Between out-of-reach home prices rising rents and the COVID crisis, it’s getting harder and harder for people to keep a roof over their heads, so it’s no surprise that the number of homeless people in our community is on the rise. This week, Madison Beal, a graduate student at the UA Journalism School, takes a look at the challenges of finding shelter for people. As Beal reports in her in-depth piece, there are no easy answers, but the problem is costing millions of dollars a year.
Meanwhile, the Omicron variant is still spreading rapidly across our community. Staff reporters Alexandra Pere and Nicole Feltman share the latest on the bug, including details on the new testing centers that Pima County has set up. If you’ve tried to get a test lately, you may have seen long lines or had to wait more than two days to get your results, so the efforts to boost testing are welcome. After all, if you are positive and you don’t find out for five or six days, the test is kinda useless. But the larger problem remains: Omicron is highly infectious and even a “mild” case of COVID can be rough. So wear a mask when you’re out in public and get vaccinated, because the vast majority of people who are ending up in the hospital haven’t had their jabs or their boosters.
Elsewhere in the book: Gloria Gomez, a student from the UA School of Journalism who is covering the Arizona Legislature as this year’s Don Bolles Fellow, looks into an unlikely claim about rape kits that was made by Gov. Doug Ducey in the State of the State—and discovers there’s scant evidence that it’s true; longtime columnist Tom Danehy hammers state lawmakers for their efforts to punish teachers for telling schoolchildren about our nation’s dark history of racial injustice; intern Jake O’Rourke talks to fans of Tino’s Pizza, which is closing down after the death of its longtime owner (though there’s still time to get a slice); arts writer Margaret Regan previews this weekend’s performance by Ballet Tucson; XOXO columnist Xavier Otero tells you where to rock this week; Tucson Weedly columnist comes across a report suggesting that pot makes sex more fun; and there’s more in the book, including a look at next week’s Gem & Jam festival, Dan Savage’s sex column, Tucson’s best comics and horoscopes and plenty more.