Friday, January 26, 2018

Humanitarian aid worker charged with felony for giving migrants water, food and blankets

Posted By on Fri, Jan 26, 2018 at 1:05 PM

A humanitarian aid worker is being charged with a felony after giving blankets, clothes, food and water to migrants crossing the desert. The group he volunteers with, No More Deaths, says the arrest was retaliation for a recent report on Border Patrol agents destroying life-saving supplies in the desert.

Scott Warren, an Arizona State University professor, was arrested on Jan. 17, near Ajo, at a location called “the Barn.” According to court documents, Border Patrol was surveilling the building when they saw Warren pull up in his vehicle and enter.

Along with Pima County Sheriff's Deputies, Border Patrol later knocked on the door and found two undocumented migrants inside, who said they found the location online as a place of refuge. The migrants said that Warren had given them supplies to survive for three days.

Warren’s official charge are “transportation of illegal aliens for profit,” and they were made eight hours after No More Deaths, or NMD, released a report detailing Border Patrol’s destruction of water, food and blankets left out for border crossers.

From 2012 to 2015, NMD distributed over 31,500 gallon jugs of water in the Southern Arizona desert, and more than 86 percent was used, according to the report. But roughly 3,500 gallon jugs of water were slashed, kicked over or poured out. The report included videos of Border Patrol agents vandalizing gallons of water, removing blankets and puncturing canned food.

The area where Warren gave supplies to the migrants is in a deadly stretch of desert where 45 percent of human remains from migrants who died in the desert while trying to reach the U.S., were found in 2017, according to NMD.

Before the year 2000, human remains were found in the desert, on average, once a month. But after 2000, remains were found every three days. The climbing number of people perishing in the desert appears directly related to a ramping up of the Border Patrol policy Prevention Through Deterrence, which closed down entry points in populated areas and pushed migrants into more remote areas.

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Dreamers Still in Limbo After Dems Cave Over Shutdown

Posted By on Fri, Jan 26, 2018 at 9:09 AM

People marched for Dreamers, in Tucson in September 2017, when Trump announced an end to DACA. Activists continue the fight today, with the March 5 deadline approaching and little tangible progress being made in Congress. - DANYELLE KHMARA
  • Danyelle Khmara
  • People marched for Dreamers, in Tucson in September 2017, when Trump announced an end to DACA. Activists continue the fight today, with the March 5 deadline approaching and little tangible progress being made in Congress.

Democrats in Congress ended the short-lived government shutdown, on Monday morning, which could have leveraged a fix for DACA. But instead, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer settled for a vague promise from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to schedule a vote by Feb. 8, once again leaving 3.6 million Dreamers, about 800,000 of which have legal status under DACA, in limbo.

At first, the shutdown gave local DACA recipient Ana Laura Mendoza a bit of hope that Congress would finally do something, but now she’s just frustrated by the “lack of action from both parties,” she says. “Democrats are full of empty promises and rhetoric… Once again, it was made public that our lives are not as important as they claim.”

During Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, he promised the day he took office, he would end DACA. Although he didn’t do so until almost eight months into his presidency, the DACA recipients’ purgatory began the day he was sworn in.

Mendoza says combatting the drawn-out emotional struggle is the worst part. She just wants to know if she’ll have legal status or not, either way. A second year political-science major at the University of Arizona, she’s unsure if she’ll be able to fulfill her aspirations of law school. She’s unsure if all the effort of college will even matter: What good is a degree if you’re not allowed to work?

Earlier this month, a federal judge order the Trump administration to temporarily continue allowing DACA recipients to renew their protected status. Mendoza was one such Dreamer, who didn’t make the cut for the previous deadline the administration had set. Nonetheless, she has mixed feelings: happy she and others like her could renew but upset for the prolonged uncertainty.

Without a fix for DACA, Mendoza will lose her work permit right as she’s finishing her bachelor’s. She will also lose her driver’s license, not to mention the ability to walk out her front door without the fear of being deported.

CNN reported on Tuesday that Sen. Schumer was rescinding a recent proposal to the White House, which included funding for a border wall in exchange for Dreamer protection.

“President Trump’s unwillingness to compromise caused the Trump shut down and brought us to this moment,” Schumer said in a televised speech.

On Tuesday night, Trump tweeted “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer fully understands, especially after his humiliating defeat, that if there is no Wall, there is no DACA”—making the GOP leadership’s “promise” on a DACA fix seem all the more obsolete.

As far as Mendoza is concerned, she can’t get behind the idea of any compromise that includes border security measures.

“It’s so easy for us to be used as pawns,” she says. “I’m not OK with allowing one part of my community to be attacked while another is safe… It’s not just legislature that’s being decided. It’s who gets to thrive and who gets to hardly make it.”

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Tip-Off: Pac-12 Coaching Beef Between Sean Miller and Tad Boyle on Full Display at McKale

Posted By on Thu, Jan 25, 2018 at 12:22 PM

Sean Miller, right, addresses Keanu Pinder during a game this season. - LOGAN BURTCH-BUUS | TUCSON LOCAL MEDIA
  • Logan Burtch-Buus | Tucson Local Media
  • Sean Miller, right, addresses Keanu Pinder during a game this season.

It’s been 19 days since Colorado Coach Tad Boyle’s shot—err, statement heard ‘round the world.

Boyle, who has led the Buffaloes to a 161-102 record in his nine-year reign in Boulder, ushered the now-infamous comments in the immediate aftermath of his team’s stunning 80-77 upset of Sean Miller’s squad—the Wildcats first (and of now, only) conference loss.

Boyle is well-known for his off-the-cuff, oft-blunt commentary and didn’t mince his words in his postgame press conference, when asked by a reporter about whether he took pleasure in beating Miller’s team, along with the USC Trojans, especially considering their place in the ongoing FBI investigation.

“Absolutely,” Boyle said. “Absolutely. It’s ironic we’re playing Arizona. I’ve got great respect for Sean Miller and the type of coach he is. They recruit very, very well. USC has recruited very, very well. The two most talented teams in our league from top to bottom are USC and Arizona. So,
hell yes there’s extra satisfaction.”

Boyle went on to praise Miller, along with USC Coach Andy Enfield, for their continued success in the Conference of Champions—but certainly didn’t contain his excitement either.

“I’ve got great respect for Sean, helluva coach. I’ve got great respect for Andy Enfield. But to answer your question: Hell yes.”

Miller, for his part, didn’t ruffle feathers when asked if he felt extra motivation to clobber Boyle like a dollar-store steak during Monday’s weekly press conference.

“My focus is just on coaching our team. …We have to be a better team this time around, more ready for the game than we were the last time,” Miller said. “And that’s my focus.”

Let the beef commence!

The airing of on-court grievances will once again be on full display at 6:30 tonight—when the 11th-ranked Wildcats (16-4, 6-1) host the Buffs (12-8, 4-4).

The blinding LED lights of McKale Center will no doubt be fixed on the two sideline fixtures, especially if Arizona has a large lead late in the contest.

Miller, who is well-known for his penchant for twisting the knife when given the chance (see last year’s UCLA kerfuffle)—may very well send a symbolic message that cuts across the court and region tonight, should Arizona have a large lead.

The motto of the night, to quote HBO’s infamous Baltimore-centered show “The Wire,” has to be: “You come at the king, you best not miss.”

How to Watch:
Arizona and Colorado will face off at 6:30 p.m. tonight, with Fox Sports 1 airing the game.

How to Bet: Arizona is a 14-point favorite to beat Colorado, according to the bookies in Las Vegas. College basketball guru Ken Pomeroy gives Arizona an 88 percent chance of

Players to Watch: Colorado’s offense, which ranks 179th in points per game (74.1), is led by freshman McKinley Wright IV, senior George King and junior Namon Wright—who average 14.9, 14.2 and 11.6 points per game, respectively.

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The Weekly List: 25 Things To Do In Tucson This Week

Posted By and on Thu, Jan 25, 2018 at 9:30 AM

Your Weekly guide to keeping busy in the Old Pueblo.

Music to Your Ears

John Kamfonas & Eric Edberg. The Sea of Glass Center for the Arts is hosting Award-winning pianist John Kamfonas, known for his talent with improvisation and Eric Edberg, a Julliard and Peabody Conservatory-trained cellist. Spend a weekday evening watching these two powerhouses make gorgeous music. The Beer & Wine Garden will be open before, during and after the show, so you can take the edge off of your Tuesday. 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30. Sea of Glass Center for the Arts, 330 E. Seventh St. $15 advance, $20 day-of. For adults, $12/$17 for teens 12 to 17, $4 for kids 11 and under.

Bernstein Mass! Mass, formally known as Mass: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers, is a big deal. Leonard Bernstein composed it, and wrote the lyrics along with Stephen Schwartz (he’s the guy who wrote Wicked, and did music and lyrics for The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Prince of Egypt). It’s loosely based on a Catholic mass, but it explodes into Broadway, avant-garde and classical styles at different times to explore the versatility of humanity’s relationship with god. This performance features the Grammy-nominated group True Concord, Baritone Jubilant Sykes, UA Dance and the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus. 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 26 and 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 28. Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. $20 to $75.

Catalina Organ Festival. Maybe they call it organ music because you can feel it through your whole body—like it’s good for your own, internal organs. There’s just something striking about hearing grandiose chords echo throughout a room, like the chapel in the Catalina United Methodist Church. The church continues their 2017/2018 organ festival with a performance by Katelyn Emerson, first-prize winner of the American Guild of Organist’s 2016 National Young Artists’ Competition and associate organist and choirmaster at the Church of the Advent in Boston. She’ll be playing works by the likes of Reinberger, Bach, Escaich, Sowerby and Litaize. 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26. Catalina United Methodist Church, 2700 E. Speedway Blvd. $15 advance, $20 at the door.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

A Comparative Look at TUSD's AzMERIT Scores

Posted By on Tue, Jan 23, 2018 at 10:26 AM

  • Courtesy of PhotoSpin
Back in September, I promised to create a comparison of Tucson Unified scores on the 2017 state AzMERIT test with similar schools in other districts, because I was unhappy with comparisons between Tucson's district and neighboring districts with wildly different demographics. I spelled out how I planned to approach the comparison before I looked at any of the data, and I've stayed true to my basic design.

I compared elementary schools with similar racial and economic characteristics in Tucson, Sunnyside, Flowing Wells, Douglas, Nogales and Yuma. Since very few of the other districts had schools with fewer than 60 percent of their students on free or reduced lunch, I only compared schools with F/R lunch percentages of 60 percent or higher. All the districts other than Flowing Wells have a high percentage of Hispanic students.

I compared the districts' passing percentages with one another using all the schools I looked at. I also divided the schools into four groups based on the number of low income students, using the percent of students on free or reduced lunch as the measure—60-69 percent, 70-79 percent, 80-89 percent and 90-99 percent—and compared the districts' passing percentages within each of the four groups.

Here are the overall findings:
• When looking at the passing percentages of all the schools, Tucson, Douglas and Sunnyside have identical passing percentages in Language Arts. Douglas and Sunnyside have slightly higher passing percentages than Tucson in Math — by 3 and 5 percentage points. Yuma, Nogales and Flowing Wells have significantly higher passing percentages than the other three: 8-14 percent higher in Language Arts, about 10 percent higher in math.

• When looking at the schools in the four categories based on income levels, Tucson's passing percentage is significantly lower than the others in the 60-69 percent F/R lunch category. The gap between Tucson and the other districts decreases as the number of low income students increases. In the 90-99 percent category, Tucson's passing percentage is about average.

• Tucson schools have significantly more variation in their passing percentages than other districts, with schools among the lowest and highest in all four categories.
I also looked at the passing percentages for Hispanic students in the schools. The comparisons were close enough to what I found when I looked all the students that a separate analysis of Hispanic passing percentages doesn't yield significantly different results.

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Monday, January 22, 2018

Fashion Fête: A Night Of Fashion, Beauty, Food And Art

Posted By on Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 1:00 PM

The raffle drawing at Fashion Fête. Guests were able to buy a ticket and pick which raffle they wanted to participate in. - BRIANNA LEWIS
  • Brianna Lewis
  • The raffle drawing at Fashion Fête. Guests were able to buy a ticket and pick which raffle they wanted to participate in.
With beauty treatment from Red Door Beauty, art gallery tours, raffles, food and beverages, the Tucson Museum of Art's Fashion Fête kept everyone entertained last Friday, Jan. 19. Guests received complimentary gifts from Kendra Scott.

The night was inspired by their two fashion exhibitions on display, Dress Matters: Clothing as Metaphor and Desert Dweller. Alba Rojas-Sukkar, TMA's chief development officer, said they wanted to give people a chance to see the exhibition if they had not already done so. The Desert Dweller made its debut to TMA on October 21, 2017, and wrapped its run this run this weekend.

The cocktail lounge theme was designed to create a relaxed atmosphere for the guests while they explored the exhibition, according to Rojas-Sukkar. The laid-back environment gave visitors the opportunity to drink, eat and mingle.

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Miss Scarlett Needs a Home

Posted By on Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 9:18 AM


Hi, my name is Miss Scarlett!

I am an 11-mont- old girl ready to meet the purr-fect family! I can be shy at first but can be won over with chin and ear rubs. I will make a great addition to a family that will give me ample time to adjust.

I do not have any previous experience with cats, dogs, or kids but would love to meet them through a slow introduction. Come meet me at HSSA Main Campus at 3450 N. Kelvin Blvd., or give an adoptions counselor a call at 520-327-6088, ext. 173 for more information.

Lots of Purrs,
Miss Scarlett (849875)

Friday, January 19, 2018

Brahm Resnik Nails Ducey On His Koch Addiction (Are There Rehab Programs For Funding Abuse?)

Posted By on Fri, Jan 19, 2018 at 6:30 PM

  • Courtesy of Bigstock
Even if Doug Ducey, somewhere in his heart of hearts, wanted to advocate for higher taxes or put a brake on Arizona's private school voucher programs, he couldn't. He's addicted to the massive doses of dark money he gets from the Koch brothers network, and the Kochs are for lowering taxes and dismantling public (read "government") schools, ever and always. Ducey doesn't dare mess with the supplier even if he thought it would be good for Arizona, lest his vital flow of cash dries up. Lack of supply could lead to a painful withdrawal from public life.

On January 14, Ducey went on Sunday Square Off with Brahm Resnik. It was Ducey's first time on the show since he's been governor, and it may be his last, given the tough questions Resnik threw at him about his positions on education and his political debt to the multi-billionaire Koch Brothers. Before I get to the interview, some background is in order.

Doug Ducey first made a name for himself on the national anti-tax stage in 2012 when he was state treasurer and led the fight against Proposition 204, which would have added a billion dollars to education funding by increasing the sales tax. Anyone fighting a tax hike is a friend of the Kochs, and they showed their support by putting $1.8 million into the effort. Their money was instrumental in defeating the measure. [See Note at the end for a correction.]

In 2014, Ducey was running for governor, and he wanted to make sure his Koch connection was still solid.

The Kochs don't supply all the money for candidates and causes they support. Much of it flows from a loosely connected group of fabulously wealthy people who form the Koch network. They come together during regular summits at fancy resorts to plot their strategies and offer up the money necessary to put their political plans into motion.

Ducey attended the network summit in June, 2014, along with conservative favorites like Tom Cotton, Jodi Ernst and Cory Gardner. These gatherings are very secretive. Nothing is supposed to leak out. But someone managed to record the proceedings, including Ducey's moment in the spotlight.

Ducey was introduced to the gathering as someone who "really stood up to a lot of cronyism in the business community in Arizona and led the charge against a tax hike ballot initiative" — referring, of course, to his fight against Prop 204. Ducey followed his introduction with a five minute self-congratulatory talk which let the deep pockets in the room know he was their man. He told them about himself while he stroked their oversized egos, hoping to open their pocketbooks.

"I've been coming to this conference for years," Ducey told them. In politics, he continued, "You're known for the company you keep," referring to the ultra-rich members of the network and the politicians they support. He stated that he had “confidence in the messaging we have here at the conference.”

"I can’t emphasize enough the power of organizations like this," he said as he concluded. “I’m grateful for what this conference does.” What the conference does is fund candidates, both through direct contributions and infusions of dark money. That's "the power of organizations like this" Ducey was talking about.

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Staff Pick

Patronato Christmas at San Xavier Concerts

Evening concerts with the Tucson Boys Chorus and the Sons of Orpheus raise funds for The Patronato,… More

@ San Xavier del Bac Mission Tue., Dec. 10, 6-7:30 & 7:45-9 p.m., Wed., Dec. 11, 6-7:30 & 7:45-9 p.m. and Thu., Dec. 12, 6-7:30 & 7:45-9 p.m. 1950 W. San Xavier Road.

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