The Explorer: The Voice of Marana, Oro Valley and Northwest Tucson

  • Oro Valley Police

    Scammers claim to be police, ask for money to pay fines

    As law enforcement agencies and the public become savvy to a specific form of a scam, criminals are finding different ways to manipulate victims out of their hard-earned money. 
  • Thelma Grimes

    What is she wearing?

    I have always been frustrated with the fact that female politicians are not always judged by their priorities, voting record and loyalty to constituents. Instead, one of the first things they are ofte...
  • Commitment to fitness

    After more than a year in training, more than 20 officers with the Marana Police Department (MPD) took a physical fitness test at Marana High School on July 18.Marana Police Chief Terry Rozema felt like his department was in good shape, but like any police department, the overall physical fitness level needed to be improved. Not only are fit officers more productive on the job, but they tend to have a better overall quality of life, according to Rozema. “We know through studies that law enforcement has a pretty low life expectancy,” said Rozema. “Some of it is due to stress, some of it is due to the sedentary nature of the job. All kinds of factors play into that. As much as it is for the public and community, it is equally for the officers and their health and their well being, so that when they get to retirement they are actually able to enjoy their requirement.”The challenge handed down by Rozema for officers to take part in the added training was on a volunteer basis. Many of the officers accepted the challenge.“We were looking at something that can improve the quality of life of the officers and after we retire, after we leave the Marana Police Department we can enjoy life, enjoy spending time with our families,” said Officer Scott Criswell.The program and standards are the result of a year long staff study conducted by MPD Physical Fitness Instructors, Department Command Staff, and Town Legal Advisors.  These standards were selected by the Department’s Physical Fitness Instructors and approved by the Town of Marana’s Legal Department because they have been validated as being job related for law enforcement officers.  

  • Police Beat - Week of July 23

    Oro Valley Police DepartmentOn July 6 at 6:27, Oro Valley police responded to a call about a potential fight. Officers made contact with one of the individuals suspected to be involved. The individual acknowledged his involvement, and told officers he had been in an argument with his brother over an incident the prior day. The individual and his brother reported no physical violence to police, and neither was charged. On July 8 at 4:27 p.m., Oro Valley police responded to a call regarding a stolen bicycle from Dick’s Sporting Goods. The caller told police his son’s bike had been stolen while it was parked in front of the store for a span of 10-15 minutes. The bike was described as black in color, with circular style handlebars and no pegs. There are no suspects at this time. On July 10 at 7:36 p.m., Oro Valley police were issuing an arrest warrant at a residence when they smelled the odor of marijuana. Officers issued the arrest warrant, and later called a Pima County judge to obtain a telephonic search warrant of the home, which was granted. While searching, officers found small amounts of marijuana and paraphernalia. The occupant did not have a medical marijuana card, and officers charged him with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

  • Craig Sawyer: From the military to the big screen

    Since his 2013 appearance on Animal Planet’s “Rhino Wars,” Oro Valley resident and retired Navy Seal Craig “Sawman” Sawyer has been keeping plenty busy.In one of his latest ventures, Sawyer has stepped in front of the Hollywood cameras alongside actor Casper Van Dien, commonly recognized for his character “Johnny Rico” in the film “Starship Troopers.”After spending the bulk of his career doing special ops military work, and later, as a security contractor for such names as U.S. Sen. John McCain, Sawyer began working as a consultant for filmmakers in need of someone with expertise in military tactics.Sawyer has worked on the sidelines for a number of films, training actors like Jack Osbourne (“Hollyoaks”), Matthew Marsden (“Black Hawk Down”), Michael Broderick (“G.I. Joe”), and Zoe Saldana (“Colombiana”). Thanks to his networking, Sawyer landed his latest role as a hard-nosed Special Forces Master Sergeant in the film “Leap,” likely due for release in 2015. Van Dien stars in the film as a veteran facing the struggles of reconnecting with his family after returning home from duty. 

  • Protests held in Oracle, Congress debating immigration funding

    The controversy surrounding where to place tens of thousands of children crossing the U.S. border, mostly in Texas, continued in Oracle last week as organized protests were held to protest and support up to 50 children being placed at a boys’ school.In a July 14 release, Carl Shipman of the Sycamore Canyon Academy boys school, said they were not taking sides in the controversial issue, but only providing temporary shelter for the immigrant children.With reports that the children could be bussed to the school on July 15, residents assembled along Oracle Road last week. Many protested the children being placed in local facilities, while others held signs in support of the children.“Sycamore Canyon Academy is not taking a position on the immigration debate in any way,” said Shipman. “We believe it is for others to decide. Our mission is to improve the lives of youth, and we will continue to fulfill our mission by focusing on our work with children.”About 50 people made up each of the parties, which were separated by a short distance. Politically, they were much further apart.

  • Time Travel at the next Musical Magic for Kids

    Join the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance for an interactive experience geared towards youth the whole family can enjoy, featuring music, dance and theatre, first SaturdaysChildren can meet some of the greatest composers of all time during Musical Magic for Kids on Saturday, Aug. 2.The Oro Valley Music and Dance Academy will perform Traveling through Time with the Great Composers at 10 a.m. in the Town of Oro Valley’s Council Chambers, 11000 N. La Cañada Drive.Take the journey with The Unusual Suspects Trio, while meeting some of the greatest composers, from Beethoven and Tchaikovsky to Duke Ellington. No ordinary time machine, it is powered by classical and jazz music. Listen and move to music of renowned composers, while hearing these composers “speak” about what it was really like to lives during their lifetimes. The Unusual Suspects Trio consists of Deena Reedy on flute, Gregory Helseth on horn and Cassandra Bendickson on bassoon.Presented by Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance, the Musical Magic for Kids program is funded by support from Irma and Keve Sankman, Bill Adler, the Oro Valley Community Foundation and the Town of Oro Valley.

  • Oro Valley Candidate Forum set for July 30, submit questions to The Explorer

    Candidates for Oro Valley mayor and town council have agreed to participate in a forum Wednesday, July 30, at the Oro Valley Church of the Nazarene, 500 W. Calle Concordia.The public is welcome to attend the free event, presented by the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce. Doors open at 5 p.m., giving guests one hour to meet casually with the candidates. The question-and-answer portion runs from 6 to 8 p.m. in the church’s sanctuary.Incumbent Mayor Satish Hiremath and challenger Pat Straney are first on stage, answering questions from Chamber President / CEO Dave Perry and Thelma Grimes, editor of The Explorer Newspaper and Inside Tucson Business.Following the mayoral debate, town council candidates Don Bristow, and incumbent council members Joe Hornat, Mary Snider and Vice Mayor Lou Waters field questions.There will be no questions from the audience. Grimes is soliciting questions from Explorer readers, and some of those may be asked during the evening. A brief presentation on the home rule question is also planned.Residents who want to submit questions can email them to Grimes at

  • (July 22) Today's Top Headlines - Missing NH girl returns home

    MSN News:A 15-year-old New Hampshire girl who disappeared while on her way home from school nine months ago is safely home with her family, the state attorney general said Monday.Abigail Hernandez was reunited with her family on Sunday evening, Attorney General Joseph Foster said.Foster said the family has asked for privacy. He said Abigail's mother, Zenya Hernandez, told authorities "today we are the happiest people on earth."Police said Abigail was last seen Oct. 9 after leaving Kennett High School in Conway. Police said she walked her normal route toward her house and sent several texts between 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. But she never made it home.Police did reveal several months ago that she had written home to her mother. When the letter surfaced, FBI Special Agent In Charge Kieran Ramsey said there was the possibility that Abigail had run away but that someone could still be coercing her into staying away from home.

  • (July 22) Today's Top Headlines - Obamacare faces major loss in court

    MSN News:Obamacare was just dealt a major loss in court.The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled Tuesday that more than half the country shouldn't be receiving tax subsidies under Obamacare -- a ruling that could cripple the health care law if it's ultimately upheld.The 2-1 decision in Halbig v. Sebelius is the first victory, in any court, for a legal challenge that says the tax subsidies should only be available in states that set up their own insurance exchanges.The health care law specifically authorizes subsidies in "an exchange established by the State," and the plaintiffs in Halbig said the administration violated the law by also extending subsidies to the in the 36 states using the federal system. They said Congress meant for the tax credits to serve as an incentive for states to establish their own exchanges.For the full story visit:

  • (July 22) Today's Top Headlines - The top 10 stories of the day

    1. Ukraine rebels hand over evidence from downed jetlinerPro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine on Monday gave investigators passengers' bodies and the black boxes of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was shot down over separatist-held territory last week. Rebel leaders delayed releasing the evidence for days despite intense international pressure. Ukraine says separatists shot down the plane, with 298 people on board, using a missile supplied by Russia. Moscow denies responsibility. [BBC News, The Australian]………………………………………………………………………………2. Obama bans discrimination against gays by federal contractorsPresident Obama on Monday called on Congress to ban all job discrimination against gays, as he signed an executive order barring unfair treatment of workers for federal contractors over their sexual orientation. Obama said it was wrong to let companies fire people because they are gay, and declared that he was on "the right side of history." Conservative critics said the move could lead to discrimination against opponents of same-sex marriage. [The New York Times]………………………………………………………………………………

  • Sushi Garden offers generous happy hour menu

    In this month’s Sippin’ Social, members of the public accompanied staff of Tucson Local Media for happy hour and conversation at Sushi Garden, located at 7401 N. La Cholla Blvd.With two locations in town, Sushi Garden features an extensive front and back stand-alone happy hour menu with dozens of discounted food and drink items. Sushi Garden’s happy hour spans from 4-7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. A decent-sized crowd filled the bar and outer tables upon arrival, but our group was nonetheless seated and ordering within minutes.Sushi Garden features a well-lit, casual atmosphere that makes creative use of Japanese-style décor throughout the facility. To kick the afternoon off, I began with a locally brewed 32-ounce Barrio IPA draft ($5.75), which, due to its volume, comes with a glass and pitcher. Yes, I was thirsty.  The draft was perfectly chilled, making its hoppy, clean flavor that much more refreshing considering the day’s heat. 

  • ‘Begin Again’ is chart-topping movie

    This film provides the perfect mix of music and relationships, blending both with equal parts of raw emotion thrown in for good measure.  Viewers looking for a splendid date night movie or an up-close view of the music industry’s research and development side of the house will find “Begin Again” a very satisfying summer soundtrack and film experience.Director John Carney, who brought us the surprise 2006 hit “Once” using unknown film stars singing an Oscar-winning tune, attempts to capture much of that same success and winning formula in this adventure.  Academy Award nominee Keira Knightley (for 2005’s “Pride & Prejudice”) is a familiar screen presence playing the role of a British songwriter for her boyfriend (portrayed by real-life singer Adam Levine).  Admirably, Carney gets both Knightley and Levine to venture outside their normal day-to-day comfort zones—actress Knightley showing off her singing chops for the first time on the big-screen while Maroon 5 lead vocalist Levine uses “Begin Again” to launch a potential film career.  “Begin Again” is a compelling and rich movie that takes viewers along the artistic music path from talent discovery to chart-topping success.  It examines the behind-the-scenes struggles of a record-label exec (Mark Ruffalo) that has hit rock bottom personally and professionally.  And what a challenge life is for him—with his employment, marriage and fatherhood all hanging in the balance. Ruffalo’s stellar midlife crisis performance as the character Dan will easily make viewers forget he ever wore green paint as The Hulk in “Marvel’s The Avengers” (2012).  It’s the believability and realism in “Begin Again” that separates this film from so many other romantic dramas and comedies.  Director Carney’s movie modus operandi is to let his storylines take a natural and acceptable course in a film—even if that means final scenes don’t tie up loose ends or conclude with happy endings for all involved.  Carney sides with reality and any tiebreakers towards the end of the film usually sway in the direction of life’s real uncertainties—leaving the audience to find their own movie wrap.Although Oscar history tells us that films debuting before September have an uphill battle to gain Academy Award nominations, “Begin Again” has several things going for it.  Ruffalo, an Oscar nominee for 2010’s “The Kids Are All Right” and a real-life brain tumor survivor, achieves his finest performance ever in film.  “Begin Again” gives a chorus of music throughout, but after the last note is sung, this movie is about Ruffalo and his character, Dan. Ruffalo’s inspiring and brilliant effort deserves an Oscar nod in the Best Actor category.  Likewise, a strong supporting cast that includes previous Oscar nominees Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”) as Dan’s teenage daughter and Catherine Keener (“Being John Malkovich”) playing his wife flawlessly cover any acting shortcomings from film novice Levine.  The entire ensemble successfully sells the realism behind the microphone while Carney avoids any awkward gimmicks or faux pas in the relationship between Ruffalo and Knightley.“Begin Again” easily makes my Top 10 List for 2014 films.  Exceptional performances, particularly Ruffalo’s as the ear of the music industry, reward filmgoers with a realistic storyline of relationships and turning one’s life around after setbacks.  Knightley’s first-ever singing gig may not have been pitch perfect during every ballad, but she kept the storyline interesting and plausible.  Carney, much like his successful Irish music drama “Once”, provides an encore that’s very watchable to viewers due to its realistic depiction of life.  The film and its conclusion—which continue as credits roll—allow us to eavesdrop and listen in to how music is discovered but also made, promoted and sold.  “Begin Again” is great movie to add to your summer playlist.

  • ‘Goosebumps’ film coming next summer

    The highly regarded San Diego Comic Con event never disappoints when it hits the west coast every July. The buzz around the event is not without warrant. Every year film producers bring fans sneak peaks on their favorite film franchises, and announce groundbreaking news about fascinating worlds in which we are sure to visit on our next trip to the cinema. On July 24, the 2014 Comic Con event is expected to unveil plenty of exciting information regarding a 1990s throwback film based on a popular book franchise. “Goosebumps”, which stars the whimsical A-list actor Jack Black, is set to hit theaters in August of 2015. It is timely and clever for producers to take a stab at bringing the popular children’s book franchise to the big screen, as it is sure to grab the attention of both the children of 2014, as well as the children of the 90’s, now well into adulthood. The film’s plot will not borrow directly from any of the 100 plus books from author R.L. Stine’s franchise, but instead will take a much broader approach. The movie introduces Zach, a young city boy who moves to a small Maryland. Zach befriends a girl named Hannah, who happens to be the daughter of scary book author R.L. Stine (Black). When Zach accidently releases all of the ghoulish creations of Stine’s books into the real world, the team must work together to round up the monsters before they destroy everything in sight.  Rather than seek out an aura of true horror, the film aims at blending its spooky nature with an off the wall comedy twist. No stranger to family comedy, Black should fit perfectly in this universe. The star of films such as “School of Rock” and “Kung Fu Panda” also promises to make the R.L. Stine character his own. 

  • CDO wins state

    The CDO Little League 10-11 Baseball All-Stars won the state championship on Tuesday night with a 16-11 win over Ahwatukee.CDO jumped out to a 4-0 lead, in part to a Dominic Felix two-run home run, but was up just 4-2 when they used a seven-run third inning to push the lead to nine. The long ball was again a factor. Dante Schindler led off the inning with a rocket to left field and two batters later Mac Kochanski added a two-run shot.“We got a lot of runs that inning,” Kochanski said. “The home runs really put us through to win the game.”Ahwatukee answered with four runs in the bottom of the third, but CDO had three runs in the fourth, courtesy of a Jayden Bracy three-run homer.“I just let it and it felt good to give us a better chance at winning,” said Bracy, who teammates have taken to calling ‘Beast Bracy’.Bracy knew the minute he made contact that the deep shot to left was out of the park.

  • 2013 Rewind: Catalina Foothills football

    Hopes were high at Catalina Foothills when Jeff Scurran became the head coach prior to last season. Although the Falcons were coming off an 0-10 season, Scurran had a reputation for quick turnarounds. The expectations were high, but they were met.The Falcons went 8-3 last season, and advanced to the state playoffs. Their four losses were by a combined 20 points and their two regular season losses were by just 10 total points.In addition to Scurran, the other big story for the Falcons was freshman quarterback Rhett Rodriguez. A freshman varsity quarterback is always news, but when that freshman is also the son of Rich Rodriguez, the head coach at the University of Arizona, then that just amps up the notoriety. The Falcons did a good job sheltering Rodriguez from the media glare and he responded with a solid debut season. Rodriguez threw for 1,451 yards and 12 scores, but had a standout running game led by Ty Cruz, to help take some of the pressure off of the young passer.It took a few weeks for the Falcons to find their groove. They won a shootout against Desert View in the opener, then blew out Walden Grove before falling 13-10 to Cienega in a game where the Falcons’ youth reared its ugly head.They blew out a good Sahuarita team and it looked like they might have found their grove, but the next week  they squeaked by Empire 14-6, then lost to CDO by seven. After that they won their final four games. They beat Flowing Wells and Casa Grande by a combined 109-7, then jumped out to an early 21-0 lead against Marana before having to rally in the fourth to put the Tigers away.They clinched a playoff berth with a 24-17 win over Maricopa, but fell 51-41 to Shadow Ridge in the first round of the Division III state playoffs.

  • FC Tucson to host playoff games

     FC Tucson is proud to announce that we're hosting the Premier Development League Western Conference semifinals and finals on Friday, July 25 and Saturday, July 26! Friday night's matches will begin at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Kitsap Pumas, the No. 1 team from the Northwest Division, will kick off against Ventura County Fusion at 6 p.m. Then, your hometown FC Tucson will take on the Vancouver Whitecaps U23s, the No. 2 team from the Northwest, at 8 p.m. Saturday night's match, which will be the Western Conference Championship, will be at 7:30 p.m. General admission tickets for both nights in sections 102, 103, 105 and 106 are just $10 and are on sale now! Click here to buy right now! "Being the host site for the PDL Western Conference Finals is just another example of Tucson's vibrant soccer community," said the FC Tucson ownership group in a joint statement. "It's a testament to our fans' tremendous support all season long. Now we're bringing the excitement of the PDL playoffs home and we expect to have another huge crowd at North Stadium Friday night to support the hometown club." 

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