The Range


CANCER CONQUER: UA researchers announce a breakthrough in colon-cancer treatment with a new drug cocktail that significantly reduces the likelihood of recurring polyps. Dr. Michael P. Sporn, a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Dartmouth Medical School, calls the clinical results "spectacular."

TUNNEL VISION: The city of Tucson begins demolition of downtown's Fourth Avenue underpass. The 91-year-old underpass will be replaced with a new tunnel beneath the railroad tracks that's expected to be completed in spring 2009.

FRAGILE UNDERSTANDING: Gov. Janet Napolitano allows a bill providing $40 million in additional funding for English-language learners to become law without her signature. The money is designed to satisfy a federal court order to provide additional education for students who don't understand English. More legal skirmishes in the case remain on the horizon.


FOR GOD'S SAKE: The Arizona Senate approves a bill that would allow the state Department of Transportation to issue a specialty license plate with the phrase "In God We Trust." The provision was tacked onto a House bill that created a special license plate to help support Arizona Highways magazine, which is published by the Transportation Department. Money from the plate would help support highway maintenance.


CLASS STRUGGLE: State Rep. Russell Pearce amends a state Senate bill to prohibit schools from offering courses that "denigrate American values and teachings of Western civilization" or "overtly encourage dissent." Schools that violate the law could lose funding.

LIGHTS OUT: The power is out after a cable gets snipped during some work at a Tucson Electric Power substation. The two-hour blackout, which starts around 10:30 a.m., affects much of central Tucson and causes havoc in the classrooms of UA professors who are delivering PowerPoint presentations.

The blackout also gives UA Campus Emergency Response Team a chance to test out their new emergency text-alert system. Over the course of the blackout, students, staff and faculty who have signed up with the program receive five text alerts, concluding with an "all clear" at 2:42 p.m.

POLITICAL INDICTMENT: Republican Brad Roach formally announces his plans to challenge County Attorney Barbara LaWall in the November election. Roach, a former prosecutor, says the incumbent Democrat doesn't do enough for victims' rights and has driven away too many talented prosecutors with "'politics first' priorities."


UP, UP AND AWAY: Tucson gas prices continue their climb. The average price of a gallon of unleaded hit $3.23, a jump of 4.6 cents over last week. One year ago, the average price was $2.84, according to AAA Arizona.

Linda Gorman of AAA Arizona also weighs in on Sen. John McCain's proposal to suspend the federal gas tax between Memorial Day and Labor Day to combat high gas prices. Gorman said the proposal would cost the Highway Trust Fund some $10 billion "at a time when we need more, not less, investment in our country's transportation network." Gorman suggests lawmakers come up with better plans for conservation and alternative-energy sources.


HIDDEN TAXES: Arizona Sen. John McCain earned about $405,000 last year, according to a tax return released by his presidential campaign. McCain gave more than $100,000 to charity and paid $84,460 in taxes on $258,800 in taxable income. McCain, who files separately from his wife, Cindy, says he will not release her tax return to protect their children, perhaps from the ridicule that so often goes along with having rich parents. Cindy McCain's family is the Maricopa County Budweiser distributor, and her personal fortune is estimated to be in the nine-figure neighborhood, according to press reports.

WEALTH OF SUPPORT: Steve Forbes, the eerily robotic former GOP presidential candidate, visits Tucson to help raise money for Republican Senate President Tim Bee, who is challenging Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

WATCH THIS: Congrats to Bill Buckmaster and the rest of the team at KUAT-TV's Arizona Illustrated. The UA announces that ratings for the nightly newsmagazine are up 38.5 percent, with an estimated 18,000 households watching at least once a week. Have we mentioned that we appear on Fridays as part of the Roundtable?


NOW HEAR THIS: Our sleepy downtown wakes up with the help of all those kids with guitars and drum sets. The Tucson Weekly's Club Crawl™ closes downtown streets and sets up stages all over eastern downtown for one hell of a hootenanny. See our video reports, including a performance by our favorite cowpunk Al Perry at the Rialto Theatre, at Tucson Weekly TV.


THANKS FOR CLEARING THAT UP: Sen. John McCain appears on ABC's This Week and says he condemns the Rev. John Hagee's remarks about the Catholic Church but still values his endorsement and respects his support for Israel. McCain adds that it was "probably" a mistake to pursue Hagee's endorsement. Hagee has come under fire for referring to the Catholic Church as "the great whore" and for suggesting that Hurricane Katrina was God's response to the sinful nature of New Orleans, particularly a "homosexual parade" that was planned for the week after the storm.

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