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

  • How to prepare for the Arizona monsoon season

    It’s here. Outside your door.The monsoon officially arrived Wednesday, descending on Arizona with its season of rain and dust storms, scorching heat and, often, destruction.Here are tips for homeowners on what to do before, during and after a monsoon storm. Before a storm• Pack an emergency three-day kit with food, clothes, water, daily medications and other needs in case you have to leave your home because of flooding or a power outage.

  • Nonprofit life in Southern Arizona improving

    Just about everyone associates the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona with feeding people through the agency’s eight distributions center and more than 50 partner agencies.CEO Michael McDonald doesn’t expect that mission to change anytime soon, but his organization realized that in order to truly change the lives of many of the people they serve, they needed to do a few things differently.Through food growing education programs that have resulted in clients-turned gardeners growing their own food in their yards or at the Community Food Bank’s own farm, those folks are selling their produce in the Tucson area’s farmers markets at the Community Food Bank book. They are also helping those same growers cultivate food-related businesses, but as people have progressed in those business, they have often needed more capital to help their business growth.They recently started a microloan fund program. The word is just going out to clients now, and McDonald says he suspects applications for $250 to $2,500 loans with interest no higher than 4 percent will be reviewed soon.“In the broad context we remain a hunger relief organization,” McDonald says. “We rescue food before it goes in the landfill, and in terms of dollars we have $54 million of value going through our distributions centers and partner agencies.”McDonald says of the 187,000 people served a year; they wanted to provide a path to self-sufficiency. It started with education programs beyond workshops on health food choices and a feeding and culinary arts training program, but also food production for backyards and the Community Food Bank farm. 

  • Flake: Building ‘fortress America’ won’t help economic growth

    America cannot grow economically if it closes the borders to commerce and builds “fortress America,” Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, said Wednesday at a conference on U.S.-Mexico trade.Flake, the keynote speaker at the Woodrow Wilson Center Mexico Institute’s “Building a Competitive U.S.-Mexico Border” conference, said the strong trade partnership between the U.S. and its southern neighbor is key for economic growth – something he said the likely presidential nominees do not appear to understand.“The top candidates, the top two on each side, have made statements that are hardly free-trade friendly,” Flake said, without naming either Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump.Flake highlighted Mexico as an important trading partner for both the U.S. and Arizona. Trade between the two countries topped $500 billion in 2015, according to the U.S. Office of Trade Representative. Arizona did more than $17 billion in business in 2015 with Mexico, making it the state’s largest trade partner.That relationship needs to be maintained, he said.“How in the world do we expect to grow economically and to compete in the global marketplace if we shut down our borders and build ‘fortress America’ and shun these free trade agreements?” Flake asked.

Local News

  • Mayoral Candidate Profile: Dan Post

    Dan Post is running for Mayor of Marana and has vast public service experience to draw from. A retired rancher and business owner, Post has served on the Marana Unified School District Governing Board nine terms, nearly 36 years, having served as president several times. He has also served on the board of the Cortaro Water Users Association and the Cortaro-Marana Irrigation District and has served as chairman for both. He is also involved with the Town of Marana Western Heritage Committee, a non-profit group that operates the rodeo grounds. Post has lived in Southern Arizona his entire life and in Marana for over four decades. Why do you want to be mayor/why do you think you should be mayor?I’ve had people over the last couple of election cycles who have encouraged me to run because they feel there needs to be a change in leadership and given my experience and my involvement in the community they felt that I was somebody who could do that.My expertise is in building relationships with the people we work with. The school board, we have developed a close working group that gets along, as opposed to many school districts that don’t get along. I was involved in creating that culture of cooperation, so we have a really well oiled functioning school district of management and teachers. It’s a great place to work, we’re a first class school district. 

  • Chuy’s re-opens at new location in Marana to strong crowds

    Fans of Chuy’s turned out for opening day at the restaurant chain’s new Marana location as the Baja beach-themed restaurant celebrated its move into a smaller location.“We had a nice first-night crowd,” said shift supervisor Kristin Freeman. “People started getting here when we opened at 2 p.m. and it has been steady.”The staff was pleased as they had a nice mix of old and new customers.“It’s great, we’ve had a lot of our regulars that are super happy to be in and we have some new faces we have not seen,” Freeman said. The restaurant moved from their location on Ina Road near the freeway to the new location at 6741 N. Thornydale Road. The main reason for the move was to get into a smaller, newer building. “The other location was really big and this one is a little smaller,” Freeman said. “It is a newer building, it is a little nicer, a little shinier.”

  • Sharp looking to ‘continue moving things in the right direction’ as interim town manager

    Long-time Oro Valley resident Daniel Sharp is probably most well known as the town’s police chief, having been stationed at the helm of the Oro Valley Police Department since 2000. While often seen in uniform, for the time being, he will be addressed as interim town manager and in a shirt and tie.Filling in on a temporary basis after the departure of former town manager Greg Caton, who finished his tenure at the beginning of June, Sharp said his years of experience both within the town and as a member of its executive staff have allowed the transition to be as seamless as possible. In addition to his transition into the interim town manager position, Sharp said the police department changed hands without any difficulty. “I am in a unique position because I have a long-tenured deputy chief who understands everything about running the police department,” he said, referencing OVPD’s most senior sworn officer, interim police chief Larry Stevens. “In fact, he was the interim chief in Sahuarita, so he understands the job of police chief. Certainly when I am gone, we don’t miss a beat with Larry running things. I was in a position to be able to seamlessly step in and have Larry as the interim chief.”When Caton made it clear his interest in taking a position in Grand Junction, Colo. Sharp said he and other department directors within the town staff sat down to discuss the possibility of someone stepping up to take the interim position after town council made a call to any interested among staff.A long-time fan of the town even before coming to live in Oro Valley, Sharp said his decision to submit his name for the position was just another way for him to “do the right thing” and serve the community he has grown to love. With the support of staff and council, Sharp said he has found the whole experience to be quite humbling. Now stationed within the nucleus of Oro Valley’s operations, Sharp must contend with a different set of needs, requests and assignments as the interim town manager. Having trained with Caton for several weeks before taking over, Sharp said he feels more than prepared to handle anything which may come his way.


  • Saturday Puzzles 6-25-16

  • Low energy: ‘Finding Dory’ runs aground

    Over the past 21 years, Pixar Animation Studios has amazed and enlightened audiences, producing 17 awe-inspiring feature films.  After its initial launch of the mega-blockbuster and first-ever computer-animated classic “Toy Story” in 1996, movie goers around the world have been fascinated by the realism brought to the big-screen by this southern California business started and groomed by idea trailblazers George Lucas and Steve Jobs.  Everything Pixar has touched over the years—from the ginormous “Toy Story” trilogy, to the “Monsters Inc.” factory portfolio, to the lonely “WALL-E”—has become cinematic and Oscar gold.  Never one to rest on her laurels, Pixar only seemed to get better and better with time.  Coming off its best effort to date in last year’s thought-jarring “Inside Out”, Pixar has now released the sequel to one of the highest grossing movies ever (2003’s “Finding Nemo”).  And expectations for “Finding Dory” were high.  Way too high we find out.Thirteen years after “Finding Nemo”, audiences find a watered down script and ocean-soaked plot in this follow-up fish story.  The perfectly suited Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks are recast as the suffering short-term memory loss blue fish Dory, and the easy-going clownfish Marlin.  Both compliment the spectacular computer-generated imagery we’ve all come to expect, and receive once again, from Pixar. The biggest problem with “Finding Dory” is not in how it looks, but in how it sounds.  Despite returning the film into the trusted hands of two-time Academy Award-winning writer and director Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo” and “WALL-E”), this movie is both redundant and low energy. “Finding Dory” self-sabotages with a bland script that spurns boredom from DeGeneres’ character having to constantly echo the film’s thin plot over and over again as she meets each new sidekick.  Dory’s short-term memory loss creates repetitive dialogue and tests viewer patience for most of the 100-minute lost and found journey.  It also halts—and then drowns—a handful of short, funny moments before any continuous laughter can be strung together over several scenes.  Longtime Pixar fans will find this film easily the weakest story and biggest disappointment ever produced by the computer-generated giant. Despite using the same successful formula and minds behind “Finding Nemo”, this movie lacks charisma, laughter and the customary bold step forward by Pixar.  Instead, “Finding Dory” plays it safe.  Too safe.  We can only hope that audiences will have a short-term memory of this loss. 

  • ‘Maggie’s Plan’ invokes re-do on life

    Promoted and teased as a contemporary romantic comedy, “Maggie’s Plan” disintegrates into a complicated relationship triangle with children caught in the middle of three self-absorbed parents.  Looking deeper, we find today’s “selfie” phenomenon morphing beyond the mere instant gratification from photographs into the more surreal, high-stakes role of single parenthood by-choice.  This film, perhaps accidentally, captures a generation that wants it all—which in and of itself isn’t necessary bad or harmful.  Until one either finds something else better or decides having it “all” was a mistake.  In the case of the latter, the iGen wants a do-over. Maggie, exceptionally portrayed by a talented and vastly underrated Greta Gerwig, lacks a green thumb at growing relationships beyond the six-month point. Giving up on finding Mr. Right, Maggie settles for a sperm donation to achieve her goal of single motherhood, just as a disgruntled, older married man (Ethan Hawke) enters her heart and academia world on a New York campus.  After getting married and having a daughter of their own together, Maggie finds herself juggling a blended family solo, minus any parental teamwork from her self-centered boy toy, John (Hawke).  Overwhelmed and regretful, Maggie checks for an expiration date on returning John to his ex-wife and successful Danish author, Georgette (played by Academy Award winner Julianne Moore).  From here, Maggie hatches a “plan” to move all of the film’s chess pieces back to their original starting position for a new game.First-time independent director Rebecca Miller wrote this screenplay based upon Karen Rinaldi’s original story.  Both women deserve serious credit for highlighting several difficult and rampant relationship hurdles straightforwardly.  Boldly, “Maggie’s Plan” never sidesteps the heavy topics of affairs, divorce, infidelity or single-parenthood. To do otherwise would water down and weaken the movie’s best attribute—the stark and often painful realism found in its script and storyline.  “Maggie’s Plan” is really about neither romance nor comedy.  It’s about the complicated life we live in and our desires.  The film spotlights how one’s decisions has consequences and impacts others’ lives--particularly children. This plot revolves around the self-gratification world that permeates social media and our society today. Stellar performances throughout bring attention to absent parenting, self-absorbed novelists and loveless relationships.  Notwithstanding a few funny lines, “Maggie’s Plan” delivers a dramatic, and troublesome, look inside contemporary relationships.   Grade: C


  • Sports Update: All Northwest Boys Volleyball and Tennis Teams

    It was a very fun year for boys volleyball and tennis in the Northwest. It was a year the Mountain View boys volleyball team had their best season, the Pusch Ridge boys competed for a state title and several doubles teams made deep pushes in the girls state tennis championships. For the volleyball All-Star teams, each team has six player, with the only rules being that there has to be at least one Libero, Setter, Outside Hitter and Middle Blocker. The other two spots can be any combination of players.It should be noted that there are seven players on the third team. In comparing the final few players it was next to impossible to differentiate the seasons that they had and the people we spoke with when trying to. 2016 All Northwest Boys Volleyball Team

  • Sports Update: Critical Warner has valid concerns, but misses the point

    Former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner took to twitter over the weekend to make his displeasure with the football camp his son attended over the weekend. While Warner brought up some valid points, he was also bit disingenuous in his criticism.Since the initial tweets Warner has had a chance to explain himself via social media, as well as traditional media, and brings up some great points about the flaws with football camps. However, his initial tweet did not come close to making him sound like the champion of the little guy, and sounded like an overbearing football parent.“My son @KadeWarner leads state of AZ in recs last year - today he attended @UofA fball camp & doesn’t get a single 1on1 rep???? #BearLetDown”He later wrote that he was trying to help all of the overlooked kids who go to camps and do not get the reps they want, but that is not at all what he said in the first tweet. The first tweet actually shows that despite being an NFL great and a tremendous football analyst for the NFL Network, he does not fully grasp how college football recruiting works. That is a bit troublesome considering he is the offensive coordinator for his son’s high school team.What Warner, and parents everywhere should know, is that college coaches pay next to no attention to stats. Sure, they are not likely to recruit a player who puts up terrible stats, but just because a player leads the state in receptions does not make him a recruit, especially when his dad is calling the plays.Whenever a parent tells me their kid puts up big stats, I point to former Wildcat basketball player Jordan Hill. Hill played just two years of high school basketball and 

  • 2016 All-Northwest softball and baseball teams

    2016 was another great year for high school softball and baseball on the Northwest side. Once again both CDO and Ironwood Ridge were terrific in each sport and we saw Mountain View baseball and Pusch Ridge softball qualify for the playoffs.Making All-Star teams is never easy. When the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the state play down the road from each other, you know there is a ton of talent in one area. There are players riding the bench at some of these schools who would be the best players on about half the teams in Tucson. To make teams I made rules. Each team would have three pitchers, one catcher, four infielders, three  outfielders and a utility player. In addition one more outfielder or designated hitter could be selected. Players could only appear on the team once, even if they deserve at multiple positions. And there were a few players who fit that bill. Players who play multiple positions were slotted to a position that makes the strongest possible team, even if they might have been better at another position, in an effort to get the most deserving players on the first and second teams.  2016 All-NorthwestSoftball Team

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