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  • Town of Marana wins two awards for communication

    Marana was recently honored for its use of 21st-century technology as well as something quite prehistoric. The town picked up two Savvy Awards at last week’s annual conference of the City/County Communications and Marketing Association (3CMA) in San Antonio, Texas. The Savvy Awards “recognize outstanding local government achievements in communications, public-sector marketing, and citizen-government relationships.”“The Savvies salute skilled and effective city, county, agency, or district professionals who have creatively planned and carried out successful innovations in communications and marketing,” according to a Town of Marana press release. “3CMA accommodates local government organizations of all sizes and budget classes by judging entries in several different population groups.”Dinosaurs were at the core of a campaign by the town to learn what residents wanted from the new park being built in conjunction with the Tangerine Corridor improvement project. The town mailed bright yellow postcards with images of ferocious dinosaurs side-by-side with kids and dogs at a park with the tagline of “Dinosaur breeding facility coming to your neighborhood.” The back of the card read: “Oh, that’s not what you want in your new community park? Tell us what you do want. Complete the park survey,” and directed them to the online survey. 

  • Town of Marana Council planning to livestream meetings in 2017

    Starting in January, you’ll be able to watch Marana Town Council meeting on your laptop or your smartphone.The council voted 5-1 last week to approve the funds necessary to provide live video and audio streams of council meetings on the town’s website, as well as archiving the video for up to three years.Currently the town offers audio recordings of meeting for a small fee, but does not have any video capabilities nor any livestreams.The $22,230 project will include purchase of three cameras, other related hardware and the video encoder. The town will also pay a monthly fee of $1,475 along with fees for server space to steam and archive the videos, as well as the cost of tagging and posting the video and keeping the video archived for about three years.Annual costs after the initial set-up are approximately $17,000, but that is expected to vary depending on the town’s needs to replace technology. Both the cameras and computers could need to be replaced every three to five years. Currently, the cameras cost $1,000 but costs are decreasing every year.The costs are based upon 50 meetings a year, although the council does not meet that often. The town will have the option 

  • Second cell tower coming to CDO campus

    The Oro Valley Town Council voted unanimously last week to approve a cell phone tower near Canyon del Oro High School’s football field.The tower, which will service Verizon Wireless customers, will be the second cell phone antenna added to a collection of roughly three dozen tall light posts on the school campus and the nearby James D. Kriegh Park, including one operating cell tower.The applicant, Pinnacle Consulting, Inc. has proposed replacing an existing 81-inch light pole with a slightly shorter pole that will include cellular antenna arrays below the stadium lights.The proposed tower has a low visibility from the surrounding homes, being roughly 1,000 feet from the nearest home, according to town documents.“What is at stake tonight is the design, not the actual use,” said Bayer Vella, Oro Valley planning manager/planning and zoning administrator, told the town council. “We do have different types of cell facilities that are even larger than this where it is considered a conditional use permit and you have the authority to say yes or no. This isn’t one of those. This is similar to when you receive architecture for commercial use. Your decision is on aesthetic.”Pinnacle representative Michelle Lamoureux said the tower would be painted the same color as the rest of the poles in the area and Verizon would be responsible for maintenance.

Local News

  • Number of hot cars cools off in Arizona

    Your chances of having your car stolen in Arizona have decreased, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The NICB released its annual Hot Spots vehicle theft report for 2015. Most Arizona cities fell down the list, with just one city climbing the ranks. “This is one example where falling farther down a list is a good thing,” said Brad Oltmans, vice president of insurance for AAA Arizona. “Despite falling in the rankings it’s important for motorists to take precautions and not become complacent about this crime.”While Tucson is still in the top 100 cities it dropped a dozen spots in the rankings to 99th from 87th in 2014, while Phoenix dropped five spots to 80th from 75th place the previous year. Sierra Vista-Douglas is the lone city that climbed the chart, landing at 265th compared to 279th place the previous. Here’s how Arizona cities ranked in this year’s NICB Hot Spots list compared to 2014:  Today, a vehicle is stolen every 45 seconds in the United States. That’s an improvement over 2005, when it was every 25.5 seconds. Even with that improved statistic nearly 1 million vehicles are stolen each year, which costs consumers billions of dollars. The majority of vehicles are stolen primarily for parts while others are taken for a joyride, according to the NICB.

  • Marana announces new tourism director

    The Town of Marana has hired a new Tourism and Marketing Manager. Laura Cortelyou replaces Toby Parks in the position that has been a big emphasis for the town over the past few years. The position is at the center of the town’s big push to promote tourism over the past few years. Its proximity to I-10 combined with amenities such as the new Tucson Premium Outlet Mall, the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain and the extensive trail system means the town offers plenty of opportunities to tap into the billion-dollar state tourism industry. “Marana is a place with so much going on, and I’m incredibly excited to share this vibrant community with a wider audience,” Cortelyou said.Cortelyou came to the town after serving as director of marketing and public relations for the Tucson Museum of Art. She also serves as the president of the Southern Arizona Attractions Alliance and is a board member of Visit Tucson. Prior to coming to the Museum of Art, she served a marketing director for Forester Media, Inc and ABC-CLIO. The town launched DiscoveMarana.org to act as a portal for visitors to learn more about Marana, which is positioning itself as the “Gateway to Southern Arizona.” The site garnered a 2016 Governor’s Tourism Award for Interactive Technology and increased the town’s tourism presence. 

  • Schleicher returns to her roots at Mesa Verde Elementary

    School pride runs in Mesa Verde Elementary School physical-education teacher Kat Schleicher’s veins.Schleicher was given the opportunity last year to teach at the same school she attended as a child. Better yet, her children are following in her academic footsteps: both her 8-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter attend Mesa Verde, the latter even attending the same kindergarten classroom as her mother.A Canyon Del Oro High School graduate and native Tucsonan, Schleicher attended college at Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, N.C., where she had earned a scholarship playing soccer. Schleicher earned a degree in sports medicine and exercise science and while working for a post graduate degree in exercise physiology, she realized it was time for a change.She was informed by her parents of the Teach for Tucson program at the University of Arizona and was immediately interested. “I was going to be able to teach science, which I loved in middle school,” she said. “Everyone says middle school is the worst, but it isn’t. It was some of my best years based off of my teachers and I feel like I didn’t get wrapped up in drama because my teachers were so phenomenal, caught my interest and enthusiasm and kept onto it.”


  • Saturday Puzzles 9-24-16

  • Uncovered: “Snowden” a must-see film!

    In his latest film, controversial Academy Award-winning director Oliver Stone presents a fairly balanced dramatization on the true life mass surveillance program exposed by former National Security Agency computer whiz Edward Snowden in 2013. Smartly, Stone never makes the case that Snowden’s leaks of this nation’s highest classified materials should give the whistleblower a free pass from any future criminal prosecution.  Instead, “Snowden” revolves around the single premise of whether a government should be able to collect, store and, potentially, tap into the personal information of innocent people.  Focusing solely on the nine-year period between Edward Snowden’s hire at the Central Intelligence Agency to his sudden departure from the NSA, “Snowden” superbly illustrates how personal electronic devices leave an unmistakable cyber trail for others to manipulate and potentially apply pressure points upon our daily lives.  Moviegoers will be alarmed at how shared data from phone calls, emails, text messages and even web cameras can all be exploited unknowingly to reveal a person’s social media DNA fingerprint.  Ever wonder how your Google searches or Amazon.com merchandise inquiries create those annoying, yet specific, pop-up ads on your social media applications and news feeds?  “Snowden” offers a glimpse behind the clandestine curtain to uncover a Mega-data collection program used to drag-net the globe in a post 9-11 world, where the U.S. intelligence community is determined never to be caught flat-footed again by terrorists.This red-meat film takes on the U.S. spy agencies and government contractors charged with staying one step ahead of our adversaries. To Stone’s credit, “Snowden” isn’t politicized and equally blames the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations for the loss of our citizenship’s privacy. Viewers see how secrecy is both a necessity to a nation’s continued security and an unwelcome intrusion, hell-bent on collecting on everybody in order to investigate and stop only the dangerous.  While Edward Snowden’s perspective on the need and use of mass surveillance takes top priority, the film does acknowledge that the former SIGINT geek broke classified-handling laws and knowingly revealed our country’s most sensitive collection techniques.  Less explained is the powerful Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (or “FISA Court”), established in 1978 and authorized to oversee our government’s surveillance warrant requests on foreign spies operating inside the U.S.  Or how Snowden’s going public wasted a valuable intel tool and probably fast-forwarded other countries’ cyber surveillance desires.  “Snowden” is an American rights story that resonates well beyond the simplistic patriot or traitor media headline still propagated today.  It arms us with enough background on mass surveillance to ask ourselves the hard questions on personal privacy and seek answers from individuals and agencies used to operating in secrecy and outside of public view by necessity.  It would behoove all Americans to get more knowledgeable on the FISA Court and the authorities and powers it grants to so few.  And to weigh, individually, at what cost are we willing to forgo our privacy in this high-tech gadget and social media world.  

  • Gaslight ‘Frankenstein’ a fun family experience

    As lightning flashes, thunder crashes and bats flitter past a man – Victor Frankenstein – toils away at his most recent scientific breakthrough, the creation of life. With the secrets of the universe within his grasp, his faithful assistance flips the switch to harness nature’s raw energy to power his monstrosity and bring it to life.Is it a man, a monster, a demon or just a guy looking for a girlfriend?In a hilarious take on Mary Shelley’s early 19th Century classic take on the intricacies of humanity and what it means to live, Tucson’s own Gaslight Theatre has begun the run of its new fall show, “Frankenstein.”Family friendly and full of laughs, the Gaslight iteration of a British literature staple comes with all of the theatrical fixings the theater has become known for over its decades-long run: actors will race through the crowd during performances and bring the singing tableside, jokes will ensue and a fun time will be had by all.In a performance stacked full of Gaslight favorites, guests will be treated to a cast of heavy hitters in the local theater community. In-scene and during vocal performance, the quality brought to the stage never dips and a shallow moment of entertainment is never found.Playing the part of Frankenstein’s creature is longtime Gaslight actor David Fanning. A man that has played a slew of roles from superhero to villain, Fanning’s stature lends itself perfectly to the monstrous role, and his voice-work alone draws raucous laughter from the audience.


  • Big plays spark Mountain View

    It may not be one of Southern Arizona’s traditional rivalries, but few rivalries are more heated than the recent battles between Mountain View and Tucson High. Since Justin Argraves left the Mountain Lion program to become the Badger’s head man, the two teams have engaged in some terrific games. Last Friday’s tilt was another classic as Mountain View beat the Badgers 44-36, erasing a 13-point deficit. Tucson High took the opening kickoff to the house, in what would be a theme of the night as special teams play was the turning point in the game. Mountain View then drove deep into Badger territory, but the Badger defense forced a turnover on downs. On third and long Jorge Flores connected on a deep pass, and four missed tackles later the Badgers had a 50-yard gain and a first and 10 from the Mountain View 13. Three plays later they scored from five yards out and took a 13-0 lead. Mountain View would struggle for much of the game on third down, but stiffened when it mattered in the second half. Special teams play got Mountain View on the board as Sebastian Spencer fielded a Badger punt of the bounce, raced to his left, got a block from Laron Cook and raced 75-yards for the score. With some momentum on their side the Mountain Lions kicked a pooch kickoff that landed between the Badger up-men and deeper blockers and the Lions recovered the on-sides kick. They settled for a field goal, but trimmed the lead to 13-10. The teams traded touchdowns on their next two possessions. D.J. Hinton scored on a 33-yard run, but Mountain View answered as quarterback Caleb Ryden found Isaiah Lovett on a 24-yard pass. 

  • Centre Stage basking in the spotlight with Olympic ambitions

    Watching 11-year-old pole sports phenom Paige Olson go through her complex and physically taxing routine in front of a panel of judges and a crowd of fellow athletes in London at the 2016 World Pole Sports Championship, coach Katrina Wyckoff said that she couldn’t call what happened next a surprise.When the woman operating scores stood up and said “Shut the front door, we just broke a world record,” Wyckoff said that all she could do was cry.Already a world champion, Olson – who trains out of Oro Valley-based Centre Stage Pole Fitness – won her age division, set a world record and was part of a United States team effort which netted a team championship.Of the seven women who represented the country, four hailed from the Oro Valley school. Olson and Wyckoff were joined in London by Zoe Blair and Bree McClanahan.While winning world championships and setting records is impressive – the woman of Centre Stage have higher ambitions.“None of this happens by accident, all of these things have been carefully planned out and we have a goal to see pole in the Olympics,” Wyckoff said. “We want to be a part of it when it goes there, so we are training as many athletes as we can and sending them to as many competitions as we can.”

  • Mountain View rallies to beat THS

    Mountain View spotted Tucson High the first 13 points of the game but used a fast start to the second half to rally and beat the Badgers 44-35.Tucson High returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for the score then after a fourth down stop inside the five, marched down field to go up 13-0.Special teams plays were huge for Mountain View as well. Sebastian Spencer returned a punt for a touchdown to cut the lead to 13-7. Sebastian let a short punt fall in front of him, but the ball took a good bounce and he was able to scoop it up, dash to his left, find a lane and race 75-yards for the score.Trailing 28-17 at the half, Mountain View needed a good start to the second half and got it as Spencer took the opening kickoff 99-yards to cut the Badger lead to 28-23.Mountain View took their first lead on the next possession as running back Wyatt Adams raced 55-yards for the go-ahead touchdown.The teams traded scores, but Mountain View went up for good on Adam’s second score, a seven yard burst up the middle.

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