Tucson Local Media: Foothills News

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  • 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.

  • 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?

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