Nostalgia

Friday, June 17, 2016

In Defense of Marijuana: Parents of Medical Weed Patient in Prison Fear for His Life

Posted By on Fri, Jun 17, 2016 at 9:00 AM

I met Kyle Catlin almost one year ago. As I'm writing this, he sits in protective custody at the Marana Community Correctional Facility, afraid for his life after an inmate recently jumped him and then threatened to kill him for being "a snitch."

The inmate split Kyle's lip open. The inmate now sits in solitary because of the fight. Kyle is also in "the hole" for protection. Both of them were issued a complaint even though Kyle didn't do anything, according to his father Marvin.

This wasn't the first time. A couple of months ago, another inmate in a different correctional facility jumped Kyle and split his head open.

"His appeal for the guy punching him in the mouth was denied, he has one more appeal and is working on it now. If he is denied again he will have to be put in a medium security facility," Marvin told me through Facebook a couple of days ago. We've been in touch here and there since Kyle's trial.

"He is being threatened by a group of inmates. He should be moved to protective custody tonight.
I fear for his life," Marvin said last night. 

It was a three-digit-hot August day last year, and the young medical marijuana patient/caregiver and I were supposed to talk about his upcoming two trials for nonviolent marijuana sale, possession and cultivation felony charges over some iced coffee or tea at Cafe Passé on Fourth Avenue. Kyle called me to let me know he couldn't make it because his car had broken down and he'd taken it to a shop in South Tucson. I met him there and we talked in the waiting room for at least three hours.
Kyle and his grandfather.
  • Kyle and his grandfather.


Before we got into the serious talk, he chatted about his upcoming birthday party on Aug. 15. It was his 27th birthday. 

Tall, the blondest of hair, soft spoken, kind eyes, beyond family-oriented and a die-hard fan of car racing—I remember thinking, how can he be facing the possibility of going to prison?

At the time, he had at least 10 felony charges on him. (Read more about the charges, In Defense of Marijuana, September 2015.) He told me he was afraid of going to prison. He was afraid of getting pulled into a gang, being jumped. He, without shame, said he wasn't a fighter. He'd lose a fight. But probably the biggest fear was separating from his family. They were always together.

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Documentary Looks Back at Tragic Death of 49 Toddlers in a Day Care Fire in Hermosillo 7 Years Ago

Posted By on Thu, Jun 2, 2016 at 3:04 PM

A shrine for the 49 toddlers killed in the fire, outside the former ABC day care. - MARIA INÉS TARACENA
  • Maria Inés Taracena
  • A shrine for the 49 toddlers killed in the fire, outside the former ABC day care.

The death of 49 toddlers in the ABC Day Care fire in our sister desert city of Hermosillo is probably one of the most soul wrenching days—if not the saddest and most puzzling day—in Sonora's modern history.

The morning of June 5, 2009, at least 200 babies and toddlers were dropped off by their parents. In the early afternoon, during nap time (la hora de la siesta) the fire from neighboring storage owned by the state's Finance Department spread to ABC—a warehouse with practically no emergency exists, a small main entrance, defective fire alarms and a tarpaulin ceiling. More than 100 children and staff were injured by the fire, according to Hermosillo's newspaper El Imparcial. The 49 angels passed away either because of the fire, smoke or the ceiling's collapse. 

Evidence quickly piled up suggesting negligence and corruption from the day care's owners, all the way up the ladder to federal and state officials. 

ABC was inspected often, and somehow it always passed. In fact, 10 days before the fire, it passed its last inspection.

Except, in 2005, federal authorities ordered the owners to get rid of the tarp, add more emergency exits and widen the entrance, according to a June 2009 New York Times article. Absolutely nothing happened. What's more, several months later that same federal agency—the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, Mexico's Social Security—renewed its contract with ABC even though the repairs were never made.

It took seven years for the families to get some sort of justice.

In May of this year, 19 of the presumably 22 people involved in the fire—including the IMSS representative in Sonora—were sentenced to at least 20 years in prison for culpable homicide of the 49 toddlers.

It's not enough. It's a tragedy that should have never happened.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Remembering 9-Year-Old Brisenia Flores: Murdered in 2009 by Anti-Immigration Activists in Arivaca, Ignored by the Media

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2016 at 3:00 PM

brisenia.jpg
Brisenia Flores would be 16 this year—my youngest brother's age. Except seven years ago on May 30, as she slept with her puppy on the living room couch in her family's mobile home in Arivaca—about 60 miles south of Tucson—armed robbers broke in, and shot and killed Brisenia and her father, Raul, 29.

The home invasion was led by Shawna Forde, a former member of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, and founding member of the group Minutemen American Defense. Reports say she'd patrol the Arizona-México borderlands carrying weapons and protested against crime along the border, as well as the presence of undocumented immigrants in the country. Forde was reportedly kicked out of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps because she was "unstable." (Describing both groups as white supremacists is not far fetched.)

Forde and her two accomplices claimed to be law enforcement, which is how they were able to enter the Flores' home.

The day of the murder, as a CNN article from 2011 describes, Brisenia, Raul and mom Gina Gonzales went shopping for new shoes for Brisenia. She had just finished third grade and needed them for summer camp. 
She fell asleep watching television as her parents slept in their bedroom. A few hours later, she opened her eyes to the sight of her father, lying on the opposite couch. He had been shot in the chest and was choking on his own blood. Her mother was bleeding on the floor, a gunshot wound to her leg. The little girl was startled and cried out to intruders in her home, “Why did you shoot my mom?”
Brisenia's mom, Gina, cried and described the events in court back in 2011. She made it out alive seven years ago yesterday, after being shot in the leg. She called 911 and got a hold of her husband's gun.

"[Brisenia] was really scared. Her voice was shacking," Gina said in court, according to CNN. "I can hear her say, 'Please don't shoot me.'"

Forde and two accomplices, Jason Bush—at the time the national director of operations for the Minutemen American Defense—and Albert Gaxiola planned to raid the home to steal drugs, weapons and money to fund their anti-immigration group, according to CNN. Reportedly, they thought Raul was a drug dealer. No drugs were found.

On Feb. 22, 2011, a jury found Forde guilty of first-degree murder and gave her the death penalty.

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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Into the Mild: So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2016 at 3:00 PM

Hey Amigos,

I'm pretty bad at goodbyes so I'll just cut to the chase: I'm no longer able to write the Into the Mild feature for Tucson Weekly. I've enjoyed writing it immensely and hope that you enjoyed reading it, but my time is simply stretched too thin to continue. I'm currently working, writing two books, looking for permanent work in the United States, dealing with banking issues, and trying to maintain a social life. I'm juggling all of this with very limited internet access. Writing for Tucson Weekly is a luxury that I can't squeeze into my schedule anymore.

I'm now using the lion's share of my writing time writing two books. The first will be a collection of short stories from my time exploring the world alone and the new perspective it puts on life's struggles. The other will be about working for grassroots charity groups, with sections on my stint living at refugee camps, my time in the Real Life SuperHero community, and the experience of working for several small organizations in the global south. I hope to have both books published sometime in 2017. I'll also post stories and photos on my personal site, IntoTheMild.co, from time to time.

I owe many thanks to former TW editor Irene Messina for writing an article about a charity project I used to run (found here) and then allowing me to cut my teeth by writing the “Hero of the Week” column, despite my having zero training, experience, or skill in writing. I'm also extremely grateful to Chelo Grubb and the other current staff at Tucson Weekly for giving me another opportunity to share stories with TW, this time personal accounts of exorcisms and life at refugee camps. I hope that my stories added a unique flavor to TW and hope to someday, when life has slowed to a sprint, write for Tucson Weekly again.


May all your dreams come true,
Jason

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Monday, March 28, 2016

10 Interactive Photos Show Changes In Tucson's Skyline

Posted By on Mon, Mar 28, 2016 at 2:40 PM

Rent Cafe, an apartment search website, and writer Ama Otet put together a remarkable collection of before and after images showcasing the recent transformations in Tucson's skyline. Hover over the images to see the year they were taken. 

Take a look for yourself:

1. Hub at Tucson, Sol Building and Luna Building at Speedway Boulevard and Euclid Avenue

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Into the Mild: The Adventures of Jason and Hobbes

Posted By on Mon, Feb 1, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Traveling alone can be tough. When all of my snooty friends couldn’t join me because they had families or careers they couldn’t walk away from, I had to get creative in my search for a companion.

I left Tucson in June of 2014, traveling with a group of 500 soccer fanatics to watch the World Cup in Brasil. We were hundreds of strangers from across the US and everyone seemed to bond almost immediately

Then, after two weeks, they were gone.

I next stayed with a friend from Brasil, though she usually had school and I spoke no Portuguese at the time.

Then, after two weeks, I was on my own again.

I worked in Bahia for a month, then left and never saw my coworkers again. I repeated the experience in Salvador. And Ecuador. And Peru. You see the pattern. I was surrounded by people who wouldn't stay in my life. I was alone in a crowd. I wanted a permanent travel companion, flexible and adventurous.

So I made my own.

First came the pattern. I found this nifty guide, printed out a PDF of the design, bought some fleece, and got to work.


hobbes3.jpg


I started with the arms and legs. They were the easiest pattern, and as I had never sewn before, the least noticeable if/when something went wrong.

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Friday, October 2, 2015

Tucson Modernism Week Is Here

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 1:00 PM

The Firebird III will be on display at MOCA Tucson as part of Tucson Modernism Week, which starts tonight.
  • The Firebird III will be on display at MOCA Tucson as part of Tucson Modernism Week, which starts tonight.

Tucson Modernism Week kicks off today at the Tucson Convention Center with walking tours during the day and a cocktail party from 7 to 10 p.m. 

This weekend, you can find vintage trailers at the TCC, the Firebird III at MOCA Tucson and a whole bunch more fun.  Here's a complete schedule of tours, talks, exhibits and all the rest.

Demion Clinco of the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation talks about Modernism Week in this week's TW.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Ricky Martin Was in Tucson Last Night (And it Was Important for Some of Us)

Posted By on Thu, Sep 24, 2015 at 1:19 PM

NOELLE HARO-GOMEZ
  • Noelle Haro-Gomez

Ricky Martin.

Some people remember him from his Menudo days, some learned who he was overnight because of his (let's just admit it it) electrifying performance at the 1999 Grammys, and some discovered him through hearing their friends and loved ones brutalize "Livin' La Vida Loca" when it came on radio.

I used to watch him on TV, with my Nana, on an anglo novela called "General Hospital," where he played Miguel, a character whose reason for being is explained on the GH Wiki as "going on a tour."

Taking his boy band days into consideration, Martin has been a performing, touring musician for about 30 years and last night his One World Tour stopped at AVA Amphitheater.

His concert was full of energy, and he kept his fans dancing all night, opening the show with one of his newer singles, "Mr. Put It Down." But the crowd went crazy when he went into his back catalog, singing classic songs like "Vuelve," "Livin’ La Vida Loca," and "Tú Recuerdo."

During the show, Martin announced that one of his newest songs, "Disparo al Corazón," from his album "A Quien Quiere Escuchar," has nominated for a Latin Grammy.

His next stop will be in Phoenix on Sept. 26. at Comerica Theater. Tickets are still on sale, for those of you who missed last night's show (or those of you who want a double-dose of Mr. Martin).



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Tucson's 242nd Birthday Celebration

Tucson's Birthday Celebration. This year the event continues to grow as a family-friendly informative and food tasting… More

@ Presidio San Agustín de Tucsón Mon., Aug. 21, 5:30 p.m. 196 N. Court Avenue

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