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  • Unaudited year-end financials released

    Coming to an end on June 30, the Town of Oro Valley finished the 2015/16 fiscal year with just over $10.5 million in its general fund, an increase of about $402,000.Though the overall picture may look positive, the town did experience greater than expected losses within the community and recreation center fund. Having undergone operational revisions halfway through the year, the town eventually planned operating the fund at a net loss of $1.4 million, in reality the net loss totaled just over $2.5 million. The shortfall was greater than expected, but the more just over $2 million in revenue generated by the dedicated half-cent sales tax helped to soften the blow. The fund began the year at just over $1 million with monies moved previously from the general fund contingency, and ended the year at $162,152 after the council voted to not pay the first $120,000 repayment of that initial cash reserve.Looking at the town’s general fund and the financials as a whole, Stacey Lemos, Oro Valley’s finance director, characterized the previous fiscal year as “strong,” giving credit to the diligent work done by the entire finance department for its work projecting such accurate figures.  “When you take a look at our bottom line revenues, we are about $15,000 within a $32 million budget,” Lemos said. “I mean, we rock. …that is the diligence of projecting from month to month to month; looking at how our history has gone and looking at our trends. We’ve got ten years of sales tax revenue trends by-month so we use all of that data to make those projections.”The Town of Oro Valley has released its preliminary, unaudited end-of-year fiscal report, giving the council and community the opportunity to take a first look at how the town faired financially during the previous fiscal year. The entire auditing process won’t likely reach completion until sometime in near the end of the year, according to Lemos.

  • Turnovers propel IRHS to victory

    Ironwood Ridge forced seven Marana turnovers and beat the Tigers 62-42 to open the season.The Nighthawks had 431 yards of total offense, including 369 on the ground. Soma Helu rushed for 180 yard, including a 52-yard touchdown. Three other Nighthawks had rushing touchdowns, including Cole Gerken, Heath Beemiller and Nick Brahler.Ironwood Ridge also got a pair of interception returns for a touchdown, including a 78 yarder by Noah Pallanes. Pallanes also pulled in a 33-yard touchdown pass.Marana had over 500 yards of total offense, including 246 passing yards by senior quarterback Connor Leavens on 24-45 passing. He had four touchdown passes, including three to Dominic Gehr. He also added a 7-yard touchdown run.Zach Roberts rushed 14 times for 105 yard and a score. 

  • Oro Valley candidate forum reaches round two

    After two candidates’ forums within the Oro Valley town council primary election one thing can be stated for certain: There is a divide among the community and council strong enough at times to become a palpable force within a room. Having met earlier in the month before, residents and voters in Sun City, the six candidates heading into the Aug. 30 election once again took to the dais to voice their opinions and perspectives on the town’s current state of affairs and their visions for the future.All six candidates were present last Wednesday, Aug. 10 when the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce hosted a second candidate forum at the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort under the moderation of chamber president and CEO Dave Perry.Up for reelection are councilmembers Brendan Burns, Bill Garner and Mike Zinkin. Running as challengers are residents Rhonda Pina, Bill Rodman and Steve Solomon.As was the case in the first forum, a tone was set early on in the event. First to bat was incumbent candidate Brendan Burns, who instead of introducing himself during his introduction said that the friendly community that he loves is being lost due to the “hate-filled politics” of the three challengers through the use of “lies, character assassinations and divisive politics.” “They are trying to divide Oro Valley for their own personal gain and it is sickening,” Burns said. “They do this because they because they have nothing new to offer. …We have too many problems facing Oro Valley for the challengers to simply hide behind their special interest money and personal attacks. I believe that you deserve better, that we should have an election decided on the merits.”

Local News

  • 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.

  • Local business owners recognized for going beyond the bottom line

    Speaking in front of hundreds of fellow community members, founder of the Music & Dance Academy Nina Tishkevich said that every successful business starts with a great idea. Once that concept is established, she said the right people must follow. Whether it is individuals working in the business, the customers or supporters, Tishkevich said having a strong team is vital.“I would like to say that this country is a country of possibilities, a country of opportunities and supportive, open and kind people,” said the Soviet-born business owner, who emigrated to the United States in 1992. “I would just like to thank all of you for giving me this opportunity—as a country—to have a business, to invest in education and into the community. I will say a modest investment, but we are doing our best and we are doing everything we can.”That commitment to bettering the community and creating an environment of support is just one of the qualities of Tishkevich’s academy which netted the organization a Pinnacle Award in the small business category at the 2016 Annual Meeting and Pinnacle Awards Breakfast of the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce. Held at the Hilton El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort, the event included members and representatives from local and state government, the first responder community and hundreds of individuals affiliated with the chamber.Whether hosting major events like the Town of Oro Valley’s state of the town address, election candidate forums or fundraising events or more focused occasions like social mixers or monthly meetings with the Oro Valley mayor and town manager, the chamber of commerce has continued maintain a strong physical presence throughout the region.Much more than an organization designed to bring people together, the chamber also works to promote and improve upon the 

  • Council approves Gladden Farms CFD refinance

    The Marana Town Council had a relatively short agenda for their Aug. 16 meeting, but due to a large number of questions from council members, the meeting lasted over an hour. The bulk of the meeting was spent on the public hearing and subsequent questions over the possibility of the Gladden Farms Community Facilities District, of which the town council serves as board of directors, of the sale and issuance of general obligation and general obligation refunding bonds.In layman’s terms, the district would be refinancing funding, much the same way that a homeowner would refinance their mortgage. In this case the facilities district would take advantage of the current favorable market rate environment to save money for both the developer and the homeowners in the district. “Based on the current market environment, it is anticipated that some significant savings could be achieved,” said Marana Town Finance Manager Erik Montague. Marana does not have a town-wide property tax, but they do have community facilities districts which help with the cost of infrastructure in specific communities. In most cases the developer fronts the money to pay for infrastructure and other amenities and they are paid back through the sale of general obligation bonds. Residents of the community are then charged a small tax to make good on those bonds. In this case many of the bonds issued by the Gladden Farms District are paying out a rate of over 5 percent, which is high in the current market. The hope was that they would be able to call back the bonds with the higher rate, then

Entertainment

  • Saturday Puzzles 8-27-16

  • 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. 

  • Bank heist suspense thriller is the best film so far in 2016

    Few films can deliver everything to moviegoers seeking the most bang for their box office buck.  Drama and comedy, perhaps.  Maybe even some sentimental chick flick mixed in with a thrilling suspense story.  Now toss in a modern Western cowboy feature with risky bank robberies in the Lone Star State.  For a motion picture to invoke each of these film genres in the same movie, airtight scripts must come alive through magnificent screen performances.  “Hell or High Water” powerfully achieves both and is by far the best film I’ve seen this year!The shear strength of “Hell or High Water” resides in one of the strongest ensemble casts of 2016 and an authentic, captivating story to tell.  Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges stars as a long in the tooth Texas Ranger named Marcus Hamilton, who desires to bring swift justice to the pair of bank bandits before his pending retirement. Bridges may be the film’s most accomplished and notable Hollywood face, but his performance is matched along every stretch of west Texas highway by a very formidable Ben Foster (“Lone Survivor”). Riding shotgun to Foster’s volatile Tanner Howard character is none other than “Star Trek Beyond” captain Chris Pine, portraying Tanner’s younger brother Toby.  Together this trio play a game of cat and mouse, with viewers hoping no losers emerge in the end.  Credit the veteran Bridges for bringing out the career film bests for both Foster and Pine.This film may be promoted as two brothers robbing banks, however, it’s more about two give-and-take relationships.  These dueling bonds consist of one representing the law with Bridges’ and his Texas Ranger sidekick, the other a brotherhood of outlaws raised in an abusive household.  One rapport the culmination of years serving together and the other a result of years spent apart.Wielding a razor-sharp script from Taylor Sheridan (who wrote last year’s phenomenal “Sicario” screenplay), “Hell or High Water” backs up to their getaway car with deeply satisfied theater audiences in close chase.  And combined with remarkable cinematography brandishing vast lands and small town life, “Hell or High Water” has confidently ordered all other 2016 films to get down on the floor and not move. At least for now.  In 2012, “Hell or High Water” earned The Black List award for the most liked motion picture “screenplay not yet produced” from voters consisting of studio and production company executives. Historically, over 25% of the screenplays making The Black List have later earned an Oscar nomination, including; “Argo”, “American Hustle”, “The King’s Speech”, “Slumdog Millionaire”, “Spotlight” and “The Revenant”.  Not bad company.  

Sports

  • 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:

  • Ironwood Ridge’s Nighthawks win season opening shootout

    It was a score the Arena Football League would be proud of when Ironwood Ridge and Marana combined to score 104 points as the Nighthawks beat the Tigers 62-42 to open the 2016 high school football season. For the Tigers it will be a “what if” game as they committed seven turnovers, yet still managed to score 42 points against one of the best defensive fronts in Southern Arizona. “We ended up shooting ourselves in the foot a little bit with the turnovers,” said Marana Head Coach Andy Litten. “There is a lot to build on, we just have to take care of the ball.“We cut out two turnovers and we are right back in this game, with five turnovers still,” Litten added. For Ironwood Ridge, it was just another example of how this program plays football. The Nighthawks are a very patient team that uses their size and physicality to create big plays on offense and defense. “The ball bounces funny ways,” said Ironwood Ridge Head Coach Matt Johnson. “It bounced for us quite a few times. Special teams and turnovers were the difference for us.”

  • Sports update: Marana tabs new baseball coach

    Marana High School has hired Dale Toone as the school’s baseball coach. Toone replaces Trevor Harvey who coached the Tigers to a 5-23 in his lone season as head coach.“We are confident that he has the knowledge, skill set, leadership capacity, and demeanor to not only develop individual skill and build a comprehensive program, but also help develop young men of character,” said Marana Athletic Director Sarah Whaley. “I have been incredibly impressed with Coach Toone and his ability to begin building a solid staff to best meet the needs of our athletes. He truly understands what the greater purpose of high school athletics is and I look forward to working with him as he leads our athletes.”Toone grew up in the Chandler/Gilbert area and was a multi-sport high school athlete, playing baseball, football, wrestling and running track. He played baseball for one year at ASU. “There is a quote that my staff and I will live by and apply to coaching these young men and that is, ‘Teach them correct principles, and let them govern themselves,’” Toone said. “I feel there is no better way to help them become leaders and grow in confidence than through giving them the tools they need to be successful, then letting them apply it to reap their own successes and failures, and learn from it.  I believe that life goes on beyond the ball field, that grades, jobs, and other athletic endeavors are important parts of baseball and life.”Toone echoed the sentiments of Whaley, confirming that the lessons he learns on the diamond carry over to life away from baseball. “We are coaching champions in life, not just for the game,” Toone said. “I take pride in how these boys will carry themselves outside of practice and in their communities.  All of these things will affect the outcome of their season. I have an amazing staff that is dedicated and highly experienced in the sport, and in the body and physical development of the players.  We have a great principal and athletic director that have put a lot of time, attention, and money into bettering this program throughout the summer and support these players.  I am looking forward to this opportunity to serve our community.”

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