Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Any Questions?

Posted By on Wed, Sep 5, 2018 at 4:30 PM

  • Graphic created from BigStock image

Across the country, teachers give up some of their earning power when they decide to enter their noble profession. Arizona tops the list in earning losses: 36.4 percent.

We're Number 1!   We're Number 1!   We're Number . . .   Oh wait, that's not a good thing.

According to an analysis in the Money section of Time, on average, teachers earn 18.7 percent less than other college grads working full time, factoring in education, age and years of experience. If you consider teacher's benefits, which are higher than in the private sector, the gap goes down to 11.1 percent.

But all pay gaps are not created equal, as we learn in the article's "Teacher Pay Penalty, State-By-State" chart. Scroll way, way down to the bottom, past Oklahoma, past North Carolina, and you get to Arizona, where teachers earn 36.4 percent less than people of similar education, age and experience.

Do you teach in Arizona? If so, slash a-third-plus-3-percent off your earning power.

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Tucson Man Indicted on Charges of Killing His Girlfriend Six Years Ago

Posted By on Wed, Sep 5, 2018 at 3:40 PM

  • courtesy photo
  • Genna Ayup

Toni Solheid never stopped hoping the man who shot and killed her daughter would see his day in court. And now, more than six years later, he is.

“For as much as I was never going to quit fighting, I wondered if it would ever happen in my lifetime,” she said.

In 2012, the Tucson Police Department booked Ronald Corbin Jr. on one count of manslaughter after he shot and killed Solheid’s daughter, 27-year-old Genna Ayup. But the Pima County Attorney’s Office declined to indict him.

When Ayup was killed, her and Corbin lived together with their 3-year-old son. Corbin told police the shooting was an accident, that he had been putting a new grip on his gun and it went off. When police arrived that night, the packaging for the new grip was on an ottoman in the living room, next to the gun, a barely touched plate of food, a fresh beer and a pile of their child’s toys.

Neighbors later told police they heard screaming coming from the house; some said a male and female yelling at each other. Police saw no signs of struggle and concluded the screaming must have happened after the shooting.

Last week Corbin was indicted on one count of manslaughter for the reckless killing of another human being, according to the Pima County Attorney’s Office. He's pleading not guilty to the charges. On Wednesday, he was arraigned in court. Until the trial is over, the County Attorney’s Office can’t address why they declined to try the case in 2012 or why they’re indicting Corbin now. But old case records suggest a reason.

A detective in the case wrote that she had TPD’s armorer review the scenario about how the gun could have accidentally fired.

“He not only advised me the scenario was possible, and that he was familiar with people, even officers making the same mistake, he actually demonstrated the scenario to me,” she wrote.

The report goes on to say Chief Deputy County Attorney Kellie Johnson said she was declining to file criminal charges against Corbin due to accidental circumstances.

An April 2018 TPD Crime Laboratory report for the case says the gun was test fired and “found to function as designed without any malfunctions” and that installation of the grip would not cause it to accidentally fire. Furthermore, the report says the gun’s trigger has two parts that both have to be pulled with a weight of about seven-and-a-half-pounds of force to fire the gun.

Solheid never believed the shooting was an accident, and about a year-and-a-half ago, she took her story to Tucson City Councilmember Steve Kozachik, who began pushing for the case to be re-opened.

“Even if you agree with what [Corbin] says, it’s irresponsible to go out drinking for three hours, come home with two other people in the room and try and change the grip on your gun and accidentally kill somebody,” he said. “That can’t be our standard for responsible gun ownership.”

Kozachik hired private investigator Weaver J. Barkman, a retired Pima County Sheriff’s Department sergeant with extensive experience in felony investigations.

In November 2017, Barkman met with Kozachik, Solheid and her husband Earl. Barkman agreed to evaluate the investigation, warning them his findings may not support their belief that Ayup was murdered. Two months later, he presented his assessment to TPD Police Chief Chris Magnus.

“The totality of the evidence provided establishes that Ronald James Corbin intentionally shot and killed Genna Louise Ayup...during a domestic violence episode,” he wrote as his conclusion.

“Mr. Corbin’s claim(s) that his Glock semi-automatic pistol ‘accidentally’ discharged while in his ‘lap’ as he was ‘changing’ or ‘attempting to change the grips’ is conclusively disproven. An accidental discharge by that weapon was and is objectively impossible.”

According to police reports, Corbin got off work at Tucson Electric Power at 2:30 p.m., June 26, 2012, and headed to O’Malley’s Bar and Grill. Over the next three hours, he ordered three 23-ounce Dos Equis and a vodka drink.

Reviewing Corbin and Ayup’s texts from that night, police concluded that she frequently texted him, asking him when he was coming home and if they could hang out together, and his replies were short and cold. Just before 6 p.m., Corbin got on his motorcycle and headed the 10 miles home.

At home, he put his backpack and TEP work shirt in on the kitchen counter. He changed out of his work clothes and sat in front of the TV with a beer and plate of food and, according to Corbin, began to change the grip on his Glock 27 semi-automatic pistol.

By 6:30, he called 911 and said his girlfriend had been shot.

When police arrived, Ayup was on the floor in the front entryway of the house, a large pool of blood under her head. Corbin was distraught. The police report says his demeanor was “an appropriate reaction to an accident.” He was crying and vomited twice. He told police it was an accident but that he wouldn’t say any more until he spoke with an attorney.

Police found a chunk of Ayup’s hair on the ground near her feet, by her discarded shoes and a broken wine glass. She had a bruise on the side of her face.

On an ottoman in the living room was the gun, grip fully installed, and the grip’s packaging.

While they handcuffed Corbin outside, one of the officers brought over a basket of toys for his little son. “Daddy get the gun and shoot mommy,” the boy told the police. “I think he did. Daddy’s a bad boy.”

The police report says the child told police his father hit his mother. Police wrote they believed the child was referring to the incident, that he was very verbal for his age and his details were consistent with evidence at the scene. Corbin was released on his own recognizance that night.

Barkman’s report draws attention to the neat placement of the gun, grip packaging and other key items on the ottoman.

Corbin told police he ejected the live round and set it next to him on the couch right before he began installing the grip. Police photos show a live round on the ottoman, under the empty holster and gun. Barkman points out that Corbin would have had to take the holster off the gun before ejecting the live round. This means the round wouldn’t likely be underneath the holster even if Corbin had set it on the ottoman rather than on the couch like he stated.

Barkman’s report also states that Corbin has “a history of attempting to avoid criminal responsibility by staging and misdirection.”

About six months before Ayup’s shooting, Corbin’s car was involved in a hit and run collision. Corbin told police he had been assaulted leaving the bar by three men who then stole his car. When police interviewed people in regards to Ayup’s shooting, several of them, including Ayup’s close friend, her cousin, and Corbin’s cousin, all said Corbin had told them he had crashed his car while drunk, filed a false report and made an insurance claim.

In both cases, Barkman writes that Corbin “provided no meaningful details about the facts and circumstances surrounding the events,” and when asked to do so, Corbin asked to speak with an attorney.

Corbin was a gun enthusiast, so he should have been familiar with gun safety, a number of people interviewed with the case, including Ayup’s family members and Corbin’s drinking buddy from work, told police Corbin had a gun collection and went out shooting on a regular basis.

Corbin’s cousin told police that due to Corbin’s knowledge of guns, he found it hard to believe he shot Ayup on accident, according to the police report.

Ayup’s close friend told police that Corbin had called her almost two weeks after the incident. He told her Ayup had been watching their son playing with a hose in the yard when the gun accidentally went off. Ayup’s cousin told police the same story, adding that Corbin said his son was playing in the mud.

Police photos show there is no water or mud on the ground outside the house. The hose is neatly wound.

In Barkman’s 16-page report, he writes that the bruise on Ayup’s right cheek, shown in police photos, may have come from a fist. He also writes that the clump of hair found near her body appears to have intact roots, suggesting it was yanked from her scalp. Also, the drywall by the front door is damaged, which he says is consistent with Corbin slamming Ayup against the door, causing the knob to smash into the wall.

Barkman concluded that it’s likely that Corbin assaulted Ayup before shooting her. In his report to TPD, he writes that the likely assault led to her dropping the wine glass she was holding and losing her sandals.

People in Ayup’s life — her close friend, her cousin and mother — told police that Corbin was emotionally and verbally abusive toward her, that he went out drinking every day, didn’t help her much with their child and that she was concerned he was doing cocaine. None of them were aware of any physical abuse. Corbin’s cousin told police Corbin was an angry person, had a drinking problem, drank and drove frequently and had been doing cocaine.

On Wednesday, during Corbin’s arraignment, a judge ordered that he’s prohibited from drinking alcohol or possessing firearms. According to Solheid, Ayup and Corbin’s child lived between both sets of grandparents, half-time each, for three years following the incident, but now he lives with his father full-time and Solheid only sees him for monthly visits.

A few weeks before Corbin’s arraignment, Solheid told the Tucson Weekly she would be elated to see Corbin indicted.

“I want him to be charged and convicted and I want him to go to prison,” she said. “I want justice for my daughter. And I want for the first time in his life, for him to realize that there are consequences in life, because in 25 years, never once did he ever have consequences for all the things he did.”

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Three And Out: Arizona Heads to the University of Houston to Face Ed Oliver and the Cougars

Posted By on Wed, Sep 5, 2018 at 1:13 PM

Arizona running back JJ Taylor tries to outrun University of Houston safety Khalil Williams during last year's 19-16 victory by the Cougars in Tucson. - ARIZONA ATHLETICS
  • Arizona Athletics
  • Arizona running back JJ Taylor tries to outrun University of Houston safety Khalil Williams during last year's 19-16 victory by the Cougars in Tucson.

Welcome to week two of the college football season, where the University of Arizona Wildcats already face a must-win game on the road in Houston on Saturday.

The 'Cats, like many of their most fervent supporters, looked rather sluggish in their season opener against Brigham Young University during Labor Day weekend.

They were able to move the ball in fits and spurts on Saturday night, with 197 passing and 129 rushing yards to their name.

The problem was their inability to disrupt the BYU Cougars' offense, surrendering 392 offensive yards to a team that went 4-9 a year ago.

The result of that inefficiency was a glaring L in the record book for coach Kevin Sumlin in his debut, falling 28-23 to the BYU Cougars in front of an announced crowd of 51,002 at Arizona Stadium.

Sumlin guides the Wildcats into familiar terrain this week, having coached in the Space City for four seasons (2008-11), posting a 35-17 record with the UH Cougars.

His new squad faces a daunting task on multiple levels, having to play Saturday's contest at 11 a.m. Central (9 a.m. Arizona time).

They also have the unenviable task of trying to slow down Houston's dynamic defensive tackle Ed Oliver, who's a bonafide top-five pick in next year's NFL Draft.

Both feats will be tough for the Wildcats to surmount, resulting in Vegas picking the Cougars as a 4.5-point favorite, as of Wednesday morning.

Here are some of the aspects to keep an eye on:

Can Khalil Tate Find His Rhythm?

Let me start by saying it's entirely unfair to pin much of the Wildcats sad season opener on Tate's shoulders, given the questionable play-calling decisions made by Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone. Mazzone had Tate throw 34 passes against the BYU Cougars, which is the second-most he's ever thrown in a game (behind the 35 he threw in last year's 48-28 debacle against Oregon). What's even more head-scratching is that Mazzone seemed to hem in Tate's rushing abilities on Saturday, with the dynamic QB carrying the ball 8 times for a meager 14 yards. In order for Tate to be successful, he has to have the freedom to use his legs to force the secondary to move forward, which then allows him to hammer opponents with a well-timed play action fake or deep pass. Sumlin alluded to this disconnect during his weekly press conference on Monday, with the following excerpt telling volumes:

“What we have to do is play to our team’s strengths offensively. I would say too it’s not just Khalil, I think for [senior receiver] Shun Brown to have one touch, that’s not OK...It’s not so much about plays, it’s players and putting them in the right position for us to be successful.”

Expect Tate to have much more liberty to run the ball this week, with the fate of the game hinging on his ability to execute the team's read-option attack properly.

Can anyone stop (or even slow down) Ed Oliver?

Ed Oliver will be the toughest task for an undersized and inexperienced Arizona offensive line come Saturday morning. Oliver, who was an All-American as a sophomore in 2017, didn't miss a beat in Houston's opener against Rice, with 13 tackles in the Cougars' 45-27 win. It'll be interesting to see if the Wildcats double-team Oliver, using multiple linemen (or a lineman and a tight end/running back) to slow down the junior tackle. It'll be up to the likes of redshirt sophomores Tshiyombu Lukusa, Josh McCauley and Bryson Cain at left guard, center and right guard to inhibit Olivers' pass rushing abilities. It's a mighty tall task, but one that will determine whether the Wildcats leave Houston in free-fall or with momentum at their backs heading into their final non-conference game against Southern Utah.

Can the Arizona pass defense make stops when it counts?

Perhaps the most frustrating thing for third-year Defensive Coordinator Marcel Yates' unit in last Saturday's opener was its inability to stop BYU when it mattered most. The Wildcats defense, which was expected to be much improved this fall, surrendered 392 offensive yards to a Cougars offense that just over 325 yards per game last season. What's worse is that they allowed BYU quarterback Tanner Magnum all day to throw, with the senior completing 18/28 passes for 209 yards and a touchdown. The Wildcats didn't force a single turnover against BYU, despite the Cougars averaging more than two a game last season. The Wildcats' pass secondary was a non-factor against the Cougars, with four pass deflections and zero turnovers forced, against a BYU squad that finished 117th in the nation (out of 129 teams) in turnover margin last season (committing 10 more turnovers than their opponents). It'll be interesting to see what alterations Yates and Sumlin put in place against a Houston offense that put up 320 passing and 257 rushing yards against Rice in week one.

How to Bet: Vegas has the Houston Cougars as a 4.5 point favorite, as of Wednesday morning, down from the opening line of -6.

How to Watch: ABC will broadcast the Arizona-Houston game live at 11 a.m. Central (9 a.m. Arizona time).

Who to Watch: Keep an eye on Ed Oliver (mentioned above), as he's probably the best player on either side, from a talent perspective. Also, watch out for Houston's junior quarterback, D'Eriq King, coming off a phenomenal season opener where he threw for 320 yards and three touchdowns, with 33 rushing yards and a score on the ground as well. It'll be up to Arizona's defensive stalwarts, like Colin Schooler (16 tackles against BYU), Isaiah Hayes (13 tackles) and Tony Fields II (11 tackles) to contain King and the Cougars in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Who Will Win: It's hard to bet against a well-oiled machine, which is exactly what Houston Coach Major Applewhite has. I'm going with Houston winning this one by a score of 42-28 over the Arizona Wildcats. 

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Claytoon of the Day: NocKKKing Nike

Posted By on Wed, Sep 5, 2018 at 8:53 AM

Find more Claytoonz here.

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Three Great Things to Do in Tucson Today: Wednesday, Sept. 5

Posted By on Wed, Sep 5, 2018 at 1:00 AM

  • DepositPhotos
Whiskey Wednesday at Union Public House. If you need just a little extra oomph to get you through the week, Union Public House has your back by offering half-off all whiskey all day. They also claim to have Tucson’s largest whiskey collection, so you’ve got more options than you can try in one fateful Wednesday evening. 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5. 4340 N. Campbell Ave. 21+. Details here.

Here to Be Heard. Some know them as The Castrators, some know them as The Flowers of Romance, but most commonly, they’re known as The Slits: an experimental punk band from London with slightly-more-than-subtle feminist motifs. They toured with The Clash, released two albums, changed the punk landscape, and disappeared. This new documentary tells their tale with archival footage and recent interviews. Can’s Deli is hosting a screening, including a live performance and Q&A from Tessa Pollitt of The Slits. Tickets are limited! Tickets only available at Wooden Tooth Records and at the door (if still available). 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31. 340 N. Fourth Ave. $10-$20. Details here.

Shaun of the Dead - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Shaun of the Dead
Shaun of the Dead. Back before the world went completely mad for all things zombie, three British dudes by the names of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright made one of the best parodies of zombie movies and also one of the best zombie movies in general. The Loft Cinema is taking you to the North London suburbs and showing you what household items are best to bash a monster’s brains in with. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5. 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. Regular admission prices. Details here.

Events compiled by Emily Dieckman, B.S. Eliot, Ava Garcia and Jeff Gardner.

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Staff Pick

UA Dance: Spring Collection

Spring Collection is the season’s “wrap up party,” and as always we offer you something special. This… More

@ UA Stevie Eller Dance Theatre Fri., April 19, 7:30-9 p.m., Sat., April 20, 7:30-9 p.m., Sun., April 21, 1:30-3 p.m., Thu., April 25, 7:30-9 p.m., Fri., April 26, 7:30-9 p.m., Sat., April 27, 7:30-9 p.m. and Sun., April 28, 1:30-3 p.m. 1737 E. University Blvd.

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