In the Name of Progress

Every so often--as I've mentioned before--an unplanned theme emerges in an issue of the paper. And it's happened this week.

The theme: The negative effects of progress on humanity and the environment. All three of our Currents stories, our cover feature and our Visual Arts piece fit into that theme, completely by coincidence.

Dave Devine writes about the destruction of a beloved tree near Campbell Avenue and Limberlost Drive. Tim Vanderpool discusses the jeopardy Arizona's frogs--often an environmental bellwether, because of their existence on both land and in water--find themselves in for a variety of alarming reasons. And Jim Nintzel takes a look at the Oro Valley mayoral race, where the destruction of the desert in favor of development is arguably the biggest issue in the ever-growing town.

In Visual Arts, Margaret Regan analyzes on the work of painter James Cook, who beautifully depicts some of the parts of Tucson generally considered ugly (i.e., suburbia, electrical substations, etc.).

Then there's the cover story. The always-excellent Reneé Downing has been looking at the subject of autism for months now, and her resulting report is informative, fascinating, touching--and even, thankfully, a little encouraging. In the main story, she focuses on life for autistic children and their families in Tucson. However, in a sidebar, she looks into the belief that mercury-laden vaccinations may have played a role in the shocking increase of autism over recent decades--and she touches on the role of government and big business in all of this. Don't miss this incredible cover package.

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