The projects include extending Alvernon Way over the Rillito River with a new bridge, and building an overpass to carry Kino Boulevard over 22nd Street. The plan would also widen River Road between Campbell Avenue and Alvernon Way; South County Club Road between 36th Street and Irvington Road; West Valencia between Interstate 19 and South Mission Road; Broadway Boulevard between Euclid Avenue and Campbell; and Houghton Road between Speedway Boulevard and Golf Links Road.
Missing from the list of improvements was 22nd Street, which was the project that pissed everyone off in the first place, when supervisors voted to spend the money on residential streets instead of the planned widening of 22nd.
The projects are scheduled to be completed during the next decade.
Later in the week, Marine Lance Corporal Joshua Lucero was laid to rest at South Lawn Cemetery, on Saturday, Dec. 18. Lucero, 19, was killed by an explosion in Iraq's Al Anbar Province west of Baghdad on Nov. 27.
In related news, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld got hammered by politicians and pundits following reports that he hadn't taken the time to personally sign letters of condolences to the family members of fallen soldiers. Rumsfeld announced he would be signing future missives.
President George Bush stood by Rummy, telling reporters earlier this week that he was "doing a really fine job."
Meanwhile, The New York Times reports that the Army National Guard's recruiting numbers were roughly 30 percent below quota since Oct. 1. The lack of recruits evidently stems from the realization that rather than spending one weekend a month doing some cool training at a nearby military base, they'll be putting their lives on the line for a year or more in a hellhole like Iraq or Afghanistan.
Break out the checkbook, taxpayers: National Guard officials also say they need $20 billion to replace equipment that's been used in the war effort.
With fewer than six weeks remaining before the January elections, Iraq remains a violent and troubled mess. Last Sunday, Dec. 19, at least 66 people were killed when bombs exploded in Karbala and Najaf. In a separate incident, three election workers were dragged from their cars and gunned down in a Baghdad street.
Responding to the ongoing violence, Bush was critical of Iraqi security forces and said he didn't expect the country's political process to be "trouble-free."
"The Tucson shovel-nosed snake is in trouble and needs the safety net provided by the Endangered Species Act," Greenwald said.
Greenwald added that the Center for Biological Diversity had filed a 60-day notice to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to act on a petition to list the Mexican garter snake as threatened or endangered. Greenwald said the lack of action was typical of the Bush administration.
"President Bush has shown a complete disregard for the nation's wildlife and natural resources," said Greenwald. "Funding for endangered species protection needs to be dramatically increased."
In other UA news, relatively few tortillas were hurled at this year's winter graduation ceremony, in which 2,959 students earned undergrad degrees and 755 were awarded master's degrees, according to UA officials. Students may have been intimidated by the medieval maces that faculty are now wielding during the ceremony.