- Your Voice
Around 8:30 a.m. on March 23, Marana Police Department (MPD) responded to a home near Cortaro and I-10 in reference an unknown problem call. The officers ultimately arrested 23 year-old Cody William Clark for criminal damage.The 9-1-1 caller was concerned for their friend, 22-year-old Austin Gann and his whereabouts, so the Pima County Sheriff’s Department deployed an aircraft to locate the Gann’s vehicle according to PCSD Deputy Courtney Rodriguez. PCSD's aircraft was able to locate and lead officers to the location of the Gann’s vehicle where they found his body in the vehicle with a single gunshot wound injury. Gann pronounced dead at the scene.“The vehicle was found near of Cortaro and I-10 with an adult man with obvious signs of trauma,” said Marana Police Department’s Sergeant Chris Warren.MPD Detectives took over the investigation and immediately identified Clark, who was already in custody for Criminal Damage, as a person of interest in the homicide.Police say that the two men knew each other and Clark claims to have joined the military right out of high school and came home about a year ago. He told MPD that he had been discharged.
For the second straight year Marana High School won the Pit Crew Challenge for Arizona high school students. The event, put on by Universal Technical Institute (UTI), was held at Bondurant Raceway late last month.The winner was to receive a large rolling tool box and tools, but since the Tigers won the tool box in 2014, they will instead be granted $6,000 in equipment for their school auto shop program.School auto teacher Don Zell was in the process of submitting a list of tools to UTI, and all told the school has won nearly $20,000 in equipment and tools from the various competitions the Marana Auto Club has entered. Although Zell says that he is not a competitive person himself, he sees the value of competitions that have low entry fees but big payouts for teams that do well.“A small amount of effort and expense can make a big difference,” said Zell.Marana won the event in 3:22.78, over 44 seconds faster than second place Mesa Dobson.“You are representing your school and everyone in it, the district, and there are just a lot of people looking at you,” said Isaac Ballard, a junior who also serves as the club’s vice president. “It is intense.”
In recent months, there have been a lot of discussions about the so-called “Lake Marana,” which is a flooded borrow pit at the northern end of Gladden Farms near Interstate 10. Some, such as bird watchers and wildlife observers, love the lake. However, some area residents worry about water levels, stagnant water and a potential insect problem. Another group that has been affected by the growing lake are disc golf players. Disc golf, also known as Frisbee golf, is essentially golf played with Frisbees. Instead of holes, there are targets, baskets made of flexible chains placed on top of a pole and the goal is to get the disc inside the target in as few throws as possible.Though there are several options for the town in dealing with the space, right now officials are favoring maintaining the area as an amenity for the town, keeping it a lake year round. Doing this would eliminate half the course.“The current course in the El Rio Open Space area, when not flooded, is a gem and will be difficult if not impossible to duplicate,” said Marana Parks and Recreation Director Tom Ellis. Not only does the town like the attraction that the lake has become, but the cost to insure that more flooding does not occur might be quite steep. These two factors seem to have superseded the desires of the Marana Disc Golf Club. “The town can’t afford to fix the break in the levee to prevent further flooding, and the disc golf community loses one of the best courses in all of Arizona that attracted multiple local players and six world champions in past tournaments,” said Marana Disc Golf Club President Chad Mittenberger.
The Marana Town Council held a special study session last week to hear a variety of subjects, including items on the proposed Marana Main Street and adjustments to fees.Town Planning Director Ryan Mahoney made a lengthy presentation regarding the creation of a 3-D Visualization Project to help promote the Marana Main Street. The project would create a “three-dimensional fly-through” that could be used to show the vision the town has of the proposed Main Street/downtown area to both residents and developers.“This project will be a tool we can share with the development community,” said Mahoney.Mahoney explained the project would be a 3-D modeling concept not too different from the one the council viewed of the potential arena at Heritage Park, but that this one would be “much larger in scope.”“It will end up as a fly-through, an experience for the viewer coming off the freeway and entering the Main Street area,” Mahoney added.One concern the town has had was that everyone has a different vision of what a downtown or Main Street area is and this will help create a unified vision for what the end result will be.
The town of Marana hosted the 37th annual Founders’ Day over the weekend. The event, hosted by the Marana Heritage Conservancy, started off with the traditional parade, which began at Marana Middle School and continued around the Marana Municipal Complex and Ora Mae Harn Park. The parade featured floats from every school in the Marana district as well as the bands from both Marana and Mountain View high schools. Several local businesses and politicians also sponsored floats, the local Girl’s Scouts organization and BMX riders. As has become tradition, vintage tractors, part of the annual contest, traced the parade route, but this year they were joined by classic military vehicles. The festivities continued on at the park. There were plenty events for the kids, including jumping castles, inflatable slides and crafts. Food vendors supplied a wide variety of things to eat and many local businesses had vendor booths to promote business and support for the event.
When the Marana Town Council approved the temporary half-cent sales tax increase to fund the new police station it was the first of seven steps in funding and building of the new police station.The first step was securing the funding source, which will be the sales tax. The council approved a temporary half-cent increase in the town’s sales tax. This will be in effect until $18 million is raised and then it will immediately go back down to 2 percent. The town is now in a formal notification process where they have to advertise the sales tax increase for 60 days. Once that is completed in mid-April the sales tax will have to be officially passed by the council.“We’ll come back to council with a formal resolution,” explained Marana Town Manager Gilbert Davidson. Once passed the sales tax will have to go to the state, which will take up to 60 days to process. As of now the target implementation of the tax is in July. Projections have the tax in effect for 3-4 years.One the tax is formally passed in April, the town will begin the process of hiring a construction project manager.
Next fall there will be another school option in the Marana area. The Leman Academy of Excellence is scheduled. The Leman Academy is named for Kevin Leman, a renowned psychologist and author. He has become a radio and television personality, educator, speaker, and author of over 45 books on parenting, marriage, and family living. “I’d like a school that takes some of the principles that I have written about and talked about for years and implement them in a way that makes sense.” said Leman.The idea is to launch a tuition-free school and learning environment based on a Classical Education platform.“There is not another tuition free classical charter school in Southern Arizona,” said Dennis O’Reilly, the Leman Academy Head of Schools.Classical Education is based on the three stages of learning: grammar, logic and rhetoric.
Northwest Fire units are currently working several different auto accident scenes.There is an overturned vehicle on Interstate 10 East bound approaching Avra Valley, according to a release sent out by Northwest Fire's Adam Goldberg, noting that scene has one patient and the severity of injuries is not known.There is also a two vehicle accident with at least two people injured at Silverbell and Cortaro. Ambulances are on their way.Traffic in both incidents is restricted.Goldberg's statement also contained a reminder to take extra time and slow down, allow for longer braking distances and always wear your seatbelt during the rain.This story is still developing check back for updates.
The Marana Regional Airport doesn’t have an air traffic control tower, but town and airport staff are hoping Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick can help make one a reality.Kirkpatrick, in the area last week as part of her first district visit of this session, sat with airport manager Steve Miller and others from the town Thursday, listening to how the airport can improve to keep up with the area’s growth. It’s not cheap, however – Miller estimated the tower would cost about $1 million to build – and the municipal airport will need help from Washington.As a member of the aviation subcommittee of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, Kirkpatrick said she’s in a good position to bring the tower issue to the committee and start looking for funding. “The timing’s good because we are going to be doing an FAA reauthorization in committee this year,” she said.The two-runway Marana Regional Airport is a reliever for Tucson International and handles about 90,000 takeoffs and landings a year, a combination of local and itinerant general aviation, charter flights and military. Improvements to the airport would not just address safety but economic development, officials said.
Marana has a lake for now and there is a very real possibility it may remain. To be technical about it, the area being nicknamed “Lake Marana” is a former borrow pit from the construction of I-10 at the north end of Continental Ranch that has filled with water, forming a lake of sorts. The lake has attracted a large number of birds to the area, but there have also been issues with residents complaining about the smell and insects coming from the water. The town is continuing to monitor the situation and is trying to come up with a permanent solution, one that will benefit those who are enjoying the lake and the wildlife drawn to the water, and those residents who live nearby.While there are multiple solutions to the plan, the town would like to find a way to make it a permanent amenity for the town.“We have engaged a consultant to advise us on the stability of the pit as a permanent body of water and what that would entail from a physical construction standpoint,” said Town Engineer Keith Brann. “The consultant will also look at the surrounding subdivisions in regards to their concerns on flood hazards.”“I think everyone, since it happened, sees it as a potential opportunity to retain some water in this area and create a true wildlife center for the community, for the region,” said Marana Town Manager Gilbert Davidson. “This whole area is part of the wildlife corridor that everyone talks about. I don’t see why we wouldn’t, as a community, want to protect this thing and enhance this thing and really make it a wildlife corridor. This thing has drawn in, not only birds, but larger animals that are watering and feeding in this area now. That’s an incredible thing.”The spot has become popular for birders and other wildlife aficionados, as well as families in the area.
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.
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.
The Town of Oro Valley and Town of Marana will once again partner to host the third annual Move Across 2 Ranges hiking challenge on Saturday, February 28, 2015, from 6:45 a.m. to noon.Move Across 2 Ranges gives outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and abilities the opportunity to hike, stroll or trail run two beautiful mountain ranges in the Marana and Oro Valley area: the Tortolitas and Santa Catalinas.Participants can choose one of four hiking challenges:• Mighty (my size) Move - 5 miles• Major Move - 10 miles• Mega Move - 15 miles
On Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 3:49 p.m., Northwest Fire District crews were dispatched to an area on the frontage road just sound of Twin Peaks and Eastbound I-10 in reports to a vehicle rollover.When crews arrived on scene, they discovered that the car rolled several times and landed upside down. The man had been ejected from the car during the accident and was trapped underneath it.According to NWFD spokesperson Adam Goldberg, after crews worked for 20 minutes rescuing the man, they were able to get him free and NWFD paramedics evaluated and discovered that the man had suffered fatal injuries.It is unclear if the man was wearing his seatbelt at the time. Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) started an investigation at the scene. Northwest Fire reminds everyone to always wear a seatbelt at all times in a moving vehicle.
It was a case that looked like it might never be solved.But 28 years after a homeless man discovered the body of 16-year-old murder victim Deanna Lee Criswell in the town of Marana, the cold case is no longer cold.When police initially recovered Criswell’s body, her face was so badly decomposed that identifying her was impossible. She had no identification on her, and no missing person’s report had been filed on her behalf. From the beginning, police were at a standstill not only in identifying the victim, but also in determining a suspect since there were no witnesses to the shooting that took her life.Criswell was buried as a Jane Doe, and for more than two decades the case remained stagnant.But in March 2009, Marana Police Department (MPD) Crime Scene Supervisor Tom Mooney reopened the investigation after he saw photos of the crime scene.