Community Info

Monday, August 13, 2018

Dorm Days: UA Students Move In This Week

Posted By on Mon, Aug 13, 2018 at 9:55 AM

Arizona-Sonora Residence Hall - UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA
  • University of Arizona
  • Arizona-Sonora Residence Hall
It's that time of year again, the traffic is picking up, there are more bicycles to look out for, Target at El Con will soon be packed and just about every restaurant and bar along University is starting to buzz. The students are back, and they are moving into the dorms this week.

General move-in days are:

Aug. 15, 7 a.m. - noon
Aug. 16, 7 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Aug. 17, 7 a.m. - noon
Aug. 18, all day

UA Housing and Residential Life are gearing up to move in more than 6,800 students into the 23 dorms for this upcoming fall semester. Classes start August 20. Find more information here.

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Friday, August 10, 2018

Laughing Stock: On Battles and Recoveries

Posted By on Fri, Aug 10, 2018 at 4:30 PM

Comedians Andy Gold and Kurtis Matthews perform in The Addicts Comedy Tour at the JCC on Aug. 16 - ANDY GOLD
  • Andy Gold
  • Comedians Andy Gold and Kurtis Matthews perform in The Addicts Comedy Tour at the JCC on Aug. 16
It’s not funny at all, per se, and it’s almost certainly the world’s worst career choice, but years of addiction have made comedy stars of Kurtis Matthews and Andy Gold … now that they’re in recovery.

The pair perform as the Addicts Comedy Tour at 8 p.m., Thursday, August 16, at the Jewish Community Center, 3800 E River Rd. Tickets are $20 ($12 for groups of 10), at

Gold recently told The Phoenix Entertainer, “I started doing comedy maybe six months after I got clean, and my whole existence at that time was not using one day at a time.”

For addicts, and their relatives, co-dependents and friends who can relate to that, the JCC show offers a rare opportunity to laugh with recognition, insight and occasionally compassion for their addict’s struggles. For comedy fans and everyone else, it’s just plain funny.

Matthews has toured nationally and internationally since 1984 when a second DUI inspired him to give up alcohol and drug abuse. In 1999, he founded the San Francisco Comedy College, the most popular standup comedy school in the US.

Andy Gold is a favorite at treatment centers and in recovery groups, as well as in comedy festivals and competitions all over the U.S. He began his comedy career in Salt Lake City just six months after a nearly fatal overdose.

Epic Roast Battle

Rich Gary hosts a comedy battle among Tucson comics from 7 to 10 p.m., Friday, August 17, at Epic Café; free.

Reigning champion Roxy Merrari, host of Monday night Comedy at the Wench, defends her title against 15 contenders, tournament style. Judges are Mo Urban, Clint Lapsansky and Collin Chomiak.

Contestants include Steena Salido, John Hernandez, Drake Horner, Paul Fox, Kathie Hedrick, Autumn Horvat, Eli Turner, Dominic DiTolla, Joel Martin, Jesse Andrews, Darryl Graves, Phillip Showers, Sam Racioppo, Julian Moreno and Tony Kanani-Bruhn.

Comedy returns to the Screening Room

The Screening Room Presents Comedy Night at 9 p.m., Wednesday, August 15. Marcus Gallegos hosts and Matt Ziemak headlines. Rounding out the bill are Charles Ludwig, Eden Nault, Cindell Hanson, Andrew Scott and Randy Ford. Doors are at 8:30 and the show is free.

The comedy revival at The Screening Room follows a hiatus in programming as the theatre transferred to new owners. The theater’s previous incarnation supported at least two comedy shows weekly, including a Tuesday night standup open mike and a Friday night comedy variety show that mixed standup acts and teams from local improv companies.

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Arizona Still Grappling with Question of How to Prevent School Shootings

Posted By on Fri, Aug 10, 2018 at 3:14 PM

March for our Lives protest in Tucson. - DANYELLE KHMARA
  • Danyelle Khmara
  • March for our Lives protest in Tucson.

Gun legislation in Arizona remains a hot-button issue going into election season. Gov. Doug Ducey’s proposed school safety plan, which was unveiled in March, was a contentious bill since Arizona lawmakers can’t agree whether “school safety” and “gun reform” are synonymous.

The bill was proposed as a proactive measure towards preventing any more school shootings like the February attack Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The bill passed in the Senate with full support from Republicans and none from Democrats. But ultimately, the legislation stalled in the House.

“Governor Ducey was disappointed that the Safe Arizona Schools Plan was not passed by the Legislature, but that doesn’t mean that our work is done on the issue,” said Ducey Press Secretary Elizabeth Berry in an email. “School safety is a top priority and the governor is committed to fighting for the common-sense reforms included in the [bill].”

Ducey says that passing his school safety bill is one of his highest priorities going into the next legislative session, should he win re-election. But with his plan facing criticism from both Republicans and Democrats, he will have a challenge seeing it become law if he’s reelected.

Democrats cite the lack of universal background checks as one of the bill’s biggest pitfalls. Ducey’s plan intends to strengthen the existing criminal background check system, allocating $600,000 to do so, but that doesn’t take into account that person-to-person sales aren’t regulated because only federally licensed firearm dealers are required to perform background checks at the point of sale. This is commonly referred to as the “gun show loophole.”

Congressional candidate, Arizona Sen. Steve Smith (R-Maricopa), who sponsored the Safe Arizona Schools Plan, says that while he’s confident that Ducey will be re-elected, the issue is still important enough that it will be addressed—and fast—if he’s not. Smith also thinks gun reform should be addressed at the state level not nationally.

“This is not a gun bill; this is a school safety bill,” Smith said. “We’re talking about keeping people safe as it relates to mass shootings. We aren’t going to get into bump stocks and all of those other areas. If you want to have a debate about that, then run a bill about it.”

The Arizona House of Representatives voted 34-25 in February against a bill to ban bump stocks, House Bill 2023. Ducey’s bill initially had several types of STOP orders—Severe Threat Orders of Protection—that would allow both members of the public and law enforcement to petition Arizona courts to advocate for the removal of firearms from individuals exhibiting severe and imminent signs of threatening behavior.

The bill states that after law enforcement presents a judge with evidence that an individual is dangerous, the judge can require that the person in question undergoes a 21-day observation and mental health examination to determine whether or not the person is a risk.

The bill saw multiple revisions throughout April and was significantly watered down before it got to the floor for a vote. That final version removed the aspect of the STOP order that allowed concerned citizens to petition for one, allowing only members of law enforcement to do so.
Smith says that most people don’t know how to petition a court anyway, so removing that part will allow law enforcement to properly handle concerns.

The STOP orders are one of the most contentious parts of the bill, as Democrats argue that they won’t do enough while Republicans argue that they are an overstep by the government.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Bennett says Ducey’s plan focuses too heavily on seizing guns and that the state should instead arm willing teachers to keep schools safe, referring to the oft-used slogan: “The best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

Smith also argues that the addition of armed forces, whether it be through security resource officers or the arming of teachers, is necessary to keep Arizona schools safe.

“The majority of the people that talk to me want to see the schools be better protected, and inevitably that means that they want somebody on campus to be able to use force and have force available if needed,” he says.

Ducey’s plan would increase the amount of armed security resource officers on school campuses in Arizona. It also would allocate more funds for more trained mental health professionals on school campuses, with $3 million for behavioral and mental health specialists, according to Berry.

While Smith, Ducey and Bennett believe that it is necessary to arm more people to combat mass shooters, Democratic gubernatorial candidate David Garcia doesn’t believe placing more armed officers in schools would create the support system that is necessary to prevent school shootings.

“Those who firmly believe that a crisis would be resolved with a gun fight have been playing too many video games and watching too many movies,” Garcia said. “What we need is eyes, ears and communication . . . in the form of support, not enforcement.”

Garcia argues that in order for Democrats and Republicans to mend the division regarding topics of gun control, Arizona needs a governor who doesn’t receive praise from the NRA.
The NRA publicly supports Ducey’s school safety plan, which Smith praises.

Marissa Ryan is a University of Arizona journalism student and a Tucson Weekly intern.

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Third Contaminated Well Near D-M Shut Down

Posted By on Thu, Aug 9, 2018 at 12:30 PM

The sampled wells, marked in red, are the two that were shut down last year. - COURTESY CITY OF TUCSON
  • Courtesy City of Tucson
  • The sampled wells, marked in red, are the two that were shut down last year.

Tucson Water has shut down a third well near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base for safety reasons. Two others were closed last year due to elevated levels of chemicals, exceeding the Environmental Protections Agency’s health advisory recommendations.

Tucson Water Public Information Officer Fernando Molina said the third well, closed at the end of June, contains almost 30 parts per trillion of two per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, PFOA and PFOS, or PFAS for short. PFAS has no federal maximum contaminant level for drinking water, but the health advisory level is 70 parts per trillion.

PFAS can be found in household products like stain repellent, non-stick pans, water repellent fabrics, polishes, waxes, paints and cleaning products as well as fire-fighting foams. The EPA said there’s evidence that exposure to PFAS have adverse side effects, such as increased cholesterol levels, low infant birth weights, effects on the immune system, cancer and thyroid distribution.

One well has PFAS levels of 2950 parts per trillion and was closed in June 2017. The other well has 97 parts per trillion and was closed in January 2017. These chemicals and another contaminate, a form of dioxane, were originally found at levels exceeding the EPA health advisory in two Tucson wells just north of D-M. Dioxane also has no federal maximum contaminant level for drinking water, but the EPA has a health advisory level of 0.3 parts per billion.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

DACA Still in Limbo

Posted By on Wed, Aug 8, 2018 at 9:56 AM

Protesters defend DACA in Tucson last fall, after Donald Trump ended the Obama-era protections for young immigrants. - DANYELLE KHMARA
  • Danyelle Khmara
  • Protesters defend DACA in Tucson last fall, after Donald Trump ended the Obama-era protections for young immigrants.

Less than a week after a court in Washington, D.C. ruled that the Trump administration didn't have the right to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, seven states filed a lawsuit to end the program that allows around 800,000 young people to work and live without fear of deportation.

Today, a federal court in Houston will consider the lawsuit brought by Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia.  Judge Andrew Hanen, overseeing the case, is well known for blocking the Obama administration from expanding DACA in 2015.

The American Civil Liberties Union says it's possible Hanen could order the end to the program anytime after today's hearing. The ACLU also has some recommendations for DACA recipients and says such an order would conflict with the D.C. court and courts in other states, which ordered the federal government to continue renewing existing DACA cases:

To be clear, such an order would be wrong: Not only is the DACA program legal, but if the Texas court were to strike it down, its order would directly conflict with the orders issued by the California, New York, and Washington courts. If the government were subject to such conflicting orders, it would likely seek relief from the Supreme Court quickly, and no one knows for certain how the Supreme Court would rule.

Because of the possibility that the Texas court will issue an unfounded order that leads to faster Supreme Court review, we recommend that DACA recipients who are eligible for renewal submit their applications as soon as possible. If the DACA program is struck down, you could lose your application fee, but applying sooner increases the chance that you will be able to renew while the program is still available.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Mother of Teen Killed by Border Patrol Agent Allowed to Sue

Posted By on Tue, Aug 7, 2018 at 4:00 PM

  • courtesy photo

An Arizona federal appeals court ruled today that the mother of the 16-year-old who was shot and killed by a border patrol agent has the right to file a lawsuit. The agent tried to have the case dismissed, but the court opinion says “the agent was not entitled to qualified immunity.”

“It is inconceivable that any reasonable officer could have thought that he or she could kill [Jose Antonio Elena Rodríguez] for no reason,” the court opinion says.

According to court documents:

Shortly before midnight on October 10, 2012, defendant Lonnie Swartz was on duty as a U.S. Border Patrol agent on the American side of our border with Mexico. J.A., a 16-year-old boy, was peacefully walking down the Calle Internacional, a street in Nogales, Mexico, that runs parallel to the border. Without warning or provocation, Swartz shot J.A. dead. Swartz fired somewhere between 14 and 30 bullets across the border at J.A., and he hit the boy, mostly in the back, with about 10 bullets. J.A. was not committing a crime. He did not throw rocks or engage in any violence or threatening behavior against anyone or anything. And he did not otherwise pose a threat to Swartz or anyone else. He was just walking down a street in Mexico.

The court finds that Jose had a Fourth Amendment right “to be free from the unreasonable use of deadly force by an American agent acting on American soil, even though the agent’s bullets hit him in Mexico.” They also found that his mother, Araceli Rodríguez, has a right to seek money damages.

“The court made clear that the Constitution does not stop at the border and that agents should not have constitutional immunity to fatally shoot Mexican teenagers on the other side of the border fence,” said Lee Gelernt in a statement, deputy director of the American Civil Liberty Union's Immigrants' Rights Project, who argued the federal appeals court case. “The ruling could not have come at a more important time, when this administration is seeking to further militarize the border.”

Earlier this year Swartz was acquitted of second degree murder charges in regards to Jose’s killing but is facing a retrial on a lesser manslaughter charge.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

PACC Drops Adoption Fees for Clear the Shelters drive

Posted By on Wed, Jul 25, 2018 at 3:13 PM

  • PACC

If you’ve been looking to expand your family with a new pet, you’re in luck: Pima Animal Care Center is offering a chance to bring a four-legged friend home sans adoption fee.   

As part of the nationwide Clear the Shelters drive, PACC is waiving adoption fees for pets adopted from July 30 to Aug. 18. Adult dogs will still require a $19 licensing fee.

The national adoption campaign, led by NBCUniversal owned television stations, has helped over 150,000 pets find homes since its launch in 2015. The drive comes at a time when the Tucson shelter is nearing capacity with over 700 pets, Shelter director Kristen Auerbach said in a press release.

You can meet these pets in person at the shelter, 4000 N. Silverbell Road, or online. Adopted pets will come with one free vet visit, vaccinated, microchipped and spayed or neutered.

Want to learn more about pet adoption and the issues pet shelters face? Tune in to KHRR-TV Channel 40 Tucson on Aug. 18 to see a special day-long program from Telemundo.

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Eight Things to Know about Mass Incarceration

Posted By on Thu, Jul 19, 2018 at 1:41 PM

The Arizona Ground Game sponsored a forum called The Crimes of Mass Incarceration - KATHLEEN B. KUNZ
  • Kathleen B. Kunz
  • The Arizona Ground Game sponsored a forum called The Crimes of Mass Incarceration

The Arizona Ground Game hosts community forums every month in hopes of educating our community on controversial issues that can become complicated once you dive into the details. The group wants to see citizens engaged and informed once midterm elections come around this November.

On Tuesday evening, TAGG brought Joel Feinman, head of the Pima County Public Defender’s office and adjunct professor in political science at the University of Arizona, to Pueblo High School’s Little Theater to talk about the causes of and solutions to mass incarceration.

He gave a half-hour presentation before taking questions from the audience. Here’s a recap of what was covered at the forum:

1. Plea agreements
  • Over 90 percent of criminal cases tried in America are resolved by plea agreements, meaning that over 90 percent of defendants don’t see their cases go to a trial.
  • On one hand, it would take the criminal justice system an eternity to process cases if they were all tried by juries, but on the other hand, plea agreements often force defendants into impossible situations.
  • Feinman said, “Our entire justice system becomes a contest between the most powerful person in the room, the prosecutor, and the least powerful person in the room, the criminal defendant.”
  • Mandatory minimum sentences also give power to plea agreements. In 2013, 97 percent of all cases in the federal criminal justice system were resolved by plea agreements. In 2012, the average sentence for federal narcotics crimes resolved by plea agreement was five years. The average sentence for the same crimes that went to trial was 16 years.

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Staff Pick

Rick Springfield Presents Best In Show with Loverboy, Greg Kihn & Tommy Tutone

Rick Springfield Presents Best In Show with Loverboy, Greg Kihn & Tommy Tutone. Live at AVA Amphitheater!… More

@ AVA: Anselmo Valencia Tori Amphitheater Sun., Aug. 19, 7-10 p.m. Casino del Sol, 5655 W. Valencia Road.

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