ATCA Hike Club to Commemorate Long Trail

On Nov. 10, 2011, the Green Valley Hiking Club will help honor one of the longest trails in the country through the Arizona Trail Centennial Adventure or ATCA.

The Arizona Trail Association, which helps maintain, protect and promote the trail, has encouraged groups including cyclists, equestrians, runners and hikers to participate this fall by choosing from among 43 passages along the scenic route that stretches more than 800 miles from Mexico to Utah.

Begun in 1988, the route was the dream of Flagstaff teacher Dale Shewalter. Businesses and individuals have donated time and money over the years to make it a reality. It’s nearly complete and encompasses local ranges like the Santa Ritas, Huachucas, Rincons and Catalinas.

With about 450 members, the club has hiked all of them and many more in their storied history here.

They have gathered each Thursday morning for nearly 30 years to car pool to trail heads in 25 mountain ranges all over Southern Arizona.

They have nine hikes set for the celebration at various locations along the Arizona Trail. According to Hikemaster Dan Schroeder, most of them are on the east side of the Santa Ritas and some are in the Catalinas, Rincons and Canelo Hills.

Schroeder said, “It’s our way of celebrating the 100th anniversary of the state.”

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Developers, escrow officer, and real estate agent put on trial for mortgage fraud

September 8, 2011 — Two Tucson developers, an escrow officer, and a real estate agent have been indicted in a mortgage fraud case. Federal prosecutors say the defendants allegedly bilked lenders out of about $5.8 million.

A federal grand jury returned a 20-count indictment against developers William Michael Naponelli and Walter Scott Fruit, escrow officer Sandra Jackson and real estate agent Brian Atwood. The indictment charges them with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, making a false statement to influence a financial institution, and conspiracy to commit transactional money laundering.

Prosecutors say the four are accused of fraudulently obtaining loans for 19 properties in Pima County in 2006 and 2007 that ultimately went into foreclosure. It was unclear whether any of the four defendants have legal representation yet.

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Strobeck: New home permits rise, foreclosure notices and repossessions dip

In August, new single-family home permits in the Tucson region hit 141, the second highest monthly volume of the year. To date, 1,035 permits have been issued by various jurisdictions, according to new data from John Strobeck, Bright Future Business Consultants. The year’s peak was 157 permits issued in March.

In the same month, Pima County issued the most permits at 48, followed by Marana at 29. Year-over-year, the steepest drop was in permits issued by the City of Tucson, where they were down 36 percent.

PulteGroup pulled the most permits last month with 21, followed by Lennar at 17, Strobeck said.
Across the region, the pace of new home construction is 27 percent behind last year. For 2011, Strobeck estimates that 1,450 to 1,500 permits will be issued.

For new-built homes, 115 closings were recorded in August, up from 87 in July. That was the year’s second highest mark after 119 sales in March. In August 2010, there were 131 newly built homes sold. For the year, there have been 805 new construction closings, Strobeck said. New construction closings are on track to hit 1,200 to 1,300 this year.

In August, lenders issued 1,214 foreclosure notices in Pima County. That affected one out of every 353 housing units in the region. The national ratio was one in 570 homes.

The new data is from RealtyTrac, an online marketplace of foreclosed properties, in its August Market Report. In Pima County, the total was 24 percent higher at 1,602 notices in August 2010.

Nationally, lenders repossessed 64,813 homes in August, 4 percent fewer than in July and a 32 percent less than in August 2010. In Pima County, 277 houses were repossessed, far less than the 634 repossessions in July. The August 2010 level was 562 units.

Arizona posted the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate for the second consecutive month. Statewide, one in every 248 housing units received a foreclosure filing in August.

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