It's with a heavy heart that I announce that staff reporter Nicole Ludden, who has been doing outstanding work covering COVID-19 and a wide variety of other stories for us since September of last year, is leaving the Weekly to seek new adventures. Nicole is one of the very best young reporters it's ever been my pleasure to work with and I'm gonna miss reading her work in our pages a lot, but I wish her the best in her next endeavors.
I'm excited to say that we have a new staff reporter coming on this week. Nogales native Christina Duran recently graduated from the University of Arizona with a double major in journalism and political science. She tells me she was first inspired to become a journalist while watching CNN's Christiane Amanpour reporting from war-torn countries.
"My whole life I straddled two worlds that melded together," Christina says. "In turn, I saw how Latin Americans or Mexicans were portrayed on the news and I didn't like it. I wanted people to know the faces and the stories of those they judged based on where they come from, their socio-economic status or the way they look. To me, those were my people. On the most basic level, I value the human story."
We can't wait to see the stories Christina will be bringing our way.
On her way out, Nicole brings us a look at state Rep. Mark Finchem's efforts to spread disinformation about the 2020 election, including spearheading a December meeting in Phoenix with Rudy Giuliani et al to raise doubts about Arizona's election results and an appearance at the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Elsewhere in the book this week: Nicole also rounds up the latest on COVID-19; managing editor Austin Counts introduces us to Slobby Robby, the nostalgia merchant of Fourth Avenue; Tucson Salvage columnist Brian Smith takes a stroll around a northside Tucson neighborhood; associate editor Jeff Gardner gives a listen to a new album by David Huckfelt, who tapped the likes of Howe Gelb, Gabriel Sullivan and Billy Sedlmayr to play during sessions at Tucson's Dust & Stone Recording Studios; Tucson Weedly columnist David Abbott rounds up the latest cannabis; and, of course, we have the usual cartoons, horoscopes and other diversions to keep you entertained as you flip through our pages.
A final note: Voting is now underway in our 2021 Cannabis Bowl. Vote for your favorite strains, edibles, concentrates and more at TucsonWeekly.com through March 28. We'll bring you the results in our annual 420 issue, hitting streets on April 15.
— Jim Nintzel Executive Editor
Hear Nintz talk about the latest on the outbreak and other news at 8:30 Wednesday mornings on The Frank Show on KLPX, 91.1 FM.