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

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  • Oro Valley fake beard bandit arrested

    On Aug. 21 The Oro Valley Police Department was contacted by Tucson Police Department in reference to a bank robbery suspect in their jurisdiction. TPD believed the suspect in custody was the same sus...
  • Oro Valley to capture additional 500 acre-feet of CAP water

    The Town of Oro Valley will add 500 acre-feet of Central Arizona Project (CAP) water to its potable water system after the completion of a blending facility at Calle Buena Vista, near Hardy Road. 
  • Oro Valley to capture additional 500 acre-feet of CAP water

    The Town of Oro Valley will add 500 acre-feet of Central Arizona Project (CAP) water to its potable water system after the completion of a blending facility at Calle Buena Vista, near Hardy Road. Water Utility Director Philip Saletta said at $332,000, the facility was relatively inexpensive to complete since it didn’t involve the installation of a significant amount of pipeline to connect into the Tucson water system, which provides the town with its CAP water. The installation also included valves to control pressure and flow, a flow meter, a solar panel for power, and a security wall.The process of water blending is becoming more common these days, and as explained by Saletta, “is accomplished through a simple, in-line device called a static mixer. It is a three-foot length of pipe that has baffles, so the water from our well and the Tucson Water system is evenly mixed as they enter the pipeline in the water distribution system. This is done to maintain consistent water quality for our customers.”Blending CAP water with groundwater will also reduce the town’s groundwater pumping, meeting the town’s goal to pump only 5,500 acre feet of groundwater each year. That is significantly less than in years past, such as in 2005 when the town was pumping more than 10,000 acre feet. Last year, the town pumped 6,000 acre-feet of groundwater. The blending facility will help the town not only now, but looking ahead, Saletta said. 

  • Pima County to do away with precinct scanners

    Pima County will no longer make use of precinct scanners at polling locations after the Pima County Board of Supervisors rejected a measure to spend $1.8 million to replace them. The board’s decision came despite a recommendation by Pima County Election Integrity Commission (PCEIC) to keep the scanners in place since they allow for an electronic count at polling locations, serving as a way to double check ballots when they are tallied in the central count system. Bill Beard, District 1 PCEIC representative called the board’s decision frustrating, particularly since he says Pima County has a poor track record with handling elections in the past.“If the board is truly concerned about the matter, perhaps actually listening to the advisers they appointed to advise them on thing elections-related might be a good place to start,” he said, also noting that District 1’s Ally Miller was the only supervisor to vote in favor of the PCEIC’s recommendation to keep scanners in place.In a recent op-ed, Beard said the elimination of scanners eliminates a much-needed check in the election process, and could create unbalanced power.“Each and every step of the process is to be watched by those outside the system, keeping those inside the machinery from having sway over outcomes… by subdividing the counting into smaller parts it becomes easier to detect errors and potential fraud,” Beard wrote. “When you can compare the final numbers on Election Day with the central machine counts and the sum from all the smaller precinct sections, it makes it a lot harder to cheat.”

  • Legal questions surround Pima County plans to not hire smokers

    Pima County could soon implement a policy that would require current county employees and those seeking employment to submit to a nicotine test. Backed by County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, the proposal – intended as a cost-saving measure that would create a nicotine-free workplace – is still in the initial phase of development and must first be reviewed by the County Merit Commission, the Health Benefits Wellness Advisory Committee, and the Board of Supervisors before approval.If put into action, the measure would mean higher health premiums for those who refuse to test or who test positive for nicotine.According to Huckelberry, the proposal would include a 30-percent surcharge for nicotine users in the first year, effective July 1, 2015. That would increase to 40 percent in 2015-16, and 50 percent for 2016-17.It is estimated that 32 percent of county employees currently use nicotine.For those applying to work in the county, a refusal to test or a positive test would mean the applicant would not be hired, and would have to wait a year to reapply.

  • Pima County One-Stop Career Center seeking health-care employers for employee training pilot project

    The Pima County One-Stop Career Center has funds for health-care employers to participate in a pilot training program aimed at improving employee performance and retention.One-Stop is offering $24,000 per employer for up to five employers.The training is for:-New employees who went through Pima Community College's Pathways to Healthcare program, designed to help low-income individuals move into good-paying health-care occupations, or-Existing, entry-level employees who meet the Pathways to Healthcare criteria and who the employer believes need to improve their performance to retain their jobs.The training can include customer service, interpersonal skills, work ethic, attitude, time management, reliability, workplace relationships, safety protocols, clinical practice protocols, company policies and procedures, or other topics the employer needs.

  • Tucson REALTORS® Charitable Foundation awards $5,000

    The Tucson REALTORS® Charitable Foundation (TRCF) has awarded $5,000 to four local non-profit organizations as part of its quarterly distribution program.  The funds and intended use were issued to:•  Arts Express ($1,625) to help 50 disadvantaged youth participate in its Behind the Scenes program, held in conjunction with Broadway in Tucson’s production of Beauty and the Beast in December. •  Habitat for Humanity ($1,500) to help fund four affordable market-quality Energy Star homes for low-income families in the Copper Vista neighborhood, just north of Tucson International Airport.  Specifically, the funds will cover concrete and underground utility work and infrastructure. •  Law Enforcement Wives Club ($1,375) to support their mission to enhance the lives of law enforcement personnel and their families throughout Pima County “by providing emotional and tangible support during times of need.”   •  Dancing in the Streets ($500) to help fund costumes, dance attire, music, sets, lighting, Pointe ballet shoes and scholarships.   

  • Planning Commission has opening

    The Town is seeking a qualified resident for its Planning Commission.The Marana Planning Commission is a Council-appointed, seven-member advisory body that makes recommendations to the Town Council on matters related to zoning and land development, including the Marana General Plan (Marana’s  vision for development) and applications for approval of rezoning cases, subdivision plats, development plans, and conditional uses. Applicants must be Marana residents.The Planning Commission meets at the Marana Municipal Complex at 6:30 p.m. on the last Wednesday of each month. Agendas are available at the Marana Development Services office on the Monday before the meeting.All applications will remain active for one year from the date of receipt. Applications are available at and can be submitted online. Call 382-1960 or 382-2655 for more information.

  • Saturday Puzzles 8-23-14

  • Oro Valley Indoor Arts and Crafts Festival Aug. 23 and 24

    Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance presents the fourth annual Hilton Indoor Summer Fine Art Festival at Hilton El Conquistador, inside the air-conditioned resort, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 23 and 24, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.The festival's setting at the base of the majestic Pusch View Mountains brings the beautiful desert to life through the many artists inspired by the Southwest's landscapes and wildlife. The Hilton Indoor Summer Fine Art Festival features up to 50 fine artists from around the region as well as live strolling performances throughout the weekend. Festival-goers can enjoy handcrafted artisan displays.The fourth annual festival will attract thousands of attendees looking for an escape from the heat and some of the most elegant artwork in the region. Up to 50 artists will display their talents in pottery, jewelry, oil and watercolor on canvas, mixed media, leatherwork and more.Festival-goers can also find live music and free kids' activities in the cool, air-conditioned setting of the Hilton El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort, 10000 N. Oracle Road.Presented by Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance, the festival's setting at the base of the majestic Pusch View Mountains brings the beautiful desert to life through the many artists inspired by the Southwest's landscapes and wildlife.

  • Prickly Pear Festival

    A celebration of all things deliciously prickly pear. There will be exhibitors/vendors with prickly pear items to sample and to purchase. The manmy varied iems using prickly pear cactus range from mixes for margaritas, lemonade and even beer, to recipe books, medicines, and art.All proceeds benefit the non profit, EMVIA, Educating and Mentoring for the Visually Impaired Association.  August 23, 2014Event Location: 4550 S. Palo Verde Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85714 Venue: Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Tucson Airport North Time: Ending: 6:00 PM 

  • Ride streetcar to UofA football games

    University of Arizona football fans have a new transit option for this season’s UA home football games – the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar.  Prior to kickoff, fans can experience the dining, entertainment and retail opportunities in the Main Gate Square, Fourth Avenue, Downtown and Mercado District and then board the streetcar from any one of the 23 stops along the 3.9-mile long route to get to campus. Once on campus, Arizona Stadium is a short walk from the Second Street and Highland Avenue streetcar stop.Football fans can also park downtown in the Pennington Street Parking Garage, 110 E. Pennington Street and receive a parking discount by showing a UA football ticket, as well as purchase an all-day pass to ride the Sun Link Streetcar to the game.  Cash fares are not accepted on the streetcar. For parking garage information and discounted rates, visit Fans can also purchase a SunGO Card online at to ride the streetcar. All-day passes to ride the streetcar can be purchased for $4 at any one streetcar stops or at the Ronstadt Transit Center.Football fans can also use Sun Tran buses to attend home games. Please visit for route times for Saturday night games as some routes discontinue service prior to the end of late games. Several Sun Tran routes serve the UA area and are only a short walk to the stadium or an easy transfer to the Sun Link streetcar: Route 1 – Glenn/Swan Route 3 – Sixth Street/Wilmot Route 4 – Speedway Route 6 – South Park Avenue/ North First Avenue Route 9 – Grant Route 15 – Campbell The cost to ride Sun Tran is $1.50 one-way for full fare passengers, 50 cents one-way for seniors 65 years and older, Medicare cardholders, disabled persons and low-income individuals with a SunGO ID & Card.  Children five years of age and younger ride free with a paying passenger.For Sun Tran passenger convenience, park-and-ride locations are available throughout the community.  Please visit for a detailed list of locations. 

  • Mountain View seeks consistency in new season

    After a few years of instability, Mountain View football seems to be in a good place. After three coaches in three years, Bam McRae has come to the school and put his own stamp on the program. McRae now enters year three and the team is looking for their third straight playoff appearance. The team lost a number of players, but have built up the overall depth in the program. “I think ultimately in our step of going into year three of building our program we are getting better quality of athletes and kids who really want to play the game of football,” explained McRae. The program must replace 30 seniors, but has created great depth by building up the overall numbers in the program. Area players who might have looked at going to CDO or Ironwood Ridge, now seem more likely to stay in the area. “We are getting the commitment from the kids, the parents and the community that we need,” said Offensive Coordinator Robert Summerset. “Mountain View has always been a great program, so it hasn’t been hard to turn things around. The kids believe they feel we are on the right track, so it wont be long at all.”This will be a very young team. They lose 30 seniors off of last year’s team, most of whom stuck through the tough times during the transition from coach to coach. 

  • Strong inside presence to be Nighthawks’ key to success

    They have a solid program and the talent this year to be a playoff team. The question then comes down to whether the Ironwood Ridge Nighthawks can get the job done and bring home a state title this year.The Nighthawks took home the state title in 2012 after handily defeating Centennial 27-3. The team felt the loss of seniors Tyler Williams and Anthony Braunreiter this last year as they finished the 2013 season with a 6-5 record. The Nighthawks ended up making it to the playoffs but got knocked out in the first round by Marcos De Niza (7-5).Having lost a handful of seniors last year, head coach Matt Johnson says one of the biggest challenges is seeing who will step up and replace them this year. Some of that leadership may be easily disposed to some of his top players – seniors Austin Goddard, Dominic Campas and Matthew Solverson.“Austin is a great leader, very physical and one I can trust on and off the field,” said Johnson. “Dominic’s selflessness will be a key success for our success this year and Matt does everything right and is just a great kid.”The strength and glue of the team is the depth of the interior line positions where Goddard and Solverson, both college recruits, will be playing. According to Johnson, this years players are very physical, which will help the Nighthawks handle other teams better in the interior. “The players are physical and the practices are more physical, because more guys are competing for playing time,” said Johnson. “This year we need to control the running game – that’s always key for the win.”

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