The Explorer: Oro Valley

Oro Valley

Recent Headlines

  • 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. 

  • OV Councilman faces two felony charges after argument with wife

    Oro Valley councilman Brendan Burns’ troubles have continued after being indicted on charges of first-degree burglary and disorderly conduct/domestic violence, both felonies that could carry prison time if he is convicted.Burns allegedly committed the crimes after an argument with his estranged wife on May 20. However, the incident went unreported until May 29 when Burns’ wife called police related to another matter in which she believes Burns keyed her car.According to police records, it was at that time Burns’ wife told officers that on May 20, Burns showed up at her house unannounced, violating the conditions of a court-issued restraining order that allows him visitation of the couples’ three children during certain days and times.The two became involved in an argument, which escalated to Burns at one point brandishing a kitchen butcher knife and threatening to harm himself.After learning of the incident, Oro Valley police subsequently forwarded the case information to the Pima County Attorney’s Office. On July 10, a grand jury found sufficient evidence to indict Burns on counts of burglary and disorderly conduct/domestic violence.Records do not indicate specifically what Burns burglarized, citing only that he “committed burglary in the first degree of a residential structure” while in possession of a dangerous instrument.

  • Oro Valley candidates attend first forum

    Covering all aspects of how the town operates and on topics where debate has sparked in the past, the candidates for the Oro Valley mayor’s seat and the three available council seats participated in the first public forum on July 9.The Oro Valley Library, which seats up to 90, was standing room only, with residents filling the parameter and hallway of the building for the two-hour event where Mayor Satish Hiremath and challenger Pat Straney were in attendance along with council challenger Don Bristow, who is looking to be elected into one of the available council seats held by incumbents Joe Hornat, Mary Snider and Vice Mayor Lou Waters.The incumbents and challengers were asked how they felt about the council having a public perception of the town not working together in a collaborative and respectful manner. Hiremath and fellow incumbents felt they are working together. Though the council often votes 7-0, a few issues like the police department and its budget often divide the council 4-3.Bristow and Straney disagreed and felt there was discord.“There is discord,” Bristow said. “You can’t have three councilmembers very active in trying to recall another one in the papers, out in the street, and not have discord. You’re breaking the relationship of the people that way, it never will really heal.”Bristow added that a council should not “attack” each other, rather, they should discuss the issues.

  • 2014 SRO funding approved

    As local districts prepare for the new school year, many are also making plans to have school resource officers on site thanks to $12 million in state funding approved by the School Safety Program Oversight Committee.Both the Marana and Amphitheater school districts will benefit from the added funding. Marana schools will have a high school resource officer, and a junior high school officer. Amphitheater High School was approved for one officer.Altogether, 137 schools statewide will get a school resource officer (SRO).School safety has become a national discussion with the increase of school shootings. There have been 75 school shootings since the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in December 2012.Oro Valley Police Chief Danny Sharp said he supports increasing SROs inside local schools. Even before the state funding was approved, the Oro Valley Police Department has provided an SRO at all schools located inside town limits, that includes Ironwood Ridge and Canyon Del Oro high schools.Sharp said he was in Portland Ore. after one of the most recent schools shootings where the suspect opened fire, killing one. Sharp said in the incident, it was the school’s SRO who took action to prevent more lives from being lost.

  • OV Councilman faces two felony charges after argument with wife

    Oro Valley councilman Brendan Burns’ troubles have continued after being indicted on charges of first-degree burglary and disorderly conduct/domestic violence, both felonies that could carry prison time if he is convicted.Burns allegedly committed the crimes after an argument with his estranged wife on May 20. However, the incident went unreported until May 29 when Burns’ wife called police related to another matter in which she believes Burns keyed her car.According to police records, it was at that time Burns’ wife told officers that on May 20, Burns showed up at her house unannounced, violating the conditions of a court-issued restraining order that allows him visitation of the couples’ three children during certain days and times.The two became involved in an argument, which escalated to Burns at one point brandishing a kitchen butcher knife and threatening to harm himself.After learning of the incident, Oro Valley police subsequently forwarded the case information to the Pima County Attorney’s Office. On July 10, a grand jury found sufficient evidence to indict Burns on counts of burglary and disorderly conduct/domestic violence.Records do not indicate specifically what Burns burglarized, citing only that he “committed burglary in the first degree of a residential structure” while in possession of a dangerous instrument.

  • Oro Valley Police Teen Academy

    The Oro Valley Police Department hosted a police academy for teens last week.

  • Oro Valley Candidate Forum

    A Candidate Forum for the upcoming Oro Valley Town Council Primary Election will be held in Sun City Oro Valley on Tuesday, July 22, at 1 p.m. in the auditorium at 1495 E Rancho Vistoso Blvd.Oro Valley residents are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to hear and ask questions of mayoral Candidates: Satish Hiremath and Pat Straney and council member candidates: Don Bristow, Joe Hornat, Mary Snider and Lou Waters. Be an informed voter.The event is sponsored by the SCOV Government Affairs Committee.

  • Town to host Naranja Park Master Plan update focus group meetings

    The Town of Oro Valley is currently conducting an update to the Naranja Park Master Plan.  The first plan was produced in 2002, and a Programming and Concept Design Report was completed in 2007.  Due to the changing demographics of the community, a different financial landscape, and the expressed needs of the residents, this Update process was approved in early 2014.  It is expected to be complete by the end of November.Since early June, the town’s parks and recreation department, along with its consultant, McGann & Associates, have asked residents their opinions on Naranja Park and on the parks in Oro Valley in general. Residents can comment during the “Put Me in Coach” event on Aug. 23. In addition, project info sheets and comment forms are available on the town’s website, http://www.orovalleyaz.gov/parksandrec.Members or representatives of user groups that regularly hold events, games, training, or practices in the Oro Valley Park system are encouraged to attend upcoming focus group meetings to discuss requests for the Update.Meetings were originally scheduled on July 10. However, interested residents can still participate by requesting a brief individual meeting by contacting Nancy Ellis at 229-5057, or email at nellis@orovalleyaz.gov.

  • Shop OV summer campaign concludes with a $500 grand prize

    During its “Shop Oro Valley” Summer Campaign from May 1 to July 1, Oro Valley shoppers spending $25 or more at an Oro Valley business were eligible to submit their receipts for a weekly raffle, sponsored by 18 Oro Valley businesses.  Thanks to the generosity of our participating businesses, the Town was able to award 48 prizes such as gift cards and certificates for free services.

Sandra Johnson, a 20 year resident and first time Shop Oro Valley Campaign participant, is the lucky winner of the $500 gift card basket. Vestar donated the grand prize, which features various gift cards for great shopping, dining and entertainment at Oro Valley Marketplace.

During the eight-week campaign, 975 entries were submitted. The receipts, valued at $62,276.38, represent goods and services from 116 Oro Valley businesses.   

Also during the summer campaign, shoppers who purchased a $100 OV Dollars gift card from the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce received a bonus $10 to spend!  The OV Dollars card program operates much like a regular gift card, but instead of only being able to use it at one retailer, shoppers can swipe their card at any of the participating businesses in Oro Valley. During the campaign, the Chamber sold 188 gift cards totaling $61,190 in sales, which are spent in the community.

“Sales tax is a major source of revenue for the town,” said Mayor Satish I. Hiremath.  “Shopping locally is a direct investment in our community to fund public safety and infrastructure.” The successful Shop Oro Valley Campaign is the result of a partnership with the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Explorer Newspaper.  For more information, contact Amanda Jacobs, economic development manager, at  229-4735 or ajacobs@orovalleyaz.gov.Participating businesses in the 2014 Shop OV Summer Campaign:

Alfonso Gourmet Olive Oil & Balsamics
All About Running and Walking
Arizona Beds Balanced Bowenwork
Blue Banana Frozen Yogurt
Brake Masters
Grain River Asian Bistro
Hiremath Family Dentistry
Interior Expressions
Koko Fit Club
La Bella A Consignment Boutique
Oro Valley Aquatic Center
Rubs Massage Studio
Saffron Indian Bistro
The Keg Steakhouse and  Bar
The Views Golf Club at Oro Valley
Vestar
Walmart Supercenter

  • Local officers endure "Ice Water Challenge" to raise money for charity

    A recent Internet theme and challenge among firefighters and police officers has been circulating to help raise money for charities. The challenge: have a bucket of ice water dumped on your head or pay $100 to a local charity. Local servants have been doing both.The challenge is initiated when one person “calls out” five other people and asks them to do the same - donate $100 or get doused.Oro Valley Police Department's Lt. Kara Riley was “called out” by Tucson Police Department’s Sgt. Chris Wildmer, Sgt. Pete Dugan, and officer Brandon Tatum in a similar video posted on the department’s Facebook page July 9.The officers also challenged Capt. Pacheco (TPD), Sam Salzwedel (KVOA 4), Lt. Wildblood (TPD), Capt. Baker (TFD PIO), Som Lisiaus (KOLD 13), Deputy Suitt (PCSO PIO), Deputy Rodriguez (PCSO PIO), Rikki Mitchell (KGUN 9). Rikki Mitchell from KGUN 9 news has agreed to do her challenge on live TV at 5 p.m.On July 10, Riley and Pacheco completed their challenge at the Oro Valley Aquatic Center.

  • Oro Valley town, police launch mobile applications

    Though she had never built a mobile application before, Oro Valley’s Lisa Gallardo volunteered to step up and learn how. In doing so, she kept the process in house, helping to keep costs low.Gallardo, the new media developer for the Town of Oro Valley, spoke up during a meeting where officials discussed developing a mobile app that would keep the public informed.“What we wanted was a real simple, basic app that targets our four main audiences, which is government, business, visitors, and residents,” Gallardo said. “And just provide an easy way to get to the most visited information.”Using analytical web traffic data, the town took the top searched and trafficked areas of its website and loaded that information into a user-friendly mobile app, which is set to be live on the Android and IOS platforms this month.The town’s website already converts its information to be mobile-friendly when someone accesses it on a tablet or a phone, which accounts for about 30 percent of the web traffic. Creating an app gives people within the community access to the top information without the need to be tethered to a cellphone carrier or Wi-Fi.Upon opening the app, people will have immediate access to council profiles, contact information, a directory of town staff, upcoming events, maps, what is new, and public safety.

  • Banner Health to acquire UA Health Network

    Phoenix-headquartered Banner Health has reached an agreement with the University of Arizona Health Network (UAHN) and the University of Arizona (UA) to create a statewide health care organization and a comprehensive model for academic medicine. The agreement would have Banner Health acquire two hospitals in Tucson — the UA Medical Center-University Campus at 1501 N. Campbell Ave., and UA Medical Center-South at 2800 E. Ajo Way, and also make a commitment of $500 million toward capital projects at those hospitals.Banner Health is the largest health system in the state and operates 16 hospitals in Arizona, with its closest to Tucson being Banner Casa Grande Medical Center, which Banner Health took over in June.As part of the 30-year agreement and in support of the UA College of Medicine in Phoenix, Banner Health also would turn Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix into a faculty-based medical center. In addition it would provide “substantial” financial support for the UA College of Medicine.Banner Health said it anticipates generating approximately $1 billion in new capital, academic investments, and other consideration to the University and the Tucson area.The agreement came after votes by the UAHN and Banner boards of directors in support of proceeding with negotiations, and a vote by the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) to authorize UA to also move forward with UAHN and Banner. A Banner statement noted the parties will work together toward final definitive agreements, which are anticipated to be completed and signed in September. The definitive agreements also must be approved by ABOR and the boards of directors of UAHN and Banner. 

  • Oro Valley streamlines housing development, approves new town building

    At the request of the WLB Group, the Oro Valley Town Council voted unanimously to modify the review process for the Kai Naranja Development.Councilmembers Bill Garner and Brendan Burns were not present during the July 2 meeting.The 50-acre plot of land was rezoned along with a site plan by a unanimous vote in April to start the process and development of a 120-lot housing development. There were no speakers from the public during the April meeting.Bayer Vella, the conservation and sustainability administrator for the town, made the request, which was submitted by Chad Daines of the Development Infrastructure Services (DIS).Due the thoroughness of the process thus far by the developer, including public hearings and the rezoning process, town staff recommended the approval of the modified review process.“All of the issues have been addressed and there would be no additional community benefit to having additional neighborhood meetings as well as public meetings,” Vella told the council. 

  • Catalina Mountain Elks observe Flag Day

    Approximately 100 people attended the annual Catalina Mountain Elks Lodge #2815 Flag Day ceremony in SaddleBrooke on June 12. This year marked the 12th anniversary of this event sponsored by the Lodge and SaddleBrooke HOA  No. 1. Lodge officers, members of the community, Golder Ranch Fire District Color Guard, Fire Chief Randy Karrer, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, Sons of the American Revolution, Buffalo Soldiers, American Legion Post 132 and Coyote Country Cloggers participated in this inspirational ceremony.The lodge also conducted a flag retirement ceremony for service-worn American flags on Flag Day. Cub Scouts affiliated with Boy Scout Troop 297 in Catalina presented the colors at the beginning of the service. The flags were surrendered to American Legion Post 132 who retired the flags with dignity and respect. In addition, the lodge raised more than 35 American flags on Oracle Road in Catalina.

  • Oro Valley Police Reports

    On Saturday, June 21, at about 9:45 p.m., Oro Valley police spoke to a man on the phone about possible vandalism. The caller told police that about 15 minutes prior he was watching TV with his wife when someone rang the doorbell. When he opened the door, he found a small ball that he referred to as a stink bomb. Though there was no damage, there was a small stain where the ball was sitting. Police searched the neighborhood, but didn’t see anyone.  On Saturday, June 21, at about 5:25 p.m., Oro Valley police responded to a report of an irate person at Peter Piper Pizza, 7621 N. Oracle Road. When police arrived, they noticed a woman shouting profanity in and outside the business. Police learned two family members were fighting because one woman wouldn’t let the other woman hold her baby. In retaliation, the woman pushed and shoved the other woman. The woman who pushed the other was cited for assault and disorderly conduct and transported to the Pima County Adult Detention Center. On Monday, June 17, at about 3:14 a.m., Oro Valley police saw a juvenile run across La Cañada Drive where there wasn’t a crosswalk. The office asked him to come over and talk to him. The subject told police he was trying to get home before he got in trouble. Police could smell marijuana emanating from the 16-year-old subject, to which he denied having any on him. Seeing as his curfew was midnight, police attempted to call his parents, who didn’t answer. Police then told him they were going to take him to his house to talk to his parents in person. Though he initially refused to be searched, which is a department policy for transporting anyone in a police car, he reluctantly provided a small cloth pouch with fresh marijuana in it, along with a glass pipe. He was cited for possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and violation of curfew and released to his legal guardian.

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