Tucson Local Media: Foothills News

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  • 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.

  • U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick hopes she can unseat Sen. John McCain in the year of Trump

    Political number-cruncher Nate Silver recently released his first forecast of the 2016 presidential race—and Democrats were joyful to see that, based on the polls that have been released, he saw presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton essentially tied with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump here in Arizona.With Arizona in play, Democrats are also hoping that they might topple over the state’s tallest political giant: U.S. Sen. John McCain, the two-time presidential contender who has served in the Senate since he won the retiring Barry Goldwater’s seat back in 1986.McCain, who has been able to swat away challengers as if they were no more than annoying houseflies, has even said this is likely to be his toughest race.On the right, he’s facing former state lawmaker Kelli Ward in the GOP primary. And assuming he survives that, he will face Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick, who is giving up her congressional seat to challenge McCain. Kirkpatrick has relatively high name ID for a Democrat, having spent the last four years representing Congressional District 1, which includes Southern Arizona’s Oro Valley and Marana, Northern Arizona’s Flagstaff and Native American reservations, and much of rural Eastern Arizona.So far, the polls have been all over the place, but they generally give the edge to McCain. Public Policy Polling, which is frequently hired by left-leaning interests, has released several polls showing a close race; the most recent survey of 691 registered voters, taken June 22-23, showed McCain with a 2-percentage-point lead, 42 percent to 40 percent, with the remainder undecided. But a Rocky Mountain Poll of 448 registered voters between June 6 and June 19 showed McCain with a 9-percentage point lead, 40 percent to 31 percent.But the Public Policy Polling surveys have also consistently shown that McCain is one of the nation’s least popular senators. In the June poll, for example, 30 percent of those surveyed approved of the job he was doing, while 54 percent disapproved.

  • Minimum wage boost headed for AZ ballot

    Arizona voters may have a chance to boost the state’s minimum wage this year.The campaign for a ballot initiative to increase Arizona’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020 submitted more than 217,000 signatures to state officials on Thursday, July 7.The Fair Wages and Healthy Families initiative would boost the current $8.05 minimum wage by 50 percent within four years.If passed by voters, the measure would introduce a $10 minimum wage on Jan. 1, 2017 with increases on Jan. 1 of every year: $10.50 in 2018, $11 in 2019 and $12 in 2020. After that, the wage would rise with the cost of living each succeeding year.An additional provision of the measure would provide mandatory sick leave for wage earners. Businesses with fewer than 15 employees would be required to provide 24 hours each year, while those with more than 15 employees would need to provide 40 hours each year.The campaign has collected well over the minimum requirement of signatures to reach the ballot, so barring a successful legal challenge, voters will likely be able to decide its fate in November. 

  • Former employee hopes to unseat incumbent Bill Staples in assessor campaign

    Pima County Assessor Bill Staples is so confident about his work in office for the past 12 years that he says he isn’t asking for monetary contributions or currently seeking endorsements for his re-election campaign as he faces a challenger in the August Democratic primary.Seats like the county assessor’s—whose role is to assign values to properties as the basis for the property taxes levied by the county, school districts and other local entities so that property taxes are distributed fairly—are tough to win for rookie challengers with low name ID.Nonetheless, Staples is facing a challenge from a former employee in the assessor’s office. Brian Johnson has heard his share of doubts regarding his candidacy; the 61-year-old Johnson has never sought public office. Staples is seeking his fourth term as assessor and has enjoyed the support of local Democrats, including Congressman Raúl Grijalva. Johnson, who after eight years working with Staples is now the program manager for property assessment litigation under the county’s Department of Finance and Risk Management, is aware of the challenge but is still running his grassroots campaign with plenty of criticism for the way things have been functioning under Staples.Johnson says the assessor’s office has spent hundreds of thousands of budget dollars in “unnecessary” litigations, such as a dispute with Tucson’s largest private employer Raytheon; denies property-tax exemptions to nonprofit organizations like the Primavera Foundation (which led to Primavera suing the county); and that taxes for large commercial properties are too high. Johnson also says Staples is an uncooperative person running an office with transparency problems. “Bill doesn’t like things to get out,” Johnson says. “He sort of considers it his own little dominion and he doesn’t work cooperatively with the other parts of the county and this is a substantial problem.” 

  • Sauce co-owner talks about growing the business and what’s next for this local chain

    After a career in commercial real estate, Scott Kilpatrick, 47, got into the restaurant biz in the mid-’90s—and struck it big with Ra Sushi, which he sold to Benihana in 2002. He’s now one of the co-owner of the Sauce restaurant chain, the fast-casual pizza, salad, pasta and sandwich eatery. Kilpatrick and his partners purchased the Sauce brand Sam Fox in January 2015. Tucson’s newest Sauce, 6450 E. Grant Road, opened Monday, June 13, in a brand-new building next door to Fox’s Grant Road Zinburger. Kilpatrick spoke to Inside Tucson Business about how he got into the restaurant biz, why he liked the Sauce brand and what’s next for the chain. How’d you get your start in the restaurant business?I had a really good buddy of mine that I went to high school and the University of Arizona with and when we graduated from college, he went into the wine and restaurant business and I used to go down and frequent his place. And we decided we wanted to do something together so we ended up buying an existing restaurant in Scottsdale and converted it to some of an Italian-Mediterranean restaurant in 1996. And we didn’t do very well with that, so we ended up converting that in 1997 to the Ra Sushi brand. What do you think is the key to a successful restaurant?

  • Mountain Vista Fire District provides safety tips to kids

    On a day which the temperature rose well over the triple-digit threshold, the Mountain Vista Fire District brought out an engine to cool off a group of excited children at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church with what may be called the communities “most powerful sprinkler.” More than an opportunity to hose off the kids, the firefighters shared with the children some important tips on poolside safety tips.“Today we are teaching the kids the ABC and D’s of pool safety,” said MVFD Cpt. Steve White. “It breaks down into always having an adult, having at least a 60-inch barrier around the pool, knowing CPR is also crucial and distractions; avoiding things like being on your phone, or any other type of distraction around the pool.”While the kids at St. Mark’s were provided the information, drowning prevention is not to be taken lightly in any community, and poolside safety should be shared with the members of every family. According to MVFD, drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among children ages one-to-four, and everyone should know the ABC and D’s of water safety.Adult supervision (A) means always designating an adult to watch over any kids playing in the pool, hot tub or any other similar body of water and to make sure the adult always knows where the children are in and around the house.Even with adult supervision, it is important to have a proper barrier (B) around the pool that is at least 60-inches-tall with a self-closing gate. If feasible, automatic closing pool covers are also a great safety option, as are alarms on back doors and windows to know if anyone is heading in or out.Poolside safety goes beyond supervision and physical barriers. Taking CPR classes (C) and other rescue technique courses may one day be a vital, lifesaving bit of knowledge if the unthinkable does occur. While no one is “drown-proof,” having children take swimming classes is also advisable and will help them become more comfortable in the water.

  • Marana cop named school resource officer of the year

    For the second straight year, a member of the Marana Police Department has been named the state’s School Resource Officer of the Year for their work in the Marana Unified School District.Melissa Larkin received the award during last week’s Arizona School Resource Officer Association Conference, being honored for her service and dedication to the students and community of Marana Middle School.Larkin completed her second year working with seventh and eighth graders at the school and has forged strong relationships with the students, parents, teachers and staff. “I teach an internet safety class which every seventh grader will take at some point,” Larkin said. “There are over 500 seventh graders at Marana Middle and every one of them will spend time in my classroom.”Larkin logged in some serious hours teaching the course. The federal grant which funds her position requires that she teach 180 hours each school year, but last year she clocked a total of 240 hours. “Officer Larkin has a classroom that supports safety and collaboration,” said Marana Middle School Principal Heather Pletnick. “She works closely with teachers to establish a curriculum that is timely, educating our students on the dangers of the internet and cyber bullying.”

  • Pima County Supervisor Miller storms out of board of supervisors meeting after she comes under fire

    Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller walked out of a heated board meeting last Tuesday, June 21, as her delays in responding to public-records requests were being discussed.“I have an urgent appointment I need to get to,” Miller said. “I thought we’d be done by now.”After Miller’s sudden departure, the board voted for a new records policy that would require members to turn over public records related to county business created on personal computers and devices such as smart phones, as well as public records created on private email accounts. Before she left the meeting, Miller pledged to turn over any public records created on personal devices and via private email addresses.While Miller has told the County Clerk’s Office that she and her staff have not done county business on private email accounts or on private devices, recently uncovered records suggest that District 1 staffers, including Miller, may have conducted county business using their private email accounts. At least one email recently released by Miller’s office shows that Miller and her staff discussed a recent ordinance regarding panhandling in medians via private Gmail addresses.

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