Tucson Local Media: Foothills News

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  • Sixth annual Salsa and Tequila Challenge brings Tucson’s foodies together

    Equipped with personal bags of chips, well over 1,000 local foodies took to the La Encantada Shopping Center on Saturday, Aug. 20 to celebrate two of the Southwest region’s most staple foodstuffs—salsa and tequila at the sixth annual Salsa and Tequila Challenge, hosted by the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance.Filtering through the booths of dozens of Tucson’s most accomplished restaurateurs and culinarians, guests were treated to some of the best – and most surprising – examples of the classic culinary duo.“Welcome to the Southwest,” said SAACA Communications Director Cait Huble. “Salsa and tequila is just a fun way to bring out the culture of Tucson. Almost every restaurant offers tequila cocktail, a lot offer salsa and the fun thing about this event are the ones that don’t normally offer it in the restaurant. (They) are competing against those that do. You get to taste a lot of different varieties.”Whether indulging in tequila popsicles, habenero-peach salsa or a vaporized cocktail, the challenge was more a festival, as each participant looked to not only display gastronomic ingenuity, but show off with artistic and colorful booths.According to Huble, it’s the perfect event for any restaurant, food truck, home kitchen or any other accomplished cook or chef to reach their audience in a way much more engaging to Tucson’s eaters.“It’s not just buying a bus ad or buying a print ad anymore, you want to be able to get in front of people; the audience that will return to your restaurant,” she said. “If you come to a foodie event that is culturally driven, that’s your people. That’s the audience you want.”

  • Fall Arts Preview

    The upcoming season offers photography, dance, fine arts and, of course, politicsPolitics are everywhere in this endless election season, and local artists and arts organizations—painters, dancers and actors—are doing their part, jumping in with timely works that offer pungent political commentary. Painter Alfred Quiroz, a UA prof whose big canvases have long aimed sharp criticism at sugar-coated versions of U.S. history, opens a major show at the University of Arizona Museum of Art right in time for the election—and for the inauguration of the presidential winner. The Presidential Series: Paintings by Alfred J. Quiroz, on view from Oct. 22 to Jan. 22, takes aim at the follies of presidents past, in large-scale, cartoon-colored paintings that veer from comic to deadly serious. www.artmuseum.arizona.edu.Two local editorial cartoonists—Rand Carlson of the Tucson Weekly and David Fitzsimmons of the Arizona Daily Star—wield their stinging pens in works at the Contreras Gallery. Political painter Gary Aagaard joins the pair in a show that runs in the fraught political weeks from Oct. 1 to 29. www.contrerashousefineart.com.Even dance turns serious. Artifact Dance Project, the ambitious local contemporary troupe, has created a dance interpretation of Animal Farm, George Orwell’s ominous 1945 fable about the rise of totalitarianism. ADP stages the work to live music in the Great Hall of MOCA-Tucson, running Oct. 6 to 9. artifactdanceproject.org. See Sherilyn Forrester’s description of Nogales, a new play at Borderlands that deals with the wrenching issues of the border, a hot topic in the election. The play examines the real-life death of 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, a Mexican boy who died on his own turf, shot by a Border Patrol agent through the border wall. 

  • Catalina Foothills High School football: Falcons flying high for 2016 season

    Since hiring Jeff Scurran prior to the 2013 season, the Catalina Foothills High School football program has had their best run of success in the school’s history. The Falcons enter the 2016 season full of optimism, not only hoping to make the playoffs for the fourth straight season, but looking to make their deepest postseason run in school history.The Falcons have won 23 games in three seasons, after going 0-10 in 2012. Scurran’s arrival coincided with that of quarterback Rhett Rodriguez. Rodriguez, the son of University of Arizona Head Coach Rich Rodriguez, won the job as a freshman and has never looked back. The heady passer, he also boasts a 4.0 GPA, has passed for over 5,000 yards in his career. He had a great junior season, throwing for 2,503 yards and rushing for 624 more, but more importantly, taking the Falcons to the second round of the state playoffs for just the second time in school history. What makes Rodriguez so effective is his decision making. He threw just two interceptions last season, one for every 118 pass attempts, and completed over 66 percent of his passes. “It is like having a coach on the field, who’s like a point guard,” said Scurran. “Everything we do gets run through him.”The quarterback is hardly alone in getting it done in the classroom. Half of the team are considered A and B students, while six are either 4.0 students or one class from being straight A students. Rodriguez is not the only threat on offense. The Falcons return their top two receivers and top two rushers. 

  • Valley View expanded and ready for students

    The Valley View Early Learning Center and its staff were prepared for the more than 200 pre-k students which came returning to the halls of the recently expanded school last week. Having undergone an expansive expansion process, the school now has a greatly expanded outdoor space, classrooms and more.As the communities youngest learners returned to Valley View last Thursday to begin another year of adventurous learning and play-based education, those who hadn’t seen the school over the summer – or new students – were in for quite a surprise.Having nearly doubled in size since the previous school year, the school is looking at the end of a year-long expansion process: having added eight new classrooms, a greatly expanded outdoor play space, a new kitchen, an occupational therapy room, a lounge for teachers and more.Breaking ground last August and hosting construction crews throughout the year, the school remained opened and fully operating while Concord Construction took to work. While many schools may look at a massive overhaul as a distraction and possibly even a detriment to the education process, Valley View embraced the construction with open arms, integrating the happenings of the worksite into the classroom. “It was an adventure and it was noisy,” said McKenzie Thomas, who teaches at Valley View. “It definitely took some getting used to; it was a lot of bodies that were added so a lot of in-and-out movement. … In my classroom in particular we got really involved with the construction and we actually created a relationship with the construction team, the engineers and the architects…That’s what they were noticing and seeing outside and they brought it in and made it an everyday part of their life.”

  • Tucson says ‘Blue lives matter’ at area event

    State Rep. Mark Finchem, a former first responder for more than 20 years, told a local crowd of almost 300 on Thursday, Aug. 4, that the desire of a police officer to protect and serve is more than a catchy slogan printed on the sides of service vehicles —it’s an all-encompassing dedication to supporting the well being of the community and its residents.“Never enough do we hear of the kindness, caring and assistance that are an integral part of community policing.” Finchem said. “So why do we think that is? Ask yourself, who stands to gain from the divisional politics that we see today? Those who wish to accumulate power; they divide communities and focus on everything that makes us different as though those differences are weaknesses and not strengths. They spread viral misery. …They would have you believe that behind every badge is a bigot or a bully. The fact is that they answer the call for help when it is needed most. I do not apologize for the statement that I am about to make: all lives matter—but in this moment we want our law enforcement community to know that blue lives matter too.”Blue lives matter was both the name of the event and the theme of the evening when more than a dozen members of local law police officers and hundreds of citizens came together to show support and confidence in local law enforcement last Thursday, Aug. 4 at James D. Kriegh Park in Oro Valley. The event was emceed by radio personality James T. Harris and included sponsorship and assistance from Jim Click, eegees and Bottle Breacher.The gathering was planned by Heirs of the Republic, a local community organization with the mission of “preserving the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,” according to the group’s founder and president, John Utsch. Whether through community education, promoting awareness or teaching American history and world history, Utsch said that the organization looks to learn from events of the past and apply lessons to the problems and issues faced today.Though the group may have a larger mission, the Blue Lives Matter event was about one thing: showing support for and presenting an attitude and confidence in local law enforcement.

  • Foothills Barbers, classic cuts and a family full of nerdy fun

    Autographed sports memorabilia, logos of video game companies, a shrine to “Star Wars” and flat screen TVs along the walls, along with the constant chitchat on cars, movies, food, comics and everything in between. Barber DJ Starks says his Foothills Barbers is one of the most nerd-friendly places in town and he stakes a claim it’s probably Tucson’s nerdiest barbershop.Kings of classic look, Starks said that all five barbers in-store are excellent at everything from the taper fade to the undercut, flattops and all varieties of “gentleman’s cuts.”“It usually means something that you would wear at a business meeting,” Starks said. “Something you would wear at a formal dinner. Something simple, that’s an old school cut; something that you would use a razor just to fine-tune. We use a razor on everything, but that is just a necessity.”A trip to any college campus proves as solid evidence that the classic barbershop look has transcended from hip culture to full mainstream popularity. Despite the saturation of the undercut and shaved parts, Foothills Barbers isn’t riding a trend—the classic cut is part of the Starks’ family history.Providing clipper cuts alongside DJ is his father Daniel Starks Sr., his uncle Steve Starks, cousin Elijah Starks and cousin in-law Les Hakala.Starks said that his father and uncle have been in the barber business for more than 40 years each. By 1993, the two men had a shop of their own, 1st Ave. Barbers, where they remained for more than a decade. More than seven years ago, the two men moved the business again and settled in northwest Tucson as Foothills Barbers.

  • Prep & Pastry stuffing stomachs at new east-side location

    While some may call it the next hip trend, the breakfast restaurant is an undeniable staple within the food industry. While by no means a new concept, specializing in a hearty morning meal is often the quickest way to the heart of many a Tucsonan. This time-honored tradition is being carried out at Prep & Pastry, which opened its second location on the east side of town on July 5.At the helm of Prep & Pastry, and sister restaurant Commoner & Co., are business partners Nathan Ares and Brian Morris, local restaurateurs with a deep-seated interest in not only providing high-quality meals but improving the city’s ever-growing food culture. Having opened the first Prep & Pastry a few years ago and establishing a strong presence in Tucson Morris said the community—particularly when Commoner opened—was begging for an iteration of Prep & Pastry out east. “We really didn’t put up a grand opening or a now open sign, we just kind of let word of mouth spread—a post here and there—but our weekends have been really great,” Morris said. “Just through the word of mouth and it’s been awesome; it’s really cool to see.”Not wanting to make any changes to a good-thing-going, Ares said that the menu is the same at both locations. While there isn’t any $3.99 early-bird special, the pricing is quite competitive with more traditional hole-in-the-wall breakfast joints popular throughout Tucson. What Prep & Pastry is best known for is the food, though the occasionally long wait has often been experienced at the smaller central location. Ares said that isn’t the case on the east side considering the new location sits 40 more people.

  • Bisbee Breakfast Club carves out niche in the Foothills

    A once-shuttered gas station has been transformed into the latest location for an expanding local franchise.The Bisbee Breakfast Club recently opened its second Tucson location at 4811 E. Sunrise Drive.Owner Terry Kyte picked the location in large part because he thought the space had a lot of promise. “I liked the building,” Kyte said. “I thought it was kind of cool being a gas stations and thought it would be interesting to see how we could build it out into a restaurant.”Kyte has found that the same type of clientele that has made the Ina Road location successful has made the new cafe a hit out the gate. That area of the foothills has a number of communities that cater to retirees and older diners have really gravitated to the restaurant.“A lot of people just walk in,” Kyte said. “There is a lot of housing around there.”

  • Back-to-school resource fair giving students a chance to succeed

    Succeeding in school takes more than attending classes and a willingness to study; having the proper tools and supplies is essential for any student, from kindergarten to doctorial studies. In an effort to provide necessities for those within the Amphitheater School District community who may not be able to on their own, the Amphi Foundation is hosting a back-to-school resource fair at the volunteer-operated, donation-driven Amphi Foundation Clothing Bank, located at 3335 N. Stone Ave, from 9 a.m. until noon on Saturday, Aug. 6.“We want to prepare the kids and equip them so that they can go to school with what they need and be prepared to learn,” said Leah Noreng, executive director of the foundation. “When you have kids coming to school with empty bellies and holes in their socks and shoes, they’re not prepared to learn. We want to make sure they have what they need to take on learning life skills and getting an education.”Students in-need will have the opportunity to pick out new socks and underwear, jeans, several T-shirts, a backpack and more. The kids will also receive hygiene supplies courtesy of a partnership with St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.New clothes and personal hygiene effects are a huge benefit, but the foundation is giving the kids free haircuts of Gadabout Salon. Additionally, Noreng said there are plans to possibly include mobile immunization, representatives from The Community Food Bank, school physical coupons from Southern Arizona Urgent Care and more.Last year the foundation was able to give away more than 12,000 items of clothing, and has plans to continue to supply those in need. To reach that goal, the foundation is looking for help from the community—and some have already answered the call. The Amphitheater High School class of 1966 raised a donation of $1,066 cash and clothing for the clothing bank in June.

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