- Your Voice
Buying a home in Tucson just got easier.The Old Pueblo was selected as a pilot city for “Ready, Set, Own!,” a community program designed to make home-buying more broadly accessible to people who cannot afford a 20 percent down payment, or whose credit conditions might otherwise disqualify them from buying. Sponsored by private mortgage insurance company Radian, the program could potentially expand to additional communities across the nation, but Tucson was selected first because it was particularly hard-hit by the 2008 recession.The program goal is to elevate homeownership in Tucson to at least 55 percent of the population – the level it was at prior to the economic downfall. Currently, statistics show less than 50 percent of Tucson’s adults now own a home – a stark contrast to the 65 percent average across the nation.“That’s not the number you want to have in your community,” said Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, who was present at the Oct. 14 press conference. “It’s really important we get to our goal.”“The benefits of home ownership really do not need to be listed, but let’s just take the broad benefits of strengthening families, strengthening communities, and strengthening cities.”
On October 18, 2014, Officers from the Marana Police Department conducted a warrant sweep searching for subjects who had active DUI warrants issued by the Marana Court. Five people were arrested on a total of 7 warrants. The warrants that were served totaled $11,111.00. Each person arrested was transported and booked into the Pima County Jail.This is the 6th warrant sweep conducted this year by the Marana Police Department. Year to date, a total of 59 arrests have been made for warrants that totaled $139,984 in total bond money.The funding for this warrant sweep came from a grant from the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS). The Marana Police Department was awarded $25,000 in overtime funds allocated for warrant sweeps targeting subjects who have active warrants for DUI and traffic related crimes.The Marana Police Department will be conducting additional warrant sweeps in the near future.
Theresa Dunlap can now be on her son’s birth certificate.It’s no small detail for Theresa and her partner of seven years, Christina Betters. The two had considered traveling to California to marry and for Christina to deliver their little boy, who is due this week, so both women could be officially listed as his parents. With the legalization Oct. 17 of gay marriage in Arizona, they don’t have to.The northwest-side pair was among the first same-sex couples to get their marriage licenses at the Pima County courthouse within hours of the decision by a federal judge declaring Arizona’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. Theresa never thought she’d see the day. “I just wanted what other married couples have,” she said.
Ground has broken on the new Tucson Premium Outlets in Marana and things are running smoothly, according to one of the key developers of the property. David Scholl of Vintage Partners gave an update on the shopping center, as well as plans for the surrounding area, during last Wednesday’s Marana Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Scholl said he and his partners are still stunned at how quickly things have come together since closing on the property last December. “We got an amazing amount of things done in seven months,” Scholl said. “We got to take a quick breath, relax for a day, then get right back to it.“We’re just getting started but already an amazing amount of work has been done in the last seven months,” Scholl added. To get to the point where they are today, a number of people had to work in conjunction to make the project happen. “To watch that group of people pull it off is something I have never seen in 30 years as a developer,” explained Scholl.
Morgan Goss has some severe food allergies, but that has not stopped her from trying to become a chef. In fact, it has inspired her. The recent Mountain View High School graduate is in culinary school with hopes of one day serving people with the same limitations she has. Goss is persuing her dream of being a chef and one day opening up a restaurant that caters to those who suffer from food allergies, and is attending culinary school while working as a supervisor at a Marana-area restaurant. Goss found a joy of cooking through her older sister. “My oldest sister taught me to make coconut cilantro chicken and rice, she taught me a lot of great things,” Goss explained. She took that interest and enrolled in the culinary arts program at Mountain View and that turned her interest in cooking into a passion. It was in the program that she realized she wanted to be a chef. “I had great teachers who believed in me and would personally drive me up to the competitions,” said Goss. “I was working two jobs at the time and still managed to practice for the competition.”
The Marana Police Department was awarded 1st place by COPSWEST for “Best Police Motorcycle Design.” The motorcycle’s design was selected over entries from law enforcement agencies across the western region.The Marana Police Department’s Victory Motorcycles are the first matte finish police motorcycles in the United States. In addition, the vehicles includes a front & rear moving radar, shotgun or rifle rack in the saddlebag, heavy duty crash bars, extra-large skid plate, agency badges etched onto the covers on both sides of the engine, an adjustable wind screen and a garage door opener built into the motor.These motorcycles were built and purchased in Tucson, AZ by Victory Police Motorcycles. MPD currently has two of these motorcycles in service and an additional two motorcycles are on order.The award was presented at the 2014 COPSWEST Training & Expo in Long Beach, California. The COPSWEST Training and Expo provides public safety officials a venue for new product discovery, education, fulfillment of POST training requirements, networking and skill development.
Elementary students with Rattlesnake Ridge had the opportunity to partner with Northwest Fire District as part of the department's Mini Muster's program, which helps celebrate Fire Prevention Month. Students were educated on basic fire drills, such as operating a real fire hose and wearing full fire gear. The department also spoke on the importance of taking measures to prevent fires.
The motion to approve a specific plan that would allow for denser developments at the Lazy K Bar Guest Ranch failed to pass in the Marana town council meeting. Mattamy Homes approached the Lazy K Bar owners, Jim Shiner and Peter Evans, with the request to develop on the 138 acres of land. The property is currently zoned RR (Resort and Recreation), which would result in a single-family residential development with 0.1 to 0.5 residences per acre. Lazy K Bar Guest Ranch is west of Scenic Drive and is located at the west terminus of Pima Farms Road.The proposal requests a rezoning for the property. Those representing the applicants, Racy Associates, Inc. and The Planning Center, propose a rezoning from RR to F Specific Plan, a minor amendment to the Marana General Plan, and an approval and authorization from the town to agree to the owner’s Lazy K Bar Ranch Development Agreement, which would provide the necessary requirements, restrictions and conditions for development in the area.The rezoning request to the Lazy K Bar specific plan would allow for single-family residential homes and would permit 1.29 residences per acre – resulting in about 178 single-family lots. About 45 percent of the property would be residential lots and 55 percent would be allocated for open space – 25 percent of that would remain natural undisturbed open space. During the meeting, Mike Racy, the representative for the property owners said that the request protects the wildlife through limited drainage systems and would ensure an efficient flow of traffic if Scenic Drive were re-opened.A neighborhood meeting was held on June 2 and Aug. 19 where residents voiced their concerns. A number of those residents also attended the town meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 7 to express their opposition to the project. The primary concern was how a denser development would endanger wildlife and landscape in Saguaro National Park.Peter Chesson, who serves on the Tucson Mountains Association board, Scott Stonum, from Saguaro National Park, and Carolyn Campbell, from Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection spoke on the importance of preserving the national park’s surrounding areas. Campbell spoke on how the area “has been identified for decades as a regional and significant long life lineage” to the city of Tucson. Stonum echoed those thoughts and added his concern of losing the natural undisturbed open space.
Marana Police Chief Terry Rozema believes that the department needs a new police station and so far the public seems to agree. “It has been fantastic,” Rozema said of his public meetings to discuss the need for a new police station. “I have been a little bit surprised that it has been as positive as it has been.”The town council has asked Rozema to go out into the community and explain the department’s need for a new facility. Over the next few weeks Rozema will have upwards of 20 public presentations and the town will host two open houses and two public hearings on the proposal. Rozema knows it will take strong public support for the council to move forward with the plan, but so far the public has responded favorably. “We’ve gotten a couple ‘maybes’ or ‘unsures’, but no flat out ‘no’s’, the rest have been ‘yes’ with extremely positive comments. Once they kind of see what we are working with, and they really demonstrate the need they say ‘wow this is really necessary.’ That has been very encouraging.”If the plan moves forward the new station would be built adjacent to the municipal complex on land already owned by the town and that is mostly “site ready.” The location was chosen over two others, one existing substation on Ina and another near Twin Peaks, because of affordability and the ability to better service the growing community. “The reason we ended up building up here is our future growth is to the north, plus they own it,” Rozema said. “It made the most sense to build it up here knowing that our future growth is in this area moving north.”
A Conviction Integrity Unit that has seen dozens of exonerations across the nation is now in effect in Pima County.Established locally on Oct. 1 under Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall, the unit is designed to prevent wrongful convictions from occurring, and also to reinvestigate cases that present with meaningful claims of innocence. In similar programs run across the country, a unit in Dallas has seen 33 exonerations, one in Santa Clara County, Calif. has seen five, and a unit in Manhattan has vacated three convictions.Units also exist in Baltimore, Chicago, and Brooklyn, and Philadelphia. Rick Unklesbay, deputy county attorney, will head the program. Unklesbay said the mission of the program is to “seek justice in every case that is prosecuted.”“We started it because for years, decades really, we’ve looked at cases when someone has asked but the cases would just be randomly assigned around the office. We decided to establish the unit so these inquiries can be handled in a central unit,” he said.
Marana residents need look no further than their own backyard for this year’s fall festivities and fun. Coming back with delicious food, pumpkin picking, a corn maze and more is the Annual Marana Pumpkin Patch and Farm Festival.This is the fourth year in a row that town of Marana councilmember Jon Post has hosted the event. The festival, which will run from Oct. 4 to Nov. 2, has enough fun, food and activities for the entire family. Admission is $10 per person, Monday-Thursday, and $12 per person, Friday-Sunday. Children who are less than 30 inches can get in for free.Returning from last year is the corn maze, straw slide, train and peddle cart rides, kid’s zone, petting zoo and the jumping pillows, which serves as a trampoline for children. Not included in the admission are a zip line ride, pony ride and pumpkin cannon shooting. Also included is a variety of food such as pizza, nachos, cheeseburgers, pork sandwiches and more. Nightly food specials will also be available for families. Weekends, which include Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, will offer breakfast at 9 a.m. Later on into the evening, families can enjoy a spaghetti meal on Monday nights or a steak dinner on Friday nights. Food is not free.Initially, Post wanted to put together a fall festival because he thought it would be a “fun thing for families to be able to come to”. The first year had a good turnout and over the next few years, the festival attracted more families far and wide throughout Tucson.“Sounded like something really fun to do. I thought I could do a good job so I tried it,” said Post. “It’s been a very popular event. The event gives people the fall festival feeling. The feeling of going to a farm that is fun and where a family can enjoy spending time together.”
The two major-party candidates for Arizona governor agree on a few things when it comes to the contentious issue of immigration:• The federal government hasn’t done enough to deal with challenges such as cross-border crime.• Arizona must work with the federal government on solutions.• Voters care about the issue.One key area where Republican Doug Ducey and Democrat Fred DuVal differ is issuing driver’s licenses to young immigrants with work permits under the Obama administration’s deferred-action program.A 2012 executive order from Gov. Jan Brewer denied driver’s licenses, saying that employment authorization permits don’t constitute proof of legal U.S. residency needed to obtain an Arizona driver’s license. Forty-eight states issue driver’s licenses to deferred-action recipients.
Partnering with the Gladden Farms Community to provide a day full of fall festivities, live entertainment and food, the town of Marana will be hosting, for the first time, the Marana Harvest Festival on Oct. 25.For almost 10 years, Gladden Farms has put on a yearly fall festival that has drawn as many as 2,500 people per year. Knowing the demand for the festival and wanting to involve itself more directly in the community, the town of Marana decided to approach the Gladden Farms Community with hopes of partnering with them in this year’s fall festival. “We approached them a few months ago,” said Rodney Campbell, public information officer for Marana. “This is a way for us to work with a very significant master plan community in the town. Gladden Farms means a lot to the future of Marana.”The festival will run from 3 to 10 p.m. and offer limitless activities, ranging from a Halloween costume contest, rock climbing, slide, hay rides, jumping castles, horse rides and a petting zoo to live entertainment and rodeo demonstrations. Admission is free and everything will take place within the Heritage River Park and Gladden Farms Community Park. “It’s a good way to expose the Gladden Farms product to a large audience and people to come out and get a look at the Heritage Park and what’s planned in the coming years,” said Campbell.The Marana Heritage River Park is projected to finish by summer 2015. So far, the demonstration garden is complete and a newly paved parking lot is expected to be done by the time of the festival.
Call it luck, call it fate, call it whatever you want, but when Coyote Trail educator Sue Richey was honored for 40-years of service in the Marana Unified School District last week and number of different things had to happen to get her to that point.Initially, Sue Richey did not want to be a teacher. Initially, Richey did not want to teach first or second grade. Initially, Richey was hesitant to start at a new school. Now, she wouldn’t have it any other way.Richey has been a second grade teacher at Coyote Trail Elementary School since the building opened in 1996. She and principal Dan Johnson are the only two original staffers left.“Sue is wonderful,” said Coyote Trail Principal Dan Johnson. “She is a mixture of experience, but has the enthusiasm of a new teacher. If you were to walk into her classroom you would see no apathy, there is no lack of energy. There is just this woman who wants to put out the best product for her kids.”Richey came from a family of teachers, bother her mother and grandmother were teachers, but had no intention of following in their footsteps when she left for the University of Arizona. Her plans were to major in business.“I always knew I didn’t want to teach because my mother was a teacher,” Richey explained. “I used to help her in class. I wanted to have a job where I can wear nice clothes and make a lot of money.
The public is invited to an evening of fun-filled affordable community fun—where there’s something for everyone! Rattlesnake Ridge Elementary Parent Teacher Organization will sponsor their annual “Rocky’s Fall Round-Up” carnival on Friday Oct. 17, from 5 to 9 p.m. The carnival will be held at Rattlesnake Ridge Elementary School, 8500 W. Continental Reserve Loop. Shuttle available from Continental Reserve Urgent Care – 8333 N. Silverbell RoadOpen to the public - no entrance fee. Game tickets are 50 cents each. A wristband may be purchased for unlimited rides/inflatables for $9 that evening.Family fun activities include train ride, various inflatables including jumping castle, bouncing ponies, hamster balls, and multiple exciting game booths. Enjoy free music. Tucson Food Trucks and other food concessions available for purchase (cash only). “Rocky’s Fall Round-Up” annual fall carnival will be held on Friday Oct. 17, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., atRattlesnake Ridge Elementary School, 8500 W. Continental Reserve Loop.A Shuttle available from Continental Reserve Urgent Care – 8333 N. Silverbell Road