Thursday, August 6, 2020

High School Sports Are Coming Back Next Month

Posted By on Thu, Aug 6, 2020 at 4:16 PM

Ironwood Ridge senior running back Brandon Barrios runs downfield against Marana High School last October. - CHRIS HOOK
  • Chris Hook
  • Ironwood Ridge senior running back Brandon Barrios runs downfield against Marana High School last October.
The Arizona Interscholastic Association’s executive board approved the fall 2020 interscholastic athletics calendar during a special meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 5.

The AIA board voted for a staggered athletics season based on the information received from AIA member schools through a July online survey. Factors like student and personnel safety protocols that can be easily administered by athletic directors and coaches across the state helped board members reach a decision.

"The health and safety of our student participants, coaches, officials and essential personnel, including volunteers, is the primary concern for the return of interscholastic athletics and activities," AIA Executive Director David Hines said. "We are very grateful to those who share our commitment of a return to these highly beneficial educational activities and athletics."

Fall sports will continue to proceed under the out-of-season/summer rules as a part of AIA’s Bylaws and Policies until the first day of practice. The fall 2020 interscholastic athletics calendar will be shorted to accommodate for winter sports at the end of the year. All fall sports will still have an opportunity for a championship tournament.

The AIA Executive Board is made up representatives of member schools, each with concerns of how to proceed forward with interscholastic sports during the pandemic. While members brought up numerous concerns about the difficulty of creating a streamlined approach for schools statewide, they ultimately agreed upon the schedule below:

First Practice – Sept. 7
First Competition – Sept. 30-Oct. 3
Championships – Dec. 11/12 (4A-6A & Open)

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With Razor-Thin Margin, Oro Town Town Council Remains Undecided

Posted By on Thu, Aug 6, 2020 at 4:01 PM

From left to right: Bill Rodman, Harry "Mo" Greene and Steve Solomon. - ORO VALLEY ELECTION 2020
  • Oro Valley Election 2020
  • From left to right: Bill Rodman, Harry "Mo" Greene and Steve Solomon.

The Pima County Recorder’s Office’s most recent election results show a razor-thin margin between the five candidates seeking three seats on the Oro Valley Town Council.

As of 2 p.m. today, incumbent Councilmember Steve Solomon leads the race with 7,360 votes (20.49 percent). Newcomer Harry “Mo” Greene is second with 7,355 votes (20.48 percent), Tim Bohen is third with 7,159 votes (19.93 percent) and Councilmember Bill Rodman is close behind with 7,085 votes (19.73 percent). Candidate Bill Garner trails behind with 6,955 votes (19.37 percent).

While an unknown number of votes remain to be counted, it is shaping up to be Solomon, Greene and Bohen’s victory.

Councilmembers Rodman and Solomon ran for re-election on a campaign that promised experienced leadership during the COVID-19 crisis. Newcomer Harry “Mo” Greene is running alongside them to fill the seat left vacant by exiting councilmember Rhonda Piña (who is running for Pima County Supervisor).

Challenging Greene, Rodman and Solomon are former council member Garner and political newcomer Bohen. Garner was voted out of council in 2016 and made an unsuccessful bid for an appointed spot on the Marana Town Council in 2018.

Bohen believes the town council culture was greatly improved after the 2018 election. He and Garner favor conservative economic development with an interest in extensive resident involvement as opposed to a more streamlined review process.

Earlier today, Solomon told Tucson Local Media that he was pleased with the early results of the election, but disappointed that Rodman is currently behind Bohen by just 53 votes. He hopes to see a shift in Rodman’s favor once all votes are counted.

Rodman said that it is still too early to comment on the election results since some ballots remain uncounted, but said it is interesting how close this race turned out to be.

“I’ve been involved in the town for 15 years and I plan to stay involved in the future,” Rodman told Tucson Local Media. “We’re at a time in the town where we’ve got to make some decisions about what we’re going to be when we grow up and so I think I want to be part of that whether it’s me on the council or as a citizen and a resident.”

Other candidates in the Oro Valley election were not immediately available for comment.

This post has been updated with new vote tallies released this afternoon.

Now Stream This: A Rock Magazine Documentary and a Big Dumb Dog Highlight Latest at The Loft

Posted By on Thu, Aug 6, 2020 at 11:30 AM

This week at the Loft Cinema, four new streaming options to go with the many fine films currently available on their site.

During the pandemic, you can assist The Loft by not only streaming films, but donating while their physical doors remain closed. Click Here for more details on how you can help.

For a full listing of the current streaming selections, Click Here.

New this week at The Loft:

A Thousand Cuts

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is kind of a nut, and this documentary details his supposed war on drugs and his definite war on the press.

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Your Southern AZ COVID-19 Roundup for Thursday, Aug. 6: Total cases hit 183K; Death toll tops 4K; Meeting with Ducey, Trump says AZ is stomping out “embers” of outbreak; in-person school has been canceled until at least Labor Day

Posted By on Thu, Aug 6, 2020 at 9:13 AM

The number of Arizona’s confirmed novel coronavirus cases topped 183,000 as of Thursday, Aug. 5, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Pima County had seen 17,293 of the state’s 183,647 confirmed cases.

A total of 4,002 Arizonans had died after contracting COVID-19, according to the Aug. 6 report.

Arizona hospitals remain under pressure although the number of patients has declined from a peak last month. ADHS reported that as of Aug. 5, 1,879 COVID patients were hospitalized in the state, down from a peak of 3,517 on July 13.

A total of 1,136 people visited ERs on Aug. 5 with COVID symptoms. That number peaked at 2,008 on July 7.

A total of 593 COVID-19 patients were in ICU beds on Aug. 5. The number in ICUs peaked at 970 on July 13.

Trump praises Ducey’s response

Gov. Doug Ducey met with President Donald Trump and the White House COVID-19 Task Force in the Oval Office yesterday.

Trump praised Ducey’s response to COVID-19, saying Ducey had demonstrated how to get soaring COVID-19 cases under control without shutting down the economy.

Ducey lifted Arizona’s stay-at-home order in mid-May and allowed bars, gyms, movie theaters and other spaces where people congregate to reopen. Arizona’s numbers then skyrocketed as the virus became widespread and hospital beds filled. Under pressure, Ducey then allowed local authorities to enact measures requiring the wearing of masks, though he did not issue such an order himself. He also closed down gyms, theaters, water parks and some bars and limited restaurants to 50 percent capacity. Arizona’s numbers began to plateau in mid-July but the virus remains so widespread in Arizona that schools are unable to reopen for in-class sessions this month and instead will be conducted online.

Although Ducey has been out of town this week, the Ducey administration is set to unveil contagion metrics to guide school reopenings by tomorrow.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Border Patrol Detains Dozens at No More Deaths Camp

Posted By on Wed, Aug 5, 2020 at 3:30 PM

  • Photo courtesy No More Deaths

On Friday, July 31, armed border patrol agents entered a No More Deaths camp near Arivaca and detained an estimated 30 undocumented migrants in what the humanitarian aid organization is describing as a “military style raid.” The encounter occurred after a series of escalations between the two organizations, and the detained migrants’ whereabouts are currently unknown.

“They immediately detained all our volunteers and took their phones,” said Paige Corich-Kleim, a representative for No More Deaths. “It was a heavily armed presence, with agents in fatigues, masks and assault rifles drawn. It was as if they were entering to neutralize a threat.”

According to No More Deaths, one day prior, on July 30, Border Patrol agents entered the Byrd Camp without a warrant and detained one migrant. In the following hours, agents established 24-hour surveillance, surrounded the property, and a drone was spotted circling the camp.

This led up to the raid on July 31, when Border Patrol entered the camp with a warrant. Agents operated multiple vehicles including a helicopter, an armored vehicle, ATVs and dozens of trucks. Although no No More Deaths volunteers were taken from the camp, they were handcuffed and had their phones taken while agents arrested the migrants.

No More Deaths experienced a similar raid by Border Patrol in 2017. However, Corich-Kleim says a key difference is that in 2017 No More Deaths volunteers were allowed to film the agents, whereas their only photos of Friday had to be taken with a phone that wasn’t yet confiscated.

“It’s like they were entering a war zone, not a medical aid station,” Corich-Kleim said.

After the confrontation, No More Deaths volunteers found their aid station had been "ransacked," with tents torn apart, medical supplies destroyed and power to their well disconnected.

According to the warrant, items to be seized by Border Patrol agents included cell phones, computers, US and Mexican currency, photographs and "maps and other papers relating to the transportation, harboring, and smuggling of illegal aliens."

“On a daily basis those who migrate through the Arizona desert are targeted, terrorized, detained, and deported,” said No More Deaths volunteer Scott Warren, who was previously charged with and acquitted of felony charges for harboring migrants. “Last night we witnessed these tactics deployed against people who sought medical care and relief at our Byrd Camp aid station. As always when humanitarian aid in the borderlands is targeted, those who seek care are the ones that face the brunt of these violent escalations.”

Tucson Weekly is awaiting comment and further information from the Border Patrol.

RIP, Newspaperman Pete Hamill: A Taste of His Work from Tom Miller's 'Revenge of the Saguaro'

Posted By on Wed, Aug 5, 2020 at 2:58 PM

Pete Hamill, a journalist, novelist, essayist, editor and educator, died today at age 85. Hamill was a longtime New York City columnist whose byline appeared in the Daily News, New York Post, Village Voice, Newsday and many others. His novels include Forever and Snow in August. He was NYC through and through.

Hamill penned the introduction to Tucson author Tom Miller's collection of essays and articles Revenge of the Saguaro. The Weekly is reprinting it with the kind permission of Miller in Hamell's honor.

Tom Miller found his way west from Washhington, D.C. during the late 1960s, that time in America when revolt was in the air along with a demand for renewal, both fueled by the music of rebellion. Young Americans were saying a collective No to the war in Vietnam. Parents were rejected, the suburbs were rejected, racism was rejected.

But that immense No also contained a very large Yes. The young, Miller among them, were trying very hard to make something new—that is, to establish values and social codes that were more humane, more open, more free. They talked about new ways of living. They started communes. They talked about the land. Some of it was foolish, much of it was adolescent, but a lot of it was touching and real.

The Yes played itself out in the American West. The East came to symbolize decay: physical decay, the collapse of industry and cities, the end of the immigrant myth. The migration into open places was an American migration, with millions of Americans leaving one version of the country and going to another. Tom Miller embraced the borderlands of the Southwest, as if sensing that his own subject matter lay in the buried templates of that beautiful, empty region that had once been Mexico.

He started writing for alternative newspapers, the many weeklies that grew up in the era in homage to—or imitation of—New York’s Village Voice. Those newspapers defined themselves by attitude and tone. They made no pretensions to an impossible objectivity; that was a time, after all, for choosing sides. But they intensely covered those subjects that got scant (or clumsy, or baffled) coverage in the mainstream press: the anti-war movement, drugs, racism, feminism, music, and the people who lived on the margins of the so-called American dream.

Miller was somewhat different; he embraced the subject matter without adopting the furious tone. He was too good a reporter and too fair a man to fall easily into glib ideological ranting, substituting rhetoric for seeing. He loved the Southwest because of what it was, instead of what it was not. But he wasn’t a booster out of the chamber of commerce either. He loved the border towns, from which Mexico had never departed, and celebrated their disorder and danger and tawdriness. He loved the austere pleasures of life in the desert. He loved places like Bisbee, the site of so many heartbreaking nights in the struggle to establish unions. And he wrote about those places with affection for the people who shared his own visions.

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After a Year of Investigation, the Border Patrol Has Little to Say About Agents’ Misogynistic and Racist Facebook Group

Posted By on Wed, Aug 5, 2020 at 2:30 PM

  • Photo from
ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Click here to read their biggest stories as soon as they’re published.

Brian Hastings, a top Border Patrol official, stared grimly at the television cameras.

It was July 1, 2019, and Hastings was facing down a scandal: News reports had revealed that Border Patrol agents were posting wildly offensive comments and memes in a secret Facebook group.

Agents had shared crudely manipulated images of men sexually assaulting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat and frequent antagonist of the Border Patrol; joked about migrants who died while trying to enter the United States; and made racist insults about Central Americans. The group called itself “I’m 10-15,” Border Patrol radio code for “aliens in custody,” and included some 9,500 current or former agents.

Critics of the agency — already concerned about the separation of migrant families and deplorable conditions in detention facilities — saw the vulgar Facebook posts as further evidence that a culture of casual racism and misogyny was festering within the Border Patrol.

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COVID-19 Spreading Through Tucson State Prison

Posted By on Wed, Aug 5, 2020 at 11:00 AM

  • BigStock

Nearly half of all incarcerated people housed inside the Whetstone Unit of the Tucson state prison complex have tested positive for COVID-19, the Arizona Department of Corrections announced Tuesday evening.

The department indicated that 517 people out of the total 1,066 population have the virus. They are currently being housed together in a separate living area and are receiving “appropriate medical care.”

“They will not be allowed back into the general population until they have been medically cleared,” the department said in a press release. “In addition to measures that are already in place, all inmates at Whetstone will receive meals and all required medication and medical services in their housing units.”

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