Monday, July 22, 2019

Posted By on Mon, Jul 22, 2019 at 12:36 PM

click to enlarge COURTESY, PIMA COUNTY
Courtesy, Pima County
On Monday, July 22 through Thursday, July 25, between the nighttime hours of 7 p.m. and 5 a.m., Pima County Department of Transportation along with their contractor, GraniteSabino Canyon Construction, Inc., will continue work on north Sabino Canyon Road from the Tucson City limits to east Cloud Road.

The work will consist of installing survey monuments and loop detectors, utility adjustments, thermo striping and raised pavement markers. Work is expected to be completed early August 2019.

Motorists can expect lane restrictions and reduced speed. Please approach the area with caution and obey all traffic control devices. Minor delays may occur during this work.

In the event of mechanical failure or inclement weather, the construction schedule is subject to change.

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Monday, June 3, 2019

Posted By on Mon, Jun 3, 2019 at 1:45 PM

Jamie Green
If you know and love the culture created by the design team Sara and Rich Combs of The Joshua Tree House, you'll be excited to hear that they are creating a five suite inn on 40 acres on the western side of Saguaro National Park, slated to open for bookings later this summer.

Left abandoned for 10 years, the inn was renovated by the husband and wife interior designers. Their newest project is called Posada - "hostel". Each suite is carefully styled to tell a unique story, focusing on a neutral palette reflecting the desert, natural materials and textures.

The inn has already housed a retreat for Spell & The Gypsy Collective, an Australian fashion brand. The retreat was a gathering of familiar faces from Instagram, from Sarah Shabacon to Rocky Barnes. The group dined to live tunes from June West, meditated and shared in a tea ceremony and watched Pulp Fiction under the stars. The space is an Instagram dream.

The Joshua Tree House design team have created a peaceful, sunlight-filled space that welcomes rest, quiet conversations and daydreaming. Float in their pool carved in to the rocks and gather around the fire pit to dry off. Pulled by the magnetism of the desert, it's no wonder the Mojave-based team felt the draw of the Sonoran desert. If you need to escape, reset and reconnect, plan to stay at Posada. Bookings open late Summer 2019

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Thursday, December 20, 2018

Posted By on Thu, Dec 20, 2018 at 3:36 PM

According to a new study released by the United States Census Bureau, more new residents are moving to Arizona than nearly any other state in the U.S.

In terms of overall resident growth, Arizona ranked fourth in the nation with 122,770 new Arizonans recorded between July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018. In terms of percentage growth, Arizona also ranked fourth, with a growth rate of 1.7 percent. Over 122,000 people moved to Arizona of the course of the time studied.

As stated in the report: “The U.S. population grew by 0.6 percent and Nevada and Idaho were the nation’s fastest-growing states between July 1, 2017, and July 1, 2018. Both states’ populations increased by about 2.1 percent in the last year alone. Following Nevada and Idaho for the largest percentage increases in population were Utah (1.9 percent), Arizona (1.7 percent), and Florida and Washington (1.5 percent each).”

The office of Gov. Doug Ducey sent out a press release Dec. 20 to announce the positive growth for the state.

“In the game of states, people vote with their feet, and Arizona is winning,” said Ducey, in a release. “With our high quality of life, growing economy and abundance of new jobs, and some of the best schools in the nation, Arizona continues to prove itself as an unbeatable place to live, raise a family and retire."

Read all about the new census report here.

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Friday, October 5, 2018

Posted By on Fri, Oct 5, 2018 at 4:43 PM

Sixty-four miles through the Sonoran desert.

That’s the trek you have to tackle if you walk from Cananea to the town of Magdalena de Kino, both located in Sonora, Mexico. But Daniel Alejandro Martinez Miranda isn’t deterred by days of walking beneath the sun, or by the seemingly permanent blisters that speckle his feet. After all, he’s been doing this for years.

Martinez Miranda is one of thousands who flock to Magdalena each autumn to honor the city’s patron St. Francis Xavier. Each year, as October 4th approaches, the narrow streets fill with peregrinos — pilgrims, and families camp out in tents in the shade of the city’s plaza. Vendors line the streets, selling rosaries, sweet blocks of quince paste, and, oddly enough, a variety football memorabilia.

Some have traveled even farther than Martinez Miranda — from Guaymas, Nogales, and the San Xavier reservation just south of Tucson. And the usually-sleepy town of Magdalena pulsates with life.

Check out these photos from the trek this year: 

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Posted By on Thu, Jul 12, 2018 at 1:37 PM

The thought of spending time in sweltering temperatures has a way of postponing all outdoor excursions, but don't let the triple digits prevent you from satisfying your desert wanderlust this summer.

The kids are out of school, so there's no better time than the present to use some of that vacation leave you saved up. Go ahead, plan a mini road trip close to home and pack your trekking bags. Here are a few great staycations for your family.

Kartchner Caverns State Park: This limestone cave is home to unique ecosystem in Southern Arizona that's known for its seasonal bat colony. But don't worry about getting bombarded with guano, guided tours of the bats' living quarters are suspended until the winged inhabitants migrate in October. Temperatures inside stay around 70 degrees, making it a comfortable environment for a 90-minute tour of underground passages. Your kids will become experts on stalagmites and stalactites by the end of the day. Take advantage of the park's $3 tour discount for adults and active military until October 31. $7 entry fee per vehicle. June 1 through Dec. 18, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 19 through May 31, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Check for trip information.

Copper Queen Mine: Take a trip to Bisbee to see one of the most lucrative mining digs in the industry that produced copper, lead, silver, gold and zinc from the Mule Mountains until it closed in 1975. It was the hub of Bisbee's economic growth for almost a century. Retrace the steps mineworkers trudged with a group tour led by former miners who have first-hand insight of what life was like when the mine was in operation. Visitors gear up in hard hats and go down more than a thousand feet on a rail tram into the depths of the 47-degree mine. Head into the core of Bisbee's history with sensible walking shoes, curiosity and maybe even a light jacket. $13 adults. $5.50 ages 6-12. Daily, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Call (520) 432-2071 for reservations.

Patagonia Lake State Park: This is the ultimate getaway, overflowing with wildlife and recreational opportunities. Its pristine waters are perfect for water sports, swimming and licensed fishing. Hike a half-mile trail located at the end of the campgrounds for prime birdwatching at Sonoita Creek Preserve. Overnight guests can book RV, tent or cabin sites just minutes away from the sandy beaches. Stay for a couple hours or a few days for an active family outing. $15-20 entry fee per vehicle. 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday. More at

Colossal Cave Mountain Park: Do you want to enrich your family with an educational experience? Ancient Hohokam dwelled in the area thousands of years ago and left behind historical artifacts. They farmed on the land that's known today as La Posta Quemada Ranch. Choose from different daily tours of Colossal Cave, just under 30 miles southeast of Tucson in the Rincon Mountains. Discover the cavern's legends, humans history and structural geology as you savor its 70-degree atmosphere. You and your family can also hike, horseback and picnic above ground in the park's 2,400-acres. Following the scenic trails is a great way to see desert wildlife. Check out for events and tours. Free park admission. 8 a..m. to 5 p.m. Every day.

Salt River Tubing: If you feel like basking in mother nature this time of year, inner tubing down the Salt River in the southern Tonto National Forest just makes sense. Park for free and take a shuttle for a two, three or five-hour float. You might even get lucky and see wild horses grazing along the 68-degree water banks. The two hour drive north of Tucson to Mesa is worth the commute when you're looking for a place to relax in an ethereal oasis with spectacular views. $14 for shuttle. Daily, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Visit for safety requirements and info.

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Posted By on Thu, Feb 9, 2017 at 3:30 PM

click to enlarge You, after this weekend. - BIGSTOCK
You, after this weekend.
Over a million fans have attended the Wheelmobile events. Here's what it looks like, can't miss it. - PRESS RELEASE FROM WHEEL OF FORTUNE MEDIA
Press Release from Wheel of Fortune Media
Over a million fans have attended the Wheelmobile events. Here's what it looks like, can't miss it.

Have you got game show ambitions? If you think you've got what it takes to be on Wheel of Fortune. Well, this is your chance because the Wheelmobile is rolling into Tucson and looking for contestants on their next show.

The Wheelmobile is the show’s promotional bus that travels from city to city in search of the most, high energy, fun and spunky contestants in America.

The event will take place on Saturday, Feb. 11 and Sunday, Feb. 12 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Casino Del Sol’s AVA Amphitheater. Gates to AVA will open at 10 a.m.

“We usually have about 1,000 to 3,000 people a day. All attendees are welcome to fill out an application which are then chosen at random from a raffle drum,” said Rachel Hartz of Wheel of Fortune media.

Once people are selected, they will come up on stage and do a speed round of the game. Hartz said it is not possible for everyone to be selected on stage but everyone who fills out an application can still become a contestant and can be contacted at a later date for an audition.

The majority of contestants who appear on the Wheel of fortune are chosen from these events in their hometowns. Since this began in 1999, the Wheelmobile have driven over 350,000 miles which has visited more than 300 cities.

If you or a family member is chosen and want to get the DVR ready, Wheel of Fortune airs weeknights at 6:30 p.m. on KGUN 9.

So don’t miss your opportunity to potentially wins thousands of dollars by visiting the Casino del Sol this weekend.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2016 at 3:00 PM

I’ve come to believe that drivers in Beirut are all in on a giant game of Chicken that the rest of the world hasn’t really caught onto yet. Just how close can one get to the other drivers on the road before a vehicular accident is inevitable? Or worse, scratch the paint on the Mercedes.

Cars bob-and-weave through uneven lines of traffic at stressful speeds, getting close enough to pudgy delivery drivers to watch their rolls bounce with the tut-tut-tut of their rickety mopeds. Traffic lanes are painted on the asphalt but are entirely invisible to the average Lebanese motorist. My cousin, a true Beiruti to his core, rocks his steering wheel back and forth within centimeters of oncoming drivers if he feels I’m falling asleep in the car. The Lebanese, not unlike the very pulse of the country itself, are determined to keep you on your toes.

I’m in Beirut filming for my master’s project on the Syrian border and have found that, as a student journalist on her own, reporting in the Middle East for the first time entails a similar chaos to be found on Beiruti freeways. Plans and expectations, no matter how many or how well laid out, are often followed through about as well as Beirut’s fading white traffic lines.

My third day in Lebanon I travel to Baalbek, a town in the Bekaa Valley east of Beirut to gather footage from refugee camps in the area. The Lebanese government does not allow for the foundation of formal refugee camps, a paranoia still seething in the wake of Palestinian camps-turned-cities in Beirut and beyond. The valley is dotted with tent villages of all sizes, many set between open agricultural fields.

My fixer, a local videojournalist, agrees to take me to the Syrian border near Arsal, where we surreptitiously set up my virtual reality camera out of range of the military presence at the border gate. Every so often my fixer will take out his own credentials and “film” the street to deflect attention from the blinking Freedom360 rig we’ve set up facing the barbed wire concrete wall from the median a block down. After a few minutes, I hurriedly set up the camera from another angle across the busy street, praying to the journalism gods that I can stow away all of my equipment in the SUV before a guy in uniform shows up.

A ten minute drive from the border takes us to a camp in El Kaa, an informal tent village baking in blazing Bekaa sun, surrounded by Lebanese fields to the west and Syrian mountains to the east. Children, playing barefoot in the dirt, spot my cameras and begin following closely at my heels. One boy in a striped polo and munching on biscuits observes me synchronizing my 360 camera and quickly memorizes the steps, pointing at each GoPro as I turn them on, just in case I miss one. An invaluable camera assistant for the day.

I take a moment of hesitation to consider my next few shots, long enough for a young man to come bounding up the dirt road from the entrance to the camp. He gestures to my cameras and begins speaking to my companions in Arabic. My translator turns to me and says “Let’s go.”

Frustrated and slightly concerned, I shove both of my tripods in the car, cameras still on from the last shot. I am told as we exit that the informal camp “chief,” or shaweesh as they are called here, has been watching us from his perch on a nearby hill and has requested the pleasure of our presence. We declined.

Going through footage back in Beirut a day later, away from shaweesh threats, border guards, and impatient fixers, I take a moment and decompress. Some of my interviews are just a hair too dark, some b-roll just a little shaky, and I’m pretty sure you can see my feet in at least one 360 shot. I resist the urge to hurl myself into the Mediterranean while I peruse my photos and replay the long tape of expectations and shortcomings I had in my head before heading to the Bekaa.

A few more scrolls and deep breaths later, relief sets in.
From the last camp, three boys pose for a picture, full of pent up energy and curiosity. In another frame, a group of women sit beside each other outside a small market, lined up to be mic'ed and interviewed. Still one more shows a string of drying laundry and a playful kid at the end of the hall, his gleeful grin obvious even out of focus.

Despite all the missteps, close calls, and missed opportunities, my latest trip to the Middle East proved invaluable in ways that I'm still rediscovering miles away back in my own desert. Perhaps the most profound of which is the trust given to me by the many people I met along the way to tell their stories. I am eternally grateful for their time and patience.

For young international journalists, I would advise constant preparedness without the burden of well-laid plans. Be ready and open for anything to the best of your ability, but don't rely heavily on expectations. Give yourself plenty of time, always say "yes" within reason, and always check your equipment before heading out. Most importantly, make sure the people and their stories remain your constant guide and purpose, that above all will keep your work moving forward.     

And Beirut driving does not translate well back home in the States. Trust me. 

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Thursday, March 31, 2016

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,, 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,

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Posted By on Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Houston, Texas – December 2015

Could first impressions be worse?

There they were, the four of them talking so loudly to each other that they were almost yelling. Their Cajun accents were so strong that they would have better fit in a cartoon. Their voices drowned out the conversations in the seats next to them. Two of them had the lower lip and gum decay that only a lifetime of chewing tobacco can inflict on someone, and they all wore amazingly greasy hair. Despite the frigid December weather, they boarded the plane in sleeveless shirts and ripped jeans. Did I mention that they were loud?

My mind was set.

I fortunately sat far enough away that their voices faded out after 30 minutes and I slept deeply. I was awakened to an intercom announcement: “We are now making our final descent into Istanbul, please turn off all electronics and return your seat to the upright position.”

“Idunmind if they speak Turkush here, suhlonguz everone understanz English too!” cackled my Cajun friend. It had to have been a joke. Nobody who willingly leaves their own country really thinks like that. But nobody else was laughing. Not even the others in his group.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Posted By on Mon, Mar 14, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Mozambique and I got off to a bad start.

After less than 24 hours at my new job in coastal Mozambique, I decided it was time to leave. My new boss had changed his mind or been misleading about a couple of key things, then wouldn’t be available for several days to answer questions. I had a bad feeling. So I left.

First I wandered onto an island nearby and asked a hostel if they needed help. Unsurprisingly, they didn’t. I went to a hotel, asked the same question, and got the same answer. I decided to look for work at a hostel in a nearby city where I had grown impatient previously because there was nobody working in the morning. I grabbed my backpack and flagged down a van, stuffed to the gills with 25 people people and their bags. It broke down 30 miles into the 120-mile trip. The driver of course didn’t offer a refund.

I flagged down a Toyota Tacoma and rode in the bed for the next 30 minutes, then was left at a fork in the road. A passenger from the first minibus helped me find another ride and jumped into the bed of a farm truck with me.

We spent the next hour driving down a small highway, constantly surrounded by green plants, palm trees, and small hills. It was perfect. But the approaching grey clouds made us nervous.

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