Tucson Local Media: Pima Pinal

Pima Pinal

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  • Bisbee Breakfast Club carves out unique niche in Marana

    Since opening in Marana the Bisbee Breakfast Club has carved out a place for itself as an old-fashioned, family-friendly, locally owned diner.The restaurant was born in Bisbee in 2005 and was such a success that an ownership group that included local Pizza Hut frachise owner Brent Kyte bought the restaurant with hopes of expanding it.When Brent’s son, Terry Kyte, moved back to Tucson after living in the Pacific Northwest, he had the job of launching the Ina Road Bisbee Breakfast Club in an old Pizza Hut location in 2011.There was a real question whether the concept would work outside of Bisbee, but it did not take long for the Tucson location find a foothold. As one of the only locally breakfast options, the BBC found a number of fans. The restaurant was popular with families and retirees and its proximity to hotels and the freeway help it develop its following. In 2014, the Kyte family added a location in Mesa and then looked to add more locations in Tucson. Kyte said as the Ina location’s reputation grew, they found more and more people were driving from across town to eat there. The search was on for a new location. A new Bisbee Breakfast has already opened at Swan and Sunrise roads and new one is planned in central Tucson at Broadway and Country Club Road.Being a local option has been key for the Bisbee Breakfast Club. While there are other breakfast options in the area, most are either fast food or big chains. Although they occupy an old Pizza Hut, there is no doubt this is a locally owned and operated business. 

  • Marana candidates clash at final forum

    The candidates for mayor and Marana Town Council battled over the town’s current leadership and future opportunities at a final forum last Thursday, July 21.Mayor Ed Honea downplayed issues with his fellow council members and said the town was on the right track with its strong growth in recent years.But challenger Dan Post, while acknowledging that Marana is doing well said that the town fights too much with Pima County government, rather than working together on a regional basis. He said he would strive for better communication and partnership within the council itself. Honea has never denied that the relationship between the town and county is strained due to a battle over a wastewater plant Marana forced the county to hand over by changing state law. But he downplayed problems within the council, pointing towards the council’s track record of voting together. “In the last year, with probably 300 or 400 items coming before the council, we haven’t had 10 that weren’t unanimous,” said Honea. “Our staff educates us on every process and every program that we are doing and we work well together.”Post told voters that experience on the Marana Unified School District board makes him the perfect

  • High-speed thrills at Tucson’s own Autobahn

    Buckle in and slap on that helmet. Tucson now has its very own indoor, high-speed go-kart racetrack.The go-karts started roaring around downtown’s Autobahn Indoor Speedway earlier this month after much anticipation from gear-heads and motoring enthusiasts throughout the region. The cavernous 63,000-square-foot space features two tracks, each one-eighth of a mile.Tucson’s Autobahn is the national company’s first steps in the Western United States. General manager Joel Lipp said the next-closest location is in Birmingham, Ala., making Tucson the ideal place to begin expanding.“We were looking for a location out west with a good college demographic,” Lipp said. “Our target demographic is the 18 to 40 working professionals. We have the UA, we have Raytheon, we have Davis-Monthan, so we have a lot of those pieces in Tucson that are a good fit in for us. … This was a good place for us to get a hold on the western market, and then branch out from there.”Opening earlier in July, Lipp said the response within the community has been extremely supportive and positive, with more than 600 racers showing up on Saturdays. Autobahn Indoor Speedway has 44 full-sized adult cars which are easy to operate and can achieve speeds up to 50 miles-per-hour with a limited-slip differential and four YELLOWTOP® Optima batteries under the hood. Add in the chain-driven drive train, and the track sounds more like an Indianapolis 500 race than go-karting. 

  • Construction begins on two Marana traffic projects

    Motorists, prepare yourselves: The dust is about to start flying on several large road construction projects in Marana this year. The two biggest are the Tangerine Corridor Project and Ina Road Traffic Interchange Project. Preliminary work began some time ago, but major construction has now started.• Utility work got underway earlier this month on the Tangerine Corridor Project. Crews began working on utility crossings on Tangerine Road from Camino de Oeste to just west of Dove Mountain Boulevard.Motorists can expect intermittent lane restrictions in the area. Traffic will be guided through the work area one side at a time. Flaggers will be on site to direct traffic through the work area and delays are expected. The speed limit has been reduced to 25 mph.Work is expected to continue for the next several weeks and the work will only be done on weekdays. • Work on the new Ina Road bridge over Interstate 10 is now underway as well. Although Ina Road will not fully close until early 2017, there are portions of the project people should be aware of this summer. 

  • Historic Marana steakhouse has a rich history

    The Town of Marana has a rich history, but the construction of I-10 in the 1960s demolished many the historic businesses in what was then the center of town. One business that has survived since the 1940’s is Li’l Abner’s. Although the restaurant has been on the market for a few years, the historic steakhouse remains open and a key part of the history of Marana. “There is nothing in Marana, with the possible exception of the White Stallion Ranch, that has the historical significance as Li’l Abner’s,” said John Scheuring, who is an amateur Marana historian and host of the Surprising Marana bus tour.The area that Li’l Abner’s occupies has a history that goes beyond the restaurant. In the 1800s, the location was a Butterfield Express Stage stop. In the 1920s, cowboys used the land to host Sunday roping competitions while also sharing a drink and a meal. In 1947, Lil’ Abner’s opened as a bar run by optician Larry Lewis and his wife Duchess, a former Hollywood dancer. Not only did they live on property, but he ran his office on the back side of the restaurant. Both the restaurant and the small brick house they lived in still stand on the property today. The couple named the place after their dog, who in turn was named after the popular newspaper 

  • Challengers utilize familiar firm

    The three challengers who hope to unseat the incumbents in this year’s Oro Valley Town Council races have each begun to work with political consulting firm Saguaro Strategies.Rhonda Pina, Bill Rodman and Steve Solomon, who are facing council members Brendan Burns, Mike Zinkin and Bill Garner, have turned to the Phoenix-based firm.Saguaro Strategies is a Democratic-leaning political consulting firm looking to create a “future of progressive politics in the West.” Last year, it worked on behalf of the campaigns of Mayor Satish Hiremath, Vice Mayor Lou Waters and Councilmembers Mary Snider and Joe Hornat when they prevailed in a recall election. Adam Kinsey, who founded the company with his partner Andy Barr, said that the firm can handle every aspect of a political campaign, from designing direct mail to organizing entire campaigns. Though the firm is based in Phoenix, Kinsey said that Saguaro Strategies is concerned with bettering the political environment of the entire state, including Pima County. Kinsey himself is a former executive director of the Pima County Democratic Party and has worked for Strategic Issues Management Group, which does political consulting in Southern Arizona and elsewhere.Saguaro Strategies is also working on Dan Post’s campaign for Marana mayor this year.Having been involved in the Oro Valley political scene before, Kinsey said he believes the town has a bright future, though he said that from his perspective the town council doesn’t always seem to be “the most productive” of bodies. 

  • Oro Valley candidates speak up on golf and community center

    On Dec. 17, 2014, the Oro Valley town council voted 4-3 in favor of purchasing the former El Conquistador Country Club and associated amenities to create the Oro Valley Community and Recreation Center. Mayor Satish Hiremath, Vice Mayor Lou Water and Councilmembers Mary Snider and Joe Hornat voted in favor, while current incumbent Councilmembers Brendan Burns, Bill Garner and Mike Zinkin—who are all up for reelection—voted in opposition. For $1 million paid over three years, the town acquired the former El Conquistador Country Club and amenities and began operation May 1, 2015. To fund the operation, the council also approved—by the same voting spread—to institute a half-cent sales tax increase without sunset to dedicate to the community and recreation center fund, with projected yearly revenue of $2 million.The purchase of the course and country club led to political turmoil in Oro Valley, with opponents first trying to force referendum on the decision that was tossed out on technical grounds. That was followed by unsuccessful 2015 recall of the four members of council who voted in favor of the deal.Since the town took over the property, the golf courses operations—managed by Troon Golf—have regularly underperformed in terms of revenues generated, and Zinkin, Garner and Burns have remained vocal critics at every opportunity. Each has presented several of what they deem “alternative” proposals for the property—selling courses, rezoning for a possible future sale, installing solar panels, changing management companies—all without gaining traction. While the town can sell and alter some of the courses, part of the purchase contract requires that as part of the consideration for the sale, the town must maintain “the Resort Course and the La Canada Course in its current configuration… plus the pro shop, cart barn, driving range and other golf facilities utilized by the La Canada Course” and used for golf recreation or resort open space purposes.The associated golf courses include The Canada Course, the Conquistador course and the newer, rebranded nine-hole Pusch X-9.

  • Lawsuit filed against Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol

    Opponents of a ballot initiative that seeks to ask voters to legalize recreational marijuana for adults filed a lawsuit on July 11 to keep the measure off the November ballot, citing that the would-be law misleads voters in its petition summaries concerning how many of Arizona’s laws it would affect.The lawsuit mainly takes issue with a number of statutes that would be affected with its passage, stating “the Initiative’s operative provisions embrace far too many subjects than allowed for a single ballot initiative.”If the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol initiative passes, it would allow people over the age of 21 to use and possess marijuana bought from dispensaries, while maintaining the illegality of use by minors and driving under the influence.According to Barrett Marson, communications director for the campaign, there is no “limit to changing the law for an initiative.”The campaign’s chair, JP Holyoak, said that opponents of the initiative “have demonstrated that they are willing to do and say just about anything to maintain the failed policy of marijuana prohibition. This lawsuit is simply a desperate attempt to deprive Arizona voters of the right to vote on this ballot question.”Two of the major opponents of the initiative are Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery and Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, both of whom have been critical of recreational legalization in the past. 

  • Mountain View principal looks for successful second year

    Todd Garelick goes into his second year as principal of Mountain View having learned a lot from year one. It was not only Garelick’s first year as the school’s principal, but his first experience as a head principal anywhere. He was formerly the school’s athletic director and assistant principal and has held administrative roles previous to moving to Mountain View. His main goal the first year was to find ways to better serve his teachers, giving them an even bigger voice when it comes to how things are done at the school. Prior to last year, he gave department heads a bigger role in crafting the master schedules for the teachers and has tried make the lives of his teachers easier. “I think last year went great in a lot of ways,” Garelick said. “We spent a lot of time and energy in building the community. I want the administration to be servants to the needs of the teachers. In turn the teachers can focus on being successful in the classroom. If we help focus on the teachers’ needs, then in turn the teachers can focus on the students.”Garelick noted that referrals were down 30 percent from the year before and he feels the administration has done a good job changing the culture of the school, although there’s more work to be done. He admited he is still learning. Some of the ideas implemented by the administration to help the staff were not as valuable as they had believed, while teachers often presented ideas that benefitted them more. “Things we thought they needed, they actually didn’t,” Garelick said. “Then they would present us with things they actually needed, that we did not foresee. I believe in having an open door and got great feedback. They would tell me ‘we need more here’ or ‘you need to back off there.’”

  • Town Council candidates are running low-budget campaigns, so far

    The six candidates for Oro Valley Town Council are bucking the trend of big money in political campaigns.As they gear up for the Aug. 30 primary, the most any of the candidates have raised is $3,060, according to reports filed at the end of June.The council seats up for grabs this year belong to the three incumbent candidates, councilmembers Brendan Burns, Bill Garner and Mike Zinkin. Hoping to claim a spot on the town’s ruling body are residents Rhonda Pina, Bill Rodman and Steve Solomon. Generally speaking, the challengers were more active than their incumbent counterparts, as incumbents Burns, Garner and Zinkin have all openly stated their opposition to being beholden to what they call “special interests.” Both Burns and Garner filed statements saying they had done no fundraising activity.Pina has raised the most money, pulling in $3,060 in contributions. Major contributors to her campaign include CAID Industries President William Assenmacher ($1,000), Pina’s husband Raul ($600), former Pima County supervisor Dan Eckstrom ($300) and Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry ($200).Behind Pina is Rodman, whose major campaign contributions come in the form of funds he loaned himself, totaling $2,050 over three installments. Rodman’s total fundraising came in at $2,100. 

  • Not just your grandfather’s country club

    While there is a trend for golf courses and other amenities to bear the name of the municipality in which it is built, the story of the Oro Valley Country Club and the town of Oro Valley is quite the opposite. A part of the community since first opening in 1959, the country club included a planned 200-home sites which would be one of the foundations on which the town was built.Nearly 60 year later, the Oro Valley Country Club, a vision of Lou Landon and the architectural hand of Robert Bruce Harris, is still providing high-end country club experience and golf play beneath the same breathtaking peaks of the Santa Catalina Mountains which originally drew its founders. Originally an oasis within the great expanse of the Sonoran Desert, the country club new finds itself within the center of a bustling and every expanding Oro Valley.While the names and faces may have changed over the years, the business which Landon envisioned still remains. How did the country club make it through nearly six decades? According to membership director Jack Talmage, the longevity can be traced back to loyal members.“People wanted to be a member of a private club, and they have been willing to put money into the club to keep is sustained,” Talmage said. “I don’t look at it as being in the food and beverage or the golf business—we’re in the membership business. You want to join a club because there are people just like you that want to get to know others, make friends, interact with them and have it centered and focused on something that they love, and that’s golf.”From February 1961 until December 2014, the country club was under the ownership of its members before being sold to Dallas-based ClubCorp for nearly $3 million. According to Talmage, the decision to sell the country club came about after the financial crisis.  

  • Bowen brings his financial background to the Marana Town Council

    David Bowen may be the “new guy” on the Marana Town Council, the certified financial planner has become the “money guy” on the council and has made the budget a pet project. “My particular background equips me to be very involved in the budgeting and finance process,” Bowen said. “We have a structurally balanced budget every year and I am always involved in that process.”Bowen grew up in Nebraska and had a farming background. In the late 1980s, his family spent eight years in the Ivory Coast as Bowen worked a government liaison and language teacher for a foreign missionary organization. He moved to Arizona 20 years ago and built his own financial planning and brokerage business. It was through his business ventures that he got involved with the Marana Chamber of Commerce and the Marana Rotary Club. He wanted to get more involved in the town and Ora Mae Harn advised him to attend council meetings and see where he could put his energy. That eventually led Bowen to meet with Marana Town Manager Gilbert Davidson to discuss the budget.Between attending council meetings and the talks about the budget, Bowen decided to run for the council in 2011 and beat an incumbent to claim his spot. He takes great pride that he hit the ground running and has been involved in crafting policies that have had a visible impact on the town. He specifically mentioned road repair and finding ways to fund the new police station. 

  • New heads of school at BASIS Oro Valley hope to impress in first year

    In the coming weeks, countless students will be making a return to the halls of their elementary, middle or high school for the first time since leaving behind the books and the study sessions back in May. While the hustle and bustle of the back to school season is felt by everyone from students and families to teachers and staff, Elizabeth Thies and Eileen Finnerty-Rae at BASIS Oro Valley will be looking to make a good first impression on their students as the new heads of school for the 6-12 and K-5 schools, respectively.  Taking over for former head of school Michelle Mason, who moved on within the BASIS family to develop programs at a more regional level, Thies and Finnerty-Rae both expressed an overwhelming sense of excitement at the opportunity to play leading roles in one of the most highly successful programs not only within the state, but the entire country. Most recently, BASIS Oro Valley was named “America’s Most Challenging High School” by The Washington Post, out of nearly 2,300 other institutions. BASIS Oro Valley also placed third in the state and sixth in the country according to the most recent U.S. News & World Report “Best High School” rankings.Though the two women have spent the summer getting settled and planning out their futures in Oro Valley, both are veterans of the BASIS program and proud parents of BASIS students of their own.Prior to taking over at the upper school, Thies was the dean of students, athletic director and a physical education teacher at BASIS Tucson North. She holds a BS in sociology and is currently beginning work on her masters in educational psychology from Northern Arizona University, Before her time as an educator, Thies was a member of the Tucson Police Department as a patrol officer on the city’s south side of town. She also served the country as a signal corps specialist in the United States Army. Despite serving in the world of criminal justice, Thies said she became interested in education after volunteering the classroom of her oldest daughter.

  • Parents can score great deals at the Just Between Friends sale

    Parents will get the chance to pick up some much-needed supplies for the kids at the Just Between Friends Back-to-School event at the Tucson Convention Center, July 28-30.The consignment sale works under the umbrella of a national organization that gives parents the opportunity to buy and sell used kids clothing, toys, strollers, cribs and more for prices below what they’d find in stores.“It’s geared towards parents who have babies and younger kids or parents who are expecting,” said Teena Werley, who has attended past events as a shopper and a seller. “It’s actually really great if you’re planning on going to buy.”Sellers can get rid of children’s items that they no longer use while making some money in the process by receiving a portion of the proceeds from their sold items. “If you end up with a lot of baby stuff after your first or second year, then it’s really worthwhile,” Werley said. “I’ve heard stories about moms coming out with $500, $600 to $1,000.”Sellers and those that decide to volunteer get 70 perent of the proceeds from their sold items (as opposed to 65% for non-volunteers) and are allowed shopping access sooner than the general public on July 27.

  • 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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Som and Krystin Lisaius, two members of Tucson’s local media scene, have found themselves in a deeply troubling situation after taking their 4-month-old daughter to a local hospital, where cocaine was found the child’s system.

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