showed a strong upward movement,” Schneider says.On the other hand, the sub-$1 million sales, which represent the vast majority of Foothills transactions, lost their momentum. That market bottomed out in 2011, then climbed steadily until slipping last year— at about 700 homes sold, this broad price band showed an 18 percent loss versus 2013.Schneider isn’t too sure why— possibly due to tighter lending standards, but those were in place the year prior, too.

  • AZ Distance Classic 2015 continues growing

    March is here, and in Oro Valley that means it’s time to get moving.The Arizona Distance Classic is back for its 11th consecutive year, and it’s shaping up to be bigger and better than ever.After a highly successful 2014 event in which 1,800 registrants participated, Race Director David Babner has set the bar higher than ever this go-around, expecting to draw between 2,000 and 2,500 racers.Babner credits quality partnerships with the Town of Oro Valley, Visit Tucson, and the Hilton El Conquistador for the event’s continued, growing success, but adds that word of mouth has been important as well.“The location of the race sells itself,” said Babner. “There is a lot of word of mouth, people telling others how beautiful it is, and how it’s one of the best half-marathons out there.”To date, runners from 43 states and others from out-of-country have registered. Babner hopes even those not participating in the marathon will bring loved ones along.

  • Gnocchi at Trattoria Pina

    When it comes to Trattoria Pina, located on Swan Road just south of Sunrise Drive, the restaurant really is a family affair. In no dish is that fact more evident than the gnocchi with pesto. The owner’s 83-year-old father, Cosmo Ali, makes the gnocchi fresh by hand, while the kitchen pairs it with your choice of sauce: a creamy herby pesto, a classic marinara or a spicy arrabiata. For lunch, the dish is served alone for $10 or paired with soup or a salad for $17 at dinner for a full entrée.  Which sauce you choose is clearly a matter of taste, but consider that creamy pesto. When accompanied by those impossibly smooth and tender potato dumplings, the sauce combines a traditional herbaceous pesto with a comforting cream sauce. You’ll likely find yourself sopping up the sauce with pieces of complimentary freshly baked rosemary focaccia while staring out of the restaurant’s large window to a lovely view of the mountain. There’s a reason Trattoria Pina has been open over 20 years. We’re not saying that it’s all because of the gnocchi, as the restaurant has a range of stellar pasta and entree dishes, but it’s definitely part of it. Gnocchi with pesto

  • Fini’s Landing a local success story

    There’s no need to call “Bar Rescue’s” Jon Taffer on this one.But like many bar/restaurant stories, Fini’s Landing began with a leap of faith when friends and former lifeguards Scott Mencke and Doug “Fini” Finical rolled the dice by incorporating their love of beaches and aquatics into a desert-based Catalina Foothills setting just north of the Swan and Sunrise intersection. But the concept took off. There weren’t many bars in the area, and even less local places to kick back, so much of the area’s crowd defaulted to Fini’s Landing as the best option – but sustaining those customers was the challenge Fini’s overcame to become known as one of the areas most popular establishments.Doing so took some hard work, not only in renovating the previous location and building a menu and staff, but also in getting their new brand out.But after partnering with such entities as Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance and the Ritz-Carlton, Finnie’s has seen its patron base continue to improve since opening on Superbowl Sunday in 2012. “We see our average guest one-plus time per week, and many of our guests are here three-plus times per week,” said Fini’s manager Tim Stevens. “It’s a really comfortable environment that fits a number of demographics.”

  • UA Receives $2.9 million grant

    The University of Arizona’s Center for the Philosophy of Freedom, which offers students and researchers an opportunity to examine political philosophy in a variety of contexts, has received a $2.9 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The gift to the center, part of the UA’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, will be used to help the center collaborate with the undergraduate degree program in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and Law in hiring a postdoctoral fellow, as well as help the center build a network of philosophy, politics and economics — or PPE — programs spanning several universities and four continents. In the process, it will help create new hybrid online and traditional PPE degree programs, including a program in ethics, economy and entrepreneurship — designed for high school teachers — and six online courses geared toward undergraduates. In addition, the gift from the Templeton Foundation will enable the center to expand its publishing program, including scholarly articles and books, and support its editorship of Social Philosophy and Policy, which has the highest circulation among Anglo-American philosophy journals in the Western world.“The UA’s political philosophy program has been ranked No. 1 in the world for several years running, which is due in no small part to the strength of the Center for the Philosophy of Freedom,” said John Paul Jones, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. “This generous gift will not only benefit the center, it will also facilitate the exciting collaboration between the center and the UA’s top-ranked Eller College of Management and McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship. These researchers’ efforts to reinvent their fields illustrate the UA’s continued leadership in interdisciplinary scholarship.”In addition to his role as director of the center, Schmidtz holds an appointment at the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship. Robert F. Lusch, the McGuire Center’s director and professor of marketing, has a reciprocal affiliation with the Center for the Philosophy of Freedom. The two are collaborating to fulfill the grant requirements.James H. Moore Jr., president and CEO of the UA Foundation, called the Templeton Foundation’s support of the Center for the Philosophy of Freedom “a tremendous expression of confidence in the University of Arizona.”

  • “Stopping the Revolving Door of Prisons” Foothills Forum March 10

    The Foothills Forum will present “Stopping the Revolving Door of Prisons” from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 10, at Skyline Country Club, 5200 E. Saint Andrews Drive.Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Pyle will be the featured speakers at the forum about what happens when the 700,000 individuals released from state and federal prisons every year return to their communities.Rothschild and Pyle will discuss:- The causes behind the growth in the US prison population, the impact incarceration has on human lives, and the crushing burden it imposes on our already strained correctional system and state.- How local community programs, such as Second Chance Tucson, are providing mentoring, job training and job placement programs to help ensure these returning citizens are able to live a productive life.Also schedule to speak at the forum is Lakeesha Harvey and Sam Nagy two people who were previously arrested and served time drug use, but since that time have worked hard to turn their lives around.

  • Falcon girls fall in state semis

    Catalina Foothills’ streak of five straight girls soccer state championship finals was snapped on Wednesday with a 4-3 penalty kicks loss to No. 1 Notre Dame in the state semi-finals.With each team converting three of their first four penalty kicks, the Saints’ goalie made a big save on Foothills’ final kick, then Notre Dame’s Hannah Oslan buried the final shot to win the game.Things did not go well for the Foothills boys basketball team either, as they fell to Tucson High 60-50 in the opening game of the Division II/Section VI .The Badgers broke the game open with a 14-3 third quarter run that pushed their five point lead to 17. The Falcons made a comeback, scoring 23 points in the fourth quarter and trimming the lead down to 10.Cholla used a big second quarter to down CDO 58-44 and advance to meet Tucson High in the sectional finals. The Chargers outscored the Dorados 18-9 in the second quarter and then held them to just six points in the third.For CDO is it the likely end of their season as they had to win the sectional tournament to have any hopes of making the state playoffs. 

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