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  • Police and fire keeping the community’s smallest passengers safe

    Last week was designated “Child Passenger Safety Week,” and several first responders organizations within northwest Tucson came together to make sure that the youngest members of the community were strapped safely and securely within their seats—and that their guardians were educated on proper technique by our community’s bravest.For two hours last Thursday, Sept. 22, members of the Oro Valley Police Department, the Golder Ranch Fire District and the Mountain Vista Fire District collaborated at OVPD’s main police station located on North La Canada Drive to provide certified child passenger safety technicians to install and inspect child safety seats.While the importance of using a seat belt while in a vehicle is obvious, the risk is still extremely high in cases of collision.“According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death among children in the United States,” said Shawn Benjamin, community relations manager at MVFD. “Mountain Vista Fire District in partnership with Golder Ranch Fire District and Oro Valley Police Department want our communities to know their children safety seats are properly installed. Nothing is more important than the safety of our residents.” OVPD Officer Brian Kleinberg said working with community members one-on-one is a way to let citizens get to know their officers and learn important tips which may one day save a life.“Part of my job responsibilities also involves collision investigation and wearing a seatbelt is extremely important,” he said. “For our children who are smaller and do not fit into the standard seat belt installed in vehicles, it is extremely important to have them secured into a proper safety seat.”

  • OV Dollars coming to an end

    Spend your OV Dollars while you can.For nearly five years, businesses within Oro Valley have been able to enroll into the program, which allowed shoppers to purchase a gift card to be used at participating locations across the town. Introduced by former town manager Greg Caton, the program was designed to prevent sales tax leakage to surrounding areas.“It was a good concept but some of the challenges were that it was kind of cumbersome for some people,” said Oro Valley spokesperson Misti Nowak. “You would receive a gift card and you might not know what it is, you have to look up whose participating and what it means. Sometimes that one extra step or that one extra click is a deterrent for someone.”Of the more than 1,000 businesses which call Oro Valley home, just under 90 had been participating in the program.To help spread usage throughout the community, the town partnered with the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce in 2012, and the chamber began to serve as a second distribution point, but it still didn’t take off.

  • A town and its police: Oro Valley’s community department

    When Oro Valley Police Department Police Chief and Interim Town Manager Daniel Sharp asks town residents what level of crime they find acceptable, the reaction is often immediate.“They just about throw me out of the room,” Sharp said. “‘What are you, nuts?’ they say. ‘No crime is acceptable.’”With such high expectations set by Oro Valley residents, Sharp has for the better part of two decades been at the top of a 100-member police force that strives to set standard for policing practices by implementing a community policing philosophy.When Sharp gets such a strong response to his question about acceptable crime levels, he said it’s like sweet music to his ears. With nearly four decades in law enforcement, Sharp has become a nationally recognized for his studies, lecturing, practicing and understanding of community policing. After his long tenure with the Tucson Police Department, Sharp moved up north to Oro Valley and found himself within a town wholly accepting—and expecting—the level of safety and community wellbeing that he sought to establish as an officer. Sharp said achieving proper community policing will change with the community being policed; the police must react to the citizens as well as those who do business in Oro Valley and those who pass through.“It’s a set of values,” he said. “It’s not a program and it’s not an initiative. It’s how we do business. The community should be dictating and we should be listening to our community.”

Local News

  • Town looks to update logo as part of 40th anniversary

    As part of its 40th anniversary celebration next year, Marana will unveil a newly combined logo and town seal. The town staff made its first presentation of potential logos during a Marana Town Council study session last week.  Marana Communications Manager Vickie Hathaway said the town staff first looked at changing the seal to correct some “design flaws and confusion in the way the seal reads.” Hathaway’s staff soon realized they had an opportunity to not only make those changes but could also “modernize and consolidate the seal and the logo into one mark.”Hathaway said that some people had trouble reading the circular lettering on the old seal, so a new design could correct that confusion.The town staff now plans to unveil the new seal as part of the town’s birthday as a way to celebrate the anniversary and show off the logo at the various events planned in conjuction with the birthday.The new logo will not only let visitors know they are in Marana but will also remind residents with Tucson zip codes that they are actually Marana residents. 

  • Town wants your stories for Marana’s anniversary

    In 2017, the Town of Marana will celebrate its 40th birthday with a number of celebrations throughout the year.As part of the festivities, the town is inviting residents, former residents and business owners in the Marana community to share their life stories. These stories will be showcased over the course of the year to celebrate the people who have created the history of the Marana community.The town is already taking submissions of the stories on its website, at www.MaranaAZ.gov/40-years-of-stories.According to a release, stories can cover a range of topics, including, but not limited to, any of the following:• A life-changing event• A fun adventure you had

  • Mountain View Hall of Fame adds a pair with ties to Hollywood

    As part of their homecoming ceremonies, Mountain View High School inducted two new members to the school’s Hall of Fame. Both Torrey Speer and Michelle Ortiz left Mountain View to pursue careers in Hollywood. Ortiz has gained fame in front of the camera. The actress has appeared in commercials and television shows, but just landed a regular role on the CW’s reboot of the sketch comedy show MADtv. Ortiz graduated in 2008 and went on to Loyola Marymount University where she studied theater. She attended the Moscow Art Theatre and then studied opera in Germany. Since 2012 she has appeared on television shows “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”, “Nicky, Ricky, Dicky and Dawn” and “Life in Pieces.”Speer has made her mark behind the camera, serving as a writer’s assistant on a number of television shows including “Friday Night Lights,” “Parenthood” and “Bates Motel.” Speer is in her third year writing for Bates Motel and will produce an episode of the A&E series this fall. She was a 2006 graduate of Mountain View. After her freshman year, she moved for a year to Santa Fe, but returned for her final two years as a Mountain Lion. While she will be best known for drama club and choir, she also won the Golden Turkey, an award for having more credits than any other student in school history. She earned a scholarship to Arizona State where she studied at the Herberger College for Film and Television. She earned an internship at Universal Pictures and after graduating from ASU quickly got a job as a writer’s production assistant.


  • “The Magnificent Seven” outduels “Sully” at box office

    Denzel Washington makes his Western movie debut in this Wild West remake of the 1960 American film classic.  Director Antoine Faqua, who brought us “Training Day” and “The Equalizer” starring Washington, now showcases the Academy Award-winning actor as methodical gunslinger Sam Chisolm, a soft-spoken but duly sworn bounty hunter who must save a small farming town from a greedy, tyrannical killer and his men.Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke bookend a magnificent supporting cast of unsavory characters that boast gun-fighting reputations and skills found as far away as three days’ travel by horse.  One of the film’s best attributes is the recruiting trip and sales pitch that Denzel Washington must take in order to assemble his diverse band of justice warriors.  The unwritten Code of the West says that you never ask a cowboy about his past, only judge him for the man he is today.  Perhaps in no other movie genre is less character development expected or required than in Westerns.  As predictive as the gun-blazing endings to these old frontier stories are, viewers can just as easily spot the troublemakers in every saloon and along each dirt-filled main street. “The Magnificent Seven” is no exception, with twitchy fingers, long stares and whispered voices the precursors to gunfire and scattered bystanders. From one deadly dust-up to another, this suspense thriller packs steady rounds of bullets flying and wisecracks flowing.  Justice may have a number, but that sum is vastly lower than the overwhelming odds these seven must confront.  In the meantime, though, camaraderie, card games and whiskey calm the mercenaries’ nerves.Although Washington, Pratt and Hawke aren’t Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson from John Sturges’ roll-out 56 years ago (which was based on Japan’s film “The Seven Samurai” in 1954), this 2016 version is impressive on its own merit. The cinematography, while underutilized, captures New Mexico’s land of enchantment with its picturesque sheer, rocky cliffs.  Scoring the film’s music at the time of his death, “Titanic” composer James Horner brings crossed looks, showdowns and even nightly campfires alive through his talented sound mix. Despite a predictable plot, “The Magnificent Seven” rustles up a widely satisfying film for moviegoers to consume.  It singlehandedly grabs a Colt .45 Peacemaker and makes Westerns cool again.  A well-acted ensemble that looks like a United Nations peacekeeping force, is anything but.  “The Magnificent Seven” looks, feels and sounds like the Old West.  And that’s how it should be.  Giddy up.

  • 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.  


  • Happy homecomings for Marana, Mountain View

    Shortly after Marana lost their season opener to Ironwood Ridge, Nighthawks coach Matt Jones called the Tigers a playoff team. With their 44-20 win over Canyon Del Oro on Friday night, the Tigers indeed may be making their first postseason appearance since 2008.A month ago it did not look like the Tigers were on that path. After losing a turnover-marred shootout with the Nighthawks, the Tigers travelled to Cienega and lost 52-20 in a game that saw starting quarterback go down with a high ankle sprain. Fast forward four weeks and the Tigers are 3-2 and it has become apparent that Cienega and Ironwood Ridge are Tucson’s best teams. Although there is a lot of football to play, the Tigers likely won’t face a team with the talent of their first two foes. Their win is the first in the history of the school over the Dorados.“First time in program history as everybody knows,” Leavens said. “I don’t even know the words to explain it. It is crazy. It was a real team effort.”Not to be overlooked in the Tigers success is their depth at quarterback. They entered the season knowing they would need both Leavens and sophomore Trenton Bourguet. Their offense incorporates both players, and when Leavens went down Bourguet stepped up and won two games as a starter. 

  • Mountain View renames field for coaching legend

    As part of their thirtieth  anniversary celebration, Mountain View High School honored the first man to guide their football team. During last Friday night’s homecoming celebration the school named the field after legendary coach Wayne Jones.  “The field will be known as the Wayne Jones Field, giving reverence to a great man, a leader, a mentor, and a role model for hundreds of families in Tucson,” said Mountain View Principal Todd Garelick. “Coach Jones led these men on and off the field, teaching them character qualities that have served them in school, in adulthood and in becoming strong community members. Many of them now serve in our own community as doctors, dentists, teachers, business owners and most importantly, as strong family men.”After he left Mountain View he became football coach at Tortolita Middle School, which feeds into Mountain View. He was responsible for developing many of the players who would play for his successors.“His value to the community is unmatched and his stewardship is felt across Tucson,” Garelick said.A permanent sign now sits over the press box with the new name. Over the past few years the field has seen a number of upgrades including the installation of artificial turf, a new scoreboard and cosmetic improvements including new paint.Garelick first approached Jones with the idea a few years ago but Jones thought it wasn’t going to happen. Garelick called him over the summer and made the idea a reality. 

  • Ironwood Ridge enters the week as the top team in 5A

    The first girls volleyball rankings are out and Ironwood Ridge entered the week as the No. 1 team in 5A. The 8-1 Nighthawks have one of the toughest schedule strengths in the state, which has gone a long way to helping them be ranked over undefeated programs.Things will not get any easier for the Nighthawks as three teams from their region are also ranked in the top-15. Sahuaro and Cienega are ranked fourth and fifth, while Mountain View is ranked fifteenthMarana is in the 5A Sonoran region. Although they are ranked twenty eighth they are tied for first in the region with Poston Butte. The district champion receives an automatic playoff berth regardless of ranking. Canyon Del Oro is 6-2 and ranked No. 13 in 4A. They are in the difficult 4A Kino Region with Salpointe, Catalina Foothills and Nogales.  Norm Patton

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