Monday, April 14, 2014

So Long, Aaron Gordon; Try Not To Take Everyone Else With You

Posted by on Mon, Apr 14, 2014 at 9:55 AM

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The interwebs, the Twittersphere and everywhere else that "breaking news" can be found nowadays is full of reports today that Aaron Gordon is going to declare for the NBA Draft ... sometime this week.

And the modern streetcar is going to start operating. At some point. Probably. You heard it here first!

Why Gordon's impending decision is suddenly news, seeing as this has been considered a foregone conclusion since he arrived last fall, just boggles my mind.

When he actually declares, that'll be something to report on. For now, though, it's more just a matter of trying to be the first outlet to report on this "expected" move, making sure to cite "sources" that are really just the writer coming up with crap on his or her own and not having to be held accountable.

These same "sources," whom I believe includes your neighbor and the guy who cleans the bathrooms at McKale Center, also believe that Nick Johnson is likely to leave as well, but that Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Kaleb Tarczewski are coming back. Same with Brandon Ashley, though I don't need a source to tell me that having not played since early February because of surgically repaired foot ligaments is a good reason to remain amateur another year.

Rest assured, Arizona fans: as long as they don't all leave, the Wildcats should be just as good (if not better) for the 2014-15 season. Arizona brings in a 5-star wing in 6'7" Stanley Johnson, another inside bruiser in 6'8" Craig Victory, a prolific junior college scorer in Kadeem Allen, a tiny-but-quick point guard in Parker Jackson-Cartwright and the obligatory 7-foot Serbian-by-way-of-a-private-school-in-Kansas in Dusan Ristic.

Arizona will be ranked in the top 5 in every preseason poll. It's already that way in the way-too-early rankings for 2014-15, including this handy one from a comprehensive sports Web site that includes many great writers including this guy.


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Ed Shorts: "Opt Out Of Standardized Testing" Edition

Posted by on Mon, Apr 14, 2014 at 9:00 AM

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  • Image courtesy of shutterstock.com

In the past few days, I've posted a video about the local and national Opt Out Movement and an op ed from a principal in Brooklyn, NY, criticizing the Common Core tests her students took and her inability to talk about specifics because of a state-imposed gag order.

The Opt Out movement is growing, though it's in its infancy in the Tucson area. Here are some short items about what's going on, along with links if you're interested in learning more.

• Three Tucson parents joined Robin Hiller on her radio show, State of Education, to discuss their desire to have their children opt out of the AIMS test. Their portion of the show begins around the 14:30 minute mark.

• An estimated 30,000 New York children in grades three through eight opted out of the state test this spring. That includes about 27 percent of the third through eighth grade students in West Seneca (about 800 students) and at least 6,000 students in Long Island.

Continue reading »

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Plush Sold and Renamed Flycatcher

Posted by on Sun, Apr 13, 2014 at 8:28 PM

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After 13 and a half years, the Plush era on Fourth Avenue will officially come to a close on Monday, April 14, with the establishment reopening the next business day as The Flycatcher.

The smoky swanky nightclub, formerly known as Café Sweetwater, located on 340 East Sixth Street was sold and renamed as Plush in 2001 and now the former owner Maebelle Reed has handed over the reins to long time employee Justin McLamarrah.

McLamarrah, a graduate of Amphi, started working at the bar in 2000 as a barback, later becoming a bartender while he was getting his Bachelor's degree at the University of Arizona. The 38-year-old Tucson native is currently a realtor at Tierra Antigua.

The husband and father of four girls had to legally change the establishment’s name. He and his wife are fans of the bird, the Vermilion Flycatcher, and that's the main reason behind the name selection, according to McLamarrah. For now, the Plush logo will be concealed and the marquee will act as the bar’s signage.

Continue reading »

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Today: "Borderland" Screening and Q&A with Al Jazeera America Producer

Posted by on Sun, Apr 13, 2014 at 1:23 PM

A new Al Jazeera America documentary series, Borderland, premieres today, with the first episode featuring Tucson organization No More Deaths, Pima County Medical Examiner Greg Hess and other familiar border-associated folks. A screening and Q&A takes place this evening in the UA School of Journalism's student lounge on the third floor in the Marshall Building at 845 N. Park Ave., from 5:45 to 7:30 p.m. (Someone will be at the west door to let people in.)

The screening starts at 6 p.m. followed by a TQ&A with one of the Borderland producers via Skype. Bring your own popcorn.

From Al Jazeera America:

Six Americans are tasked by a frontier medical examiner with retracing the footsteps of three dead migrants — three of the nearly 6,000 illegal immigrants who perished in the desert in the last 15 years while crossing from Mexico. Gathered at the morgue, the participants are handed three case files and told, “We’ve given them a name. You must give them a story.” The six, from all walks of life, first explore the issue on the U.S. side, embedding with law enforcement and Arizona ranchers angry at the cartels that now control not just the drug trade but the migrant routes as well. Then, split into three groups, they head for Mexico and Central America, learning about the lives of the migrants they’ve been asked to follow. In a twist, the medical examiner instructs the six to work their way back to the United States alongside real migrants by whatever means necessary … on river rafts, on foot through gang-controlled jungle and, once regrouped, on top the infamous cargo train known as La Bestia. Finally, from cartel-held Sinaloa state, they attempt the journeys that proved fatal to their assigned migrants — a dangerous trek through the hot badlands. They’ll live. But will they learn?

From a recent New York Times reviewhttp://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/12/arts/television/borderland-is-to-debut-on-al-jazeera-america.html?smid=tw-share&_r=1:

"Borderland" is exploitative in a good way, using the ignorance of ordinary Americans to enlighten viewers about a problem so intractable that it's often easier not to look.

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller's Chief of Staff Quits Amid Turmoil in District 1 Office

Posted by on Sat, Apr 12, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Details remain sketchy, but The Range has learned from multiple sources today that Jennifer Coyle, the chief of staff for Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller, resigned from her post earlier this week. While accounts vary among our various sources, it appears that a personality conflict was at the root of Coyle's decision to step down.

We've also heard that Coyle's resignation may only be the first as other staff members are looking to find work elsewhere.

Unconfirmed reports say that Coyle's replacement will be Jeannie Davis Haldorsen, who served as a spokeswoman for Republican Sean Collins' unsuccessful 2012 effort to unseat Republican Supervisor Ray Carroll. Haldorsen's arrival on the 11th floor should make for even more interesting interactions between the District 1 and District 4 offices.

AZ Illustrated Politics: State Budget, City Budget, Saving the A-10 & More

Posted by on Sat, Apr 12, 2014 at 11:24 AM

On last night's AZ Illustrated Politics: National Republican Committeeman Bruce Ash and Pima County Democratic Party Latino Caucus Chairman Vince Rabago unpacked the winners and losers in this year's state budget; defended the city's policy of allowing cops and firefighters to sell back unused sick time, which has come under fire from some Tucson City Council members as they try to balance the city's budget; debated whether Congressman Ron Barber (D-CD2) had done enough to defend the A-10 Warthog; and shined a light on the use of dark money in this year's political campaigns.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Squeaking Baby Sloth Video of the Day

Posted by on Fri, Apr 11, 2014 at 4:38 PM

Sloth Squeak! from Lucy Cooke on Vimeo

It's Friday and everyone at Tucson Weekly HQ is gearing up for some Triple A baseball action, so we are enjoying some cute animal videos to get pumped up. Nothing gets us more amped than watching videos of cute animal that might cease to exist.

That's right, Ranger.

This adorable three-toed ball of cuteness is tip-toeing the fine extinction line. According to Evolutionarily Distinct & Globally Endangered, 80% of the sloth population has been lost. Yeah. Stings, don't it?

So do your part and donate to save the 100 or so left. Click here to give some coin.

Continue reading »

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Singer-Songwriter Jesse Winchester Dead at 69

Posted by on Fri, Apr 11, 2014 at 3:05 PM

NPR has reported that singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester passed away Friday morning. Wincheseter was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus in 2011. The Juno award-winning vocalist collaborated with The Everly Brothers, Wynona Judd, Jimmy Buffett and Elvis Costello.

From NPR:

Winchester, like hundreds of thousands of other anti-war protesters who left the country or otherwise avoided the draft, was able to return to the U.S. after President Carter granted them unconditional pardons on his first day in office — Jan. 21, 1977.

He was 69.

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