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

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  • Developer, residents at odds over proposed Oro Valley development

    Residents of four homeowner’s associations are butting heads with Davis Development and Properties, LLC over a proposed neighborhood development in proximity to Canada Del Oro’s Highlands Wash.Known as the River’s Edge/Melcor Planned Area Development (PAD),  Davis Development and Properties, LLC initially pitched the project as a 61-acre, 64 single-family-residential development on the south side of Naranja Drive, approximately one-half mile west of First Avenue.Still in the preliminary stages, the developer has not yet submitted a formal application to the town, but Don Davis, co-owner of Davis Development, says the project is still moving forward pending results of continued engineering and hydrology studies, given the project’s location in a flood plain.Plans have changed some since the project’s inception. The latest blueprint is slated for the design of approximately 64 homes on 20 acres. The reduction from 61 acres to 20 acres came following a study by the WLB Group which indicated only about a third of the land was buildable. The homes would be erected along the eastern border of the wash in a north-south direction in an area zoned CR-2 single-family cluster, adopted under Pima County’s 1994 zoning ordinances and translated to Oro Valley’s equivalent of a PAD.While co-owner Rod Davis says the results of the continued engineering studies will ultimately determine the number and style of homes as well lot sizes, a pre-application submitted to the town on Dec. 20, 2013 indicates lots ranging from 6,900 to 40,000 square feet. 

  • UPDATE - Hiremath, incumbents win election outright

    According to Town of Oro Valley clerk Julie Bower, the four incumbents - Mayor Satish Hiremath and councilmembers Joe Hornat, Lou Waters, and Mary Snider - have won the election outright with all precincts reporting.PREVIOUS STORYWith all 15 precincts reporting, Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath leads challenger Pat Stranney 5,695 to 3,558.With three council seats open, the incumbent council members Mary Snider, Joe Hornat and Lou Waters currently lead challenger Don Bristow.

  • Huppenthal loses re-election bid for State Superintendent of Public Instruction

    State Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal lost his re-election bid Tuesday night. Huppenthal faced plenty of controversy during the primary election after his racially-slanted posts on social media were discovered.Huppenthal was defeated by GOP opponent Diane Douglas.

  • Some schools take a pass on program to give free meals to students

     With a deadline looming for a federal program to give free meals to all students in certain low-income schools, some Arizona districts are finding there really is no such thing as a free lunch.State officials by Friday had approved just 29 of the 247 school districts and charter schools eligible for a program to provide free breakfast and lunch to any student at those schools, regardless of the student’s income. Sunday is the deadline to apply.But while the poorest districts would be fully reimbursed by the federal government, others are note even applying because they would have to pick up some of the cost.“Schools that are below that (income threshold) have to see if the numbers work for them,” said Becca Segal, child nutrition associate at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “And in some cases it might not.”Under the Community Eligibility Provision, schools where at least 40 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price meals could offer free meals – breakfasts and lunches – to all the students in the school.The program, part of the Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, had been offered in 10 states and the District of Columbia but is being expanded nationwide this year.

  • Experts: Shrinking workforce, not job growth, driving drop in jobless rate

    Arizona’s jobless rate is falling toward pre-recession levels, but don’t start the Labor Day celebrations just yet – experts say the drop could be driven as much by a shrinking labor force as a growing job market.After peaking near 11 percent in 2010, Arizona’s unemployment rate has been falling steadily and stood at 7.0 percent in July, according to the latest numbers from the Arizona Department of Administration.But Aruna Murthy, the department’s director of economic analysis, noted that “unemployment is slowly declining, but jobs available have not been growing.”That’s possible, Murthy said, because fewer workers are competing for those jobs. One reason for the falling number of workers is unemployed people who just give up.“People drop out of the work force because they don’t find a job,” Murthy said. “They get discouraged and drop out of the labor force.”Numbers for Arizona are hard to come by, but the Economic Policy Institute estimated that there were about 5.8 million “missing workers” across the nation this month. That’s the number left after taking the total population and subtracting workers, unemployed people who are looking for work, students, retirees, the disabled and people who choose not to work, to look after a family, for example.

  • Town soliciting nominations for community awards

    The Town is seeking nominations of outstanding residents and organizations to be considered for the Branding Iron and Ora Mae Harn Crystal Legacy awards.The individual Branding Iron Award is given to a person who has made a lasting impact, provided outstanding service and/or shown a commitment to improving the lives of others. The organization honor goes to a nominee that has strengthened the health and safety of Marana through partnerships, innovation, perseverance and/or contributes to the social and economic diversity of the community.The Ora Mae Harn Crystal Legacy Award recognizes individuals or businesses that promote the “Matriarch of Marana’s” commitment to the ideals of the Town and enhance its image through exemplary volunteer service. Harn served on Town Council from 1985-2001 and was mayor on two occasions. She helped start and was later director of the Marana Health Center. She was instrumental in the formation of the Marana Community Food Bank and was one of the founding members of the Marana Rotary Club. She founded and served as the first president of the Marana Heritage Conservancy.Heritage Conservancy President Patrick Nilz (individual) and Arizona Youth Partnership (organization) earned last year’s Branding Iron Awards. Ray and Faye Spitzer won the Ora Mae Harn Crystal Legacy Award.Nominations are due by Sept. 26; awards will be presented during the Annual Rotary Heritage Awards Dinner on Oct. 24. For more information and nomination forms, please visit

  • (Sept. 2) Today's Top Headlines - Florida police department investigated

    MSN News:The north Florida town of Waldo has long had a reputation as a speed trap, and it's no wonder. A small segment of highway that runs through Waldo requires drivers to speed up and slow down six times: 65 mph becomes 55 mph; 55 becomes 45; then goes back to 55; then back down to 45; to 55 again and eventually, 35 mph.AAA named the tiny town between Jacksonville and Gainesville one of only two "traffic traps" nationwide and even placed an attention-getting billboard outside the limits of the town to warn drivers to slow down before entering.Now Waldo is facing a scandal following allegations that the town victimizes motorists in order to turn a profit. Two police chiefs have been suspended, the police department has rebelled and the state is investigating possible wrongdoing.For the full story, visit:

  • (Sept. 2) Today's Top Headlines - Six militants killed in US Somalia strike

    MSN News:Al-Shabab's top leader was traveling in one of two vehicles hit Monday night by a U.S. military strike, a member of the Somali Islamic extremist group said Tuesday.The spokesman would not say whether Somali Ahmed Abdi Godane, the rebel leader, was among the six militants killed.The two vehicles were heading toward the coastal town of Barawe, al-Shabab's main base, when they were hit, Abu Mohammed told The Associated Press.U.S. military forces attacked the extremist al-Shabab network in Somalia Monday, the Pentagon confirmed.For the full story, visit:

  • (Sept. 2) Today's Top Headlines - Texas voter ID law heads to trial

    MSN News:A U.S. court in Texas will hear arguments on Tuesday in a case over a law requiring voters to present photo identification, a move the state's Republican leaders say will prevent fraud while plaintiffs call it a veiled attempt at suppressing minority turnout.The case is also part of a new strategy by the Obama administration to challenge voting laws it says discriminate by race in order to counter a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that freed states from strict federal oversight..The trial at the U.S. district court in Corpus Christi stems from a three-year legal battle over stringent voter ID measures signed into law by Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, in 2011.For the full story, visit:

  • Sabino Canyon evening rides

    Experience Sabino Canyon -- riparian wonderland in Coronado National Forest -- by moonlight aboard a tram. Night is a special time when desert creatures emerge from daytime siestas to prowl around the cool desert floor, and the moon gently illuminates the silhouettes of stately saguaro cacti. During September-November and April-June, Sabino Canyon Tours offers evening rides three nights per month.Schedule:September 5,6,7, 2014-8:30 p.m. (Reservations begin August 15)October 4,5,6, 2014, 7:30 p.m. (Reservations begin September 18)November 2,3,4, 2014, 7 p.m. (Reservations begin Octoer 14)Reservations will be accepted beginning October by phone, email or in person.

  • Saturday Puzzles 8-30-14

  • Summer Beach Party

    The Downtown Tucson Partnership hosts an end-of-summer bash at downtown's faux sandy beach, located in the empty lot at 5th Avenue and Toole Avenue. The Summer Beach Party will feature volleyball games, carnival games, a sand castle competition, and a children's obstacle course. Beer and wine will be served and live music will be played at 7pm by Jan Cervelli's band, Skyline. Later in the evening, Shrimp Chaperone and Surf Sonics will rock the party with live performances.Here's a rundown of the action Saturday:Bands - Skyline, 7 p.m.-8:15 p.m.; Shrimp Chaperone, 8:45 p.m.-10:45 p.m.; Surf Sonics, 11 p.m.-1 a.m.Food Trucks - DC Jumbie Latin Caribbean, Bam Bam Mexican Asian Fusion, Sonoran Mexican Cuisine Sonoran HotdogsDrinks - Beer and wine, 5 p.m.-1 a.m.Fun for Kids - 10 carnival games, YMCA Booth, Playformance, obstacle course, Tucson Children's Museum, big blue blocks (interactive fun)

  • Mountain Lions hope to resolution is close

    The Mountain View football program continues to sort though an Arizona Interscholastic Association investigation into allegations of improper recruiting, causing them to play shorthanded Thursday night against Marana.Mountain View Athletic Director Todd Garelick declined to identify which players were at the center of the investigation, but did acknowledge that a small number of players were held out "voluntarily" until the matter is settled.“We have provided the AIA with the documents they have requested,” Garelick explained. “We are hoping for a ruling soon. We feel confident that our evidence is strong in this case.”The players have not been ruled inelgible as of yet, but Garlelick did not want to risk a possible forfeit in case the players end up being ruled ineligible.Three Tucson High transfers, Bryce Coleman, DeShaun Flannigan and Demetrius Flannigan were in street clothes on Thursday. Demetrius Flannigan has verbally committed to play football for the University of Arizona.Garelick said he remained optimistic that the players and school would be cleared of any wrongdoing.

  • High school sports schedules 09/02 - 09/06

    No games on Monday due to the Labor Day holiday, but there is still a full slate of games, including the start of swimming, volleyball and cross country.Tuesday, September 2Boys Golf (3 p.m.)Marana, Sahuarita, Palo Verde and Walden Grove at Torres BlancasMountain View at Del LagoGirls Volleyball (Freshman at 4, JV at 5, Var at 6, unless otherwise noted)

  • Huey Scores Fumble Recovery TD but Aztecs Fall Against Eastern AZ

    The Pima Community College football team (1-1, 1-1 in conference) struck first in its home opener at the Kino North Grandstand against Eastern Arizona College on Saturday but gave up 21 unanswered points. The Aztecs lost 21-7 in a game that saw both offenses struggle and no points scored in the second half. The Aztecs had two turnover-on-downs and three punts while Eastern Arizona had two turnover-on-downs, one turnover and a punt. The Aztecs scored the first points of the game when Kendall Huey recovered a fumble after an Eastern Arizona miscue and returned it 31-yards for the touchdown to put Pima up 7-0 with 7:58 left in the first quarter. Eastern responded on their next offensive possession to tie it at 7-7. They scored 14 points in the second quarter to open a lead. The Aztecs had a possession late in the third that carried into the fourth quarter where they got it to the Eastern Arizona five-yard line but a penalty backed them to the 19 and two incomplete passes later, had to turn it over on downs. The Aztecs will play at the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, NM next Saturday at 7:00 p.m. NMMI     7     14     0     0 PCC         7      0      0     0

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