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

  • Oro Valley streamlines housing development, approves new town building

    At the request of the WLB Group, the Oro Valley Town Council voted unanimously to modify the review process for the Kai Naranja Development.Councilmembers Bill Garner and Brendan Burns were not present during the July 2 meeting.The 50-acre plot of land was rezoned along with a site plan by a unanimous vote in April to start the process and development of a 120-lot housing development. There were no speakers from the public during the April meeting.Bayer Vella, the conservation and sustainability administrator for the town, made the request, which was submitted by Chad Daines of the Development Infrastructure Services (DIS).Due the thoroughness of the process thus far by the developer, including public hearings and the rezoning process, town staff recommended the approval of the modified review process.“All of the issues have been addressed and there would be no additional community benefit to having additional neighborhood meetings as well as public meetings,” Vella told the council. 

  • Arizona, and many states, get an F on “family-friendly” workplace policies

    WASHINGTON – Thirty-eight weeks pregnant and on bed-rest with her fifth child, Glendale resident Angela Warren has to rely on her other four children to help run the household.Her husband, Matt, can’t break away from his full-time job right now – and their budget can’t take the hit of losing both his salary and hers.Even though the federal Family and Medical Leave Act guarantees most workers 12 weeks of leave for events like the birth of a baby, that leave is unpaid. And that can put Arizona working families like the Warrens in a bind.“The FMLA even in itself is not super comprehensive or adequate,” Warren said. “It’s not necessarily realistic for people to be able to take 12 weeks unpaid. I don’t know a lot of people that can do that.”While other states may grant more generous protections, Arizona is one of many that does not expand the benefits of FMLA – one reason it earned a grade of F on a recent report card on “family-friendly” workplace policies.But Arizona was not alone.

  • Census: Number of Arizonans living in “poverty areas” jumped in 2010

    WASHINGTON – The number of Arizona residents living in concentrated “poverty areas” grew significantly in the first decade of the century, according to a new Census report.From 2000 to 2010, Arizonans living in poverty areas – census tracts with poverty rates of 20 percent or more – rose from 24 percent of the state’s residents to 33.4 percent.Arizona was one of 14 states, along with the District of Columbia, that had more than 30 percent of its population living in a poverty area in 2010, the Census said.Experts in the state said the poverty area numbers merely reflect the fact that Arizona was hit hard by the recession and poverty generally grew.Still, one advocate for the poor called the poverty area data “definitely a startling statistic.”Amanda Lee, outreach and community development manager at Arizona Community Action Association, said it is just another indicator of the “new face of poverty” in the state – the working poor.

  • Beware of jury duty scam

    On Thursday, July 10 the Arizona Superior Court in Pima County’s Jury Commissioner’s Office received multiple calls from Pima County residents who informed them of a possible jury duty scam. The parties reported receiving calls from an individual claiming to be from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department. The caller stated that they had a warrant out for them because they did not report for jury duty. The caller told them they could take care of the warrant by paying money to the caller. Some were instructed to purchase a green card from Walgreen’s, or electronically transfer money to the caller, or buy a money order from Circle K.The caller is not from the Sheriff’s Department or the court. The jury office does not call jurors and demand any kind of payment.If a person failed to appear for jury service they would be mailed a notice card,which would read:FAILURE TO APPEAR NOTICE: Our records indicate you failed to appear as instructed for jury service on the date noted above. SECOND SUMMONS NOTICE: You must immediately call the jury office at 724-4222 to reschedule your jury service. Failure to contact the jury office may result in further action being brought against you by this Court as prescribed by Arizona law. WWW.SC.PIMA.GOV/JURYIf you are contacted by an individual who tells you that you have an outstanding warrant for failing to appear for jury service, hang up and contact the jury office at (520) 724-4222 and a member of the jury staff will be able to verify whether or not you have an outstanding summons for jury service. You should further contact the Tucson Police Department and notify them that you have been contacted by this suspicious character. 

  • Officer involved shooting

    On July 9, 2014, at approximately 6:27 p.m., Foothills District deputies responded to the 13,500 block of N. Thornydale Road reference a burglary in progress.The homeowner received a call from his alarm company indicating a motion sensor was activated when no one was supposed to be at his house. The homeowner drove to the location and confronted an armed suspect inside the house.Eventually the suspect walked out of the residence as patrol deputies arrived on scene. Deputy Meeboer gave commands to the suspect to drop a rifle he was holding in his hands. The suspect then pointed it at Deputy Meeboer, who subsequently fired his handgun, and struck the suspect multiple times. The suspect remained alert and talking while deputies administered life saving measures. The suspect, identified as 21-year-old Slade Olsen, was airlifted to a local trauma center. Mr. Olsen is in critical condition; however it is not believed that his injuries are life-threatening.Deputy Meeboer has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation, which is standard procedure following an officer involved shooting. Deputy Meeboer is a two year veteran of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.

  • Catalina Mountain Elks observe Flag Day

    Approximately 100 people attended the annual Catalina Mountain Elks Lodge #2815 Flag Day ceremony in SaddleBrooke on June 12. This year marked the 12th anniversary of this event sponsored by the Lodge and SaddleBrooke HOA  No. 1. Lodge officers, members of the community, Golder Ranch Fire District Color Guard, Fire Chief Randy Karrer, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, Sons of the American Revolution, Buffalo Soldiers, American Legion Post 132 and Coyote Country Cloggers participated in this inspirational ceremony.The lodge also conducted a flag retirement ceremony for service-worn American flags on Flag Day. Cub Scouts affiliated with Boy Scout Troop 297 in Catalina presented the colors at the beginning of the service. The flags were surrendered to American Legion Post 132 who retired the flags with dignity and respect. In addition, the lodge raised more than 35 American flags on Oracle Road in Catalina.

  • (July 10) Today's Top Headlines - Israel, Hamas trade rocket fire

    Fox News:Air raid sirens wailed across Jerusalem Thursday as Palestinian militants continued to fire rockets across Israel, while the country’s military stepped up its offensive against the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.Two plumes of smoke could be seen over the skies of downtown Jerusalem in what Israeli TV stations said was an interception of incoming rockets by Israel's "Iron Dome" rocket-defense system. Local media reported that four rockets were fired in total.Two booms could be heard in the distance, but it was not clear whether the explosions were incoming rockets or the defense system. No injuries or damage were immediately reported, according to The Associated Press.For the full story, visit:

  • (July 10) Today's Top Headlines - Houston father allegedly kills 6, including 4 of his children

    Fox News:A man suspected of killing six people, including four of his children, and wounding his 15-year-old daughter at a home in a Houston suburb surrendered to authorities late Wednesday after an hours-long standoff.Deputies cornered 34-year-old Ron Lee Haskell in a cul-de-sac approximately three miles from the shooting site, where a standoff ensued before the man got out of his car, put up his hands, and dropped to his knees as he was placed under arrest.The victims were two boys, ages 4 and 14; two girls, ages 7 and 9, a 39-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman, the Harris County Sheriff’s Department said. The shooting occurred shortly before 6 p.m. in the northern suburb of Spring. The five bodies were found by authorities at the home.For the full story, visit:

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

    1. Israel steps up its Gaza offensive as death toll risesIsraeli air strikes — intended to stop Hamas rocket fire — killed eight members of a family, including five children, in Gaza early Thursday, according to Palestinian officials. Israel's three-day air offensive has killed at least 66 people, Gaza medical authorities said. Israel says it is targeting Hamas sites, including launchers behind a barrage of more than 320 rockets into Israel. The rockets have paralyzed businesses and sent thousands fleeing southern Israel but caused no serious casualties. [Reuters]………………………………………………………………………………2. Utah asks the Supreme Court to take gay marriage caseUtah Attorney General Sean Reyes announced Wednesday that he was taking his state's appeal of a ruling declaring its same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. Reyes said he was seeking "clarity and resolution from the highest court" instead of appealing to the full 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. A panel of three of the court's judges last month upheld a lower-court decision overturning the ban. It was the first federal appeals court ruling on gay marriage. [USA Today]………………………………………………………………………………

  • Saturday Puzzles 7-12-14

  • Reno Del Mar to perform July 11 at Main Gate Square

    Reno Del Mar, a dynamic instrumental ensemble will perform in Geronimo Plaza during the July 11 Friday Night Live! at 7 p.m.Reno del Mar is a dynamic instrumental ensemble performing beautiful, original guitar music in a wide range of styles that include Latin jazz, adult contemporary, Spanish, Western swing, tango, gypsy, flamenco, Mexican, bebop and blues.The influences of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Django Rheinhardt, Wes Montgomery, Charlie Christian, Ry Cooder, Bill Frisell, John Scofield, Duke Ellington, Bob Wills and others permeate Reno del Mar’s compositions and playing styles.Presented by Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance at Main Gate Square, the free performances alternate Fridays at 7 p.m in Geronimo Plaza. Coupled with delicious food from nearby local restaurants, the evenings provide a great way to begin the weekend.“People come to Geronimo Plaza and discover Main Gate is a great place in a lively atmosphere,” said Jane McCollum, Main Gate Square general manager.Main Gate Square, between Park and Euclid Avenues on University Boulevard, features more than 20 retailers and 30 restaurants near the University of Arizona.

  • ‘America: Imagine The World Without Her’ - Political film sparks controversy

    This controversial political film from directors Dinesh D’Souza and John Sullivan will invoke vastly different reactions from audience members.  Many will find the film a patriotic, yet underreported, story on how our nation has prospered from our early years due to innovation, entrepreneurship, and capitalism--emerging as not only the wealthiest nation on the planet, but also the most generous.  Just as many other viewers will leave the theaters feeling jilted by a political infomercial disguised as a documentary.  Lastly, some moviegoers may be introduced to several political hot-button issues for the first time, and left reflecting on D’Souza’s historical data points on subjects such as relations with Mexico and Native Americans, slavery, imperialism, and capitalism.  Regardless of a person’s position or thoughts on these subjects, this film accomplishes one significant feat—it empowers people to formulate one’s beliefs and positions, squaring the movie’s interpretation with their own life experiences.The movie’s title alludes to the notion of how our world would exist today without the United States of America.  However, D’Souza doesn’t go quite that far in the film, only providing visions of landmarks and key events or people which, if omitted, would have altered our nation’s course—leaving it up to us to contemplate the ramifications.  He adroitly promotes how wealth was created from capitalism and American ingenuity.  D’Souza also casts the importance of religion upon politics and our community—believing that the American people can do a better job of helping one another than an intrusive, big government attempting to fill that same role. D’Souza connects the dots on his understanding of U.S. history for viewers to either embrace or reject.  It can be argued that D’Souza is the Republican response to liberal activist, and director, Michael Moore.  Using red meat political tones and sound bites, the director who brought us “2016: Obama’s America” just prior to the 2012 presidential election once again goes right after the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton in this feature.  Unfortunately, once D’Souza changes course in the film from merely a look back at our nation’s collective rise in influence and power to a political referendum on President Obama and his associates, the movie’s gains become lost in the partisanship.  The film’s strength is that the topics it raises will cause discussions at family dinner tables, work centers and on the streets—the melting pot of America.  Whether you agree or disagree with D’Souza’s “America” and his historical viewpoint, one can tally their own scorecard on the successes and failures of our nation—and isn’t that what makes our country so great? Freedom of thought where all are created equal, with “unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness”—as spelled out in the Declaration of Independence.  Those rights securing our protection from a government “deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”.  It’s a testament to our nation’s fabric that a controversial film taking aim, in part, at a sitting U.S. president and his policies can be aired and viewed by Americans.  Imagine the consequences if such a film were made in Iran, the Middle East--or even North Korea.  The fact that we can view this film, discuss it civilly, and come to our own conclusions is a success. 

  • Tevis on Nagurski Watch List

    University of Arizona senior safety Jared Tevis is a member of the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List, given to the nation’s best defensive player, it was announced by the Charlotte Touchdown Club on Thursday. The Pac-12 Conference leads all leagues with 18 players on the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List.A former walk-on from Canyon Del Oro High School turned scholarship starter, Tevis returns for his senior season with his undergraduate degree in hand and 177 career tackles, three interceptions, seven forced fumbles and eight passes broken up to his credit. He’s now enrolled in Arizona’s esteemed Eller College of Management’s MBA program and is a three-time Pac-12 All-Academic honoree.Tevis started and played 11 games at the bandit position in Arizona’s 3-3-5 defense in 2013 and earned All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention honors. He was No. 3 on the squad in total tackles with 83, including four for a loss of 11 yards and a sack. He had one interception in Arizona’s AdvoCare V100 Bowl victory over Boston College and also forced three fumbles during the season.As a sophomore, Tevis started and played in 11 games in 2012 in his first season as a scholarship player and earned All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention accolades. He was No. 3 on the team in total tackles with 82, 51 solo and 31 assisted. He also collected two interceptions for 32 return yards, six passes broken up and four forced fumbles. He logged a career-high 12 tackles vs. Toledo and at Oregon. Both of his interceptions came in the 59-38 win over No. 18 Oklahoma State.As a redshirt freshman walk-on in 2011, Tevis played in 12 games as a member of the secondary and on special teams. He totaled 12 tackles, including 11 solo stops.The Football Writers’ Association of America (FWAA) will choose a Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week each Tuesday throughout the season. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Nov. 20.

  • Hill named to Maxwell list

    University of Arizona senior receiver Austin Hill is a member of the watch list for the 2014 Maxwell Award, it was announced on Monday by The Maxwell Football Club. The Maxwell Award, named in honor of Robert W. "Tiny" Maxwell, has been given to America's College Player of the Year since 1937.Hill returns for his senior season with 102 career catches for 1,675 yards and 13 touchdowns to his credit. He missed the 2013 (redshirt junior) season with a knee injury. In 2012, he made 12 starts at the slot receiver position and played in all 13 games as a redshirt sophomore. Hill was a 2012 Biletnikoff Award Semifinalist, All-Pac-12 Second-Team and Phil Steele Fourth-Team All-America.In 2012, Hill totaled 81 catches for 1,364 yards and 11 touchdowns to lead the Wildcat receivers. He ranked No. 2 in the Pac-12 in total receiving yards (1,364) and yards per game (104.9). Against Toledo, he had seven catches for 139 yards and one touchdown off the bench and hauled in a career-high 11 catches for 165 yards at Stanford. Hill collected 259 yards on 10 catches in the 39-36 win against No. 10 USC.He scored two touchdowns in four games and had at least one score in seven games while collecting 100 yards or more in five contests.As a redshirt freshman in 2011, he played in 10 games and started one. Hill collected 21 catches for 311 yards and two touchdowns. He hauled in a season-high eight catches for 128 yards at Oklahoma State.Tickets for the 2014 football season are on sale and start at $99 for seven home games. Tickets can be purchased at or by contacting the McKale Center Ticket Office (520-621-CATS).

  • UA center named to watch list

    University of Arizona senior center Steven Gurrola has been named to the 2014 Rimington Trophy Watch List, given to the nation’s best at the position. Gurrola is one of six Pac-12 players earning recognition from the Boomer Esiason Foundation on Tuesday.In his first year with the Wildcats, Gurrola started all 13 games at center in 2013. He was a member of the offensive line that allowed for former Arizona running back Ka’Deem Carey to rush for 1,885 yards and 19 touchdowns. Additionally, with Gurrola anchoring the offensive line, former Arizona quarterback B.J. Denker threw for 2,516 yards and 16 scores.With Gurrola in the middle, Arizona’s offensive line led the squad to average 264.9 rushing yards per game and allowed just 1.31 sacks per game, both figures ranked second in the Pac-12. The Wildcats’ offense averaged 33.5 points per game, totaled 311 first downs and averaged 458.5 yards of offense per game.Tickets for the 2014 football season are on sale and start at $99 for seven home games. Tickets can be purchased at or by contacting the McKale Center Ticket Office (520-621-CATS).

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