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

  • Marana candidates clash at final forum

    The candidates for mayor and Marana Town Council battled over the town’s current leadership and future opportunities at a final forum last Thursday, July 21.Mayor Ed Honea downplayed issues with his fellow council members and said the town was on the right track with its strong growth in recent years.But challenger Dan Post, while acknowledging that Marana is doing well said that the town fights too much with Pima County government, rather than working together on a regional basis. He said he would strive for better communication and partnership within the council itself. Honea has never denied that the relationship between the town and county is strained due to a battle over a wastewater plant Marana forced the county to hand over by changing state law. But he downplayed problems within the council, pointing towards the council’s track record of voting together. “In the last year, with probably 300 or 400 items coming before the council, we haven’t had 10 that weren’t unanimous,” said Honea. “Our staff educates us on every process and every program that we are doing and we work well together.”Post told voters that experience on the Marana Unified School District board makes him the perfect

  • Construction begins on two Marana traffic projects

    Motorists, prepare yourselves: The dust is about to start flying on several large road construction projects in Marana this year. The two biggest are the Tangerine Corridor Project and Ina Road Traffic Interchange Project. Preliminary work began some time ago, but major construction has now started.• Utility work got underway earlier this month on the Tangerine Corridor Project. Crews began working on utility crossings on Tangerine Road from Camino de Oeste to just west of Dove Mountain Boulevard.Motorists can expect intermittent lane restrictions in the area. Traffic will be guided through the work area one side at a time. Flaggers will be on site to direct traffic through the work area and delays are expected. The speed limit has been reduced to 25 mph.Work is expected to continue for the next several weeks and the work will only be done on weekdays. • Work on the new Ina Road bridge over Interstate 10 is now underway as well. Although Ina Road will not fully close until early 2017, there are portions of the project people should be aware of this summer. 

  • OV Aquatic Center hosts state swim championship

    Twelve-year-old Richardson Elementary School student Paige Housman said she loves to watch the Olympic swimmers on television.She imagines how hard the athletes must have to work. She wonders what goes through their mind on the world’s biggest stage (or biggest pool, as it may). And she dreams of one day wearing Olympic gold around her own neck.Housman practices six days a week with her friend and teammate—12-year old BASIS Oro Valley student Sofia Prevatt—and the rest of Oro Valley’s Flying Fish Arizona Swim Team (FAST). Housman put her training to work as a participant in the 2016 Arizona Swimming Long Course Age Group State Championships, held last week from July 14-17 at the Oro Valley Aquatic Center.Housman and Prevatt were just two of more than 700 youth athletes, ages 7 to 14, who came to town from across Arizona to compete in the four-day meet. Aside from local Tucson clubs, teams from the Phoenix region, Flagstaff, Sedona, Lake Havasu and other places were in attendance.FAST Head Senior Coach Matt Brauer said that the Olympic-style meet in Oro

Local News

  • Town tourism website wins technology award

    The town of Marana’s recent efforts to boost tourism have been recognized by Gov. Doug Ducey’s office.The Arizona Office of Tourism awarded the town’s tourism website www.DiscoverMarana.org with the Governor’s Tourism Award for Interactive Technology. In 2015 Marana boosted its efforts to grab a larger slice of the billion-dollar tourism industry by adding a new tourism and marketing manager and launching a new website. The campaign paid off with a successful staycation program for the 2015 Star Spangled Spectacular and a summer convention to the Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain.But the website has played a big role. www.DiscoverMarana.org is described by the town as “a state-of-the-art tourism portal that attracts visitors to Marana from across Arizona, the United States, and abroad.”The site is designed to get the word out to potential visitors about Marana’s resorts, golf courses, new outlet mall and natural attractions, including the town’s extensive hiking trails, which attract hikers from all over the state and beyond. As the first community on I-10 from the north, Marana is also positioning itself as the “Gateway to Southern Arizona.”

  • High-speed thrills at Tucson’s own Autobahn

    Buckle in and slap on that helmet. Tucson now has its very own indoor, high-speed go-kart racetrack.The go-karts started roaring around downtown’s Autobahn Indoor Speedway earlier this month after much anticipation from gear-heads and motoring enthusiasts throughout the region. The cavernous 63,000-square-foot space features two tracks, each one-eighth of a mile.Tucson’s Autobahn is the national company’s first steps in the Western United States. General manager Joel Lipp said the next-closest location is in Birmingham, Ala., making Tucson the ideal place to begin expanding.“We were looking for a location out west with a good college demographic,” Lipp said. “Our target demographic is the 18 to 40 working professionals. We have the UA, we have Raytheon, we have Davis-Monthan, so we have a lot of those pieces in Tucson that are a good fit in for us. … This was a good place for us to get a hold on the western market, and then branch out from there.”Opening earlier in July, Lipp said the response within the community has been extremely supportive and positive, with more than 600 racers showing up on Saturdays. Autobahn Indoor Speedway has 44 full-sized adult cars which are easy to operate and can achieve speeds up to 50 miles-per-hour with a limited-slip differential and four YELLOWTOP® Optima batteries under the hood. Add in the chain-driven drive train, and the track sounds more like an Indianapolis 500 race than go-karting. 

  • Town Council candidates are running low-budget campaigns, so far

    The six candidates for Oro Valley Town Council are bucking the trend of big money in political campaigns.As they gear up for the Aug. 30 primary, the most any of the candidates have raised is $3,060, according to reports filed at the end of June.The council seats up for grabs 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. Generally speaking, the challengers were more active than their incumbent counterparts, as incumbents Burns, Garner and Zinkin have all openly stated their opposition to being beholden to what they call “special interests.” Both Burns and Garner filed statements saying they had done no fundraising activity.Pina has raised the most money, pulling in $3,060 in contributions. Major contributors to her campaign include CAID Industries President William Assenmacher ($1,000), Pina’s husband Raul ($600), former Pima County supervisor Dan Eckstrom ($300) and Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry ($200).Behind Pina is Rodman, whose major campaign contributions come in the form of funds he loaned himself, totaling $2,050 over three installments. Rodman’s total fundraising came in at $2,100. 

Entertainment

  • Nerve-wracking ‘Lights Out’ shines

    Making his directorial debut, David F. Sandberg delivers a fast-paced and superbly acted horror film to viewers willing to endure its jittery, nail-biting suspense scenes. This film’s best feature, though, is the compelling storyline it glues us to from start to finish.“Lights Out” shines apart from the more common mindless horror genre features found today using expertly timed comedic relief and several intriguing backstories. Each subplot evolves completely outside of the movie’s hair-raising supernatural, creepy star until all of the story’s loose ends are nicely tied up by the film’s conclusion.At the center of this edgy thriller resides Rebecca, a twenty-something daughter of the film’s oppressor played by Australian hottie Teresa Palmer. Rebecca, trying to eliminate all potential drama in her life, ultimately gets thrust into the lead role of this jumpy mystery. And as the central figure, she delivers this movie. In fact, the complex relationship between Palmer’s Rebecca character and the rest of the film’s cast is where “Lights Out” dominates and excels. Stellar bookend performances by Maria Bello (as Rebecca’s mother) and Gabriel Bateman, as the half-brother, create constant high drama and troublesome predicaments from which everyone must fight in order to stay alive. A solid tribute to the old school horror experience, this movie’s outcome is less predictable than most while leaving us guessing who’ll be left standing as the credits roll. “Lights Out” brings a strong cast and an even stronger assortment of heart-racing suspense. Expect sweaty palms, covered eyes and a few startled theater seat moments between the dysfunctional family scenes. As both brother and sister attempt to get help for their unstable mother, a supernatural being stalks in the dark.A bona fide horror flick, “Lights Out” will keep audiences sleepless and tense for days. Leaving the film screening, my first thought was immediately back to those warning signs posted at amusement parks attractions to customers; “For safety, you should be in good health and free from high blood pressure, heart, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this adventure. Expectant mothers should not ride.” I think the same guidance should apply to those wanting to see this well-made thriller.

  • Gaslight Music Hall be-bopping through the summer

    Gaslight Music Hall Producer and Artistic Director Robert Shaw said that he and the staff aim to learn something new every day and to constantly improve. That’s not to say anything is going awry at the music hall, but quite the opposite.“It’s going really well,” Shaw said. “I don’t think anyone thought it would go poorly but I think that we were prepared for a rough summer, and the summer has been a lot more gracious than we would have expected her to be.”Now rocking, rolling, singing and performing past its first six months of operation, the music hall has been a runaway success, even with expectations set at Gaslight standards, according to Shaw. While the original offerings were limited to music shows, the hall now hosts its own musical revue, a 90-minute performance akin to the olio found at the end of melodramatic shows at The Gaslight Theater.The first revue to hit the music hall stage is the “Beach Blanket Be-Bop,” a beach-themed, musical comedy that will appeal to any fan of surf hits and beach culture classics.Set in the 1960s, the loose narrative tying together the “Be-Bop” tells the tale of two summertime lovebirds and the beaches hottest couple, Rhonda (Brittany Mazur) and Mickey (Jeremy Vega), who finds themselves at the end of their perfect relationship. Alongside their friends Bonnie (Samantha Cormier) Glen (Brian Paradis) and The Big Kahuna (Jesus Limon), Rhonda and Mickey hope to work through their differences and find the waves of love.Hosted by The Big Kahuna, the “Beach Blanket Band” put on a background performance which creates the musical foundation for the entire show. With Rob Boone on piano, Fred Hayes on drums, Ed Delucia playing guitar, Stewart Oliver playing bass and Brian Hicks on saxophone, the band often steals the show from the all-star cast.

  • Saturday Puzzles 7-23-16

Sports

  • Power lifters flex to raise money for childhood cancer

    Being a competitive power lifter means Jon Marshall embraces challenges. He has won titles and set records by moving large amounts of weight. As a personal trainer he has helped people meet their fitness goals. Now Marshall has a charitable challenge to undertake. Marshall is co-owner of Unbreakable Gear and his business is teaming up with HopeKids Arizona to put on the “Power Up Against Cancer” fundraiser. The event will feature a number of strength and fitness athletes banding together to raise money to fight cancer. On August 6 at the Fox Theater, the event will feature both a bench press and deadlift exhibition, where Marshall promises some of the best pro lifters will be “smashing weights.”In addition, there’ll be both nationally ranked bodybuilders posing as well as Olympian fitness competitors and even some of Arizona’s top arm wrestlers.“This event will raise money for these amazing kids dealing with cancer and other life threatening illnesses,” Marahall says. There will be plenty of other activities including a silent auction, raffles and an appearance by IFBB (International Federation of Body Builders) pro Andy Hamman, who moonlights as Mr. Incredible and other superheroes. 

  • Former Wildcats gymnast sees business booming

    It’s tough enough to open and sustain a small business in today’s economic climate. The recession may be over, but it’s not a booming economy. Deanna Graham has not only successfully opened a gymnastics and dance studio, but she just opened her second location.If that was not impressive enough, Graham opened Heart and Soul three years ago, when she was just 23 years old and a recent college graduate.Graham was a University of Arizona gymnast who knew she wanted to do something with the sport upon graduation. She soon decided there was place in the market for a gymnastics and dance studio for athletes of all ages and abilities. “All ages, all levels, all abilities, they are all equally important,” Graham said. The model worked and in less than three years they had 600 members. The studio became crowded, and in 2016 she opened a second location. Despite things being crowded, Graham wasn’t necessarily looking to expand, but the new building presented an opportunity for them to split up the operations between gymnastics and dance. The original Oro Valley location remains dedicated to gymnastics, while the new location, just three miles south on Oracle, is where the dance classes are held. 

  • OV Aquatic Center hosts state swim championship

    Twelve-year-old Richardson Elementary School student Paige Housman said she loves to watch the Olympic swimmers on television.She imagines how hard the athletes must have to work. She wonders what goes through their mind on the world’s biggest stage (or biggest pool, as it may). And she dreams of one day wearing Olympic gold around her own neck.Housman practices six days a week with her friend and teammate—12-year old BASIS Oro Valley student Sofia Prevatt—and the rest of Oro Valley’s Flying Fish Arizona Swim Team (FAST). Housman put her training to work as a participant in the 2016 Arizona Swimming Long Course Age Group State Championships, held last week from July 14-17 at the Oro Valley Aquatic Center.Housman and Prevatt were just two of more than 700 youth athletes, ages 7 to 14, who came to town from across Arizona to compete in the four-day meet. Aside from local Tucson clubs, teams from the Phoenix region, Flagstaff, Sedona, Lake Havasu and other places were in attendance.FAST Head Senior Coach Matt Brauer said that the Olympic-style meet in Oro

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