As we reach the end of the year, we are continuing a holiday tradition started by erstwhile Tucson Weekly editor Jimmy Boegle: Our Local Heroes edition, spotlighting a half-dozen people who make Tucson a better place to live. Since most of the year is spent doing the exact opposite (at least in our news pages), it's a change of pace designed to earn us a last-minute spot on Santa's "good" list. (A tall order, but worth a shot.) Our package this year includes a nurse, a library volunteer, a photographer who brightens the lives of cancer patients, a gender-fluid activist bringing poetry to Fourth Avenue, an Oro Valley teen fighting hunger and a woman who makes sure the cops on duty have a place to stop for a decent Christmas meal. To say it's an eclectic bunch is an understatement, but all of our heroes deserve a big round of applause—as do the correspondents who are bringing you these stories.
Among them are two of our departing UA School of Journalism interns: Huge thanks to Tirion Morris (who profiles Teré Folwer-Chapman) and Leah Gilchrist (who profiles Sister Eileen Mahony), as well as Rocky Baier. All three have done terrific work for the Weekly, as well as our sister publications, over the course of the semester. I also need to thank Andrew Koleski, who has helped with copy editing in recent months. These kids give me hope for the future of the journalism biz.
I'd also like to give props to Logan Burtch-Buus, who wrote about Oro Valley teen Shivansh Srivastava's project to make sandwiches for hungry people in our community. Logan is the managing editor of most of the papers in our Tucson Local Media empire, and I don't thank him nearly enough for the astounding work he does keeping those papers on track, as well as following the contentious politics of Oro Valley for the Explorer. Besides his work there, he does a lot of behind-the-scenes work on the Weekly and I'm hopeful we'll see more of his bylines here in 2018.
Also making his print debut in TW this week is staff writer Christopher Boan, who came on board the community papers as a sports stringer after longtime sports writer Brad Allis decided he needed to get a real job. Boan, who earned his journalism degree at Colorado State in 2013 and came to Tucson for a sportswriting job at the Green Valley News/Sahuarita Sun. He jumped over to our Tucson Local Media empire earlier this year and has been writing not only about sports, but also breaking news, bad cops and rock 'n' roll. You'll be seeing more of his byline in our pages in 2018. In addition to his profile of an Oro Valley library volunteer, this week Chris tells an inspirational story about Mia Schneider, an Ironwood Ridge senior who is recovering from a brain aneurism and who hopes to be back on the basketball for Senior Night this year.
Elsewhere in the book: Tucson Salvage columnist Brian Smith is back with a profile of a woodworker (and if you haven't picked up his debut book of short stories, Spent Saints, for someone on your holiday list this year, you should do that yesterday!); staff writer Danyelle Khmara celebrates the opening of a new way for hikers and mountain bikers to reach the Honeybee Canyon trail network after the last one was shut down by the grinches in a local homeowners association; food writer Mark Whittaker helps you with your Christmas shopping by introducing you to a whimsical kitchen-gadget shop on Fourth Avenue; theater critic Sherilyn Forrester tells you why you should get to ATC's Man of La Mancha; Jeff Gardner catches up with Gabriel Naim Amor as he prepares to release a new recording; Emily Dieckman rounds up a whole bunch of holiday fun in City Week; Xavier Omar Otero investigates what's happening in the clubs in his new column, XOXO...; and there's so a bunch more in here, so get reading, already.
I'll see you at the Great Cover Up!
— Jim Nintzel Executive Editor