The Range


The Tucson City Council is considering providing wireless Internet access to Tucsonans, at about half the price of private outfits like Cox Communications and Qwest. Guess Cox shouldn't have been such a pain in the ass over providing those public-access channels after all.

Tucsonans could have a wireless network that residents and businesses could tap, according to a study by Columbia Telecommunications Corporation, which states that: "Just like water and electricity are critical public services, high-speed Internet access is rapidly emerging as a new type of basic public service."

The study estimates that the city would have to spend as much as $314,000 in startup costs and as much as $574,000 annually for power costs and other expenses to establish a municipal Wi-Fi system that would cost residents between $20 and $25 a month.

The report noted that 87 percent of Tucsonans have Internet access. More than half of those have a cable modem; 21 percent have DSL; and 20 percent are stuck with dial-up access.

The survey also showed that citizens weren't that excited about the city providing wireless service, with 41 percent saying the city should promote the competitive market; 23 percent saying the city should have no role; and just 10 percent saying the city should install a wireless network.

Going South

The Range team did some field work in Puerto Peñasco last weekend involving swim-up bars, gambling dens and cold beer on the beach at sunset. Plus, we visited a carnival! We dared the bumper cars (even though we had to give up our beers while driving them), the Tilt-A-Whirl, the haunted house and a long, cylindrical tube that might have been called the Jules Verne Orgasmatron. (Our notes are a little hard to read.) We also won the most incredible Hulk statue ever!

Things turned a little sour at the end, when The Range--accustomed to returning to the good ol' U.S.A. on Mondays in recent years--spent two hours and 15 minutes traveling the last 1.3 miles out of the country, because the border inspections were so backed up.

Range associate Saxon Burns says he enjoyed his first trip to Rocky Point, although he said the lengthy border wait was "pure hell." Saxon got a head-start out of town, but was delayed when he got hassled by The Man. The Mexican officer, who told Saxon that his buddy, Mike Silvers, was "driving angrily," thoroughly searched the car and misplaced Mike's driver's license, then invited the pair to tour their detainment facility. When they declined, the cop told Mike he should clean his car and sent them on their way. Now that's a Police Dispatch!

"I felt like it was a rite of passage," Saxon tells us.

Saxon's shakedown reminded one of our new interns, Laura Hassett, about how she and former TW intern Kelli Hart were pulled over in Rocky Point during spring break, evidently because it's against the law to have 15 people in your vehicle. A $50 on-the-spot fine resolved the infraction.

Laura said it was a drag to get hassled by The Man, but appreciated the swift justice.

"I was like, wow, that was cool," Laura says. "If it had happened here, it would have been miserable!"

Smoked Out

Speaking of border inspections: Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized a record load of marijuana last weekend at the Nogales Port of Entry. ICE officials said that with the help of a canine officer, they discovered more than three tons of marijuana in the back of a truck hauling tomatoes.

The pot, stashed in more than 267 bales, had an estimated street value of $9.9 million. The previous largest pot seizure, 3,862 pounds, came just about a month ago, on May 8, in a truckload of squash.

ICE agents took the driver, a 31-year-old Nogales resident, into custody and loaded the tomatoes onto a new truck so they could continue their trip to American markets.

Sports Shorts

The UA softball team lost its first game against Tennessee 3-0 last Monday, June 4. The Wildcats needed to win the next two games--which happened after our deadline, but before you'll read this--to win the national title.

The three runs were surrendered by pitcher Taryne Mowatt, who had pitched every postseason inning for the Wildcats and, before giving up the runs, had a Women's College World Series ERA of 0.19.

The Wildcats won a berth in the finals after defeating Washington in two games last Sunday, June 3.

In other sports news: Former UA hoops star Steve Kerr announced that he would be giving up his broadcasting career with the TNT network to take over as president and general manager of the Phoenix Suns.

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