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

  • 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. 

  • Marana area motorcycle accident

    Northwest Fire District units responded to the area of Grier Road and Galleno Ave, near Marana and Interstate 10,   just after 6:00pm Friday night after a motorcyclist lost control of his bike and crashed into a tree.  Another rider on a separate motorcycle called 9-1-1 to report the incident.  The motorcycle was the only vehicle involved in the accident. A 20 year-old male suffered critical life-threatening injuries as a result of the crash.  He was airlifted to the trauma center at UAMC for treatment of his injuries.  The patient was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.The Marana Police Department was on scene to conduct an investigation into the cause of the accident.No traffic delays or closures resulted from the accident.

  • Celebrate SunLink’s opening day on Friday, July 25

    Tucson’s modern streetcar opens to the public in three days. Want to be a part of the opening day action? Here’s how:Take a bus or shuttle downtown. The following routes go to the Ronstadt Transit Center and the immediate area: Sun Tran Routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 16, 19, 21, 22, 23 Sun Express Routes 101X-110X Sun Shuttle Route 421 Then attend the grand opening dedication from 9-10 a.m. at Congress and Fifth. Expect 2,000-plus attendees. Be aware of special event road closures and travel restrictions. No backpacks due to security.If such a big crowd isn’t your thing but ribbon cuttings are, there are four of those earlier in the morning elsewhere on the route: 7 a.m.: Avenida del Convento and Congress stop (Mercado) 7:40 a.m.: Helen Street and Warren Avenue stop (University of Arizona) 8:05 a.m.: University Boulevard and Tyndall Avenue stop (Main Gate) 8:28 a.m.: 4th Avenue and 7th Street stop (4th Ave.)

  • Near drowning in Oro Valley

    On July 22, 2014 at approximately 6 p.m., the Oro Valley Police Department (OVPD) and Golder Ranch Fire Department responded to the 300 block of West Sacaton Canyon in reference to a near drowning. Initial reports are that a mother found her 16 month old child at the bottom of the pool. The mother removed the child and began Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). The child was transported by Golder Ranch Fire Department to University of Arizona Medical Center. The child is in critical condition, and the investigation is ongoing.

  • (July 25) Today's Top Headlines - Kerry pushes for cease fire

    Fox News:Bloody clashes continued between Israel and Islamic militants in Gaza Friday, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry tried to hammer out a cease-fire deal to end the deadly violence.Kerry met twice Friday in Cairo with United Nation chief Ban Ki-Moon and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri to negotiate an agreement for at least a week-long halt of the fighting between Israel and Hamas in the nearly three-week war.Two diplomats close to the negotiations said a deal had not yet been reached but spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to be named.Secretary Kerry has been on the phone all morning, and he will remain in close touch with leaders in the region over the course of the morning as he continues work on achieving a ceasefire,'' a senior U.S. State Department official in Cairo told Reuters.Kerry has proposed a two-stage plan that would first impose the week-long truce, and then negotiations would begin between Israelis and Palestinians on the main political, economic, and security concerns in Gaza. Other nations would also attend the meetings, the New York Times reported.

  • (July 25) Today's Top Headlines - The top 10 stories of the day

    1. Protests rock the West Bank ahead of a "day of rage"Israel deployed thousands of security forces around Jerusalem after Palestinian leaders called for a "day of rage" on Friday following massive overnight protests in the West Bank. Israeli tank shells reportedly hit a United Nations school in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing at least 15 people. Dozens of Palestinians had sought shelter there from fighting between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian faction that runs Gaza. Israel said it did not target the school. [NBC News, USA Today]………………………………………………………………………………2. Obama urges Congress to close overseas tax loopholes for businessesPresident Obama on Thursday called on Congress to close loopholes allowing businesses to use foreign partnerships to avoid taxes at home, even when their headquarters and main operations remain in the U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who is the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said he was all for asking companies to pay their fair share but that Obama administration policies were "punitive and restrictive to businesses." [CBS News]………………………………………………………………………………

  • (July 25) Today's Top Headlines - Man says he shot pregnant burglar

    MSN News:An 80-year-old man who came home to find two burglars said he shot and killed one of them despite her pleas that she was pregnant, but it's the woman's alleged accomplice who has been arrested on suspicion of murder, police said.Police said they would present their case to prosecutors Friday but were still deciding whether to recommend charges against Tom Greer, who told a television station he shot the woman in the back as she fled from his house."She says, 'Don't shoot me, I'm pregnant — I'm going to have a baby,' and I shot her anyway," Greer told KNBC-TV outside his house.Long Beach police Chief Jim McDonnell said at a news conference Thursday that the woman, 28-year-old Andrea Miller, did not appear to be pregnant, but a planned autopsy would determine whether she was.However, the surviving suspect, Gus Adams, 26, has been arrested on suspicion of residential burglary and murder, McDonnell said. The murder charge is possible because he is accused of being involved in a felony that led to a death, the chief said. He was being held on bail just over $1 million, and police did not know if he had hired an attorney.

  • Saturday Puzzles 7-26-14

  • Sippin' Social: 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. 

  • Prime Time Review: ‘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. 

  • Summerset wins national title

    Mountain View’s Justice Summerset is a national champion. Summerset won the Boy’s 15-16 Division High Jump title at the USATF National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships in Humble, TX.Summerset won the title Friday morning with a jump of 2.05 Meters (6-8 ¾). He edged Nebraska’s Jacob Heitkamp, who cleared 2.00 Meters but failed on all three attempts at 2.05. Summerset cleared 2.05 on his first attempt. He missed on all three attempts at 2.10.The National record is 2.16 Meters by Randall Cunningham Jr., the son of former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham.Summerset, a junior to be at Mountain View, finished fifth in the state in this year’s Division II state championships. He was second as a freshman in 2013.Summerset will now turn his attention to football, where he is a key piece to the Mountain Lion’s team. Summerset, whose father is the offensive coordinator, is expected to compete at quarterback and will likely start at free safety.

  • Mountain View hires two new coaches

    Mountain View has hired new baseball and softball coaches for the 2014-15 season.  Steve Elmore and Ashley Monceaux join the Mountain View staff, replacing Brian Moore and Jill Malina.“We are extremely excited to have two coaches of that caliber joining our coaching staff at Mountain View,” said Athletic Director Todd Garelick.Elmore was the longtime coach at San Manuel High School. He is actually the second former San Manuel coach at Mountain View, joining wrestling coach P.J. Ponce.The Mountain Lion baseball team went 12-15 last season.Monceaux is a former Pima and Baylor player who was also a graduate assistant for the Bears.

  • Ty Cruz to join the Wildcats

    The University of Arizona football team released their official 2014 roster and former Catalina Foothills standout Ty Cruz was listed on the roster as a walk-on.Cruz led the Falcons in rushing last season, gaining 1,346 yards on 134 carries, scoring 23 times. He also had two more receiving scores.“I am real happy that he is getting this opportunity because the improvements he’s made academically and on the football field,” said Catalina Foothills Head Football Coach Jeff Scurran. “The second half of the season, no one could stop him.”Scurran also feels Cruz will be a great locker room guy, “He’s very easy to like.”It is never easy for walk-ons to make an impact, but Cruz steps into a very good situation at Arizona. First and foremost, Head Coach Rich Rodriguez is a former walk-on himself and has always been willing to give non-scholarship players a long look. He is also very familiar with Cruz, as the running back was a teammate of Rodriguez’s son Rhett.Arizona is also a bit thin at running back. The team’s top six rushers a year ago will not be in the picture this season. Five have either graduated or left the team, while Jared Baker will miss the start of the season with a serious knee injury. Add to that the fact that redshirt freshman Pierre Cormier had to give up football with a health condition and you have a wide open battle. The Wildcats have just four healthy scholarship running backs on the roster.

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