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A Wilderness Area Is No Place for Wild Animals

Arizona Game and Fish Director Duane Shroufe temporarily halted a hunt for Sabino Canyon's mountain lions, which were marked for death last week, but hunters could be stalking the canyon as soon as Friday. The department's decision to kill at least three lions triggered a howl of protest, including pleas from Gov. Janet Napolitano and Congressman Raúl Grijalva for a reprieve. State and federal officials call the cougars a menace just waiting to snatch a baby from a carriage, creating potential liability issues for taxpayers. Cat people argue the animals should be given a chance to move back up the mountain to different habitat.

"They do not have good evidence that any of the cougars in Sabino Canyon are a threat to people," says Daniel Patterson of the Center for Biological Diversity. "Sabino Canyon is a wild area. It's not a city park; it's not Disneyland." Patterson suggests the real reason Forest Service officials want the animals dead is because they fear losing fee-demo admission fees during the busy spring season if people get scared off by reports of deadly pumas.

"It's another reason why the fee demo program is controversial," says Patterson. "When they're dependent on this kind of revenue, they'd rather go kill lions than deal with people's behavior."


Come See About Me

Tucson Magistrate Jay Cranshaw wants to see pop diva Diana Ross return to Tucson to serve time after learning of hiccups in her 48-hour jail stay for drunk driving. Ross--who struggled to remember the alphabet when she was popped for DUI in December 2002--paid her debt to society behind bars in Greenwich, Conn., but last week, Greenwich police chief James Walters informed Cranshaw that Ross slipped out periodically during her time behind bars. (Read the correspondence, along with Ross' original arrest report, at www.thesmokinggun.com.) Ross attorney James Nesci says Ross only left the jail because there were no female guards on duty to supervise the women's wing of the jail.

"They offered to let her serve her time in the male wing of the jail, which she thought was inappropriate, and so do I," says Nesci. "So they asked her to come back, and she did, about an hour later." Nesci insists Ross did finish her stint with the required 24 consecutive hours behind bars, despite Walters' account to the contrary.

"We think once we get the paperwork cleared up, there should be no problem," the attorney says.

The Range recommends that Ross be sentenced to 48 hours in Sabino Canyon. If she gets out alive, we forget the whole thing ever happened.

Elsewhere in the celebrity justice blotter, local entrepreneur Christine Alexander started producing "Free Martha Stewart" T-shirts after the domestic diva was convicted in federal court last week on four counts related to her sale of ImClone stock. Alexander says Martha's prosecution is not a good thing.

"You've got the Enron guys and all these other guys who are not being brought to justice," says Alexander. "In effect, she was an easy target." Alexander, who gives credit for inspiration to the "Free Winona" shirts that followed Winona Ryder's shoplifting trial, adds that a second shirt is in the works featuring "the internationally recognized raised fist of protest--with the addition of a functional and reasonably priced whisk." The shirts retail for $17.95 and can be found at Silver Sea, 137 E. Congress St.


It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad March

After a dramatic 79-76 win over USC capped by Mustafa Shakur's tre at the buzzer last Thursday, March 11, and a hapless 90-85 loss to Washington the following night (both of which were missed by most Tucsonans, who were fast asleep by the time the games ended near midnight), the Arizona Wildcats exited the retarded Pac-10 tourney. On Sunday, March 14, the Cats were a ninth seed in the NCAA brackets, with a game against eighth-seed Seton Hall at 7:40 p.m. Thursday, March 18. Arizona was a three-point favorite at the Vegas books as of Monday night. If the Cats prevail, they could find themselves up against No. 1 seed Duke on Saturday. The Cats' big question mark remains Salim Stoudamire, whose various personalities have led the team one way or another all season.


Red Alert! There's a Successful Business Downtown! We Must Shut It Down Immediately!

As the cacophonous Yeah Yeah Yeahs show came to an end (See "Live" in this issue's Music section), Club Congress management got hassled by The Man Tuesday, March 9. Responding to noise complaints, Tucson cops plastered the Hotel Congress with a dreaded red tag shortly after the band wrapped its outdoor set around 11:30 p.m. Hotel manager David Slutes was also cited for disorderly conduct. Club Congress manager/TW freelancer Curtis McCrary tells The Range that the lawyers are now sorting out the whole mess, but hope to have the matter settled before April 17, the night of the Weekly-sponsored Club Crawl! Wristbands go on sale soon at all Zia locations for a mere seven bucks! In the meantime, watch for red-tag specials at Club Congress, which christens a totally cool new stage with a senses-shattering celebration featuring Al Perry, Al Foul, Chango Malo and The Knockout Pills. Champagne, anyone?

More by Jim Nintzel

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