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 Propertiess, 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, incubments 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.

  • Pima’s Northwest Campus to host DUI presentation on Aug. 28

    Making smart decisions about driving – or, more importantly, not driving – under the influence is critical to your personal safety and that of others who share the road.The community is invited to join us at Pima Community College’s Northwest Campus from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Aug. 28, for an event intended to raise awareness among college students and other of the dangers of driving under the influence.At Choose Your Ride: DUI and Alcohol Awareness, the PCC Police Department will have a presentation and demonstrate “drunk goggles” for students to experience. There will be an informational booth hosted by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Police cars, an ambulance, a hearse and a taxi will be parked at the campus as examples of what types of transportation you may be riding in if you drive drunk.Hint: The taxicab is your best choice. What: Choose Your Ride: DUI and Alcohol Awareness When: 10 a.m.-2 pm., Aug. 28 Where: Pima Community College Northwest Campus, 7600 N. Shannon Road “Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics show that in 2012 almost 1.3 million people were arrested for DUI in the United States” said NWC Vice President of Student Development Michael Tulino. “By partnering with our local law enforcement, businesses and community organizations, our campus DUI and alcohol awareness event will highlight not only the dangers of impaired driving but offer strategies and resources for our students in making good choices.”

  • Marana Middle School remains open despite water line break

    An underground water line break has resulted in no running water in some buildings on the campus of Marana Middle School.  Water remains available in one portion of the campus. Portable restroom facilities and hand wash stations are being delivered and bottled water will be available all day.Marana Middle School remains open and will operate on a regular school schedule.   A plumbing company is currently on site actively working to fix the break. It is expected that the water line will be repaired today.The situation is being closely monitored and resources will continue to be provided to meet the needs of students and staff.Marana Middle School is located at 11285 W. Grier Road, Marana AZ. 85653

  • Armed Robbery Alert in Marana

    On Monday, Aug 25, 2014, at approximately 5:40 p.m., an armed robbery took place at the McDonalds at 3830 W. Ina Rd. Suspect entered through the east doors of the business and approached the cashier implying a weapon and demanded cash from the register.If anyone was present and did not speak with Marana Police OR have any information about this robbery, please contact Marana Police Department.

  • ‘When The Game Stands Tall’ - Football story gets fumbled on the big screen

    Inspired by true events, “When The Game Stands Tall” is the story of the De La Salle High School (Concord, Calif.) football team posting the longest winning streak in football history.  The film neatly illustrates the De La Salle Spartans 12-year rule on the gridiron and how “the streak” ending comes almost as shocking to the world as a Harlem Globetrotter loss in basketball.  The problems the coaches, players and community have in confronting their rare defeat and moving on in life gave the film so much potential.  Unfortunately, the remarkable real-life story that helped propel De La Salle to triumph once again on and off of the football field fails to inspire film-goers the same way on the big-screen.Thomas Carter, who brought us the stirring “Coach Carter” movie starring Samuel L. Jackson in 2005, directs the film.  Jackson’s Coach Ken Carter character brilliantly turned around his underachieving high school basketball team from worst-to-first using stern practices and tough love.  In “When The Game Stands Tall”, De La Salle football coach Bob Ladouceur (played by Jim Caviezel) also stresses personal responsibility, focusing on each player’s future after football.  But Caviezel (from CBS’ “Person of Interest” and the 2004 film “Passion of the Christ”) doesn’t provide any spark or connect with audiences like Samuel L. Jackson’s demeanor did on the hardwood floor.Caviezel’s monotone locker room and pre-game speeches, combined with blank stares over the practice field and fruitless discussions with his wife about a job at Stanford, all lack emotional fireworks.  As an absent father, Ladouceur gets respected by his son more for his X’s and O’s strategy than any investment to the family dynamics.  Denzel Washington’s memorable portrayal of the even-keeled coach Herman Boone in “Remember the Titans” (2000) used very effective outbursts and flashes of raw emotion to bring the story and Boone’s character alive both on the field and at home.  Director Carter played it too safe with Caviezel’s coaching character in this film, stiff-arming the marriage and co-parenting aspects of Ladouceur’s life—both of which could have offered Caviezel a chance to make us want to stand up and cheer not only the successful coach, but also the honorable man.“When The Game Stands Tall” had a playbook full of established and proven storylines to call upon; faith-based teachings and mentorship, unexpected adversity for a close knit community, successful inner-city kids earning a life-changing opportunity at college, and a coach — with job security for life — weighing lucrative offers to teach elsewhere.  Together, these themes should have made “When The Game Stands Tall” the perfect feel-good movie heading into football season.  Perhaps sports films about already successful teams attempting to stay on top are less enjoyable to watch than a group of underdogs making their quest to be the best.  Regardless, “When The Game Stands Tall” fumbled in its emotional connection to viewers as a result of the inexpressive, monotone delivery by Caviezel’s coach “Lad”.  And that turnover cost movie-goers the chance to be as inspired by the De La Salle’s coaching staff as the players were back in 2004.Grade: C+

  • Prime Time Review: Two new ‘Jungle Book’ movies hitting theaters soon

    With movie theaters being overrun by a plethora of science fiction and fantasy movies, it may be difficult to find something to take young kids to. Between the cursing, violence and bloodshed, some movies just don’t make the cut as child-appropriate. Luckily, there are two separate renditions of “The Jungle Book” in production.The Jungle Book is a collection of stories written by English author Rudyard Kipling. Originating in the late 19th century, the book contains the collected stories of Mowgli, a young boy who is raised by wolves in the Indian jungle, and is assisted by anthropomorphic jungle animals throughout his adventures. The stories of The Jungle Book were adapted to the big screen for a young audience in 1967 by Disney. This movie originally followed the more dark and sinister tone of Kipling’s stories but was lightened up before its release to become more kid-friendly. The original animated movie grossed over $73 million in its first release, an impressive figure, at that time, for an animated movie. An animated sequel was released in 2003 but spent little time in theaters before being sent to home video.There are currently two new renditions of this timeless children’s movie in the works. Andy Serkis, best known for his work as Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings”, will be stepping back from live-action work to direct an animated movie of Mowgli’s adventures under Warner Bros. This movie will also be Serkis’ feature directorial debut; he also worked on “King Kong”, “The Adventures of Tintin”, and “Planet of the Apes”. Working under Serkis’ directorial guidance will be Benedict Cumberbatch, who is lending his voice to the human-hating tiger, Shere Khan. The Warner Bros. film will be sticking closer to the original material, creating a relatively dark movie that shifts away from the 1967 Disney version of the film. While Serkis and Cumberbatch are on confirmed to be working on this new release, there is little else known as far as casting goes.Disney will have its own rendition of The Jungle Book, staying in line with a more kid-friendly movie.  Disney’s version of the movie has a pretty impressive cast, Idris Elba will be voicing Shere Khan, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, Bill Murray as Baloo, and Christopher Walken as King Louie. With Warner Bros. bringing in two impressive cast members and Disney pulling out all the A-list stops, these two movies will surely be vying for supremacy in the box office. While there will be a year difference between their release dates, movie goers will, no doubt, be comparing the two.

  • Join Tucson Local Media Staff for happy hour review at Gallery grille

    Join staff of Tucson Local Media for the monthly Sippin’ Social on Thursday, Sept. 18 at The Gallery Grille, located at the La Encantada Mall, 14000 Dove Mountain Blvd. from 4 to 6 p.m.Pitch story ideas, discuss current news, or relax and enjoy food or drink.Tucson Local Media does not pay for food or drink. 

  • Summer of bonding helps Mountain View standout Summerset

    This was a busy summer for Mountain View High School’s Justice Summerset. The junior attended five football camps, competed in three Junior Olympic track meets and met with some college coaching staffs. He won a national title, got a jump on some academic work, but most importantly, got to spend some time with his father. The two traveled nearly 9,000 miles going from various camps and competitions. Needless to say, it was a great bonding experience for father and son. “Me and him really bonded this summer,” said Robert Summerset, who is also the Mountain Lions offensive coordinator. “We travelled about 8,800 miles.”The pair had long drives to California, Colorado and a 13-hour haul to Houston. Most of the trips were just Justice and Robert.“It was just me and him, so we had a chance to talk,” said Justice. “We listened to music. We just bonded that whole time. It was really fun.”Summerset went to football camps at San Diego State, UCLA, Arizona and Northern Arizona, using the UCLA trip as a chance to visit with the Bruins track and field coaches. A Junior Olympic Track meet in Colorado also let him go to the University of Colorado’s football camp. 

  • Gonzales prepared to be Tigers’ workhorse

    Marana running back Bradley Gonzales knew that he was going to be a focal part of the offense this season, but he probably envisioned himself sharing some of those duties with fellow senior Travis Howard. Now with Howard’s season in jeopardy, the senior running back knows a lot of pressure is squarely on his shoulders. Last year the Tigers had a fairly balanced offensive attack with duel threat quarterback Ben Honea and a deep receiving corps. Gonzales was counted on in the running game, but so were Honea and Colby Cecil among others. Now the Tigers are breaking in a new quarterback and Gonzales will have to take an even bigger role in the offense.Its not a secret, Bradley is a feature guy,” said Marana Head Coach Andy Litten. “He gives us leadership and confidence. He knows our offense inside and out. We are going to lean heavy on him in terms of blocking, knowing our offense and giving the ball to.”Up until a week or so ago Howard was thought to be a key part of that plan. Like Gonzales, the big tight end was a three-year varsity standout and a unique player. Considered one of the best tight ends in the state, Howard was going to give whoever winds up as the new Marana quarterback and big target and a safety valve of sorts. If Howard cannot play, an offseason baseball injury is worse than originally expected, then the big  running back is even more vital.

  • In otherwise forgettable season, rookies shine for Diamondbacks

     With injury woes and a subpar record, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ season is nearing a forgettable ending. However, certain players’ successes and talents are being recognized, especially among the rookies.Diamondbacks starting pitcher Chase Anderson and outfielder David Peralta have both shined as midseason roster additions. has cited Peralta as a worthy Rookie of the Year candidate.Both talked about their seasons Tuesday after visiting Phoenix Children’s Hospital.Since his promotion from Double-A Mobile in June, Peralta has impressed again and again in the outfield and at the plate. As of Monday, he was batting .287 with a .781 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) after hitting .327 in his first 37 games.Peralta said it’s humbling to be mentioned as a possible Rookie of the Year but that consistency is his primary goal.“If it happens, that’s going to be great for me. If it’s not, I’m still going to be proud of myself,” Peralta said. “I’m just going to keep playing my game hard like I always do.”

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