April 21 will mark one year since Isabel Celis went missing from her family’s home in Tucson, and supporters of the Celis family have organized a fundraiser this Sunday to further awareness of the fight to find her.
The “Bring Isa Home” event will be held this Sunday at the Peter Piper Pizza location across from the Park Place Mall, 5925 E. Broadway Blvd. The restaurant will donate 15 percent of their sales that day to the campaign to bring the 7-year-old home if you display this flyer, available on the event’s Facebook page. If you’re unable to make it to that Peter Piper Pizza location, the business will also accept the flyer at their other locations in town. Additional donations can also be made during the event to the Wells Fargo Bring Isa Home Account.
Described as a day of “safety and awareness,” the fundraiser will follow a 9:15 service at Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, 215 S. Craycroft Rd, and includes children’s activities like arts and crafts, finger painting, face painting and a balloon artist from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Local nonprofit Ben’s Bells will also make an appearance at the event, and children can be fingerprinted per their parent’s request during that time frame.
Did you know Pima County has a Metal Watch Task Force?
Yeah, I didn't either, until I got an email from the Metro Pima Alliance urging me to show my support for proposed legislation that would toughen this state's laws against metal theft. Beyond, you know, the simple fact that theft is against the law.
The WTF (I don't know if that's what they call themselves, but I'm gonna for typing purposes) is a conglomerate of businesses and business advocate groups that's overseen by the MPA, Building Owners and Managers Association of Greater Tucson (BOMA Tucson) and the local Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) chapter that hopes to fight metal theft through what it calls a three-pronged — pun intended? — approach of education, electorate and enforcement.
The email I got was in regards to the electorate prong, as a couple of bills going through the Arizona Legislature intend to better define what is and isn't considered metal theft, as well as what kind of penalties such theft would result in and a means to accurately register and track all authorized scrap metal dealers.
The bills are being spearheaded (yes, pun intended) by Gilbert State Rep. Thomas Forese (R-17). The email I got urges me to contact a State Senator, though, Gilbert-based Andy Biggs (R-12), since he's chairman of the Rules Committee.
Sounds like a good plan, all in all. One suggestion for the WTF, though: update those stats on your Web site. The information makes references to "in 2012 so far" and "last year (2011)."
Man, nothing makes me happier than when someone in power thinks that speeding cameras are terrible.
Judge Robert Ruehlman this week declared that speed cameras were "a scam."
He vehemently criticized the authorities of Elmwood Place, Ohio, a village that installed speed cameras and then began to bathe in revenue as divas bathe in champagne.
The Columbus Dispatch reported that the judge also described the cameras as "nothing more than a high-tech game of 3-card Monty."
In the first month of the cameras' activity, Elmwood Place sprinkled 6,600 speeding tickets, each of which generated $105.
Oddly, there are only 2,000 residents in the whole of Elmwood Place.
Locals decided this resembled backstreet robbery and so went to court, also offering the legal defense that the cameras were installed without displaying the appropriate public notices to warn people this was coming.
The judge ordered the village to just stop it with the speeding tickets.
The village, perhaps concerned that its pockets might cease to bulge, is to appeal his verdict.
Laws to declare radar enforcement cameras illegal are forthcoming. Take, for instance, HB 2477, which we mentioned in our "25 Bills to Watch" cover feature last month: as Skinny scribe Jim Nintzel notes, "HB2477 forbids cities and towns from putting photo radar on state highways unless they jump through various hoops to justify it. The bill passed the House Transportation Committee with bipartisan support last month and awaits a hearing in the Rules Committee."
Well today (according to Capitol Media Services via the local daily), HB 2477 passed the House. Not long yet, folks.
Angry words while driving led to shots being fired Thursday night, resulting in the first homicide this year in Oro Valley.
Joshua Switalski, 22, was shot near First Avenue and Oracle Road about 8 p.m. Thursday following what OV police are describing as in-motion argument that became a drive-by-shooting.
A news release indicates Switalski was driving north on Oracle toward First and at the same time was in a shouting match with a man in a pick-up truck also going north. Not long after, someone in the pickup — police say there were two occupants — pulled out a gun and shot at Switalski's car, causing Switalski to veer off the road into the emergency lane.
He was taken to a local hospital by paramedics, where he died. The pickup truck was pulled over by Oro Valley police not long after the incident and both occupants were detained. Eventually they arrested 21-year-old David Arnoldo Mota and booked him into the Pima County Jail on suspicion of first-degree murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
The homicide is only the third in Oro Valley since the start of 2012, department spokeswoman Lt. Kara Riley said. In November police say a woman shot her husband (though she claimed he'd committed suicide) then disappeared, only to be found dead on Mount Lemmon six days later after an apparent suicide; and 21-year-old Donna Rose Smith is awaiting trial on charges she overdosed her 18-month-old son in February 2012.
Tucson Police announced today they have identified and arrested the man who is believed to have fired a gun into the air outside a massive college party at an off-campus apartment complex last month.
Da'wan Grandville Lord, 20, turned himself in today and was booked into the Pima County Jail on one count of discharging a firearm within the city limits, according to a TPD press release. He contacted police on Wednesday, through an attorney, before turning himself in.
Lord was apparently identified by multiple people after TPD put out an 'attempt to identify' notice following the Jan. 26 incident, which occurred at the Stone Avenue Standard apartments and brought a calamitous end to a party that had more than 1,000 attendees.
Dubbed the 'Aussie Party' because of its occurring on Aussie Day and being organized by three University of Arizona exchange students from Australia, the event resulted in Stone Avenue Standard getting red-tagged because of the party's magnitude. It also spawned a You Tube video produced by a student-led startup media company called Blacked Out Media that has garnered more than 50,000 views.
A second video, from the parking lot right before and during the time of the shooting, was also briefly up on You Tube. One still from that video showed a sizable neck tattoo on the person believed to be the shooter, which seems to be the way Lord was tracked down and identified.
Just over two months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., PBS is asking America, “Where do we go from here?” with special programming aptly named “After Newtown.” The series of specials, first announced by the network in January, began airing Monday and will continue through Feb. 22.
Mixing documentary-style reports with commentaries on gun control, mental health and possible prevention of similar acts of violence in the future, “After Newtown” was designed expose the many relevant issues surrounding the shooting, as well as resonate emotionally with viewers still seeking closure, according to a PBS press release:
“This week of specials gives PBS the opportunity to take an in-depth and thoughtful look at the issues the Newtown tragedy laid bare,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of General Audience Programming for PBS. “As we mourn the lives lost in Newtown, it is important to present the facts, the science, and the history behind the issues to provide information and context as we collectively look at how better to protect and serve our communities.”
The promotional materials boasted it as 'Tucson's Biggest Party,' and last Friday's #FridayThe15th blowout at the Seasons Apartments near 1st Avenue and Wetmore was well on its way to living up to that hype.
That is, until some late-arriving but still overly eager partygoers started doing a really bad interpretation of storming the gates of paradise and ruined the fun for everyone else.
Tucson police estimate about 2,000 people were crowded around the pool at Seasons when, after discussions between a fire marshal and Seasons management, the gates to the pool area were locked to keep things from getting even more packed.
"Then people started climbing the gates to get in," Tucson Police Department spokesman Sgt. Chris Widmer said. "It was actually the manager that shut the music down."
#FridayThe15th was broken up around 11 p.m. Friday, Widmer said.
While the majority of posts on the party's Facebook event page seemed to blame the cops for being buzzkills, Seasons manager Megan Brown said it was all her call. It was just a matter of safety that prompted the party to get shut down early, she said.
"It was insane," Brown said. "It was amazing, people were having a great time. We just didn't have the space for all those people. The amount of people that came was overwhelming."
Though the pool area was only supposed to hold about 1,000 people, it was expected the party would have been able to continue had the gate-climbing not occurred.
"I don't think we would have stopped it unless we'd received complaints of disturbances, which I can't imagine wouldn't have happened," Widmer said of the party, which was scheduled to have DJs spinning past 2 a.m.
However, only one noise complaint was called in, Widmer said. That came in at 11:15 p.m., as the party patrons were being dispersed by officers from three patrol divisions. TPD also had air support and K-9 units in the area in case things devolved into madness, as they did last month when shots were fired in the parking lot of a similarly large party at the Stone Avenue Standard complex.
Widmer said that, despite the large police presence, no force was used in dispersing the crowd. And only one arrest came of the whole night, a single marijuana possession charge.
And though some post-party Facebook comments would suggest otherwise — our favorite: 'Whoever took my car keys, consider yourself shot and dead' — it sounds like #FridayThe15th was considered a success, albeit a short-lived one.
Brown, for one, expects an upswing in leasing inquiries to come from it.
"I think we'll definitely see some positive ... renters from it," she said. "That was the talk."
Party school list-compilers, take heed: students (and those profiting from students) at the University of Arizona are going all-in to get back on the wild-and-crazy school map.
Less than three weeks after the now-infamous Aussie Party drew more than 1,500 people — and a few airborne gunshots — to the Stone Avenue Standard apartments, some of the principals involved with that throwdown are prepared to one-up themselves late Friday at the Seasons Apartments student complex at First Avenue and Wetmore Road.
Being dubbed #FridayThe15th on Facebook (yes, we know; hashtags are for Twitter, just go with it), as of 3 p.m. today more than 2,050 people had RSVP'd for what is being billed as "Tucson's biggest party." The plan, according to the invite, is to have five DJs spinning between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., all for the low-low cover price of $3.
Apparently, the party is also doubling as a going-away soiree for someone moving to, of all places, Russia.
Blacked Out Media, which got the ball rolling on Tucson's hopeful re-ascension to the party school list top spot with its promo/coverage video of the Aussie Party, is also going to have the cameras rolling for this one. The Aussie Party vid has more than 53,000 You Tube hits, and Blacked Out has already released an, um, behind the scenes looking at the promo video for #FridayThe15th:
For the sake of those running the event, as well as those allowing it to happen — Seasons is run by NorthStar Management and Consulting Inc., the same company that oversees the now-red-tagged Stone Avenue Standard — we hope they realize that, by charging for entry to the party they'll either need a special event liquor license (which takes a minimum of 45 days to get) or ensure that no alcohol is provided as part of the cover charge.
Property manager Megan Brown says the complex isn't the ones putting on the party, nor is it providing any alcohol, so a license is not needed. It'll be BYOB, she said. That would mean any licensing would come from the promoters — which, we'll assume, isn't likely to have happened.
We and also checked with Tucson police to see if they had been given the heads up about the party, and after some checking TPD spokeswoman Sgt. Maria Hawke indicated "we are well aware and have a plan in place for the Seasons party."
Translation: the ghetto bird is getting gassed and tuned up for an evening of circling.
For those living near this area, plan for a very long, loud Friday night. Here's hoping you don't have plans early Saturday morning.
Expert panels review aspects of Arizona's Stand Your Ground law, from 7 to 9 p.m., Monday, Dec.… More