The Range

The Hardest-Working Man in the Med Business

Dr. Richard Carmona rejoined the Pima County Sheriff's Department as surgeon and SWAT team member last week, saying he was looking forward to "doing some of things I used to do."

The former surgeon general, who was recruited by local GOP bigwigs to run for both governor and the Congressional District 8 seat after Rep. Jim Kolbe announced his retirement, wisely chose to instead take a management gig at Canyon Ranch and a teaching position at the University of Arizona. He is also designing a special wellness program for sheriff's deputies. We hope it includes massages, manicures and other pampering for the metrosexuals among Pima County's finest.

Carmona left the door open to one day running for sheriff once incumbent Democrat Clarence Dupnik is ready to call it quits.

"I'm happy being a deputy," Carmona said last week. "I hope the sheriff stays on for many more terms, because I think he's a great leader. ... Who knows in future? I really don't know."

Sasquatch Sightings

Keep an eye out for tall, hairy creatures! Tom Biscardi of Searching for Bigfoot Inc. is out on Eastern Arizona's Fort Apache Indian Reservation searching for Bigfoot, according to The Associated Press.

AP reported that Biscardi, drawn by reports of sightings of the elusive critter, told a radio audience that "We're here for the white Bigfoot, the monkey-type creature with a tail, the one that was throwing rocks at people here. I gotta tell you, people, it's here."

The Range suspects it may just be our brother-in-law on a bender.

The Departed

Former state lawmaker Jeff Groscost, 45, the onetime speaker of the House, died from heart failure last week. The smooth political operator, who will forever be tagged as the architect of the $120 million alt-fuels fiasco that provided tax-savvy Arizonans with brand-new SUVs, was a friend of the planet in so many ways. Remember his bill to create ranches for raising Gila monsters? Or his proposal to pay $500 bounties to Arizonans who shot endangered wolves? (The bill allowed the hunters to keep the skinned pelt.)

Also in the obits last week: Robert Goldwater, 96, who made a fortune exploiting illegal immigrants at his farms. Robert was the father of the dimwitted Don Goldwater, who tried to make his political fortune by exploiting illegal immigrants as a threat to all that is good and decent in Arizona as a gubernatorial candidate. Robert was also brother to the legendary former U.S. senator and presidential candidate Barry Goldwater.

Speaking of Barry: One of our pals from the Racquet Club locker room noticed a recent comment from congressional candidate Gabby Giffords to the effect that she was a maverick like McCain and Goldwater. Our friend writes: "Can Gabrielle Giffords--or anybody--name one instance in which 'Barry Goldwater ... put politics aside to do what's best for people'? The guy voted the straight Republican line. He was no maverick. Give me a break. Ol' Barry's been getting a free ride of late."

In related news, The Range watched the annual All Souls Procession--featuring stilts, big ol' puppets, devils, angels, corpses, brides, bagpipers, drummers, war protesters and a large number of people who couldn't be bothered to dress up--on Sunday, Nov. 5, from atop former Tucson Weekly publisher Doug Biggers' downtown penthouse on Congress Street. (Thanks for the great view and the cold beer, Doug!) The celebration called for us to bring a memento of the deceased, so we brought a sign from Len Munsil's gubernatorial campaign!

Go Cats!

A good weekend for Wildcat sports fans! The UA football team turned it around with a 27-17 victory over No. 25 Washington State University on Saturday, Nov. 4. Twice-concussed Wildcat QB Willie Tuitama was back in the starting lineup and completed 10 of 17 passes. The UA, now 2-4 in Pac-10 play and 4-5 overall, next play No. 8 California at Arizona Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 11.

While the football team was redeeming itself, the UA men's basketball team whipped Team Georgia 125-74 in exhibition play. The Range had great seats, but gave up the tickets in favor of an afternoon bike ride along the Arizona trail outside of Sonoita, where we later learned--to our dismay--that wineries close way too early.

Back in Black

The state is bouncing back from financial doldrums! The latest financial report from the Joint Legislature Budget Committee shows that the state brought in $931.7 million in September, beating the month's forecast by $15.3 million. Overall, because of a lackluster July and August, the state has collected $9.3 million more than forecast in the first three months of the fiscal year.

Compared to September 2005, sales taxes increased 10.5 percent; income taxes increased 10.1 percent; and corporate income taxes increased 12.2 percent. For the first quarter of fiscal year '07, the big three tax categories show overall growth of 7.6 percent but, the report warns, "When compared to the overall growth rates of 18.8 percent in FY 2005 and 16.7 percent in FY 2006, collections in the current year have slowed considerably."

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