Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Weekly List: 17 Things To Do In Tucson This Week

Posted By on Thu, Apr 19, 2018 at 11:57 AM

Your Weekly guide to keeping busy in the Old Pueblo.

Earth Day

Buffalo Exchange $1 Day Sale. In honor of Earth Day, Buffalo Exchange is hosting this event to turn the tide on plastic pollution. Bring your own bag (you know, preferably not a plastic one), make a purchase (or two or three) from a selection of $1 clothing and know that all the proceeds from the $1 clothing sales will go to the 5Gyres Institute. 5Gyres conducts research on ocean plastic pollutions and runs outreach and education programs on how to properly dispose of plastics. You deserve a shopping spree anyway—might as well go on one for a good cause. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 21. At all Buffalo Exchange locations, excluding outlets! The Tucson location’s address is 2001 E. Speedway Blvd.

Party for the Planet–Bike to the Zoo. What better way to celebrate the Earth and everything on it than by heading to the zoo for an afternoon of displays on conservation and activities involving bees, seed bombs and plenty of animals? And what better way to show the Earth how much you love it than to ride your bike instead of driving? More than 100 zoos and aquariums across the United States are participating in 12th annual Party for the Planet, during which anyone who bikes to the zoo and shows their bicycle at the front gate gets in for free until 3 p.m. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Crafts and activities from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Sunday, April 22. Reid Park Zoo, 3400 Zoo Court. Free for bikers, but otherwise $10.50 adults, $8.50 seniors 62 and up and $6.50 for kids 2 to 14.

Tucson Earth Day Festival. It’s been 23 years since the first Tucson Earth Day Festival, but the simple, beautiful core of the event hasn’t changed much: It’s a celebration of the environment and a chance to make sure we’re doing our part to help it. Exhibitors will provide info on wildlife and soil conservation, alternate modes of transportation, renewable energy, pollution prevention, waste reduction and other ways to keep an eye out for Mother Nature. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 21. Children’s Museum Tucson, 200 S. Sixth Ave. Free.


John Nieto: American Icon. It’s been more than two decades since John Nieto, the artist known for his fauvist depictions of the Native American images and themes, has displayed his work in Tucson. And now his work is coming, including his very first painting of a wildcat, done especially for this show. (Bear down!) The painting will be auctioned off live at 11:30 a.m. Nieto himself can’t attend due to health restrictions, but his son Anaya, president of the family art business, will be there. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, April 22. Madaras Gallery, 3035 N. Swan Road. Free.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Know Yourself! Know Your Rights! Teens to Gather at Joel D. Valdez Main Library to Connect with Activism, Art, Each Other

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2018 at 3:15 PM

Calling all teens: The Third Annual Rising Voices Arts Showcase and Youth Summit are this weekend (Friday and Saturday) at Joel D. Valdez Main Library.

Rising Voices was developed by youth, for youth as a safe and fun event to connect, learn, and grow as leaders. This year's theme is Know Yourself! Know Your Rights!

In the midst of the #MarchForOurLives movement, we know the power of young people's words. Rising Voices is designed to help teens deepen their engagement with the community and the issues they're most passionate about—be it gun reform, environmentalism, or LGBTQ+ rights.

Now more than ever, youth voices are being amplified across the nation. Rising Voices is a chance to make yours heard in Tucson!

Questions about this or other Pima County Public Library events and services? Call Infoline at (520) 791-4010 or visit


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So, What Do People Think About Teachers?

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2018 at 2:14 PM

The teacher demonstrations, walk-ins, walkouts and strikes around the country are playing pretty well with the public. That surprises and encourages me. Republicans have led a decades-long onslaught against teachers, beginning in earnest with the "Our schools suck!" rallying cry from the Reagan administration in its 1983 report, "A Nation At Risk." It was a blatantly political scare screed about how terrible our schools—and by extension, our teachers—are. So terrible, they might as well be a Commie plot to destroy our country. Here's the money quote:
"If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war."
It's been wall-to-wall anti-public education, anti-teacher, anti-teachers union grandstanding from Republicans ever since.

And yet, public sentiment over the past month has been generally favorable to teachers' demands for better pay and increased school funding. If a savvy politician like our own "[not] Education Governor" Ducey is forced to concede that teachers might have a point, that maybe they deserve a pay raise twenty times higher than what he proposed a year earlier, you know Ducey knows the public is siding with teachers.

I guess the Republican onslaught hasn't been as successful as they hoped. Oh, it's had an impact. In the late 1980s, I was honestly shocked by the growing level of anger directed against my profession—generally parroting conservative talking points — the likes of which I hadn't experienced in my previous 20 years of teaching. But in spite of that, teachers still garner a great deal of respect.

A few recent polls tell the tale. A story in Education Week pulls together the numbers.

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Laughing Stock: Comedy for Charity Brings the Love

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2018 at 12:48 PM

Jason Love headlines Comedy for Charity April 22 at the Fox Theatre - JASONLOVE.COM
  • Jason Love headlines Comedy for Charity April 22 at the Fox Theatre
“Today, violence is overwhelming,” says Susan Agrillo, also known as the standup comedian Suzie Sexton. “Sometimes we feel powerless to do anything about it.”

Agrillo, whose sister was murdered more than 35 years ago, determined to do what she could. She founded Comedy for Charity, an annual variety show that benefits local nonprofit organizations working to prevent violence in Tucson. This year’s beneficiaries are Ben’s Bells and the YWCA of Southern Arizona. Sexton also has donated 200 tickets to low-income veterans. The show, “Laugh ‘til It Hurts: An Evening Dedicated to Violence Awareness and Prevention,” is at 6 p.m., Sunday, April 22 at the Fox Tucson Theatre. Tickets are $25 at the door or through

“Ben’s Bells Project is teaching kindness skills, helping us behave in a manner antithetical to violence,” Agrillo says. “The YWCA offers programs to prevent domestic violence and sexual violence against women. “A portion of the funds also goes to The Send a Kid to Camp/Arizona Daily Star Sportsmen’s Fund to provide positive life models for kids at risk.

Sexton recruited cartoonist David Fitzsimmons to emcee the show, which includes Tucson expat comedian Henry Barajas, Estrogen Hour founder Nancy Stanley, attorney and comedian Elliot Glicksman, Agrillo’s Suzie Sexton alter ego, and your humble Laughing Stock scribe, Linda Ray. Viva Dance Company, Centre Stage Tap and a juggler from Twilight Productions bring the variety.

Barajas says he’s returning a changed man. “I’m a much different person and comic since I left,” he says. “My experience has broadened my perspective. I have less material about my ‘man boobs’ and more about life as a ‘terrible Mexican.’”

Headlining the show is Jason Love, whose name could hardly be more appropriate to its mission. Love is a clean comedian and musician with a national reputation, including appearances on HBO, Comedy Central, America’s got Talent and more than 20 other national broadcasts. He’s also performed on Broadway, and appeared at corporate events hosted by Google, Chevron, Farmers Insurance and Costco.

Love has entertained troops overseas and has performed on cruise lines. His clips are played daily on Pandora and Sirius XM, and his nonprofit organization. Love & Laughter, provides free shows to cancer support groups.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Apple Juice Needs a Home

Posted By on Tue, Apr 17, 2018 at 10:47 AM

Hi, I'm Apple Juice!

I am a 2-year-old girl who can’t wait to meet my fur-ever family! I came to HSSA as a transfer from another shelter so they don’t know much about my past. They do know that I am a very sweet girl who is going to make someone very happy. I would do best in a home with a mellow playmate.

I tested positive for valley fever, but that doesn't mean that I don't deserve a home. Valley fever is a manageable condition and HSSA will even send me home with a 6 month supply of medication.
I would do best in a home with older kids. Bring any dogs or kids to meet me at HSSA Main Campus at 635 W. Roger Rd. For more information give an adoptions counselor a call at 520-327-6088, ext. 173.

See you soon,
Apple Juice (521799)

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Weekly Take: It’s Time for Playoff Hockey in the Old Pueblo

Posted By on Mon, Apr 16, 2018 at 5:30 PM

Conor Garland and MIchael Bunting celebrate a goal during Tucson's 6-3 win over San Diego on April 14. - TUCSON ROADRUNNERS
  • Tucson Roadrunners
  • Conor Garland and MIchael Bunting celebrate a goal during Tucson's 6-3 win over San Diego on April 14.

It was an unlikely twist on the evening of Saturday, April 14, as a cavalcade of maroon-clad fans poured into the airy entrance of the Tucson Arena.

The twist, which seemed impossible a few years ago, was the thought of playoff hockey happening in the heart of the second-largest desert in North America.

More than 10,000 people found their way to the venerable arena to catch the final regular season home stand of the Tucson Roadrunners’ regular season.

The Roadrunners, in their second season of existence, clinched the American Hockey League’s Pacific Division crown on Friday, beating rival San Diego 3-2, thanks to an improbable off-balance goal by Swedish winger Mario Kempe.

Not to be outdone, the Roadrunners came back and clinched the last hurdle in their way the following night, earning the top spot in the AHL’s 15-team Western Conference in a 6-3 win.

The team, under first-year coach Mike Van Ryn, finished the regular season with an eye-popping 42-20-6 record.

They enter this week’s opening round of the playoffs with a red-hot 7-2-1 record in their last 10 games, winning three straight games against San Diego to cap off the season.

Van Ryn’s squad finishes the regular season with the second-best road winning percentage (.750), allowing the fewest goals of any of the league’s 30 teams on the road (78).

Tucson has a legitimate shot at making a deep playoff run, thanks to a youthful front line of Dylan Strome, Mike Sislo and Michael Bunting—who scored 68 goals combined this season.

They enter this week’s opening round matchup against fourth-seed San Jose with a full gust of confidence at their backs, seeking to become the first Tucson team to win a conference championship since the Tucson Sidewinders won the Pacific Coast League crown in 2006.

Van Ryn expects a battle against the Barracuda, the lone team that the Roadrunners had a losing record against in the 68-game regular season.

“It's going to be a be a hard-fought series. I mean, they've played us well all year,” Van Ryn said. “I think we’ve got to be ready for them. And we’ve got to put together maybe a better game plan than we have in the past, and our executions got to be better. And we're getting to work already on it. So, we just go to be ready to go. And we've got guys rested now, and we'll try to give them our best.”

Van Ryn said his team’s confidence has gone through the roof during the course of the regular season, coinciding with their continued success.

“Coming in, I think we just were like, ‘Oh, let's try to make it in the playoffs, and give the young guys a taste of what that's like’,” Van Ryn said. “And you know what? They just kept growing. I think from day one, they bought in. We pushed them hard, and they accepted.”

That drive to succeed has resulted in a regular season few will forget, including winger Tye McGinn, who’s scored 10 goals this season.

McGinn is impressed by the team’s ability to weather the highs and lows of the season, and how they’ve coalesced as a unit entering the month-and-a-half-long marathon that is the AHL playoffs.

“Our forecheck is very strong and we turn over a lot of pucks and that goes a long way,” McGinn said. “It's tough for teams to break out in it. As you could see against San Diego here last couple games, it really wore them down. And I think our team is very strong with that and it's going to be an exciting first run.”

That excitement was mutual for the 4,000-plus fans that stuck around after Saturday’s finale to watch members of the team skate around the rink, tossing T-shirts to the legions of converts.

It’s a bold new era for the Roadrunners and the city alike, with the wonder of playoff hockey coming for the first time at 7:05 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25.

Van Ryn is well-aware of the gut-churning anxiety that playoff hockey presents, playing 26 postseason games during his 12-year NHL career.

He’s ready to see what his players are capable of when pressure reaches its fever pitch, and the luxuries of the regular season go out the window.

“This is what you worked for all year. The division championship and winning the west is all great, but it's the playoff wins,” Van Ryn said. “It's trying to win that trophy at the very end is what matters. And that's what you strive for.”

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The Wrongheaded Decision To Remove Auggie Romero As Pueblo High Principal

Posted By on Mon, Apr 16, 2018 at 4:20 PM

  • Courtesy of Bigstock
Dr. Auggie Romero, principal of Pueblo High School, got screwed by the TUSD board majority when it decided in a 3-2 vote not to renew his contract at the April 10 board meeting. Very likely, current and future Pueblo High students lost out as well.

The story behind the vote against Romero is both simple and complex, depending on how it's told, and it tends to come out differently depending on who's telling it. Let me try and reduce the story to its essentials.

Two years ago, Romero changed the course grades of 6 seniors at Pueblo High from F to D in the last days of the school year, which allowed them to graduate (Actually, one student didn't graduate because he failed another class). In doing so, Romero violated state law and TUSD district policy, both of which state that a principal is not allowed to change a grade given by a teacher. On the surface, that's the primary issue which led the board majority to decide not to renew his contract, though they didn't discuss the issues much before the vote. More on the reasons behind their decision later.

However, the story is more complicated than that, as you learn when you read the 13 page report on the grade changing incident produced by the law firm, DeConcini, McDonald, Yetwin & Lacy. You can read it on the KGUN9 website.

According to the report, the six students complained to Romero that the teacher had not allowed them to make up work they had missed, which led to them failing the class. The report substantiated their claim and said the teacher violated district policy by refusing to allow them to complete the make-up work. Romero gave the students the opportunity to complete the assignments they missed. After their work was graded, each of the students had enough points to pass the class. That's when Romero changed their grades from F to D in violation of state law and district policy.

The law firm's report came to the conclusion that "Dr. Romero was not flouting the law or policy intentionally. I think he believed that the students in question were in fact denied the opportunity to complete the assignments and that, by allowing them to do so, he was simply providing them the opportunity that their teacher should have provided to them under district policy." The report recommends "Dr. Romero be directed not to change students' grades in the future, regardless of the reason." It also recommends that Romero be counseled on better ways to handle similar situations in the future. No further actions are suggested.

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#RedForEd Still On, Despite Ducey's Promise of Raises

Posted By on Mon, Apr 16, 2018 at 10:44 AM

Educators continue supporting the Red for Ed movement in front of Tucson High on Saturday, April 14, despite Gov. Doug Ducey's vague promise of teacher raises. - DANYELLE KHMARA
  • Danyelle Khmara
  • Educators continue supporting the Red for Ed movement in front of Tucson High on Saturday, April 14, despite Gov. Doug Ducey's vague promise of teacher raises.
Teachers waved “Red for Ed” signs as passing cars honked their support before school on Wednesday, April 11.

Forming a wall of of red shirts, roughly 40 Amphitheater High School educators took part in a walk in to demand better wages and school funding from the state legislature.

Every Wednesday morning, educators across the state have been holding morning rallies, or “walk ins,” outside their schools. The Red for Ed movement, which began in early March, is calling for a raise for educators and additional funding for schools.

Facing mounting pressure, Gov. Doug Ducey announced on Thursday, April 12, that he would give teachers a 19 percent raise over the next three years, but Arizona Educators United (AEU), the grassroots coalition of educators that launched Red for Ed, isn’t settling for a vague promise that addresses just one of their demands.

Jason Freed, president of the Tucson Education Association, said Ducey’s promise is a “step in the right direction but still far from the finish line.” Educators want more details about the proposed raises. They’re asking for a 20 percent raise for teachers and competitive pay raises for all education support staff, such as librarians, bus drivers, counselors and teachers’ aids.

“None of us are OK with excluding other educators,” Freed said. “The governor hasn’t lived up to the expectations that people have.”

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Staff Pick

Tucson International Mariachi Conference

The Tucson International Mariachi Conference was created to pass mariachi traditions to the next generation. 4/26 @… More

@ AVA: Anselmo Valencia Tori Amphitheater Thu., April 26, 6-8 p.m., Fri., April 27, 7-9 p.m. and Sat., April 28, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Casino del Sol, 5655 W. Valencia Road.

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