The Explorer: Marana


Recent Headlines

  • Sen. McCain hosts Town Hall with Raytheon employees

    Ten years would have been too long to wait for a replacement to the Tomahawk cruise missile if the Department of Defense’s proposed $82 million cut to the missile system hadn’t been reversed by Congress, said Sen. John McCain.At a town hall meeting Aug. 19 with Raytheon Missile Systems employees, Arizona’s senior senator said the cut would have been to “probably the best and most-proven missile system ever.” McCain also spoke in support of a modernization program for the Tomahawk that would make the weapon threat-relevant through about 2040.Also in positive news for the local aerospace industry, Congress passed an additional $225 million for the Iron Dome missile, co-produced by Raytheon and Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.“Iron Dome… has had the most dramatic effect on Israel’s ability to defend itself. Think of what would have happened in Israel if they did not have that capability,” McCain said. “Which is also a continued argument for the United States to have strong and robust missile defense capabilities as well.”Among other topics in McCain’s wide-ranging talk:Radical Islamic extremism: McCain said we live in threatening times, namely due to the rise of Islam extremism.

  • Marana councilmembers violate open meeting law

    Two Marana councilmembers will not face disciplinary action after violating an open meeting law.A few weeks ago, a councilmember sent out an email to three other councilmembers regarding the Marana River Heritage Park. The email proposed legal action. It is an open meeting law violation if a quorum discusses public business when not in a public forum. According to A.R.S.§38-431.01: All meetings of any public body shall be public meetings and all persons so desiring shall be permitted to attend and listen to the deliberations and proceedings. All legal action of public bodies shall occur during a public meeting.“There was no decision made, but the email did propose that legal action be taken,” said Jane Fairall, town attorney of Marana. “That is where the violation occurred.”A few recipients of the email brought it to the town manager and an outside attorney was hired to investigate the violation. No disciplinary action will be taken. Instead, the violation will be remedied at a September council meeting. The meeting will be open to the public and will discuss what happened and who was involved. “In general, under an open meeting law violation you can ratify the decision or remove the violation by having a full discussion in an open meeting that has been notified to the public,” said Fairall. “There is nothing that the town can do, but remedy the violation.”Though this does not remedy the violation, Town Manager Gilbert Davidson says that the town is working with the council to provide additional training about open meeting laws and discussions in a public forum. 

  • Marana expecting growth in population, employment and income

    Even though the recession took a hard hit to cities throughout Arizona, residents can remain hopeful and optimistic – especially those in the town of Marana.Consumer advocacy website, NerdWallet, recently released a study about the economic improvements to the state of Arizona from 2009 to 2012. Marana was one of a many in Arizona areas that were highlighted in the areas of income, employment and population growth. According to the study, the driving force to create a sustainable and growing economy is the people.In 2010, Arizona’s population was at about 6.3 million and within the last year has grown to about 6.6 million. The town of Marana has contributed to the state’s growth through their work force population growth of 7.6 percent, from 2009 to 2012, and an employment growth of 18.1 percent. From 2010 to now the population has increased from about 35,000 residents to 40,000. Curt Woody, economic development and strategic initiatives manager, recognizes the mayor and council and supportive residents for the town’s growth.“The attraction to Marana is that it’s a family-oriented community that people feel comfortable in and are proud of their community. It’s a business-supportive environment and a safe place to live,” said Woody. “You don’t have this type of positive feeling of a community unless the mayor and council have the vision to move the community forward.”Moving forward is just what the town of Marana is doing. Public information officer, Rodney Campbell says the growth is also due to the picking up of big projects that were put on hold when the recession hit.

  • Marana 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.

  • 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.

  • Once ill himself, med student hopes to heal others

    Tim Cheves has used his own medical issue to motivate him. Cheves, who battled chronic fatigue and immunodeficiency syndrome as well as other issues, is now hoping to help others as a doctor. It started in his youth. Cheves suffered severe panic attacks and anxiety that often times prevented him from having a normal childhood. As he got older those subsided, but he battled depression, but for most of the time he kept it hidden, trying to be the life of the party when the truth was 180 degrees different. Cheves graduated from Mountain View in 2007, then moved on to the University of Arizona. It was at the UofA where he started feeling bad and it quickly escalated. He got worse and worse over the course of six years. Soon he had tumors on his thyroid, his liver was failing and after 12 kidney stones he quit counting. “After every three words I would have to stop and take a breath,” Cheves admitted. “Horrible joint and muscle pain, but could not take pain medication due to my liver. I would sleep 14 hours a day and I would wake up feeling like I ran five marathons.”

  • AIA looking into Mountain View allegations

    Whenever a high school sports program gets an influx of transfers it raises red flags. That appears to be the case with the Mountain View football program. The school is being investigated for a potential recruiting violation and the Arizona Interscholastic Association Executive Board will be briefed during their meeting on Monday.“The board will get a brief summary of progress to date in Executive Session,” said Chuck Schmidt, the AIA associate executive director. The briefing will be in the executive session due to privacy issues because student or students’ names “will be discussed.”The investigation has been ongoing for about a month and both Marana Unified School District and Tucson Unified School District have been contacted by AIA.“I have been very impressed with the cooperation between all involved,” Schmidt noted. AIA rules state that “No school administrator, athletic coach or employee of a high school district shall engage in recruitment either by direct contact with a student or indirectly through parents, legal guardians, common school employees, directors of summer athletic programs or other persons who are in a position to influence the student’s choice of a school.”Recruitment is defined by the AIA as “the act of influencing a student to enroll in a school or to transfer from one school to another in order that the student may participate in interscholastic athletics.”

  • 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.”

  • Marana Farm Co-op provides education, opportunities and good food

    The Marana Farm Co-op has a number of goals. The main objective is sustainable agriculture and healthy eating, but everything from saving money to education is also behind what the Co-op tries to do. Dan Arnold began the Co-op when he purchased about 26 acres of land on Postvale Road near I-10. His little farm grows a number of crops, is home to a wide variety of animals and also has the Co-op’s store. The store, which is open seven days a week, is housed in an old greenhouse and gives folks a chance to buy fresh produce, even if there is not a farmers market going on that day. On Saturdays the farm hosts a small farmers market, while some of the other 30 members of the Co-op take the goods to other farmers markets around Southern Arizona. “I used to go to farmers markets and see 10 other farmers from Marana,” explained Arnold. “That’s 10 tables and 10 rental fees. Now one person takes goods from a variety of farmers and we save money. Plus, it means more of us can stay on our farms. It is tough to be away from the farm for a whole day.”There are about 30 members of the co-op, and while no one is forced to grow any specific crops, everyone knows what the other farmers are growing and it cuts down on duplication and offers customers a wider choice.“The main objective is sustainable agriculture and healthy eating,” said Arnold. “We want to educate people about locally grown produce.”

  • Marana Police Beat - Week of Aug. 20

    Marana Police DepartmentOn Friday, Aug. 8, at 2:36 p.m., Marana police responded to a call about a theft at the Sportspark at 6901 N. Casa Grande Highway. The caller said that her purse, along with $40 in cash and three different credit cards, were stolen from her car. Her friend’s $400 tablet was stolen as well. The passenger window was smashed. Replacing the window would cost about $500.On Monday, Aug. 4, at 5:46 p.m., Marana police responded to a call about a past theft at the LA Fitness on Business Park Drive. The caller said he received a call from his bank asking if he had bought two Greyhound tickets for a total of $469. The caller said he didn’t and realized he left his wallet in the car while at the gym. He returned to his car and found the wallet missing from his gym bag. Nothing else was taken from the gym bag. His driver’s license debit/credit cards, school ID and insurance cards were in the wallet. On Sunday, Aug. 3, at 9:40 a.m., Marana police responded to a call about a house being egged at the 1200 block of North Tare Lane. The officer found 12 different places that eggs hit the house. The officer advised that the caller talk to his two boys to see if they did it. The caller said this is the second time that his house has been egged.On Saturday, Aug. 2, at 8:44 p.m., Marana police responded to a call about a broken window at the 3500 block of West Orange Grove Road. The officer saw a large hole in the sliding glass door and glass shattered around the area. The woman who lived at the apartment said her, her son and daughter-in-law were watching TV when they heard the glass shatter. No one was hurt. The officer found a rock by the sliding glass door. On Friday, Aug. 1, at 8:39 p.m., Marana police responded to the Walmart at 8280 N. Cortaro Road in response to a shoplifter. The caller said he saw two men that were acting suspiciously. He saw them put spray paint cans into their shopping cart. The two passed the registers without purchasing the spray paint. The caller said he stopped them and one of the men took off while the other stayed. The man who took off eventually came back to the store after hearing that the officer had his license plate number. Both were cited with shoplifting and then released. The men were about to shoplift 24 spray paint cans that totaled at $90.48.

  • Learning police work from the Marana experts

    If you are a Marana resident or work or own a business in the town and have an interest in how policing gets done within the town limits, then you might consider signing up for the Marana Police Department’s (MPD) Citizens Police Academy.The 12-week academy won’t make you an instant cop, but it will give you a better understanding of what it takes to work in law enforcement in Marana. The Academy is designed to give participants an up-close and personal look at law enforcement operations as practiced within the town.Who is eligible? If you are at least 18 years old, don’t have a prior felony arrest and live, work or do business in Marana, you are on the way to getting in. You also can’t have any misdemeanor arrests within one year of your application and you must complete an application form at Police Department Sergeant Steven Johnson, who’s in charge of the Citizens Police Academy, as well as several other MPD areas such as emergency management, homeland security and SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics)/bomb squad, among others, said, “We expect participants to have an interest in the police department and what we do, have an open mind, and consider how they can help us as well as how we can help them.”The next MPD Citizens Police Academy runs from Sept. 3 through Nov.19, meeting Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at the Northwest Fire District Training Center at 5125 W. Camino De Fuego in Marana (a quarter mile west of Interstate 10 on the north side of Ina Road). The program is free.

  • Marana council returns from summer break

    The Marana Town Council met on Aug. 5 for the first time since taking a summer break in July, hosting a 40-minute session to discuss a variety of topics.The meeting opened with comments from the public and David Morales addressed the council. The former council member took his allotted time to encourage the council to get excited about the veterans cemetery that is due to open by the end of the year. Councilwoman Roxanne Ziegler echoed those sentiments. “There will be a lot of eyes on Marana,” Ziegler said. “It will really put Marana on the map statewide. There are a lot of veterans out there.”Both Morales and Ziegler felt the cemetery would not only be a way to put a positive focus on the area, but would also be good for area businesses. The council unanimously approved the consent agenda, which included nine items, including the reappointment of Charles Davies as Marana Town Magistrate, authorizing the mayor to provide School Resource Officers to support the Marana School Safety Program and approve the final play for John Deere Marana. 

  • Marana police see increase in scam calls

    The Marana Police Department has seen a recent increase in a phone scam involving a person claiming to be a police officer who tells citizens they have failed to pay a traffic fine.The citizen is told the following:They were caught speeding by a traffic enforcement camera and failed to appear for their scheduled court date.  Court fines are owed for the cost of the speeding ticket and for court related late fees.  If they fail to pay immediately, their driver’s license will be suspended and a warrant will be issued for their arrest.  To pay the fine, they need to put the full amount they owe on a “Green Dot” prepaid Visa or MasterCard and call the “police officer” back and provide him the digits from the card.  

  • Many proposed bond projects could benefit Marana

    The Pima County Bond Advisory Committee has wrapped up five months of intensive review of hundreds of proposed projects for a possible 2015 bond election package.After a summer break, the committee will resume in September and start the process of deciding which projects will be recommended to the Board of Supervisors for inclusion in next year’s proposed bond election.There are more than a dozen projects proposed in and near Marana. The Bond Advisory Committee will meet twice a month through February before submitting the proposed project list.These meetings, as well as the Board of Supervisor’s meeting early next year where it will decide whether to have the election and which projects will be placed before voters, is your opportunity to express support for all or some of these projects. It’s been 10 years since a big bond package like this went before voters and there is a lot of pent up demand in the region for more parks, more libraries, more recreation centers, more cultural amenities, new government facilities for public health and law enforcement and more flood control.Pima County is unique in the state in the way it conducts its bond elections. In other counties, each individual government decides what its needs are and then each holds its own bond election.

  • Authors with local ties write books for children and parents

    Two authors with local ties have written books with themes from both sides of the parent-child dynamic. Marana resident Lori Alexander will have her first children’s book, “Backhoe Joe” published this fall and the road construction in the town was an inspiration. Alexander’s son Max was fascinated with big trucks and other construction equipment, so she often found herself looking at a lot of construction sites. “I found myself constantly stuck in traffic, as we sought out road-widening projects so he could see the machines in action,” Alexander said. “Some days, I wished my son had been a dinosaur fanatic instead. But in the end, his love of construction inspired Backhoe Joe, as we spent many hours together imaging what it would be like to have a backhoe of our very own.”The book, a picture book for children that comes out in mid September, is about a named Nolan, who finds a “stray” backhoe in the street. He names him Joe and can’t wait to adopt him. “Backhoe Joe is not very well behaved,” explained Alexander. “He revs at the mailman. He digs in garbage. As Nolan tries to train his new pet, he learns that this backhoe might already have a home.”While writing a 40-page children’s book may seem easy, it is actually a very lengthy process. Alexander’s initial story went through a number of re-writes. She turned to  the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) for guidance and also went to writing classes and critique groups. It wasn’t until she found an agent that things started to really get moving. 

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