Friday, January 15, 2021

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2021 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
Courtesy photo
DJ Jahmar is one of the busiest DJs in town, and it will take more than a pandemic to stop him. When he’s not working with the non-profit Deejays Against Hunger, he’s filling local clubs with authentic, rhythmic reggae. But even during COVID downtime, Jahmar is keeping active with livestreams and recording new music. Jahmar’s latest album, Zona Riddim, features collaborations with a wide range of vocalists and clean club instrumentals.

“I started working on the Zona Riddim album in March 2020 right when COVID hit because all of my DJ residences were banned due to city ordinances,” Jahmar said. “I still wanted the world to hear my music, so I decided I was going to release an album.”

Zona Riddim features a variety of guests across its eight tracks, all of which work off a similar instrumental in the Jamaican tradition. And it’s a tradition familiar to Jahmar, who has worked as a DJ for more than a decade, learning from his father Papa Ranger, a longtime KXCI reggae DJ and owner of the now-shuttered Twelve Tribes Reggae Shop. 

“In Jamaica we do reggae albums different, we do Riddim albums,” Jahmar said. “A Riddim is a compilation of artists on the same beat/instrumental but with different songs.”

Jahmar’s warm, energetic beats are a versatile template for the guest singers, working beneath autotuned rap and cleanly sung vocals. The album features both international and local reggae figures, including Josh David Barrett from the Wailers, Safaree from Love & Hip Hop, Denzel White, Los Rakas and Bobby Hustle.

These collaborations add to Jahmar’s goal for the album: to represent Jamaican culture and reggae music on the West Coast, and to keep people moving to his music no matter the circumstance.

Zona Riddim is available on music streaming platforms like Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal and more. For more information, visit foundation-media.ffm.to/zonariddim

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2021 at 12:30 PM

click to enlarge Rich Alday talks with his PCC baseball team. - COURTESY PIMA COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Courtesy Pima Community College
Rich Alday talks with his PCC baseball team.

In his sports column in Explorer and Marana News, longtime TW columnist Tom Danehy pays tribute to the late Rich Alday, who coached baseball at Pima Community College and softball at Ironwood Hills High School. An excerpt:

It is said that a good coach can coach anything. The story is told of Vince Lombardi, fresh out of college, being asked to coach a high-school basketball team. After admitting that he had never even seen a basketball game before, Lombardi studied a basketball rule book and then proceeded to coach the team to the State championship game.

After coaching baseball for 40 years, Alday pulled a late-in-life switch and became the softball coach at Ironwood Ridge High School. All he did there was go 107-33 in four years, guiding the Nighthawks to Class 5A State championships in 2014 and 2016.

Alday, 71, had been battling cancer. He and his wife, Norma, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last July. In 1995, the couple lost their beloved son, Ambrose, to cancer at the age of 16. Rich is a Tucson legend. He knew everyone and everyone knew him. He will be missed.

Read the whole thing here.

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2021 at 11:26 AM


French/Tucson singer Marianne Dissard has released the latest in her cover series, a complete re-working of Ritchie Valens’ “Come On Let's Go!” with a music video to boot.

Dissard and producer Raphael Mann deconstruct the rock ‘n’ roll classic, upping the sensuality in a way only a French singer like her can. What was originally a sweet, energetic tune has been reinvented with deep drums, wild saxophone and pauses to complete silence to stretch out the romantics.

But of course, the star of the show is Dissard’s vocals in her signature chanteuse style, highlighting the blunt message of the song: “wanting to fuck someone.” However, things are bound to get more complex in a pandemic.

"It's not so much reworking any of the songs, but trying to find the core concept or message of a song and working from there," Dissard said about the series. "That's the trick with covers: You have to find something that's already there and take it to where you as the artist can bring something new and fresh."

The track fits well in her series of “drastic re-imaginings” of classic tracks during pandemic times, and also features Tucsonan Naim Amor on guitar. Dissard’s collections of pandemic re-imaginings are slated to be released as an album in summer 2021. Other covers in the series include Phil Ochs, Bobbie Gentry and Carly Simon.

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2021 at 8:56 AM

With more than 11,000 new cases reported today, the number of Arizona’s confirmed novel coronavirus cases topped 658,000 as of Friday, Jan 15, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Pima County, which reported 1,342 new cases today, has seen 87,687 of the state’s 658,186 confirmed cases.

A total of 11,040 Arizonans have died after contracting COVID-19, including 1,393 deaths in Pima County, according to the Jan. 15 report.

The number of hospitalized COVID cases statewide dropped slightly in recent days but still remains far above the peak levels of the summer’s first wave. ADHS reported that as of Jan. 14, 4,866 COVID patients were hospitalized in the state, a slight drop from Wednesday’s 5,055. The summer peak of 3,517 hospitalized COVID patients was set on July 13; that number hit a subsequent low of 468 on Sept. 27, or less than a tenth of the current count.

A total of 2,120 people visited emergency rooms on Jan. 14 with COVID symptoms, down from the record high of 2,341 set on Tuesday, Dec. 29. That number had previously peaked at 2,008 on July 7; it hit a subsequent low of 653 on Sept. 28.

A total of 1,138 COVID-19 patients were in intensive care unit beds on Jan. 14. The summer’s record number of patients in ICU beds was 970, set on July 13. The subsequent low was 114 on Sept. 22.

A website that tracks COVID infections across the globe reports that Arizona continues to have a COVID transmission rate far above the United States as a whole.

The website 91-divoc.com, which uses data from Johns Hopkins University, reports that Arizona is seeing 126.5 infections per 100,000 people on a seven-day average, compared to 72.7 infections per 100,000 for the United States as a whole.

Pima County vaccination appointments fill up in two hours

Registration opened for priority groups in phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccine rollouts yesterday, but according to the Pima County Health Department, all available appointments aimed at the 75+ population at the two Banner-operated vaccination sites and Tucson Medical Center were “accounted for through the registration process,” according to a press release from the health department.

More than 20,000 residents registered for appointments within the first two hours of the registration website’s opening, the release said.

The health department recognized this is “causing frustration” for those still trying to receive appointments through the county’s registration website, but said more appointments will be made available as it receives more allocated vaccine doses from the state.

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2021 at 7:05 AM

When Kim Dine took over as the new chief of the U.S. Capitol Police in 2012, he knew he had a serious problem.

Since 2001, hundreds of Black officers had sued the department for racial discrimination. They alleged that white officers called Black colleagues slurs like the N-word and that one officer found a hangman’s noose on his locker. White officers were called “huk lovers” or “FOGs” — short for “friends of gangsters” — if they were friendly with their Black colleagues. Black officers faced “unprovoked traffic stops” from fellow Capitol Police officers. One Black officer claimed he heard a colleague say, “Obama monkey, go back to Africa.”

In case after case, agency lawyers denied wrongdoing. But in an interview, Dine said it was clear he had to address the department’s charged racial climate. He said he promoted a Black officer to assistant chief, a first for the agency, and tried to increase diversity by changing the force’s hiring practices. He also said he hired a Black woman to lead a diversity office and created a new disciplinary body within the department, promoting a Black woman to lead it.

“There is a problem with racism in this country, in pretty much every establishment that exists,” said Dine, who left the agency in 2016. “You can always do more in retrospect.”

Whether the Capitol Police managed to root out racist officers will be one of many issues raised as Congress investigates the agency’s failure to prevent a mob of Trump supporters from attacking the Capitol while lawmakers inside voted to formalize the electoral victory of President-elect Joe Biden.



Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2021 at 1:00 AM

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Posted By on Thu, Jan 14, 2021 at 3:21 PM

Registration opened for priority groups in phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccine rollouts today, but according to the Pima County Health Department, all available appointments aimed at the 75+ population at the two Banner-operated vaccination sites and Tucson Medical Center have been “accounted for through the registration process,” according to a press release from the health department.

More than 20,000 residents registered for appointments within the first two hours of the registration website’s opening, the release said.

The health department recognized this is “causing frustration” for those still trying to receive appointments through the county’s registration website, but said more appointments will be made available as it receives more allocated vaccine doses from the state.

“We know there is a great deal of anxiety in members of the public about COVID-19 and interest in getting the vaccine to protect themselves from contracting it,” Pima County Chief Medical Officer Dr. Francisco Garcia and Pima County Health Department Director Dr. Theresa Cullen wrote in a joint statement. “But there will be more than 400,000 people in the 1B priority group once 65 and older people are added in. It will take several months to vaccinate all the people in this group.”

Although appointments the Banner sites and TMC have been accounted for, individuals 75 and older, prioritized essential workers and educators can register for a vaccine at www.pima.gov/covid19vaccineregistration or by calling 520-594-5684.

The 75+ population is encouraged to register at TMC, Banner University Medicine North or Banner’s site at the Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Education and childcare providers should register through the University of Arizona’s vaccination center, while protective service workers will primarily receive vaccines at the Tucson Convention Center. According to the county, both centers are set to open for vaccinations next week.

Tucson Medical Center will begin administering vaccines by appointment to those who registered tomorrow.

Also tomorrow, the Banner University Medicine North site will begin giving vaccines to registrants.

On Monday, the county will open a vaccine site at the Kino Sports Complex. Vaccine administration, operated by Banner University Medicine, will take place in a drive-thru at the parking lot to the south of the stadium. The site is expected to provide 1,600 vaccinations per day, according to the county.

“We hope to have our vaccine allotment from the state increased in the coming weeks,” Garcia and Cullen said in the release. “In the meantime, we ask for patience as we move forward with this enormous effort to protect everyone in Pima County from this terrible disease."

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Posted By on Thu, Jan 14, 2021 at 10:05 AM

click to enlarge Five officials from Arizona's hospital systems joined together to speak to the dire conditions of COVID-19 in the state. - BANNER HEALTH
Banner Health
Five officials from Arizona's hospital systems joined together to speak to the dire conditions of COVID-19 in the state.

Leaders from five Arizona hospital systems provided distressing news on the continuously worsening presence of COVID-19 in the state at a press briefing yesterday.

For weeks, Arizona has topped the charts for the highest coronavirus infection rate in the nation. Dr. Marjorie Bessel, chief clinical officer of Banner Health, said nearly 1 in 10 Arizonans is currently battling COVID-19.

The state’s total deaths from the virus surpassed 10,000 this week while COVID-19-related hospitalizations and new cases continue to grow.

Bessel said 58% of Arizona’s hospital beds are holding COVID-19 patients, a percentage that’s even higher in its ICUs.

If the virus continues at its current pace, Dr. Alyssa Chapital, the hospital medical director of Mayo Clinic, warned the state will meet the dire point where the needs of the community surpass hospitals’ resources—staff being the most critical.

If hospitals run out of these resources, caregivers would triage care, evaluating each patient on the necessity of their care compared to others. Resources would be allocated to those most in need.

“We have educated our staff about it, but it is our sincere hope that Arizonans can help slow the spread of this virus to avoid a triage situation,” Chapital said.

Dr. Keith Frey, chief medical officer of Dignity Health’s Arizona Division, said one of the reasons the state has yet to reach the dire conditions seen in coronavirus hotspots throughout the nation is because of collaboration among Arizona’s hospitals.

Posted By on Thu, Jan 14, 2021 at 9:23 AM

With more than 7,300 new cases reported today, the number of Arizona’s confirmed novel coronavirus cases topped 649,000 as of Thursday, Jan 14, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Pima County, which reported 1,089 new cases today, has seen 86,345 of the state’s 649,040 confirmed cases.

A total of 10,855 Arizonans have died after contracting COVID-19, including 1,362 deaths in Pima County, according to the Jan. 14 report.

The number of hospitalized COVID cases statewide continues to soar as the virus has begun to spread more rapidly, putting stress on Arizona’s hospitals and surpassing July peaks. ADHS reported that as of Jan. 13, 4,930 COVID patients were hospitalized in the state, a slight drop from yesterday’s 5,055. The summer peak of 3,517 hospitalized COVID patients was set on July 13; that number hit a subsequent low of 468 on Sept. 27, or less than a tenth of the current count.

A total of 2,055 people visited emergency rooms on Jan. 13 with COVID symptoms, down from the record high of 2,341 set on Tuesday, Dec. 29. That number had previously peaked at 2,008 on July 7; it hit a subsequent low of 653 on Sept. 28.

A total of 1,167 COVID-19 patients were in intensive care unit beds on Jan. 13. The summer’s record number of patients in ICU beds was 970, set on July 13. The subsequent low was 114 on Sept. 22.

A website that tracks COVID infections across the globe reports that Arizona continues to have a COVID transmission rate far above the United States as a whole.

The website 91-divoc.com, which uses data from Johns Hopkins University, reports that Arizona is seeing a record 131.6 infections per 100,000 people on a seven-day average, compared to 74.7 infections per 100,000 for the United States as a whole.

Pima County unveils vaccination plan

As Pima County prepares to provide COVID-19 vaccines to a much wider segment of the population this week with a limited number of vaccines on hand, the county health department has announced its plan to prioritize the vaccination of specific segments of the hundreds of thousands of individuals who qualify.

“We are in a very vaccine-constrained environment right now, but we do not want to be in an administrative and distribution constrained environment,” County Health Director Dr. Theresa Cullen said at a press conference today. “So we challenged ourselves - it was only 10 days ago - to figure out how to give 300,000 vaccines in three months.”

Phase 1B of vaccine rollout includes prioritized education and protective service workers, essential workers in fields like transportation and government, adults in congregate settings with high-risk medical conditions and individuals over 75.

However, the 1B phase will be divided into sub-segments of 1B.1 and 1B.2. The 1B.1 group includes those over 75, teachers and childcare providers and prioritized protective service workers such as law enforcement and emergency response staff.

Those who qualify under 1B.1 can register to receive vaccines as the registration websites become available. According to Pima County Communications Director Mark Evans, the first two registration sites for Banner North and Tucson Medical Center will go live Thursday. Both locations prioritize the 75+ population.

Posted By on Thu, Jan 14, 2021 at 7:10 AM

PHOENIX – The pandemic has affected different people in different ways, causing financial stress due to job loss, sliding grades, relationship pressures and worries that vulnerable loved ones could contract COVID-19.

But one factor that has affected Americans across the country is the loss of social connectedness. Even before the pandemic shuttered schools, restaurants and workplaces last spring, an estimated 3 in 5 Americans reported a growing sense of loneliness, according to Cigna’s 2020 Loneliness Index. Roughly 73% of those surveyed said they sometimes or always feel alone, up from 69% in the previous year.

But since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March, clinicians fear that number is increasing.

In his Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected order in March, Gov. Doug Ducey encouraged Arizonans to share awareness and resources in their communities regarding suicide prevention. The initiative acknowledged a leading theory in behavioral science that lays out two assumptions about when people become suicidal: a desire for belongingness that is not met, and a feeling of being a burden on those around them.