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  • Longtime CDO instructor honored as Teacher of the Year finalist

    When students at Canyon del Oro High School are looking for a program to help prepare them for college, the professional world and the challenges they may face, many turn to Cymry DeBoucher for guidance. A long time figure with more than 15 years of experience walking the CDO halls, DeBoucher is living out a lifelong passion for teaching and the arts.“When I was in high school and even when I was very, very young, I always liked helping others learn how to do things,” DeBoucher said. “When I was in high school I was really fascinated, and still am, by art, so I decided to go into art education. … It was a general idea. I don’t think that high school kids really know what they want to do with their lives and I was probably pretty typical, but I knew that I loved art, and I knew that I loved helping people learn.”A native of Seattle, DeBoucher traveled between schools often as a child as a member of both a military and mining family. Part of that experience was living in Tucson and the warm, sunny climate left an impression. After completing high school in Cleveland, DeBoucher said she desired a return to the desert and began attending the University of Arizona. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in art education and a master’s in gifted education, DeBoucher began what is now a 32-year career at LuLu Walker Elementary. Over the next several years she would go on to teach in private and public schools in Phoenix and Sierra Vista before making her return to Tucson and the Amphitheater Public School District.DeBoucher joined CDO’s staff after having previously been a volunteer at the school, and began her journey as a Dorado handling gifted students, a role she had previously held as a REACH program instructor at both the elementary and middle school levels. One of the first tasks she carried out at CDO was to survey the gifted students and their families to find out what they saw as missing from their education experience.What she found is that college help and career planning was at the top of the list.

  • Oro Valley hosts first public Monsanto meeting

    The first of five community meetings scheduled by Pima County to provide information and receive comments on the proposed Monsanto greenhouse facility near Marana was held last week at the Oro Valley Library.All 80 seats were filled and an additional 20 to 30 people stood around the library conference room. Most in attendance were against the project, and many brandished signs throughout the meeting.Some observers were frustrated with the format of the meetings and several who spoke said they were under the impression they would be speaking directly to one or more members of the Pima County Board of Supervisors, but instead were told their comments were being recorded and would be given to the supervisors. District 1 Supervisor Ally Miller was on hand for the beginning of the meeting, but did not stay for the entire session.The first part of the meeting was an opportunity for Pima County Economic Development Deputy Director Patrick Cavanaugh, who presided over the entire meeting, to brief the public on Pima County’s role in a pair of pending agreements with Monsanto, what those deals include and to dispel any rumors about the agreement. The public were able to ask questions specific to the county’s role. The second portion of the meeting was a chance for Monsanto to make a presentation, first a rough overview of the company and then more details on the exact nature of the greenhouse project. Like the session before, the public was allowed to ask questions, this time specifically about Monsanto.Monsanto Product Strategy Lead Amanda McClerren gave the presentation and stressed that the science behind Monsanto is “still strong.” She gave a number of specifics about the Pima County greenhouse project, including a short video focusing on a lot of the practices being used in the greenhouse.

  • MUSD Governing Board hears flag controversy

    The debate over the Confederate flag at Marana High School moved from the school and private land across the school, to a recent Marana Unified School District governing board meeting. People on both sides of the issue spoke during the call to the public at the meeting, representing both sides of the debate.Three people spoke in favor of the flag and were critical of the decision to ban the displaying and wearing of the flag for any purpose other than educational use in the classroom.Patricia and Benjamin Rumbo have students at the school directly affected by the decision and at the center of the controversy. Patricia Rumbo claimed students displaying the Confederate flag have been singled out and that students are allowed to display other flags, including the Mexican and Japanese Flags.“To our family, and many families in our district, the Confederate flag does not represent hate, but pride in our culture and heritage,” Patricia said. “Hate is making students feel ashamed, ashamed of their upbringing, family values. Hate is being threatened by students and teachers.”Benjamin Rumbo said that when he attended high school he wore and displayed the Confederate flag with no issues and said he and his family have no biases towards any race, religion or ethnicity.  

  • OVPD: Suspicious person in Oro Valley

    On Jan. 18 at approximately 7:40 a.m. in the area of Glover and Verch the Oro Valley Police Department (OVPD) responded to a suspicious activity call. A male attempted to contact a minor child at a bus stop. The male was described as an older Caucasian with mostly gray hair, a mustache and wearing glasses. The driver of the vehicle sat at the bus stop area for a few minutes, rolled down his window and twice told the child to walk to his vehicle. His vehicle was described as a black (oxidizing paint), possibly a two-door sedan. OVPD would like to remind children of some safety tips:Never approach strangers sitting in a car,Never get into a car with a stranger, andAlways tell an adult if a stranger tries to approach you.

  • Top Travel Trends for 2017

    The year 2017 brings a year of new beginnings and new destinations.According to a recent AAA survey 42 percent of Americans are planning to take a vacation in 2017 – with most planning trips to the warm weather destinations in the United States and abroad. All signs are pointing to a busy year for vacationers and the travel industry. And about 30 percent of U.S. adults say they are more likely to take a vacation this year compared to 2016. When they do, they’re looking for a new kind of travel experience.“Exploring places that are less traveled is the theme for 2017,” said Amy Moreno, senior travel manager for AAA Arizona. “Travelers are looking for unique experiences and want to be among the first to explore and share these up-and-coming destinations.” AAA Travel experts predict the top five travel trends for 2017:  

  • [UPDATE]OVPD seeking public’s help in locating missing 63 year-old women

    Sheryl Forte has been found safe. Thank you to everyone who helped OVPD find her.ORIGINAL STORYThe Oro Valley Police Department (OVPD) is asking for the public’s help locating a 63 year-old woman.Sheryl Forte has not been seen by her friends or family since Jan. 9, 2017. She is described as a Caucasian female, with brown hair and brown eyes, 5’08” in height and weighs 130 Lbs. with blue eyes and brown hair. The associated vehicle is a 2007 blue Lincoln town car, Arizona plate 289-HMS. If anyone knows the whereabouts of Sheryl, you are asked to call 911 or 229-4900.

  • “The Two Amigos” a load of laughs at The Gaslight Theatre

    When travelling entertainers Reynaldo and Paco are invited to perform in the village of Santa Feliz by Comandante Maxino, the two men – also known as the Two Amigos – accidentally involve themselves in the village’s local political turmoil. With the people of Santa Feliz seemingly trapped under the comandante’s boot, a hero must be found.The most recent show to premier at The Gaslight Theatre, “The Two Amigos” is another well performed, laughter-inspiring performance well within the vein of melodramatic excellence for which the establishment has been known. A western themed comedy ride, “The Two Amigos” draws from several well-known sources within the genre’s history, even a famous, masked sword fighter with a penchant for the final letter in the alphabet.Leading the cast as the production’s protagonist is the always energetic Jake Chapman, a member of the Gaslight family with nearly a decade under his belt. Aside from his role as Reynaldo, Chapman also dons the vestiture of the masked hero, El Bandito. A fan of playing the hero, Chapman said he dons his greatest gravelly voice to fill a more serious note at times, though his contagious spirit on stage shines through in both laughter and splendor from the audience and actors alike.Reynaldo’s love interest, Angelita, is played by fellow Gaslight ace Janée Page, who said that the enchanting atmosphere of the theater is present throughout the show.“There is a certain magic that happens on stage that is indescribable,” she said. “You can feel the energy of the people who feel that magic, and reciprocate it. …You’re a part of this thing that is fun and beautiful and entertaining.”Whether riding on wooden horseback, fighting an exciting duel of blades or finding love, “The Two Amigos” is as engaging and hilarious as any show at The Gaslight. Other regular faces of the Gaslight cast include Mike Yarema, Todd Thompson, Jacob Brown, David Orley, Jake Coffin, Heather Stricker and Erin Thompson. Whether in duet, in group as a full cast, the songs in between the scenes are as impressive as the acting.

  • “Patriots Day” an engrossing thriller on Boston Marathon bombings

    No one right now in Hollywood is sharper at crafting heroic true-life stories onto the big-screen than Clint Eastwood or Peter Berg. Both directors have powerfully depicted ordinary people doing extraordinary acts of bravery.  Each visionary storyteller is so keen at providing a deep history behind actual events, that viewer blood pressure gets elevated as one’s overall fingernail length is nervously reduced. Eastwood’s tributes have shined bright with his “Letters from Iwo Jima,” “American Sniper” and “Sully” under his watchful eye. Whereas Berg’s game has been raised of late with his own heart-racing true tales: “Lone Survivor,” “Deepwater Horizon” and now “Patriots Day.” All chaotic films, at times, funny—but each a rather large truth tablet for moviegoers to swallow in their willingness to learn more.Based upon the book “Boston Strong: A City’s Triumph over Tragedy,” this film focuses on the 2013 Boston Marathon terrorist bombings and the ensuing massive federal, state and local inter-agency investigation. The real star of “Patriots Day” is the city of Boston. As evidenced by Mark Wahlberg’s role as a police sergeant molded into a compilation of nearly 20 Boston Police Department officers, his character the dedicated face of many—as well as the key thread woven into the film’s chilling manhunt fabric.Roman philosopher Seneca once scribed that “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Nothing demonstrates our post-9/11 world and lessons learned more graphically than Boston’s coordinated, fast-paced and lethal investigative response to an attack during their 117th annual race. To see that city’s first-responders and medical personnel react in the same manner as their New York City brothers and sisters in September of 2001, is both awe-inspiring and heartwarming. Capturing the numerous lives affected by those twin blasts near the finish line, “Patriots Day” leaves us with a better understanding of the dangerous world we live in and more thankful for the people charged with responding to those dangers.  From the fire, police and military racing towards the explosive epicenters, doctors and nurses making life and limb decisions at surrounding hospitals and heads-up Bostonians reporting tidbits of information, “Patriots Day” underscores the city’s strength, readiness and resolve that brought swift justice to a pair of sinister culprits wearing a “black hat” and “white hat”.  Aside from the stellar job by Wahlberg representing Boston PD, “Patriot Day” shows off a collaborative team effort by law enforcement sleuths that use their combined expertise and skillsets in a successful manner that resembles a U.S. military special operations unit in its efficiency, order, and lethality. Even knowing the eventual outcome to this true narrative, viewers will find the background stories on the real bombing victims, law enforcement officers and terrorists fascinating—yet heartbreaking—to watch unfold. But everyone should see “Patriots Day” because that will help keep America Strong.  And ready.Grade: A

  • “Manchester by the Sea” rolls in grief and guilt

    Casey Affleck’s spectacular performance is this film earned him a Golden Globe on Sunday, and should end any further speculation as to which Affleck brother has the best acting chops.  Sorry, Batman. Chatter from the Left Coast early last year told us film critics to expect a particularly stunning job from the younger Affleck in “Manchester by the Sea”.  More times than not, these self-pronounced premerits of greatness by studio execs only translates into hyperbole and unmet expectations in the end.  That’s not the case in this movie about grief and family relationships.Carrying significant guilt and apprehensive upon his shoulders, Affleck’s divorced Lee Chandler character returns to his hometown of Manchester after the death of his brother, Joe. Complicating matters for the blue-collar repairman is Lee’s startling reintroduction to his now teenage nephew, Patrick, and his first contact in years with an ex-wife (played by Michelle Williams).  “Manchester by the Sea” is a slow storyline reveal that works by tossing in timely flashbacks of a better time and life for Affleck’s handyman Lee. As guardianship issues for his nephew must be legally worked out, Uncle Lee’s uncomfortableness returning to Manchester swings constantly between heartache and remorse. Equally entertaining is the job Lucas Hedges does portraying the role of the now fatherless Patrick.  Together, Affleck and Hedges create a tension-filled relationship as neither wants to have their life completely upended because of the sudden death of their loved one.The movie does a lot right.  It somehow makes a slow plot reveal work without losing viewers, mostly due to its believable acting and a mysterious storytelling rollout. The film poignantly explains the extended family dynamics and its unimaginable past, delving deeper into Casey’s relationships with not only his nephew, but others. It even injects a grown-up Ferris Bueller, aka Matthew Broderick, into a small scene.  This realistic and exceptionally well-acted endeavor, though, has a few glaring problems. Joining an irritable rash of late 2016 films like “Moonlight” and “Nocturnal Animals”, this northeast narrative sports an interesting beginning only to culminate in an unremarkable and bland ending.  When it’s all over and done, a memorable “Manchester by the Sea” journey by moviegoers never fully materializes.  Casey Affleck’s character lets down his brother, and, ultimately us with a timid, lackluster finale. 

  • Sports Update: IRHS’s Klass wins weight class at the Flowing Wells Invitational

    Ironwood Ridge’s Patrick Klass won the 128-pound title at the Flowing Wells Invitational over the weekend. The event is considered one of, if not the top wrestling tournament in the state. Klass was the lone northwest side wrestler to win a title, and one of two to advance to a championship match. Klass advanced to 35-4 on the season with his 8-5 decision over Sunnyside’s Aaron Rodriguez in the championship match. Mountain View’s Andrew Cota was 5th, garnering the medal when his opponent had to withdraw with an injury.Mountain View’s Frankie Lee was the only other area wrestler to advance to an event finals, wrestling for the 254-pound title. Lee suffered only his fourth loss of the season when he was pinned by Vincent Dolce of Corona Del Sol. Lee is now 27-4 on the season. Five other area wrestlers medaled in the event. 

  • Marana Boys win the Eddie Martinez Invitational

    The Marana Boys Basketball team won the Eddie Martinez Invitational last weekend, concluding over two weeks of holiday tournaments for area teams.The Tigers went 6-0 in the event and helped improve their record to 8-9 overall.Marana cruised to the title with a 30-point win in the championship game, beating Empire 75-45. The Tigers outscored the Ravens 32-14 in the second half.Three Tigers scored in double figures, led by Etienne Guibert’s 15 points. Tyson Corner and Kyle Haase added 13 and 11.Although the championship game was relatively easy, the Tigers had a tough path to get their, including back to back overtime wins.The Tigers beat Florence 73-71 in overtime in the semi-finals. Marana had to rally in the fourth quarter to force overtime, outscoring the Gophers by 11 over the final eight minutes.

  • Top-10ish Sports Stories of 2016, Part 2

    There were so many great sports moments in 2016 that one story could not contain them all. Last week we looked at stories No. 5-10(D). This week it is the Top 4 stories of the year. 1. Ironwood Ridge WrestlingThere were a lot of headlines for the Nighthawk grapplers. First and foremost, Ironwood Ridge wrestlers won three individual state titles and led the Nighthawks to a team title at the Division I state wrestling tournament in Prescott. Ten Nighthawk wrestlers reached the podium and helped their school edge Sunnyside and Mesa Mountain View for the team state title. The Nighthawks earned 194 points, 12.5 more than second-place Sunnyside and 27.5 more than Mesa Mountain View. Danny Vega concluded a remarkable high school career with his third state title, winning the 113-pound division. Josiah Kline capped off his senior season by winning the title at 132 and improving his record to 42-3 on the season. Jeremy Benson was the third Nighthawk to win an individual state title, taking first at 182

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