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

  • OVPD to host sixth annual Drug Awareness Day for fifth-graders

    On Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Oro Valley Police Department, Oro Valley Optimist Club and the Kyle Franks Foundation will host the sixth annual Drug Awareness Day for all fifth-grade students in the Amphitheater School District.The event, which will be held at Riverfront Park, 551 W. Lambert Lane, is designed to raise awareness of drug abuse while teaching students and parents about drug prevention. Students will also learn strategies to stay drug and alcohol free.OVPD Chief Daniel Sharp will be in attendance to hand out prizes and announce the essay winners. Guest speakers include: Oro Valley Mayor Satish I. Hiremath, D.D.S., Motivational Speaker Michael Robins, and Anthony J. Coulson of NTH Consulting.Participating agencies include: Arizona Army National Guard, OVPD Fraternal Order of Police, Golder Ranch Fire District, Marana Police Department, Pima County Sheriff’s Department, Pima Regional SWAT, U.S. Border Patrol, Department of Public Safety, Arizona Lifeline and U.S. Customs.

  • UA's Gordon and Johnson commit to NBA Draft

    It should come as no surprise, but Arizona basketball players Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson announced their intentions to turn professional. Gordon, a freshman, is projected as a top-15 pick in the NBA Draft. He was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and averaged 12.4 ppg and a team best 8.0 rpg.“This was a real difficult decision because I love the University of Arizona,” said Gordon.“At the end of the day I have to make the decision that is best for Aaron Gordon,” Gordon continued.Johnson, the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Year and a consensus All-American, is not as surefire a pick but he believes he has a chance to be drafted “where I want to be.”“The feedback that I got is something that I feel confident about,” Johnson explained.

  • Foothills area Walgreen's robbed, two women at large

    On March 25 around 10:05 a.m., Pima County Sheriff deputies responded to the Walgreens, located at 1415 W. River Road, reference of larceny.When deputies arrived, they learned two Hispanic females entered the store and went directly to the liquor department.The females took five bottles of liquor from the shelf and left the store without paying. A clerk at the store witnessed the females taking the liquor and followed them out of the store.He saw the females get into a parked car with a female driver. Once the females were in the car the driver began backing out of the parking space.The clerk had to step to the side to avoid being hit by the suspect’s vehicle as it was backing up. The store clerk immediately began writing down the license plate of the vehicle.As he was writing the plate down, the driver rolled her window down and told him they were not stupid enough to use the real plate.

  • Pima County launches The Loop interactive map for computers, tablets and smart phones

    Get instant information about the parks and trailheads along the path. Find out whether you can take a bus to get there. Measure the length of your favorite route on The Loop. Create and print your own Loop map.Pima County – and its Information Technology Department – has created an interactive map of The Loop for computers, tablets and smart phones. Test-drive it at are lots of bells and whistles, so take your time and explore.•          Open/close the map tools by double-clicking on the blue bar along the top of the map or by clicking the tool symbol in the upper right corner of the map.•          Under the Getting Around tab, check out the FAQ or Help Videos. Try zooming in and out, and panning around.•          Under the Maps & Data Sources tab, click on Show Layers, expand one of the layer categories and check and uncheck boxes to turn different map layers on and off.

  • Great American Playhouse: A summer youth camp filled with drama

    For the young thespians looking to learn and be a part of a live play production, they can sign up for the Great American Playhouse’s summer camp.From June 16 to July 13, Monday through Friday, kids ages 7 to 15 years old will learn everything from being up on stage, to the behind the scenes work that goes into building a set.The camp will be led by the artistic director of the Great American Playhouse, Sean MacArthur, who says they plan to use the broad spectrum of the age range to put on a production of Charlotte’s Web. In addition to himself, MacArthur said he has put together a team of dance choreographers, along with a very talented musical director who has performed across the world. “What we wanted to do was bring in that age group and basically go through different areas of acting, vocal training, some dance, as well as integrate them into helping build the production,” MacArthur said. “They will help with some of the set production, some of the prop building, some of the costumes, and kind of give an all around look at what goes into not just direct instruction like acting and voice, but also into a lot of the efforts it takes to put on a production.”MacArthur, who has been with the theatre since it opened in Oro Valley last year, brings his history and training to this camp.He has acted in cities such as New York, Chicago, and Boston and has taught kids theater workshops in both Los Angeles and New York.

  • Southwest University of Visual Arts program allows teens to explore a variety of interests

    This summer, Southwest University of Visual Arts (SUVA) will be offering an art and creativity camp that will allow students to explore an art medium of their choice.For more than 10 years, SUVA has offered summer camps for teens, ages 13-17, in Tucson. This summer, from July 14 to 18, it will offer an art camp called Break Out of the “Same Old” Summer. The camp costs $350, which includes all art supplies and lunches. There are limited open spots so parents are encouraged to sign up their child online at Scholarships are also available for students.The camp, which will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., will allow students to pick one of the eight art mediums to work in: fine arts, photography, graphic design, illustration, advertising, interior design, landscape architecture or animation. “We have a really fun approach this summer,” said Joel Cowdry, marketing director for SUVA. “This summer we are going to build a small town that will contain all of the students projects within it. Everyone will contribute in different ways.”The small town may have billboards, for those interested in advertising, or a drive-in movie theatre for those who are interested in creating animation. SUVA faculty and student workers will help run the camp. Each SUVA faculty will teach in the art field of their experience.

  • (April 16) Today's Top Headlines - Memory of Boston Marathon victim spurs on 2014 runners

    When Beth Zerilli told her 8-year-old daughter that she planned to run the 2014 Boston Marathon, Sophie burst into tears.“She said, ‘You can’t do that. You’re going to get hurt,’” Zerilli recalled.Sophie’s fears made sense. Most of what Sophie knew about the Boston Marathon was related to the tragic events of the 2013 Marathon, which struck particularly close to home since the Zerillis’ college friends, Bill and Denise Richard, lost their 8-year-old son Martin in the bombings.Zerilli’s husband, Sal, lived with Bill Richard and another friend, Larry Marchese, in college when they were in the same fraternity at Bridgewater State. The three men and their significant others all grew to be close friends by the time they graduated. But when the Zerillis moved out of state after college – first to Los Angeles, then Seattle and Toronto – the couples were busy raising their own families and it proved difficult to stay in touch more than a phone call every now and then updating each other on the latest in everyone’s lives.Then came a life-changing call last April from Marchese. The Zerillis were in Canada on Marathon Monday to finish packing up their home in Toronto since they had moved back to Massachusetts in January. The cable was already disconnected, so they had no Internet or television to tell them what was going on in Boston. The Zerillis did not know how bad it was until Monday night, when they received a call from Marchese telling them Martin was killed and his younger sister Jane lost her leg.“Our initial response was how soon we could do something for them,” Zerilli said. “We didn’t want to bother Bill and Denise but we knew the Marcheses were helping the Richard family with their children. They were in the hospital with them. We were just saying ‘OK, we’re going to be home in two days. Can we watch your kids? What can we do for you so you can help support them?’”

  • (April 16) Today's Top Headines - NATO: Our troops will fend off Russia

    NATO vowed Wednesday to toughen its military presence in Eastern Europe in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine.“We will have more planes in the air, more ships on the water and more readiness on the land,” Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters in Brussels. “We will start to implement these measures straight away.”Ukraine has begun to confront pro-Russian militants in its eastern cities, and Russia has amassed an estimated 40,000 troops along its border with Ukraine. The Ukrainian prime minister said Wednesday that Russia is building a “new Berlin Wall.”Outside analysts say that Russia is trying to destabilize eastern Ukraine, just as it did with the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. Russian troops took control of Crimea last month, claiming to protect ethnic Russians there, before Russia formally annexed the peninsula.NATO said that it will fly more policing missions over the Baltic region, put ships in the Baltic Sea “as required” and step up its training for NATO-allied military.Ukraine is not a NATO member, but the former Soviet republics of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are. They have asked NATO for additional protections because they fear Russian aggression.

  • (April 16) Today's Top Headlines - The top 10 stories of the day

    1. Ferry sinks off South Korean coastAt least four people died and 295 were missing Wednesday after a South Korean passenger ferry carrying 450 people capsized and sank off the country's south coast. About 320 of the people on board were high-school students traveling with teachers to the resort island of Jeju. Search vessels and helicopters hurried to the scene to pluck people from the stricken ship. Authorities said they could not immediately determine what went wrong. [CNN, The Guardian]………………………………………………………………………………2. Boston Marathon finish line evacuated over bomb scarePolice evacuated the finish line of next week's Boston Marathon on Tuesday, the anniversary of the bombing at the race's finish last year, when a man chanting "Boston strong!" dropped a black backpack on the street. Police detained him and detonated the backpack, along with another unattended bag, as a precaution. The suspect told police his bag contained a rice cooker. The incident came after ceremonies honored the victims of the 2013 attack. [Daily News]………………………………………………………………………………

  • Country Thunder 2014 wrap-up

    After about 200,000 people showed up to Country Thunder in Florence this year, it’s baffling to consider the type of numbers next year could bring.Having grown each year since its inception, the four-day country music festival not only saw some record-breaking statistics this year, but also continued to attract some of the biggest names in country music to include headliners Thompson Square, The Band Perry, Miranda Lambert, and Jason Aldean.Known for its friendly, social atmosphere in which miles upon miles of recreational vehicles and campers line the barren farm fields outlying the stage, the festival this year ran from April 10-13, giving country fans more than their fair share of hits to choose from.Some fans were even lucky enough to meet the stars in person as they wandered Crazy Coyote, one of several campsites on location, which has become known for a rowdy, fun crowd.“I love this kind of stuff,” said Keifer Thompson of the duo Thompson Square. “We got to go out and visit some of the crazy coyotes, and it just reminded me of home.”“It’s like the party of the year,” added his wife and musical partner, Shawna.

  • SAACA’s Cocktails and Classics

    The Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance hosted the third-annual Cocktails and Classics event at the Tucson Mall on April 11. Above, guests enjoy food provided by Olive Garden while waiting for the fashion show to begin. At right, dance classes were offered to end the night’s festivities.This year’s event also benefitted the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

  • ‘Draft Day’ a mid-to-late second round pick

    The comparisons between this newly released “Draft Day” film and the successful 1996 Tom Cruise football comedy-drama ‘Jerry Maguire’ is both compelling and natural.  Both films take viewers behind-the-scenes to accurately portray life in the National Football League (NFL); “Jerry Maguire” from the cold-hearted sports agent perspective and now “Draft Day,” depicting NFL war rooms evaluating talent prior to selection time.  In “Draft Day”, Kevin Costner plays Browns’ General Manager Sonny Weaver, who must make the most of his team’s draft selections to secure his job and attempt to bring NFL respectability back to Cleveland. For “Draft Day”, the movie’s offense is centered very effectively on the personalities of the young athletes and the background into what makes each player’s stock either rise or plummet in the draft order-sometimes even within minutes.  Costner adequately manages to bring authenticity to his GM Weaver’s gig, highlighted by his attempts to appease the football faithful in arguably the league’s most win-deprived location; the Cleveland owner (played brilliantly by Frank Langella), the hardcore Browns’ fan base, Weaver’s family, and even Costner’s girlfriend (portrayed by Jennifer Garner) all desperately crave a return to winning.  “Draft Day”, like John Madden using his Telestrator on Sunday afternoons, successfully illustrates the challenges every NFL team must deal with on their most important non-game, day of the year.  That was achieved with the massive support from the NFL and numerous cameo appearances by football insiders; both of which teamed up to bring authenticity and credibility to this story’s playbook.The fumbles in “Draft Day” include its penchant to bring romance into a full-fledged, dominating football story.  “Jerry Maguire” used the NFL only to provide downfield blocking for Tom Cruise’s sports agent, allowing him to tackle romance.  However, Costner’s romance in “Draft Day” doesn’t get past the line of scrimmage in importance, or need.  In fact, Sonny Weaver’s fondness for Garner’s salary cap character, Ali, is a distraction throughout the film and completely unnecessary.  Garner more than holds her own in the movie and within the confining office spaces of the Browns’ facility.  Another miscue in this film is the poor casting of Denis Leary as the hapless Cleveland head coach.  Leary is unconvincing and all his labored mannerisms skirt the sideline towards over-acting and ineptness. Despite a few dropped passes, “Draft Day” is a very watchable and entertaining sports movie.  The extensive strides the film takes to gain NFL buy-in and support is superb and will please almost all diehard Sunday football fans.  The NFL’s vast assistance combined with the numerous cameo appearances from football insiders brought believability to the movie, while at the same time, a feeling that you’re actually evaluating on-field talent.  That look and feel of being inside an NFL team headquarters transforms this film into a potential late first-round pick.  Unfortunately, a love story is forced upon viewers and into the “Draft Day” coverage, causing a turnover just as the Cleveland Browns are attempting to score on future football plans.  This ill-advised relationship between Costner and Garner drops this film into a mid-to-late second round selection at best.  Although no “Jerry Maguire”, this movie does get into the end zone enough to keep viewers excited about the upcoming season.       Grade: B-

  • CDO spirit line makes its presence known at national competition

    Ending her six years of coaching on a bittersweet note, Breland Atkinson, felt nothing but pride as her pom line took second place at the USA Nationals Spirit Competition in Anaheim, Calif.The Canyon Del Oro (CDO) High School pom line, junior varsity and varsity cheer teams, which consist of 40 girls, all headed to California, March 27-30, to compete in the national competition. The three teams qualified for nationals after placing high enough scores in their regional performances back in November. This is the first time that all three teams have competed together at this competition. “The most impressive thing is that we were united as a team and also encouraging each other and as a team we had great sportsmanship,” said Breland Atkinson, head coach over the three teams. “It shows that the values of the program we created come outside of the floor and outside of practice and that what we’re doing is working.”The pom line ended up placing for the first time by coming in second in the competition. The JV and varsity cheer teams didn’t place, but represented their school well through their cheer stunts and dance routines. The pom line competed against six other schools and the cheer teams competed against more than 20 schools from across the country.“The thing I admire the most about the girls is that they have the mental fortitude to keep going and keep persevering and keep working at their skills,” said Atkinson, who added that that is a mentality she has seen all season from her teams. “Over time, that has made us competitive with some of the California teams and it’s really put the CDO spirit line on the map.”For co-captain of the pom line, Amelia Gotobed, placing second was the perfect way to end her senior year.

  • High School key match-ups highlight playoff push

    The week is headlined by one of the games of the year in prep softball as No. 3 Ironwood Ridge and No. 6 Canyon Del Oro (CDO) meet on the diamond. While both are likely to qualify for state, the winner will climb in the rankings with an eye on the top-four seed and two home games to start the playoffs. Not to be outdone, boys and girls tennis will see two of the most anticipated matches of the year on Thursday. In boys tennis, No. 1 ranked Catalina Foothills travels to meet sixth-ranked Ironwood Ridge.  Canyon Del OroThe CDO softball team carries a nine-game winning streak into the week and are well on their way to qualifying for state. They begin the week ranked sixth in the state in Division II after sweeping Vista Grande, Sunnyside and Mountain View last week. In addition to the Nighthawks, the Dorados also get a struggling Rincon squad that has just one regular-season win. 

  • Tigers sweep Dorados

    The Marana boys volleyball team beat CDO 3-0 on Tuesday night, winning their fifth match in six tries.The Tigers came out strong, winning the first set 25-14 and setting the tone. The second set was more difficult, but Marana made enough plays down the stretch to edge the Dorados 25-21 and then clinched the match with a 25-17 third set win.Earnest Jones and Jake Oldham each had nine kills for the Tigers and Jones added six blocks. Dallin Miller had 10 digs, while Chandler Brown had 25 assists and a team best three aces.Thomas Koppy had 15 assists in a losing effort.The Tigers improved to 7-4 and were ranked No. 21 in the poll released on Wednesday. CDO fell to 3-8 in regular season games.Mountain View fell to host Pueblo 3-0 on Tuesday. They dropped the first two sets 25-15 and were finished off when they fell to the Warriors 25-21 in the third set. The loss puts the Mountain Lions under .500 in regular season games at 3-4.

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Country Thunder Day 4

Country Thunder Day 4

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