The Range


SUMMER PREVIEW: Jeez, it's hot out there. Temps break 100 degrees for the first time this year and top out at 103, more than 10 degrees above average and just one degree below the record set in 1925.


REJECTED! Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoes three bills, including one that would have prohibited school districts from reducing support for physical education, arts and vocational programs. Napolitano writes in a letter to House Speaker Jim Weiers: "House Bill 2557 provides school districts no additional resources to foster programs in music, the arts, physical education, or career and technical education. Thus, not only is House Bill 2557 unnecessary; it also is an empty promise for important areas that need real action."

Napolitano also releases $350,000 to help fight an outbreak of measles that has sickened 21 people in Pima County and one person in Pinal County, to pay for vaccinations and lab work.

FEATHERED FURY: The cactus ferruginous pygmy owl is back in the headlines when three enviro groups put the federal government on notice! The Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that they plan to sue, because the federal agency has not responded to their petition to re-establish protection for the tiny raptor. The previous decision to put the pygmy owl on the Endangered Species List in 1997 was overturned in 2003, when an appeals court overturned the designation.

ELUDING LUTE: Emmanuel Negedu of Brewster Academy of Wolfeboro, N.H., escapes the clutches of men's basketball coach Lute Olson when the UA Athletic Department announces it will give the 6-foot-7 forward a release from the letter of intent that he signed after being recruited by erstwhile assistant coach Josh Pastner. Negedu is one of the top recruits in the country.


LET'S HOPE HE'S GOOD AT RECRUITING: Coach Lute Olson completes the makeover of his basketball coaching staff by hiring Reggie Geary as an assistant coach. Geary, who played for the Wildcats between 1992 and 1996, played two years in the NBA, two years in the Continental Basketball Association and four more years in various countries. Geary comes to Arizona from a coaching gig with the Anaheim Arsenal of the NBA's Development League.


PUMPED AGAIN: Those gas prices continue their climb, although Tucson hangs on to the lowest prices in the nation. The average price of a gallon of unleaded is $3.543, which is up 8.6 cents from last week, according to AAA Arizona.

TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN: Those alleged rock 'n' roll outlaws at the now-defunct Cal Productions are hit with 204 indictments on charges that include participating in a criminal syndicate, money laundering and securities fraud. Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard charges that investors were cheated out of millions with false promises of big payouts after various superstars performed in Tucson. Facing charges: William James Galyon Jr., Robert J. Rosepink, Alfred J. Olsen and Nova Michaels, as well as an unnamed defendant who has yet to be served.

VALUE JUDGMENTS: Home values in Arizona are collapsing, according to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, which notes that over the last year, Arizona homes lost, on average, 5.5 percent of their value. Only three states fared worse than Arizona: Florida, Nevada and California, where homes lost more than 10 percent of the value on average. The good news for those who bought homes before 2003: Over the last five years, Arizona homes have, on average, increased in value by more than 72 percent.


PLAY BALL! With a trip to the Women's College World Series on the line, pitcher Taryne Mowatt leads the UA softball team to a 3-1 win over Oklahoma. Mowatt strikes out 13 batters in the first game of the NCAA Super Regional at the UA's Hillenbrand Stadium. The win puts the Wildcats one game up in the best-of-three series.

IT'S PROBABLY AT DAN QUAYLE'S PLACE: The Phoenix Business Journal reports that a McCain 2008 fundraiser featuring President George W. Bush is being moved from the Phoenix Convention Center to a private residence. Various unnamed sources tell reporter Mike Sunnucks that the move is the result of poor ticket sales, worries about protestors who might be outside the convention center, and concerns that the media might attend the event.


PLAY BALL, CON'T: After being shut out in the first game of the day against Oklahoma, the UA softball team rallies to win the deciding game, 5-2. Jenae Leles hits two of the Wildcats' four home runs in the game. The Cats are headed to the Women's College World Series, where they have triumphed in the last two seasons. Arizona, which has an overall record of 41-17, will play UCLA at approximately 6 p.m., Thursday, May 29.


We're sure other important things happened today, but we were preoccupied by the successful arrival of the Phoenix Mars Lander at the Martian north pole. Details of the landing can be found in this issue.

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