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Postcards From the Edge

Through the application of rocket science and some really hard math, the plucky Cassini space probe navigated right through the rings of Saturn and slipped safely into orbit, bringing delight and relief to a group of UA scientists who played key roles in the mission. Launched seven years ago, the tricked-out spacecraft has started sending photos 900 million miles across the ether to Earth, including shots of one of Saturn's moons, Titan, as well as the planet's magnetosphere, which we certainly had never anticipated seeing up close. Best of all, the craft never had to activate its Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator for defensive purposes.

The big brains at the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory are set to start a whole bunch of data analysis as the info trickles in, according to UA News Services. Big congrats to Robert Brown, who heads up the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer team, and who has been part of the planning for the mission for 14 years, as well as Rick McCloskey, who designed the VIMS ground data system. The VIMS team is just getting started on analyzing Titan's methane clouds, while the Ion Neutral Mass Spectrometer Team will be closely examining Titan's atmosphere. In all honesty, we're not sure what any of that means.

Check out some of the postcards Cassini is sending home, as well as lots of info about the mission, at http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/home/ index.cfm.


Water Pressure

A former assistant to City Councilman José Ibarra formally filed suit against the Ward 1 Democrat and the city of Tucson, claiming that Ibarra defamed her when he told reporters last October that she had stolen money from water bills that were paid in cash at the westside ward office. Cara Reid, who worked for Ibarra last summer, had earlier filed a claim for $2.5 million in damages arising from the incident.

The issue of $4,000 in missing money arose in the final days of Ibarra's 2003 re-election campaign. Ibarra blamed the theft on Reid, suggesting she was in cahoots with his Republican opponent. A subsequent police investigation found shoddy accounting procedures but no viable suspects.

Reid's case is being handled by attorney Michael Crawford, a former councilman who frequently sparred with Ibarra. What do you bet he's looking forward to Ibarra's deposition?


Bloodbath at Bank One

Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly got the ax last week following the D'Backs' record 11-game losing streak. Brenly, who managed the team to a 2001 World Series championship, has watched as his ball club has been systematically dismantled over the subsequent seasons. He had a 29-50 record this season.

Brenly was temporarily replaced by D'Backs third-base coach Al Pedrique, who managed the AAA Tucson Sidewinders in 2002 and 2003.

Elsewhere in the D'Backs' organization, Tucson Sidewinder Luis Terrero returned to the Pacific Coast League playing field last Thursday, July 1, following a 34-game suspension triggered by a bizarre moment in Albuquerque, when the hot prospect allegedly threw a ball at a heckler in the stands and struck a female fan. Terrero was batting .335 as of Tuesday, July 6.

Meanwhile, the Arizona Heat softball team had to suspend play against the Akron Racers last Thursday, July 1, after the sprinklers at Hi Corbett Field went off and flooded the playing field during the eighth inning.

In related sprinkler news, TW newshounds Cricket and Scout are coming home much drier now that the sprinklers at the new Ward 3 dog park, 2075 N. Sixth Ave., are no longer erupting at sundown, just as most visitors to the park are arriving. Also, Parks and Rec employees deserve a big belly-scratch for fixing a broken gate at the park, although we think they're going to have to do something about the muddy bog that's beginning to form. Do your part to help out by purchasing a $40 tile to commemorate your pooch and support the park. Contact Councilwoman Kathleen Dunbar's office at 791-4711 for details.


And the Winner Is...

Last week, The Range invited readers to suggest a new slogan for the city of Tucson's annexation efforts into the Catalina Foothills and beyond. We'd like to thank finalists Andy Odell for James Keene said it best: "Get LESS than you pay for!"; Thomas Thivener for Be a part of Tucson, where you can still buy a whole block of downtown for just a hundred bucks!; and Bob Kovitz for Tucson and the foothills: Join for Coin!

The winning entry came from Martha Retallick, who won us over by appealing to our inner geek with the Borg-inspired Resistance Is Futile. You Will Be Assimilated. Retallick wins a half-dozen tickets to an upcoming Thursday night Tucson Sidewinders game out at Tucson Electric Park. Remember, kids, Thursday night is buck-beer night, co-sponsored by your friends at the Tucson Weekly!

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