Community Info

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Two New(ish) Businesses to Visit During the Street Fair

Posted By on Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 7:30 PM

The 47th Annual Street Fair is expected to attract more than 300,000 visitors this weekend. - HAILEY FREEMAN
  • Hailey Freeman
  • The 47th Annual Street Fair is expected to attract more than 300,000 visitors this weekend.

Isabella's Ice Cream (210 N. Fourth Ave.)

UA alumni Dominic and Kristel Johnson created Isabella’s in 2010, and opened their location on Fourth Avenue this past November.

“I love how many people walk in and discover it,” Kristel says of Isabella’s. “We’ve been here a few months so everyone is starting to figure out where the shop is now.”

Kristel has nothing but rave reviews for the area. It was her idea, after all, to move Isabella’s manufacturing to Fourth. 

“It’s been wonderful,” Kristel says of the neighborhood. “We love the location and the people are super friendly.”

Kristel prepares the treats in the back of the shop and tries to locally source all of her ingredients. Isabella’s uses cream and milk only from Arizona.

“Everything is fresh, natural, and pure,” Kristel says.

In addition to their ice creams and vegan sorbets, Isabella’s offers ice cream tacos, milkshakes, sundaes, popsicles and Belgian chocolate bonbons. If you’re the indecisive or overindulgent type, it is highly recommended that you try one of each. This selection will be available in-store the entire weekend.

And another menu item that’s sure to be a hit among Street Fairgoers? The ever-so-scrumptious fro-nut. Since its recent introduction, this doughnut ice cream sandwich has become a customer favorite. The Johnsons will be serving fro-nuts and cookie ice cream sandwiches from their vintage ice cream truck this weekend.

Mabel’s on 4th (419 N. Fourth Ave.)

After you’ve gotten your ice cream fix, come visit Mabel’s on 4th. This kitchen boutique opened in November 2016 and sells decor, gadgets and textiles to “make your kitchen smile.”

“We don’t have any serious kitchen stuff like pots and pans and cutlery,” owner Nicole Carrillo says. “We only carry fun stuff.”

The pair relocated from Savannah, Georgia where Nicole’s husband, Johnny, served in the Marine Corps. Nicole believes Tucson, specifically the Fourth Avenue area, is a “perfect fit” for Mabel’s and appreciates the friendliness of her customers.

“Everybody is so welcoming and kind,” Nicole says. “We decided the day we visited that we were going to move here.”

Johnny designs all of the LOL tea towels, including textiles supporting each branch of the military. Mabel’s will be offering 20 new towel patterns at Mabel’s booth this weekend only.

“Our booth will be nothing but all these fun tea towels,” Nicole says. “You’re sure to find something for everyone.”

Nicole says Mabel’s products appeal to all kinds of people, from grandparents to drinking friends.

A great gift for the latter group? A beer bottle or wine glass-shaped cookie cutter. Other quirky cookie cutter options include a bikini top, baseball glove and hippo.

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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Advice on Welcoming Immigrants, From SXSW

Posted By on Sun, Mar 12, 2017 at 3:21 PM

Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales, Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney and Kate Brick from New American Economy speak at SXSW on how and why cities should protect their immigrant communities. - DANYELLE KHMARA
  • Danyelle Khmara
  • Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales, Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney and Kate Brick from New American Economy speak at SXSW on how and why cities should protect their immigrant communities.

U.S. cities with large immigrant and refugee populations thrive in a variety of ways. There are ways to support this community, which have been proven to make a difference. At the South by Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas, mayors of two sanctuary cities and an expert on smart immigration policy spoke on these issues at “Building Bridges When Others Want to Build Walls.”

Welcoming Immigrants Benefits Everyone

• Immigrants keep America youthful, which is essential to a healthy economy and people.
The average age in Santa Fe, New Mexico, was rising, which is common for expensive tourist destinations, said the city’s mayor, Javier Gonzales. They saw that equalize as their immigrant population grew.

• Cities with more immigrants have lower crime rates.
The 10 U.S. cities with the highest percentage of refugees saw a decrease in violent crime and property crime by as much as 70 percent, from 2006 to 2015, according to New American Economy, an organization that studies immigrants’ impact on the U.S. economy.

Philadelphia, a sanctuary city, is at its lowest crime rate in 30 years, said the city’s mayor, James Kenney.

“One crime is one crime too many, but it’s not our immigrants that are doing so,” he said. “These folks work for a living. They start business. They employ people. They pay taxes when they don’t have the ability to take any advantage of those taxes.”

• Immigrants foster population growth, which fuels a healthy economy
Population growth provides taxes to fund shared services, encourages consumer spending to benefit the local economy, and raises housing values, said panelist Kate Brick, the director of State and Local Initiatives at New American Economy.

“There were no major metros in the United States that grew over the last 40 years without at least 10,000 immigrants joining those communities,” she said.

• Diversity is fun
Citizens of Philadelphia have a great time experiencing a variety of cultures right in their own city.

“You can get around our city and really experience every day almost a global trip,” he said.

Integrate and Protect Migrant Communities

• Immigrant-friendly resolutions
Gonzales passed an immigrant-friendly resolution in Santa Fe, which dictated that police should focus on serious crimes rather than looking at immigration status. And he saw it make a change.

“We saw this incredible move, this development in our community where the new immigrant became very much integrated into the fabric of our community,” he said. “They became job creators. They became young students in our schools.”

Tucson’s mayor, Jonathan Rothschild, passed a similar resolution in December.
Santa Fe also recently passed a confidentiality resolution, stating that government organizations won’t ask about documentation status.

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Monday, March 6, 2017

TUSD Celebrates Kindness Week After Driving Out Superintendent

Posted By on Mon, Mar 6, 2017 at 1:30 PM

All this week, TUSD schools are promoting and documenting kindness in their hallways and classrooms. - DANYELLE KHMARA
  • Danyelle Khmara
  • All this week, TUSD schools are promoting and documenting kindness in their hallways and classrooms.

In the wake of a divided governing board driving out Superintendent H.T. Sanchez, the Tucson Unified School District is now celebrating Kindness Week.

The TUSD board spent weeks discussing the fate of then-superintendent H.T. Sánchez before Sanchez worked out a deal to resign. Many will miss him, including Stefanie Boe, TUSD’s communications director. And while district employees adjust, they’re making an extra effort to stay positive.

“We are a kind community, and we’re here for each other,” she said. “We’re all in it together, and we make up the ‘unified’ in ‘Tucson Unified.’”

Bearing the tagline “find the kind,” the communication team will go to the schools and look for stories of kindness. They’ll be documenting these stories and buddy benches and murals on Facebook Live.

“People are doing these things already, but we just want to go find the kind,” Boe said.

The district usually does kindness week in May but decided the added focus on goodwill would be good for the district.

TUSD families and employees can share their school’s kindness stories by emailing or posting on the district’s Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #FindTheKind.

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Peace Fair & Music Festival Smoked!

Posted By on Fri, Mar 3, 2017 at 7:30 PM

Since Election Day ’16, legions of dissatisfied have taken to streets everywhere, protesting Trump’s ugly racist policies and reacting to the authoritarian-yet-needy/solipsistic timbre in that dude’s deceptive voice. They’re seeking comfort too in the company of the like-minded. Last Saturday, hundreds of Tucson activists and peace seekers gathered to build community solidarity and strengthen movement work, and hell, to just have a good time. It was actually inspiring.

The shady, tree-lined walkways and mown lawns of historic Armory Park set the scene for the 2017 Peace Fair & Music Festival, hosted by Tucson Peace Center. The sights, sounds and aromatic scents of food trucks, face painters, frolicking children and live music wafted through the sun-drenched park for Arizona's largest gathering of Peace, Justice and Environmental groups.

Up on the bandstand entertaining the afternoon crowd─ranging from spry senior citizens to very young children who were rollerskating, dancing and hula-hooping─were Flagstaff’s Navajo pop/punk outfit Sihasin, Tucson’s salsa soulsters Spirit Familia and the local Latin fusion of Santa Pachita.

Jeneda Benally, Sihasin’s singer and bassist, sports an outlook that embodies the spirit of the fest. Note that she, along with her brother Clayson, performed together as Blackfire for 21 years, yet something was missing. “We recognized that although there is a lot to be angry about,” Benally says. “Something in us changed. Where we realized that … What is the legacy that we are leaving for our future generations, if it is one of anger?”

“We need to leave a legacy of hope and love,” Benally adds, “And yes, there are injustices. But you can never lose sight of the hope that each person is in order to create those positive solutions against the injustices.”

When asked what drove them to take part in this year’s festival, Benally says, “We are looking for events that are hopeful, that bring positive energy to communities. That bring people together. It is really important in this day and age that we celebrate our freedoms, that we celebrate music and art. It is so important to support those that are striving to build healthy and respectful communities.”
  • Xavier Omar Otero
  • Sihasin
The band shined as they delivered an energetic set that mixed infectious percussive elements, on top of a bed of pop/punk rock, and native chant with lyrics about “tearing the wall down.” “It doesn't matter what side you are on...”
Spirit Familia - XAVIER OMAR OTERO
  • Xavier Omar Otero
  • Spirit Familia
Spirit Familia
With a brass heavy, percussive laden sound that combines soul, Latin and sounds from the Hawaiian Islands─where founding member Jomo lived for 17 years─the band had the crowd swaying and delivered a message of unity as they called out from the stage, “Let’s get together now…”

  • Xavier Omar Otero
  • Santa Pachita
Santa Pachita
Drawing their inspiration from salsa, cumbia, rock, ska and bands like Manu Chao. Fronted by bassist/singer Victor Cruz and guitarist/singer Miguel Reyes, Santa Pachita had the audience dancing to their sultry Latin grooves and Reyes’ stinging lead guitar that recalls Carlos Santana, bringing the festival to a close.

Peace, Justice and Environmental groups

Handing out pamphlets and eager to engage in conversations with interested attendees, organizations comprised of community members on the move for change, tabled at the 2017 Peace Fair & Music Festival including: Sustainable Tucson, Black Lives Matter, Code Pink, Healthcare Not Warfare, Green Party, Speak: The Voice for the Rights of Animals, Occupy Tucson, Water is Life, ¡Resistencia! Tucson May 1st Coalition, Veterans For Peace, and many others.

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KXCI Radio and Words On the Avenue Team Up and Create a Winning Series

Posted By on Fri, Mar 3, 2017 at 5:14 PM

KXCI radio (91.3) and Tucson poet society Words on the Avenue teamed to create a video series that highlights the powerful work of local poets. And the first episode is now available, and damn is it lovely. It rises on writer Roch Mirabeau's beautifully paced verse and graceful in-person performance of "My Pops Told Me," tackling themes of freedom, equality, fatherhood and "Trumped-up" politics in a little more than two minutes. It's easy to fall in love with Mirabeau's subtle power and empathy. Watch it below. 

Roch Mirabeau: Subtle power and empathy. - JULIUS SCHLOSBURG
  • Julius Schlosburg
  • Roch Mirabeau: Subtle power and empathy.
This new series, by the way, is generated by Words on the Avenue founder Teré Fowler-Chapman (who happens to be on the cover of this week's Tucson Weekly) as well as videographer Julius Schlosburg, and KXCI Director of Content Hannah Levin. Fowler-Chapman says at that she's "excited to collaborate with KXCI within this vivid new format because like Words on the Avenue KXCI is a community-based platform. This collaboration allows us to archive and re-listen to some of the most powerful lines performed in our space. This collaboration is magic."


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Monday, February 27, 2017

How Susan Holden and Don Armstrong Uphold the Honor, Tradition and Beauty of Folk Music

Posted By on Mon, Feb 27, 2017 at 3:30 PM

Don Armstrong with Friends is playing the Rhythm and Roots Concert Series at Hotel Congress on Sunday, March 5, from 6 to 8 p.m. - COURTESY OF RHYTHM AND ROOTS CONCERT SERIES
  • courtesy of Rhythm and Roots Concert Series
  • Don Armstrong with Friends is playing the Rhythm and Roots Concert Series at Hotel Congress on Sunday, March 5, from 6 to 8 p.m.

The Rhythm and Roots Concert Series is showcasing a variety of folk genres including Americana, blues, bluegrass and Celtic. The series, which gives musicians the space and resources to share their craft, is taking place this week at Hotel Congress with two free shows.

“‘Music is medicine’ is our motto,” says the series director Susan Holden. “Rhythm and Roots wants to bring—especially in this day and age—some healing with music.”

Monday night features a Mardi-Gras-themed party featuring the Carnivaleros. The band pulls from Eastern European sounds, with remnants of old western movies, as well as borrowing from genres like zydeco, waltz and swing. The event starts at 5:30 p.m., with the Carnivaleros on at 7:30.

Don Armstrong with Friends will play on Sunday from 6 to 8 p.m. A longtime, local folk musician, Armstrong spent 42 years performing with his wife Victoria Armstrong until her death in 2014. They recorded nine albums together, empathetic songs that could make you cry or want to hop in your car just to feel wind in your hair. His debut album comes out later this year on Ronstadt Records.

“When you hear his music, it kind of transports you to either where he was when he wrote it or what he was thinking,” Susan says. “He just has his own unique style, and you can hear sort of the history of folk music come through him.”

The concert series was founded in 1996 by Susan’s husband Jonathan Holden. Before his death in 2012, Jonathan brought some big-name folk and blues artists to the Southwest, including Richie Havens, Dave Van Ronk and New Riders of the Purple Sage. Holden was also known for his part in founding Tucson community-radio station KXCI.

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Tracking the Tricked: Police Join the Fight Against Human Trafficking

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 9:55 AM

  • Mike Christy for Arizona Daily Star 2014

The Southern Arizona Anti-Trafficking Unified Response Network task force, known as SAATURN, received a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to research, track and combat human trafficking in Tucson for three years. The grant and task force began in October 2015.

Tucson Police Department is one of three grantees for this task force, joining CODAC Health, Recovery and Wellness and the University of Arizona’s Southwest Institute for Research on Women.

Detective Jennifer Crawford has been investigating violent crime for nearly 17 years, and currently works in TPD's Street Crime Interdiction Unit—the unit responsible for studying human trafficking in Tucson.

Crawford said events like the Gem Show or large sporting events can draw more trafficking activity because the exploitative industry tends to "follow the money" and crowded events can attract an influx of trafficking of girls from other cities.

She said one of the main ways police keep tabs on trafficking is through online sites such as Backpage, where third-party contributors, such as escorts, can sell "dates."

The money from the grant allocated for TPD is spent on operational equipment as well as training and outreach programs, according to Crawford. The Street Crime Interdiction Unit is comprised of four detectives and two federal agents, and grant money will also be spent on funding the team's investigative hours should they have to work overtime.

"They help support us and we're able to do a lot more than we used to and also work at a federal level if we need to," Crawford said.

Crawford said trafficking tends to be a harder crime to prosecute than others. Reasons being victims can be hesitant to disclose information and it can be difficult to keep victims on track during an unfortunately tedious court process.

"I'd say we've definitely made a lot of strides and we've moved forward a lot in the last year since we've gotten our task force up and running and with our support service people as well," Crawford said.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

TUSD Suspense Continues

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 5:33 PM

Tucson Unified School District Governing Board, on Tuesday, Feb. 21, postponed for the second week in a row publicly discussing an agenda item which brings into question the Superintendent H.T. Sánchez's job. - DANYELLE KHMARA
  • Danyelle Khmara
  • Tucson Unified School District Governing Board, on Tuesday, Feb. 21, postponed for the second week in a row publicly discussing an agenda item which brings into question the Superintendent H.T. Sánchez's job.

The Duffy Community center was overflowing with concerned parents, public officials and community members, weighing in on the work of TUSD Superintendent H.T. Sánchez.  At the special TUSD Governing Board meeting Tuesday night, many spoke in support of and against the superintendent. - DANYELLE KHMARA
  • Danyelle Khmara
  • The Duffy Community center was overflowing with concerned parents, public officials and community members, weighing in on the work of TUSD Superintendent H.T. Sánchez. At the special TUSD Governing Board meeting Tuesday night, many spoke in support of and against the superintendent.
The Tucson Unified School District Governing Board announced last night they were once again postponing the agenda item concerning Superintendent H.T. Sánchez’s job.

The Duffy Community Center was so packed that overflow crowds had to wait outside. For over three hours, the board and superintendent were in executive session. At about 7:45 p.m., Sánchez somberly took his seat with the board and was met by loud applause from the audience. But not everyone was clapping.

For an hour, community members spoke for and against Sánchez with either raised-voice rancor or grateful tears on topics such as superintendent turnover rates, student-enrollment numbers, Prop 301 spending, childhood bullying, dropout rates, race and unsuccessful desegregation measures.

Several people spoke in Spanish with an English translator, recounting times Sánchez had personally helped their children.

Cassandra Becerra, a mother of TUSD students, is one of Sánchez’s supporters. While waiting for the meeting to start, she told the Tucson Weekly she’s seen the superintendent in the schools and fighting for the good of the district.

“I strongly believe he’s here because he cares about this district,” she said, holding a sign with a red, white and blue drawing of Sánchez, copying the iconic “hope” poster representing Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign.

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Butterfly Magic

Butterfly Magic is a fully immersive experience that surrounds you with rare butterflies, tropical plants and orchids… More

@ Tucson Botanical Gardens Oct. 1-May 31, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. 2150 N. Alvernon Way.

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