Tucson Local Media: Home of The Explorer, Marana News, Foothills News, Desert Times, and Inside Tucson Business

  • Pre-primary campaign finances released

    Submitted just days before tomorrow’s primary election, another campaign finance report from candidates, political action committees and other politically involved members of the Oro Valley community has shed light on the inner workings of each campaign.The council seats on the ballot this year belong to the three incumbent candidates: councilmembers Brendan Burns, Bill Garner and Mike Zinkin. Hoping to claim a spot on the town’s ruling body are residents Rhonda Pina, Bill Rodman and Steve Solomon. All reports with the exception of Rodman’s covered June 1 until Aug. 18, Rodman ended his reporting on Aug. 26.Much as she was at the end of June, Pina sits as the highest drawing candidate in terms of finances. As of Aug. 26 she had raised a total of $27,240. Following behind her was Rodman at $26,375.00 and then Solomon at $23,441.43.The greatest contribution came from Humberto and Carina Lopez, the former the cofounder of HSL Properties, who gave $5,000 each to all three campaigns. Omar Mirales, Lopez’s nephew and current president of HSL, contributed $3,000 to Pina and Rodman and just over $2,900 to Solomon. Other notable contributions came from Jim and Vicki Click, Jr. ($2,500 each) and Peter Fasseas ($1,000).Additionally, Pina, Solomon and Rodman each received $1,000 from the Realtors of Arizona PAC and $250 from the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association. Though not has large individually, seven employees of investment firm Diamond Ventures, Inc. each donated to the challengers totaling nearly $2,000.

  • Sheriff's Department looking for information on alleged serial robber

    Yesterday, Wednesday Aug. 23 at approximately 8:07 p.m. Foothills District deputies responded to a robbery at the Subway restaurant located at 3605 West Cortaro Farms Road.When deputies arrived, they learned a male had entered the store and demanded the employee give him money from the cash register. No one was injured during the incident; however, the suspect implied possession of a weapon as he urged the employee for money.Detectives believe this is the same individual who robbed a Walgreen's on Wednesday, Aug.17 as well as a Diamond Shamrock Corner Store on Friday Aug. 19.A Holiday Inn Express located in Marana was also robbed on Aug. 19.The suspect was described as an African American male, 5’8” tall, medium build with a dark complexion. It is reported the suspect is wearing various types of hats and sunglasses at each robbery.Detectives with the Robbery/Assault Unit are handling the investigation and are requesting the public’s assistance in identifying the suspect.

  • Fall Arts Preview

    The upcoming season offers photography, dance, fine arts and, of course, politicsPolitics are everywhere in this endless election season, and local artists and arts organizations—painters, dancers and actors—are doing their part, jumping in with timely works that offer pungent political commentary. Painter Alfred Quiroz, a UA prof whose big canvases have long aimed sharp criticism at sugar-coated versions of U.S. history, opens a major show at the University of Arizona Museum of Art right in time for the election—and for the inauguration of the presidential winner. The Presidential Series: Paintings by Alfred J. Quiroz, on view from Oct. 22 to Jan. 22, takes aim at the follies of presidents past, in large-scale, cartoon-colored paintings that veer from comic to deadly serious. www.artmuseum.arizona.edu.Two local editorial cartoonists—Rand Carlson of the Tucson Weekly and David Fitzsimmons of the Arizona Daily Star—wield their stinging pens in works at the Contreras Gallery. Political painter Gary Aagaard joins the pair in a show that runs in the fraught political weeks from Oct. 1 to 29. www.contrerashousefineart.com.Even dance turns serious. Artifact Dance Project, the ambitious local contemporary troupe, has created a dance interpretation of Animal Farm, George Orwell’s ominous 1945 fable about the rise of totalitarianism. ADP stages the work to live music in the Great Hall of MOCA-Tucson, running Oct. 6 to 9. artifactdanceproject.org. See Sherilyn Forrester’s description of Nogales, a new play at Borderlands that deals with the wrenching issues of the border, a hot topic in the election. The play examines the real-life death of 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, a Mexican boy who died on his own turf, shot by a Border Patrol agent through the border wall. 

Local News

  • Arizona DOT officials take part in active shooter training

    No one is surprised when government agencies conduct active shooter training, but some may find it odd that agencies that have little to do with law enforcement have to consider how to handle an active shooter situation. That’s exactly what Department of Transportation leaders from across the country did last week in Marana. Arizona was the host state for the American Association of State of Highway Transportation Officials’ (AASHTO) annual meeting for the sub committee on transportation safety and emergency management. Part of that meeting included active shooting training conducted at the Northwest Fire Complex in Marana. In the morning AASHTO officials were briefed by the Pima County Regional SWAT team on their “run, hide or fight” response to a shooter. In the afternoon they watched first hand as members of the Pima Regional SWAT team and Northwest Fire participated in an active shooter scenario.“It is all about preparedness and being prepared for something that you hope never happens,” said TSA Motor Manager David Cooper. While most think of the TSA and airport security, their role is far greater. TSA has responsibility for the transportation sector and according to Cooper they look at building partnerships for preparedness and how they can help communities at all different levels.In this scenario ADOT was holding a meeting regarding a controversial road project. One of those in attendance becomes upset and opens fire in the meeting. 

  • OVPD helps raise school supplies with Shop With a Teacher program

    Last Tuesday, Aug. 23, representatives from nine different public and private schools in Oro Valley raced through the halls of Target alongside by fully uniformed officers of The Oro Valley Police Department.  The shoppers didn’t need a security escort. Instead, each officer was equipped with pencil and paper, quickly jotting down prices and adding up the total as quickly as possible, with an aim of staying within a $225 budget.For Rhonda Ellerd, a principal’s assistant at Canyon Del Oro High School, the shopping frenzy took place within the cleaning supplies section.“This is a great opportunity for the teachers to get some well-needed supplies that are not things they would necessarily get,” she said. “So it’s a great opportunity for us to get those extra supplies that are not pencils, pens and paper.” Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 53. Each school was given $200 by the FOP, and an additional $25 each was handed out by the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce.“Our Chamber and the business community are pleased to help teachers defray their classroom expenses with a Target gift card. It’s the least we can do to show support for teachers, who nurture young minds into tomorrow’s thinkers,” said chamber President/CEO Dave Perry in a press release.

  • Closer look: Marana election fact check

    Over the course of four candidates forums, a lot of claims were made by those running for mayor and town council of Marana. Just like their national counterparts, there were some mistakes made by the candidates. Although the errors did not seem intentional, some of them could give the wrong impression to voters.We do our best to fact check some of the claims that have been refuted.Many of the errors have just been semantics. Maybe the best case of this was a multi-forum exchange between mayoral candidates Ed Honea and Dan Post. During the first forum the candidates were talking about Marana’s pursuit of All-America City status and how they took 23 Marana High School students with them. Post stated that the town “made the school district pay” to send the students to Colorado to “promote the town.”In fact it was the Marana Schools’ 2340 Foundation that contributed $5,000 to the All-America City competition, one of a number of organizations who contributed to the cause. Overall the cost to send the town to apply for and send their contingent to Colorado was approximately $40,000 and the town raised $8,750 from nine donors, but the bulk of the donations were from the foundation. The town footed the rest of the bill.Post stated that the money had to come from the foundation and not the district itself due to legal reasons.


  • 9/11 first responder headlines local comedy show

    Like most Americans comedian Billy from the Bronx, Billy O’Connor was negatively affected by the events of September 11. Unlike most Americans, he was a first responder who went through some dark times after the attack on the Twin Towers, but finally emerged with a sense of humor and a new career.He will headline the Clean Comedy show on Friday, Sep. 2 at Marana Middle School. Following the attacks that saw 343 of his fellow first responders lose their lives he made the decision to overcome his issues with drugs and alcohol. He returned to school at 62 years old he earned his degree in journalism. He began writing professionally and also took up comedy. He finished third out of 800 in the Arizona’s Funniest Comedian competition.He will draw on a rich life for his comedy. He has been a Teamster, owned a pub and restaurant and even spent time as a bookmaker before joining the New York Fire Department, where he served for 23 years. Billy is not the only comedian on the slate who has lived an interesting life. Dr. Gabe Beil grew up in East Africa, then lived in Iowa and much of his comedy centers on the differences between Africa and Iowa. That would be enough for most comedians, but Beil can also draw upon his career as a pharmacist and the cast of characters he has served over the years. 20-year comedy veteran Monte Benjamin, who was the emcee for last month’s show, returns as the evening’s opening act. 

  • Sixth annual Salsa and Tequila Challenge brings Tucson’s foodies together

    Equipped with personal bags of chips, well over 1,000 local foodies took to the La Encantada Shopping Center on Saturday, Aug. 20 to celebrate two of the Southwest region’s most staple foodstuffs—salsa and tequila at the sixth annual Salsa and Tequila Challenge, hosted by the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance.Filtering through the booths of dozens of Tucson’s most accomplished restaurateurs and culinarians, guests were treated to some of the best – and most surprising – examples of the classic culinary duo.“Welcome to the Southwest,” said SAACA Communications Director Cait Huble. “Salsa and tequila is just a fun way to bring out the culture of Tucson. Almost every restaurant offers tequila cocktail, a lot offer salsa and the fun thing about this event are the ones that don’t normally offer it in the restaurant. (They) are competing against those that do. You get to taste a lot of different varieties.”Whether indulging in tequila popsicles, habenero-peach salsa or a vaporized cocktail, the challenge was more a festival, as each participant looked to not only display gastronomic ingenuity, but show off with artistic and colorful booths.According to Huble, it’s the perfect event for any restaurant, food truck, home kitchen or any other accomplished cook or chef to reach their audience in a way much more engaging to Tucson’s eaters.“It’s not just buying a bus ad or buying a print ad anymore, you want to be able to get in front of people; the audience that will return to your restaurant,” she said. “If you come to a foodie event that is culturally driven, that’s your people. That’s the audience you want.”

  • Horror film dethrones “Suicide Squad” for top box office spot

    Leave it to three unlikable high school-aged home burglars to rip the top box office spot from one of 2016’s most anticipated movies.  After three consecutive weeks (and $283 million) DC Extended Universe’s “Suicide Squad” has lost its grip on the #1 weekend movie ranking to this low-budget horror flick.  Minus sequels and franchise films from the summer box office gross equation, and “The Secret Life of Pets” and “Don’t Breathe” are the only original films to stand in first place since May. Is “Don’t Breathe” really that good of a story or has the summer of ‘16 been a relatively bland theater experience?  I’m voting the latter and think movie studios are just purposefully holding back their best films of 2016 in hopes of increasing their odds for end-of-the-year award considerations. As for “Don’t Breathe”, Uruguayan film director Federio Alvarez introduces moviegoers to a trio of malcontents who exhibit zero redeeming qualities and make even fewer good decisions.  Hell-bent on robbing the Detroit home an Army veteran blinded in war, these vacuous teens don’t even wait for the man to leave his address before the horror begins for them.If anyone knows horror and how to bring constant Rocky Balboa punishment to crass victims it’s director Alvarez, who gave us “Evil Dead” in 2013.  And “Don’t Breathe” does many things right.  Only in downsized true-life Detroit could this mayhem ensue without nary a neighbor or watchful citizen taking notice. This film also deserves serious props for its originality and ability to house almost an entire film within 3,500 square feet.  But the most enjoyment of “Don’t Breathe” comes from a few well-thought-out twists and turns that will catch viewers off guard.  One doesn’t necessarily associate great film performances with horror films.  But believable characters, through exceptional on-screen labors,make our movie experiences more satisfying and memorable. Without such effort audiences don’t fully invest in the production of the film’s budding plot or its cast of personal stories to share.  In “Don’t Breathe” viewers lack any sort of appeal or empathy towards the three teenage robbers, thus missing one of the most important substances to a story.  The summer of 2016 has been good for horror films.  Aside from its paper-thin character development and less than impressive cast, “Don’t Breathe” still can’t hold its own against two other better shocking horrors this summer.  Shark-filled “The Shallows” and the nail-biting supernatural “Lights Out” are both films that can raise your blood pressure faster and give you more entertainment value than “Don’t Breathe’.” Go see either of those two horror films for just as many jump-out-of-your-seat moments but with outstanding screen performances and more appealing characters.  


  • Lancers spoil season opener for the Mountain Lions

    Last year Mountain View came into the season with a ton of hype, but two late losses cost them a chance at the postseason. This year the Mountain Lions have a lot of talent and a lot of question marks. Some of those questions were answered, while many remain after the Mountain Lions dropped their season opener 38-20 on Friday night. Early on it looked as if things would go Mountain View’s way. Mountain View forced a three and out and on quarterback Cayleb Ryden’s first pass as a varsity starter, he threw a deep pass down the left sideline that hit Isaiah Lovett in stride. Lovett slipped a tackle then raced 53 yards for the score. Lovett finished the game with seven catches for 187 yards, but did not have another catch until late in the third quarter when the Mountain Lions were down 31-7.“It is a matter of getting into a rhythm on offense,” said Mountain View Head Coach Bam McRae. “When you have penalties early on downs and you miss opportunities early in the game it makes it hard to call plays because you get predictable.”Salpointe answered on the very next drive. The Lancers got great field position thanks to a long kickoff return and two plays later quarterback Sean Barton connected with Mario Padilla on a crossing pattern. Padilla made the grab and raced untouched 43 yards for the score. The sophomore had a monster game, scoring four touchdowns, rushing for 178 yards and adding 68 more through the air. 

  • Fall golf season begins for Northwest teams

    The Ironwood Ridge girls golf team won both of their matches this week. They opened the season with a 183-215 win over Tucson High led by Allison Acosta, who shot a 40.  Aspen Thies added a 46, while Nikkie Gonzales tied for third with Tucson’s Clara Solano with twin 48s. The Nighthawks’ Elizabeth Shatterfield was one stroke behind with a 4-9.Two days later the Nighthawks won a three-team match, edging Cienega 180-188. Sahuaro was third with a 203.Ties again led the way with a 37. Acosta was fourth with a 43 while Gonzales was tied for fifth with a 45.Canyon Del Oro opened their season with a convincing 193-233 win over Sunnyside. Santa Rite did not post a team score. Dorado Golfers finished 1-2 and took four of the top-five spots on the day. Dani Niichel led all golfers with an even par 37. Teammate Kaitlyn Hsu was second with a 48. CDO’s Sofia Santos and Hannah Bort were tied for fourth with a 54.

  • Salpointe beats Mountain View

    Salpointe survived three first half turnovers and an early Mountain View score to beat the Mountain Lions 38-20 on Friday night.Mario Padilla scored four times to lead the Lancers to their second win of the young season.It was the Mountain Lions who struck first. On just their second play from scrimmage Cayleb Ryden threw a deep ball down the left sideline, hitting Isaiah Lovett in stride for a 53-yard touchdown.Padilla answered with a 43-yard touchdown catch and early in the second quarter he added a touchdown from five yards out.The real backbreaker for Mountain View came on their first possession of the second half. They drove down to the Salpointe 20, but a fumble on a handoff exchange bounced right into the arms of Cameron Tobler, who raced 75 yards for the score.Other Scores:

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