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

  • OV babysitter arrested for child abuse of 10-month-old

    The Oro Valley Police Department has made an arrest in a child abuse case involving a babysitter and a 10-month-old baby.
  • Finding adventure and fun in STEM

    Just over 1,000 students from throughout the region recently made a trip to Pima Community College’s Northwest campus to participate in some fun science experiments and watch exciting live demonstrations with industry experts at the annual Arizona STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Adventure. Though it was the first year hosted by the college, the Southern Arizona Research, Science and Engineering Foundation has been putting together educational events for over a decade. The Arizona STEM Adventure is just one of the many free programs SARSEF works to create for youth in Southern Arizona. The organization works with the intent of exposing students to the intellectual wonders which can be only understood by studying science, technology, engineering and math Studies done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics has shown a need for STEM related jobs to increase in the future, and SARSEF is doing everything in its power to open the eyes of the youth in America to science-based academic pursuits.Kathleen Bethel, CEO of SARSEF, said the aim of the Arizona STEM Adventures is to “get all students, especially females, exposed to new areas of science.”Bethel said the event had previously been hosted at the Tucson Convention Center with a different name, and over 7,500 students would attend over three days. The format put too much of a strain on many of those involved in the free event, so SARSEF worked to streamline the process.

  • Spare Minimum: More manufacturers eschew extra tires

    More automakers are retiring the spare and instead stowing a tire inflation kit in the trunk.The problem is, tire sealants only work in very specific instances — for example, when a tire has a puncture occurring on the center tire tread and the foreign object remains in the tire. Otherwise, the kits won’t work, and the vehicle will need a tow. “Flat tires are not a disappearing problem, but spare tires are,” said John Walter, director of auto repair and fleet operations for AAA Arizona. “AAA Arizona already has responded to almost 59,000 tire-related calls so far this year, compared to almost 66,000 tire calls for all of 2014. As a safety advocate, AAA doesn’t believe tire inflator kits are a suitable replacement for a spare tire.“Sealant kits do work but the cost for using them is high, and it’s extremely messy. Many shops charge a cleanup fee, because the sealant makes a huge mess.”Plus, when drivers use a sealant, they must treat the tire as a spare — meaning they can’t drive faster than 50 mph and must get it to a shop and have it fixed before they drive 100 miles.“Inflation kits are a temporary fix at best,” Walter said. “These kits are only good for small punctures in a tire’s tread, and users should be very cautious of driving on a sealant-repaired tire. If the auto manufacturers just put a spare in, consumers wouldn’t have to worry about any of this nonsense.”

  • ‘Spirit of Christmas’ returning to Tucson for seventh year

    The holiday season brings about an upturn in great shopping and money-spending opportunities, a chance to enjoy the warmth and love of family and to give back to those less fortunate. The colder months on the calendar also bring about an opportunity for Tucsonans to more easily enjoy outside and group activities without the fear of the sun’s foreboding heat.Various different holiday celebrations are planned every year; from musicals to festivals, arts and crafts fairs and everything in between, each supplying some bit of camaraderie and holiday spirit. Tucson Dance Academy, a locally owned and operated dance studio, is preparing an extremely special holiday celebration. The seventh annual “Spirit of Christmas” will have three showings in December at two venues across the city. The show will be held at UA Centennial Hall on Sunday, Dec. 6, at 4 p.m. and then at the SaddleBrooke Desert View Performing Arts Center for two shows on Sunday, Dec. 12, at 4 and 7:30 p.m.Tom and Tammy Booth, who own and operate the dance academy with the help of their professionally trained dance instructors, are extremely excited to bring the show back for another year.When asked what to expect from the “Spirit of Christmas” show, both of the Booths found it initially difficult to pin down exactly what the event is.“It’s unique,” Tammy said. “It’s not a ‘Nutcracker’— we have a thousand shows of those. It’s something completely different, and you don’t realize it until you go and you see it.”

Local News

  • Registration under way for Oro Valley Cocoa 5k

    Anyone who plans on improving their health as one of their New Year’s resolutions will have a chance to start off their healthy habits early with others in the community at the second annual town of Oro Valley Cocoa 5k Run. The run begins at Steam Pump Ranch at 11:16 a.m. on New Year’s day, though number pickup, registration and socialization will take place from 9 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. while everyone gets ready. Water, hot cocoa and snacks will be supplied, giving runners a chance to warm up before taking off.The 5k race will be professionally timed, though runners of all skills and ages are invited to join in on the fun. Prizes will be awarded to runners in overall male and female categories, as well as in five-year age groups.“The Hot Cocoa 5K is a wonderful, healthy way to kick off the new year,” said Oro Valley Parks & Rec Director Kristy Diaz-Trahan. “Since the start time isn’t until 11:16 a.m., you still get to sleep in on New Year’s Day, and then enjoy a cup of hot cocoa with friends and family.”Runners who register before Friday will only pay $20, while those registering after Dec. 4 will pay an additional $5. To register, go online and visit bit.ly/cocoa5k or visit the Oro Valley town website.

  • Cañada del Oro Barbershop Chorus: The most wonderful time of the year

    On Friday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m., SaddleBrooke’s Cañada del Oro Barbershop Chorus, will be presenting a Christmas holiday showpiece of some of the greatest and grandest songs ever written. Joining them in this DesertView Performing Arts Center show will be the terrific Barbershop Harmony Society’s International Senior Silver Medalist quartet High Priority and the sensational young ladies chorus from Chandler High School The Treblemakers, directed by one of America’s great Sweet Adelines and youth group musical leaders, Lori Lyford. The performance will be featuring a lot of songs about Santa Claus as well as some of the grand and glorious traditional Christmas hymns which when sung by the almost 80 voices present, will cause the ringing of the rafters of the acoustically perfect DesertView Performing Arts Center. You will leave the theater in truly the holiday spirit. Tickets for the show are $20 and are on sale at SaddleBrooke’s MountainView HOA 2 Ticket Office (825-2818) or online atwww.saddlebrooketwo.com/desertview.

  • The Hilton El Conquistador undergoing renovations

    The Hilton El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort is currently undergoing $16 million in renovations, and crews will continue to work on the property until next September, according to HSL Properties.Omar Mireles, executive vice president at HSL, said the company has been planning on renovating the property since acquiring it last December. He said HSL staff worked with Hilton to develop a property improvement plan.“We’ve been in the planning process really since acquisition,” Mireles said, “but we started doing some of the work here recently.” He said work on the property began with concrete around the outdoor casitas to improve walk-ability and drainage in the area.The concrete work is finished, and the crews have moved over to the pool area. Mireles said they are redoing the entire area, including resurfacing the pool deck, improving the pool restaurant as well as the cabanas. The renovations by the pool should be finished by the end of the month, Mireles said.In renovating the pool, Mireles said the most difficult part was finding time to work while causing the least amount of disturbance possible to guests. HSL waited until the winter to begin renovations, when demand for the swimming facilities would be at its lowest. 


  • Xenoblade Chronicles X Review

    It’s hard to believe that Nintendo’s Wii U has been out for over three years already. In that time, a ton of great titles have come out for it, but nothing that has been released so far can compare to the massive world and feeling of adventure you get while playing Xenoblade Chronicles X.Xenoblade’s story begins with the complete annihilation of Earth by several different unknown alien races. Governments on Earth send up colonization ships in hopes to keep at least some of the human race alive. Most of these ships are destroyed as soon as they leave the Earth’s atmosphere, but some of them survive including, the ship that the United States sent up, the White Whale.For several years, the White Whale wondered space looking for humanity’s new home, but some of the aliens that had attacked Earth caught up to them and damaged the ship enough to make it crash land on the nearby planet Mira. Two months after landing on the planet, a woman named Elma finds you in an escape pod a few miles from the human’s new city, New LA. The player is introduced to many new characters upon arriving at the city and is invited to join the city’s military/exploration organization known as blade.Story is something that a lot of games this generation have had a problem with. They lack a cohesive plot that the player cares about and instead decided to only focus on online elements. Xenoblade Chronicles X on the other hand has a fantastic and interesting story that has many twists and turns that keeps the player engaged in what is going on. This makes combat and exploration meaningful instead of just another way to gain levels.Side quests are another thing that that Xenoblade does right. These optional quests add to the world of the game and introduce the players to many different alien races that they wouldn’t have met otherwise. Not only are these new species interesting to discover and talk to, but they also add new weapon markets that the player can invest in. Whenever I saw a question mark on my map, I made sure to run over and grab the quest to see what new character I would get to know or adventure I might get to experience.  A theme of Xenoblade Chronicles X is choice.  Once the introductory missions are complete you have a choice between joining one of eight different divisions in Blade, then there is the choice of what class you want to play as, later the player is given choices in dialogue, and later you get to choose what Skell you want. Whenever you begin the game, the player gets to choose at the home screen if you want to play alone, with random people online, or with friends. The nice thing about these choices is that you could go back later and change what class or division you are in.

  • Swedish court upholds access to The Pirate Bay and other illegal sharing websites

    The District Court of Stockholm recently decided that Swedish internet service provider Bredbandsbolaget does not have to be forced to block notorious file-sharing website, The Pirate Bay. The decision marks a landmark victory for the long embattled website, which has faced staunch opposition since its inception in 2003.The case was brought before the Swedish court by Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner Music, Nordisk Film and the Swedish Film Industry. The lawsuit would have forced Bredbandsbolaget to prevent its users from accessing the website.The lawsuit alleged that Bredbandsbolaget be held responsible for the copyright infringements of its customers for allowing them access to the website.Bredbandsbolaget refused to comply. The company stated that its only role was to provide customers with internet access, and ensure the free-flow of information. The district court agreed with Bredbandsbolaget and stated that the actions of Bredbandsbolaget do not constitute participation in crimes under Swedish law.According to a statement by Presiding Chief Magistrate Anders Dereborg, “A unanimous District Court considers, therefore, that it is not in a position to authorize such a ban as the rights holders want and therefore rejects their request.”Though Sweden currently stands with its service providers, many countries throughout Europe have already prevented access to The Pirate Bay and similar websites and services.

  • Saturday Puzzles 11-28-15


  • Champs!

    Pusch Ridge won the Division IV sate football championship the same way they won their previous two playoff games…in dramatic fashion. The Lions beat Northwest Christian 14-7 to claim the school’s first football state title.Tamerat McLeod, who won the semi-final game with his leg, scored from three-yards out in the final two minutes of the game to put the Lions up. Four plays later Northwest Christian came up short of a first down and the celebration began."God has blessed us this year,” said Pusch Ridge Head Coach Troy Cropp. “I don't know why. Northwest is a great team with great coaches. We're both Christian schools but for whatever reason God's blessed us. It could have gone either way.”Northwest Chrisitan committed six turnovers on the night, including the two that directly led to Lion scores.After an interception at their own 1-yard line the Lions marched 99-yards, capping the drive with an 18-yard touchdown from Cody Cropp to Ben Walker. It was the Lions’ lone completion of the night.For a more detailed game story, see the Nov. 2 edition of the Explorer News

  • Another dramatic win sends Pusch Ridge to state finals

    A week after a dramatic, last-second win, Pusch Ridge advanced to the Division IV State Football championship game with a 17-14 overtime win over Lake Havasu. It also marked the second straight game a Lion player overcame turnovers to be the hero in the end. A week ago, it was quarterback Cody Cropp shaking off a trio of interceptions to guide the Lions on the game winning drive. Against Lake Havasu, it was Tamerat McLeod shaking off early game fumbles to boot a 27-yard field goal to give the Lions the overtime win. It was McLeod’s first field goal of the season and only his second attempt on the year. He had also converted a pair of extra points earlier in the game. As a freshman, McLeod was the Lions’ primary kicker, making all three of his field goal attempts and 33 of 43 extra points.  James Raica put the Lions in position to win the game with an interception to end Lake Havasu’s overtime possession. With the ball at the 10-yard line, the Pusch Ridge head coach, who had made the switch to McLeod at kicker earlier in the week, trusted the sophomore’s right leg for their ticket to the state title game. Thanks to early turnovers, the Lions fell behind 14-0. Two Pusch Ridge turnovers led to the Havasu scores. The Knights scored their second touchdown moments into the second quarter then failed to score again, though they did miss three field goals. Cropp completed just four passes on the day, but one was a 30 yarder to Ben Walker that set up Raica’s three-yard run. 

  • Last-second heroics lead Lions to state semis

    Ben Walker made two huge plays, while quarterback Cody Cropp saved his best for last and Pusch Ridge advanced to the state semifinals for the first time in school history with a 13-10 win over River Valley in the second round of the Division IV state playoffs. Cropp roamed the sidelines after River Valley tied things up at 7-7 saying, “We wanted a good game, we wanted to play in a good game.” While after the game he admitted a hint of sarcasm to the comments, he got his wish. The battle between his Lions and the Dust Devils went down to the last play. In fact, River Valley wound up getting two untimed downs after regulation ended. River Valley missed a 45-yard field goal, giving the Lions the ball at the 20-yard line with just 1:50 to play and trailing 10-7. The game would be decided on the arm of senior quarterback Cody Cropp. Cropp, who had thrown three interceptions, put the negative plays behind him and went to work. Two of his first three passes were dropped, but on fourth and four he found Walker for a nine-yard completion. Matthew McLeod then hauled in a 22-yard reception to get the Lions into Dust Devil territory. Cropp found Isaiah Lovett on a nine-yard gain, but the Lions wasted almost 30 seconds getting the next play off. Three plays later, the Lions faced second and 10 from the 30, with just 26 seconds left. Cropp lofted a high pass to the corner of the end zone, the ball got tipped by a defender but Walker located the ball and leaped to grab it. He bobbled it a few times on his way down but secured the ball for the score.“It felt like I was bobbling the ball for at least 30 seconds,” said Walker. 


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