The Explorer: Pima Pinal

Pima Pinal

Recent Headlines

  • County settles with wife of husband’s 2011 shooting

    Pima County has settled with survivors of a man killed during a police standoff outside of his northwest-side home in 2011.The $165,000 settlement with the wife and young son of James John Runyon ends two and a half years of legal battles with the county.Runyon, 44, was shot by a Pima County Sheriff’s deputy on March 27, 2011 about two hours into a standoff outside Runyon’s home on the 3200 block of West Calle Fresa, near North Camino de la Tierra and West Orange Grove Road. The survivors’ lawsuits – a wrongful death suit filed in superior court and a civil rights claim filed in federal court – argued that Runyon, who was armed with a shotgun, never pointed the gun at or threatened anyone but himself. But the county took the position that Runyon posed a threat to officers monitoring the situation from inside his house when he approached his front door carrying his weapon.The settlement applies to both the superior and federal lawsuits. The superior court case was to go to trial earlier this month.According to the more recent lawsuits, Runyon was a veteran suffering from post- traumatic stress disorder and had recently attempted suicide. The morning of his death, he told his wife to take their children and leave the home. He then called 911 and said he had a shotgun with one shell inside, he had the weapon to his head and that he wanted police to shoot him. PCSO patrol deputies responded first, finding Runyon in the street outside his house with the shotgun to his head. Deputies evacuated Runyon’s home and neighboring homes, and locked the doors to Runyon’s house so he could not re-enter. Members of the SWAT team, which draws officers from police departments around the county, were then summoned to negotiate with Runyon. Some SWAT officers took up position inside the house as well.

  • Public outraged at Board of Supervisors meeting over controversial spending

    Cries of “corruption” rang out in the Pima County Board of Supervisors hearing room after a number of frustrated county residents alleged that Chairwoman Sharon Bronson intentionally and prematurely adjourned an Oct. 14 meeting without allowing some audience members to speak during call to the public on a newly controversial topic related to supervisor spending.The issue at hand is whether supervisors have been misspending taxpayer dollars by giving away portions of their annual allocations to charities of their choice without public approval. Each supervisor is allotted more than $300,000 per year to spend on office supplies, employees, and related expenses. Records indicate that some like Supervisor Richard Elias – who has given away approximately $62,000 to nonprofits during a three-year period – are donating leftover funds to charities. Elias has defended his actions by saying the donations are ultimately returned to the residents of the county.The Goldwater Institute has since become involved, calling the practice unconstitutional, and demanding it cease or face legal action.“Under our state constitution, Arizonans are guaranteed that local special interests will not receive preferential treatment under the law,” reads a letter from Goldwater attorney Jared Blanchard to Chairwoman Bronson. “Taxpayers likewise are guaranteed that public money will be spent only for public purposes and that adequate consideration will be received for the expenditure of any public funds. Supervisors unilaterally gifting taxpayer funds from their individual office budgets contravenes these basic constitutional principles.”

  • Five candidates running for Metro Water Board

    Five candidates are seeking election for three open seats in this year’s race for the Metro Water District’s Board of Directors. Incumbents Judy Scrivener and James Doyle will look to retain their seats by fending off three newcomers in Danny Sargent, Jr., Helen Ireland, and Donovan Hemway.The third seat opened after Board member Richard Byrd chose not to seek reelection.Scrivener, who currently serves as Board Chair as of February 2013, also previously served on the Board from 2004-2008 and spent two additional years as Board Chair leading to her present term. Scrivener has worked for Pima County since 1993. She holds the position of Senior Special Staff Assistant to the Deputy Director for Pima County Wastewater Treatment. Doyle, who has worked for Pima County Wastewater Management for more than 30 years, has served on the board since 1994. He is the acting superintendent of the Ina Road Treatment Plant, and he has also served on the Board of Directors for Northwest Fire District. Ireland has experience in public works, transportation, flood control, and planning, working primarily for Pima County since 1984. She has also served as a Metro Water board member in the past, as well as an employee of Metro Water’s Engineering Division as a geographic information systems analyst. 

  • Amphi school board election

    Three candidates are running for the two seats available this fall on the Amphitheater Public Schools Governing Board. Jo Grant (incumbent)   This is Jo Grant’s first time campaigning for the Amphitheater school board but she is well aware of the responsibilities, having served a partial term already.“Supporting education is the number one investment we can make for our future. I want to continue my commitment to the district by striving to provide a quality environment for teaching and learning in our schools,” she said. “Our stakeholders are the students and we owe them the best educational opportunities possible.”

  • The CD2 rematch is close in numbers, not on issues

    In a rematch of a razor-close 2012 congressional race, Democratic Congressman Ron Barber is in a fight for his political life against Republican challenger Martha McSally, a retired A-10 pilot who nearly beat him two years ago.Washington political forecasters Stu Rothenberg and Charlie Cook both call the race a toss up. The Fix blog at the Washington Post calls Barber the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent in Congress. Polls that have been released by operatives on both sides show a close race, although the D.C.-based newspaper The Hill recently removed Barber from the 10 most endangered members of Congress list, citing unreleased GOP polls that showed Barber in the lead over McSally.Given the makeup of Southern Arizona’s Congressional District 2, it’s not surprising to see such a tight race. The district, which includes eastern Pima County and all of Cochise County, has a wide variety of constituents: Ranchers who are on the front line of the nation’s ongoing immigration crisis. Seniors who fret about the future of Medicare and Social Security. Veterans who served the country and now worry whether the VA will take care of them. And families who are concerned about everything from overcrowded kindergarten classes to soaring tuition rates.While Republicans have a slight voter registration edge, the district is about as competitive as they come: One third GOP, one third Democrat, one third independent. And it’s winning over those independents that is key to capturing the seat.If you were to listen to Team McSally, you’d believe Barber is a lifetime government bureaucrat who is too weak to lead and nothing more than a lapdog for President Barack Obama. If you were to listen to Team Barber, you’d believe that McSally is an anti-feminist Tea Partier with little regard for the middle class and nothing more than a lapdog for the Koch brothers.The truth, while it’s likely to be overshadowed by attack ads, is more nuanced in both cases.

  • Oro Valley Police Reports

    Oro Valley Police DeptartmentOn Saturday, Sept. 27, at 5:04 p.m., Oro Valley police responded to a report of shoplifting at Kohls, 7785 N. Oracle Road. Police were told staff at the store got into a verbal altercation with a woman who then fled in a Ford Thunderbird. The car she fled in was for sale and had a phone number written on the back window. Police called the number and left a message letting her know she could turn herself in for stealing a tank top, mascara and some Jennifer Lopez accessories all valued at $78.99. Police also said if she didn’t turn herself in, there would be a warrant for her arrest. About an hour later, the woman called police back and turned herself in. She was cited and released for shoplifting. On Thursday, Sept. 25, at 2:35 p.m. Oro Valley police responded to a report of four women who had been stopped for shoplifting at Walmart, 2150 E. Tangerine Road. One woman admitted to taking a coke, drinking it and throwing it away without paying for it. Another admitted to sharing the coke, which was valued at $1.68. The other two women admitted to drinking and sharing two Monster energy drinks valued at $1.88 and a Redbull energy drink valued at $2.68. One also admitted to stealing a pair of tweezers valued at $5.97 and a necklace valued at $12. All were cited and released for shoplifting.  On Monday, Sept. 22, at about 7:28 p.m., an Oro Valley officer spoke with a man in the lobby of the department’s main police station reporting an assault. The man told police that he had been shot in the left buttock by what he believed to be a bb or pellet gun. He told police that he was riding northbound on La Cañada Drive when he heard what sounded like an explosion of air and then he felt something hit him. He then heard what sounded like teenagers laughing from a car that sped past him. He was unable to get a license plate number and declined medical attention.

  • Mountain View grad making the most of her culinary opportunities

    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.”

  • SaddleBrooke Troop Support collecting donations

    The Holidays are fast approaching. It’s that time of the year that many spend enjoying family, friends, feasting and all the joys of the season. It is also a time of reflection and giving thanks for all, including freedom. This is the freedom that is protected by those brave men and women of our various military branches. Each and every one of whom, when they signed up, wrote a blank check made payable to America, for an amount up to and including their lives. That’s where SaddleBrooke Troop Support (STS) comes in. All too often troops and veterans find themselves in a bind, perhaps due to an extended deployment or unexpected emergency. Sometimes they are unable to pay rent or utilities or buy food, facing eviction. STS regularly supplies three military food banks and during the holidays, STS supplies food cards to many active military and Veterans in need and their families. STS would like to do more in this area.The STS supplies soda, snacks and comfort items to the Military Liaison Office (Transit Lounge) at the Tucson Airport, a rest and relaxation area and sometimes a sleep-over room for traveling troops and their families. On average 5,000 troops and Veterans per year take advantage of this service and when you add in any family traveling with them, the actual numbers of people being helped is higher.STS also work with the VA Hospital and administer the Blind Veteran program as support for recovering vets. In addition, we provide layettes for new babies of our military families.Additionally, STS works with VFW Women’s Auxiliary in identifying troops in distress and providing short term relief where needed. Recently, STS presented Kim Sloan of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (LAVFW) a Certificate of Appreciation for her help and coordination with STS. STS also presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Boy Scout Troop 270 of the Lutheran Ascension Church for collecting two carloads of food for the Military in need. The food collected by the Boy Scouts was delivered to the Military Food Banks (MFB) by “Moose” Creighton, our MFB Committee head. 

  • YMCA – 100 Years of Community

    The Y is so much more than a gym. For 100 years, the YMCA of Southern Arizona has been committed to changing lives by providing a community that is not only focused on fitness, but also on strengthening our Tucson community, living a healthier life, and spending time together as a family. Whatever reasons, Y members have for joining, they find the motivation and guidance needed to reach their fitness goals and nurture their well-being.The YMCA is a not-for-profit organization actively working to make our community a better place. Whether it’s as simple as offering state-of-the art fitness options, or addressing more complex social issues, the Y is directly involved in our community to make a positive impact. Members of the Y are not just a member of a place—they’re part of a cause. With a shared commitment to nurturing the potential of kids, improving health and well-being and giving back and supporting our neighbors, membership gives the individuals and their community the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. The Y is a cause with a mission to helping their members achieve a balance of spirit, mind and body. That is accomplished by encouraging good health and fostering connections with new and old friends through sports,fun and shared interests.The Y is the leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening the foundation of our community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. We are, and always will be, dedicated to building healthy, confident, connected and secure children, adults, families and communities. At the Y, visitors can see neighbors helping neighbors every day. From providing food, supplies and counseling when disaster strikes, to establishing recycling and sustainability programs, every effort is welcome and makes a difference.The YMCA of Southern Arizona here in Tucson is a nonprofit community-based association of six branches, including a spectacular youth camp and retreat center, three program centers and more than a dozen school-based program sites, with discussions about future sites in rapidly growing areas underway.The impact is felt every day when an individual makes a healthy choice, when a mentor inspires a child, and when a community comes together for the common good. The Y impacts one in five Pima County residents. 

  • Southwest Airlines to Test Nonstop Flights to Houston

    Southern Arizonans will have a new non-stop way to get to Houston – albeit it’s only for five Saturdays in November and December. On Nov.  8, 15, 22 and Dec. 6 and 13, Southwest Airlines will operate a non-stop flight from Tucson International Airport to William P. Hobby Airport in Houston. In addition to connecting the two airports, the flight offers new convenient one-stop round-trip connections between Tucson and Dallas Love Field, Washington Reagan National Airport, New York’s LaGuardia Airport, Orlando International Airport, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International and Pittsburgh International Airport. “It is critical that we support the flights we have, particularly new flights from airlines,” said Bonnie Allin, president and CEO of the Tucson Airport Authority. “Strong support enhances our chances to grow airline services at Tucson International Airport.” Check Southwest Airlines’ website – – for fare information. The schedule: 

  • Walk the Walk at Splendido

    In an effort to continue keeping residents active and moving, Splendido will be hosting a special event on Oct. 22.On Wednesday, Oct. 22, starting at 7:30 a.m.  a two-mile outdoor walk begins. Starting at 8:30 a.m., Splendido will be hosting the Heart Healthy Breakfast.The event is being held at Splendido, located at 13500 N. Rancho Vistoso Blvd. RSVP by calling 878-2612, or email info@splendidotucson.comThere is no cost to attend.The walk will be led by Splendido’s Life Enrichment Manager Beth Ernst. Remember to wear comfortable walking clothes and shoes, bring water, and hat/sunglasses as necessary. 

  • Tu Nidito seeking remarkable moms

    Tu Nidito honors mothers in our community who speak to the heart of our mission; of creating a community of acceptance, support and understanding regarding children in grief. Tu Nidito is looking for women who have overcome obstacles dealing with illness or grief or women who are making a difference in the lives of children and families impacted by illness and death. A Remarkable Mom is a role model not just for her own children but for the community as well.Nomination form for the 2015 Remarkable Moms are available on our To receive a nomination form by mail please call our Development and Event Coordinator, Dasha Ross, at 322-9155 or email her at Tu Nidito will be accepting applications through Friday, Oct. 31.Tu Nidito Children and Family Services aims to provide individual, family and group support through emotional, educational and social services to children and their families as they deal with serious medical conditions and death. Each year Tu Nidito supports more than 800 Southern Arizona children. 

  • Better Businss Bureau warns of Ebola scams

    The Better Business Bureau (BBB) Serving Southern Arizona is warning consumers to be on the lookout for emails, websites and social media pages promoting unproven Ebola-related medical products, and dubious charities attempting to cash in on the Ebola virus scare.“Scammers and opportunists follow the news as closely as anyone,” said Kim States, BBB President. “Right now, issues associated with Ebola and a potential pandemic are of global interest, and that means scam artists, as well as opportunistic businesses and non-profits, will be looking to cash in.”The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warnings to three separate companies this month for selling unproven treatments and therapies for Ebola, and social media websites are littered with companies offering to sell consumers everything from cheap hazmat suits, to rubber kitchen gloves and hand-sanitizer by claiming the products can help prevent their buyers from contacting Ebola.BBB is also cautioning consumers to do their research before responding to any charitable solicitation claiming to be raising money to fight Ebola.BBB warns donors to carefully research any charitable efforts - especially those that surface following an event that gains media attention.  BBB tips for donors who wish to donate Ebola charity:

  • Marana Police Department wins award for motorcycle

    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.

  • Marana Halloween DUI task force

    he Marana Police Department will be conducting DUI Saturation Patrols in conjunction with the Southern Arizona DUI Task Force throughout the Halloween Weekend.Our goal is to make this a safe weekend for everyone, and prevent serious injuries and fatal collisions. Officers will be proactive in our efforts to prevent these traffic collisions from occurring, and stress the importance of having a designated sober driver and drinking responsibly.We recommend the following:If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation, so you are sure to get home safely.If you’re not sure whether you are impaired, make the safe choice and find a sober driver or ride.If you see an impaired driver on the road, don't hesitate to call 911 and report that driver.

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