The Range

Suicide Prevention

No more honking horns and screeching brakes! The Grant Road suicide lane came to an end earlier this week when Grant's center lane returned to just handling left turns. The reversible lane, established as a temporary measure more than two decades ago, carried traffic west from 7 to 9 a.m. weekday mornings and east from 4 to 6 p.m. on weekday afternoons, allowing white-knuckled drivers an adrenaline rush on their daily commute.

City transportation planners warn that eliminating the lane will cost commuters time on the route, because it will push four intersections into the failure category, according to transportation spokesman Michael Graham. Long delays are expected, especially at the intersections of Grant and Country Club Road, where the average wait will go from 26.2 seconds to 81 seconds, and Grant and Alvernon Way, where the average idle will increase from 78.7 seconds to 165.3 seconds. That's partly because the road will lose a lane of capacity during rush hour, but a major factor will be the additional time given the left-turn arrows.

Graham warns drivers to "expect delays."

The Range remains confident that these traffic problems will be worked out sometime in the next half-century, if local officials ever manage to convince the public to pass a half-cent sales tax for transportation. In the meantime, we advise you to install a DVD player in your car so you can multitask on your drive home.

Hell to Pay

Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas penned a letter read at mass last Sunday suggesting the diocese might declare bankruptcy in the face of ongoing legal tangles related to sexual abuse of children by priests and other church officials. The shameful episodes have led to one out-of-court settlement in 2002, 19 current cases and God only knows how many future claims.

"My interest, desire, hope and preference is to mediate the lawsuits that have been filed against the Diocese," wrote Kicanas in a weekly message. "That is simply not possible at the present time, because the current demands are well beyond the means of the Diocese. There are already more cases than the number settled in 2002, and we have no assurance that there will not be more claims."

Members of SNAP, a nationwide support group for victims of sexual abuse by clergy, responded with a demand that the diocese open its books for review. They noted that other Catholic churches in similar straits have threatened bankruptcy, but none have yet followed through.

A Head of the Count

Baseball great Ted Williams' severed head will continue to float in a tank at Scottsdale's Alcor Life Extension Foundation, awaiting the day when medical science reaches a point that the Splendid Splinter can be restored to life in a cloned body for his next at-bat. Having already dropped close to six figures on legal costs, Williams' daughter and son-in-law, Bobby-Jo and Mark Ferrell, have dropped a lawsuit aimed at recovering Teddy Ballgame's severed head from the cryonics facility, according to a report from The Associated Press.

The Ferrells maintained their father wanted his ashes scattered across his favorite Florida fishing hole, but Bobby-Jo's half-brother, John Henry Williams, instead had him stashed inside a tank of liquid nitrogen. John Henry Williams, who died earlier this year from leukemia, is also rumored to be in cold storage at Alcor, according to the AP.

In other baseball news, the New York Yankees kicked the crap out of the Arizona Diamondbacks in a replay of the 2001 World Series, winning two out of three against the spiraling D'Backs.

Meanwhile, the University of Arizona baseball team's dream of a College World Series championship came to an end last Tuesday, June 22, with a 3-1 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs. The Cats had lost to the Bulldogs 8-7 on the first day of the double-elimination tournament, but rebounded with four home runs in a 7-2 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks on Sunday, June 20, before being ousted earlier this week. Just wait'll next year!

A final note in the sporting news: In the Nintzel Whiffle Ball League, Range scribe Jim Nintzel went 2-for-5, including a game-winning RBI double, in his 2004 debut. Coming this July 4: Whiffle Ball Mania, a six-team double-elimination tournament sponsored by Woody's Hot Dogs, which are available in front of Lowe's Home Improvement, 4177 N. Oracle Road. For more details, stats and box scores from the Nintzel Whiffle Ball League, visit

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