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Clown Time Is Over

From the Busted! file: Tucson cops announced they had arrested four suspects who had allegedly sometimes dressed as clowns while robbing check-cashing outlets. The suspects--Michael Charles Lipscomb, 20; Keianna Shanneal Jamison, 18; Meika Johnson, 32; and Lacarol Jamison, 20--are believed to have been involved in five separate armed robberies since July 24, said police.

Police caught a break when they realized a maroon 2001 Hyundai that had been impounded during a routine traffic stop was the likely getaway vehicle in some of the robberies. A search of the vehicle turned up clown-related evidence that led back to the four suspects, who were booked on charges of robbery, kidnapping and aggravated assault.

Lipscomb denied any involvement in the robberies in a jailhouse interview with the Arizona Daily Star.

A sobbing Lipscomb wailed to Star reporter Alexis Huicochea: "The clowns are still out there!"

In other crime news: Everyone in the whole frackin' world can now settle down after Colorado authorities said they would not be pressing charges against the freaky John Mark Karr, who became a media sensation after falsely confessing to killing 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey in 1996. Karr's DNA did not match any found at the scene of the crime.

In e-mails, Karr expressed his hope that Johnny Depp would play him in the movies. Really.

So Over the Rainbow

Downtown revitalization efforts suffered a setback when new UA President Robert Shelton told city officials the university was no longer considering the $350 million rainbow-bridge proposal for a new downtown science center. The bridge, proposed by renowned architect Rafael Viñoly, would have stretched across Interstate 10 and the Santa Cruz River, with the science center spanning the structure.

City officials had balked at providing any more than $50 million for the project, leaving the university, which has about $100 million for the project, short an estimated $200 million. That's a whole lotta brownies at bake sales.

University and city officials are expected to consider a more modest alternative.

Next up on the downtown revitalization beat for the Tucson City Council: plans for a new arena.

That Championship Season?

Booya! The Tucson Sidewinders clinched a berth in the playoffs with a 13-7 win over Tacoma Rainiers on Sunday, Aug. 27. The 'Winders, who had a 86-51 record as of press time, will technically be making their first post-season appearance, although the Tucson Toros last made the playoffs in 1995.

The red-hot Sidewinders also wrapped up their final home games of the regular season, but will return to Tucson for the first game of the Pacific Coast League Conference Series on Wednesday, Sept. 6. Get your tickets now by calling 434-1021.

Now for the bad news: Sam Scheurich of the Arizona Daily Wildcat reported that Thirsty Thursday, aka buck-beer night (sponsored by the your friends at the Tucson Weekly!) may not be making a return next season, due to--what else?--liability issues. That would so suck.

Elsewhere on the sports beat: A restaurant chain has offered $3 million a year for the naming rights to the new Arizona Cardinals stadium in Glendale. The Morton family, which owns Morton's Steakhouse and recently sold the Hard Rock Café, wants to name the new sports palace the Pink Taco Stadium, after its Pink Taco Restaurant in Scottsdale.

A press release from the company noted that the Morton family "may also be open to 'Morton Stadium' if there can be a heavy emphasis on Pink Taco marketing, merchandising and offerings throughout the stadium."

Cardinals officials had a cool reaction to the proposal.

Pluto Purged

First they came for Pluto, and I said nothing ... . The mean ol' stargazers with International Astronomical Union officially downgraded the ninth planet, discovered at Flagstaff's Lowell Observatory way back in 1930, to a dwarf planet.

According to the IAU Web site: "The IAU members gathered at the 2006 General Assembly agreed that a 'planet' is defined as a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (c) has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit."

Blah, blah, blah. But Pluto fans shouldn't feel too sad about the decision, which included a new definition of dwarf planets that include Pluto, Ceres and the rather boring 2003 UB313.

"The 'dwarf planet' Pluto is recognized as an important prototype of a new class of trans-Neptunian objects," the organization announced on the Web site. "The IAU will set up a process to name these objects."

May we suggest Keianna or Lacarol?

More by Jim Nintzel

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