The Pima County Health Department will be giving out free, take-home COVID tests.
The kits will be handed out on Saturday, Oct. 30, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Abrams Public Health Center, 3950 S. Country Club Road in the lobby of the Abrams building.
Each box contains two antigen self-tests that deliver results in 15 minutes.
These rapid antigen tests look for COVID-19 antigens, or small pieces of protein, in your respiratory tract. These tests are not sufficient for international travel or other organizations that require PCR/NAAT (nucleic acid amplification test) results.
To find free COVID-19 testing centers from Pima County, go to www.pima.gov/covid19testing.
For more information on the BinaxNOW self-tests, including how to report results and to watch instructional videos in English and Spanish, visit pima.gov/covid19hometest.
Sections of the Bajada Loop in Saguaro National Park’s Tucson Mountain District will once again be closed from Oct. 28 to Nov. 10.
This closure does not include the Sus Picnic Area, which can be accessed via Hohokam Road. No vehicle or bicycle access to Signal Hill will be permissible until Nov. 11. More information will be available in the park’s Red Hills Visitor Center.
There will be heavy machinery, large trucks, and construction traffic moving in both directions on the one-lane road. Visitors should use caution.
Visit nps.gov/sagu/planyourvisit/conditions.htm for more information.
WASHINGTON — The next wave of the massive COVID-19 vaccination campaign could begin as soon as next week, after federal regulators decide if elementary school students across the U.S. should begin rolling up their tiny sleeves.
That multistep approval process kicks off Tuesday, when the Food & Drug Administration’s panel of vaccine experts will vote on whether the benefits of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine outweigh the risks for kids ages 5 to 11.
If the panel and top FDA officials grant an emergency authorization for vaccinating that age group, then the next step lies with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A CDC panel would meet on Nov. 2 and 3 to craft additional guidance on how the shot would be used.
For parents with children in that age group, that could mean a vaccination appointment for their child as soon as Nov. 4. The Biden administration has said there will be 15 million doses ready to ship as soon as the FDA gives the green light.
In recognition of the difficulty parents may have deciding whether to obtain a vaccine, the administration also is taking care to connect parents with trusted providers like pediatricians. “These are our babies, and they still feel like a baby when they’re that age and that size,” said Amy Wimpey Knight, president of the Children’s Hospital Association.
The Pima County Health Department is now offering all three types of COVID-19 boosters to eligible individuals at its health clinics, vaccination PODs and mobile clinics.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Oct. 21 approved the boosters after previously authorizing the Pfizer booster. The CDC is also allowing people to choose which booster they receive.
If you completed two doses of Pfizer or Moderna at least six months ago, you are eligible for a booster if you are:
If you initially received a J&J shot, boosters of any vaccine type are recommended for those 18 and older and who were vaccinated at least two months ago.
Find a complete list of Pima County health clinics and mobile sites, with days and hours of operation, at www.pima.gov/covid19vaccine. The vaccine is free, and no ID is required at County sites.
Time is running out for Senate Democrats to deliver millions of undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship that their families and advocates nationwide have been clamoring for years, and some business leaders in Arizona are emphasizing the economic benefits of a path to legalization.
In a letter to U.S. Sens. Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, 32 business leaders, elected officials and heads of nonprofits asked them to ignore the recommendations from the Senate parliamentarian, who twice rejected a plan to include a pathway to citizenship in a budget reconciliation plan.
“It has never been more urgent to achieve immigration reform to boost our economy, address our labor shortage, level the playing field for all workers and to support families,” the letter read. “The urgency is clear, the benefits are undeniable, the legislative vehicle is on the table and there is bipartisan popular support for action. We can not let this opportunity slip away. Our nation can’t afford (that) and neither can Arizona.”
Former Republican state senator Bob Worsley organized the coalition that signed the letter, which includes executives of real estate, construction and retail companies, Mesa Mayor John Giles, and Nogales councilwoman Liza Montiel.
“We have less than a couple of weeks to try to get some immigration reform into reconciliation,” Worsely said. “I’m afraid that, if we don’t get something in there, we are back to square one where we were earlier this year after Biden was elected.”
Lil Miss Hot Mess will present her research on drag studies at the University of Arizona Poetry Center, 1508 E. Helen St., in the Dorothy Rubel Room at 7 pm on Tuesday, Oct 26.
Lil Miss Hot Mess is a well-known drag queen, activist, scholar, children’s book writer and storyteller of Drag Queen Story Hour, a program that brings drag queens and children together for storytime. Her children’s books include The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish. (The forthcoming If You’re a Drag Queen and You Know It will be available in May.) Lil Miss Hot Mess is a professor at UA who teaches history and theory of play. Lil Miss Hot Mess’s presentation is part of UA’s 2021 Tucson Humanities Festival and will be available for live stream at humanitiesfestival.arizona.edu/live.
What can attendees expect to see at the presentation?
It’s an overview of my work with Drag Queen Story Hour and some research that I've done on drag pedagogy. In addition to being a drag performer, I am also a professor at the U of A. Some of my research is about what can we learn from Drag Queen Story Hour in the broadest possible sense. Not just, how do we think about LGBT or gender 101? But, how we can learn to be better teachers or educators if we adapt some of the strategies of drag performers. I talk about things like how to incorporate humor to de-stigmatize difficult topics.
What topics are you destigmatizing?
When I talk about drag I like to actually highlight that it's not just about gender, it's not just about a physical transformation because drag has many different forms. Drag is about exaggeration. It's about turning your fantasy into a reality and often it's about dealing with difficult topics through a sense of camp, through a sense of humor. Being willing to laugh at ourselves and laugh at the world, but also take some of these things seriously. For example with Drag Queen Story Hour, we like to read books that address different topics of diversity, bullying, of finding your own creative voice. But, we also like to read the classic Everyone Poops. Which is a way of taking a thing that can be serious, scary, or shameful for kids and reading the book together and laughing at it. I also think it is for kids who might be questioning their identity, their gender identity or feel different because they are multiracial, adopted or have a disability. They learn about finding strength through humor and leaning into those things that make us different is part of what drag culture is all about.
What inspired you to do this type of research?
I fell into Drag Queen Story Hour through some of my friends in the San Francisco Bay Area. It started in 2015. I was living in New York at the time, and we brought it to New York. You know, it's blossomed all around the country and all around the world. I think there are so many affinities between drag performers and children. Drag is literally dressing up and playing. Kids are all about imagination. They're all about play, they're all about asking a lot of questions and I think that's another thing drag does well is that it questions authority, it questions history. It asks why? Why should we do something one way because it has always been done that way? Being able to explore that with kids not only provides them an important educational opportunity but I've also learned a lot in so many different ways from working with children in drag. The research came after doing the events because I wanted to go a little bit deeper.
It's like a commentary on education and how we can approach talking about these deeper topics with kids.
Much of education is test scores and memorizing. Even important work in diversity or social justice topics still tends to be framed as learning the vocabulary for LGBTQ or learning how to get some of these things right. I think that drag opens up a little bit more space for improvisation, for experimentation, for taking risks, for being willing to fail together and laugh at off or learn from it. I think that is actually a major shift from the way that we think of education in this country.
What are you hoping people walk away with from your event?
My main goal throughout all of this work is to get people to loosen up a little bit and enjoy that sense of play and be open to thinking about things in a different way. I will talk about five specific strategies that people can use but again, I don't want people walking away with notes. I want people to walk away feeling that we can activate our imaginations to do things differently. How do we tap into our own creativity? How do we use that to reimagine our world?
I think drag can intersect with a lot of different aspects of our lives. One thing that I try to make clear is that when I talk about drag pedagogy or drag education, I'm not suggesting that every teacher put on a wig or a pair of heels. But that people think about some of these elements to transforming something about the way you work, or bringing out an aspect of your personality that you don't always allow to shine can change the way that you relate to people or relate to different situations. So it's not about becoming a drag but it’s really about learning a little bit from us.
Five days before Ron Watkins, the notorious MAGA conspiracy theorist who helped spread the violent far-right QAnon conspiracy, posted a video to his Telegram account announcing his candidacy for a rural Arizona congressional district, he registered to vote in Maricopa County.
Watkins, who is widely believed to have been behind QAnon’s master account, has been making national headlines for his congressional bid in Arizona where he is attempting to unseat Democratic Congressman Tom O’Halleran in a large, rural district that encompasses a large portion of the state.
However, that district won’t exist in 2022: All of the state’s districts are being redrawn by the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, and final decisions won’t be made until the end of the year.
The Arizona Mirror obtained a copy of Watkins’ voter registration information through the state’s public records law. It shows Watkins registered to vote in Maricopa County on Oct. 9, at a condominium in the Biltmore neighborhood of Phoenix. Property records show that the property is owned by Liz Harris, a Republican who lost a bid for the state legislature in 2020 and has since become a leading proponent of false claims that widespread fraud changed the election’s results.
Harris is also the real estate agent for the property, which was listed for sale in August. Online realty websites show the condominium is priced at about $287,000 and that a sale is pending. It’s unclear if Watkins is purchasing the property.
Harris has been the driving force behind a group of conservatives who have canvassed Maricopa County and other parts of the state to identify alleged voter fraud. But the report she spearheaded based on that door-to-door scouring was rife with errors, including listing areas that had homes on it as vacant lots and lacking other corroborating information.
But who exactly is Watkins? And how is a man who has spent the past decade living in Japan, China and the Philippines able to run for higher office in Arizona?