Tucson Local Media: Foothills News

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  • 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.

  • What is a hero?

    While the summer blockbuster movies may paint a somewhat different picture, being a hero often has nothing to do with thwarting international plots to end the world, stopping an alien invasion or single-handedly fighting crime syndicates. Being a hero is more of a mindset, an attitude focused on making the community a better place, whether through actions large or small.From community leaders to the armed forces to volunteers at nonprofits, heroes span a wide range of characteristics, personalities and world views, though the willingness to make a difference is often the common thread.“In my opinion a hero is someone who does what they know is right, always,” said Shawn Benjamin, community relations manager for the Mountain Vista Fire District. “Not because it is going to get them recognized but in spite of it. They do in even when they are scared out of their minds because someone needs them. They build people around them up and help them achieve their goals. A hero is a true soul. Someone who is not perfect, makes mistakes, accepts and learns from them so they can turn around and guide others.”Though a current member of the firefighting community, Benjamin spent years as a member of the Oro Valley Police Department, and has had to step up when she saw a women collapse in a local restaurant last Thanksgiving. Benjamin immediately began administering CPR as another bystander called for an ambulance, which came from Golder Ranch Fire District. Golder Ranch responders were able to take the woman to the hospital, where she successfully begun her recovery with no brain damage.While the actions of Benjamin and eight members of GRFD are nothing short of heroic, Benjamin doesn’t use the term “hero” to describe herself or anyone else who took action that day. Having worked for years within both the police and firefighter communities, she said that helping is the right thing to do, and that anyone put into a similar situation would do the same thing. She said many of the men and women in public safety go into the field wanting to make a difference, not to find some moment of limelight.Oro Valley Police Department Lt. John Teachout, who along with fellow OVPD Lt. Chris Olsen saved a women and her children last year when her vehicle began to catch fire near Flagstaff, said that acts of bravery occur within the first response community on a daily basis, often without recognition—but that doesn’t matter at all.  

  • Bringing the heart of Mexico to Tucson

    When speaking about his restaurant, El Cisne, Phil Ferranti rarely brings up anything to do with the United States. As the name indicates, El Cisne – “The Swan” – offers an exceptional selection of Mexican fare capable of taking any diner on a culinary adventure unlike any other.“This is a Mexican restaurant which represents our neighbor state Sonora,” Ferranti said, “but it also represents the coastal regions and especially two states in Mexico in the south; one being Puebla, the other Oaxaca. They both represent what is commonly considered ‘the food culture centers of Mexico,’ and are very important in Mexican cuisine.”Born and raised in Benson and spending much of his youth in Hermosillo and Cananea, Mexico, Ferranti has an intimate understanding and appreciation for Mexican food and culture. His family moved to Tucson while he was in middle school, and he later moved on to the University of Arizona on scholarship for golf before spending several years on the PGA tour card. After decades of other various high-end golf pursuits, Ferranti decided to open his first restaurant, the La Placita Café, which he operated in Plaza Palomino for nearly 20 years.After collecting the family, Ferranti struck out again and opened El Cisne on the northeast corner of East Skyline Drive and North Swan Road in 2013, naming the restaurant after the street. Wary of terms like “authentic” or “real” Mexican food, Ferranti looked instead to graft a bit of Mexico into Tucson.“This is a very special restaurant that has a very complicated menu,” said George Ferranti, restaurant manager and Phil’s son, “and the cooking is complicated. It’s really a place where you go to eat a lot of different kinds of Mexican food. This could never be a fast-food concept; this is a slow food concept.”

  • Should Tucsonans worry about Zika?

    It’s a hot summer day. The morning doves are cooing and the sun beats down on a slight breeze. Water sits still at the bottom of trays under ceramic pots filled with flowers and plants. Pinch, swat, slap. A small itchy red bump outlined with flushed skin is what the mosquito leaves after its bite.The Aedes aegypti mosquito lives and harasses Tusconans during the warm, wet summer months. This mosquito is responsible for carrying and spreading four diseases including the Zika virus, which was reported as a public health emergency by the World Health Organization in February 2016.Although the Aedes mosquito is found in Arizona, there have been no cases of Zika, as of late March 2016. The Maricopa County Department of Public Health and the Arizona Department of Health Services reported a woman from Maricopa County had acquired the Zika virus from international travel.Do Tucsonans Need to Fear the Zika?“Certainly we want people taking general precautions from receiving mosquito bites,” said Kacey Ernst, a University of Arizona epidemiologist who studies mosquito-borne diseases. However, she explained that if there were no mosquito bites by a Zika infected mosquito, then there would be no risk of Zika being in the area.The United States has reported 312 travel-associated Zika virus disease cases and zero locally acquired cases. Of the 312 cases, 27 were pregnant women. Out of the 50 states, 41 states have reported an outbreak of the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  • Proud Falcons graduate Catalina Foothills High School

    Wednesday, May 18 marked the end of a journey for several hundred Falcons, as graduating seniors of the Catalina Foothills High School class of 2016 took to the football field in front of cheering family, friends and members of the community to collect their hard-earned diplomas.Included in the graduation event was live music entertainment from graduating Falcons, just a sampling of the immense well of talent contained within the rows of gown-clad young adults. While the moment the tassels are moved is only brief flash in time, it is the culmination of years of hard work and studying – the payoff for all of the stress and social anxiety.While each member of the class of 2016 can hold their head high and say they attended one of the region’s most prestigious high schools, the journey is just beginning. Many will go on to two-year colleges or four-year universities and continue to apply themselves to learning, while others will enter the workforce in the coming weeks in hopes to make a name out in the real world.For the next few months, however, every graduate is a proud Falcon – and more than happy to enjoy the short weeks of freedom before life sets in.

  • Fake news site linked to Miller’s office raises more questions

    Breaking into the news industry can often seem a monumental task, especially when the publication you work for doesn’t exist, and neither do you.Making a brief splash in Tucson’s local media scene was the Arizona Daily Herald, a fledgling online news blog under the helm of a man by the name of Jim Falken. About two weeks ago, Falken began to reach out via email to different members of the local media, elected officials and other Tucson politicos. Specifically, Falken seemed to be interested in responses to District 1 Supervisor Ally Miller’s recently released road plan.Among those emails were solicitations to different candidates in this year’s Pima County Board of Supervisors election, including Republican John Winchester, who is challenging Miller in this year’s GOP primary.“Over this weekend, Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller has released a proposed plan she says will fix Pima County’s roads,” the email read. “We are aware you are challenging Supervisor Ally Miller in the District 1 Primary and we would like to get a statement from you regarding Supervisor Miller’s plan. Do you agree with her about road conditions being a key issue in the 2016 elections? And if so, do you agree with Supervisor Miller’s solution or do you have your own solution to fix Pima County roads, and if so, what would that be?”Winchester—and other candidates who received the email—became suspicious because they had never heard of the Arizona Daily Herald or Jim Falken. So they began looking into his background on the internet.They discovered that Jim Falken was a moniker created by Timothy DesJarlais, the part-time press and communications assistant for Miller, a Republican who is seeking a second term on the Pima County Board of Supervisors. DesJarlais said he made the identity while in high school for a project, though he claimed last week there is no connection between his use of the name and the Falken running the website.

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