The Range


Who let the dogs out? Not Tucsonans, if they know what's good for them!

The Tucson City Council, desperate to avoid any controversy that might somehow make the current campaign season halfway interesting, tackled the burning issue of leash-law violations last week. (They'd already had a meeting about bus pullouts in September, so that topic wasn't available.) Dog owners who let their hounds run loose will now have to pay $100 for a first offense, $150 for a second offense and $200 for anything after that.

Retiring Councilwoman Carol West says she hears frequent complaints from pet owners, recalling one battle between two neighbors who were hurling cat poop into each other's yards. West adds that there are some things she won't miss about serving on the council.

Leash-law violations are of particular interest to The Range, since our only time behind bars in Pima County was related to a number of leash-law violations compounded by our repeated failure to appear in court back in our irresponsible undergrad days. It's a great story--remind us to tell you about it over some beers someday.

Meanwhile, we read in the morning daily that officials with the Pima Animal Care Center had placed 26 puppies in quarantine, because they may have been exposed to the deadly parvo virus. The dogs are still available for adoption, but they will be kept isolated for a few weeks to see if any symptoms emerge. We'd give you more of an update, but our calls to the pound went unreturned.

Indecent Behavior

Be on guard if you're using the bathroom at Pima Community College: Officials warn there's a peeper on the loose! The suspect--who is described as an African-American or Hispanic male between the ages of 25 and 30 with a pock-mocked face--has been peering over or reaching under stall walls in women's washrooms.

In other bathroom-pervert news: U.S. Sen. Larry "Wide Stance" Craig has changed his mind about resigning from his Senate seat. The Idaho Republican, who pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after getting busted soliciting sex in a Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport bathroom, had said he would quit if he couldn't manage to get his guilty plea reversed. But after a Minnesota judge refused to grant his preposterous legal appeal, Craig--who insists that he wasn't playing footsie with the undercover officers in the stall next to his (he merely has a "wide stance" on the pot), he did not swipe his hand under the stall wall (he was merely reaching for a piece of paper that he dropped) and that he is most certainly not the least bit gay (and he never has been)--announced he needed to remain in the Senate to clear his good name. Perhaps he'll next tell us he's going on a hunt for the real restroom perverts!

Drink Up!

On the-end-is-nigh beat: The brain-eating amoeba responsible for the recent death of a 14-year-old Lake Havasu boy has been spotted in Tucson Water wells--but not recently.

Mitch Basefsky, spokesman for the city utility, tells The Range that the DNA of Naegleria fowleri was detected in 12 wells during a 2005 test. A subsequent re-test of those 12 wells did not turn up any traces of the amoeba's DNA. Basefsky says there's no threat to Tucsonans, because the chlorination process kills off the amoeba, which enters the body through the nasal passages.

Meanwhile, Pima County Health Department officials report that they've seen four new cases of the West Nile virus. They remind area residents to eliminate any sources of standing water in their yards to prevent the virus-carrying mosquitoes from breeding.

Fall Ball

The Arizona Diamondbacks crushed the dreams of Chicago Cubs fans with a three-game sweep of the National League Division Series. The D'Backs now face their crosstown rivals--at least during the month of March--the Colorado Rockies for the National League crown. We prefer the Rockies' Hi Corbett Field to the Diamondbacks' Tucson Electric Park, but we're rooting for a D'Backs-Red Sox World Series.

In other sports news: The Arizona football team played another great game, if you don't count the first quarter, in which they gave up 24 points to Oregon State. Final score: Oregon State 31, Arizona 16. Quarterback Willie Tuitama was sacked eight times and threw three interceptions, while the Arizona offense rushed for a net total of 9 yards.

Next up: Arizona (2-4 overall, 1-2 in the Pac-10) faces the No. 10 USC Trojans, who are out to avenge their stunning upset last weekend by the Stanford Cardinal, who won 24-23. Kickoff is 12:30 p.m. at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, with the game available on ABC for those Wildcat fans masochistic enough to watch it.