The Range


WRECKED: A van full of illegal immigrants crashes while speeding down Interstate 10 near Benson, killing a Guatemalan woman and swamping local hospitals with 29 injured passengers. Driver Jesus Espinoza-Martinez of Mexico faces two counts of criminal smuggling.


PARK PLACE: City Councilman Rodney Glassman follows through on his campaign promise to open a dozen schoolyards to Tucson residents as parks in the afternoon and on weekends. The city agrees to spend an estimated $38,000 to cover groundskeeping and other expenses during the summer in a deal with the Tucson Unified School District.

DRINKING PROBLEM: A whole bunch of border-security watchdogs go completely batshit when they discover an Absolut Vodka ad campaign in Mexico showed our southern neighbor's boundaries stretching way up into the United States. The National Illegal Immigration Boycott Coalition calls for people to stop buying Absolut in protest.

"Absolut vodka is trying to sell liquor to Mexicans that aspire to control the Southwest United States," press-releases William Gheen of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC. "The warning signs are everywhere. Illegal immigration is creating a rising threat to our existing border lines and the very existence of the United States."


GROUNDED: Passengers on American Airlines flights out of Tucson find out they're not going anywhere after the airline cancels all outbound and most inbound flights. The airline is canceling flights across the country to perform safety inspections, leaving passengers scrambling to find alternate travel arrangements.


TONGUE TIED: The Arizona Senate agrees to a plan to spend an additional $40.6 million for English instruction for kids who speak a different language. Approval of the funding package comes just days before a deadline set by federal Judge Raner Collins, who has been ordering lawmakers to come up with more money for English-language learners for more than a decade.

PUMPED: AAA Arizona reports that fuel prices are continuing to climb. Drivers in Tucson are paying the lowest prices in Arizona, with the average price of a gallon of unleaded costing $3.184. That's up 2.6 cents in the last week. Linda Gorman of AAA Arizona says motorists can expect higher prices in the coming weeks.


FOR THE DEFENSE: Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry announces that attorney Bob Hirsh will be taking over the county's Public Defender's Office. Hirsh was the chief deputy to Public Defender Robert Hooker, who was killed in an auto collision on Tuesday, April 1.

SIGNATURE EFFORT: The Nature Conservancy launches an initiative effort to amend the Arizona Constitution to allow the conservation of some state trust lands, which are now sold off at auction for development. The effort comes after a deal being worked out at the Legislature to put a proposal on the November ballot collapsed. The group must collect more than 230,000 signatures before July 3.

DRINKING PROBLEM, PART II: William Gheen of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC/The National Illegal Immigration Boycott Coalition gets giddy over the "historic news" that SKYY Vodka has announced that it supports the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the current U.S./Mexico border.

"This is the first time we have ever seen an American brand stand up, recognize and support U.S. sovereignty against an import that is pandering to illegal immigration supporters," Greer press-releases. "I like SKYY Vodka! It is great to be able to have an occasional martini without contributing to a global corporation, like Absolut, that is encouraging the invasion of my nation."


DRINKING PROBLEM, PART III: The Range is too busy with a taste comparison of Skyy vs. Absolut to track down any news. Our conclusion? We should stick to red wine. We regret not being able to bring you a planned report from Spring Fling, the big UA student-run carnival at Rillito Park, but we're sure it would have been a blast, had we been sober enough to go.


WRECKED, PART II: The week ends with the crash of another vehicle hauling illegal immigrants when a Dodge extended cab pickup goes off the road on State Route 90 east of Sierra Vista. Of the 15 people in the vehicle, two men die, and nine end up in Border Patrol custody. The rest are treated in hospitals in Tucson and Bisbee.

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