The Explorer: Oro Valley

Oro Valley

Recent Headlines

  • Oro Valley Mayoral candidates differ on leadership style

    If there’s one thing that Satish Hiremath and Patrick Straney agree on, it’s that the position as Oro Valley’s top government official is one worth having. That’s not to say they don’t agree on other issues – they’ve publicly identified that leadership skills are of utmost importance in being elected as mayor, that parks and recreation are important for Oro Valley’s changing demographic, that the town’s culture and history needs continued attention and development, and that the town’s roads, public safety, and natural beauty are some of the elements that make Oro Valley a great place to live. That said, political figures are elected not because of their similarities, but because of their differences.After two public forums and multiple interviews, here are a few highlights where incumbent Satish Hiremath and candidate Patrick Straney say they differ from one another.Experience Hiremath says, “I have business experience at a more comprehensive level as the long-time owner of a business in this town.”

  • Cost of Zinkin’s trip paid for

    Looking to continue being more fiscally responsible, Oro Valley Councilman Mike Zinkin recently got his trip to the 2014 Leadership Summit paid for.In the notification, Zinkin was told a scholarship the town had applied for was not selected this year, but impressed with his dedication to public service and commitment to growing in the work he is doing for the Oro Valley community, the cost of the trip would be paid for.The trip was paid for by the National League of Cities University. Besides paying the airline fees, and for the conference, the league also offered a 50 percent discount to register.Zinkin estimated the value of the contribution from the National League of Cities University to save the town about $1,000.Zinkin will be attending the annual conference this week in California. Zinkin said he expects to learn a lot during the national three-day event.The principal mission of the Leadership Fellows program is to support the National League of Cities (NLC) in its efforts to promote excellence and innovation in the arena of local government leadership development and local government leadership education.

  • Oro Valley Police Beat - Week of Aug. 13

    Oro Valley Police DepartmentOn Saturday, July 26, at about 9:59 p.m., Oro Valley police responded to a report of an underage party taking place at 10000 N. Oracle Road, the Hilton El Conquistador. The caller said there were about 80 juveniles at the party. Police formed a perimeter around the suite where the party was taking place and then announced themselves. Police saw beer cans, bottles of alcohol and could smell burnt marijuana. All people at the party were between the ages of 16 and 18. Of the ones still present,  one person was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. One was cited for minor in possession of alcohol and three were cited with contributing to the delinquency of a minor for renting the room and providing the alcohol. The juveniles’ parents were called to pick them up and all were told they would be charged with trespassing if they returned to any Hilton Hotels. On Thursday, July 24, at 10:27 a.m., Oro Valley police responded to a theft from a car on the 7700 block of North Oracle Road. The victim told police that two bales of hay were stolen from the back of her pickup truck. She told police she had been in a job interview at 10 a.m. and the theft happened during that time. The bales were unsecured in the open bed of the truck and valued at $14 per bale.  On Tuesday, July 22, at 11:54 a.m., Oro Valley police responded to a domestic violence call on the 8000 block of North Oracle Road. The caller told police that her husband was destroying her car. Before police arrived, the man took his wife’s credit card and left on foot. She told police that while she was sitting in a car with him, he began banging on the dashboard and window when she refused to give him some money. He then grabbed her keys and bankcards. She grabbed the keys and then got out of the car. As she passed the front passenger door, which was where the husband was sitting, he kicked open the door which struck her in the left leg. The husband was found near Magee and Paseo del Norte. He was arrested for domestic violence assault/ criminal damage and theft.

  • Fake beard bandit robs Oro Valley Wells Fargo

    Around 5:18 p.m. on Aug. 12, the Oro Valley Police Department was dispatched to a robbery at the Wells Fargo bank located at the intersection of Oracle and First Avenue.A tall African-American male sporting a black long sleeve sweatshirt with a Bob Marley logo and dark gloves walked in to the bank with a fake beard disguise and demanded that the teller hand over the money.The man did not display a weapon but implied that he had one, according to Oro Valley Police Department spokesperson Kara Riley.After taking an undisclosed amount of money, he then fled in a southwestern direction on foot towards the nearby Target store.It is believed the man was in the area for quite sometime prior to the bank robbery.The man is described as:

  • Beaver’s Band Box suspect sentenced to 14 years in prison

    Since August 2012, the Oro Valley Police Department (OVPD) Criminal Investigations Unit, along with the Tucson Airport Authority Police Department (TAAPD), has been working on a fraud case involving Brittney Leigh Underwood. The investigation revealed there were more than 40 people victimized by Underwood and more than $85,000 dollars fraudulently charged by her. On August 11, 2014, Underwood accepted a plea agreement and was sentenced to 14 years in prison for the following charges: aggravated taking identity of another, fraud schemes and forgery. On July 20, 2012, the Oro Valley Police Department began a fraud investigation involving one victim. The investigation lead to a suspect who lived in the city of Tucson and a search warrant was conducted at the 10000 Block of East Speedway, where the suspect was located and a significant amount of evidentiary items were located indicating a large fraud operation was being conducted at this residence. Brittney Leigh Underwood (DOB 02/25/83), who uses an alias of Tiffany Bastien (DOB 03/02/87), appeared to be one of the leaders of this criminal syndicate and was arrested for multiple counts of fraud schemes and artifices, aggravated identity theft, identity theft and credit card theft.  She is currently confined in the Pima County Jail.During the investigation, Beavers Band Box and Egencia documents were recovered. Our Criminal Investigations Unit wants to ensure all victims are located.  If you are contacted by anyone claiming to represent Beavers Band Box or Egencia, do not provide them any information.  The Oro Valley Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in locating additional victims to this fraud. If you have any information or suspect you have been a victim, please contact Det. Z. Young at (520)-229-4943 or (520)-229-4900.

  • Oro Valley forum dives into issues

    Mayoral Race: A day before early ballots were mailed out to residents on July 31, the Oro Valley Town Council and Mayoral candidates participated in a debate with topics ranging from budget, policy, collaboration, businesses and the future of the town in front of a little more than 100 people.After opening statements, Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath and mayoral challenger Pat Straney took the stage to field questions from Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Dave Perry, and Tucson Local Media Editor Thelma Grimes.They were first asked if they wanted to see Oro Valley grow and, if so, where they wanted that growth to be.While Hiremath said growth within the town insinevitable because it is the type of location people want to live in, he said it is just a matter of finding the balance between all of the residents’ wants and needs, such as open space, infrastructure, or public safety.“It’s really finding that trick with respecting people who are already are here, and trying to provide what residents want,” Hiremath said.  “In addition to, trying to provide what future residents of our town are going to be looking for.”Straney said he would like to see both residential and business growth in line with the town’s General Plan and supports the views of what will continue to offer a community of excellence.

  • OV to become home of Children’s Museum satellite

    The Town of Oro Valley will soon be home to a satellite location of the Children’s Museum Tucson.Anticipated to open in spring of 2015, the new facility is still in the preliminary stages, but talks have come a long way since the idea was born in the early part of 2013. It was then, during a tour of the Children’s Museum Tucson headquarters downtown, that Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath inquired about the possibility of creating a satellite branch within the town.“It was a direct way to bring more arts and culture into Oro Valley, and therefore bring more tourism into Oro Valley,” said Hiremath. “Over the past few years, citizens have voiced that they want more and more recreational opportunities like this, so it seemed like a natural fit. When we learned they were thinking of expanding, we said why not expand into Oro Valley?”In addition to providing citizens with additional educational and recreational opportunities, the satellite location will bring additional sales tax revenue to the town, which is of particular importance given that Oro Valley does not implement a property tax.“Sales tax in and of itself is dicey because it’s cyclical, but like bringing Tohono Chul Park into the town, this satellite location will help stabilize that as much as possible,” he said.While an exact location has not yet been pinpointed, Michael Luria, executive director of the Children’s Museum, said he is seeking out a 3,000-square-foot space, adding that larger is an option, but smaller is unlikely.

  • Oro Valley agent recognized for outstanding volunteerism

    Allstate agency owner Maria Ventimiglia received the Agency Hands in the Community Award for her commitment to helping others. This award earned the Ironwood Ridge High School football department in Oro Valley, where Ventimiglia volunteers, a $1,000 grant from The Allstate Foundation.Allstate agents and employees have a proud history of putting their good hands to work in supporting Arizona communities, promoting volunteerism and providing financial resources to enable local organizations to help others. The Agency Hands in the Community Award celebrates the spirit of service.The Allstate Foundation awards more than $1 million every year to nonprofit organizations across the country in honor of dedicated Allstate agency owners who give back. To be eligible for nomination, Allstate agency owners must volunteer, mentor or lead a nonprofit of their choice.In 2012, The Allstate Foundation provided $367,685 to Arizona nonprofits that focus on one of three areas: safe and vital communities; tolerance, inclusion and diversity; and economic empowerment. Special focus is given to teen safe driving and building financial independence for domestic violence survivors.

  • Oro Valley Police Beat - Week of Aug. 6

    On Friday, July 18, at about 8:50 p.m., Oro Valley police responded to a report of someone ringing a doorbell twice and leaving on the 1000 block of Wes Squawbush Court. Police found a 15-year-old boy who admitted to ringing the doorbell. He said that he was trying to get his girlfriend to come to the door and let him in. He said he would have called, but his mother “smashed” his phone during an argument. Police took the boy home to find out what caused him to leave. Police learned the boy had lied to his parents about completing homework and also about parents being present while he was at his girlfriend’s house. The mother broke the phone, because it was hers, for the lying. The boy pushed his mother and left to go back to his girlfriend’s house. Police told the parents there was probable cause to arrest their son for disorderly conduct.  To boy was informed of the charge and released to his parents.On Thursday, July 17, at about 1:57 p.m., Oro Valley police responded to an unknown problem on the 8000 block of North Oracle Road. Police were told a man was seen hitting a woman while they were both in a car together. The woman then was seen walking down Oracle Road. When police found the woman, she was only wearing a tank top. Police sat her in the back of a police car and got her an emergency blanket. At this point, the woman said that had rights and tried to leave. While trying to detain her, she began resisting. Soon after she was placed in handcuffs, she stopped yelling and swearing. Police also found the man involved with the incident. He had scratches on his chest. He said he did hit the woman, but in self-defense. The woman told police they were having any argument, which turned into “rough sex.” She said that is why she was wearing only a tank top. Both were arrested for domestic violence/ assault. Both were booked into the Pima County Adult Detention Center.On Wednesday, July 16, at about 6:32 a.m., Oro Valley police responded to a report of an incident of suspicious activity on the 1000 block of West Antelope Creek Way. The victim said that his car had been egged during the night. Police noticed dried egg on the passenger window.On Monday, July 14, at about 6:55 a.m., Oro Valley police responded to a complaint about criminal damage on the 10000 block of North Hacienda Hermosa Drive. The victim told police eight cacti plants in her backyard had various limbs broken off. The damage happened during the night and could have been caused by animals as the limbs were broken off rather than cut. Some of the flowers from the cacti limbs appeared to have been eaten as well. The damage was estimated at about $100.(Editor’s Note: For more police reports, go to and click “Police and Crime” under the Features tab.)

  • Oro Valley’s Art at the Ranch

    For two sessions from June through July, Oro Valley held its Art at the Ranch recreational program where kids explored all forms of art at the Steam Pump Ranch.The program educated kids about culture and history through culinary arts, clay, painting, creative play, and drama. 

  • OV mayor requests investigation of fellow councilman

    An investigation will likely be under way soon to determine whether or not Oro Valley Councilman Brendan Burns can continue to serve while living outside the town boundaries. On July 24, a new state law went into effect, stating, “If a member of the council, at any time during the member’s term of office, ceases to be a qualified elector of the city or town or ceases to reside in the city or town, the council seat held by the member is deemed vacant. The council seat shall be filled in the same manner as any vacancy on the council. On request, the county attorney for the county in which the city or town is located shall investigate and determine whether a vacancy exists pursuant to this subsection.”Burns moved out of his Oro Valley home and town limits in January after he and his wife separated. He currently resides in Pima County. On July 11, Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath submitted a formal request to the Pima County Attorney’s Office to investigate the matter. Pima County Chief Civil Deputy Attorney Chris Straub said the investigation is still in the preliminary stages given the newness of the law and how it could impact Burns.“A lot of factors go into a question of residency,” said Straub. “We need to analyze this new law as to whether it does anything to change the law that already generally exists about an office being deemed vacant when one no longer resides in the political boundary. These are things we will need to explore as we go forward.”

  • New teachers struggle with certification process

    New-to-Arizona teachers can be taken aback if they’re expecting a seamless transition when transferring their licenses to start a new professional chapter here.There’s a lot to it, explains Stephanie Griffin, human resources director for Catalina Foothills School District. For example:Arizona teachers need additional classroom training in Structured English Immersion, along with college coursework in both the U.S. and Arizona constitutions. And they need an Arizona fingerprint clearance, which costs $67 just for the card— plus the charge to actually have the prints taken. The Arizona Department of Education may also require additional assessments depending on the teacher’s previous home state or length of service.Some requirements must be met within the first year, others within three years— but the monetary costs don’t diminish, Griffin said. These are state requirements, not specific to Catalina Foothills or any other district. Because Catalina Foothills is relatively small – it has eight schools – Griffin has the time to carefully explain the process, which may help alleviate some concerns, she said.

  • CDO Little League 10-11 All-Stars win state championship

    The CDO Little League 10-11 Baseball All-Stars won the state championship last week, beating Ahwatukee 16-11. CDO jumped out to a 4-0 lead, thanks in part to a Dominic Felix two-run home run in the second inning, but was up just 4-2 heading into the pivotal third inning. After plating two in the first, host CDO added two more in the second. Konnor Hopton drew a lead-off walk and after back-to-back strike outs Felix hit a towering shot to right field that just got over the fielder’s glove and the fence. Ahwatukee came back in the bottom of the second with a Dylan McKee leadoff home run and an RBI double by T.J. Oster that plated Dean Bittner.CDO stormed back and used a seven-run third inning to push the lead to nine. The long ball was again a factor. Dante Schindler led off the inning with a rocket to left field and two batters later Mac Kochanski added a two-run shot. 

  • Near-drowning in Oro Valley, water safety encouraged by officials

    A 16-month old child was still hospitalized late last week after a near-drowning incident that took place in Oro Valley on July 22. According to a release sent out by the Oro Valley Police Department, the child’s mother discovered the boy at the bottom of the pool, and after pulling him from the water, began CPR while the Golder Ranch Fire Department was en route. Upon arrival, Golder Ranch responders continued resuscitation efforts and transported the child to University Medical Center. Details about how the child ended up in the pool are still unclear.As August (Drowning Awareness Month) approaches, local fire departments are reminding the public of water safety tips that can help save a life.First and foremost is proper supervision.

  • OV Candidate Forum set for July 30

    Candidates for Oro Valley mayor and town council have agreed to participate in a forum Wednesday, July 30, at the Oro Valley Church of the Nazarene, 500 W. Calle Concordia.The public is welcome to attend the free event, presented by the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce. Doors open at 5 p.m., giving guests one hour to meet casually with the candidates. The question-and-answer portion runs from 6 to 8 p.m. in the church’s sanctuary.Incumbent Mayor Satish Hiremath and challenger Pat Straney are first on stage, answering questions from Chamber President / CEO Dave Perry and Thelma Grimes, editor of The Explorer and Inside Tucson Business.Following the mayoral debate, town council candidates Don Bristow, and incumbent council members Joe Hornat, Mary Snider and Vice Mayor Lou Waters field questions.There will be no questions from the audience. Grimes is soliciting questions from Explorer readers, and some of those may be asked during the evening. A brief presentation on the home rule question is also planned.Residents who want to submit questions can email them to Thelma Grimes  at

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